Ergonomics of the translation workplace: Potential for cognitive friction

; (). Ergonomics of the translation workplace: Potential for cognitive friction. Translation Spaces, 4, 1. 98-118. Peer reviewed.

Translation is a complex cognitive activity carried out in different settings by translators that share an increasingly heavy reliance on language technology. This raises the question of whether translators’ ergonomic needs are being met at their workplaces and by the tools they use. Findings from an exploratory survey study of staff translators in Switzerland are presented and contrasted with those of freelance translators working in Ireland. The surveys address the ergonomic aspects of computer workstations, workplace and working environment, tools and resources, workflow and organization as well as health and related issues. Indicators of ‘cognitive friction’ (Cooper 2004) that might be attributable to the cognitive, physical, and organizational ergonomics of translators’ workplaces have been identified and incorporated into the design of a follow-up international survey. The implications of this type of research are explored in light of anticipated developments in the technologized translation workplace.