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

Three Recorded Lectures by Jemina Napier, Chair Professor of the 2019 CETRA Research Summer School in Translation Studies, with Subtitles

We are grateful to be able to share with you three recorded lectures by Jemina Napier (Heriot-Watt University), the Chair Professor of our 2019 CETRA Research Summer School in Translation Studies. Special thanks go to the master’s student Liesbeth Pittomvils for having subtitled these lectures, under supervision of our colleague Luc Dierickx, in order to make them available to deaf people.

Interpreting Studies as linguistic ethnography: New theories, new methods 

The term linguistic ethnography is an umbrella term for “a growing body of research by scholars who combine linguistic and ethnographic approaches in order to understand how social and communicative processes operate in a range of settings and contexts” (Shaw, Copland & Snell, 2015). The core goal of linguistic ethnography is to examine language use in context, so by that very definition, various qualitative research conducted within Interpreting Studies could be considered as falling under this umbrella. First, I will give an overview of linguistic ethnography and how it can be used to examine interpreter-mediated interactions, and will highlight existing interpreting research that could be considered within this framework. I will give examples from my own current research to discuss the benefits of using innovative, visual methods to examine experiences of professional and non-professional interpreter-mediated communication within a linguistic ethnographic framework; and I will also propose the affordances of examining interpreter-mediated communication through the theoretical lens of translanguaging, which is widely used by linguistic ethnographers to examine direct communication. Finally, I will explore how re-framing our approach to interpreting studies through linguistic ethnography may also lead to a re-framing of what we mean by mediated communication.

Participatory research methods in interpreting studies

A participatory research approach is a qualitative methodology that is inductive and collaborative and relies on trust and relationships. This approach is typically used in public health research studies, and has been used specifically to investigate migrant communities and interpreters in public health settings in Ireland (Macfarlane et al, 2009). Participatory research is an approach that enables positive user involvement and empowerment, and enables marginalised ‘hidden’ voices to be heard. Through purposeful sampling (Patton, 2002), ‘information rich’ stakeholder groups who have a depth of experience to share can contribute to the research process, thus ensuring that the research is conducted not just onfor and with people (Turner & Harrington, 2000), but also by people from stakeholder groups.

In this presentation I will reflect on previous research to consider an innovative, interactive approach to interpreting research methodology. This presentation will draw particularly on studies that I have led that have employed a participatory approach and incorporated phenomenological principles to investigate aspects of sign language interpreting. The studies also adopted interactive principles of collaboration between researchers and key stakeholders and thus embed a participatory approach within the research design. The key principles of participatory research will be outlined, with examples from the data. This presentation will highlight how we can use sign language interpreting research to inform methodological approaches to the study of interpreter-mediated interaction generally.

Exploring mixed-methods research design in interpreting studies

The design of community interpreting research studies can incorporate triangulation of research data using different methodologies in order to test or explore the same phenomena from different perspectives (Hale & Napier, 2014). This approach is typically referred to as ‘mixed methods’ (Johnson, Onwuegbuzie, & Turner, 2007) or ‘multi-method’ research (Brewer & Hunter, 2006), and is particularly popular in social science research. Some researchers would consider this as one of the major research paradigms equal to, and alongside, quantitative and qualitative paradigms (Johnson, Onwuegbuzie & Turner, 2007) that “provides increased power of persuasion and strengthened claims to validity” (Brewer & Hunter, 2006, p.xi).

Pöchhacker (2011) considers that the use of mixed-methods research designs in interpreting studies are appropriate in order to account for the level of complexity in exploring interpreting processes and practices. Employing such an approach enables researchers to draw on traditional research methodologies, but also allows scope for innovation in research design. One such innovative approach is the use of a participatory approach to research (Cornwall & Jewkes, 1995), which includes community stakeholders in the research process. As recommended by Luker (2008), as social science researchers we need to “play out of our shoes” and “think at a higher level of generality” (p.218), which means considering which research method(s) will enable us to answer the questions we have about interpreting.

In this presentation I will give an overview of how mixed-methods have been employed in the study of sign language interpreting in legal contexts, highlighting why these projects employ these methods and the benefits of exploring various mixed-methods approaches to interpreting research generally.

New book by Lieven D’hulst and Kaisa Koskinen (eds): Translating in Town. Local Translation Policies During the European 19th Century

9781350091009Translating in Town uncovers administrative and cultural multilingualism and translation practices in multilingual European communities during the long 19th century. Challenging the traditional narrative of nationalist, monolingual language ideologies, this book focuses instead upon translation policies which aimed to accommodate complex language situations with new democratic principles at local levels.

Covering a time-frame from 1785 to 1914, chapters investigate towns and cities in the heartland of Europe, such as Barcelona, Milan and Vienna, as well as those on its outer rim, including Nicosia, Cork and Tampere. Highlighting the conflicts and negotiations that took place between official language(s), local language(s) and translation, the book explores the impact on both represented and non-represented monolingual and multilingual citizens. In so doing, Translating in Town highlights the subtle compromises obtained between official monolingualism, multilingualism and translation, and between competing views on official and private translation and transfer techniques, during this fascinating era of European history.

For more information, please visit this web page.