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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 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.
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volume 4 number 1 2015
John Benjamins Publishing Company
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Table of contents
Psycholinguistic explorations of lexical translation equivalents: Thirty
years of research and their implications for cognitive translatology
Adolfo M. García
Results of PACTE’s experimental research on the acquisition of
translation competence: The acquisition of declarative and procedural
knowledge in translation. The dynamic translation index
Allison Beeby, L. Castillo, O. Fox, A. Galán Mañas, Amparo Hurtado Albir,
Anna Kuznik, G. Massana, Wilhelm Neunzig, Ch. Olalla,
Patricia Rodríguez Inés and L. Romero
(De)metaphorization in the cognitive process of professional translators
Tânia Liparini Campos
On the diculties posed by the translation of subjectivity markers:
A case study
Mónica Cecilia Giozza and María del Mar Gatti
Ergonomics of the translation workplace: Potential for cognitive friction
Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow and Sharon O’Brien
The role of syntactic variation in translation and post-editing
Srinivas Bangalore, Bergljot Behrens, Michael Carl, Maheshwar Ghankot,
Arndt Heilmann, Jean Nitzke, Moritz Jonas Schaeer and Annegret Sturm
Translating and post-editing in the Portuguese-Chinese language pair:
Insights from an exploratory study of key-logging and eye tracking
Igor A. Lourenço da Silva, Marcia Schmaltz, Fabio Alves, Adriana Pagano,
Derek Wong, Lidia Chao, Ana Luísa V. Leal, Paulo Quaresma
and Caio Garcia
Design and statistics in quantitative translation (process) research
Laura Winther Balling and Kristian Tangsgaard Hvelplund
A multidisciplinary, multimedia, and multilingual
journal of translation
volume 4 number 1 2015
ISSN 2211-3711 / E-ISSN 2211-372X
John Benjamins Publishing Company
Translation Spaces volume 4 number 1 2015
Cognition & Behavior
Translation as a cognitive activity
ts.4-1.cover.indd 1 11/08/2015 15:40:29
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John Benjamins Publishing Company
Deborah A. Folaron
Concordia University
Gregory M. Shreve
Kent State University
Ricardo Muñoz Martín
Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Consulting Editors
Yves Gambier
University of Turku
Anthony Pym
Universitat Rovira i Virgili
A multidisciplinary, multimedia, and multilingual
journal of translation
Advisory Board
Translation, Globalization, and Communication Technology
Frank Austermühl
Aston University
Translation, Commerce and Economy
Keiran J. Dunne
Kent State University
Translation, Government, Law and Policy
Michael Geist
University of Ottawa
Translation as an Object of Study
Ricardo Muñoz Martín
Univ. de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
Translation, Computation and Information
Sharon O’Brien
Dublin City University
Translation and Entertainment
Minako O’Hagan
Dublin City University
Translation, Information, Culture, and Society
Gregory M. Shreve
Kent State University
A multidisciplinary, multimedia, and multilingual
journal of translation
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Translation as a cognitive activity
Edited by Fabio Alves, Amparo Hurtado Albir
and Isabel Lacruz
Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil / Universitat Autònoma
de Barcelona, Spain / Kent State University, Ohio, USA
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Table of contents
Introduction 1
Psycholinguistic explorations of lexical translation equivalents: irty
years of research and their implications for cognitive translatology 9
Adolfo M. García
Results of PACTE’s experimental research on the acquisition of
translation competence: e acquisition of declarative and procedural
knowledge in translation. e dynamic translation index 29
A. Beeby, L. Castillo, O. Fox, A. Galán Mañas, A. Hurtado Albir, A.
Kuznik, G. Massana, W. Neunzig, Ch. Olalla, P. Rodríguez Inés, L.
Romero (in alphabetical order). Principal researcher: A. Hurtado Albir
(De)metaphorization in the cognitive process of professional translators 54
Tânia Liparini Campos
On the diculties posed by the translation of subjectivity markers:
A case study 75
Mónica Cecilia Giozza and María del Mar Gatti
Ergonomics of the translation workplace: Potential for cognitive friction 98
Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow and Sharon O’Brien
e role of syntactic variation in translation and post-editing 119
Srinivas Bangalore, Bergljot Behrens, Michael Carl, Maheshwar
Ghankot, Arndt Heilmann, Jean Nitzke, Moritz Schaeer and
Annegret Sturm
Translating and post-editing in the Portuguese-Chinese language pair:
Insights from an exploratory study of key-logging and eye tracking 145
Igor A. Lourenço da Silva, Márcia Schmaltz, Fabio Alves, Adriana
Pagano, Derek Wong, Lidia Chao, Ana Luísa V. Leal, Paulo Quaresma
and Caio Garcia
Design and statistics in quantitative translation (process) research 170
Laura Winther Balling and Kristian Tangsgaard Hvelplund
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Translation of subjectivity markers 97
Authors’ addresses
Mónica Cecilia Giozza
Universidad del Aconcagua
Barrio Parque Norte M-25 (5539) Mendoza,
María del Mar Gatti
Universidad del Aconcagua
Luis Agote 511. Godoy Cruz (5501),
Mendoza, Argentina
Translation Spaces 4 (2015), 98118. doi 10.1075/ts.4.05ehr
issn 22113711 / e-issn 2211-372x © John Benjamins Publishing Company
Ergonomics of the translation workplace
Potential for cognitive friction
Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow and Sharon O’Brien
Zurich University of Applied Sciences / Dublin City University
Translation is a complex cognitive activity carried out in dierent settings by
translators that share an increasingly heavy reliance on language technology.
is 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 sta translators in Switzerland are presented and contrasted with those
of freelance translators working in Ireland. e surveys address the ergonomic
aspects of computer workstations, workplace and working environment, tools
and resources, workow 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 identied and incorporated into the design of a follow-up interna-
tional survey. e implications of this type of research are explored in light of
anticipated developments in the technologized translation workplace.
Keywords: cognitive ergonomics, physical ergonomics, professional translators,
cognitive friction, workplace, survey, sociotechnical aspects
In most commercial and institutional settings in many countries in the world, the
heavy reliance on language technology means that professional translation is be-
coming an increasingly sophisticated form of human–computer interaction. For
example, translators employ many kinds of sources on the Internet to aid their
decision-making processes. ey deal with multiple le formats, some of which
are not presented in WYSIWYG format (e.g., XML les in translation memory
tools instead of the ‘what you see is what you get’ appearance of most text ed-
iting tools). ey translate using multiple editors, dealing with content that is
generated by other translators (in translation memory — TM — or terminology
management tools and by computers (in machine translation — MT — systems).
