THE COGNITIVE PROCESS OF THE STUDENTS
IN TRANSLATING SIMPLE SENTENCES OF
A PARAGRAPH IN SCIENCE
Submitted to the English Applied Linguistics Study Program in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
Registration Number: 809112025
ENGLISH APPLIED LINGUISTICS STUDY PROGRAM
STATE UNIVERSITY OF MEDAN
Maria, Eka. Registration Number: 809112025. The Cognitive Process of The Students In Translating Simple Sentences of A Paragraph In Science. Thesis. English Applied Linguistics Study Program, Post Graduate School, State University of Medan (UNIMED). 2016.
Great gratitude to The Almighty God, Jesus Christ, for this strength in this glorious bless which makes her able to do this research and composes this thesis. Being as His child is a miracle which leads her ways of life and goal.
Countless individuals have contributed directly and indirectly to the research and to the completion of this thesis. The writer is deeply indebted to each one, and therefore she would like to express her heartfelt gratitude.
She first wishes to thank her Board of Adviser members: Prof. Amrin Saragih, M.A, Ph.D, her first adviser and Prof. Dr. Berlin Sibarani, M.Pd, her second adviser, who had given her a lot of support in their advices to the completion of this research project and thesis. They had made her feels as their daughter in their daily love.
This thesis was strongly supported the valuable suggestions and critics from these great heroes in education, his Board of Examiner members: Prof. Dr. Busmin Gurning, M.Pd., Dr. Didik Santoso, M.Pd. and Prof. Dr. Sri Minda Murni, M.S. who received this proposal and offered the constructive helps. Without them she would not be able to bring this thesis into a final form.
Her gratefulness also goes to the Head of English Applied Linguistics Study Program, Dr. Rahmad Husein, M.Ed and the secretary, Prof. Dr. Sri Minda Murni, M.S. for their suggestion and administrative assistance during the process of conducting the research.
Sincerest appreciation especially addressed to her beloved siblings, Mareni Kristina and Robert, whose loves and continuous prayers have always empowered her to continue her study at The State University of Medan.
would not be able to make sense of profound meaning of education for good of humanity. Their hard work ethic exemplifies her guiding principles of life and makes her believe nothing is impossible.
She owes a special debt to her beloved, Linton Sigiro, S.PAK, who selflessly spared his insurmountable time to motivate and support her to finish this thesis.
Last but not least, she is enormously indebted to her close friends Silvana Mareta, Roma Anastasia, Erna Olofiana, Jeffry Lim, Helmida, Rabi’atul Adhawiyah and Riris Panca Putri, who kindly read, helped, shared, and provided some constructive and indispensable critics on this thesis. They had made her understand that she can do everything in God.
Medan, 30th January 2016 The writer,
ABSTRACT ... i
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ... iii
CONTENTS ... v
LIST OF APPENDIXES ... viii
LIST OF FIGURES ... ix
LIST OF TABLES ... x
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION 1.1 The Background of the Study ………... 1
1.2 The Problems of the Study ………. 7
1.3 The Objectives of the Study ……….... 7
1.4 The Scopes of the Study……….. 7
1.5 The Significances of the Study ……….. 8
CHAPTER II REVIEW OF LITERATURE 2.1 Cognitive Process ………... 9
2.2 Cognitive Process in Translating ... 12
2.3 Translator’s Behaviour in Translating ...……… 15
2.4 Translation Concept ... ... 18
2.5 Translation Process ... 22
2.5.1 The Phases of Translation Process ………. 30
18.104.22.168 Analysis ……….. 30
22.214.171.124.1 Syntactic Analysis ……… 30
4.1.2 The Cognitive Process of IS in
Translating Simple Sentences of A Paragraph in
Science ...………... 68 4.1.3 The Cognitive Process of DKA in
Translating Simple Sentences of A Paragraph in
Science ...………... 72 4.1.4 The Cognitive Process of MJS in
Translating Simple Sentences of A Paragraph in
Science ...………... 78 4.1.5 The Cognitive Process of DA in
Translating Simple Sentences of A Paragraph in
Science ...………... 83 4.1.6 The Cognitive Process of SP in
Translating Simple Sentences of A Paragraph in
Science ...………... 89 4.2 Research Findings ...………... 103 4.3 Discussion ...……...……….. 110
CHAPTER V CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS
5.1 Conclusions...……… 112 5.2 Suggestions...………... 113
REFERENCES ………. 115
LIST OF APPENDIXES
Appendix I Simple Sentences of A Paragraph in Science ... 119
Appendix II Guidance for the Question in the Interview Session ... 120
Appendix III The Format of Transcription in the Interview Session ... 121
Appendix IV The Format of Transcription in the Audio Recorded
Observation of Think-Aloud Protocol Session ... 122
