The Effect of Private Speech and Self-Regulation on Translation Quality among Iranian Translation Students: A Mixed-Methods Study

Document Type : Original Article


1 M.A. in translation studies, Imam Reza International University, Mashhad, Iran

2 Professor in Applied Linguistics, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Iran

3 Assistant Professor of TEFL. Imam Reza International University, Mashhad, Iran


The current study presents findings from a mixed-methods study of investigating the self-regulatory role of private speech (self-talk) on students’ translation quality. The aim of the study was to validate the adapted version of a self-verbalization questionnaire. The construct validity and reliability of the scale were supported by the CFA which revealed that all items reached the acceptable fit thresholds and had high reliability. The study utilized two phases of analysis. In the quantitative analysis, 151 undergraduate English translation students participated in this study. Two questionnaires including validated self-verbalization scale and self-regulation accompanying a text were distributed among the students to determine the influence of the self-regulatory role of private speech on translation quality.  The results demonstrated that the students who used more private speech had a better translation quality that shows the self-guidance role of private speech. In the qualitative phase of the study, 21 English translation students attended an interview. The focus of the interview was on the potential functions of the self-regulatory role of private speech in translation. The results indicated that most students apply private speech as a facilitator of the difficult task. Retention and evaluation were also among the most often applied strategies by the students.


Behrend, D. A., Rosengren, K., & Perlmutter, M. (1989). A new look at children's private speech: The effects of age, task difficulty, and parent presence. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 12(3), 305-320.
DiCamilla, F. J., & Antón, M. (2004). Private speech: A study of language for thought in the collaborative interaction of language learners. International journal of applied linguistics, 14(1), 36-69.
Duncan, R. M., & Cheyne, J. A. (2001). Private speech in young adults: Task difficulty, self-regulation, and psychological predication. Cognitive development.
Feigenbaum, P. (2009). Development of communicative competence trhough private and inner speech. Paper presented at the Private speech, executive functioning, and the development of verbal self-regulation.
Fernyhough, C., & Fradley, E. (2005). Private speech on an executive task: Relations with task difficulty and task performance. Cognitive development, 20(1), 103-120.
Fernyhough, C., & Meins, E. (2009). Private speech and theory of mind: Evidence for developing interfunctional relations. Paper presented at the Private speech, executive functioning, and the development of verbal self-regulation.
Flavell, J. H., & Wong, A. A. (2009). Young children´ s knowledge about overt and covert private speech. Paper presented at the Private speech, executive functioning, and the development of verbal self-regulation.
Ghanizadeh, A., & Ghonsooly, B. (2014). A tripartite model of EFL teacher attributions, burnout, and self-regulation: toward the prospects of effective teaching. Educational Research for Policy and Practice, 13(2), 145-166.
Ghanizadeh, A., & Mirzaee, S. (2012). EFL learners' self-regulation, critical thinking and language achievement. International Journal of Linguistics, 4(3), 451-468.
Ghonsooly, B., & Ghanizadeh, A. (2013). Self-efficacy and self-regulation and their relationship: a study of Iranian EFL teachers. The Language Learning Journal, 41(1), 68-84.
Hansen, G. (2003). Controlling the Process. Theoretical and Methodological Reflections. F. Alves, 25-42.
Ilkowska, M., & Engle, R. W. (2010). Working memory capacity and self‐regulation. Handbook of Personality and Self‐Regulation, 263-290.
Nota, L., Soresi, S., & Zimmerman, B. J. (2004). Self-regulation and academic achievement and resilience: A longitudinal study. International Journal of Educational Research, 41(3), 198-215.
O'Brien, S., & Saldanha, G. (2014). Research methodologies in translation studies: Routledge.
O’Neil Jr, H. F., & Herl, H. E. (1998). Reliability and validity of a trait measure of self-regulation. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego, CA.
Ohta, A. S. (2001). Second language acquisition processes in the classroom: Learning Japanese: Routledge.
Pellegrini, A. (1981). The development of preschoolers' private speech. Journal of Pragmatics, 5(5), 445-458.
Piaget, J. (2005). Language and Thought of the Child: Selected Works vol 5: Routledge.
Pintrich, P. R. (2000). The role of goal orientation in self-regulated learning Handbook of self-regulation (pp. 451-502): Elsevier.
Schunk, D. H., & Zimmerman, B. J. (2007). Influencing children's self-efficacy and self-regulation of reading and writing through modeling. Reading & writing quarterly, 23(1), 7-25.
Siegrist, M. (1995). Inner speech as a cognitive process mediating self-consciousness and inhibiting self-deception. Psychological Reports, 76(1), 259-265.
Sokolov, A. (1972). Inner speech and thought (DB Lindsley, Ed.; GT Onischenko, Trans.): New York: Plenum.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1986). Thought and language (rev. ed.): Cambridge, ma: mit Press.
Waddington, C. (2001). Different methods of evaluating student translations: The question of validity. Meta: journal des traducteurs/Meta: Translators' Journal, 46(2), 311-325.
Whipp, J. L., & Chiarelli, S. (2004). Self-regulation in a web-based course: A case study. Educational technology research and development, 52(4), 5.
Winsler, A. (2009). Still talking to ourselves after all these years: A review of current research on private speech.
Winsler, A., Diaz, R. M., & Montero, I. (1997). The role of private speech in the transition from collaborative to independent task performance in young children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 12(1), 59-79.
Zimmerman, B. J. (1986). Becoming a self-regulated learner: Which are the key subprocesses? Contemporary educational psychology, 11(4), 307-313.
Zimmerman, B. J. (1990). Self-regulated learning and academic achievement: An overview. Educational psychologist, 25(1), 3-17.
Zimmerman, B. J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview. Theory into practice, 41(2), 64-70.
Zimmerman, B. J., Bonner, S., & Kovach, R. (1996). Developing self-regulated learners: Beyond achievement to self-efficacy: American Psychological Association.