Dora Sales is Senior Lecturer in the Information Studies area, Department of Translation and Communication, Jaume I University (Castellón, Spain). She holds a PhD in Translation Studies, with a dissertation on transcultural literatures and is a literary translator, specialised in the field of postcolonial literature. She has been the lead researcher of diverse projects on intercultural mediation resources, and has participated in several research projects on information literacy and the acquisition and development of information competences. In our latest guest post, she talks about translating the latest CILIP definition of information literacy into Spanish.
I have had the pleasure of taking over the translation of CILIP Definition of Information Literacy 2018 into Spanish, which has just been published online here. In a previous post for the Information Literacy Blog I already emphasized the enormous potential of this definition, mainly because in my opinion it stands out in two of the main dimensions of IL: its link to critical thinking and the essential contexts where IL is increasingly needed: everyday life, citizenship, education, the workplace and health. It is a particularly important contribution because of its application and transferability in today’s information ecosystem.
In that previous post, I already put forward that I planned to use CILIP definition this academic year, in my teaching of the subject “Documentation applied to translation” (which could also be translated, in a more daring and surely more appropriate way: Information literacy for translators). I have done so, and I have been able to see how useful it is in making the first of the debate seminars I hold with the students of the subject more dynamic.
This debate allows us to reflect and share perceptions and views after the first sessions, in which I introduce information literacy, to lay the foundations of the subject (compulsory in the degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spain) and its relevance in the degree curriculum. This year, CILIP definition of information literacy has been a key asset among the selected readings for the students, together with short texts and videos about infoxication, disinformation, fake news… In the discussion, the students shared that the definition has made them realize that the need to promote information literacy is present in our daily lives, even if we are not aware of it, and that it contributes to our personal growth, not only for information and/or communication professionals, but for all citizens. It has also made them reflect on the generational gap regarding their parents and other family members.
It should be noted that the subject is taught in the first year, and that the vast majority of students are 18 years old. During the classes it was clear that this was the first time they had heard of the concept of information literacy, as well as notions such as infoxication or information overload, algorithms and algorithms of oppression, or filter bubble, for instance. In any case, my explanations about the concepts are clear and simple, introductory, always interspersed with examples or tiny tasks to facilitate comprehension while I describe them; because the important thing is that students understand what these concepts imply today, in their own constant interaction with information. In following sessions, they learn, in practice, how to search, cross-check and evaluate information (in databases, on the Internet, etc.), to get to know specialised information resources for their needs as future translators and interpreters, and, above all, to understand the pivotal place of documentary/information competence within the framework of translation competence.
From my approach to the subject, which is constantly being updated, I try to make the student learning experience on IL holistic and integrated, certainly embedded in the degree curriculum, but highlighting the relevance of generating a critical thinking basis that can help students understand the significance of IL beyond the classroom, beyond the specific moment in which they are taking the subject. Because the goal is not only to help students meet their immediate academic needs, but to plant a seed and help them become aware of what IL is, its importance, its deep and transformational scope throughout their education, but also in their personal lives, as future professionals, as lifelong learners, and as citizens. That is the challenge. To encourage this reflection that will accompany us all through the course, the definition of CILIP has undoubtedly been clear and revealing.
Besides using it in class, in the last few days I have shared the translation of the definition in Spanish with many colleagues, both academics and librarians, both in my university and in other universities, both in Spain and in Latin America (Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Cuba…). But not only. I have also shared it with people who are not in academic life, such as my brother and some friends. In fact, after seventeen years of learning and doing my bit in the area of Librarianship and Information Science, becoming more and more passionate about all what information literacy implies, which joyfully requires constant learning, I have a small conviction: it is important and necessary to talk about IL with those around us, to claim it in everyday spaces in order to foster reflection, with simple examples, precisely because of its necessity for life, citizenship, the workplace and health, to face everything that happens to us in our daily lives endeavouring to be informed, engaged and empowered, wherever we live, in any context and circumstance.
Susan Sontag put forward that translating, among other things, is “to circulate, to transport, to disseminate, to explain, to make (more) accessible”. Now that we have CILIP definition of information literacy in Spanish, let’s share it! And hopefully this will be the first of many other translations, to help spread the relevance and reach of IL in this world of ours, where it is enriching to generate bridges and avenues for dialogue to communicate while celebrating difference.