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Interpreting naturally

A Tribute to Brian Harris

María Jesús Blasco Mayor and María Amparo Jimenez Ivars

In this book, we aim to bring together seminal approaches and state-of-the-art research on interpretation as a tribute to Brian Harris’ influential legacy to Translatology and Interpreting Studies. Whenever Harris has sat down to reflect and write, he has paved the way to new approaches and promising areas of research. One of his most outstanding contributions is the notion of natural translation, i.e., the idea that all humans share an intuitive capacity to translate which is co-extensive with bilingualism at any age, regardless of language proficiency. This contribution has proved pivotal to translation and interpreting research. In a world where most individuals speak more than one language, and therefore millions of translational acts are performed every second by untrained bilinguals, the concept of natural translation provides the arena for T&I scholars to discuss issues directly related to or stemming from it, such as bilingualism, language brokering, community/public service and diplomatic interpreting, all of them paramount to interpreting research and the future of the profession.

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Life of Brian HarrisBrian HarrisIX

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Life of Brian Harris BRIAN HARRIS was born and brought up in London, where he took degrees in Classical Arabic and in Middle East History at the School of Oriental and African Studies. He also studied at the American University in Cairo, and did postgraduate work on Leb- anese history under Bernard Lewis (the leading Western authority on the Ottoman Empire). He first visited Spain in 1947, and returned to work there in the tourist industry in the 1950s. In 1965 he emigrated to Canada and taught English as a Second Language at the National Film Board of Canada. From 1966 to 1972, he worked as a research assistant in the Machine Translation Project at the Université de Montréal un- der French computer scientist Alain Colmerauer (inventor of the programming language PROLOG and now a Chevalier de Légion d’Honneur). He became for many years a member of the Interna- tional Committee on Computational Linguistics and co-organised its conference in Ottawa in 1976. Brian Harris in Valencia X In 1972 he moved to the University of Ottawa, where he started a computerised documentation centre for linguistics and did re- search on information retrieval. Having come to the conclusion that “the problem with re- search on machine translation is that we don’t know enough about translation,” he turned to researching the translations done by chil- dren. He coined the term ‘translatology’ for the scientific study of translation. In 1978, he and an assistant, Bianca Sherwood, pub- lished ‘Translation as an...

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