Appendix V Students’ Translation ... 123
Appendix VI Interview Transcript ... 126
Appendix VII Audio Recorded Observation of Think-Aloud Protocols
Transcript ... 134
LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1 Language Comprehension and
Language Production ... 14
Figure 2 Holmes’ Map of Translation Studies ... 19
Figure 3 Translation Process ... 22
Figure 4 Bell’s Model of the Translation Process ... 25
Figure 5 Conceptual Framework ... 54
LIST OF TABLES
Table 4.1 US’s Cognitive Process in Translating Simple Sentences
of Paragraph in Science ... 67
Table 4.2 IS’s Cognitive Process in Translating Simple Sentences
of Paragraph in Science ... 70
Table 4.3 DKA’s Cognitive Process in Translating Simple Sentences
of Paragraph in Science ... 75
Table 4.4 MJS’s Cognitive Process in Translating Simple Sentences
of Paragraph in Science ... 81
Table 4.5 DA’s Cognitive Process in Translating Simple Sentences
of Paragraph in Science ... 87
Table 4.6 SP’s Cognitive Process in Translating Simple Sentences
of Paragraph in Science ... 93
Table 4.7 The Students’ Behaviours ... 95
1.1The Background of the Study
Translation involves the rephrasing of a communication expressed
(message) in one language, the source language (SL), into another language, the
target language (TL). Three notions are involved: SL, message and TL. The
translator, therefore, should master the linguistic and non-linguistic knowledge of
both SL and TL. Linguistically, s/he should master the word (lexicon), phrasal
expression, structure of the sentence, syntactic relation between the various
elements of the sentence, and semantic relation of SL and TL. Non-linguistic
knowledge refers to the previous knowledge of the translator possesses towards
the text, whether s/he has known and read it before.
In rephrasing SL into TL, the translator should not translate SL based on
the SL language structure. It should be based on TL language structure so that
the final message will be acceptable in the communication process. It is feasible
to make adjustment such as shifts to make the translation acceptable, equivalent
and natural. As Nida (1982:12) explains that the best translation does not sound
like a translation.
During the activity of rephrasing SL into TL, the process of translation
takes place. Such translation is known as translation process (Kiraly, 1995:18).
Empirically, translation process aims to investigate what goes on in the mind of
person while he or she is translating. Psycholinguistically, it sets out to establish
how the translator processes information in bilingual communication. In
association with the translation process, Toury spoke about the mystery of the
‘black box’ of the translation process in 1982. The translator’s mind was
considered an opaque black box that was simply beyond the scope of the
observation. To illuminate the contents of Toury’s black box, researchers such as
Krings (1986b, 1987), Lorscher (1986, 1991b), Konigs (1987), Gerloff (1986),
Dechert and Sandrock (1986), Seguinot (1989b, 1989c, 1990, 1991), Honig
(1988, 1990), Jaaskelainen (1989, 1990, 1993), Tirkkonen-Condit (1992),
Shreve, Schaffner, Danks and Griffin (1993), Kiraly (1995) and Kussmaul (1991,
1995) have turned to the cognitive science and adopted think-aloud protocol
(TAP) from experimental psychology (Danks, 1997:7).
Linguists and psychologist have come together to investigate the
translator’s mind during the performance of translating tasks. They come
together to deal with the cognitive processes of translation process on theory and
concepts from the cognitive sciences, in particular cognitive psychology,
psycholinguistics and experimental psychology. For instance, the concept of a
working memory from cognitive psychology (Baddeley and Hitch 1974,
Baddeley 1986, 2000), which is a theorised memory construct that stores and
processes information temporarily, has been used in translation process research
to explain the manipulation of information from source text (ST) to target text
(TT) (e.g. Bell 1998, Halskov Jensen 1999 and Dragsted 2004). Also, the notion
of a long-term working memory (Ericsson and Kintsch 1995) has been
introduced to illustrate the cognitive advantage that skilled translators hold over
and research in monolingual text production have also been introduced to peer
into the ‘black box’ of translation processes. With respect to text production in
translation, Hayes and Flower’s (1986) model of monolingual writing has been
applied to model the text production processes involved in translation (Englund
Dimitrova 2005), and with respect to monolingual language comprehension,
Kintsch’s (1988) construction-integration model has been applied as a
framework for modelling comprehension in translation (Padilla et al. 2004: 23).
