The Task Segment Framework (TSF) is a systematic approach to describing and analyzing whole translation processes as keylogged that portrays translating as a metacognitively controlled activity steered by the translator. The TSF suggests that adding new text, changing existing copy, and online searching qualify as subtasks with psychological reality in that they are behavioral bundles with their own set of rules and palette of behaviors. As experience is accumulated, translators will tend to devote full task-segments to such single subtasks to be more efficient and avoid unnecessary higher mental loads derived from maintaining more than one set and palette active. Using a wide variety of informants and texts, this research project sought to determine whether forward task-switching (spillover) effects would be proof of such psychological reality. Three indicators were used: (1) the length of the previous pause chunking the task flow into task segments; (2) the duration of the first five interkeystroke intervals (IKIs); and (3) the dwell time of the five first keypresses. The results of all three indicators attest to task-switching effects and hence suggest that the translation subtasks in the TSF have psychological reality. Additional results point to IKI and dwell time rebound values related to expertise and the smooth transition between chained typing motor programs.
- Task Segment Framework
- Translation subtasks
- Psychological reality
- Task-switching effects
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The naturalistic task of translating (and other activities under study within CTIS) may be further distinguished from its analogous task as controlled and reduced for research purposes. To allow for generalizations, this second understanding of a task should be close enough to the real one. Defining translation tasks for study purposes, whether experimental or not, is still waiting for a standard of sorts in our scientific community (see Muñoz 2014:10–16).
filler task segments are peculiar in that they host very few and obscure actions that are difficult to link to any cognitive process, exactly as in the case of pauses. In this view, filler task segments and their neighboring pauses might bundle some attention-demanding actions, such as evaluating the text written so far, planning the next actions and reading prospectively as much as a whole sentence ahead (first-pass reading), in order to determine possibly relevant factors. Merging pauses with the filler task segments they flank into superpauses seems a reasonable option but, at this preliminary stage, we keep them separate for the sake of clarity and precision.
In alternating or switch trials, t1→t2, we may also study the influence and effects of the second task t2 onto the prior category t1 (i.e., t1←t2), but Wylie and Allport (2000) show that simple task-switch costs seem to relate more to the effects of the preceding than to the upcoming task, so the direction t1←t2 will not be pursued here.
Using the most popular approach to the reconfiguration of behavioral repertoires, as we do here, does not mean, however, that we endorse it. We are provisionally blind as to the exact nature of the causes, focused as we are on simply determining whether there are costs when switching between translation subtasks.
Some actions and their associated processes might optionally feature on either side of the fuzzy frontier between pauses and task segments as cognitive, transitory constructs. For instance, many add segments may end with a respite before entering the punctuation mark, pressing the spacebar, or both. This might hint at a final process of evaluation of the target text stretch in the current task segment that otherwise might be one of the first processes within the following pause. This phenomenon seems, however, rare and this fuzziness precisely supports the existence of spillover effects.
stF does not exist. We jumped one letter to underscore the discontinuity between different data sets—stG is available at http://www.analytictech.com/mb021/cultural.htm and sTH at https://www.ancient-symbols.com/irish-symbols.html.
Both the BA and the MA students were being trained using a didactic approach in which they offer their services in response to different (fake) clients’ requests for each translation and would perform them only if they reached an agreement, which was not always the case. From a research perspective, this improves situatedness and skill transfer, but it also makes selecting data more difficult, since texts need to have been worked upon by all informants.
In the TSF, a second (lower) threshold at 2 × median pause within words is used to distinguish IKIs that may be cognitively motivated and mainly task-related, respites, from IKIs below such a threshold, which are considered to be mainly mechanical, or delays. The lower threshold may be used to further classify task segments devoted to one single subtask into fluent (no respites) and non-fluent (with at least two respites) task segments.
We realize that there may be important activities not yet reflected in the TSF, such as annotating information elsewhere as a reminder, etc., but we found no instance of such behavior in our samples.
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We would like to thank Sandra Halverson, Christian Olalla-Soler, Iris Schrijver, Nicoletta Spinolo, and Bogusława Whyatt for their many observations and suggestions on an earlier version of this paper. We took on board nearly everything we could, not all, but we thank them all the same, while we remain the only ones to blame.
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Muñoz Martín, R., Apfelthaler, M. (2021). Spillover Effects in Task-Segment Switching: A Study of Translation Subtasks as Behavioral Categories Within the Task Segment Framework. In: Muñoz Martín, R., Sun, S., Li, D. (eds) Advances in Cognitive Translation Studies. New Frontiers in Translation Studies. Springer, Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-16-2070-6_2
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