ergonomics; translation; situated cognition; workplace; usability; human-computer interaction
Ehrensberger-DowMaureen (2021), Ergonomics and translation workplaces, in van Doorslaer Luc, Gambier Yves (ed.), John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 67-72.
Ehrensberger-DowMaureen (2021), Translation, ergonomics and cognition, in Jakobsen Arnt Lykke, Alves Fabio (ed.), Routledge, London, 147-160.
Kappus Martin, Ehrensberger-Dow Maureen (2020), The ergonomics of translation tools: Understanding when less is actually more, in The Interpreter and Translator Trainer
, 14(4), 386-404.
Ehrensberger-Dow Maureen, Jääskeläinen Riitta (2019), Ergonomics of translation. Methodological, practical, and educational implications, in Brøgger Matilde Nisbeth, Dam Helle V., Zethsen Karen Korning (ed.), Routledge, Abingdon, 132-150.
Ehrensberger-Dow Maureen (2017), An ergonomic perspective of translation, in Schwieter John W., Ferreira Aline (ed.), Wiley-Blackwell, London, 332-349.
Ehrensberger-Dow Maureen, Hunziker Heeb Andrea, Massey Gary, Meidert Ursula, Neumann Silke, Becker Heidrun (2016), An international survey of the ergonomics of professional translation, in ILCEA Revue de l’Institut des Langues et des Cultures d’Europe et d’Amérique
, 27, 1-21.
Meidert Ursula, Neumann Silke, Ehrensberger-Dow Maureen, Becker Heidrun (2016), Physical ergonomics at translators’ workplaces: Findings from ergonomic workplace assessments and interviews., in ILCEA Revue de l’Institut des Langues et des Cultures d’Europe et d’Amérique
, 27, 1-18.
Angelone Erik, Ehrensberger-Dow Maureen, Massey Gary (2016), Cognitive Processes, in Angelelli Claudia (ed.), Taylor & Francis Routledge, Abingdon, 43-57.
Ehrensberger-Dow Maureen, Hunziker Heeb Andrea (2016), Investigating the ergonomics of a technologized translation workplace, in Muñoz Martín Ricardo (ed.), John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 69-88.
Ehrensberger-Dow Maureen, O'Brien Sharon (2015), Ergonomics of the translation workplace: Potential for cognitive friction, in Translation Spaces
, 4(1), 98-118.
Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow (ed.) (2015), Interdisciplinarity in Translation and Interpreting Process Research
, John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
Ehrensberger-Dow Maureen, Massey Gary (2015), Translation process research in the workplace, in EST Newsletter
, 46, 11-12.
Ehrensberger-Dow Maureen (2014), Challenges of translation process research at the workplace, in MonTI Monographs in Translation and Interpreting
, 7, 355-383.
Ehrensberger-Dow Maureen, Massey Gary (2014), Cognitive ergonomic issues in professional translation, in Schwieter John W. (ed.), Cambridge Scholar Publishers, Newcastle, UK, 58-86.
Ehrensberger-Dow Maureen (ed.) (2014), The Development of Professional Competence (TIS Special Issue)
, John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
Ehrensberger-Dow Maureen, Massey Gary (2014), Translators and machines: working together, in Proceedings of XXth World Congress of the International Federation of Translators
, 2014, 2014.
Ehrensberger-Dow Maureen (ed.) (2013), Describing cognitive processes in translation: acts and events (TIS Special Issue)
, John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
Like many other knowledge workers, professional translators spend much of their day making decisions at a computer: reading a text in one language, searching for background information in order to understand the message properly, referring to terminology databanks to ensure consistency and appropriacy of lexical choices, checking parallel texts to decide how to meet the needs of the target readership, producing a text in another language, and revising the target text to produce the final translation. If the flow of information or level of concentration is impaired due to non-optimal workplace ergonomics, then the efficiency of the process can be compromised and the quality of the final product can suffer. Telephones ringing, people talking nearby, irritating pop-up notices on-screen, crowded websites, delays in computer responsiveness, small fonts, repetitive movements, uncomfortable chairs, and complicated procedures are just a few examples of ergonomically-related factors that can contribute to cognitive (over)load and stress. Despite high levels of competence, professionals may not be able to perform at the expected level or they may have to exert inordinate effort to do so, with potentially detrimental consequences to their health and job satisfaction.In the project proposed here, models of situated cognition, translation competence, and organizational constraints provide the theoretical framework to consider and evaluate the cognitive and physical ergonomic factors that can impact the situated activity of professional translation. The recursive mixed-methods design of this interdisciplinary project combines perspectives from translation studies, occupational health, usability testing, and language technology. It includes ethnographic observation of the workplace, ergonomic assessments, questionnaires, interviews, computer logging, screen recordings, video recordings, eye-tracking, usability experiments, and retrospective verbalizations. A large corpus of data collected in a longitudinal precursor study of translation competence will serve as a source of indications of ergonomic issues to form the initial hypotheses. These will be tested and refined with on-site ergonomic assessments and recordings of three groups of professional translators whose work conditions fit various profiles as well as with experiments in a usability lab, an online survey, and in-depth interviews. The data from each project phase will be analyzed for indicators of cognitive dissonance attributable to the ergonomics of the human-computer interfaces or workplace conditions and will be triangulated with the findings from the other phases.The synthesis of the translation studies, occupational health, usability testing, and language technology perspectives in the present interdisciplinary project will contribute to the development of an evidence-based model to explain the impact of cognitive and physical ergonomic issues on the situated activity of professional translation. From this, hypotheses can be derived about how such ergonomic issues can be dealt with and their negative consequences minimized. The results of the project are expected to have implications for theoretical models of extended cognition and situated activity, workplace practice, education, and further developments at the human-computer interface as well as to provide insights into how the ergonomics of translation workplaces can be optimized. These insights, in turn, can be incorporated into undergraduate, graduate, and professional development programs in translation and occupational health as good practice models of how to support and facilitate computer-based work not only for professional translators but also for other knowledge workers in similar conditions.