Science and Technical Communication for Knowledge Translation

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Rioux, Charlie
Weedon, Scott
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In the broader field of science and technical communication, the translation and transfer of expert and technical knowledge is an enduring preoccupation. While research in science and technical communication has studied the importance for practicing scientists, engineers, and technical communicators to transfer knowledge in and beyond their specific settings, there are fewer engagements with training science and technical communicators to disseminate knowledge to outside stakeholders as an integral component of scientific research itself. The concept of knowledge translation we will analyze aims to put knowledge into action by tailoring communication approaches to reach dissemination and implementation goals for specific audiences, such as other researchers, clinicians and practitioners, funders, managers, policy-makers, and the public. We argue science and technical communicators have the rhetorical skills to be leaders in conceptualizing and implementing knowledge translation. In our short paper, we will introduce knowledge translation and differentiate it from similar terms such as technology transfer, knowledge transfer, and boundary spanning. We will then describe how the rhetorical skills of science and technical communicators address the steps and goals of knowledge translation. We will conclude by offering a teaching prompt to show how knowledge translation can be practiced in the science and technical communication classroom.
science communication, knowledge translation, health communication, genre knowledge, usability, information design