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24 March 2021 - 24 March 2021

11:00AM - 12:30PM

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Cognitive Translation and Interpreting Studies is one of the oldest fields of research in our realm—in fact, decades older than Translation Studies.

At the beginning, it was computer scientists and psycholinguists who were interested in the cognition of translators and interpreters. Both of them were interested in the human mind as a machine. Computer scientists aimed (and they often still do) to learn how our brains translate so that the purported mechanism could be reproduced in computers. Psycholinguists saw in extreme cases of language use, such as simultaneous interpreting, a testbed to study their hypotheses about the structure and workings of the mind. When their approach failed to yield significant results, the language departments received a mandate from the ALPAC report to focus on explaining how humans translate. However, together with the responsibility, we were handed down a conceptual apparatus and a set of ways and goals that did not do justice to the nature of mind or even to our interests: strategies, translation units, problem-solving, working memory have taken the lion's share of our efforts until, with the development of new theories of cognition, we have shifted our attention away from the machine. We are now no longer studying the cars but their drivers.