Volume 17, No. 3 
July 2013

  Luis D. González León


Front Page

Select one of the previous 64 issues.


Index 1997-2013

TJ Interactive: Translation Journal Blog

  Translator Profiles
My Career in Translation and Interpreting
by Bruni Johnson

  The Profession
The Bottom Line
by Fire Ant and Worker Bee
Rosetta Stone and Translation Rates
by Danilo Nogueira and Kelli Semolini

  In Memoriam
In Memoriam: Maggie H. Rowe
by Walter Bacak, CAE
In Memoriam: Prof. Yuanxi Ma
by Di Wu

  Nuts and Bolts of Translation
Naive Translation Equivalent
by Midhat Ridjanović, PhD

Translation and Politics
Unduly Free Translation and Its Consequences
by Izak Morin

Literary Translation
Two New Chinese Translations of Hamlet Introduced and Compared
by Xiaonong Wang
Translation and Symbolism in Drama: Four Case Studies of W.B. Yeats’s Plays
by Mehdi Ghobadi

Financial Translation
Los efectos de la crisis en el sistema financiero europeo: repercusiones en el mercado de la traducción financiera
Elena Alcalde Peñalver

Translator Education
New Trends and Challenges in the Translation Profession: Coaching for Translators
by Dra. Concepción Mira Rueda
Information Management in the Translation Process
by Luis D. González León

  Caught in the Web
Web Surfing for Fun and Profit
by Cathy Flick, Ph.D.
Translators’ On-Line Resources
by Gabe Bokor
Translators’ Best Websites
by Gabe Bokor

  Translators' Tools
Translators’ Emporium

Call for Papers and Editorial Policies
  Translation Journal
Translator Education

Information Management in the Translation Process

by Luis D. González León


Information management is of great importance in the translation process. As a new approach to train translators and interpreters with novel ideas to work, it has proven effective at the University of Camaguey, Cuba. A model lesson in which information management techniques are used, is proposed.

Key words:

Information management, translation, education, competence, skills.


his is the age of globalized knowledge and information. The world has witnessed intensive and unprecedented development. In any country, workforce training is an important task to be accomplished. It is also one of the most urgent needs, and a problem to solve. Our globalized world is controlled by modern technology in the field of information and communication. And far from what was originally believed, translation and interpreting are nowadays more needed than anytime previously.

Translation and interpreting are nowadays more needed than anytime previously.
Education has yet to go beyond the formal frameworks, and schools must yield place to new realities; persuade students to be the protagonists of the teaching and educational process (Machado, 2005). Teachers must be involved in the formation and development of certain skills needed in the students' curriculum, such as information management. This is one of the activities a future translator or interpreter will have to be familiar with.

Today, information management must be a starting point, as well as the key goal of the teaching - learning process, for it is a key element to development. However, the formation and development of information management skills to train translators and interpreters has not been given due attention, especially when “little or no cross-cultural information by the translator or interpreter may bring about a great deal of negative consequences. Thus, one of our globalized world’s imperatives is to promote cross-cultural knowledge, as a necessary investment to stay away from calamitous results.” (Payne, 2009).

Information Management

Speaking about scientific information processing, Hernandez and Garcia (2005) stated that it is not just searching for information to then use it as it comes, but it should also be filtered and given a significance of its own. Relationships, contradictions, and gaps should also be evaluated when dealing with information.

Translators and interpreters are not mere walking dictionaries as they used to be. Currently information management must do more than to provide the new professionals with the tools to develop professional competence in their field. Translators and interpreters are to become cultural mediators at the service of society, aided by the new technologies.

Knowledge is produced when individuals interact with information. Expressions like information culture, informational skills, or informational literacy are often found in the literature, with the common idea that interaction with information is essential. (C. González).

The University of Ohio has set guidelines for managing information. First, it is the capacity to recognize and act on information needs to find, evaluate, use, and transmit information as a tool for;learning appropriate reasoning.

Informational literacy is competence in,

  • Recognition of information needs.
  • Identification of information needed to solve a particular problem.
  • Finding the necessary information.
  • Evaluating the information found.
  • Organizing the information
  • Properly use information to solve a given problem.

Figure 1. Digital Electronic Model of Salmon (2002)

Stage 5……………….Development

Stage 4……………….Knowledge build up

Stage 3……………….Exchange of information

Stage 2……………….On-line socializing

Stage 1……………….Motivation and access

Machado (2005) states that information is the set of qualitative and quantitative knowledge, organized, classified, retrieved and analyzed, used to give solution to problems; especially in the upbringing of new professionals. Consequently, universities and colleges should insist on developing information managing skills to train all their graduates.

The quality of information is difficult to measure because it depends on the needs and the information available at the moment. Giving importance to quality is not a phenomenon in which only companies are involved, but it is also something that has concerned libraries and documentation centers. In the beginning of the last century, several analyses of production processes were made in order to reduce errors and find a close relationship between production and what is required. In the field of education. These efforts resulted in multiple ideas being developed, from correction of the curriculum to new learning methods.

