Methodological questions about translation research: A model to underpin research into the mental processes of translation

Stuart Campbell and Berta Wakim

Abstract

Research on the mental processes of written translation has benefited less from the findings of psycholinguistic and cognitive research than interpreting research has. This has left translation research relatively impoverished in the theoretical grounding of research methodology. While the performance speed of interpreting seems to make interpreting research closer to bilingual speech research, the shared features of interpreting and translation suggest that they are points on a continuum rather than discrete production modes. A Translation-Interpreting Continuum is proposed, which allows various production modes to be described in terms of psycholinguistic notions, and which includes a language development dimension to account for second language production. The Continuum allows some very basic questions about translation research methodology to be answered, and opens up the opportunity for a better integration of translation and interpreting research.

Keywords
Table of contents

While empirical investigations of written translation (e.g. Krings 1986, 1987, Dechert 1987, Gerloff 1987) have made inroads into our understanding of the mental processes underpinning this complex phenomenon, written translation has attracted relatively little interest from researchers in the psycholinguistic and cognitive domains of bilingualism. On the other hand research into oral [ p. 2 ]translation, or interpreting, has interacted much more with research into these fields to the extent that leading authorities on bilingualism are now beginning to discuss simultaneous interpreting (e.g. de Bot 2000, Paradis 2000, MacWhinney 2005) as a topic of interest, and there are even neurolinguistic accounts (e.g. Paradis 1994). Research into interpreting utilises and adapts the findings of psycholinguistic and cognitive studies (e.g. Gile 1995, de Groot 1997, 2000, Christoffels and de Groot 2005, Christoffels el al. 2006) most likely because of the affinity between interpreting and bilingual speech production, particularly in speed of delivery; authorities such as Gile (1995, 1997) and Christoffels and de Groot (2005) cite the relative slowness of written translation as the reason to focus on interpreting rather than translation: “[I]nterpreters work at speech delivery speed”, whereas “[t]ranslators generally have hours, days, or even weeks to complete the operations” (Gile 1995: 111–112). The prospect for collaboration between interpreting and translation research is however beginning to be recognised, for example in Schäffner (2004) where a number of (mainly interpreting) researchers chart some of the common ground.

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price. Direct PDF access to this article can be purchased through our e-platform.

