The Linguist

The Linguist 58,2-June/July 2019

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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10 The Linguist Vol/58 No/2 2019 ALL IN THE MIND A patient is prepared for an EEG, the oldest functional brain imaging technique, which provides real-time measurements of brain activity What cutting-edge developments in cognitive neuroscience reveal about the translating brain. By Binghan Zheng In this increasingly globalised world, language mediation has become widespread – from daily communication and business negotiation to international affairs. Over the past three decades, researchers have undertaken in-depth investigation into the cognitive process of translation by applying methods such as keystroke logging and eye- tracking in order to address a key question: 'What goes on in the translator's mind?' This has greatly contributed to our understanding of the behavioural and cognitive processes of translation. However, the core question regarding the neurobiological mechanisms underlying the complex mental processes involved has remained one of the chief 'known unknowns' in Translation Studies. Translation scholars and neurolinguists share an increasing interest in the interface between the cognitive process and neurophysiological evidence, which has been primarily supported by the development of powerful neuroimaging technologies such as EEG, PET and fMRI (for details, see glossary on page 12). It is the general view of neurolinguistic researchers that for most right-handed individuals, the left hemisphere of the brain controls the functions relating to grammar, vocabulary and literal meaning. The two major areas associated with language comprehension and speech production (Broca's area and Wernicke's area) are also located in the left hemisphere. Confirming this, recent research has found that translation routes are strongly left- lateralised, and this is supported by empirical evidence that damage to this language-dominant hemisphere leads to severe dysfunction in translation tasks. Forward vs backward translation Translation directionality studies look into the differences between forward translation (from L1 into L2) and backward translation (from L2 into L1). 1 Since there has been a 'golden rule' that forward translation should be discouraged, researchers have created experimental projects to test the evidence for this assertion. Kroll and The translator's brain

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