An international survey of the ergonomics of professional translation
Ehrensberger-Dow, Maureen; Hunziker Heeb, Andrea; Massey, Gary; Meidert, Ursula; Neumann, Silke; Becker, Heidrun Karin (2016). An international survey of the ergonomics of professional translation. ILCEA Revue de l’Institut des Langues et des Cultures d’Europe et d’Amérique, 27 Peer reviewed.
Despite the fact that professional translation is characterized by human-machine interaction, the ergonomics of the professional translation workplace is relatively under-researched. In order to gain further insights into how translators worldwide have set up and organized their workplaces, an anonymous online survey was developed by a team of researchers in translation studies and
occupational therapy as part of an interdisciplinary project. It was made available in six languages (English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish) and distributed through multipliers such as professional organizations. The interest that this topic generated in the professional community was reflected not only in the large number of completed questionnaires (1,850) but also by the comments provided by translators both in the survey itself and in email messages to the research team. This paper reports on the findings of the survey with a focus on differences existing among commercial, institutional, and freelance translators in different countries and the degree to which language technology is involved in professional translation. Findings are compared to good practice recommendations for computer work, and conclusions are drawn with respect to health issues related to suboptimal ergonomics.