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OPINION article

Front. Lang. Sci.
Sec. Psycholinguistics
Volume 2 - 2023 | doi: 10.3389/flang.2023.1205978

A Review of the Psychology of Translation

 Jiayan XIAO1* Huan n. Ke2*
  • 1Hubei University of Technology, China
  • 2The University of Sydney, Australia

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Wartensleben (1910) initiated the investigating of the mental processes involved in translating Latin into German, which is likely the first contribution to the study of translation psychology. However, the in-depth discussion on the psychology of translation did not begin until the late 1970s and early 1980s (Olalla-Soler et al., 2020). Scholars engaged in translation and translation studies have recognized the existence of a "psychological perspective on the vast majority of translation-related phenomena" (Jaaskelainen, 2012). According to Jaaskelainen and Lacruz (2018), "explicit or implicit psychological assumptions permeate our thought processes regarding translation." Simultaneously, numerous scholars have emphasized the need for a comprehensive psychological approach to translation (Reiss, 1971/2000; Wilss, 1996), which can explain much more than the translator's thought process and encompass "cognition (perception, memory, learning, and problem-solving) to affect or emotion (motivation, attitude)," according to Jaaskelainen & Lacruz (2018) and Jaäskeläinen (2012). The recent emergence of translation psychology-related research has underscored the need for a more comprehensive analytical framework. This is because not all current directions of translation study correspond precisely to what has historically been known as "translation process research" or "psychological translation research" (Holmes, 1972/1988). Due to the scope and intricacy of our swiftly expanding area of exploration, "translation psychology" appears to be a more inclusive term that can encompass all relevant perspectives (Zhu, 2020). Translation psychology can be understood in this context as the study of the translator's functioning as a complex individual, as well as their interactions with their professional environment and other agents involved in the translation process. In addition, translation psychology offers both translators and psychologists novel concepts in doing research of this field.

According to Mufioz Martin (2017), the research on translator psychology help pave the way for disciplines of psychology, but they are not categorized in cognitive research, such as psychoanalysis. Therefore, this book seeks to do a supplementary job as it is meant. To prevent translation psychology from becoming problematically dominated by particular models, methods, and/or practices, these trends in the field of psychology, encouraged by the increasing prevalence of "the cognitive," are a powerful impetus for drawing on theories and practices from numerous and diverse branches of psychology. Though the field of translation psychology is adequately open to embracing a variety of paradigms supported by qualitative and quantitative methods. Permeation by a particular perspective carries with it risks and benefits, therefore, it is essential to constantly account for both of them. Mellinger and Hanson (2021) acknowledge that quantitative research methods and analysis have become more prevalent in the field of cognitive translation studies due to a recent interest in quantifying participant-centered research, but they also note that "diversity in both philosophy and methodology encourages exploration of phenomena from multiple perspectives." Since discussions at the theoretical level have been somewhat overshadowed by spirited discussions on empirical adequacy and technique in this still-developing field, other scholars engaging in the translation process (e.g., Angelone et al, 2020) have argued to find alternative perspectives and lenses through which to view translation processes, recognizing that there are multiple ways to study a given phenomenon. Garcia (2019; 2022) proposes pluralism as an epistemological strategy. In brief, this book is special for the new perspectives of analyzing translation ranging from critical-developmental psychology to work psychology, and the structure in which it is comprised of three chapters written by translation scholars and three chapters written by psychology specialists. Each article aims to strengthen the existing connections between translation studies and disciplines of psychological research that have received less attention in TIS.

In 2022, Hubscher-Davidson and Lehr authored the volume, in which the comprehension of translators' actions is initiated and emphasized. Some chapters provide an overview of research in particular psychological areas germane to translation practice and translators, while others report empirical research. In addition, it contains six separate chapters on the psychology of translation, child language brokering as a care practice, permission to emote, the psychological effects of narratives, emotions, and literary translation practice, performance and well-being in the context of Chinese work, as well as an index and a list of all the volume's citations. The book contains more illustrations than previous works on the subject, with tables and figures included in each chapter. In a nutshell, it is a collection of studies on the psychology of translation and field-specific translators. As an insightful contribution to interdisciplinary translation study, this collection can enhance research on the translation process and serve as an effective means promoting further development in the field of translation psychology by today's leading figures in both psychology and translation. Throughout the entirety of the book, the psychological aspects of the issues affecting translation are examined in depth, and practical suggestions for enhancing translation quality are provided.

