Взгляд на обучение деловому английскому языку с использованием современного софта

View on teaching Business English using contemporary soft

To be ESP teacher in unprecendently evolving contemporary world is grate challenge. Cyber innovations interacted practically everywhere changing not only life style but also our mentality. Thus “new brave world” [1] became the reality.

Some ESP teachers may feel intimidated when faced with the prospect of teaching Business English. This is generally because they are concerned that their possible lack of business experience or knowledge about the world of business will be exposed and they will be made to feel inadequate as a result.

This concern is often based on the misconception that teaching Business English means teaching Business Studies to learners of English. The teacher’s role in this case is not to present business concepts to the learners or to instruct them how to conduct their business. On the contrary, it is to enable such learners to develop their language skills within a business context. Teachers of Business English are first and foremost teachers of English.

There may also be an adverse reaction to statements such as "Oh, you’re an accountant. I know absolutely nothing about accounting." While the teacher is not expected to teach the learner how to be an accountant, they will at the very least need to adopt the position of an informed amateur and ask relevant questions about the learner’s field of expertise. Some brief research will pay dividends later and questions such as "Can you explain (in English, of course) exactly how a balance sheet works?" can be highly productive and will not appear to be ignorant questions but rather questions that will subsequently provide the teacher with plenty of diagnostic data about weaknesses in the learners’ grammar, gaps in their vocabulary and pronunciation problems. In short, putting the burden onto the learner to explain specific business concepts in English will kill two birds with one stone – it will both give learners relevant practice in his or her field of expertise and put the teacher into the role of language provider, correcting where necessary and providing the correct word or phrase where necessary. Similarly, asking learners to give a presentation about their particular product, their company or their current research will also be a highly focused activity, where the teacher can both give guidance at the preparation stage and feedback on performance. A particularly effective general approach for the teacher is to see this kind of teaching as both a teaching and a learning process for the teacher, where a great deal of interesting information about a wide range of business processes can be acquired. In the final analysis, it is important not to be intimidated by the status and professions of the learners but rather to establish the kind of teacher – learner relationship where both sides are recognized as experts – the learners as experts in their particular field of expertise and the teacher as an expert in the field of language teaching and as an indispensable source of linguistic information.

First, ESP can be defined in terms of two basic goals for the learner: 1) the acquisition of content knowledge of a specific field, and 2) the development of English skills required to perform in the discipline. This combination requires expertise in English language teaching and content knowledge of a particular field such as business, science and technology, health services, and aviation, etc. in order to meet the specific needs of the learners; however, few individual instructors possess adequate knowledge of both a specific discipline and English language pedagogy. Second, the ESP curriculum must meet the specified needs of the learner and utilize the methodology, activities, and authentic materials in the process providing an appropriate language practice in terms of syntax, lexis, register, discourse and genre required by the discipline.

With the recent advances in information and communication technologies, educators are rethinking how we teach all subjects including English for Specific Purposes. Today with the emergence of English as the prominent language in our increasingly technological and global society, the study of ESP has assumed a sense of urgency. The challenges are largely due to the hybrid nature of ESP in its dual role of teaching—specific content while simultaneously facilitating learners’ development of the English language skills required to succeed in that field. “The gap between students and their teachers is not fixed, nor is the gulf so large that it cannot be bridged. In many ways the relationship is determined by the requirements teachers place upon their students to make use of new technologies and the way teachers integrate new technologies in their courses. There is little evidence that students enter university with demands for new technologies that teachers and universities cannot meet”. [3]

With the growing popularity of modern technologies like instant online translators and smartphone apps, some features of translation principles reappear in the current teaching paradigm, regardless of some elements that are inevitably lost in translation. In this context, our goal as educators is to show students the benefits and drawbacks of instant translation as a learning tool so that they are not lost but, instead, found in meaningful language practice. Translation cannot be ignored and is an integral part of a bilingual classroom. As language instructors, our aim is to seek the best techniques for making the translation activity meaningful. Although our students are often found translating from and to English using their smartphone devices, our task as educators is to show the benefits of the modern tools that are found in Google Translate, Bing, etc., before the students get lost in translation. As educators, we can and should utilize this tool in and out of our BE classroom. If we or our learners do use it, we should not expect miracles and expect the results to be based on what Google has done for the community. Here we want to emphasize the importance of translation in any English language classroom and discusses educational implications of translation as a meaningful language learning activity. We also explore instant translation tools currently used, practical ideas of how Google Translate can be effectively used to introduce and practice vocabulary items with learners of English.

