Capturing Translation Processes (CTP)

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Projektleiter/in: Prof. Dr. Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow

Projektteam: Andrea Hunziker Heeb, Peter Jud, Prof. Dr. Gary Massey, Prof. Dr. Daniel Perrin

Projektfinanzierung: DORE/SNF

Projektvolumen: 420'500.00 CHF

Projektbeginn: 01.04.2009

ProjektpartnerInnen: CLS Communication

Weiterführende Informationen:


The question of what translators really do when they translate and how they do it is the focus of this applied linguistics project, a large-scale longitudinal workplace study of translation processes and the development of translation competence. By “translation processes”, we mean the entire process of production of a translation: it begins when a prospective translator realizes what the assignment is and ends when the translator submits the text to the next level (which, depending on the workplace, might be to a translation teacher, to another translation or supervisor for revision, or directly to a client). By “translation competence”, we mean the knowledge that translators require to perform their linguistic work (such as language expertise, translation principles, and research skills).

The multi-method approach we use to capture the translation processes of students, novices, and experienced professionals at different points in their careers is as naturalistic and non-invasive as possible. It combines observation of the workplace, interviews, questionnaires, computer logging, screenshot recordings, eye-tracking, and retrospective verbalizations. This approach allows us to make comparisons across different types of processes (e.g. translation with and without translation memory resources, revision and editing, translation in the workplace and in controlled settings), language combinations (e.g. English, French, or Italian into or out of German), and directions (e.g. English-German and German-English) within individuals over time and across tasks and between groups of translators.

This combination of techniques in our approach opens a window onto the mind of translators and releases hidden expert knowledge, allowing inferences to be made about the practices and strategies that guide translation processes, considerations translators might make, and the awareness translators have of what they are doing. A greater understanding of translation processes will allow refinements to be made to models of translation competence and for us to ascertain which factors contribute to translation quality. By deducing effective translation practices and strategies, we can develop best-practice models of translation processes for industry, which can also be incorporated into post-graduate professional development courses for translators. Gaining answers to practical problems in turn will provide input to curriculum development for undergraduate and graduate translation programs in Switzerland and abroad.

Project-related publications:
Ehrensberger-Dow, Maureen & Daniel Perrin (2013). Applying newswriting process research to translation, Target (Special Issue) 25 (1), 77-92.

Massey, Gary & Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow (2012). Evaluating the process: implications for curriculum development. Zybatow, Lew, Petrova, Alena, & Ustaszewski, Michael (eds.): Translationswissenschaft interdisziplinär: Fragen der Theorie und der Didaktik. Frankfurt am Main u.a.: Peter Lang.

Hunziker Heeb, Andrea (2012). The problem-solving processes of experienced and non-experienced translators. In: Kersten, Saskia; Ludwig, Christian; Meer, Dorothee; Rüschoff, Bernd (Hg.). Language learning and language use - applied linguistics approaches. Papers selected from the Junior Research Meeting - Essen 2011. Duisburg: UVRR. 177-186.

Massey, Gary & Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow (2011). Investigating Information Literacy: A Growing Priority in Translation Studies. Across Languages and Cultures, 12 (2), 193-211.

Massey, Gary & Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow (2011). Commenting on translation: implications for translator training, Journal of Specialised Translation 16, 26-41.

Massey, Gary & Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow (2011). Technical and instrumental competence in the translator’s workplace: Using process research to identify educational and ergonomic needs, ILCEA , 14, [online].

Hofer, Gertrud & Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow (2011). Evaluation of translation processes: Applying research techniques to professional development programs. In: Schmitt, Peter A., Herold, Susann & Weilandt, Annette (eds). Translationsforschung. Tagungsberichte der LICTRA IX. Leipzig International Conference on Translation & Interpretation Studies 19.-21.5.2010. (Leipziger Studien zur angewandten Linguistik und Translatologie, 10). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. 321-332.

Ehrensberger-Dow, Maureen & Alexander Künzli (2010). Methods of accessing metalinguistic awareness: a question of quality? In: Göpferich, Susanne, Fabio Alves, & Inger M. Mees (eds), New Approaches in Translation Process Research. (Copenhagen Studies in Language 39). Copenhagen: Samfundslitteratur. 113-132.

Massey, Gary & Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow (2010). Investigating demands on language professionals, Bulletin suisse de linguistique appliquée (Special issue), 2010/1, 127-141.

Ehrensberger-Dow, Maureen & Daniel Perrin (2009). Capturing translation processes to access metalinguistic awareness, Across Languages and Cultures, 10 (2), 275-288.