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The Journal of Specialised Translation

Issue 8 - July 2007

there should be a panel of scorers for each text, as in Krings’ and Brunette’s studies, in order to reduce the effects of personal preference.

2. Self-revision

The great majority of empirical studies of translation concern the translation process in general. In a few of these studies, the researchers pay particular attention to the self-revision aspect of the translator’s work. Self-revision differs from other-revision in several ways: self-revision is intermixed with the drafting process; the self-reviser is familiar with the source text when the task begins; since the operation is on one’s own work, the relationship to the translator is not a factor, and the temptation to substitute one’s own translations or one’s own approach to translation is not an issue.

There is no space here to look at all studies of self-revision, so I have selected four. As will be seen, these studies tend to focus on uncovering psychological processes rather than on the more directly practical concerns of the other-revision studies discussed above. There is also a great interest in the distribution of revision work between the drafting phase (when the translation is being first composed) and the post-drafting phase.

In most early empirical studies (1985-1995), the subjects were all students; indeed sometimes they were language rather than translation students. As a result, these studies mainly shed light on the mental processes of learners and do not tell us about what happens when experienced professionals self-revise. On the other hand, a couple of more recent studies contrast students with professionals, which is of considerable interest for characterizing translational expertise, and for training purposes.

6. Englund Dimitrova, Birgitta (2005). Expertise and Explicitation in the Translation Process. Amsterdam: Benjamins.

This 243-page study used both keystroke recording and thinking aloud. The subjects translated a two-page text from Russian (L2) to Swedish (L1). Of the 9 subjects, 2 were senior (very experienced) professional translators, 2 were junior professionals, 2 were translation students and 3 were language students. Several sections of the book (2.3.5, 4.5, 4.6.4 and 6.2.2) are specifically concerned with self-revision.

Perhaps the most striking finding was how often the results for the two senior professionals differed markedly from the results for the other seven participants. For example, they made far fewer revisions


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