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Ergonomics of the translation workplace 99
Moreover, they are oen expec ted to translate out-of-context segments of text,
instead of complete, coherent documents, yet still somehow maintain cohesion
and comprehensibility. While some research has focused on the impact of tech-
nology on the translation process and product (e.g., Alves and Liparini Campos
2009; Christensen 2011; Dragsted 2006; Hansen-Schirra 2012; Jiménez 2009; Pym
2011), the potential disruptions to cognitive processing that can result from the
deployment of less-than-optimal tools at ergonomically problematic workplaces
remains underexplored. We propose to address this gap by focusing on ergonomic
issues facing translators in two very dierent workplace settings, both of which
rely on language technology.
Ergonomic considerations
e study of ergonomics is oen understood as related to the physical condi-
tions of the workplace, yet it actually has a much broader scope. According to
the International Ergonomics Association (IEA)1, ergonomics is concerned with
“physical, cognitive, social, organizational, environmental and other relevant fac-
tors” of human work and the promotion of conditions that are “compatible with
the needs, abilities and limitations of people.ese factors can be broadly catego-
rized as physical, cognitive, and organizational ergonomics. e IEA denes phys-
ical ergonomics as “human anatomical, anthropometric, physiological and biome-
chanical characteristics as they relate to physical activity.ese include workplace
layout and safety, such as how people sit, stand, and move while doing their work.
When people are doing work that demands close attention and concentration,
they have to exert energy and ultimately cognitive resources to compensate for
the distraction of any physical discomfort. is is one of the reasons why it is so
important for translators and other heavy computer users to have ergonomically-
appropriate furniture, computer workstations, and oces. In addition, poor physi-
cal ergonomics at computer workplaces can result in musculoskeletal complaints,
vision problems, repetitive strain injuries, and other occupational health issues
over the long-term.
Cognitive ergonomics is dened by the IEA as being concerned with “mental
processes, such as perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response, as they
aect interactions among humans and other elements of a system.” In the context
of translation, this can include the mental load of doing web research (cf. Gwizdka
2009; 2010) and constant decision-making (cf. Levý 1967/2000; Pym 2003; Toury
2012) as well as the use of language technology tools and human–computer
100 Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow and Sharon O’Brien
interaction (see next section). ere is also evidence that emotional state can be
inuenced by human–computer interactions with technological aids (cf. Beale
and Peter 2008). Specically, Szameitat et al. (2009) report that delays in computer
responsiveness can aect task performance and cause negative emotions. ey
suggest that this potentially contributes to stress, work dissatisfaction, and even
health problems.
In addit ion to the use of translat ion aids and emotions , Hansen (2006) id en-
ties working conditions and time management as important parameters in the
translation process. Translation is an activity that is situated not only in time and
physical space but also within organizational structures: even freelancers are part
of a system of ‘translational action’ (cf. Holz-Mänttäri 1984) that involves initiators,
commissioners, source text authors, target text readers, and societal expectations.
As Risku (2002, 529) puts it: “Translation is done not only by the brain, but also by
complex systems, systems which include people, their specic social and physical
environments and all their cultural artefacts.” In IEA’s terms, this is covered by or-
ganizational ergonomics, which “is concerned with the optimization of sociotech-
nical systems, including their organizational structures, policies, and processes.
Translation is a complex bilingual cognitive activity that takes place within
a dynamic system involving multiple agents and human–computer interactions
in a wide variety of settings, which can range from a kitchen table or desk in a
quiet room in a f reelancer’s house to an open-plan oce of a busy commercial
language service provider. At the highly-technologized computer workplaces that
are a standard feature of most language service providers (LSPs), translating has
become a highly screen-intensive line of work that demands computer and infor-
mation literacy (cf. Massey and E hrensberger-Dow 2011) in addition to famil-
iarity with language technology and computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools.
Ideally, the tools that translators use lighten their mental load (cf. Muñoz 2012),
help them optimize their performance, and relieve them of tedious tasks such as
translating the same sentence several times or ensuring consistent terminology. In
reality, certain features in newly-designed or upgraded language technology sys-
tems can seem rather counter-intuitive to their intended users, thus having to be
consciously remembered and adding an unnecessary load to cognitive resources.
As Doherty and King (2005, 2) point out, “Systems development projects have
typically been viewed as exercises in technical change, rather than socio-technical
change.” Olohan (2011, 345) expands on this in her discussion of translators’ inter-
actions with translation technology by adding that “the human and organizational
aspects are not addressed at al l, or only implicitly, or in an ad-hoc fashion, when
the system is being developed.e potential for poor ergonomics to have detri-
mental eects on the translation process, at least when such technical changes are
introduced, seems obvious.
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Ergonomics of the translation workplace 101
Translation as human–computer interaction
O’Brien (2012) describes modern translation as human–computer interaction,
and this is especially true in a highly technologized workplace. e current reality
for translators, especially (though not limited to) t hose working in the informa-
tion technology sector, is that multiple tools are used to create translated texts.
At a basic level, this might include a word processing environment, a spreadsheet
for terminology, an e-mail client, and a web browser. More likely, though, is the
scenario in which the translator will also use at least one TM tool, and each of
those tools might include a built-in glossary management feature or require an
external terminology management tool. Increasingly, the translator may be asked
to interact with MT and/or a globalization management system, such as Idiom
Worldserver. e benets of these technologies for translators have been espoused
for many years: they increase the speed of translation and improve quality, pri-
marily by ensuring consistency (cf. Austermühl 2001; Risku 2007). Benets for
translation clients also include a reduction in price, through discounts for MT,
fuzzy, and exact matches.
e constraints imposed by translation technologies have also received atten-
tion. For example, Bowker (2005) investigated correlations between quality and
productivity when using TM, and Lagoudaki (2006; 2008) investigated translators’
attitudes to TM technology in general. Issues that frequently emerge when trans-
lators are asked about using translation technology include time pressure (they
are expected to work faster), quality (both of source text and translation units
stored in TMs), errors propagated in TMs through lack of quality control, pric-
ing (e.g., low rates or even no remuneration for exact matches), t ag handling for
text encoded in mark-up languages such as HTML and XML, and responsivity or
stability of the tools. A more recent survey carrie d out by Moorkens and O’Brien
(2013) on translators’ opinions towards how existing CAT tools might better sup-
port the task of post-editing indicated that translators were still quite skeptical
of MT and its integration in TM tools. Vieira and Specia (2011, 33) rated several
tools for suitability for the post-editing task and found that “a number of features
deemed desirable for the work of a translator were not satisfactorily found in any
of the toolkits analyzed” (e.g., integration of MT in TM with quality indicators,
track changes). is mismatch between features that would be optimal for transla-
tion tasks and the limitations of currently available tools is an aspect of workplace
ergonomics that des erves further consideration, since it could lead to cognitive
102 Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow and Sharon O’Brien
What is cognitive friction?
