Targeted writing instruction for professional translators How does it affect the translators’ translation products and decision-making processes?

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Published May 15, 2017
Iris Schrijver Leona van Vaerenbergh Mariëlle Leijten Luuk van Waes


This paper reports on an exploratory study into the effects of targeted writing instruction on the translation products and decision-making processes of professional translators. A pretest– posttest experimental design was used, in which five professional translators were trained in writing instructive texts in their L1 (Dutch). In the pretest and posttest, the translators were asked to translate into Dutch a Spanish user manual of a household appliance. The transfer of the writing-instruction information to the translation task was examined by means of product and process analyses. The analyses suggest that overall the professionals took into account many elements from the writing instruction in the translation process. However, the types and number of writing instruction elements that they used in their translation products differed considerably among the professionals, as did the quality of their translation products. The writing instruction nonetheless seems to improve the professionals’ genre knowledge and their target-audience awareness. Moreover, it seems to lead to fewer style- and genre-related translation errors and appears to deepen reflection. Targeted writing instruction could therefore be interesting to include in in-service training for professional translators or for other language specialists, especially to familiarize them with new text genres.

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Schrijver, Iris, Leona van Vaerenbergh, Mariëlle Leijten, and Luuk van Waes. 2017. “Targeted Writing Instruction for Professional Translators: How Does It Affect the translators’ Translation Products and Decision-Making Processes?”. Fachsprache 39 (1-2):20-42.
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