We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Measuring the difficulty of text translation : the combination of text-focused and translator-oriented approaches.

Liu, Yanmei and Zheng, Binghan and Zhou, Hao (2019) 'Measuring the difficulty of text translation : the combination of text-focused and translator-oriented approaches.', Target : international journal of translation studies., 31 (1). pp. 125-149.


This paper explores the impact of text complexity on translators’ subjective perception of translation difficulty and on their cognitive load. Twenty-six MA translation students from a UK university were asked to translate three English texts with different complexity into Chinese. Their eye movements were recorded by an eye-tracker, and their cognitive load was self-assessed with a Likert scale before translation and NASA-TLX scales after translation. The results show that: (i) the intrinsic complexity measured by readability, word frequency and non-literalness was in line with the results received from informants’ subjective assessment of translation difficulty; (ii) moderate and positive correlations existed between most items in the self-assessments and the indicator (fixation and saccade durations) obtained by the eye-tracking measurements; and (iii) the informants’ cognitive load as indicated by fixation and saccade durations (but not for pupil size) increased significantly in two of the three texts along with the increase in source text complexity.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Download PDF
Publisher Web site:
Publisher statement:This article is under copyright. Please contact the publisher John Benjamins Publishing Company for permission to re-use or reprint the material in any form.
Date accepted:10 December 2018
Date deposited:11 October 2018
Date of first online publication:08 January 2019
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar