A Corpus-Based Comparison of Self-Reflection Modalities in Process-Oriented Translator Training

A Corpus-Based Comparison of Self-Reflection Modalities in Process-Oriented Translator Training

Erik Angelone (Kent State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6615-3.ch018


In recent years, process-oriented translator training has gained popularity among trainers and trainees alike, thanks to new, user-friendly pedagogical tools geared towards fostering cognizance of problems and problem-solving. This chapter reports on a corpus-based exploratory study that set out to document variation in student problem-solving discourse when utilizing Integrated Problem and Decision Reporting logs and screen recordings as self-reflection tools. Variation was observed between the two self-reflection modalities, particularly in the domains of the textual level and locus (comprehension, transfer, or production) of problem solving. The discourse generated by students when using screen recording for self-reflection is suggestive of a multi-layered, granular approach, which may, in part, shed light on why screen-recording analysis has proven to be particularly efficacious for the purposes of error detection and mitigation.
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The origins of process-oriented translator training, broadly defined here as a pedagogical focus on the decision-making patterns and problem-solving behaviors that shape the translation product, can be traced back to the 1990s. At that time, novel research on cognitive processes (Lörscher, 1991; Kußmaul, 1995; Risku, 1998) served as an impetus for curricular change, heeding Kiraly’s call for approaches “based on a theoretically adequate, empirical description of translation behavior” (Kiraly, 1995, p. 11). Process-oriented training has consistently gained firmer footing in the new millennium. A combination of factors has sparked this trend, with perhaps the most important being the technological advancement of user-friendly, relatively affordable (if not free), learner-centered tools for the documentation and subsequent analysis of procedural patterns and behaviors. The advent of keystroke logging, screen recording, and eye-tracking applications (among others) has fostered large-scale empirical research initiatives, such as TransComp at the University of Graz (Göpferich, 2009) and Capturing Translation Processes at the University of Applied Sciences in Zurich (Massey & Ehrensberger-Dow, 2011), aimed at optimizing the translator training curriculum from a process perspective.

Of these new applications, screen recording, in particular, has become a preferred pedagogical tool for training awareness of such phenomena as translation planning, drafting, and revision (Pym, 2009), text production (Dam-Jensen & Heine, 2009), the manifestation of translation competencies (Massey & Ehrensberger-Dow, 2011), and problem-solving (Angelone, 2013a, 2013b). Thanks to its user-friendliness and cost-efficiency, screen recording has the potential to reach even greater ubiquity in the process-oriented translator training curriculum, in a fashion similar to Gile’s Integrated Problem and Decision Reporting (IPDR) (2004), which has been popular among trainers and trainees for the better part of thirty years. Unlike eye-tracking technology, which at the time of writing is priced at several thousand (US) dollars upwards, many screen recording applications can be installed for free on most computers. From the perspective of cost alone, screen recording is therefore pedagogically more feasible. Furthermore, creating screen recordings for retrospective self-reflection on translation processes does not require the student to do anything he or she would otherwise not do while translating. A sense of naturalness is preserved in that translators can work in their own translation environments, are not locked in to a given user interface (as is often the case when using keystroke logging or eye-tracking technology), and can utilize any and all computer-based resources they would normally use for purposes of task completion.

Given the longevity of logs as annotated commentary for reflection (Garcia Álvarez, 2008, p. 27) and the promise of screen recording as a mechanism for serving in this same capacity, two recent studies examined the relative efficacy of IPDR logs and screen recordings when utilized by students as diagnostic tools for recognizing problems and mitigating errors (Angelone 2013a; Shreve, Angelone, & Lacruz, in press). In both studies, students utilized the two diagnostic tools as protocols for detecting errors in translated texts. The former examined self-revision tendencies while the latter explored the revision of translations created by others. The overall frequency of errors remaining in translations (both self and other) post-analysis and revision suggests that screen recording is considerably more efficacious than the IPDR log as a diagnostic tool for detecting and/or fixing errors.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Problem-Solving: Cognitive effort exerted by the translator in the form of problem recognition, solution proposal, or solution evaluation in situations of gaps in declarative and/or procedural knowledge.

Comparable Corpus: Two (or more) monolingual sets of texts where variables are balanced for direct comparison.

Process Protocol: Empirical documentation of problems and problem-solving patterns, rendered in the form of directly observable indicators, for facilitating problem awareness.

Screen Recording: A software application that records all activity that transpires onscreen during the course of translation, including information retrieval, target text generation, and revision. This can then be played back for retrospective analysis.

Locus of Translation Problems: A manner of classifying problems as being comprehension, transfer, or production in orientation.

Textual Level of Translation Problems: A manner of classifying problems as being lexical, syntactic, stylistic, or macrolevel (suprasentantial or extratextual) in orientation.

Integrated Problem and Decision Reporting log: A method for training problem awareness in translation in which students document the problems they encounter, the nature of the problems, the strategies they use in addressing them, and solutions.

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