Bilingualism and directionality in translation

12 December 2019, Université Saint-Louis Brussels

Writing in a non-native language, essentially in English as a lingua franca, is a frequent and socially encouraged practice. The situation is different in the translation industry, where translation into L2 (i.e. the translator’s non-native language) is officially discouraged in some Western European countries. Despite this official standpoint, a European survey conducted in 2015 shows that over 50% of the respondents translate into their L2 (mainly English) on a regular basis.

Because of its ambiguous status on the translation market, translation into L2, and more generally, the issue of translation directionality (similarities and differences between the L2 > L1 and L1 > L2 translation directions), has received relatively little attention in translation research to date. The aim of the present workshop is to make a contribution to filling this gap. To gain a comprehensive view of this complex issue, we adopt an interdisciplinary perspective. Assuming that translation creates a situation of bilingualism in which two languages are activated simultaneously, we will draw upon psycholinguistic experimental approaches to bilingualism to shed light on the processing of L1 and L2 as target languages. These insights will be compared with observations obtained in process- and product-oriented translation research as well as in research into L2 writing.