Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Nataša Pavlović

Nataša Pavlović is assistant professor in the Department of English, University of Zagreb, Croatia.

Directionality in collaborative translation processes: A study of novice translators

Supervisors: Gyde Hansen and Anthony Pym

Research Summary

Translation into the second language (L2 translation) is a reality in many settings around the world, especially - but not exclusively - in those cultures that use a "language of limited diffusion". Even translators whose mother tongue is one of the "major" languages are more and more frequently required to work out of their L1 into English, the dominant language of the globalized world. This makes L2 translation an increasingly important issue for the practitioner, and research on L2 translation a hot topic for Translation Studies.

In the past, prescriptive approaches to translation denounced the practice of L2 translation as unprofessional or even impossible. As a result, L2 translation was until recently largely neglected both in translation theories and in research. Over the past ten to fifteen years, however, the number of studies dealing with L2 translation has been on the increase, with translation into the non-mother tongue even becoming the main topic of forums and conferences, and their subsequent publications (e.g. Kelly et al. 2003; Grosman et al 2000).

The main assumption of the present study is that translation processes in the two directions are different. The author sets out to discover in what respect and to what extent this is so. The study is set up as a series of experiments involving "novice translators" - university students who had just passed their final translation exam - translating two comparable general-language texts, one from English into Croatian and the other from Croatian into English. All the subjects have Croatian as their L1, and at the time of the experiments they have been learning English as their L2 for at least 12 years.

The method of data collection used in the experiments is the "collaborative translation protocol", a type of verbal report obtained from collaborative (joint) translation sessions. Collaborative translation (cf. Kiraly 2000), albeit not typical of professional translation practice, is nevertheless used in educational settings, and has been part of the subjects' translation training. The translation sessions are audio- and video-recorded, and later transcribed. Pre- and post-experiment questionnaires complement the data from the translation sessions. Both quantitative and qualitative methods are used in analyzing the data. The analysis focuses on the number and type of problems the translators encounter, the tentative solutions they consider, the final solutions they choose, the arguments used in the decision-making process, the translators' use of internal and external resources, as well as on the number of errors and their likely causes.

It is expected that the findings of this study will help formulate new hypotheses about L2 translation to be tested in further research. It is also hoped that some of the findings can be profitably used in the training of future L2 translators.


Pavlović, Nataša. 2007. Directionality in Collaborative Translation Processes. A Study of Novice Translators. Doktorska disertacija. Tarragona: Universitat Rovira i Virgili.

Pavlović, Nataša. 2007. "Directionality in translation and interpreting practice. Report on a questionnaire survey in Croatia". Forum 5(2). 79-99.

Pavlović, Nataša and Jensen, Kristian. 2009. "Eye tracking translation directionality". In: A. Pym i A. Perekrestenko (eds.), Translation Research Projects 2. Tarragona: Intercultural Studies Group. 93-109.

Pavlović, Nataša. "More ways to explore the translating mind: Collaborative translation protocols." Copenhagen Studies in Language (CSL) 37. 81-105.

Pavlović, Nataša. 2010. "What were they thinking?! Students' decision making in L1 and L2 translation processes". Hermes, Journal of Language and Communication Studies 44: 63-87.

Antunović, Goranka & Pavlović, Nataša. 2011. "Moving on, moving back or changing it here and now. Self-revision in student translation processes from L2 and L3". Across Languages and Cultures 12(2): 213-234.

Antunović, Goranka & Pavlović, Nataša 2012. "Dinamika otklona od izvornika tijekom izrade prijevoda". In: Pon, Leonard, Karabalić, Vladimir i Cimer, Sanja (eds.). Aktualna istraživanja u primijenjenoj lingvistici. HDPL: Osijek. 199-214.

Pavlović, Nataša & Antunović, Goranka. 2013. "The effect of interpreting experience on distance dynamics: Testing the literal translation hypothesis". Translation and Interpreting Studies 8(2): 233-252.

Viva: October 18, 2007

Examining committee :
Dr. Dorothy Kellly (Universidad de Granada)
Dr. Catherine Way (Universidad de Granada)
Dr. Donald Kiraly (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle Paris III)
Dr. Christopher Scott-Tennent (URV)
Dr. María González Davies (Universitat Ramon Llull)

Doctoral thesis here