Chapter 1 serves as a beneficial introduction to the collection by encouraging translation scholars to concentrate on areas of psychology, such as cultural, cross-cultural, differential, and educational psychology. It lays the foundation for polycentric approach to translation psychology by delineating several ways in which our universe discipline’s knowledge can expand and how to develop new centers.

Chapter 2 presents a research conducted as part of a UK Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded project, which employed qualitative interviews and arts-based methods to investigate child language brokering from a critical psychology standpoint, to examine vignette interviews to shed new light on young people's personal experiences with language brokering and mediation processes by drawing on research in developmental psychology and social care.
Chapter 3 focuses on emotions in translation, presents interview and qualitative survey data that demonstrate the translators' subjective and individualized responses to sensitive and emotional topics, a rare occurrence in the translation psychology literature. For her discussion of the psychological effects of the chapter's stories, the author Zo Walkington draws on her background in forensic psychology.

Chapter 4 focuses on the connections between narratives and identity concerns, examines the functions of narratives. It argues that narratives may be quite effective in terms of restoring readers' sense of control, addressing injustice and inequality, and fostering personal growth. This chapter is especially enticing because it introduces intriguing concepts that may be pertinent to translation psychology research, such as psychological entropy and social surrogacy, as well as new topics to investigate.

Chapter 5 examines the literary translation skills of students enrolled in a postgraduate translation program at the University of Presov in Slovakia, to determine whether specific sub-competencies are correlated with various aspects of performance in a chosen literary translation task, the authors employ a new measure of emotional competence known as the GECo. It is suggested that examining emotions in different cultural and linguistic contexts is both fascinating and beneficial by virtue of particular textual and statistical analysis.

Chapter 6 explores the professional performance and well-being from an organizational perspective. As a consequence of the Covid-19 outbreak, the workplace has undergone significant change, and occupational psychology researchers are devoted to look into the potential long-term effects of this disruption. By means of the Human Resource Management (HRM) paradigm, the author Manuti discusses the more pragmatic aspects of professional employment, such as establishing work-life balance, relational construction, and relationship management. The debate on HRM techniques raises critical issues that are not currently “on the radar” in translation psychology, such as the benefits of a cognitively diverse workforce.

Overall, this collection is brand new contribution to translation study by adopting psychological approach. Additionally, it suggests that the subjective emotions do not always result in negative outcomes; translators can also enhance translation quality if they have positive emotions and appropriately regulate them. The subsequent investigations conclude that positive emotions could increase translators' creativity, while negative emotions can improve their translation accuracy. The book also argues that if translators improve their emotional management and EQ, they can enhance the quality of their translations. In summary, this research will bolster the case for the importance of emotional competence in predicting translation performance success and shed more light on the relationships between emotion and translation performance. The findings of the study demonstrate the potential utility of EC in preparing translation students for the emotional challenges of their future professions.

The evidence presented in these sections suggested that improving our understanding of the relationship between cognitive and affective components and how they interact throughout the translation process necessitates a deeper comprehension of how translators manage the emotional aspect of their work. On the other hand, ongoing efforts to adapt and develop specific data collection instruments with appropriate psychometric properties must be intensified, and special attention should be paid to improving the reliability and ecological validity of internet-mediated directions in organizational psychology that are potential of interest to the field.

Research in translation psychology is a very challenging endeavor due to the complex interplay between the variety of traits that comprise an individual's psychological profile, the great diversity of internal and external factors influencing behavior. There are still numerous methodological obstacles to surmount, such as the need for larger population samples, additional data triangulation, and study replication for more generalizable findings, which cause some research results are not entirely convincing. In addition, the current, expanding research on psychological constructs, both well-established and brand-new to our disciplines, may prove advantageous to the training and working methods of translators. For these and other reasons, it appears that there has never been a better time to become a "translation psychologist." Currently, the disciplines of organizational and social translation psychology are expanding. In this regard, it is necessary to encourage the development of more specialized discussion platforms that enable international research collaboration. These initiatives can take the form of a collaborative research effort based on agreed-upon fundamental premises or a coordinated compilation of predictions germane to interrelated disciplines.

Keywords: Psychology, translation ,book review ,interdisciplinary, Conceptualization, Psychology of translation, Book Review, Interdisciplinary approach, Theoretical approach

Received: 14 Apr 2023; Accepted: 05 May 2023.

Copyright: © 2023 XIAO and Ke. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Dr. Jiayan XIAO, Hubei University of Technology, Wuhan, China
Miss. Huan n. Ke, The University of Sydney, Darlington, NSW 2006, New South Wales, Australia