PhD project (Helena Wedig). Academic literacy in German as a foreign language: A corpus-based contrastive analysis of cohesion in written learner language. (start Oct. 2020)

Abstract

This research project investigates how advanced learners of German as a foreign language (L2) establish cohesion in their academic L2 writing. To enable effective and reader-oriented written communication in academic and professional settings, language learners must develop the ability to create cohesion, which is a crucial component of advanced communicative competence. This means that L2 learners must learn to use grammatical and lexical devices appropriately to signal the logical structure of a text to readers, connecting words into sentences, paragraphs, ideas and texts. Since the use of cohesive devices is highly language-dependent, cohesion is an important aspect of the language acquisition process, transcending traditional grammar–vocabulary distinctions. Given the importance of cohesion in high-quality writing, it is surprising that the cohesive devices deployed by language learners have received little attention in second language acquisition (SLA) research to date. While there is a growing body of research into cohesion in translation studies, which has led to theoretical insights into how languages differ in terms of cohesion, SLA research into cohesion has been limited to a handful of studies in advanced L2 English writing. SLA research into other languages – including German – has until now largely neglected cohesion as an important aspect of language acquisition. A similar lack of attention to cohesion has also been witnessed in L2 pedagogy, where cohesion is often neglected (e.g., in learning materials). As a result, L2 writers often make non-nativelike choices with respect to cohesion, even at advanced stages of language proficiency. Our project sets out to fill the two gaps above by proposing a comprehensive analysis of cohesion in academic L2 German writing, more specifically, summary writing. Our aim is threefold: (1) analyse similarities and differences in the use of cohesive devices by native (L1) and non-native (L2) writers in German; (2) investigate specific characteristics of cohesion in learners with L1 Dutch. To this aim, we will compile, annotate and publish a corpus of texts written by advanced Dutch-speaking L2 learners of German and (3) suggest fruitful applications of our theoretical findings to L2 pedagogy. We will adopt repeated contrastive corpus-based analysis, which is a new method consisting, in our project, of the comparison of three purposefully selected comparable corpora: (1) an existing corpus of summaries produced by L1 writers of German, (2) an existing corpus of summaries produced by L2 writers of German with different L1 backgrounds and (3) our newly created corpus of summaries produced by L2 writers of German with L1 Dutch. In so doing, we contribute to the growing body of learner corpora, which are gaining momentum in SLA research. In addition, we advance the theoretical knowledge of learner language by identifying L1-specific and L1-independent characteristics of cohesion in academic learner language, using novel methods and proposing evidence-based innovation in advanced L2 pedagogy.

Financieringsbron(nen)


Onderzoeker(s)

Promotor: Strobl Carola

Co-promotors: Mortelmans Tanja, Ureel Jim

Mandaathouder: Helena Wedig

Onderzoeksgroep(en)

TricS

PhD project (Kim Steyaert). Towards a greater accessibility of audiovisual media: exploring machine translation for audio description from English into Dutch (start Sep. 2020)

Abstract 

A key concern within Translation Studies is the profound impact of technological developments on the dynamic human-machine interactions. In this respect, the introduction of neural machine translation systems has had a profound influence on the study and practice of translation. The role of technology is particularly outspoken in the area of focus of the present project, namely Audio Description (AD). AD is an access service that translates images into words, which are inserted in between the music, sound and dialogue of the original audiovisual source text so that audiences who (cannot) see, still have access to the text's content. Despite technology being key in AD research and practice, machine translation for audio description has not been studied yet. Due to recent EU legislation, however, Flemish audiovisual content providers will have to drastically increase the amount of AD that they provide. The translation of existing English descriptions of foreign films and series into Dutch with the use of machine translation systems is an obvious avenue to be explored to meet these new legislative demands. However, limited preliminary research suggests that current machine translation systems do not generate an acceptable quality level for AD, because these systems have not been developed to meet the specific exigencies of this text type. ADs pose domain-specific translation challenges. It is a multimodal and intersemiotic type of translation and constitutes a unique transfer of information between semiotically distinct modes of communication; a fact that has not been taken into account in current research and a fact that poses methodological challenges given the lack of translation studies frameworks to study technology for multimodal text types such as AD. Against this background, the current project aims to explore machine-assisted translation for AD and the exigencies of audio description versus the possibilities of technology and human input, following three research objectives: • Applied objective: to explore the effectiveness and efficiency of machine translation for audio description into Dutch. • Strategic objective: to explore what innovative optimizations could improve the quality level of machine translation for audio description. • Fundamental objective: contribute to the discussion about the interdisciplinary and methodological challenges related to the study of technology and its interaction with humans in Translation Studies more generally, and for multimodal texts specifically. The project is a mixed-methods study, combining human-centered approaches and automatic evaluation methods with product as well as process-oriented research. It includes the human and machine evaluation of a corpus of translated audio descriptions, as well as an experiment with professional audio describers. This will allow us to gather data about the types of errors in the machine translation output, the number of errors made, the number and types of corrections made by professional describers and the time spent on correcting machine translation output. The text analysis and experiment will be supported by a thorough, interdisciplinary literature study, setting our findings off against current insights in literature and against the newest developments in machine translation research. The project constitutes a first step to gather fundamental knowledge regarding the study of technology for multimodal text types and strategic knowledge to start developing machine translation for audio description more systematically.

