Translation as an emotion episode—A perspective on the translation process beyond the classical cognitive approach

Based on our understanding of an emotion episode and the modelling of the translation process within the classical cognitive paradigm, the aim of this section is to integrate translation process research and recent research on emotion. We will provide a perspective on the translation process which attempts to broaden the classical cognitive approach to translation by framing the translation process within the componential view of emotion. As outlined before, this compo-nential view of emotion enables an understanding of an emotion episode during translation by dividing it into different components. In the following, we will therefore discuss the role of the five components that form an emotion episode in the translation process.

The appraisal component during the translation process

As explained earlier, emotions are triggered by internal or external stimuli that are of major significance to the individual. During the translation process, cognitive evaluations of objects or events thus form the onset of an emotion episode. These appraisals are based on the translators subjective perception of the circumstances, and the result of this cognitive evaluation is assumed to produce changes in the other four components of emotion, leading to different emotional states and an adaptation to the current situation. A translator may, for example, be happy about a particular translation solution or be worried about the functioning of a translation memory.

In the translators workplace, potentially emotion-eliciting stimuli can be divided into four major groups: the text that is translated, performance assessments, the translators working conditions and the translators personal well-being. Emotion-eliciting stimuli during the translation process can be not only actually occurring stimuli but also remembered or imagined stimuli, such as past experiences or worry about potential positive or negative outcomes of one’s actions. Moreover, two types of emotions can be distinguished: integral and incidental emotions. Integral emotions, such as text-related emotions, refer to emotional responses that are directly linked to the object of judgement or decision and are experienced through direct exposure to the object itself or in response to some representation of it. In the translator’s work, the text that is translated constitutes an important potential stimulus, as emotions are a vital part of the mental representation of texts (Hansen, 2006; Lederer, 2003). During the translation process, emotional responses to text content and aesthetic responses co-exist. A translator can, for example, get annoyed because of the poor style of a text or be moved by the fate of a person described in a narrative. Incidental emotions, on the other hand, are unrelated to the judgements or decisions being made during translation and are elicited through other stimuli that are present in the translation situation (Loewenstein & Lerner, 2003). Performance assessments, for example feedback during training or feedback from revisors or clients, are an important group of appraisals associated with incidental emotions. In addition, the translators working conditions involve a range of emotional stimuli. For example, time pressure, submission deadlines, job uncertainty', adaptation to working with new translation technologies, contacts with clients or other team members, and workload have the potential to elicit a range of positive and negative incidental emotions as well as stress.The last term refers to a particular emotional response to “either acute or chronic strains” (Uchino et al., 2009, p. 383). The last group of appraisals can be subsumed under the category that relates to the translators personal well-being.These appraisals depend on stimuli entirely external to the translation situation. For example, anger elicited by' a traffic jam in the morning can shape the emotional state of the translator at work.

The action tendency component of emotion and its influence on translators' decisions

The action tendency component of emotion ensures the preparation and direction of appropriate action during an emotion episode. It is of crucial importance in the context of translation, as action tendencies are associated with specific cognitive and motivational processes, which can influence the translators information processing, perception and mental representation of the translation situation. Three core influences of emotion have been identified: (1) emotioncongruence effects, (2) the processing consequences of affect and (3) inferential mechanisms (Forgas, 1995; Fredrickson & Branigan, 2005; Schwarz & Clore, 1983).These different influences of emotion facilitate the processing of emotion-congruent information, influence the translators cognitive processing style or lead to generally' more positive or negative judgements.

