METM11 panel     Thread: Knowledge updates

Sorting the wheat from the chaff: how to identify and evaluate research that is relevant to you as an authors' editor and translator

Sally Burgess, coordinator -” Tenerife, Spain

Research of relevance to MET members has been given an increasingly high profile in the annual meeting over recent years. As a result many language service providers who attend the meeting have become very much aware of the fact that there are research publications potentially relevant to their work (e.g., on genre analysis and corpus linguistics). The problem is that it is not always so easy to decide exactly what constitutes good research in fields other than those in which one works as an editor and translator. This creates a bottleneck in the transfer of findings that could inform our practice.

This panel presentation will seek to broaden the repertoire of research traditions to watch and suggest key publications in which best examples of that research might be found. We will look at a variety of theories and approaches to research design and procedure and show what they potentially have to offer the language service provider. We will also point out the principal flaws that one may find and show how these flaws may make the research less relevant or perhaps not worth reading at all.


Sally Burgess, coordinator, coordinator, is a lecturer in English language and linguistics at the University of La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain. Her research interests involve comparing academic discourse practices across languages and disciplines as well as the writing, editing, and translation resources available to scholars who use English as an additional language and who seek to publish their work internationally. She has carried out intercultural rhetoric research focussing particularly on academic criticism, rhetorical structure and, more recently, citation practices. She also conducted a study of the publishing behaviours of Spanish-speaking scholars working at the University of La Laguna and is now involved in a national project examining similar issues.

Karen Bennett is a member of the Centre for English Studies, University of Lisbon, where she researches in the area of Translation Studies. She has a PhD in Translation Studies and is also a practising translator, specializing in the translation of academic texts from Portuguese and French into English. She currently teaches English for Academic Purposes and Scientific Communication at the University of Coimbra, and has also been involved in the training of translators for the Catholic University, University of Coimbra and British Council. She has published numerous articles on many translation-related subjects, and has two books coming out soon: Academic Writing in Portugal I: Discourses in Conflict by Coimbra University Press (June 2011) and Academic Discourse, Translation and Hegemony: the Transfer of Knowledge in the Age of Globalization, St Jerome Press, Manchester (2012).

Mary Ellen Kerans, an author's editor based in Barcelona, Spain, will have spoken on about how her reading of one body of research into writers' behaviors, attitudes and use of resources underpinned the way she edits and translates for authors. On this panel she'll talk briefly about how to find such literature and identify features she thinks make for reliability, as well as how to read and extrapolate usefully from -œwriting about writing-.

Susan DiGiacomo, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Catalonia, and University of Massachusetts at Amherst, USA, has some 20 years' experience as a translator of anthropology, and more recently developed an in-house biomedical translation service for researchers at a Barcelona hospital. Now a faculty member in the URV Department of Anthropology, she offers a departmental publication support service that includes both editorial assistance and translation.