Applying a newswriting research approach to translation

Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow and Daniel Perrin
Zurich University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland

Translation is a situated activity that involves more than simply producing target texts from source texts. In order to understand what translators actually do when they translate, their psycho-biographies as well as the social setting of the workplace and the contextual resources must be considered. In this paper, we outline how a mixed-method approach originally developed to study the newswriting processes of journalists at their workplaces can be applied in translation process research. We argue that progression analysis, which combines keystroke logging, screen recordings, eye-tracking, and cue-based retrospective verbalization, can be profitably used along with version analysis to gain insights into cognitive aspects of the translation process.

Table of contents

From an almost exclusive focus on products, translation studies has moved towards examining processes (including cognitive aspects) and the effects of those processes on the quality of products (cf. Lee-Jahnke 2005). The latter are the result of the interaction between societal expectations of what translations should be and translators’ emergent practices and translation competence that allow them to produce acceptable translations in a given setting or situation within temporal and economic constraints (cf. Archer 2003).

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