The use of theories and concepts from cognitive psychology in the investigation
of the translation process provides a strong basis for interpreting the cognitive
processes of translation.
However, it cannot be simply assumed that it is an extension of normal
language processing. It cannot be assumed that the cognitive processes of
translation process are identical to speaking, listening, reading and writing. For
instance, Danks and Griffin (Hvelplund, 2011:14) stress that comprehension in
translation is different from normal comprehension. It is a goal-oriented
intention-driven process which is guided by the concerns about the writer’s
intent, the translator’s intent and user’s intent which dictate the level of
comprehension. Of course, the well-known patterns of the mentioned four skills
are part of the processes but, they are transformed when they occur in context of
translation. The basic problems, then, are how they are transformed, how the
processes take place and what knowledge and skills the translator must possess in
order to carry it out.
The process of translation between two different written languages
original verbal language (the source language or SL) into a written text (the
target text or TT) in a different verbal language (the target language or TL) by
the translator (Munday, 2001:5). As its simplest, the process of translation
involves the transferring of meaning from a text in one language into a text in
another. This transferring constitutes mental processes which rely on
sophisticated information processing skills. The mental processes are understood
by investigating the cognitive activities in a translator’s mind during the
performance of translating. In investigating the mental processes, the translator is
asked to verbalize something about his/her cognitive activities during the
performance of translation tasks using the think-aloud protocol (TAP) technique
through observation and to do in retrospect what they have done through
Theoretically, according to Bell (2001:187-8) there are two essential
stages specific to the processes of translating, and a further stage available only
to the translator working with the written text. Those are: analysis, synthesis, and
revision. During the analysis stage, the translator reads to the source text, drawing on background, encyclopaedic knowledge - including specialist domain
knowledge and knowledge of text conventions - to comprehend features
contained in the text. This requires processing at the syntactic, semantic and
pragmatic levels, as well as in terms of micro- and macro- analysis of the actual
text: monitoring for cohesion and coherence, and checking for coherence
between the actual text and the potential text type of which it is a token
realization, respectively. During synthesis, the target text is produced, i.e.
intention (as interpreted by the translator), the translator’s intention in translating
the text, and the user’s needs (as interpreted by the translator). On the basis of
these evaluations the draft translation is revised or edited during the final stage of
revision, and such things as clause linkage and the text’s congruence with its
text-type are adjusted.
According to Seleskovitch and Lederer (Munday, 2001:80), there is
three-stage process of translation: reading and understanding, deverbalization,
and re-expression. In reading and understanding, the translator uses his/her
linguistic competence and ‘world knowledge’ to grasp the sense of the source
text. The linguistic component needs to be understood by reference not only to
explicit but also to implicit meaning in an attempt to recover the authorial
intention. The world knowledge is de-verbalized, theoretical, general,
encyclopaedic and cultural, and activated differently by different translators and
in different texts. Deverbalization is an essential intermediate phase if the
translator is to avoid transcoding and calques. Transcoding is the replacement of
SL linguistic structures of various types (words, phrases, clauses) by
corresponding TL. Calque is a special kind of borrowing where the SL
expression or structure is transferred in a literal translation. Re-expression takes
place where the target text is constituted and given form based on the
deverbalized understanding of sense. A fourth stage, verification, where the
translator revisits and evaluates the target text, is added by Delisle (Lederer,
In attempt to analyse the cognitive processes in translation, Dancette
conceptualizations built on linguistic statements in a coherent and explicit way. It
is based on the common observation which showed the translators’ awareness of
their cognitive steps while reading, writing, précis-writing and translating. This is
particularly evident when they face problem which forces them to depart from
In reality, Dancette (1997:85) finds out that, when the translators face
with a difficulty, they can recall their questions, hypotheses, and some of the
steps of their reasoning. Therefore, they are able to talk about the process.
However, processes are not visible, only clues to such processes are visible.
