Translator skills for expert-to-lay communication: Experiences with e-learning modules on occupational health and safety
De Camillis F
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The translators' profession is facing notable changes today, especially due to technological evolution. Translator skills will change accordingly. However, translators already possess a range of skills that would allow them to perform different additional activities connected to communication and text production. For example, they are particularly adept at tuning the message to the needs of different readers. By contrast, domain experts are rarely trained to write for non-experts. Since many domains do not involve technical writers in text production, translators are often the first communication specialists seeing texts authored by experts for laypersons. In this paper, we illustrate the translation project (IT>DE) of an e-learning course on occupational health and safety. The source text (ST) was drafted by experts on workplace safety for a lay readership. During translation, translators noticed several problems in the ST and hence were asked to amend it first, i.e. essentially working also as technical writers. Using real examples, we will illustrate the ST editing process, showing how translation may be an occasion to enhance the quality of the ST. Ultimately, applying technical writing skills to enhance the ST may become an extra service offered by translators.