European Society for Translation Studies

Translation scholars also translate

EST survey indicates that 95 percent of translation scholars have translated or interpreted on a regular basis.

Between 22 January and 24 February 2014, invitations to participate in an online survey were sent to paying members of the European Society for Translation Studies and participants in the 7th EST Congress in Germersheim (these two groups overlaps considerably). The population is estimated as being some 683 translation scholars, most of whom work in Europe. A total of 305 responses were received.

The responses indicate that only 5 percent of the translation scholars have not translated or interpreted “on a regular basis”. Translation/interpreting has been a main activity (“livelihood”) for 43 percent of the scholars, and a secondary activity for 58 percent (the respondents were allowed to select more than one option).

These figures should put paid to the idea that translation scholars have no practical experience of translation or of the professional translation community.

Other questions asked in the survey concerned the relative mobility of the Translation Studies community (72 percent have spent more than one year in a country other than their own), the training background (32 percent have no formal training in translation and interpreting), and their diverse professional experience (32 percent were not engaged in translation and interpreting in their mid 20s).

In sum, the survey paints the picture of a community that has considerable practical experience of translation/interpreting and comes from a wide range of professional and educational backgrounds.

Further analysis of this data is on-going and will be triangulated with qualitative data from interviews with 52 translation scholars.

The raw data from the survey is currently available to EST members on the EST Intranet site.