CfP | Methodological Issues in Experimental Research in Audiovisual Translation: Experiences and Recommendations

Special Issue of Translation Spaces 11(1), July 2022

Image by stokpic from Pixabay

Guest editors: Gian Maria Greco, Anna Jankowska, Agnieszka Szarkowska


Over the last decade or so, the area of audiovisual translation (AVT) has been experiencing a substantial experimental turn. Under the spur of both a novel interest in user-centred reception research (Di Giovanni & Gambier, 2018; Greco, 2018) and a general cognitive turn in translation studies (TS) (O’Brien, 2011), AVT scholars have been adopting various experimental methods to investigate AVT processes and phenomena, both from the reception and production perspective. The multimodality of AVT is of pivotal interest for TS and cognitive sciences, for it offers a unique opportunity to investigate translational and cognitive processing in contexts where multiple information channels, such as visual and auditory, are processed simultaneously (Kruger, Soto-Sanfiel, Doherty, & Ibrahim, 2016). By using various methods, adopted from experimental psychology or cognitive sciences, AVT research has become a shining area within TS, offering researchers a chance to test existing preconceptions and verify theories related to audiovisual processing and, more generally, to human cognition and perception.

The experimental turn in AVT is only the latest in a long series of similar turns experienced by many areas in the social sciences in their search for empirical credibility and scientific respectability (Teele, 2014). In many of these areas, experimental research has often been framed as the gold standard (e.g. Cartwright, 2007; McCall and Green, 2004; Sampson, 2010). However, not all that glitters is gold. The implementation of experimental methods in these areas has at some point faced the need to address the methodological soundness and reliability of their experimental practices as well as replication and reproducibility of findings (e.g. see Guala, 2005 for economics; and James, Jilke, & Van Ryzin, 2017 for management, or Ioannidis, 2005 for the replication crisis).

It is time to start this discussion within AVT as well. Despite the increasing familiarity of AVT researchers with experimental methods, studies oftentimes suffer from methodological problems, which lead to conflicting results and unsubstantiated generalisations. Most AVT experiments are poorly controlled and carried out on small samples. While controlled experiments may have the great advantage of strong internal validity, they face serious challenges to the external validity of results. Moreover, poor experimental design and reporting standards may hamper the possibility of replication. Acknowledging these issues, some scholars have been recently, though still sporadically, calling for careful attention to be paid to the ways experimental research is conducted and reported in AVT (Díaz Cintas & Szarkowska, 2020; Doherty, 2018; Orero et al., 2018). Methodological problems in experimental research could ultimately jeopardise the very future of this research area, unless researchers start to systematically address questions about the soundness of their research design and the reliability of their experimental findings.

Though a thriving area, experimental research in AVT is still at an early stage. The time is right to start a coordinated debate that addresses its methodological problems, discuss how they can be avoided or at least alleviated, and strengthen the scientific standing of AVT within TS.

Potential questions to be addressed in the special issue 

We are interested in theory- and practice-oriented papers that address the experimental turn in AVT, discuss methodological issues, the pros and cons of experimental research, analyse its shortcomings, and propose corrective measures. We are interested in articles that respond to the following and related questions:- How can experimental research in AVT advance our understanding of translation processes and phenomena as well as cognitive processing in the production and reception of AVT texts?

  • What methods and statistical approaches should be used in experimental research on AVT?
  • What reporting standards should be promoted to enable replication and reproducibility of research findings in AVT?
  • What are the pros and cons of experimental research in AVT?
  • What are the theoretical and/or methodological challenges faced by experimental research in AVT?
  • What is the role of case studies?
  • What can AVT learn from methodological debates on experimental research in other areas of the social sciences?
  • How should AVT/MA researchers be trained on experimental research?
  • How can experimental design and methodologies be integrated in AVT/MA education and training programmes?

Instructions for contributors

Articles should be no more than 7,500 words long and should follow the journal’s house style. Full instructions for authors can be found on the journal website. Articles are to be submitted via Editorial Manager, choosing the option for this special issue.

Please send any enquiries to all three guest-editors:, and with the subject line ‘Translation Spaces’.


  • May 30th 2021: Deadline for article submissions via Editorial Manager
  • September 15th 2021: Feedback from peer review to authors
  • October 30th 2021: Deadline for receipt versions of accepted articles from authors
  • July 2022: Special issue published (print version; note that individual papers may be published “online first” before this date)

Cartwright, N. (2007). Are RCTs the gold standard? BioSocieties, 2(1), 11-20.
Di Giovanni, E., & Gambier, Y. (Eds.). (2018). Reception studies and audiovisual translation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Díaz Cintas, J., & Szarkowska, A. (2020). Introduction: Experimental research in audiovisual translation – Cognition, reception, production. Journal of Specialised Translation, 33, 3-16.
Doherty, S. (2018). Analysing variable relationships and time-course data in eye-tracking studies of translation processes and products. In C. Walker & F. Federici (Eds.), Eye tracking and multidisciplinary studies on translation (pp. 171–194). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Greco, G. M. (2018). The nature of accessibility studies. Journal of Audiovisual Translation, 1(1), 205-232.
Guala, F. (2005). The methodology of experimental economics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ioannidis, J. P. (2005). Why most published research findings are false. PLoS Med, 2(8), e124. doi:
James, O., Jilke, S., & Van Ryzin, G. (Eds.). (2017). Experiments in public management research: Challenges and contributions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kruger, J.-L., Soto-Sanfiel, M. T., Doherty, S., & Ibrahim, R. (2016). Towards a cognitive audiovisual translatology: Subtitles and embodied cognition. In R. Muñoz (Ed.), Reembedding translation process research (pp. 171–194). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
McCall, R. B., & Green, L. (2004). Beyond the methodological gold standards of behavioral research: Considerations for practice and policy. Social Policy Report, 18, 1-20.
O’Brien, S. (Ed.) (2011). Cognitive explorations of translation. London & New York: Bloomsbury.
Orero, P., Doherty, S., Kruger, J.-L., Matamala, A., Pedersen, J., Perego, E.., Romero-Fresco, P., Rovira-Esteva, S., Soler-Vilageliu, O., & Szarkowska, A., (2018). Conducting experimental research in audiovisual translation (AVT): A position paper. Journal of Specialised Translation, 30, 105-126.
Sampson, R. J. (2010). Gold standard myths: Observations on the experimental turn in quantitative criminology. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 26, 489–500.
Teele, D. L. (Ed.) (2014). Field experiments and their critics: Essays on the uses and abuses of experimentation in the social sciences. Yale: Yale University Press.