Interpreting and elaborating scientific texts in a foreign language in the digital era

This presentation is framed under second or foreign language learning experiences in higher education, and specifically with Strategic Language Learning and academic literacy.

Graduate and undergraduate college students are required to have a high proficiency in a foreign language (FL) in Colombia as well as in many other parts of the world. The challenge for the Postgraduate school where the presenter works is to support the student's endeavors to develop competencies as part of their education with the purpose of consulting the relevant literature of their field. Furthermore they would be able to disseminate their own research and academic contributions in the FL. Some graduate students take regular courses with a large investment of time and money, and yet they may not develop a proficiency that would allow them to meet their needs of communication in the FL in order to deliver academic presentations to an international community or to write papers for a broad scientific community.

This session illustrates the principles, the classroom dynamics and practices of a graduate course for students with low English proficiency (CEF A2-B1 Level). The objective is to help them develop reading and writing fluency using Information and communication technologies (ICTs). The session will briefly discuss the syllabus, the tasks and representative samples of the learners' productions. Then a description on how some tools can be used to edit, help interpret, write, and work on academic texts will be discussed. Some of the tools mentioned would be: academic databases, Wordle (™),, Text-to Speech, on-line translators, on-line dictionaries, graphic organizers, reference and citation organizers, among others.

The use of ICT has proved to help scholars overcome the language barrier. The procedures, resources, and tools hope to demonstrate that a working knowledge of, say a Romance language may open the doors to a future researcher for consulting literature in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, and Catalan. The author is involved in preparing doctoral students in the use of ICT to communicate in a second language. His current area of research is on strategic language learning.




Interpreting and elaborating scientific texts in a foreign language in the digital era


Rigoberto Castillo




6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies


EDULEARN14 Proceedings