ÚTRLProjekty & VeřejnostDirectionality in Translation


Czech Science Foundation (GA ČR), project nr. 16-03037S


Institute of Translation Studies, Charles University, Prague


Tomáš Duběda dubeda@ff.cuni.cz

David Mraček mracek.d@seznam.cz

Vanda Obdržálková vanda.kuklova@seznam.cz



Languages covered


About the project

Our project seeks to explore the issue of non-native translation (also known as inverse or L2 translation), which has so far received limited attention from researchers in Translation Studies and has even been rejected by some as unnatural and unprofessional, despite being an increasingly common practice in numerous countries, including the Czech Republic.

A large sample of translations between Czech and English/French will allow for extensive empirical research into the quality of inverse vs. direct translation and how quality is dependent on factors such as text genre, time allotted for the task, and years of experience.

Further data will be gleaned from a set of pre- and post-testing questionnaires obtained from the participants, shedding more light on the preferences, perceptions and habits of Czech translators regarding inverse translation, in addition to identifying the specific challenges involved in inverse translation and strategies employed to overcome them. Complementary methods, such as interviewing native speaker revisers and analysing the ways local translation agencies communicate with clients and potential translators about inverse translation, are expected to contribute to a better understanding of the specificities of the Czech market.

The sample

160 translations (each 1 standard page long) obtained from 40 Czech translators (20 professionals and 20 M.A. students; 20 translating from/into English and 20 translating from/into French).

Two text genres were used: promotional (web presentation of a kitchen producer), and legal (terms and conditions of a web server).

Each tested person produced translations in both directions, i.e. two direct and two inverse translations.

The participants filled in one pre-testing questionnaire and two post-testing questionnaires.

The tested subjects worked in their homes and were allowed to use any resources except for communication with other people. 90 minutes per page were allowed. All translations are anonymous and will be used exclusively for non-commercial purposes. The translators were remunerated for their work.

The translation database is a highly relevant empirical resource, as it is based on carefully calibrated texts, has been obtained under controlled conditions, and contains both translated texts and questionnaire data.

Quality assessment

A detailed guide was elaborated to guarantee cross-assessor compatibility. Two parallel approaches were used: global (overall mark), and local (error type and frequency).

Global assessment scale: A – excellent, B – acceptable, C – borderline, F – unacceptable.

Error categories: Ⓥ – meaning (gross error), V – meaning, T – terminology, S – style, G – grammar, F – form.

All translations into Czech were assessed by a panel of three native revisers. Translations into English and French were assessed by two independent native assessors for each language.


Conferences attended

  • Profilingua 2016, Plzeň (Czech Republic)

    Vanda Obdržálková: Strategie řešení problémů v překladu neliterárního textu do mateřského a nemateřského jazyka

  • Xe Colloque sur la traduction, la terminologie et l’interprétation, Varadero (Cuba), 2016

    Tomáš Duběda : La traduction vers la langue B : entre qualité du produit et attitudes des traducteurs

  • Forum HERACLES, Prague (Czech Republic), 2017

    Tomáš Duběda: La traduction vers une langue étrangère et son rôle dans la formation des futurs traducteurs

  • Quo vadis, legal translation?, Bratislava (Slovakia), 2017

    Tomáš Duběda: Quality assessment in legal translation: structuring a multidimensional space

  • FIT Congress 2017, Brisbane (Australia)

    Tomáš Duběda: Translation Quality and “Cross-Cultural Allowance” in Translating into a Foreign Language

  • Liletrad, Sevilla (Spain), 2017

    Vanda Obdržálková: Translation from and into English as Non-Mother Tongue: Attitudes, Problem-Solving, Quality

  • Teaching Translation and Interpreting Conference, Łódź (Poland)

    David Mraček: Inverse translation: comparing student and professional perspectives

  • Vědecký výzkum a výuka jazyků, Hradec Králové (Czech Republic)

    David Mraček: Gramatické a stylistické chyby v překladu do angličtiny jako cizího jazyka

  • TIFO Olomouc (Czech Republic)

    David Mraček: Directionality in Translation: What Makes Translating into L2 Difficult?

  • Translation Research - Translator Training (Hungary)

    David Mraček: The Role of Native Speakers in L2 Translation

    Tomáš Duběda: Native Revision in L2 Translation: A Panacea or a Risk?

Selected results of the survey

Under construction