Cognitive friction is dened as “the resistance encountered by a human intel-
lect when it engages with a complex system of rules that change as the problem
changes” (Cooper 2004, 19). In the context of the technologized translation work-
place, cognitive friction may occur when the complex system of rules that govern
translation on both the micro and macro levels change, depending on the transla-
tion context. Friction might be caused not only by translation problems (e.g., ‘rich
points’ in the terminology of the PACTE research group; PACTE 2005, 214), but
also by technological and organizational constraints, which are explored more ful-
ly in the next section. e conceptualization of translation as a complex system of
changing rules is in keeping, we believe, with the view of translation as a situated
embodied cognitive task (cf. Risku et al. 2013). We also perceive cognitive friction
to be a state of being when ‘ow’ is disturbed. e term ‘ow’ is used in psychol-
ogy to mean being fully immersed in an activity such that it energizes the person
involved in the task and provides them with a feeling of enjoyment (Nakamura
and Csikszentmihalyi 2002). One important element in ow theory is the sense of
personal control or agency over the situation and activity, which we argue might
be reduced or even removed through the use of common translation tools in the
highly technologized workplace.
Referring again to Cooper’s denition of cognitive friction, we see transla-
tion as a multi-level system, with meta-level rules in the workplace per taining to
client requirements for quality, style, speed, price, and hierarchical rules among
translators/revisers (junior/senior), project managers, production managers and
so on. e complex system then extends to the technological level, where the sys-
tem might be a TM and/or MT engine, coupled with terminology management
tools, research and communication tools, with rules governing whether a segment
appears as an MT, fuzzy, or exact match, and the problem changing constantly de-
pending on whether one is translating, revising and/or editing a human-generated
fuzzy match or an MT-generated segment, all the while keeping the meta-level
rules and task requirements in mind. is complex system has vast potential for
cognitive friction and for preventing translators from entering t he state of ‘ow’
(see also Désilets et al. 2009).
Studies of the translation workplace also call into question the perceived status
of translators and of the translation profession, which has a clear link to organi-
zational ergonomics. e topic of translator status has been dealt with to some
extent by translation scholars such as Dam and Zethsen (2008; 2009; 2010), Katan
(2009a; 2009b), and Pym et al. (2102). Katan (2009b), for example, has investigat-
ed the divide between the academic notion of a translator as an empowered ‘cul-
tural mediator’ and the dominant self-image of working translators who primarily
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Ergonomics of the translation workplace 103
translate technical, business, and legal content, and see little relevance in transla-
tion theory. However, we do not propose to enter into a discussion of occupational
status in this paper but focus instead on the potential of poor cognitive, physical,
and organizational ergonomics of the translation workplace to generate cognitive
friction, while keeping in mind that issues that cause cognitive friction may also
have an impact on, or be impacted by, the status of translation as a profession.
Indicators of cognitive friction in the translation workplace
Cognitive friction can be assumed to detract from the eciency of the translation
process, with potentially negative consequences on translator performance and
satisfaction. As such, there should be evidence of this in the work that professional
translators do and in their comments about their processes, practices, and work-
ing conditions. For example, a recently completed workplace study in Switzerland
has provided indications that ergonomic factors can have an impact on translators’
performance and job satisfaction (see below). As a follow-up to the workplace
study, the participating sta translators were asked to complete an exploratory
online survey focusing on the cognitive, physical, and organizational ergonomics
of their workplace, and a partial replication was carried out with freelance trans-
lators in Ireland. e results of these two exploratory surveys, presented below,
suggest that non-optimal ergonomics can increase the potential for cognitive fric-
tion, which might be compensated for in various ways. Since only two types of
translation workplaces could be investigated with these exploratory surveys, we
conclude this section by discussing the limitations of the study and how the scope
could be expanded to include institutional translators and to investigate practices
in other countries.
Relevant ndings from a workplace study
In a workplace study in Switzerland (cf. Ehrensberger-Dow 2014), translation pro-
cesses from eighteen sta translators employed by the same LSP were recorded
as the translators carried out their normal tasks.2 Since it was not feasible to in-
stall screen recording soware at each workstation, a proxy solution was devised
that involved two ‘slave’ computers linked to the translators’ screens.3 On-site
2. More information on the Capturing Translation Processes project and related publications are
available at
3. e screen recording soware used was Camtasia Studio. See
104 Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow and Sharon O’Brien
researchers contacted the translators each morning to ask who had processes that
could be recorded. e translators could ask the researchers to interrupt the re-
cording process whenever they wanted (i.e., if they started doing other work) or if
they had to for reasons of condentiality. On a date convenient to them, they were
shown a screen recording of one of the processes they had done earlier that par-
ticular day, and they commented on what they saw themselves doing. Aerwards,
they participated in a semi-structured interview about various aspects of transla-
tion and the tools they normally used. By the end of the six-month data collection
phase of the study, a corpus consisting of at least 19 hours of screen recordings of
partial and complete translation processes of various durations had been collected
from each translator as well as a retrospective commentary from each of them of
one of their processes and their answers to interview questions.
From the workplace observations by the onsite researchers and from analyses
of the screen recordings, it became clear that certain features of the text editing
soware seemed to be slowing down the process, as did the frequent switching be-
tween windows, necessitated partly by the translators using only one screen, which
was the norm at this particular LSP. In addition, some of the CAT tools forced the
translators to produce their t arget texts in a small eld in the lower half or right
half of the computer screen, with the result that they had to constantly shi be-
tween areas of the screen to check information. ere were indications in many
of the recordings that the translators had trouble nding where they had been
working on their texts aer breaking o to research information or revise previ-
ous parts of their target texts (see Ehrensberger-Dow and Massey (2014) for more
details about the cognitive ergonomic issues identied in the screen recordings).
