Title: Professional translators’ self-concepts and translation direction : indications from translation process research
Authors : Hunziker Heeb, Andrea
Conference details: 7th EST Congress, Translation Studies: Centres and Peripheries, Germersheim, 29 August - 1 September 2013
Issue Date: 2013
License (according to publishing contract) : Licence according to publishing contract
Type of review: Peer review (Abstract)
Language : German
Subjects : Translation process research; Self-concept; Directionality; Professional translation; Translation into a second language; L2 translation
Subject (DDC) : 418.02: Translating and interpreting
Abstract: Translation into a second language (also called inverse translation or L2 translation) is a widespread professional practice in many language communities. However, as L2 translation is widely associated with lower prestige than L1 translation, this may also apply to the professionals’ status (cf. Pokorn 2000). Indications of this lower status of professional translators who work into their L2 compared to translators who solely work into their L1 are for example the formers’ restricted access to professional bodies and to commissions from certain language service providers. This paper investigates whether differences based on translation direction also exist with regard to translators’ self-concepts, which might be influenced by their status. The translator’s self-concept, which can be loosely defined as the self-perception of professional roles and responsibilities, is a key aspect in certain well-known cognitive models of translation competence (e.g. Kiraly 1995 or Göpferich 2005). Insights into self-concepts can be gained by letting translators reflect on them, such as during retrospective verbalisations following a translation task. The results reported in this paper form part of the author’s PhD project in translation process research; the comparison data were collected within the longitudinal study “Capturing Translation Processes”. The participants are three groups of trained staff translators; two groups work only into their L1 (i.e. from German into English or from English into German), and the third group also works into their L2 (i.e. in both directions). They translated texts that are comparable in topic, length and intended readership. Their translation processes and the ensuing retrospective verbalisations were recorded and then transcribed. In these transcripts, the comments that indicated a meta-awareness of the translators’ actions and reasons for these actions, and therefore were presumably related to the notion of self-concept, were coded and categorised. Results for the two groups working solely into their L1 have been reported elsewhere (Ehrensberger-Dow and Massey, forthcoming). The focus of that study was to compare professional translators’ self-concepts with those of translation students. The professionals, who only translated into their L1, seemed more aware than the students of their multiple responsibilities to language, source text, target text, and readership, and spread their attention and loyalty quite evenly among these categories. Intriguingly, the translation students, who translated into both their L1 and L2, showed different patterns of results, depending on the translation direction. On the basis of that finding, the third group of staff translators, who translate both into their L2 and L1, was included in the sub-study reported in this paper. This made it possible to examine whether differences in self-concept based on translation direction also exist among professionals. Results show interesting intra- and intergroup patterns and thereby add another piece of the puzzle towards identifying differences and similarities between L1 and L2 translation. At the same time, the findings raise questions about the relationship of self-concept to language versions and professional settings. They also suggest that the parameter of translation direction should be included in considerations of translator status, such as the recent study carried out by Pym et al. (2012). This would represent another step towards increasing the visibility of L2 translation on the way to gaining its appropriate representation in Translation Studies (cf. Pokorn 2000).
Departement: Angewandte Linguistik
Organisational Unit: Institute of Translation and Interpreting (IUED)
Publication type: Conference Other
URI: https://digitalcollection.zhaw.ch/handle/11475/7350
Appears in Collections:Publikationen Angewandte Linguistik

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