POSTPONED: Conference on Retranslation the Bible and the Qur’an

We deeply regret to inform you that as a result of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the international conference Retranslating the Bible and the Qur’an. Tensions between Authoritative Translations and Retranslations in Theory and in Practice cannot take place on 23-25 March 2020, as we had planned.
However, we are planning to postpone it with one year, until 22-24 March 2021. More information will follow in due time. Many thanks for your understanding.


PhD thesis ‘Perception of media interpreting quality’ defended by CETRA alumna Lucille Chevalier

We’re happy to announce that Lucille Chevalier, alumna of our CETRA Research Summer School in Translation Studies, was awarded a doctoral degree in Translation Studies at Université Sorbonne – Paris 3, with the PhD thesis Perception de la qualité de l’interprétation dans les médias (Perception of media interpreting quality), under the supervision of our Summer School teaching staff member Daniel Gile. The public defence took place on 19 September 2019.

Here’s the abstract in English and in French:

Abstract ‘Perception of media interpreting quality’

62 non-interpreter participants and 7 interpreter participants listened to 16 different extracts of interpretations that had been initially broadcast either on TV or on the web. The participants commented and rated these recordings. Non-interpreters’ comments tend to show that the interpretation “works”, i.e. it seems to carry the speaker’s message across and does not constitute an obstacle. Comments tend to focus on form rather than content. Non-interpreters seem to pay attention to quality parameters which already feature in the literature (in particular intonation and fluidity) but also to some (supra)parameters which have rarely been studied so far: the balance between the sound levels of the original speech and its interpretation; the way the speaker is portrayed through the interpretation; and the way emotion in the source speech is conveyed in the interpretation. None of the individual parameters identified in the present study turned out to have a clear-cut, major influence on overall quality assessment. The present thesis studies not only individual quality parameters but also interactions between them. In particular, perceptions of form and content seem to be closely linked, and listeners’ trust seems to be determined by a number of both form- and content-related parameters. Some differences between the two groups of participants emerge. Interpreters seem more sensitive to wording. False errors were flagged up only by non-interpreters. Non-interpreters seem to listen to the speaker’s message first and foremost; their reactions to the interpretation itself tend to come later, if at all.

Résumé ‘Perception de la qualité de l’interprétation dans les médias’

16 extraits d’interprétations télévisées et webstreamées ont été écoutés, commentés et évalués par un panel de 62 non-interprètes et 7 interprètes. Les réactions des non-interprètes donnent à penser que l’interprétation fonctionne en ce sens qu’elle semble plus ou moins transparente pour eux et ne fait pas écran à la réception du discours de l’orateur·trice. Les commentaires portent sur la forme de l’interprétation plus que sur le contenu. Il apparaît que les non-interprètes (PNI) prêtent attention à certains paramètres déjà étudiés dans la littérature (notamment intonation et fluidité) mais également à certains (méta)paramètres jusqu’ici peu explorés (équilibre des volumes sonores ; image de l’orateur·trice telle que transmise par l’interprétation ; transmission de la charge émotionnelle de l’original). Aucun paramètre ne ressort comme décisif pour l’évaluation globale de la qualité. Les paramètres de qualité ne sont pas abordés seulement isolément ; ils interagissent, et notamment, la perception de la forme et celle du fond semble étroitement liées, et la confiance de l’auditeur semble déterminée par plusieurs facteurs relatifs à la forme et au contenu. Des différences apparaissent entre interprètes et non-interprètes : les interprètes semblent plus sensibles à la forme textuelle ; seuls les non-interprètes ont signalé de fausses erreurs ; les non interprètes semblent écouter en priorité le message, et lorsqu’illes réagissent à l’interprétation per se, ce n’est souvent que dans un deuxième temps.

The full text of the PhD thesis can be made available upon simple request to the author.

The CETRA Winter Lecture (3/3/20) is coming: “Translation and the End of Travel” by Michael Cronin


The future of travel is central to contemporary debates about ‘flight shaming’. In the context of well-publicised evidence pointing to the often prohibitive ecological costs of mass air travel, the nature and status of travel as an absolute right or unquestionable good are being called into question. The lecture will argue that particular paradigms of travel may help us to think through appropriate forms of travel practice and pedagogy in the age of the Anthropocene.

Please read the below advertisement for all the practical details. poster