Professional translation is also a physical activity : analyses of recordings of
translation processes done in the lab by the same professionals showed that on
average they typed approximately 1,000 characters and spaces and made over 80
mouse clicks within 15 minutes (Ehrensberger-Dow and Massey 2014, 72). ese
observations were conrmed by the translators’ responses to certain questions in
the interviews aer commenting on their translation processes. Although they ba-
sically seemed satised with their computer workstations and user interfaces, all
of them spontaneously mentioned issues related to physical and cognitive ergo-
nomics, such as the impossibility to work standing up and the size of their com-
puter screens. e latter complaint was related to the limited space available for
inputting target text because of the number of menus and optional functions in
the CAT tools. Some of the translators also expressed their concerns about or-
ganizational and contextual factors such as ambient noise, furniture, and oor
plans in light of an oce move due to take place shortly before the completion
of the recording phase of the workplace study. Such observations and comments
prompted the present study, which explores the ergonomics of the situated activity
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Ergonomics of the translation workplace 105
of professional translation and attempts to relate it to t he potential for cognitive
Exploratory surveys of translation workplaces
In order to collect more systematic information about the ergonomic situation at
the LSP that was investigated in the workplace study described in the previous sec-
tion, a structured questionnaire was designed in collaboration with occupational
health scholars.4 In line with the denitions provided by the IEA, the question-
naire included items related to cognitive, physical, and organizational ergonomics.
e questions dealt with computer settings and peripherals; work stations, furni-
ture, and oce layout; language technology; sources of disturbance; workow; as
well as potential health issues (see Table 1). Most of the sta translators involved in
the workplace study chose to complete the questionnaire, which was administered
as an anonymous online survey, conrming the impressions from the recordings
and interviews in the workplace study that various ergonomic issues were of some
concern in professional translation, or at least to the professionals working at this
Since translation is a situated activity, it is important to consider organiza-
tional and environmental factors before making any claims about ergonomic is-
sues of the profession in general. e LSP involved in the workplace study and the
sta survey described above specializes in the nancial and life sciences sectors, is
the largest employer of sta translators in Switzerland, and has many international
subsidiaries. eir sta translators work in highly-technologized, modern facili-
ties with access to IT support and project managers. e LSP also has a network of
freelancers that they rely on to do the bulk of their translation work, but the sta
translators have little or no direct contact with them. Some of the constraints that
those freelancers are working under may be similar to the sta translators, but the
organizational and physical conditions are probably quite dierent.
Rather than trying to access the LSP ’s network and factoring out shared con-
straints, we decided to partially replicate the exploratory ergonomics survey for the
sta translators with a dierent group of translators in another country (Ireland)
that have no connection with that particu lar LSP. In this way, we hoped to con-
trast the ergonomic realities of sta translators to freelancers as two examples of
‘extreme cases’ of professional translation (cf. Eisenhardt 1989; Glaser and Strauss
1967). Table 1 shows the main characteristics of the sample of translators who
took part in the exploratory sta and freelance ergonomics surveys.
4. e helpful advice from Prof. Heidrun Becker and her colleagues at the ZHAW Institute of
Occupational erapy is gratefully acknowledged.
106 Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow and Sharon O’Brien
Tab le 1. Characteristics of samples and exploratory ergonomics surveys
Participants n=14 (11 women, 3 men) n=9 (8 women, 1 man)
Age range 26–65 years old 26–65 years old
Country Switzerland Ireland
Employment All at same LSP Self-employed
Survey timing November 2012 April 2013
Survey sections 1. Screen and visual aspects 1. Screen and lighting
2. Peripherals and workspace 2. Workstation
3. Oce 3. Workspace and environment
4. Technical infrastructure 4. Tools and resources
5. Organization 5. Workow and organization
6. Relaxation 6. Workday
7. Health 7. Health
8. Personal details 8. Personal details
Survey questions n=88 n=140
e sta survey and freelance survey were each organized into eight similar sec-
tions (see Table 1), with questions that were intended to capture and reect good
practice recommendations available in the literature (e.g., Chevalier and Kicka
2006; de León 2007; Lavault-Olléon 2011; Salvendy 2012) and made by insurance
companies.5 Some of the questions in the sta survey, which was designed for the
situation at one particular LSP in Switzerland, had to be adapted to suit the work-
ing realities of freelancers in Ireland. e freelance survey also included numerous
questions about CAT tool use, which had not been necessary in the sta survey
because those data were available from the workplace study described above.
Results of the exploratory surveys
e questions shared between the sta and freelance surveys were grouped into 1)
workspace issues, which basically concern physical ergonomics; 2) hardware and
soware issues, which can be related to cognitive ergonomics; 3) sociotechnical
issues, part of organizational ergonomics; and 4) health issues, which can be con-
sidered potential outcomes of various aspects of poor ergonomics. In each of the
5. For example, the Swiss accident insurance company has published its recommendations for
computer workplaces at
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Ergonomics of the translation workplace 107
categories, good practice was identied for those aspects in which at least 85% of
the translation workplaces were reported to be consistent with ergonomic recom-
mendations (i.e., by at least 20 out of 23 translators surveyed). Warning signs were
indicated for areas in which 15–29% of translators reported less recommendable
practices, with some signicant dierences between sta and freelance translators.
Possibly problematic issues were identied as areas in which at least 30% of t he
translators seemed to engage in poor ergonomic practice, with several interesting
dierences emerging between the two groups of translators.
Workspace issues. Most of the translators reported that they had a workplace
dedicated to the purpos e of translation work, with sucient storage space and
a comfortable chair t hat allowed their upper and lower legs to be at right angles
(see Table 2). However, a number said that the layout of t heir workplace was not
satisfactory, and a signicantly higher proportion of freelancers than sta reported
having a smaller desk than recommended by most ergonomics guidelines for of-
ce furniture (χ2 = 7.53, p < 0.01). Also less than optimal were t he space behind
the chair, the lack of exibility of chair height, the proximity of the printer, and,
especially for the sta translators, the air quality (χ2 = 5.22, p < 0.05).
Tab le 2. Combined results for ergonomics of sta and freelance workspaces (n = 23)
Good workspace practice (>85% of the translators surveyed)
+ Dedicated workspace
+ Chair comfortable
+ Upper and lower legs at right angles
+ Sucient storage space
Warning signs for the workspace
o Workplace layout unsatisfactory (22%)
o Smaller desk than recommended (17%)**
o Less than 1 m space behind chair (17%)
o Chair height not adjustable (22%)
o Printer within reach of desk (17%)
o Air quality of concern (26%)*
Possibly problematic for the workspace
Desk height not adjustable (39%)**
No armrests on chair (30%)**
No possibility to sit on ball (65%)
Cannot look out of window (35%)
Disturbing noise from inside (70%)*
Temperature is uncomfortable (39%)*
No use of footrest (70%)
No use of manuscript holder (74%)
*more problematic for sta, p < 0.05
**more problematic for freelancers, p < 0.01
108 Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow and Sharon O’Brien
Of potentially more concern, several respondents in each group could not look
out the window from their workspace, and few had access to or made use of ergo-
nomic resources such as exercise balls, footrests, or manuscript holders, the lack of
which could result in unnecessary strain over the long-term. A signicantly larger
proportion of the freelancers had no armrests on their chairs (χ2 = 9.17, p < 0.01),
and none of them had the possibility to adjust the height of their desk if they
wanted to work standing up (χ2 = 23.00, p < 0.001) whereas all of the sta did. e
sta translators were more concerned than the freelancers about disturbing noise
from outside (χ2 = 4.41, p < 0.05) and about the temperature of their workplace
(χ2 = 4.87, p < 0.05). Although some of these aspects may seem like minor incon-
veniences, they all have the possibility of aecting translators’ concentration and
causing friction, especially during cognitively demanding tasks.