These processes are able to observe through the observation of the translators’
behaviours. Behaviours are an indication of a process which helps the observer to
make reasonable hypotheses on what process is involved and validate intuitions
about the nature of processes.
The theories proposed by Bell (2001), Seleskovitch and Lederer (2001)
and Dancette (1997) which involve mental process in translation process, from
the translator’s perspective and looking toward the mental processes going on in
the individual translator’s mind during the process of translation, led the writer’s
interest to conduct this scientific study. The writer tried to verify whether the
theories are applicable to the English students at Medan or there is any
difference. This study analysed the cognitive process of students in translating
simple sentences of paragraph in science by using the think-aloud protocol
(TAP) technique and introspective interview. Science is chosen as the SL text
because it broadens our understanding of the world around us. It may allow us to
1.2The Problems of the Study
The problems of this study are stated in the following questions.
(1) What cognitive processes are there in translating simple sentences of
paragraph in science?
(2) How do the cognitive processes occur in translating simple sentences of
paragraph in science?
(3) Why do the cognitive processes occur the way they do?
1.3 The Objectives of the Study
This study is aimed at studying the new phenomenon on the cognitive
process of the students in translating task. It specifically attempts to explain
objectively the cognitive process of the students in translating as well as the
reasons of doing such way. Thus, the objectives of this study are
(1) to investigate kinds of cognitive processes occuring in translating simple
sentences of paragraph in science,
(2) to investigate the manner of cognitive processes occurring in translating
simple sentences of paragraph in science, and
(3) to elaborate reasons of the way the cognitive processes occur in
translating simple sentences of paragraph in science.
1.4 The Scopes of the Study
The scopes of this study are cognitive process, translation and translation
process, cognitive process in translating, texts and sentences. The theory of
(1) analysis and (2) synthesis will be collaborated with the theory proposed by
Dancette of types of translator’s behaviours to investigate the cognitive process
of translator during the performance of translating texts. The text is simple
sentences of paragraph in science.
1.5 The Significances of the Study
Findings of this study are strongly expected to have the theoretically and
practically indispensable significances. Theoretically, on one hand, the research
findings are expected to be valuable contributions for other researchers who will
conduct the studies in the field of translation studies, particularly about the
cognitive process in translation task. Practically, on the other hand, the research
findings are beneficial for the translators in general and the Indonesian
translators in particular as a consideration for doing translation from the source
CONCLUSIONS AND SUGGESTIONS
From the analysis of the data and the findings, it is concluded that
1. There are seven types of behaviours occur during the performance of the
translation done by the students. They are
(1) reading the text,
(2) alternating between the SL and the TL,
(3) monitoring the proposed translation,
(4) intralinguistic repetition,
(5) consulting the dictionary, either monolingual or bilingual dictionary,
(6) paraphrasing, and
2. The cognitive processes occur when the subjects
(1) read the text, either they read the whole SL text or segment by segment,
(2) keep repeating the term (the lexical) which indicates hesitation or
(3) are not able to make decision for an equivalent,
(4) question the adequacy of a word or an expression,
(5) do not understand the meaning of a word and consult the dictionary,
(6) try to clarify a concept and reformulate a proposed translation by
3. The reasons which make such cognitive processes occur during the act of
translating are the inability to produce the spontaneous translation and
lacking of knowledge of the text itself. The inability of word-recognition
processing, syntactic processing, and semantic processing will also affect the
behaviours of the translators in the process of translating. Meanwhile, for the
excellent subjects, the reasons which make such cognitive processes occur
during the act of translating are the ability to produce the spontaneous
translation and having the knowledge of the text itself (prior knowledge). On
one hand, the more knowledge and skills (communicative competences) the
translators have, the less behaviours (cognitive processes) they face. On the
other hand, the less knowledge and skills the translators have, the more
behaviours (cognitive processes) they face.
There are some suggestions in this research. The suggestions are
addressed to the translators in common. Here are the following suggestions
1. It is suggested that the satisfying and developing translators should improve
their four areas of communicative competence in the act of translating;
grammatical competence, sociolinguistic competence, discourse competence,
and strategic competence. Having the mentioned competences will lessen the
problems of word-recognition processing (lexical problem), syntactic
processing, and semantic processing in the act of translation process.
2. It is suggested that the translators should broaden their horizons of any kinds
3. It is suggested that the further researcher should explore the cognitive
processes of the students in translating the SL text into the TL text with
different educational background.
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