  • (1) Emotion-congruence effects are based on the assumption that during an emotional state, information that is associated with the emotion is primed, its processing is facilitated, and it is more likely to be used in information encoding and retrieval.This leads to attentional selectivity to emotion-congruent features in the translation task and a potential mediation of perception by' the emotional state (Forgas, 1995).
  • (2) Moreover, emotion may' influence not only' what people think but also how people think, through its effects on the way information is processed. Research studying the processing consequences of affect (Fredrickson, 1998; Schwarz, 2002) assumes that negative emotions function as a warning signal, indicating that the environment is threatening and that these concerns must be addressed. Individuals therefore become more motivated to identify; alleviate or eliminate the problem, resulting in increased attention to the details at hand and a more analytic, systematic processing strategy. Conversely, positive emotions signal that the environment is safe and are associated with reliance on less demanding heuristic processing and prior general knowledge. Also, they' imply' a tendency to explore, as well as a general openness to the unusual, and have the ability to widen attention and to broaden people s momentary thought-action repertoires. Through this, positive emotions stimulate diverse thoughts and actions, enhance creativity' and allow a building up of intellectual resources.
  • (3) Lastly, influences of emotion on inferential mechanisms start from the assumption that people attend to their feelings as a source of information (Schwarz & Clore, 1983). As affective states convey information about the positive or negative aspect of things, they lead to generally more positive or negative judgements. This influence of affective states increases with its perceived relevance for the judgement, but it may also be misattributed, so that emotions aroused by one event may affect judgements in an entirely different situation.

As a consequence, through their influences on both lower-level and higher-level cognition, emotions can modulate attention, interpretation, judgement, problem solving and decisionmaking processes during the translation process. Influences of emotion on translational choices may then become visible in the translated text and may have an influence on the perception of the text by the reader, but may also be retraceable during the process itself, through their influence on the use of auxiliary devices, time spent translating, pauses, production speed, segmentation or revision behaviour.

The physiological and the expression component of emotion during the translation process

When a translator is experiencing an emotion, the physiological component of emotion ensures an appropriate response from the body system. Apart from increased activity in brain areas implicated in emotion processing, such as the amygdala and the frontal cortex (Sander et al., 2005), cardiovascular and electrodermal responses (Mauss & Robinson, 2010) or changes in eye properties (Bradley et al., 2008) will indicate activation in the autonomic nervous system as a function of emotional responding. Moreover, higher stress levels have been shown to affect salivation during interpreting (Moser-Mercer, 2003) as well as translators’ levels of adrenaline (Bayer-Hohenwarter, 2009).

Further, the expression component of emotion can be observable during the translation process. It includes the verbal and non-verbal communication of emotion and is particularly important at an inter-individual level, for example during a translator’s interactions with colleagues or clients. A translator may smile at a client to express happiness, or the acoustic properties of the translators voice can be affected by his anger in social interactions with colleagues. Moreover, variations in body movements, such as the adoption of expansive and diminutive body postures, can be behavioural indicators of emotional reactions (Tracy & Robins, 2004) and can convey specific information about the translator’s emotional state while translating.

The translator's subjective feeling

During an emotion episode, activation in the different emotion components gives rise to the translator’s feeling, i.e. the conscious experience of emotion. The subjective feeling component underlies the experience of feeling good or bad, the experience of a particular discrete emotion, and the extent to which translators enjoy the translation task. This emotion component is continuously updated and has an important monitoring and regulatory function. A negative feeling, for example, allows the translator to make regulatory efforts and to employ an emotion regulation strategy, such as situation selection, where a translator may choose not to translate a particular text to avoid frustration.

The dynamic relations of the emotion components

While zooming in on single emotion components allows us to describe an entire emotional episode as well as the processes within the five emotion components, it is important to note that these components are not independent of each other and interact in complex and dynamic ways during the translation process. As appraisals and the changes they produce form the context for the following subjective evaluations of a situation, recursive effects of an elicited emotion can occur, and emotions may not only exert a momentary influence but impact on whole sequences of action during the translation process. Recursive effects of emotions happen through feedback from the pattern of emotional reaction in the different components on the ongoing process of cognitive evaluation, which then again influences the other emotion components, namely subsequent action tendencies, physiological response, expression and subjective feeling.

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