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CHAPTER 3 Research Design and Methodology

Chapter overview

The purpose of this chapter is to present the research design and methods used in this study. After discussing the interdisciplinary nature of Translation and Interpreting Studies (TIS), the chapter shows how the study was designed as action research using mixed methods. The research instruments used in this study are then described, followed by sections devoted to data treatment and analysis as well as the study subjects, procedures and ethical considerations. The chapter ends by summarizing how the pilot study influenced the design, conduct and outcomes of this study

Approaches to Translation and Interpreting Studies

In his previous study, the researcher noted that the way a study is designed “may affect the conduct and outcomes of research; therefore, the choice of research design must not be made lightly” (Magaia 2014, 45). In the same study, the researcher resorted to Cravo and Neves (2007, 94), who state that “in any research methodology, the relationship that a researcher establishes with the object of study will determine the kind of research to undergo”. Therefore, the researcher’s choice of a research method must always “keep in mind the object of his/her study” (Magaia 2014, 45).
In the introductory chapter (see Chapter 1, section 1.7.1), it was briefly mentioned that Translation Studies (TS) and Interpreting Studies (IS) emerged as new disciplines in the 1970s and the 1990s respectively (See Gentzler 2001, 77; Pöchhacker and Shlesinger 2002, 3-4). With regard to Translation Studies, Munday (2001, 182) points out that “despite the boom in interest in the field at the end of the twentieth century, there still remains a reluctance within some sections of the academic world to place translation studies on an equal footing with longer-established disciplines”. In a similar vein, Lan et al. (2009, 177) observe that “It is not unclear whether translation studies are yet recognized as an independent academic discipline”. Munday (2001, 182) conjectures that Translation Studies has seen “some moves in recent years … towards establishing links across disciplines”, adding that these “interdisciplinary approaches break down barriers and reflect the rapid exchange of knowledge in an increasingly globalized and information-rich society.”
This opinion is also shared by Hansen (2005; 2006), who argues for interdisciplinary approaches to investigating translation. Hansen (2006, 6) equates “interdisciplinarity” with what she calls “intermethodology”. The author shows one of the advantages of interdisciplinarity when she writes: “Disciplines and research patterns from psychology, phenomenology, natural sciences and social sciences provide empirical translation research with useful tools, methods and techniques” (Hansen 2006, 6). Saldanha and O’Brien (2013, 3) agree when they state that “Translation studies is interdisciplinary not only because it borrows from a wide range of disciplines but also because it covers a wide range of practices”. Similarly, Sun (2014, 176) suggests that viewing TS as an interdiscipline implies accepting the fact that nearly all research methods in its feeder disciplines may be used in this research field.
On the other hand, it can be said that the trend to view TS as interdisciplinary has a spill over effect on IS. For example, Liu (2011, 104) is assertive in saying that “translation and interpreting research has become and will continue to be more interdisciplinary”. Yan et al. (2015, 278) also note that
The relationship between theory and training … and the development of specific theories in training as informed by studies in communication, sociology, information processing, etc., indicate the interdisciplinary feature of T&I [Translation and Interpreting] research.
However, it is wise to take into account the following sobering remark on interdisciplinarity:
Yet the construction of an interdisciplinary methodology is not straightforward, since few researchers possess the necessary expertise in a wide range of subject areas, and the original academic background of the individual researcher inevitably conditions the focus of their approach (Munday 2001, 189).
Clearly, in conducting TIS, as any other type of research, it is important to give serious consideration to the design and methods, which should be compatible with the study’s objectives. In the next section, the study design and methods are described together with their theoretical rationale.

