We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Chinese Studies

Display Staff

Go to the MLAC staff pages

Publication details for Dr Binghan Zheng

2014 'The role of consultation sources revisited: an empirical study of English–Chinese translation', Perspectives: studies in translatology 22, pp. 113-135

Author(s) from Durham


This paper contributes to empirical research into expertise in translation by investigating how translators approach source texts and how they use consultation sources, specifically dictionaries, to inform their translation choices. Subjects participating in the study described were divided into three groups – novice, semi-professional and professional translators – based on their levels of experience in translation. The aim of the study described was to determine if and how experience affects the way in which translators approach the translation task. Data obtained from Think-aloud protocols, translation evaluations and retrospective interviews were triangulated. As a result, findings show that: consultation aims tend to evolve from comprehension to expression as experience in translation increases; professional translators tend to be more flexible and diversified in their use of consultation sources (the selection of consultation methods is related to multiple factors such as text style, time pressure and personal preferences); and professional translators display an investigative attitude towards consultation sources (they have a better understanding of how to use consultation sources with maximum efficiency, regularly engaging in reverse lookup activities and showing a higher frequency of use of Predominantly Internal Support). Finally, in addition to translation experience, consultation proficiency has been found to be a significant factor in determining the frequency of consultation, and the efficiency of the translation process.