Can emotion stir translation skill? Defining the impact of positive and negative emotions on translation performance

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The present paper reports on an experiment to measure the impact of emotions and certain personality traits on translation performance. The study replicates Lehr’s (2013) methodology, but also explores the influence of personality factors on the induced emotional impact. Unlike Lehr’s study, our experiment focuses exclusively on translation students (Spanish L1/English as L2). A Spanish version of Block and Kremen’s (1996) ego-resiliency scale (ER89) was first used to assess trait variation in the participants’ psychological resilience. They were then asked to provide a translation of an emotional text, which was rated for accuracy and creativity. After having submitted their translation, they were randomly assigned to a positive or negative feedback group and received false feedback on their performance. Immediately afterwards they were asked to translate a second text, whose ratings for accuracy and creativity were compared to those from their first translation. A self-reporting questionnaire was finally carried out to obtain data on the participants’ subjective feelings during experimental time. Results corroborate evidence from Lehr’s work, pointing to a differential impact of emotions on different facets of translation performance and suggesting that different emotions may activate different processing styles. Although no statistically significant effect is found for resilient personality traits, data suggest they may also play a role in guiding translational behaviour.


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