You are here: Home Publications Language conflict in translation; An ERP study of translation production

Language conflict in translation; An ERP study of translation production

Christoffels, I. K., Ganushchak, L. Y., & Koester, D. (2013). Language conflict in translation; An ERP study of translation production. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 25, 646-664. doi:10.1080/20445911.2013.821127.
Although most bilinguals can translate with relative ease, the underlying neuro-cognitive processes are poorly understood. Using event-related brain potentials (ERPs) we investigated the temporal course of word translation. Participants translated words from and to their first (L1, Dutch) and second (L2, English) language while ERPs were recorded. Interlingual homographs (IHs) were included to introduce language conflict. IHs share orthographic form but have different meanings in L1 and L2 (e.g., room in Dutch refers to cream). Results showed that the brain distinguished between translation directions as early as 200 ms after word presentation: the P2 amplitudes were more positive in the L1L2 translation direction. The N400 was also modulated by translation direction, with more negative amplitudes in the L2L1 translation direction. Furthermore, the IHs were translated more slowly, induced more errors, and elicited more negative N400 amplitudes than control words. In a naming experiment, participants read aloud the same words in L1 or L2 while ERPs were recorded. Results showed no effect of either IHs or language, suggesting that task schemas may be crucially related to language control in translation. Furthermore, translation appears to involve conceptual processing in both translation directions, and the task goal appears to influence how words are processed.
About MPI

This is the MPI

The Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics is an institute of the German Max Planck Society. Our mission is to undertake basic research into the psychological,social and biological foundations of language. The goal is to understand how our minds and brains process language, how language interacts with other aspects of mind, and how we can learn languages of quite different types.

The institute is situated on the campus of the Radboud University. We participate in the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, and have particularly close ties to that institute's Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. We also participate in the Centre for Language Studies. A joint graduate school, the IMPRS in Language Sciences, links the Donders Institute, the CLS and the MPI.

 

Street address
Wundtlaan 1
6525 XD Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Mailing address
P.O. Box 310
6500 AH Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Phone:   +31-24-3521911
Fax:        +31-24-3521213
E-mail:   


Public Outreach Officer
Charlotte Horn