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Conducting Research in Translation Technologies


Edited By Pilar Sánchez-Gijón, Olga Torres-Hostench and Bartolomé Mesa-Lao

The literature on translation and technology has generally taken two forms: general overviews, in which the tools are described, and functional descriptions of how such tools and technologies are implemented in specific projects, often with a view to improving the quality of translator training. There has been far less development of the deeper implications of technology in its cultural, ethical, political and social dimensions. In an attempt to address this imbalance, the present volume offers a collection of articles, written by leading experts in the field, that explore some of the current communicational and informational trends that are defining our contemporary world and impinging on the translation profession. The contributions have been divided into three main areas in which translation and technology come together: (1) social spheres, (2) education and training and (3) research. This volume represents a bold attempt at contextualizing translation technologies and their applications within a broader cultural landscape and encourages intellectual reflection on the crucial role played by technology in the translation profession.
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← xviii | 1 →DEBBIE FOLARON

In spite of the almost casual and nonchalant manner in which it is used, the modern word technology has long and venerable roots. It is most often, and quite properly, cited as hailing in its origins from the Greek τεχνολογία, a composite of τέχνη (téchnē) and -λογία (-logía), which refers to the study of a craft, skill or art. While its etymology is useful to some extent, in reality, the word has acquired a rich variety of social and cultural associations that have gradually been formed through the multiple pleats of local histories and contexts across the globe. Nonetheless, despite the heterogeneity in the word’s history, there are common conceptual threads that run through the diverse tapestry of its manifestations. In turn, these threads provide us with a manageable framework for discussion. Technology refers not only to the bare-bones definition of ‘non-natural objects of all kinds manufactured by humans’, but also to the environments and systems needed for these objects to emerge materially, to the knowledge and know-how required for their functioning, and to the forces of all of these elements, which combined – and with human input – are necessary to accomplish output tasks that human endeavour alone would be incapable of achieving. In other words, technology refers to the combined forces that extend human capacities (Kline, 2003). The philosophical, historical, scientific, technical and general academic study of technologies has largely relied on descriptive and utilitarian approaches throughout its collective history of reflecting on their...

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