Retrospective and Introspective Think-Aloud Protocols in Translation Quality Assessment: A Qual-Quan Mixed Methods Research

Document Type: Original Article


1 MA in Translation Studies, Faculty of Literature and Foreign Languages, Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch

2 Assistant Professor of TEFL, Faculty of Literature and Foreign Languages, Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch


A major concern in Translation Studies (TS) has been on what really goes on in the translators’ head while they are translating (not what researchers claim is going on). Among the techniques utilized in studying such cognitive processes and systems, think-aloud protocols (TAPs) have been widely em- ployed. As a content analysis study, this Qual-Quan mixed methods research aimed at exploring the com- parative differences introspective and retrospective TAPs can cause in English-to-Persian translation quality. The selected participants were 15 MA students studying TS at Islamic Azad University, Karaj Branch. The participants were required to translate two English texts into Persian, one introspectively and the other retrospectively, while the participants’ voices were audio-recorded and fully transcribed later. Relying on a recent translation quality assessment scale (Famil Khalili, 2011), the frequency distribution for the 14 encoded themes proved that the participants performed differently in introspection and retros- pection TAP phases. In fact, while the themes coherence and grammaticality had the highest frequency counts in the retrospection phase, dialogical register, linguistic functions and speech acts had a considera- ble improvement in the introspection phase.


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Volume 9, Issue 4
Autumn 2019
Pages 1-16