Forthcoming: Empirical modelling of translation and interpreting

Silvia Hansen-Schirra   Oliver Čulo   Sascha Hofmann   Bernd Meyer  


Empirical research is carried out in a cyclic way: approaching a research area bottom-up, data lead to interpretations and ideally to the abstraction of laws, on the basis of which a theory can be derived. Deductive research is based on a theory, on the basis of which hypotheses can be formulated and tested against the background of empirical data. Looking at the state-of-the-art in translation studies, either theories as well as models are designed or empirical data are collected and interpreted. However, the final step is still lacking: so far, empirical data has not lead to the formulation of theories or models, whereas existing theories and models have not yet been comprehensively tested with empirical methods.

This publication addresses these issues from several perspectives: multi-method product- as well as process-based research may gain insights into translation as well as interpreting phenomena. These phenomena may include cognitive and organizational processes, procedures and strategies, competence and performance, translation properties and universals, etc. Empirical findings about the deeper structures of translation and interpreting will reduce the gap between translation and interpreting practice and model and theory building. Furthermore, the availability of more large-scale empirical testing triggers the development of models and theories concerning translation and interpreting phenomena and behavior based on quantifiable, replicable and transparent data.

Silvia Hansen-Schirra
Silvia Hansen-Schirra, Dipl.-Übers., Dr. phil., PD, is a full professor of English linguistics and translation studies at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz in Germersheim, Germany. Her main research interests include specialized communication, text comprehensibility, post-editing, translation process and competence research. As fellow of the Gutenberg Research College she is the director of the Translation & Cognition (TRACO) Center in Germersheim and co-editor of the online book series "Translation and Multilingual Natural Language Processing".
Oliver Čulo
Oliver currently holds an Assistant Professor ("Juniorprofessor") position for Translation-relevant Linguistics at the Translation Faculty at Mainz University. He attended Saarland University, where he received his diploma in computational linguistics and his PhD in machine translation. His thesis work focused on developing ways of automatically comparing verb valence between English and German using parallel corpora. During a one-year stay at ICSI at the University of California in Berkeley in 2011 and 2012, he worked with researchers in the FrameNet Project, who are building a lexical database based on frame semantic analyses. He is interested in how grammar and semantics interact in translation.
Sascha Hofmann
Sascha Hofmann is Associate Professor for English Linguistics and Translation Studies since November 2014 at JGU Mainz. His research interests, besides general applied translation studies and translation process research, are all aspects of translator education and especially translation competence development. Together with Silvia Hansen-Schirra and Don Kiraly he has worked in the field from a curriculum development perspective as Managing Director at the Faculty for Translation, Linguistics and Cultural Studies for years, before turning towards empirical research again.
Bernd Meyer
Dr. Bernd Meyer is a linguist by training, and a specialist for different aspects of multilingual communication in institutional settings. Since 2010, he is Professor for Intercultural Communication and Cultural Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (Germany) in the Department for Translation, Linguistics, and Cultural Studies. Having been a full-time researcher and principal investigator on projects on interpreting and multilingualism conducted at the Research Centre for Multilingualism in Hamburg, he is an expert in the analysis of interpreter-mediated interaction in institutional settings, as well as in the application of such findings to interpreter training. More specifically, he conducted research on ad hoc-interpreting in doctor-patient communication, and, together with Kristin Bührig, developed a training module for ad hoc-interpreters in clinical settings. From 2005 to 2008, he also acted as a full-time researcher in a project on simultaneous and consecutive interpreting headed by Juliane House.
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