Hardware and soware issues. With respect to practices related to hardware
and soware (see Table 3), the majority of translators found the size of their com-
puter screen(s) comfortable, their computer mouse comfortable to use, and their
internet connection good. Nevertheless, several of them reported that the edge of
the screen was higher than recommended and that there was sometimes disturbing
glare on the screen. Signicantly fewer freelancers used keyboards for which the
angle could be adjusted (χ2 = 12.63, p < 0.001) or CAT tools (χ2 = 12.63, p < 0.01).
Especially problematic, however, was the number of translators who only used one
screen, with a higher proportion for the sta translators (χ2 = 5.37, p < 0.05).
Tab le 3. Combined results for ergonomics of hardware and soware at sta and freelance
workplaces (n = 23)
Good hardware and soware practice (>85%)
+ Size of screen(s) comfortable
+ Mouse comfortable to use
+ Internet connection good
Warning signs for hardware and soware
o Edge of screen(s) above eye level (17%)
o Disturbing glare on screen (26%)
o Angle of keyboard not adjustable (26%)**
o No CAT tools used (26%)**
Possibly problematic for hardware and soware
Only one screen (61%)*
*more problematic for sta, p < 0.05
**more problematic for freelancers, p < 0.01
Sociotechnical issues. e translators reported satisfaction concerning how socio-
technical aspects of their workow were organized (see Table 4). In their view,
communication tools were adequate to their needs and the linguistic resources
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Ergonomics of the translation workplace 109
they had access to (e.g., dictionaries) were sucient. ey reported being able
to talk to other translators about problems, having autonomy over when to take
breaks, and deadlines being clear. Less positively, a higher proportion of freelanc-
ers than sta translators reported that they do not always receive sucient feed-
back on the quality of t heir work (χ2 = 7.88, p < 0.05) and that their client work-
ows are not ecient (χ2 = 7.53, p < 0.01).
Tab le 4. Combined results for sociotechnical ergonomics at sta and freelance work-
places (n = 23)
Good sociotechnical/organizational practice (>85%):
+ Communication tools adequate
+ Linguistic resources sucient
+ Can talk about problems with other translators
+ Autonomy over timing of breaks
+ Deadlines clear
Warning signs for organization:
o Not always provided with sucient feedback on quality of work (26%)**
o Client workows not ecient (17%)**
Possibly problematic sociotechnical issues:
Additional resources not oen supplied by customer/project manager (52%)**
Interruptions from email, etc. (43%)*
Distractions from other people (61%)*
Screen visible to others (43%)
Cannot plan work week in advance (52%)*
No hourly breaks (70%)*
No breaks away from workplace (30%)*
No possibility to withdraw and relax at breaks (35%)*
*more problematic for sta, p < 0.05
**more problematic for freelancers, p < 0.05
More problematically, proportionately fewer freelancers than sta have access to
sucient additional resources (χ2 = 8.98, p < 0.05), contributing to their isolation.
In contrast, the sta translators seem to be suering f rom too much (unwanted)
contact with others. A higher proportion of them reported that they were oen
interrupted by e-mail, chats, and phone calls (χ2 = 14.60, p = 0.001) and were dis-
tracted by other people walking around (χ2 = 4.71, p < 0.05). As well, it bothers
many of them that their screen is visible to others.
e sta translators seemed to have less autonomy than the freelancers; pro-
portionately more sta reported that they cannot plan their work week in advance
(χ2 = 16.00, p < 0.001). Opportunities to relax regularly during the workday were
also more limited for sta than for freelancers: none of the sta translators took
breaks every hour whereas several of t he freelancers did (χ2 = 15.65, p < 0.001). In
110 Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow and Sharon O’Brien
addition, more sta than freelancers reported t hat they did not leave their work-
place during breaks (χ2 = 6.47, p < 0.05) and that they did not have enough pos-
sibilities available near their workplace to relax during breaks (χ2 = 7.89, p = 0.005).
Health issues. In general, almost all of the translators reported that their health
was good or very good and that they exercised at least twice a week. Yet when
asked specically about health problems and whether they felt these were related
to their work, all of the sta translators and two-thirds of the freelancers indicated
that this was partly or denitely the case. e sta translators as a group reported
a far higher proportion and range of hea lth issues than the freelancers did (see
Table 5).
Tab le 5. Percentage of translators in each group reporting that they sometimes, oen, or
very oen experienced a particular health problem
Health issues Sta %
(n = 14)
Freelancers %
(n = 9)
Related to sitting at a desk (workspace):
(Lower) back pain 64 22
Leg or feet ache, heavy legs 43 11
Other pain in joints, muscles and/or limbs 14 11
Rheumatic pain or neuralgia 21 0
Cold hands or feet 64 22
Related to interacting with a computer (hardware/soware):
Pain in the neck or shoulders and/or neck stiness 79 44
Discomfort or pain in arms, hands, or upper limbs 36 22
Burning or hypersensitive eyes 64 22
Impaired vision due to visual fatigue 57 33
Headache, migraine, or head pressure 64 22
Related to being part of an organization (sociotechnical):
Time pressure 100 78
Stress 93 67
Nervousness, tension, or irritability 86 56
Diculty falling asleep or sleeping through the night 57 67
Diculty concentrating 71 22
General weakness, fatigue, or burnout 79 44
Mental overload 71 33
Mental underload/boredom 29 33
Depressive mood, depression, or fear 36 22
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Ergonomics of the translation workplace 111
Of the ve p otential health issues related to the physical ergonomics of sitting at
a desk for extended periods, more than half of the sta translators reported prob-
lems with (lower) back pain and cold hands or feet whereas relatively few of the
freelancers reported any health problems. e freelancers may be compensating
for oce furniture that is less than ergonomically optimal (cf. Table 2) by taking
numerous breaks, controlling their oce environment (i.e., temperature, humid-
ity, ventilation, air quality), and leaving their workplace regularly.
Contrary to concerns raised in the literature about hand and wrist tendonitis
mentioned with respect to the heavy keyboarding activity demanded in profes-
sional translation (e.g., de Léon 2007; Lavault-Olléon 2011; Pineau 2011), the sta
translators actually identied neck pain and/or shoulder pain as well as headaches
and problems with eyes and vision as the most s erious physical ergonomic issues
related to interacting with a computer (see Table 5). e freelancers reported far
lower rates of health issues related to using hardware and soware than the sta
translators did, though their incidence of neck pain was also highest.
