Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Diane Howard

Diane Howard is a freelance translator specializing in medical and pharmaceutical translation who works from Chinese and Japanese into English. She has taught translation for the University of Chicago Graham School and University College, University of Denver. An American, she currently lives in France.

A quantitative study of translation difficulty based on analysis of text features in Japanese-to-English short passage translation tests

Supervisors: Anthony Pym, Pardee Lowe Jr.

Research Summary

 This study examines difficulty in short passage translation tests, with specific examples taken from the Japanese-to-English American Translators Association certification examination. The objective is to link a feature specific to Interagency Language Roundtable (ILR) reading level 3, namely following an argument that requires some degree of inference and reading between the lines, to source text elements. Resolution of these elements will be objectively scored in the target text. Text difficulty for the test population (i.e. facility values) will then be calculated from the resulting scores. The results will allow inferences to be made about passage difficulty and text features that the test population could not resolve successfully. The anticipated outcome of this research is a step toward improved passage selection for short passage tests. 

Research visits and conference attendance

 2013. CIUTI Forum: Facing the World's New Challenges. Geneva, Switzerland.

 2011. CIUTI Forum: New Needs, Translators & Programs. Geneva, Switzerland.

 2010. CIUTI Forum: Global Governance and Intercultural Dialogue.

 2010. Translation Didactics, University of Geneva. Geneva, Switzerland.

 2009, ATA 59th Annual Conference. New York, USA.

2009. New Research in Translation and Interpreting Studies. URV, Tarragona, Spain.

2008. CIUTI Forum: Enhancing Translation Quality. Ways, Means, Methods. Geneva, Switzerland.

2008. The Future of Research on Translation and Interpreting. URV, Tarragona, Spain.

2007. 1st International Forum on Translation, Interpreting and Social Activism. University of Granada, Granada, Spain.

2007. CETRA. Leuven, Belgium

2007. New Research in Translation and Interpreting Studies. URV, Tarragona, Spain.

2007. The Translator's Profession. Ecole Supérieure d'Interprètes et de Traducteurs, Paris, France.

2007. ATA, 48th Annual Conference. San Francisco, USA.

2006. ATA, 47th Annual Conference. New Orleans, USA.

2004. 20th Chicago Conference on Translation and Interpretation: Entrepreneurship, Business Practices, and Ethics. Chicago Area Translators and Interpreters Association, Chicago, USA.


2009. "What was so hard about that? Test errors and source-passage challenges", in Anthony Pym and Alexander Perekrestenko (eds.) Translation Research Projects 2. Tarragona: Intercultural Studies Group, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, pp. 83-91.

2011. "Failure analysis in a professional translation setting" in Anthony Pym (ed) Translation Research Projects 3, Tarragona: Intercultural Studies Group, 2011. pp. 15-29.

2011. "Machine Translation as an Aid in Identifying. Translation Difficulties for Texts Used in Introductory Translation Courses". In M. Forstner and H. Lee-Jahnke, eds. CIUTI-Forum new needs, translators & programs: on the translational tasks of the United Nations. Bern and New York: Peter Lang: 157-177.

Viva: February 2, 2016

Examining Committee: 

Joaquín Romero (URV)

Catherine Way (Granada)

Carme Mangiron (UAB) 

Grade: Cum Laude