Research in translation and interpreting studies at UNSW concerns complex issues that affect real people in the real world. At local, national and international levels, translation and interpreting are critical to intercultural communication, access to public services, trade, education, research and development, diplomacy, and cultural and societal exchanges.

At UNSW, we conduct pure and applied research that:

  1. Improves the practice and training of interpreters and translators.
  2.  Explores the factors that influence interpreting quality in the workplace.
  3. Investigates the effects of interpreting on society.
  4. Develops our understanding of the processes involved in translation and interpreting.
  5. Explores the potential and impact of language technologies.

Our researchers in translation and interpreting studies are international leaders in their fields and come from diverse linguistic, cultural and professional backgrounds. Their work is widely cited nationally and internationally and is continuously being employed by many other universities, organisations and practitioners in a variety of contexts. The results of our research have also led to concrete policy, educational, and industrial change in Australia and across the globe.

Research focus

Our research in translation and interpreting is focused on three main areas:

  1. Interpreting in community and international settings.
  2. Text and context analysis for translation.
  3. Languages technologies and translation process studies.

Our interpreting research examines questions associated with interpreting quality and impact, particularly in the legal and courtroom settings. It looks at the relationship between interpreting quality, training and working conditions in various settings (for example medical, police, national and international courts, conferences) and at the impact of the interpretation on the outcomes. Our most recent research areas address: interpretation users’ responsibility for interpreting quality and other inter-professional factors that impact interpreting; the impact of interpreting modes on witness credibility and the difference in performance between trained and untrained interpreters (see publications by Professor Sandra Hale and Professor Ludmila Stern).

Our translation staff research descriptive and analytical approaches to translation studies and develop pedagogical tools for translator education and translation quality assessment and describing translation stylistics (see publications by Associate Professor Mira Kim). We study the impact that language technologies, such as machine translation, have on our increasingly technological and multilingual world. Using state-of-the-art methods (including eye-tracking, electroencephalography and psychometrics), we also investigate the cognitive processes and reception of translated content, from subtitles and media to specialised texts (see publications by Professor Stephen Doherty).

Staff strengths & accomplishments

Our strengths lie in academic excellence, social engagement and global impact. We are world leaders in academic excellence for our research quality and the educational experience we provide. We are commended for our social engagement in:

  • improving translation and interpreting services for a just society
  • enabling and collaborating with other researchers and practitioners to tackle the grand challenges of our time
  • fostering knowledge exchange for social progress and economic prosperity.

Our work delivers global impact in the form of internationally engaged education, innovative partnerships and unique contributions to diverse communities. Our recent accomplishments include:

  • Significant funding from the Australian Research Council to investigate the impact of interpreters on witness credibility, to enable equity for deaf jurors and to educate medical practitioners on effective ways to work with interpreters.
  • External funding to improve the efficacy of police interviews.
  • Funding from NSW Multicultural Health Communication Service to improve health services using translation technologies.
  • Invited consultation from the National Accreditation Authority for Translators and Interpreters to improve translator and interpreting accreditation.
  • UNSW Work Integrated Learning in the form of practicum and internship activities linked with industry and other disciplines.
  • Affiliation with AUSIT, the national professional association for translators and interpreters.
  • Members of advisory boards, councils and committees of Multicultural NSW, Standards Australia, and the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators.
  • Strategic funding from UNSW’s Learning and Teaching unit to develop blended-learning courses in translation and interpreting; investigate the efficacy of learning analytics in multilingual cohorts and support students’ bilingual enhancement.