With the appearance of ever improving instant translation tools, translation as a hands-on art of foreign language teaching has yet to be revisited. We will now look into the best practices and highlight major challenges in the ESP context. The communicative method, which has been the basis of the teaching paradigm for the past several decades, is certainly not to be replaced, but may involve some changes and the incorporation of the newest trends created by on-line and mobile translation tools and applications that are now available on the market. It is strongly recommended using a communicative approach with maximum student participation but translation as a skill or a learning outcome is also needed. On the other hand, we can find some inference to translation skills when it comes at least to the following learning outcomes: use knowledge of vocabulary in comprehending the text, use general and level-specific vocabulary correctly, use spelling rules correctly, use a dictionary as a learning resource. The writing stage with the meaning-focus output allocates up to 10 minutes to provide students with definitions, synonyms or L1 translations of the targeted words. This means that our policy does not fully exclude translation as being part of the vocabulary-based lessons, especially for beginners and lower level students with regard to vocabulary focuses on the impact of its competency in all skills, it suggests that the explicit vocabulary instruction be a major element of any preparatory language program, and so this is the time when Google Translate can enter the scene. Being an important member of the “Google family”, Google Translate is probably one of the easiest and most accessible tools to help users meet their translation needs. Since it offers quick and rather accurate dual translation services in a variety of languages, students have discovered the benefits of this application and tend to use it more often both inside and outside the classroom. The Google Translate creators are aware of all the challenges involved in proper translations. Google Translate has some undeniable advantages: it is free, instant; it offers a variety of languages for input and output; it allows voice recognition, translation of entire web pages, and an upload of entire files for instant translation. The readers can google for themselves more about the Google Translate application and also we thought it would be better to ask some local computer geeks about the advantages and disadvantages of Google Translate. Below is what may be resumed: Bad: long texts translated incorrectly; voice translation unclear; some languages have no audio translation. Good: translation without the Internet; the speed of translation in all language; you can save the translation of certain texts; can train on specific text by voice. Regardless of the disadvantages stated above, some of our students may still choose to use instant translation tools, especially when it comes to their reading and writing needs and outcomes. Language students often refer to Google Translate as a convenient and easily accessible tool, but without proper guidance from language instructors they are likely to face certain difficulties. So the most obvious advantage of instant translation is its speed. Such immediacy also has a negative side to it. We will take the four commonly used assessment rubrics to look at some cases of using the Google Translate application: task response, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource, grammar and accuracy. The response to the task of translating a word, sentence or a full website is available at the click of the mouse or a tap of a finger. Coherence is based on various significant patterns which are later used to translate to and from a foreign language. In this case cohesion may be lost, e.g. in cases of some tongue twisters. The Google translation of „Tom Turkey took turkey to town‟ will raise some eyebrows of the native speakers. Individual words are handled by Google Translate at an ever-increasing level, but when it comes to context, this tool may fail you and cause some misunderstanding in the choice of words. It is advisable to provide input as a basic pattern rather than individual words to create a minimal context. Lexical resource: Google Translate is likely to be most frequently referred to by the English language learners to look for the translation of individual words. In cases of synonyms, the discrepancy between input and output presents one of the main challenges for Google Translate. This is when the L1 part appears to be completely the same, whereas the English equivalent presents a significant difference in meaning. One way to avoid semantic breaches is to cross check such words in other available online dictionaries. Some neologisms may present certain difficulty when it comes to some more complex language innovations. Proper contextualization is an essential skill needed to select the proper set of meanings. If only our learners take on a role of critical translators, follow the advice to develop a strong sense of style in two languages and expand their critical awareness of the emotional impact of words. Google Translate also offers an opportunity to correct the translated equivalent with a more reliable and adequate option. It could be just another tool to arrange target vocabulary inside and outside your classroom. This can be arranged in two ways: on a student’s smartphone or in class, if the premises allow it. In both cases it can serve as a kind of digital vocabulary list.

If we follow the general communicative pattern and still manage to incorporate Google Translate opportunities, our language teaching and learning experience will not be in a „state of fear and discomfort‟ but in a state of awareness and involvement in the process of critical linguistic thinking. The proper application of the instant translation tools will add a special touch to the smartphone screen and hopefully improve English Language teaching and learning.

References:

  1. Aldous Huxley, “Brave New World”, Penguin edition, cover page, 1965. 
  2. Dzugaeva Z.R., “Teaching English For Specific Purposes (ESP)”, International scientific review, 2017, p.91
  3. Paul A. Kirschner, Pedro De Bruyckere, “The myths of the digital native and the multitasker” Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 67, October 2017, Pages 135-142