Study design and methods

This study has been designed as action research. Action research has been defined as any systematic inquiry conducted by teacher researchers, principals, school counsellors, or other stakeholders in the teaching/learning environment to gather information about how their particular schools operate, how they teach, and how their students learn. This information is gathered with the goals of gaining insight, developing reflective practice, effective positive changes in the school environment (and educational practices in general), and improving student outcomes and the lives of those involved (Mills (2003, 5).
According to Hine (2013, 151), action research is “a process of systematic inquiry that seeks to improve social issues affecting the lives of everyday people”. Hine (2013, 152) further states that “action research in education can be defined as the process of studying a school situation to understand and improve the quality of the educative process”. These definitions are consistent with Griffiths’ (1998, in Blaxter et al. 2001, 67) proposition that the purpose of action research is “always and explicitly, to improve practice”.
Action research design in TS is not new. For example, action research has been used in TS by scholars such as Cravo and Neves (2007, 96), because it allows researchers to be involved with people and particularly with the people who will, in the end, benefit from their research: the translators themselves, the students of translation and translators-to-be, the teachers of translation, and, above all, the ‘consumers’ of the end product.
Similarly, Saldanha and O’Brien (2013, 16) suggest that action research is appropriate in TS because it is “collaborative: it seeks to empower the stakeholders and moves away from the concepts of the ‘researcher’ and the ‘researched’”.
The choice of action research design was made bearing in mind the applied branch of TS this study falls into, namely translator training, with a particular focus on curriculum planning (see Holmes 2004, 189). As mentioned in the introductory chapter (see Chapter One, section 1.5), the aim of this study is to find an effective model that can guide the design of an ideal curriculum for training translators and interpreters in Mozambique, in particular, and in Africa, in general. In Mozambique, particularly, this research is aimed at benefiting Translation and Interpreting students in the first place, but UEM lecturers and potential Translation and Interpreting service users, too, should reap the benefits of the findings of this study if it achieves the goal of changing the status quo.
The research design had a bearing on the methods chosen for this study. It was felt that mixed methods were most appropriate for this study. One of the advantages of the mixed methods approach is that it “combines or associates both qualitative and quantitative forms” (Creswell 2009, 4). According to Blaxter et al. (2001, 84), an additional advantage of mixed methods is that they allow triangulation of data, which means a process of trying “to verify the validity of the information being collected”.
In this study, the choice of the mixed methods approach was made with the awareness that the dichotomy between qualitative and quantitative methods could lead to failure to achieve the goal of the study. Therefore, it was thought that neither qualitative nor quantitative methods – taken in isolation – could be appropriate for this study. For example, Allwood (2011, 1417) argues that the distinction between qualitative and quantitative research methods is problematic and that this distinction is “unclear, poor and therefore of limited value”. To prove his point, this author states that “Any phenomenon has both a qualitative and a quantitative aspect in the sense that it can be categorized and that it has some degree of ‘much-ness’” (Allwood 2001, 1422; emphasis in original). He goes further when he says:
One and the same data-collection method can usually be used to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. For example, questionnaires can contain both open-ended questions and numerical scales and questions in interviews can concern both numerical aspects (e.g., frequency of visits to the health center) and qualitative aspects (e.g., how an informant felt when receiving the news that his or her operation had been delayed for three weeks)… Thus data-collection methods are for various reasons not clearly quantitative or qualitative. (Allwood 2001, 1422; emphasis in original)
Thus this study does not favour qualitative over quantitative methods, and vice versa. Rather, both methods are used in combination within the research action design.


Rationale for adopting action research approaches

In section 1.4 of Chapter One, it was explained that the researcher’s awareness of his role in curriculum development at UEM was one of the reasons for embarking on this investigation. Being a UEM lecturer for over 10 years, the researcher found that action research approaches were the best way to tackle the problem identified: the lack of a translator and interpreter training model. This is consistent with McKernan’s (1996, 5) remark, according to which:
The rationale for action research rests, initially, on three pillars: first, that naturalistic settings are best studied and researcher by those participants experiencing the problem; second, that behaviour is highly influenced by the naturalistic surroundings in which it occurs; and third, that qualitative methodologies are perhaps best suited for researching naturalistic setting. Taken as a triad, these hypotheses suggest a rationale in the form of a critical-participant observation mode of practitioner inquiry.
McKernan goes on to say that if we believe that “the participant is best placed to conduct inquiry into pressing professional problems, then it follows that practitioners must engage in curriculum inquiry to improve their art and practice” (1996, 5). Similarly, Blaxter et al. (2001, 67) state that “the teacher who is concerned to improve performance in the classroom may find action research useful because it offers a systematic approach to the definition, solution and evaluation of problems and concerns”. In this case, the UEM teacher-researcher was moved to do this research by the realization that the improvement of classroom performance in translator and interpreter training might be impossible if the problems associated with the current curriculum were not addressed in the first place. Still, it is important to understand the principles of action research.

