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УДК 372.881.111.1

Gamification techniques at technical translation lessons

Морозова Маргарита Владимировна - старший преподаватель кафедры Иностранных языков Национального исследовательского университета "МЭИ".

Аннотация: Технический перевод является обязательным предметом в любом техническом университете и представляет для студентов определенную трудность, так как требует знания специфической грамматики и заучивания большого количества технических слов. В данной статье для более успешного усвоения институтской программы на уроках технического перевода предлагается использовать элементы игр.

Abstract: Technical translation lesson is compulsory for students at any technical university and considered to be rather difficult as students have to know specific grammatical structures and learn many technical words and terms. The article deals with the idea of adapting the elements of games used at General Practice lessons to employ them at Technical translation lessons so that to facilitate the process of studying Technical English.

Ключевые слова: Технический перевод, грамматико-переводной метод, геймификация, связанный текст, грамматическая структура.

Keywords: Technical translation, Grammar Translation Method, gamification, restricted text, grammatical structure.

Studying technical translation is an integral part of a curriculum at any technical higher education establishment as much of specialized literature is published in English. Therefore, for future engineers, who want to keep abreast of the latest achievements in science and technology, it is of paramount importance to be able to read and translate technical texts on their speciality. It is a matter of fact that for teaching technical translation educators usually employ the Grammar Translation Method when language is learnt by analyzing and applying the grammatical rules making up the language by means of multitudinous repetitions of target forms in the sentences. Moreover, undoubtedly, studying technical translation includes learning a lot of technical words and terms by heart, which makes the process of studying for students even more complicated.

Indeed, in practice, for many first-year students “switching” from general English studied at school to the technical one with its specific grammar and technical vocabulary turns out to be highly problematic. To facilitate the process of their studying it is quite possible to borrow some ideas from General English by incorporating some elements of games into teaching grammar, i.e. employing gamification but at the same time using technical vocabulary. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines gamification as “the process of adding games or gamelike elements to something (such as task) to encourage participation”. It can not be denied that the application of typical elements of game playing and inspiring competition among other students by, for example point scoring or timing can encourage students’ engagement. For the process of teaching involvement plays a crucial part as it demonstrates students’ interest to the subject studied and the improvement of their intrinsic motivation as well.

The games that can be adapted for technical translation lessons can be the following: a “guessing game’ to revise technical vocabulary, when students try to guess the technical word by the given definition; a ‘running dictation game’ to revise and consolidate technical vocabulary when the group is divided into two teams to write down technical words on the blackboard; a ‘clapping hands’ game when students clap their hands as soon as they hear the studied grammatical structure in the text read by one of the students and some activities with flashcards to provide students with an opportunity to use their technical vocabulary for classroom interaction. In fact, developing speaking skills is not the aim of technical translation lessons and studying technical translation does not involve much communication, but giving students such an opportunity can spark their interest as they become aware that they do not learn technical words in vain.

Taking part in these activities all the students are sufficiently challenged, they have the purpose (they know why they are playing, which is very important as the games should be meaningful), they develop their strength rather than fix their weakness and they are not worried about their failure. As a result, it will be much easier for them to see the similar grammar forms and recognize technical words in the restricted texts in their textbooks on technical English, which usually include high quantities of specific target language items.

However, teachers should keep in mind that such activities not always meet with a favorable response from all the students as each student is a unique personality and what is a fun for some of them is not necessarily bring enjoyment to the others. To make the activities run smoothly it is essential that the atmosphere in the classroom be relaxed, cheerful and friendly. To achieve the latter at the beginning of an academic year a technical translator teacher should “try to create a good relationship with and between learners” [2, p.154], in other words they should adopt a role of a rapport builder. With this in mind at the first lesson it can be extremely useful to get acquainted with students employing some introductory activities taken from General Practice such as “breaking ice’, “find someone who…” and some others.

Summing up, it should be noted that ‘The truth of the matter is that about 99% of teaching is making the students feel interested in the material. Then the other 1% has to do with your methods” [3, p.176].

References

  1. Jason Andersen. Speaking games. Delta Publishing, 2014, 128p
  2. Marry Spratt, Alan Pulverness, Melanie Williams. The TKT Course. Cambridge University Press, 2012, 256p.
  3. Noam Chomsky. Language and mind. Third edition, Cambridge University Press, 2006, 190p.

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