Recent trends in
Translation Studies:
Cognition and technology
Anthony Pym
© Intercultural Studies Group
Universitat Rovira i Virgili
Plaça Imperial Tàrraco 1
43005 Tarragona
Fax: (++ 34) 977 55 95 97
Traditional positions…
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Equivalence (literal vs. free)
Between texts (products)
For an external purpose (Skopos)
With translation-specific features (“universals”, from
corpora):
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Simplification
Explicitation
Adaptation
Equalizing
Avoidance of TL unique terms
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Problems with those positions
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There are shifts everywhere
They concern more than literal vs. free
Product analysis cannot say why they occur
Product analysis cannot distinguish between the
translation-specific features.
New technologies make the features non-specific.
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Problems with those positions
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There are shifts everywhere
Product analysis cannot say why they occur
Product analysis cannot distinguish between the
translation-specific features.
New technologies make the features non-specific.
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Process studies use
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Think-Aloud Protocols (TAPs)
Translog
Screen recording
Eye-tracking
Post-performance interviews
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Screen recording
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TAPs
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Translog
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Eyetracking
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More experienced translators…
1) use more paraphrase and less literalism as coping
strategies (Kussmaul 1995, Lörscher 1991, Jensen
1999)
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More experienced translators…
2) process larger translation units (Toury 1986, Lörscher
1991, Tirkkonen-Condit 1992)
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More experienced translators…
3) spend longer reviewing their work at the postdrafting phase but make fewer changes when
reviewing (Jensen and Jakobsen 2000, Jakobsen
2002, Englund Dimitrova 2005)
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More experienced translators…
4) read texts faster and spend proportionally more time
looking at the target text than at the source text
(Jakobsen and Jensen 2008)
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More experienced translators…
5) use top-down processing and refer more to the
translation purpose (Fraser 1996; Jonasson 1998;
Künzli 2001, 2004, Séguinot 1989, Tirkkonen-Condit
1992)
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More experienced translators…
6) rely on encyclopaedic knowledge as opposed to ST
construal (Tirkkonen-Condit 1989)
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More experienced translators…
7) express more principles and personal theories
(Tirkkonen-Condit 1989, 1997, Jääskeläinen 1999)
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More experienced translators…
8) incorporate the client into the risk-management
processes (Künzli 2004)
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More experienced translators…
9) automatize some complex tasks but also shift
between automatized routine tasks and conscious
problem-solving (Krings 1988, Jääskeläinen and
Tirkkonen-Condit 1991, Englund Dimitrova 2005)
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More experienced translators…
10) display more realism, confidence and critical
attitudes in their decision-making (Künzli 2004)
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Aspects not normally covered
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speed
the capacity to distribute effort in terms of risk
the restrained use of external resources (both written
and human)
the key role of revision/reviewing
(new technologies).
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Experiments as good pedagogy
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House (1986, 2000); “translation in and as
interaction”
Self-awareness
Awareness of other translation cultures
Awareness of diversity within translation cultures.
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Experiment 1: Norms
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When translating publicity from English, do you keep
the name of the product in English script, transcribe
it, and/or explain it?
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What 143 students did
120
100
80
TL script
Explained
60
SL language
SL language twice
40
20
0
Korean
Chinese Japanese Russian German
Spanish
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French
Experiment 2: Skopos
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Do you explain the reference “Eton” in accordance
with the instructions given for the translation?
 History book vs. Coffee-table book
 Moral philosophy vs. Biography.
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Experiment 2: Skopos
1
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Eton / Eton
Eton / THAT school or similar
Eton SCHOOL / Eton
PRESTIGIOUS school Eton / Eton
a prestigious school LIKE Eton
a prestigious school / Ivy league school
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Experiment 2: results
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Experiment 3: MT or not?
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Experiment 4: Speed
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Students screen-record two comparable translations.
The second is 33% faster than the first.
Students analyze time-on-task for
reading/comprehension, documentation, drafting,
reviewing.
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Experiment 4: Speed
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Experiment 4: Speed reports
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K1: I spent a lot less time researching, When you
have a time limit, your efficiency goes up and you
just focus on the text.
C2: This time I took less time on reading and
translating [he increased the percentage of
reviewing]
C4: More time spent on documentation and
translation; significantly less time on revision.
C5:I just caught the rough meaning of the sentences
and got to the translation right away in order to finish
the translation before the time limit.
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Experiment 4:
Recommendations
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C5: I think the secret to translate faster is not to
hesitate for too long before starting to translate and
make revisions afterward so you won’t waste too
much time sticking in the phrases you have problems
coming up with the best translation.
C7: What I recommend is try to cut from the
documentation part and the revision part, but not the
reading and comprehending part if the translator
wants to make as little mistake as possible.
F1: For a person trying to translate quickly, I would
say to avoid documentation if at all possible, and do
some revising at the end to revisit those sections that
were difficult or of which there were some
uncertainties.
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Experiment 4:
Recommendations
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F3 […] There is, though, the factor of the reading
and comprehension, which during the first week
seemed like discrete units but under time pressure
blended much more into the translation phase.
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Summary
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Students experiment to discover things about
themselves.
They draw their own conclusions.
The help improve professional research.
They help discover the competencies they need to
learn.
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