Dubai Translation Series: Considering translators and levels of digital literacy

In the digital age, the internet has become an inextricable part of daily and professional lives. What does this mean for translators? In short, they have access to an ever-increasing body of information to draw upon as part of carrying out and researching a particular translation assignment. This can undoubtedly support the process. However, the major challenge for translators is finding information from reliable and credible sources when tackling unfamiliar topics, concepts or terms. Combined with this is the need to locate such information efficiently so that the translation process can, in turn, be made more efficient. At the core of this is aspects of digital literacy.


Use of Internet in Translation Services

            Research has been conducted in relation to the information seeking behaviour of fiction translators. This highlighted the translators’ need for information in the domains of language structure, translational knowledge, theme knowledge and cultural understanding (Shen, 2011). When a need for information arose, the majority of participants turned to internet search engines first of all rather than other resources, such as books (dictionaries, grammar guides and so on). Unfortunately, several problems were encountered. For instance, being overwhelmed by the results returned by a search engine or, on the other hand, unable to locate sufficient information in relation to their queries. A further issue was misleading and inaccurate information. The translation process could be seen as further complicated by the internet rather than well-supported by it. In the twenty-first century, translators not only need competence in their language pair, but strong digital literary if they are to make efficient use of the internet for research purposes.


Digital Literacy in Translation Companies

Undoubtedly, a strong level of digital literacy is becoming a key competency for translators engaging in research and meeting their informational needs when faced with particular texts. There are implications in training programmes for new translators and how established translators can increase their digital literacy through continued professional development activities.



Shen, H. M. (2011). Fiction Translators’ Information Needs and Seeking Behavior [Thesis Paper]. National Chung Hsing University. Graduate Institute of Library and Information Science.

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