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Ehrensberger-Dow, Maureen, Göpferich, Susanne and O᾽Brien, Sharon (eds.) (2015). Interdisciplinarity in Translation and Interpreting Process Research.

Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 159, €85/$128. ISBN: 978-90-272-4260-0 (HB), 978-90-272-6848-8 (e-book).

As mentioned in the introduction to the volume, it includes a collection of papers presented at two events, both held in 2011: a) the Second International Research Workshop on Methodology in Translation Process Research, held at Justus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany and b) the Research Models in Translation Studies II Conference, held at the University of Manchester, Great Britain. The collection was originally published in Target in 2013 (25:1).

Sharon O’Brien sets the scene effectively for the papers to follow by providing a comprehensive overview of the areas which Translation and Interpreting Process Research has built interdisciplinarity on. She also calls for a reversal of the status quo, proposing ways that could turn Translation Process Research into a source of inspiration for other disciplines rather than continuing to always borrow from other disciplines.

Contributions prove that “cross-fertilization” occurs at a wider scale and deeper level than expected, sometimes including (sub)disciplines relatively unheard of in relation to Translation Studies in general. Linguistics is revisited twice, first by Juliane House (bilingualism research and Translation) and then by Christina Schäffner and Mark Shuttleworth (Metaphor Studies combined with a multilingual approach in translation). Other (sub)disciplines include: Neuroscience (the method of pupillometry) and cognitive load in Interpreting (Kilian Seeber); Sociology (activity theory and actor network theory) and translation processes (Hanna Risku and Florian Windhager); Mathematics (Dynamic Systems Theory) as an explanatory model in translation competence development (Susanne Göpferich); research on Journalism applied to translation processes (Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow and Daniel Perrin); Communication studies (Relevance theory) and dealing with processing effort (Fabio Alves and José Luiz Gonçalves); Literary studies (archive and manuscript research) as an aid to the translator’s decision-making process (Jeremy Munday); tools such as speech recognition software from Phonetics and Phonology tested in the translation process (Inger M. Mees, Barbara Dragsted, Inge Gorm Hansen and Arnt Lykke Jakobsen).

Contributors seem to honestly recognize challenges and shortcomings as they go along the largely uncharted path of interdisciplinarity. They also seem to be critically borrowing from other (sub)disciplines, avoiding a “wholesale adoption of a full blown theory in order to explain translation (away) in terms of the borrowed theory (modified from Malmkjær 2000: 166), thereby highlighting the dynamics of Translation Process Research.

We look forward to a follow-up volume with even more results and larger samples in the future, while acknowledging that this volume already constitutes a valuable contribution to anyone interested in Interdisciplinarity and Translation Studies, even beyond Translation Process Research, mainly due to the richness of options provided. It may be treated as a methodological toolbox for a large variety of research occasions by both seasoned scholars and younger ones. What is more, this volume serves as an open invitation to scholars from other disciplines.

  • Malmkjaer, Kirsten (2000). “Multidisciplinarity In Process Research”. Sonja Tirkkonen-Condit and Riita Jääskeläinen (eds). Tapping and Mapping the Processes of Translation and Interpreting. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 163-170.

Kyriaki Kourouni
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki