[CFP] Linguistica Antverpiensia: Special Issue on ‘Cognitive Translation Studies – Theoretical Models and Methodological Criticism’
Cognitive Translation Studies – Theoretical Models and Methodological Criticism
Kairong Xiao, Southwest University, Chongqing, China
Ricardo Muñoz, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain
Practical information and deadlines
Proposals: Please submit abstracts of approximately 500 words, including relevant references (not included in the word count), to both Dr. Kairong Xiao and Dr. Ricardo Muñoz Martín (firstname.lastname@example.org | email@example.com).
Call for papers:
Since the 1960s, scholars from different disciplines have been interested in translators and interpreters’ mental activities. From the process-oriented branch of Holmes’s (1972/1988) Descriptive Translation Studies through process studies, this disciplinary area has grown and widened to become Cognitive Translation Studies (Halverson, 2010), which comprises at least computational approaches (mainly labeled Translation Process Research), 4EA cognition approaches (e.g., Cognitive Translatology, Muñoz, 2010a, 2010b) and AV reception studies (e.g., Kruger et al., 2016). Common to all of the approaches is the basic assumption that translation is inherently a complex cognitive activity involving not only linguistic structures, but also other skills, knowledge, and abilities.
Today, Cognitive Translation Studies (CTS) is gathering momentum within Translation Studies. It boasts an ever-growing research community, an expanding set of prominent research topics (such as problem solving, cognitive effort, attention and cognitive control, skill acquisition and development, stress management), a steadily increasing number of volumes (e.g., Alves, 2003; Göpferich et al., 2008; ; Muñoz, 2016; O’Brien, 2011; Rojo & Ibarretxe, 2013; ; Shreve & Angelone, 2010; Schwieter & Ferreira, 2017) and journal papers, and the gradual establishment and consolidation of shared communication channels, such as themed conferences and now a devoted journal, Translation, Cognition & Behavior. By Holmes’s standards, these developments seem to suggest an emerging, relatively autonomous sub-discipline within Translation Studies. However, CTS is facing two challenges: the need for building theoretical models to account for the peculiarities of translational cognition, and the lack of critical assessments of the methodologies.
Empirical studies start with hypotheses derived from theoretical models about the objects of study. However, the methodologically rigorous empirical research projects at the interface between cognition and translation have thus far often lacked this explicit theoretical basis. There seems to be a growing agreement to the effect that some previous models either lacked any empirical backing or could not support hypotheses for empirical research. Shreve & Angelone (2010: 12) urged that “a strong, commonly-accepted model (or even viable competing models) of the translation process will be a paramount concern of the next decade”. Muñoz (2017: 559) also stated that many research projects did not rely on solid theoretical foundations and some projects “have been happy to simply pile up their results into a common pool as if they were self-explanatory”. Therefore, building explicit theoretical models is still a paramount and crucial concern to further develop CTS.
At the same time, the state-of-the-art literature (e.g., Halverson, 2017) shows that another source of concern is research methods – especially, experimental investigation methods borrowed from other disciplines. Methodological innovation has been the most prominent aspect of CTS in the last decades. Ever since the early psycholinguistic investigations of simultaneous interpreting in the 1960s, several generations of methods have been applied, including verbal reports (such as TAPs), key-logging, screen-recording, eye-tracking, neurophysiological methods (such as EEG and fMRI) and the combined use of various multi-method approaches. These methods do bring revolutionary changes to CTS but they have also been questioned for their limited reliability and ecological validity. Some scholars even worry about the danger of an overuse of empirical methods against the more holistic, humanistic aspects of translation. Some emerging research areas in CTS, such as social cognitive studies of translator behavior, call for ethnographic approaches such as field work and participant observation. A critical study of the reliability and ecological validity of empirical methods is urgently needed to advance CTS.
Therefore, this thematic issue of Linguistica Antverpiensia, New Series – Themes in Translation Studies focuses on the building of theoretical models and methodological criticism in CTS.
(1) Theoretical models of Cognitive Translation Studies
The aim of building theoretical models in CTS is to formulate descriptions of translation as a cognitive activity that may lead to testable hypotheses, including the theoretical assumptions of translation as cognition, the cognitive process of translation production and reception, behavior of individual or group translators, translator skills, translator training and skill acquisition, socio-cognitive aspects of translation, etc. Possible topics (list not exhaustive) include models of:
- translational cognition
- translation production
- translation reception
- translator behavior
- translator skills
- translator training
- socio-cognitive aspects of translation
(2) Criticism of research methods in CTS
Criticism of empirical research methods should review the tradition of translation research methods, examine the reliability and ecological validity of existing and emerging (especially experimental) methods. Researchers may also carry out comparative and contrastive studies of different research methods and suggest new ones for CTS. Possible topics (list not exhaustive) include:
- Critical review of translation research methods
- Critical studies of methodological traditions in translation studies
- Critical analyses of existing and emerging research methods in CTS
- Comparative studies of research methods in CTS
- Systematization and complementarity of research methods in CTS
About the guest editors:
Kairong Xiao is an associate professor of Translation Studies at Southwest University, Chongqing, China. He is chair of the English Department and Director of the Master’s of Translation and Interpreting program. He has published a Chinese book on translation and co-edited a coursebook on Chinese–English translation. He has also published 15 papers on cognitive aspects of translation. His current research lies within Cognitive Translation Studies, especially cognitive-linguistic approaches to translation.
Ricardo Muñoz Martín is a professor of Translation Studies at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in Spain, the coordinator of the PETRA Research Group (Expertise and Environment in Translation), a member of the Translation· Research · Empiricism · Cognition (TREC) network, and a part‐time freelance translator. Muñoz is the editor of the journal Translation, Cognition & Behavior. He has published some 50 articles and chapters on cognitive aspects of translation, mainly on the development of cognitive translatology, research methods, and translator training.