Empirical modelling of translation and interpreting

Silvia Hansen-Schirra   Oliver Czulo   Sascha Hofmann  


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.


  • Predicting cognate translation
    Silvia Hansen-Schirra, Jean Nitzke, Katharina Oster
  • The influence of self-monitoring on the translation of cognates
    Katharina Oster
  • Modelling the analysis of translation memory use and post-editing of raw machine translation output
    A pilot study of trainee translators’ perceptions of difficulty and time effectiveness
    Alessandra Rossetti, Federico Gaspari
  • Sketch of a Noisy Channel Model for the Translation Process
    Michael Carl, Moritz J. Schaeffer
  • Language processing and translation
    Moritz J. Schaeffer, Michael Carl
  • Cognitive effort and explicitation in translation tasks
    Igor A. Lourenço da Silva, Adriana Silvina Pagano
  • Changes of word class during translation
    Insights from a combined analysis of corpus, keystroke logging and eye-tracking data
    Tatiana Serbina, Sven Hintzen, Paula Niemietz, Stella Neumann
  • What does a translator do when not writing?
    Daniel Couto-Vale
  • Universals of editing and translation
    Mario Bisiada
  • News translation
    Text analysis, fieldwork, survey
    Rovena Troqe, Francis Marchan
  • Audiovisual speech decreases the number of cognate translations in simultaneous interpreting
    Anne Catherine Gieshoff
  • Making the impossible possible, or how to research in specific settings in public service interpreting
    Anca Bodzer, Ráquel Lázaro Gutiérrez
  • On the achievement of question-answer sequences in doctor-patient interpreter-mediated interactions
    Some notes on coordination as mediation
    Claudio Baraldi, Laura Gavioli
  • “All I know is that I know nothing?”
    Empirical evidence of self-confidence and inexperience in novice vs. professional translators
    Carla Quinci
  • Comparing novices and semi-professionals
    False friends as a case in point
    Iryna Kloster
  • Metaminds
    Using metarepresentation to model minds in translation
    Annegret Sturm
  • Cognitive economy and mental worlds
    Accounting for translation mistakes and other communication errors
    Pertti Hietaranta
  • Aspects of a primacy of frame model of translation
    Oliver Czulo



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 Czulo

Oliver is a full professor of Translation Studies at the Institute for Applied Linguistics and Translatology of the University of Leipzig. Before that, he was an Assistant Professor ("Juniorprofessor") 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, Dipl.-Übers., Dr. phil., is Associate Professor for English Linguistics and Translation Studies at the FTSK at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. His main research interests include general applied translation studies, translation process research, and all aspects of translator education. As member of the of the Translation & Cognition (TRACO) Center he is (together with Don Kiraly) principal researcher in the field of translation process related competence development.


December 7, 2017
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Hansen-Schirra, Silvia, Czulo, Oliver & Hofmann, Sascha (eds.). 2017. Empirical modelling of translation and interpreting. (Translation and Multilingual Natural Language Processing 7). Berlin: Language Science Press. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1089335


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