Novice, paraprofessional, and professional translators' strategy use in Chinese-English translation processes: retrospective reflections, concurrent screen-capturing, and key-stroke logging

Date

2017-08-31

Authors

Qian, Xiaojuan

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Abstract

With a multi-method research approach that involves retrospective reflection, concurrent screen-capturing (Camtasia), and key-stroke logging (Translog), this study probed Chinese-English translation processes and investigated the strategy use and pause patterns of 20 translators with different professional designations (i.e., novice, paraprofessional, and professional translators). Through the application of the Translation Competence Model (PACTE, 2007) from the Translation Studies field and of the Language Ability Model (Bachman & Palmer, 1996) from the field of Language Learner Strategies research, this study is the first of its kind to compare the differences in translators’ pause patterns in the three different translation phases (i.e., orientation, drafting, and revising phases) and strategy use, and to analyze the relationship of translators’ strategy use and pause vis-à-vis translation performance. The three types of data provided a fuller picture of translators’ translation processes, and the use of the two models served to triangulate and cross-validate the multiple sources of data on translators’ reported and observed strategy use, which amounted to 97 individual strategies and 3,464 instances. The data examined quantitatively and qualitatively showed that translators of higher professional designations or the high performance level had higher percentages in professional, psycho-physiological, bilingual, and affective strategies, and paused longer and more often and spent more time in the revising phase. However, translators of lower professional designations or the low performance level showed higher percentages in instrumental and extralinguistic strategies, and paused longer and allocated more time in the drafting phase. The analysis revealed no significant correlation between overall strategy use or pauses and translation performance. The findings inform researchers, trainers, and trainees in the professions of both translation and additional-language teaching about translation strategy use and pause patterns.

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Keywords

translation process, strategy use, pause

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