[ p. 16 ]References

Anderman, Gunilla M. and Margaret Rogers
eds. 2005In and out of English: For better, for worse?. Buffalo: Multilingual Matters. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Beattie, Geoffrey
1983Talk: An analysis of speech and non-verbal behaviour in conversation. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Google Scholar
Campbell, Stuart
1998Translation into the second language. London: Longman.Google Scholar
2000 “Critical structures in the evaluation of translations from Arabic into English as a second language”. The translator 6:2. 211–229.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Chafe, Wallace L.
1972 “Discourse structure and human knowledge”. Roy O. Freedle and John B. Carroll, eds. Language comprehension and the acquisition of knowledge. Washington: V.H. Winston 1972 41–69.Google Scholar
Christoffels, Ingrid K. and Annette M.B. de Groot
2005 “Simultaneous interpreting: A cognitive perspective”. De Groot et al. 2005. 454–479.Google Scholar
Christoffels, Ingrid K., Annette M.B. de Groot and Judith F. Kroll
2006 “Memory and language skills in simultaneous interpreters: The role of expertise and language proficiency”. Journal of memory and language 54:3. 324–345.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Danks, Joseph H, Stephen B. Fountain and Michael K. McBeath
eds. 1997Cognitive processes in translation and interpreting. Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
Daro, Valerie, Sylvie Lambert and Franco Fabbro
1996 “Conscious monitoring of attention during simultaneous interpretation”. Interpreting 1:1. 101–124.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
de Bot, Kees
2000 “Simultaneous interpreting as language production”. Hyltenstam and Englund, 2000 . 65–88.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
de Groot Annette M.B.
1997 “The cognitive study of translation and interpretation: Three approaches”. Danks et al. 1997 . 25–56.Google Scholar
2000 “A complex-skill approach to translation and interpreting”. Tirkkonen-Condit and Jääskeläinen 2000 . 53–68.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
de Groot, Annette M.B. and Judith F. Kroll
eds. 2005Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic approaches. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Dechert, Hans. W.
1987 “Analysing language processing through verbal protocol”. Færch and Kasper, 1987 . 96–112.Google Scholar
Dillinger, Mike
1994 “Comprehension during interpreting: What do interpreters know that bilinguals don’t?”. Lambert and Moser-Mercer 1994 . 155–189.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Færch, Claus and Gabriele Kasper
eds. 1987Introspection in second language research. Clevedon, Avon: Multilingual Matters.Google Scholar
Favreau, Micheline and Norman S. Segalowitz
1983 “Automatic and controlled processes in the first- and second-language reading of fluent bilinguals”. Memory & cognition 11:6. 565–574.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Gerloff, Pamela
1987 “Identifying the unit of analysis in translation: Some uses of Think-aloud Protocol data”. Færch and Kasper, 1987 . 135–158.Google Scholar
Gile, Daniel
1995Basic concepts and models for interpreter and translator training. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
1997 “Conference interpreting as a cognitive management problem”. Danks et al. 1997 . 196–214.Google Scholar
Gopher, Daniel
1993 “The skill of attention control: Acquisition and execution of attention strategies”. David E. Meyer and Sylvan Kornblum, eds. Attention and performance XIV: [ p. 17 ]Synergies in experimental psychology, artificial intelligence, and cognition. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press 1993 299–322.Google Scholar
Grosjean, François
2001 “The bilingual’s language modes”. One mind, two languages: Bilingual language processing. Malden, Massachusetts: Blackwell 2001 1–22.Google Scholar
Häkansson, Gisela
2001 “Against full transfer ’ evidence from Swedish learners of German”. Lundt University, Department of Linguistics Working Papers 48. 48–68.Google Scholar
Hale, Sandra Beatriz
2004The discourse of court interpreting: Discourse practices of the Law, the Witness, and the Interpreter. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Henderson, Alan I., Frieda Goldman-Eisler and Andrew Skarbek
1966 “Sequential temporal patterns in spontaneous speech”. Language and speech 9. 207–216. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Hyltenstam, Kenneth and Birgitta Englund
eds. 2000Language processing and simultaneous interpreting: Interdisciplinary perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
Isham, William P.
1994 “Memory for sentence form after simultaneous interpretation: Evidence both for and against deverbalization”. Lambert and Moser-Mercer 1994 . 191–211.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Jakobsen, Arnt Lykke and Lasse Schou
1999 “Translog documentation”. Probing the process in translation: Methods and results. Copenhagen: Samfundslitteratur 19999–20.Google Scholar
Kintsch, Walter and Teun A. Van Dijk
1978 “Toward a model of text comprehension and production”. Psychological review 85:5. 363–394.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Klin, Celia M, Kristin M. Weingartner, Alexandria E. Guzman and William H. Levine
2004 “Readers’ sensitivity to linguistic cues in narratives: How salience influences anaphor resolution”. Memory&cognition 32:3. 511–522.Google Scholar
Krings, Hans P.