Although the freelancers may be able to compensate for problematic cognitive
and physical ergonomic aspects by ta king hourly breaks and having control over
their oce environment, they suered along with sta translators in certain socio-
technical aspects related to being part of an organization and being dependent on
others. e majority of both groups reported experiencing time pressure, stress,
nervousness, and sleeping diculties, all potentially evidence of cognitive friction
related to their working conditions. In addition, over 70% of the sta translators
reported the following problems: diculty concentrating; general weak ness, fa-
tigue, or burnout; and mental overload. ese are strong indicators that the ergo-
nomics of their workplaces are aecting their cognitive processes during the situ-
ated activity of translation. On the positive side, professional translation seems to
be a stimulating activity: neither mental underload/boredom nor depressive mood
was identied as particularly problematic by either of the groups.
Limitations of the present study
Clearly, these exploratory sur veys are based on very small samples, and they do
not allow us to make any claims about the ergonomics of professional transla-
tion in general or even about sta and freelance translators’ working conditions in
these two countries in particular. However, they might prove useful in generating
hypotheses that can be tested with larger-scale studies. As Risku (2014: 349) has
pointed out, even t he apparently simplest dyad of a freelance translator working
directly for a client who is also the author of the source text can actually represent
“complex full-grown interactive has implications for understand-
ing the ergonomics of the translation workplace: it is important for us to consider
112 Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow and Sharon O’Brien
as many cognitive, physical, and organizational aspects in as many professional
settings as possible.
In addition to the freelancers and sta translators surveyed in this exploratory
study, many professionals work for institutions (e.g., government departments,
NGOs) that are subject to economic and organizational constraints that dier
from those working on their own account or for a commercial enterprise. And
since by its nature translation is a cross-regional or cross-national activity, a larger
international survey would provide a more representative picture of ergonomic
conditions than these two exploratory surveys in two small countries could. Based
on the results presented in the previous section, a larger survey should elicit more
details about translators’ employment arrangements, oce layouts, language tools,
computer set-ups, preferred peripherals, soware settings, modes of working, and
other ergonomic concerns. If we take seriously the notion of translation being a
situated activity, then we have to provide opportunities for translators to explain
what their personal preferences are and to have their voices heard by designers of
translation workplaces and language technology. In a complex system, optimal
workplace conditions and use of tools depends on many human factors and may
well have to be adjusted to meet the needs of each individual (i.e., optimization
through ‘personalization’).
Future realities and conclusions
e list of physical, cognitive, and organizational constraints impinging on profes-
sional translation is already long and challenging, but when we consider what may
be coming down the line for translators, it is clear that the working environment
will become even more complex, with even more potential for cognitive friction.
e adoption of l anguage technology tools in most sectors of the translation in-
dustry is testimony to their usefulness, despite the constraints that they impose on
the situated activity of translation and on the translators using them. In the drive
for increased volumes of translation, at greater speeds and lower cost, additional
technological solutions are constantly being introduced yet there has been rela-
tively little consideration of end users’ needs.
In the past decade, we have witnessed an increase in the deployment of ma-
chine translation, for instance, and we are now seeing what might be called a con-
vergence of translation technology. MT and TM are being merged in various con-
stellations; segments below certain fuzzy match values can be identied, machine
translated and imported into a TM so that translators never have to translate a
segment ‘from scratch’ but rather edit either a fuzzy match or an MT-generated
segment. A major criticism of MT and the task of post-editing is that translators
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Ergonomics of the translation workplace 113
have to correct the same errors repeatedly, both within a text and over time. is
issue could be tackled to a certain extent when the dominant MT paradigm was
rule-based (RBMT); linguists encoded language-pair dependent transfer rules that
‘forced’ the MT system to eliminate recurring errors. However, in the data-driven
MT era (statistical MT, or SMT), the system learns how to transfer words and
phrases using translation corpora and probabilities. If the system that the transla-
tor is working with remains static, the same errors are likely to be reproduced each
time, causing frustration and cognitive friction.
Researchers have been working on solutions for this issue for some time, the
most obvious b eing to retrain the engine with additional data so that recurring
errors can be eliminated (cf. Koehn and Schroeder 2007; Och 2003). e eect
of retraining is not always predictable, though, and an additional problem is that
retraining of an engine can take many hours or days. us, the MT research com-
munity is seeking solutions for how to ‘learn’ from post-edited data and retrain en-
gines ‘on the y’ so that an error xed in one segment will be automatically updat-
ed if it occurs in a later segment (see, for example, Bertoldi et al. 2014; Denkowski
et al. 2014). Such a breakthrough could potentially ease cognitive friction among
post-editors and translators, but we do not yet know how successful on-the-y
machine learning techniques could be.
A nal potential future reality worth mentioning here is speech as input for
translation and post-editing. Typically, translators are very good typists and thus
the argument that TM and MT make them faster is somewhat superuous since
many are already extraordinarily fast. Moreover, translation is much more than a
typing task, and pauses are required to nd solutions to translation problems (e.g.,
Englund Dimitrova 2005; Immonen 2006; O’Brien 2006). However, the argument
that TM and MT editing means less typing is plausible. At the same time, editing
means that there is much moving around of text as well as use of deletion keys and
keyboard shortcuts such as those used for ‘cut and paste’. e task is quite key-
board intensive and there is a signicant number of switches between mouse and
keyboard (see previous section). e potential for repetitive strain injury, among
other types of ergonomics-related issues, is high among translators. Consequently,
the once-abandoned technique of dictation has moved into the spotlight. is shi
has also been fuelled by improvements in speech-to-text soware over the past few
years. Early-stage research on the use of speech as input for translation (e.g., Mees
et al. 2013) and post-editing of MT output has already started to appear (e.g., Mesa
2014) and may play important roles in the future for translators, especially those
in need of solutions for repetitive strain injury or other hand problems. Easing or
eliminating physical discomfort might reduce cognitive friction and free up cogni-
tive resources, thus allowing translators to more easily enter the state of ow that
seems to produce peak performance.
114 Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow and Sharon O’Brien
As the preceding sections have portrayed, the technologized translation work-
place is already a complex system and, if the early-stage initiatives under develop-
ment come to fruition, it is likely to be come ever more complex with increased
need for the juggling of tools, task requirements, and modalities, leading, we be-
lieve, to increased potential for cognitive f riction among translators. If we add to
this some of the physical and organizational issues identied in our survey, there is
evidence to suggest that the professional translator is under strain and yet has little
opportunity to reect on its cause or relieve it. Such strain may just be a symptom
of the modern workplace and we can shrug our shoulders and carry on, but rais-
ing awareness might help mitigate aspects that are relatively easy to change (e.g.,
interfaces, number of s creens, glare, ambient noise). Introducing feedback loops
at critical points in the system, including research and development, might also
allow translators to take more control of the process in order to better utilize the
language technology and internal resources at their disposal.
