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Ferreira, Aline and Schwieter, John W., eds. (2015): Psycholinguistic and Cognitive Inquiries into Translation and Interpreting. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 206 p.

  • Regina Gutiérrez Pérez

…plus d’informations

  • Regina Gutiérrez Pérez
    Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Sevilla, Spain

Couverture de                Volume 61, numéro 2, août 2016, Meta

Corps de l’article

The work here reviewed is divided into two parts. Part I, consisting of three chapters, and Part II, made of five chapters, amounting to eight contributions in all. Some information about the contributors follows (p. 203-204), and a language index (p. 205-206) completes the volume.

Part I, entitled “Psycholinguistic and cognitive intersections in translation and interpreting,” opens with the paper by Ferreira, Schwieter and Gile “The position of psycholinguistic and cognitive science in translation and interpreting: An introduction” (p. 3-15). The editors and Gile state that “The present collection highlights the input of psycholinguistics and cognitive science to TS through a scrutiny of recent findings and current theories and research” (p. 3). After recalling some historical and contextual background of Translation Studies, section 2 focuses on the interdisciplinarity associated to it, present since the very beginning of its existence. This book, whose content is summarized chapter by chapter (p. 7-12), is presented as an example of methodological innovation with the aim of improving translation and interpreting research through collaboration on an international and interdisciplinary level.

In chapter 2, “Translation process research at the interface: Paradigmatic, theoretical, and methodological issues in dialogue with cognitive science, expertise studies, and psycholinguistics” (p. 17-40), Alves looks at translation process research (TPR) and examines the contribution of disciplines like cognitive science, expertise studies, and psycholinguistics to its development. It provides a useful overview of the most recent publications on it and revisits some of the main assumptions of these three disciplines in order to discuss how they interface with TPR. The thoughts and considerations raised in this paper are not novel in TPR literature. However, the interesting point made by Alves is that TPR is now in a position to contribute to the development of cognitive science, expertise studies, and psycholinguistics, since its studies have the potential to corroborate theoretical assumptions by putting hypotheses to the empirical-experimental test. Therefore borrowing becomes bi- or multi-directional (p. 34).

In “The contributions of cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics to conference interpreting: A critical analysis” (p. 41-64), Gile focuses on the advantages of cognitive science for research into conference interpreting and on the somewhat complex attitudes of many practisearchers towards cognitive psychology and psycholinguistics. The analysis offered reflects Gile’s personal interpretation of events and developments. He claims that insights from cognitive psychology and cognitive science in general, even though some ideas and concepts have sometimes been misunderstood, have given more weight to the “interpreters are made, not born” view, and the author hits the nail on the head regarding the importance of not mistaking professional experience for expertise (p. 58). Definite conclusions are apparently difficult to draw, though it is stated that attitudes will probably change (p. 59).

Part II, entitled “Studies from psycholinguistic and cognitive perspectives,” begins with Hild´s paper “Discourse comprehension in simultaneous interpreting: The role of expertise and information redundancy” (p. 67-100), who reports a two-dimensional quasi-experimental study which investigates high-level discourse processes in simultaneous interpreting. The two dimensions are expertise and text. The expertise dimension involves two groups of participants, experts and novices, and the text dimension is a comparison of two texts, very similar in most ways, but differing in their information redundancy. The sampling methodology is adequately explained and the results satisfactorily articulated, leading to the conclusion that experts demonstrate higher performance accuracy, being better able to apply strategies which mediate higher-level comprehension processes. The chapter is a valuable contribution which generates new data about these processes and the specific traits of expert interpreting. However, in Hild´s words, it “is necessary to take this research one step further” (p. 94).

In chapter 5, Timarová, Čeňková, Meylaerts, Hertog, Szmalec and Duyck “Simultaneous interpreting and working memory capacity” (p. 101-126), present interesting findings regarding the relationship between working memory capacity (WMC) and simultaneous interpreting (SI). While previous research correlates WMC and SI, the results of Timarová et al.´s investigation, focusing on age and general cognitive abilities, and their interaction with experience and interpreting skills, do not support a relationship between the two constructs. This is an innovative study given that there are important methodological differences regarding previous research, such as the selection of interpreting variables, i.e., participants who consisted of a sample of professional interpreters with age range spanning several decades. It would have been interesting to include a control group in the present study. Future studies will need to target the exact role of WMC during interpreting, a question that remains unresolved.

Vandepitte, Hartsuiker and Van Assche´s contribution in chapter 6, “Process and text studies of a translation problem” (p. 127-143), reports three case studies which reveal that metonymic language constitutes a translation problem, confirming the preliminary findings in Vandepitte and Hartsuiker (2011). They offer a detailed description of pauses (more cognitive effort involved) in order to prove if metonymic constructions slow down translation and cause longer pauses. They conclude that “Metonymic sentences had a lower number of initial pauses than non-metonymic sentences, but a higher number of medial pauses and final pauses” (p. 131). Although the three studies require further investigation, they are able to formulate new hypotheses for translation process studies. In the future research they suggest (experiments with sentences in context, larger samples, eye-tracking methodology, etc.), it would be interesting to analyze if there are differences regarding metaphoric language, as proven in Brdar and Brdar-Szabó (2013), who claim that metonymy translates more easily owing to the shorter conceptual difference between metonymic source and target (2013: 206).

In chapter 7, Carl, Gutermuth and Hansen-Schirra “Post-editing machine translation: Efficiency, strategies, and revision processes in professional translation settings” (p. 145-174), present a multi-method approach with the aim of analyzing human processes involved in post-editing (PE) and typical PE strategies to shed light on the question of how efficient post-editing machine translation (PEMT) is. Among other things, the novelty of this paper lives in the fact that, so far, the language direction English-German had not been studied in order to understand how post-editors proceed in PEMT. Interestingly, even though PE proves to be rather efficient, translators still prefer to translate from scratch than to post-edit machine translated output. A change in perspective could help to improve the translators’ attitudes towards MT in general and PEMT in particular. Consequently, “PEMT should be an essential part of university curricula […] to better prepare students for their professional lives” (p. 150).

Finally, da Silva offers another original study that may help to evaluate translation problems and strategies, “On a more robust approach to triangulating retrospective protocols and key logging in translation process research” (p. 175-201). The chapter reports on an exploratory experiment based on a combined analysis of key logging and retrospective protocols in order to examine the impact of domain knowledge on segmentation and representation patterns. Contrary to the initial assumption, the data of the pilot study show that subjects tend to have a segmentation pattern at word or group word regardless of task difficulty. Also, the analysis on translators´ representation provides new resources that help to enlighten the reader about how to understand translation expertise.

This book undoubtedly provides an invaluable source of information on current issues in translation and interpreting from psycholinguistic and cognitive domains. Along with state-of-the-art chapters, it offers new experimental designs that have been developed drawing on a variety of methodologies such as eye tracking, key logging, screen recording, retrospective protocols, and post-editing machine translation. The original investigations, which can be scrutinized in future studies, add important insights and contributions to the field of translation process research.

Parties annexes