Action research model applied in UEM study

The action research model adopted for this study is that recommended by Calloun’s (1994) action research cycle (1994, in Mills 2003, 16-17), which follows the steps depicted in figure 5 below

1 Chapter overview
1.1 Background of the study
1.2 Problem statement
1.3 Rationale
1.4 Aims of the study
1.5 Goal
1.6 Theoretical framework
1.7 Objectives
Translation and Interpreting
Translation competence
Interpreting competence
A gap in Translation and Interpreting Studies
A “trap” in Translation and Interpreting Studies
A case for an African model for translator and interpreter training
Definitions of key terms
Competence-based curriculum
Design and method
Research instruments and analytical framework
Procedures and ethical considerations
Delimitations of this study
Significance of the study
Organization of the study
Chapter overview
A short survey of translator and interpreter training around the world
An overview of translator and interpreter training in Africa
Conditions for securing employment
The meaning of translation and interpreting
Translating and interpreting – similar yet different professions
The need for differentiated theoretical bases for Translation Studies and Interpreting Studies
Techniques translators use in acting out their role
Types of interpreting and interpreting strategies
Conference interpreting
Community interpreting
Court interpreting
TV interpreting
Signed language interpreting
Consecutive interpreting
Simultaneous interpreting
Whispered interpreting
Liaison interpreting
The sight translation technique for interpreting
Insight into translation competence
Campbell’s model
Shreve’s model
Will’s model
Mason’s model
Neubert’s model
Presas’ model
Kelly’s model
The PACTE Group’s and Göpferich’s models
EMT model
Insight into interpreting competence
The Healthcare Interpretation Network’s model
The ALTA’s model
Albl-Mikasa’s model
Fraihat and Mahadi’s model
Which model for designing a conducive curriculum?
Insights from previous UEM studies
UEM translator/interpreter training model under scrutiny
Chapter overview
Approaches to Translation and Interpreting Studies
Study design and methods
Rationale for adopting action research approaches
Action research model applied in UEM study
Research instruments
Translation test
Student’s final translation projects
Data treatment and analysis
Survey data
Translation error analysis method
SLOE/TLOE marking scheme
Eligibility Criteria
Ethical considerations
Participant Coding
The pilot study phase
Chapter overview
Respondent Profile
Current students’ sociolinguist profile
Former students’ sociolinguist profile
Potential students’ sociolinguistic profile
Lecturers’ professional profile
Translation/interpreting service providers’ profiles
Potential translation/interpreting service users’ profile
Assessing the current UEM translation curriculum
Findings on the effectiveness of the UEM curriculum
Findings on the recommendability of UEM curriculum
Findings on irrelevant modules
Findings on former students’ confidence to provide translation and interpreting services
Findings on graduate employability and course relevance
In search of an ideal translator/interpreter training model
Findings on the idea of training translators and interpreters under one single programme
Findings on the idea of training translators and interpreters under two separate courses
Findings on the idea of training translators and interpreters under an umbrella language science course
Findings on a mandatory bidirectional translation/interpreting practice policy
Proposing a new translator/interpreter training model and improved curricula for UEM
Feedback on the researcher’s model proposed as a framework for guiding the training of Mozambican translators/interpreters
Suggestions for improving the proposed model
Feedback on three curriculum proposals to replace the current UEM curriculum
Suggestions on the best ranked proposal
Source text characteristics
Translation error analysis method applied to this study
Findings on former students’ output speed
Results of former UEM student’ translation error analysis
English translation test analysis
Portuguese translation test analysis
Summary of the English translation error analysis
Summary of the Portuguese translation error analysis
Overall graduate performance analysis
Chapter overview

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