1986 “The translation strategies of advanced German learners of French”. Juliane, House and Shoshana Blum-Kulka, ed. Interlingual and intercultural communication: Discourse and cognition in translation and second language acquisition studies. Tübingen: Gunter Narr 1986 263–276.Google Scholar
1987 “The use of introspective data in translation”. Færch and Kasper 1987 . 159–176.Google Scholar
Lambert, Sylvie and Barbara Moser-Mercer
eds. 1994Bridging the gap: Empirical research in simultaneous interpretation. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Lambrecht, Knud
1995Information structure and sentence form: Topic, focus, and the mental representations of discourse referents. Cambridge; New York-USA: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Levelt, Willem J.M.
1981 “Déjà vu?”. Cognition 10: 1–3. 187–192.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
1989Speaking: From intention to articulation. Cambridge-Massachusets: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press.Google Scholar
Livbjerg, Inge and Inger M. Mees
2003 “Patterns of dictionary use in non-domain-specific translation”. Fábio Alves dos Santos, ed. Triangulating translation: Perspectives in process oriented research. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins 2003 123–136.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Long, Michael H.
1996 “The role of the linguistic environment in second language acquisition”. William C. Ritchie and Tej K. Bhatia, eds. Handbook of second language acquisition. San Diego: Academic Press 1996 413–468.Google Scholar
Mackintosh, Jennifer
1985 “The Kintsch and van Dijk model of discourse ’ comprehension and production applied to the interpretation process”. Meta 30:1. 37–43.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
MacWhinney, Brian
2005 “A unified model of language acquisition”. de Groot and Kroll, 2005 . 49–67.[ p. 18 ]Google Scholar
Moser-Mercer, Barbara, Uli. H. Frauenfelder, Beatriz Casado and Alexander Künzli
2000 “Searching to define expertise in interpreting”. Hyltenstam and Englund 2000 . 107–131. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Myers, Jerome L., and Edward J. O’Brien
1998 “Accessing the discourse representation during reading”. Discourse processes 26:2/3. 131–157.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Paradis, Michel
1994 “Toward a neurolinguistic theory of simultaneous translation: The framework”. International journal of psycholinguistics 10:3. 319–335.Google Scholar
2000 “Prerequisites to a study of neurolinguistic processes involved in simultaneous interpreting”. Hyltenstam and Englund, 2000 . 17–24.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
2004A neurolinguistic theory of bilingualism. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Pienemann, Manfred
1999Language processing and second language development: Processability theory. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
Ravem, Roar
1968 “Language acquisition in a second language environment”. International review of applied linguistics 6. 165–185.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Sanford, Anthony J.
1990 “On the nature of text driven inference”. David. A. Balota, Giovanni B. Flores D’Arcais and Keith Rayner, ed. Comprehension processes in reading. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Laurence Erlbaum 1990 515–535.Google Scholar
Sanford, Anthony J. and Simon C. Garrod
1981Understanding written language: Explorations of comprehension beyond the sentence. Chichester-New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
Schäffner, Christina
ed. 2004Translation research and interpreting research: Traditions, gaps and synergies. Clevedon, England-Buffalo: Multilingual Matters. Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Segalowitz, Norman
2005 “Automaticity in bilingualism and second language learning”. de Groot and Kroll, 2005 . 371–388.Google Scholar
Shebilske, Wayne L., Barry P. Goettl and Wesley J. Regian
1999 “Executive control and automatic processes as complex skills develop in laboratory and applied settings”. Daniel Gopher Asher Koriat, ed. Attention and performance XVII: Cognitive regulation of performance: Interaction of theory and application. Cambridge, Massachusets: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press 1999 401–432.Google Scholar
Shlesinger, Miriam
2000 “Interpreting as a cognitive process: How can we know what really happens?”. Tirkkonen-Condit and Jääskeläinen 2000 . 3–15.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Tarone, Elaine
1989 “On the variability of interlanguage systems”. Fred R. Eckman, Lawrence H. Bell and Diane Nelson, eds. Universals in second language acquisition. Rowley, Massachusetts: Newbury House 1989 9–23.Google Scholar
Tirkkonen-Condit, Sonja
1985Argumentative text structure and translation. Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä.Google Scholar
Tirkkonen-Condit, Sonja and Riitta Jääskeläinen eds.
2000Tapping and mapping the processes of translation and interpreting: Outlooks on empirical research. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Tokowicz, Natasha and Charles A. Prfetti
2005  De Groot and Kroll 2005 . 173–177.Google Scholar
Toury, Gideon
1995Descriptive Translation Studies and beyond. Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins.   Crossref logoGoogle Scholar
Daniel, Daniel M.
1994 “Ironic processes of mental control”. Psychological review 101:1. 34–52.[ p. 19 ]Crossref logoGoogle Scholar