Financieringsbron(nen)

BOF

Onderzoeker(s)

Promotors: Nina Reviers, Gert Vercauteren

Mandaathouder: Kim Steyaert

Onderzoeksgroep(en)

TricS

PhD project (Mathijs Verhaegen). Interaction management and monitoring: an experimental study in various configurations of remote dialogue interpreting (start Sep. 2020)

Abstract

In research on remote dialogue interpreting, the topic of interaction management, i.e. the way in which an interpreter coordinates conversation between various participants, remains largely unexplored. Moreover, no studies thus far have attempted to compare interaction management along with the related concept of monitoring across different interpreting media. The present study will therefore attempt to explore interaction management in remote dialogue interpreting within a social-interactional framework through the concept of monitoring. Through comparative, multimodal analyses of simulated interpreter-mediated events (IME) and semi-structured post-hoc interviews, it seeks to investigate possible differences in monitoring processes between face-to-face IMEs and various configurations of remote IMEs, while also considering potential consequences for interaction management during remote IMEs.

Financieringsbron(nen)

Onderzoeker(s)

Promotors: Nina Reviers, Esther de Boe

Mandaathouder: Mathijs Verhaegen

Onderzoeksgroep(en)

TricS

PhD project (Esther de Boe): Remote Interpreting in medical healthcare. A comparative study on the influence of the use of telephone and videolink on interpreting quality (End 2020)

Abstract:
In recent years, remote interpreting has gained a firm footing within the practice of interpreting, especially in public service interpreting. So far however, in healthcare settings, little empirical research has scrutinized the interpreting performance under remote conditions. This doctoral thesis tries to partially bridge that gap. The main corpus consists of three series of simulations of interpreter-mediated doctor-patient consultations. Within each series, a different interpreter performs her task under three different conditions (face-to-face, by telephone and by video link). The collected video data is quantitatively and qualitatively analyzed by means of a multi-modal assessment tool to evaluate interpreting quality and triangulated by data retrieved from semi-structured interviews. The aim of the research is to identify possible differences in interpreting quality under remote conditions as compared to face-to-face interpreting, and establish to what extent observed problems may be attributed to the remote conditions.

Promotor: Prof. dr Aline Remael, Prof. dr Jim Ureel

PhD student: Esther de Boe

PhD project (Hanne Roofthooft). A stage for the world: toward an inclusive theatre experience (start Nov. 2017)

Abstract

Promotor: Aline Remael (TricS) en Luc Van den Dries (Visual Poetics).

PhD student: Hanne Roofthooft

Start: November 2017

PhD (Nina Reviers). Audio-description in Dutch: A corpus-based study into the linguistic features of a new, multimodal text type (end 2017)

Abstract

Het onderhavige project is een corpusgebaseerde studie van de taalkundige eigenschappen van een nieuw multimodaal teksttype binnen audiovisuele vertaling (AV), namelijk audiobeschrijving of audiodescriptie (AD) voor blinden en slechtzienden. De doelstelling van dit interdisciplinaire project is het in kaart brengen van de lexico-grammaticale kenmerken van AD-scripts en het onderzoeken van de rol die deze kenmerken spelen voor de specifieke communicatieve functie van de tekst als geheel. Op die manier wil dit project een antwoord bieden op één van de centrale onderzoeksvragen binnen het domein: hoe worden beelden omgezet in woorden en wat zijn de implicaties voor het gehanteerde Nederlands? Recent pilootonderzoek wijst uit dat de taal van AD tekstspecifieke grammaticale (morfo-syntactische) en lexicale kenmerken vertoont en dat corpusanalyse toelaat om die specifieke patronen bloot te leggen. Dit onderzoek beoogt, ten eerste, de uitbouw van een omvangrijk en gevarieerd tekstcorpus van AD-scripts van in het Nederlands audiobeschreven films en series, waarop dan, ten tweede, kwantitatief linguïstisch onderzoek verricht kan worden met als doel de prominente lexico-grammaticale kenmerken van dit teksttype te identificeren. De kwantitatieve analyses worden ten slotte aangevuld met een kwalitatieve analyse van de (communicatieve) functie van deze kenmerken. Een bijzonder aandachtspunt bij dit tweede deel vormt het multimodale karakter van het teksttype: het AD-script komt pas tot zijn recht in interactie met de dialogen, muziek en geluidseffecten van de originele film of serie, waarmee het een coherent geheel vormt. Een kwalitatieve functie-analyse laat toe deze unieke wisselwerking tussen de taal van AD en de andere kanalen van het audiovisuele materiaal te verkennen. Finaal streeft het project naar een uitvoerige linguïstische en 'audience design' georiënteerde analyse van AD-discourse, die een antwoord moet bieden op de vraag wat AD tot een apart teksttype maakt, hoe de taal- en stijlkenmerken ingezet worden om bij te dragen tot een maximaal communicatief rendement en hoe diezelfde kenmerken gerelateerd zijn aan de functie en de multimodale inbedding van AD. Dit project is pioniersonderzoek binnen het domein: er is internationale onderzoeksbelangstelling maar voor Vlaanderen en Nederland is er nog geen onderzoek beschikbaar. Bovendien vormt het een onmisbare basis voor toepassingsgericht vervolgonderzoek. AD in Vlaanderen staat in zijn kinderschoenen (zo is de VRT in 2012 voor het eerst gestart met het aanbieden van AD bij de serie Witse). Fundamentele onderzoeksprojecten als dit bieden dan ook de nodige ondersteuning voor de ontwikkeling van een lokale AD-traditie die aan internationale kwaliteitseisen voldoet.

Financieringsbron(nen)

BOF

Onderzoeker(s)

Promotor: Vandekerckhove Reinhild

Co-promotor: Remael Aline

Mandaathouder: Reviers Nina

Onderzoeksgroep(en)

TricS en Centrum voor Computerlinguïstiek en Psycholinguïstiek (CLiPS)