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Monday, 13 May 2024 15:25

Multimethod Research in Cognitive Translation and Interpreting Studies: Constructs and Indicators

Translation and Interpreting (T&I) Studies has increasingly recognized the cognitive approaches to language mediation as key to understand its intricacies and challenges.  Influenced by technologies such as speech recognition, machine translation and generative AI, the evolving workplace of the T&I profession is revolutionising the way translators and interpreters work today. These changes in external working conditions, coupled with the individual and psychological factors that are now attracting increasing attention, can hardly be overlooked when we apply, update and develop cognitive constructs to understand the more integrated and complex processes of T&I. The move from Translation Process Research to Cognitive Translation and Interpreting Studies (CTIS) has opened research to readers and audiences, and problem solving is now just one among several research foci.

We are witnessing the increasing recognition of multimodality as central to all kinds of multilectal mediated communication tasks. Research projects are becoming more sophisticated, statistical analyses are becoming sounder, and there seems to be a trend to contrast several tasks (including those from neighboring domains, such as source-based writing) in within-informant approaches. Building upon theoretical views that study cognitive aspects as both the prerequisites and the outcomes of expertise in T&I, this issue will explore various constructs to refine the modelling of the T&I processes through various theoretical and methodological lenses. We will also examine how different indicators can be leveraged to attain a deeper understanding of the cognitive underpinnings of language processing.

Constructs such as cognitive load, effort, flexibility, efficiency, and control have long been at the heart of this research domain (e.g., Seeber 2013; Hvelplund 2016; Dong & Li 2020).  Meanwhile, recent progress in the use of indicators from different data collection methods, such as the visual world paradigm, eye/ear-voice span (EVS), ear-to-key span, respites (inter-keystroke intervals of mid length), galvanic skin response (GSR), and heart rate variability (HRV), have significantly enhanced our understanding of these processes, offering more elaborate examinations and nuanced measurements of such constructs (Zhou et al. 2021; Chmiel & Lijewska 2022; Muñoz & Apfelthaler 2022; Amos et al. 2022; Weng et al., 2022; Li et al. 2023).

The guest editors welcome interdisciplinary dialogue and encourage contributions applying diverse methodologies, from neuroimaging studies, through psycholinguistic experiments to ethnographic observation, and from behavioral analysis to computational modelling.  Our goal is to stimulate thorough and critical discussions that will enrich the development of CTIS as a robust, ever-growing, and evolving research strand. Additionally, we aim to contemplate the practical implications of CTIS research for training, assessment, and professional practice within the field.

Submissions are welcome on, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Theoretical discussions on cognitive constructs pertinent to T&I studies.
  • Indicators of constructs such as cognitive load, effort, control, automaticity, flexibility and efficiency in T&I tasks.
  • The dynamic interplay among diverse cognitive constructs during language processing in professional translators and interpreters.
  • Methodological challenges and innovations in measuring cognitive processes in language mediation.
  • How multiple methods can be combined or contrasted to yield a comprehensive understanding of the cognitive aspects of T&I.
  • Behavioral and cognitive dynamics through the task.
  • Contrasts in subtasks for different purposes (e.g., different kinds of writing, reading, information search).
  • Cognitive profile of emerging tasks, such as live captioning, voice writing, remote public service interpreting, etc.
  • Discussions on influencing factors of workflow, the use of new technological tools, and individual and psychological variables.

Deadline of submissions of full articles: 15 April 2025

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