PhD in Human-Centric Uses of Technology in Translation/Interpreting
This project offers full scholarships (at Home rates) to suitable PhD candidates who wish to explore a human-centric approach to technology use in translation and/or interpreting.
Start date1 January 2022
A stipend of £15,609 for 21/22, which will increase each year in line with the UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) rate, plus Home-rate fee allowance of £4,500 (with automatic increase to UKRI rate each year) and £500 for conference travel.
Funding sourceResearch England – Expanding Excellence in England fund
Established in 1982, the University of Surrey Centre for Translation Studies (CTS) is one of the UK’s leading centres for research, scholarship and teaching in translation and interpreting. CTS has recently secured funding for strategic expansion, which will enable the centre to integrate its established expertise in how professional translators/interpreters interact with, and adapt to, emerging technological ecosystems with research into the automation of these practices. This expansion project seeks to recruit eligible PhD candidates who are willing to conduct research in the following area:
PhD in Human-Centric Uses of Technology in Translation/Interpreting
At the Centre for Translation Studies, we are dedicated to cutting-edge research, scholarship and teaching in translation, interpreting and other forms of inter- and intra-lingual communication. As human practices of translation and interpreting are increasingly supported, enhanced and sometimes replaced by technologies, our vision is to promote a human-centric approach to technology use in translation and interpreting. Our research therefore focuses on integrating our knowledge about how human translators and interpreters approach their task and how they interact with and through technologies with research into the automation of these practices. We are seeking to recruit an intellectually strong PhD candidate who is interested in pursuing a research project in the area of human-machine integration and interaction in any modality of translation, audiovisual translation or interpreting.
The successful project will need to rely on a solid, eclectic mixed-methods approach benefiting from cross-fertilization among different disciplines (e.g. translation studies, multimodality, human-computer interaction, machine learning/artificial intelligence, natural language processing, corpus linguistics) to explore topics such as the usability of/social responsibility in automated translation solutions, productivity, workflow optimisation, quality, the development of tools, resources and training for enhanced communication across languages and types of languages, data ownership and user experience. Projects will be evaluated on the basis of originality (topicality and urgency of the research questions) and methodological innovation. The successful candidate will benefit from excellent technological working conditions, international contacts, and a stimulating interdisciplinary work environment.
Sabine Braun is Director of the Centre for Translation Studies. Her research focuses on new methods and modalities of interpreting and translation, including video-mediated distance interpreting, technology-enhanced interpreting, and automated audio description. Sabine has led and participated in funded research projects in these areas and supervised over 20 PhD students.
Prof. Constantin Orasan
Constantin Orasan is a Professor in Language and Translation Technologies. Constantin’s main research focus is on how methods from Natural Language Processing can help professional translators. Other areas of research of interest for him are automatic summarisation, text simplification, corpus linguistics, and machine learning for NLP. To date, he has successfully supervised to completion 8 PhD students.
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Candidates must hold a First class or upper second class BA and Master’s level degree (or international equivalent) in Translation Studies, Linguistics, Computer Science or related field.
IELTS requirements: IELTS test (test not older than 2 years): 6.5 or above (or equivalent) with at least 7.0 in the writing component and at least 6.0 in the other components.
This competition is open to all applicants. UK and EU/overseas students are welcome to apply for the studentship posts advertised.
Please note that higher tuition fees apply for non UK students and that the PhD studentships offered in the remit of this scheme are at Home rates. For classification of fee status, please visit the UKCISA website.
How to apply
Applications can be made through the CTS PhD in Translation and Interpreting page. Please state project title clearly on your research statement – this statement should be 1,000 words long, excluding references and must be uploaded in .DOC format in the “research proposal” area of the application portal. Applicants should also include a copy of their CV, two academic references and their completed academic degrees and degree transcripts. Applicants are encouraged to email Prof. Constantin Orasan (C.Orasan@surrey.ac.uk) first to discuss their application.
Centre of Translation Studies
As an internationally leading centre for research, scholarship and teaching in translation and interpreting, CTS offers a PhD programme and four Masters’ programmes, including the longest-running MA in Translation in the UK, and a Master by Research (MRes) in Translation and Interpreting Studies.
Our current research focuses on the impact of the digital transformation on translation and interpreting; on translation and interpreting in the context of migration; and on emerging forms of audiovisual and multimodal translation, especially their potential to make audiovisual content accessible to the widest possible audience. We investigate, for example, how translators work with translation-memory systems and machine translation, how they collaborate through digital platforms, and how these developments challenge current workflows in the translation industry. We research how computerized language corpora, text mining and e-lexicography can be harnessed to develop interlingual and intralingual translation tools and resources (AHRC Project COLLOCAID). We study technology-supported distance interpreting, including how video links are used to connect interpreters to legal proceedings, how this affects the quality of interpreting and how it impacts on the efficiency and fairness of justice (EU Projects AVIDICUS 1-3, QUALITAS, UNDERSTANDING JUSTICE). A specific strand of this research relates to how technology is reshaping the communicative dynamics of interpreting and training (EU Projects IVY, EVIVA, SHIFT). We investigate how audiovisual content can be ‘translated’ into verbal descriptions for blind audiences, how this can be (semi-)automated through the use of machine learning and computer vision techniques, and how human and machine-based approaches to describing audiovisual content differ (H2020 Project MeMAD). This is complemented by other research in the centre on multimodality and on differences between human and machine translation. Some of our most recent work focuses on how interlingual respeaking, i.e. the integration of human interpreting and automatic speech recognition to produce live subtitles in different languages, and how this can be used to improve accessibility to information, culture and entertainment (Project SMART).
The common denominator of our research is thus the study of how professional translators/interpreters interact with, and adapt to, emerging technological ecosystems and how this is changing professional practice and the products of this practice. Advances in automation, machine learning, artificial intelligence and natural language processing, availability of digital text-mining and translation technologies, and the increasing need to translate multimodal and audiovisual content have changed the practice of translation and interpreting dramatically and have raised new questions for research. Based on our expertise in researching translation and interpreting as human practices that are increasingly supported, enhanced and sometimes replaced by technology, our vision is to create an interdisciplinary centre for multilingual communication by focusing on the convergence of different modalities of human and automated translation and interpreting, thereby enabling the responsible and intelligent integration of human and machine translation. We believe that this is critical at a time when increasing automation is reshaping the Language Services Industry into one of the fastest growing industries nationally and globally. The PhD studentship holders will contribute to achieving our vision.
CTS is part of the School of Literature and Languages and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, one of the three Faculties within the University of Surrey. The Faculty has an active research culture and a strong focus on collaborative research, supported, for example, by internal seed funding schemes and strengthened by a recently awarded ESRC Impact Acceleration account. Based in Guildford just outside of London, the University of Surrey is an outstanding international University with a strong focus on digital innovation.