Competence Development in Student Translators and Interpreters: A Corpus-based Study of Lexical Cohesion

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    In translation and interpreting studies, there is a lack of adequate indicators of learners’ competence levels, which creates great difficulty for systematic assessment. In addition, although translators and interpreters are expected to possess different competences, previous research provides not many measurable differences between the two.

    Among the different components of translation/interpreting competence, linguistic competence has been regarded as an essential one, yet one whose development has rarely been measured in translator/interpreter training. In this regard, lexical cohesion, which concerns the relatedness of semantic meaning in a text, has been identified as an important indicator of one’s linguistic competence, not only of a foreign language, but also of a native language. Although professional translators and interpreters are supposed to be more resourceful than learners in using lexical cohesive devices, i.e. words in a text tying related meaning together, not many studies have been performed to provide evidence on how and where their use differences of such devices may lie.

    This project, employing a corpus-based approach, aims to identify the professional developmental path of student translators and interpreters working between Chinese and English, using lexical cohesive devices as an indicator. The study will first develop two learner corpora: a translation one and an interpreting one. The learner corpora include works of learners at the beginning, intermediate, advanced, and semi- professional levels. In addition, two reference corpora will be developed consisting of works of professional translators and interpreters, respectively. Then comparison will be made between learners and professionals on the use of lexical cohesive devices, including reiteration (repetition, synonymy, hyponymy and meronymy) and collocation. The similarity and difference in competence development between student translators and interpreters will be analysed in the aspect of lexical cohesion.

    The project will contribute to the study of translation/interpreting competence at large. Findings of the study will shed light on the roles of lexical cohesion in differentiating quality levels of translation and interpreting outputs and serve as a basis for further development of quantitative variables applicable to testing and accreditation in translation and interpreting. The learner and reference corpora compiled will become useful resources for investigation of other linguistic features in the works of student translators/interpreters.
    Effective start/end date1/01/1831/12/19

    UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 4 - Quality Education
    • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
    • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
    • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals


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