Don Kiraly abstract_en

A frequently mentioned goal of recent research involving such empirical research methods is that of improving translator training and education. But for those researchers working on the basis of an interpretivist epistemology, the question might well arise as to what role, if any, qualitative research can play in the Brave New World of 21st century translation process research. This is the question to be addressed in this talk. An essential first step will be to revisit the positivist / interpretivist research conundrum in the context of translation studies. Epistemological questions seem to have been largely left aside in the field of translator education. To the observer reviewing published work, pieces of research may appear to reflect a predilection for one approach or the other (or frequently what is often described as ‘mixed method’ research, but little effort is made to take a stand on key philosophical matters of what it means to know and to learn, which are essential to both research and education.
An argument will then be made for considering an alternative to the conventional dichotomies that have plagued the relationship between the hard sciences and the social sciences at least since the Enlightenment, for example: rationalism vs empiricism, qualitative vs quantitative, and positivism vs interpretivism. The alternative to be presented is hardly novel in certain domains outside of translation studies, and it may in fact go against the grain of confirmed and convinced devotees of one epistemological camp or another, but it is one that might provide a plausible rationale for embracing hitherto competing perspectives in a systematic and synergistic manner.