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Of minds and men – computers and translators

Ricardo Muñoz Martín

Abstract

Translation process research (TPR) efforts seem at times unconcerned with the theoretical foundations they need to interpret their results. A pervasive theoretical approach within TPR has been the mind-as-computer view. This approach has fostered both mechanistic and functional explanations of the translation process, including semantic notions of meaning, unrealistic constructs of the mental lexicon, and reified notions of equivalence. Some consequences of the approach are illustrated with discussions in the realm of translation quality assessment (automated and combined metrics, rubrics based on error categorization, and the impact of human variables and factors) and the monitor model hypothesis and its recent developments. Alternative approaches that draw from 4EA cognition are sketched that suggest that meaning is encyclopedic; that it is a process that cannot be measured; that the mental lexicon is only an abstraction of a part of (world-) knowledge; and that the tendency to choose default translations follows from the very structure of the brain/mind and the minimax principle.


Ricardo Muñoz Martín School of Translation and interpreting Universidad de las Palmas de Gran Canaria c / Pérez del Toro, 1 Las Palmas de Gran Canaria Canary Islands E-35003 Spain

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Published Online: 2016-6-13
Published in Print: 2016-6-13

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