Many worthwhile research questions have emerged from this study, such as how
ergonomics issues impact on the agency and self-determination of the professional
translator, how translation technology contributes to cognitive friction, how we
might reduce that friction, and what impact cognitive friction might have on ‘ow’
and, ultimately, on health. e goal of such research, we suggest, should be to pro-
vide good practice recommendations for the technologized translation workplace.
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Author’s addresses
Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow
ZHAW Institute of Translation and
eaterstrasse 15c
CH-8401 Winterthur, Switzerland
Sharon O’Brien
Dublin City University
Dublin 9, Ireland
... The principle of cognitive economy manifests itself in many different ways. We design translation offices and technologies to suit their specific purpose (e.g., Ehrensberger-Dow & O'Brien, 2015;Ehrensberger-Dow & Hunziker Heeb, 2016); we use specific forms of discourse in various conversations; we create checklists to coordinate actions and reduce the cognitive load on our memory. Rooms, organizations, forms of discourse, and actions which serve other actions become tools in the wider sense of the word (Hendriks-Jansen, 1996). ...
Cognitive scientific approaches to translation investigate the development and workings of the underlying processes that make the complex cognitive behavior of translation possible. They refer to and expand existing cognitive scientific models of the mind to explain the behavior and choices of translators. Cognitive models have been oriented to the metaphors of the computer (translation as information processing, code switching, and symbol manipulation), neural networks (connectionist models of translation), and sociocognitive theory (translation as situated interaction). Cognitive translation research uses a variety of methods to investigate the activity of translating by different groups of participants with a range of text types and in a variety of contexts. The methods used to date have included, for example, introspection, neurological EEG measurements, theoretical analysis, interviews, think‐aloud protocols, participant observation, screen logging, and eye‐tracking. Recent cognitive approaches to translation emphasize the social organization of translation and the ergonomics of the computer‐supported cooperative work in which complex activities are negotiated. Defining professionalism and expertise has also become one of the current themes in cognitive translation studies. In addition, affective and emotional aspects shift into the focus of attention as essential elements of cognition, and their impact on translation performance is being increasingly investigated.
... Overall, the most commonly reported health problems related to eyes, neck, head and shoulder girdle, all of which have been linked with intense screen work. These workplace findings are consistent with those of an exploratory survey study with freelancers and commercial translators (Ehrensberger-Dow & O'Brien, 2015) and confirmed in a much larger international survey of over 1,800 professional translators . Many of the identified issues would actually be quite easy to remedy, with information on ergonomic posture and workplace setup freely available on the Internet from reliable sources. ...
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While translation has always required the ability to find information, currently this process has moved almost entirely into the digital realm. The universal revolution in translation, which happened many years ago, has transformed the profession into something resembling piloting an airplane because of the numerous tools to aid the process and help find information (Gouadec 2007: 263). Information mining and the use of other tools, such as machine translation, has become fixed points in translation curricula, but there remains a scarcity of research into both of these aspects when related to translation trainees. In line with the translation process research paradigm, this thesis is an attempt to bridge this gap in research and to discuss information searching in the process of translation and post- editing. The aim of this project is to investigate translation trainees and EFL students as they interact with machine translation and online resources during translation and post-editing tasks for two text types (operative-technical and informative-medical, cf. Reiss 1976). The first objective of the thesis is to examine whether both groups put more effort into information searching when translating than when post-editing. Two indicators of effort have been used to test this hypothesis: time spent in applications (temporal effort) and average fixation duration (cognitive effort). The results show that the task type significantly influences the amount of temporal effort put into the use of online resources – both on the global level of all resource categories considered together and for some of them considered separately. No such effect has been found for the cognitive effort indicators. The second hypothesis in the study posits that translation trainees exert more temporal and cognitive effort in both translation and post-editing than EFL students. Again, the results show that this can only be partially confirmed. Significant differences exist only for temporal effort variables: the time spent on Wikipedia and language reference websites (like the Polish language advice centre, Poradnia językowa PWN). In both cases trainees spent more time consulting these resources. The interaction of the group and task effect was found in the use of monolingual dictionaries and it turns out that EFL students put more effort into consulting them. The third hypothesis focuses on the range of consulted online resources in relation to task type and group membership. Contrary to expectations, there is no effect of either group or task on the range of consulted resources. For the fourth hypothesis, accuracy in translating source text rich points is examined. Contrary to the expected group effect on accuracy scores, there is no statistically significant difference between the groups in 190 terms of how accurate they were. There is also no significant correlation between the accuracy of translations and the percentage of rich points (i.e. focal words or phrases) researched by a participant online. The fifth hypothesis concerns the relationship between the attitude towards machine translation and the percentage of time spent in online resources in relation to the whole task time during post-editing – the results show there is no statistically significant correlation between these variables, even for a follow-up correlational analysis between total task time and attitude scores. For the sixth hypothesis, an indicator of perceived effort is correlated with time spent in various online resource categories. The results reveal positive correlations with select temporal effort categories with reference to groups, tasks and texts as well as for each of these variables separately. For the last hypothesis, the correlation between the perceived effort indicator and the range of consulted online resources is examined. The results show a significant positive correlation only for one of the researched text types, i.e. a product description (operative-technical) – regardless of group membership or task type performed. The results indicate that the relationship between effort, accuracy, and attitude in information searching during translation and post-editing is intensely nuanced. The findings of this study may be particularly valuable for translation trainers and translation process researchers. Although this project is limited in scope, it might provide a prelude into more extensive and focused studies of information searching in relation to translation training and translator competence development – and how machine translation influences the translation process as well. Examining the information searching process in translation students and incorporating self-reflection into translation pedagogy is likely to be beneficial for training more self-aware professionals, ready to commence the journey of life-long learning as translators.
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The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Methodology provides a comprehensive overview of methodologies in translation studies, including both well-established and more recent approaches. The Handbook is organised into three sections, the first of which covers methodological issues in the two main paradigms to have emerged from within translation studies, namely skopos theory and descriptive translation studies. The second section covers multidisciplinary perspectives in research methodology and considers their application in translation research. The third section deals with practical and pragmatic methodological issues. Each chapter provides a summary of relevant research, a literature overview, critical issues and topics, recommendations for best practice, and some suggestions for further reading. Bringing together over 30 eminent international scholars from a wide range of disciplinary and geographical backgrounds, this Handbook is essential reading for all students and scholars involved in translation methodology and research.