Information Management in the Translation Process

The training of translators should include training in translation as well as in the application of supporting tools, and the information management process should be among them. Translators must carry out a deep research on a given topic in order to render faithful translations. Nowadays, there are so many sources that can provide high information volumes in libraries, encyclopedias, dictionaries, glossaries, interviews to experienced people, etc. Still, there is one that has emerged as the most important nowadays: the Internet. Learning Information management skills will allow the students to use the Internet in a better way and to look for information from a scientific point of view, knowing that this information must have certain characteristics: it has to be specific, accurate, consistent and tailored to customers’ needs.

The translation process and the training of future translators is not only based upon the bilingual competence of the translator, but also on their capacity to analyze the relations between the source text (ST) and target text (TT) in order to produce a translation which, on the one hand, is as closed to the ST as possible and, on the other, meets all necessary linguistic and cultural conventions of the target-language community. Additionally, the translator must possess specialized knowledge concerning the subject or field covered by the ST itself.

For the training of future professional translators a number of processes that generate information that can also be reproduced and understood in a formal logical thought, are required. This recipe, which is difficult to understand so far, is not the product of a process in which the ingredients were already established, but a matter of cleanliness, putting what is necessary to generate the best dish in order to satisfy the most demanding palate.

Information technology has not only transformed the working practice of the professional translator but also the way in which translation is studied.

The following is a model lesson in which translation training is looike at from a different perspective.

Skills: Reading Comprehension, Information management.

Working languages: English / Spanish

Topic: the United Nations

Time allotted: 90 min

Lesson content: History of the United Nations

Objective: At the end of the lesson the students must be motivated to use information management techniques and procedures to build up knowledge on the history of the United Nations.


The teacher asks the students about the origin of governmental and non-governmental organizations in Cuba. The students are then requested to provide the names of some renowned international organizations.


· The teacher asks the students to read the text in three minutes and then

provide an oral Spanish version with as many details as possible.

Several students may participate.

· The teacher and the students start to work jointly on the translation difficulties. First, the students provide their own, and then the teacher suggests solutions to the difficulties found.

· The students are given time out to work through the difficulties using their dictionaries in the classroom; as well as on-line references at the computer lab. The work is done by teams.

· All difficulties are discussed in class and the solutions proposed are written on the blackboard so that everyone has access to them and the final translation results of high quality. Thorough examination of information sources will be done to avoid misunderstandings and politically incorrect approaches.

· Finally, the teacher assigns homework: Students should look for information on all problem expressions in the text and get ready for a seminar to be held in seventy-two hours´ minimum. (An activity like this should require time enough so students can access necessary information.)

· If the next period is before the deadline, then the teacher may bring visual information on the topic, like a documentary or a movie to stir up student´s curiosity and fuel debate.

· The second assignment is to ask for a faithfully translated version of the SL text to be handed in in the period following the seminar.

History of the United Nations

The League of Nations failed to prevent World War II (1939–1945). Because of the widespread recognition that humankind could not afford a third world war, the United Nations was established to replace the flawed League of Nations in 1945 in order to maintain international peace and promote cooperation in solving international economic, social and humanitarian problems. The earliest concrete plan for a new world organization was begun under the aegis of the U.S. State Department in 1939. Franklin D. Roosevelt first coined the term 'United Nations' as a term to describe the Allied countries. The term was first officially used on 1 January 1942, when 26 governments signed the Atlantic Charter, pledging to continue the war effort. On 25 April 1945, the UN Conference on International Organization began in San Francisco, attended by 50 governments and a number of non-governmental organizations involved in drafting the United Nations Charter. The UN officially came into existence on 24 October 1945 upon ratification of the Charter by the five then-permanent members of the Security Council—France, the Republic of China, the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom and the United States—and by a majority of the other 46 signatories. The first meetings of the General Assembly, with 51 nations represented, and the Security Council, took place in Westminster Central Hall in London in January 1946.

The organization was based at the Sperry Gyroscope Corporation 's facility in Lake Success, New York, from 1946–1952, before moving to the United Nations Headquarters building in Manhattan upon its completion.

Since its creation, there has been controversy and criticism of the United Nations. In the United States, an early opponent of the UN was the John Birch Society, which began a "get US out of the UN" campaign in 1959, charging that the UN's aim was to establish a "One World Government." After the Second World War, the French Committee of National Liberation was late to be recognized by the US as the government of France, and so the country was initially excluded from the conferences that aimed at creating the new organization. Charles de Gaulle criticized the UN, famously calling it “le machin” (the thing), and was not convinced that a global security alliance would help maintain world peace, preferring direct defense treaties between countries.

· The teacher goes over the significance of the United Nations as an international organization that affects the destiny of the world. Then remarks on the importance translators should give to information searching in their quest to turn new information into knowledge.

· Evaluations will be based on how close students got to solving the translation difficulties and their ability to find appropriate information and disclose it in class.


Though first applied in business management and computer sciences, information management has proven to be a modern and very efficient approach to dealing with translator training in the new, globalized world. The time when translators and interpreters only lived on glossaries and dictionaries is gone, giving way to new more efficient tools, like the Internet and all the built-in possibilities it brings in one “basket.“

Translation education has to take a dramatic turn in the twenty-first century, adopting new approaches like information management, with which students majoring in translation and interpreting will fit in the new era of information and knowledge, proving their competence as professionals.


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