Cognitive approaches have long used methods from varied frameworks to explore the mental processes underlying interlingual reformulation (IR) –i.e., translation and interpreting in any of their modalities. Throughout the last fifty years, insights have been gained through the formal tools of generative-transformational grammar, quantitative psychological approaches, think-aloud protocols, and, more recently, eye-tracking and keylogging technologies. This bulk of research has greatly contributed to understanding mental processes during IR, but it is mostly uninformative about the biological systems in which they are embedded. To shed light on the issue, translation scholars must become acquainted with neuroscientific techniques. Behavioral, hemodynamic, electrophysiological, and even brain-invasive data have fruitfully complemented textual and behavioral evidence about verbal processes other than IR, such as monolingual production and word reading. By the same token, the inclusion of neuroscience methods in the agenda of cognitive translatology could be critical to understand how translation and interpreting mechanisms are embedded in other neurocognitive domains and, more generally, within the human organism. In this talk I will survey the tenets of relevant techniques, review the evidence they have afforded regarding IR, and outline key questions for further research. The focus will be on behavioral and neuropsychological methods, positron emission tomography (PET), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), and electroencephalography (EEG). This way, I aim to foster a more active involvement of cognitive translatologists in brain-based research.
About the Speaker:
Adolfo García, Ph.D., is an expert in the neuroscience of language and social interaction. He serves as Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Cognitive Neuroscience Center (Universidad de San Andrés, Argentina), Atlantic Fellow and Associate Specialist at the Global Brain Health Institute (University of California, San Francisco), Adjunct Researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (Argentina), Adjunct Professor of Neurolinguistics at the Faculty Education of the National University of Cuyo (Argentina), member of the Management Committee of the “Translation, Research, Empiricism, Cognition” (TREC) Network, honorary member of the Center of Cognitive Neuroscience at La Laguna University (Spain), and High-Level Talent appointed by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China. He has received training in cognitive neuroscience, translation, and foreign-language teaching, alongside postdoctoral studies at the Institute of Cognitive Neurology (Argentina) and research stays at New York University and Rice University (United States). He now leads research projects in over ten countries across the globe. Moreover, he serves as Director of the Master’s in Language and Cognition, a postgraduate program he created at the National University of Cuyo. His teaching career includes graduate and postgraduate courses in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and China. He has more than 170 publications, including books, chapters, and papers in leading journals, mainly focused on neurolinguistics and bilingualism. He has offered more than 150 presentations and speeches at international academic meetings and science dissemination events. Moreover, he is the host of the TV show “Of brains and words” and of a radio column titled “Mind and communication”. His scientific contributions have been recognized by awards and distinctions from the Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States, the Ibero-American Neuroeducation Society, the Argentine Association of Behavioral Science, and the Legislature of the City of Buenos Aires.
Neuroscientific Approaches to Translation and Interpreting