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Over the last quarter of a century, translation studies has moved from an near-total focus on products towards considering workplace and cognitive processes and the effects of those processes on translation quality. With a large part of translation process research being driven by a pedagogical interest in the nature and development of translation expertise, there has also been a growing awareness of the potential held by process-oriented translator training and evaluation. In this seminar, we outline how translation process research methods such as screen recording, retrospection and interviews can be applied to the investigation of translators’ understanding of the roles, loyalties and responsibilities that comprise their self-concept, which occupies a key position in influential translation competence models (Kiraly 1995, Göpferich 2008) and has been related to professionalisation (cf. Tirkkonen-Condit & Laukkanen 1996, Gross 2003, Katan 2009). The data we use are drawn from a large corpus built up in a longitudinal research project exploring the relationship between translation competence, its acquisition and the translation process. By a recursive process of encoding retrospective comments made by beginners, advanced students and professionals viewing their own translation performances, we have been able to infer similarities and differences in translators’ self-concepts across experience levels, language pairs, target languages and translation directions. In this seminar, we will present the findings we have obtained so far and explore their implications for training and professionalisation.


Göpferich, S. (2008). Translationsprozessforschung. Stand - Methoden - Perspektiven. Tübingen: Narr.

Gross, A. (2003). Teaching translation as a form of writing. Improving translator self-concept. In: Baer, B. & Koby, G. (eds). Beyond the Ivory Tower. Rethinking translation pedagogy. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 83-93.

Katan, D. (2009). Translation theory and professional practice: a global survey of the great divide, Hermes – Journal of Language and Communication Studies 42, 111-153.

Kiraly, D. (1995). Pathways to Translation: Pedagogy and Process. Kent: Kent State University Press.

Tirkkonen-Condit, S. & Laukkanen, J. (1996). Evaluations – a key towards understanding the affective dimension of translational decisions, Meta 41, 45-59.


Gary Massey is the deputy director of the ZHAW Institute of Translation and Interpreting, head of its MA in Applied Linguistics and co-investigator of the Capturing Translation Processes and Cognitive and Physical Ergonomics of Translation research projects.

Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow is Professor of Translation Studies in the ZHAW Institute of Translation and Interpreting and principal investigator of both the Capturing Translation Processes and the Cognitive and Physical Ergonomics of Translation research projects.

Recent joint publications include:

Ehrensberger-Dow, M. & Massey, G. (forthcoming). Indicators of translation competence: Translators’ self-concepts and the translation of titles, Journal of Writing Research (Special Issue on Translation).

Massey, G. & Ehrensberger-Dow, M. (forthcoming). Evaluating translation processes: opportunities and challenges. In: Hansen-Schirra, S., Kiraly, D. & Maksymski, K. (eds). Innovation in Translation and Interpreting Pedagogy, Tübingen: Narr.

Massey, G. & Ehrensberger-Dow, M. (2012). Evaluating the process: implications for curriculum development. In: Zybatow, L., Petrova, A. & Ustaszewski, M. (eds). Translationswissenschaft interdisziplinär. Fragen der Theorie und der Didaktik. Forum Translationswissenschaft 15, Frankfurt a. M.: Lang, 95-100.

Massey, G. & Ehrensberger-Dow, M. (2011). Commenting on translation: implications for translator training, Journal of Specialised Translation 16, 26-41.

Massey, G. & Ehrensberger-Dow, M. (2011). Investigating information literacy: a growing priority in translation studies, Across Languages and Cultures 12/2, 193-211.

Massey, G. & Ehrensberger-Dow, M. (2011). Technical and instrumental competence in the translator’s workplace: Using process research to identify educational and ergonomic needs, ILCEA 14/2011.

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