The messy reality of non-comparable source texts, domain knowledge, experience, familiarity with tools, and emotional factors is difficult to reconcile with attempts to measure and describe cognitive processes involved in translation. The focus of Cognitive Translation and Interpreting Studies includes both the micro level of cognitive processes involved in translational decision-making and the macro perspective in translators operating in specific situations and embedded in organizations, discourses, and societal structures. Cognitive load, a construct that is most often associated with psychological research on learning and the effects of instruction, might also be useful to understand the effects of various factors on translators and their translation processes. We postulate that affective states as well as the processing of emotion-eliciting content require the allocation of a certain amount of cognitive resources and can add to cognitive load. We focus on this link and explore how translators might regulate emotion in order to cope with any resulting increases in cognitive load. This strand of research can contribute to understanding how translators cope with the additional challenges of emotional aspects of their work and provide insights into how competences such as emotion regulation might be included in training.
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Technology has become an inescapable part of the translator's everyday life - it is used in virtually every aspect of the profession. The authors discuss the challenges posed by technology in translator and interpreter education through the prism of the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought upon global society-mainly distance learning and the new training environments outside the classroom. The pivotal assumption made in this article is that translator training environments have changed significantly due to technology. Given that new spaces for learning are formed, the article aims to problematise some key concepts crucial for facilitating translation students' autonomy and digital resilience. The article discusses new online translation training environments (OTTEs), defined as any online-based translation or interpreting educational setting that employs digital means for the acquisition of translator competence. The authors identify a set of principles that need to be considered when designing courses in order to ensure that the OTTE is a shared and supportive space.
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RESUMEN: Las innovaciones que aparecen en el marco de las tecnolo-gías de la comunicación y la inteli-gencia artificial hacen surgir una nueva generación de sistemas de traducción asistida por ordenador, denominada por do Carmo et al., (2016: 149) "traducción asistida por conocimiento". Este trabajo se pro-pone conocer hasta qué punto las tareas un traductor profesional son asistidas, a día de hoy, por conoci-miento. Para ello, tras explicar el concepto de estación de trabajo del traductor, se detallan los procesos del proyecto de traducción especifi-cando sus tareas concretas dentro de un contexto de traducción asis-tida por ordenador y, en su caso, por conocimiento. Concluimos con las tareas centrales que serán optimiza-das por tecnologías inteligentes y que serán capaces de crear un flujo de trabajo más asistido por conoci-miento. ABSTRACT: Innovations appearing within the framework of communication technologies and artificial intelligence are giving rise to a new generation of computer-assisted translation systems, called by do Carmo et al. (2016: 149) "knowledge-assisted translation". This paper aims to find out to what extent the professional translator's tasks are currently assisted by knowledge. To this end, after explaining the concept of the trans-lator's workstation, the processes of the translation project are detailed , specifying their tasks within a context of computer-assisted translation and, where appropriate , knowledge-assisted. We conclude with the central tasks which will be optimized by intelligent technologies and which will be able to create a more knowledge-assisted workflow. RÉSUMÉ : Les innovations qui appa-raissent dans le cadre des technologies de communication et de l'intelli-gence artificielle donnent naissance à une nouvelle génération de sys-tèmes de traduction assistée par or-dinateur, appelée par do Carmo et al., (2016 : 149) "knowledge-assisted translation". Ce document vise à dé-terminer dans quelle mesure les tâches d'un traducteur professionnel sont aujourd'hui assistées par des connaissances. À cette fin, après avoir expliqué le concept de poste de travail du traducteur, les processus du projet de traduction sont détail-lés, en précisant leurs tâches spéci-fiques dans un contexte de traduc-tion assistée par ordinateur et, le cas échéant, par connaissance. Nous concluons avec les tâches centrales qui seront optimisées par les technologies intelligentes et qui pourront créer un flux de travail plus assisté par la connaissance. PALABRAS CLAVES: traducción asistida por ordenador; traducción asistida por conocimiento; inteligencia artificial, estación de trabajo del tra-ductor.
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Since the advance of computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, technology has exerted a significant impact on the translator’s workflow. The book attempts to explore the technological evolution in translation and its effects on the process of translation. It offers a classification of translation technology and discusses various modes of translator-technology (TT) interaction. The authors delineate the profile of the contemporary freelance translator and advocate for the implementation of the ‘technological toolkit’ (i.e., the basic set of instrumental skills and technical abilities related to information technology) in the translation classroom. Given that translation technology affects the translator’s workstyle, the book touches upon the impact that TT interaction can exert on the translator’s self-concept. It also discusses the notion of anxiety related to the use of translation technology. The authors investigate the application of CAT tools in freelance translation and analyse how the actual usage and preferences differ among professional translators. With the aim of understanding the demographics and attitudes of freelance translators, a study has been conducted on both users and non-users of CAT software in Poland. Given the limited – yet to a large extent universal – scope of the study, the Polish context well illustrates why a great number of professional translators still refrain from using CAT tools, while others fail to use them efficiently or make use of all the features available to better address their clients’ expectations. The findings of the study help to identify the needs of the translation market and improve strategies used in translator training. The scope of the book is of immediate concern in the contemporary translation market encompassing rapid advances in translation technology. The findings demonstrated in the study help to determine the actual tendencies and mechanisms in the use of CAT tools. The analysis of the results elucidates the reasons for the apparent reluctance towards those tools in the freelance translation market and shows implications for both software developers and translator trainers. New insights on freelance translators’ interaction with translation technology can contribute to the discussion on translators’ IT skills and the need for facilitating the use of CAT tools in the translation classroom.
Translation Memory tools have been widely promoted in terms of increased productivity, quality and consistency, while translation scholars have ar-gued that in some cases they might produce the opposite effect. This paper investigates these two related claims through a corpus-based contrastive analysis of 40,000 original and localized Web pages in Spanish. Given that all Web texts are localized using TM tools, the claim of increased quality and consistency is analyzed in contrast with Web texts spontaneously pro-duced in Spanish. The results of the contrastive analysis indicate that local-ized texts tend to replicate source text structures and show higher numbers of inconsistencies at the lexical, syntactic and typographic levels than non-translated Web sites. These findings are associated with lower levels of quality in localized texts as compared to non-translated or spontaneously produced texts.
- This paper describes the process of inducting theory using case studies from specifying the research questions to reaching closure. Some features of the process, such as problem definition and construct validation, are similar to hypothesis-testing research. Others, such as within-case analysis and replication logic, are unique to the inductive, case-oriented process. Overall, the process described here is highly iterative and tightly linked to data. This research approach is especially appropriate in new topic areas. The resultant theory is often novel, testable, and empirically valid. Finally, framebreaking insights, the tests of good theory (e.g., parsimony, logical coherence), and convincing grounding in the evidence are the key criteria for evaluating this type of research.