Dissertation > Language, writing > Linguistics > Translation Studies

A Study of Cognitive Process of Passage Translation

Author JiaWei
Tutor GaoLiXin
School Northeastern University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords translation process translation strategies translation unit
CLC H059
Type Master's thesis
Year 2009
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With the development of cognitive science and psychology, they offer experimental methods to carry out research into translation process with the purpose of exploring the cognitive activities of the brain in the process of translation. This thesis is a study of the cognitive process of passage translation. The theoretical basis for the study draws from cognitive and linguistic conceptions of translation as a process. This is a qualitative study with data collected by using think-aloud protocols (TAPs), retrospective interview and observation. This study describes the subjects’translation process, examines how translators at different levels differ in the application of translation strategies and translation units. There are 6 subjects majoring in applied linguistics, and they are divided into two groups according to the different levels in translation. Group 1 consists of 3 subjects who passed CATTI (China Aptitude Test for Translators and Interpreters) examination, who are taken as high level translators. Group 2, consisting of 3 subjects who failed CATTI examination, are taken as low level translators.The findings are as follows:the first one is concerned with the three findings about Bell’s translation model. It is better to use broken line instead of real line in the model, to indicate that the parser and lexical search mechanism are optional stages, but not necessary ones; the experiment also reveals that not all the clauses are processed linearly. Due to some reason, translators’cognitive activities like "analysis" and "synthesis" in translation process are leaped and backtracked. Based on the analysis of the transcriptions in this study, it is found that metacognitive activities mostly happen in planner and idea organizer, but in Bell’s model, there is no sign of cognitive activities. Second, the exact process of the application of complex strategies will help the translator to understand the inner process of translation strategies, to check out the translation strategies they have used and to manipulate their own translation process. Third, from the differences between the different levels of translators in the application of strategies, the teachers can find out helpful strategies to help students improve their translation ability. Fourth, the experiment proves that translators with high level tend to use large units, while translators with low level tend to use small units. Fifth, the research also indicates that translators’language level, translation experiences and the difficulty of translation tasks influence their choice of units. This suggests that in the usual practice of translation, teachers should teach not only skills and techniques of translation but also encyclopedic knowledge about the world. Despite the doubts about the experiment, the findings could shed some light on translation teaching and researches.

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