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ATA56 Session Review: “Finding the Student’s Inner Technologist: Best Practices for Teaching CAT Tools, Localization and Terminology Online”

December 8th, 2015 | by LTD

Panel: Julie Tay, Barbara Inge Karsch, Jon Ritzdorf and Kane Gao

by Matt Griffin

Members of NYU’s Department of Foreign Languages, Translation & Interpreting discussed teaching students about computer-assisted translation, localization and terminology.

Barbara Inge Karsch, owner of BIK Terminology (http://bikterminology.com/) and Chair of the ATA’s Terminology Committee, introduced her approach to teaching terminology, emphasizing the theory that informs the practical aspects of terminology work and glossary building. Courses are typically offered online as webinars, which creates a unique, technology-enabled learning environment. Useful resources cited were the online glossaries of Microsoft, SAP or IATE.

Freelancer and former student, Kane Gao, explained further how critical terminology can be to projects in business (http://clmgnyc.com/).

Jon Ritzdorf, CAT tool evangelist and instructor at NYU and Middlebury (formerly Monterey), spoke about “Best Practices for Teaching CAT Tools & Localization, Or: How I Found My 10%.” He began with the insight that his class participants have changed from digital immigrants to digital natives since he first began teaching (http://ritzdorfacademy.com/). In an age of short attention spans and distraction, Jon asked himself, what has made his CAT course successful over the more than ten years that he has offered it?

The 10% of course material that students may retain, Jon explained, is the result of struggling with a material. Borrowing from the advertising concept of “WIG” (wildly important goals), Jon says that he focuses on helping students retain a 10% of critical knowledge. The key, he told the audience, is to focus on two or three WIGs. For example, gain confidence, ensure that students can work with any CAT tool and acquire the skill in a short period.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times,” Jon said, citing Bruce Lee to explain his philosophy of teaching. The first few days and weeks matter most. Don’t overprotect students, Jon adds, make them work hard through drilling and repetition of drills. Let the students struggle to figure out things – doing is learning. Additionally, to improve as an educator ask students how they have used the knowledge they gained.

In conclusion, Julie Tay, educator and panel moderator, thanked the panelists for bringing their energy and passion for translation and technology to the classroom and educating students and translators about tools use (http://aceforum.org/). Students interested in testing and learning on tools can refer to several resources, among others the ATA’s Toolbar, Education and Language Technology divisions, and its resources committee.

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