Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Quality education

Academic Year 2021/2022

Learning outcomes

The student understands the basic concepts involved in the study of human mind, meaning, language, and communication; s/he is able to evaluate research projects and digital applications from the perspective of cognitive ergonomics and human-computer interaction; s/he is able to apply the acquired knowledge to develop empirical research plans for quasi-replications.

Course contents

week 1. Language

  • The immaterial nature of language
  • Reification
  • Language as a mind-structuring network
  • Language as a communicative tool

week 2. Meaning

  • Meaning is just one
  • Meaning is a process
  • Meaning is individual
  • Meaning is negotiated

week 3. Communication

  • The mathematical model of communication
  • The toolmakers' paradigm
  • Multimodality
  • Underspecification and reparation

week 4. Translation

  • The fuzzy boundaries of multilectal mediated communication
  • The forgotten ones
  • The elusive assessment of quality
  • Why MT is not T and definitely not M

week 5. Midterm presentations

week 6. The market, in numbers

  • Internet and telecommunications
  • Language Service Providers
  • Freelancing
  • Languages

week 7. Tech-supported professional profiles

  • translators' workbenches
  • interpreters' virtual booths
  • subtitlers and respeakers
  • the lay users and their phones

week 8. HCI and cognitive ergonomics

  • Extended cognition
  • Cognitive friction
  • Cognitive demand, effort and load
  • Human in the loop
week 9. Data collection methods for communicative behavior
  • Keylogging
  • Eyetracking
  • Physiological indicators
  • Surveys and questionnaires

week 10. Final presentations


Alonso, Elisa & Lucas Nunes Vieira. 2020. The impact of technology on the role of the translator in globalized production workflows @ E. Bielsa & D. Kapsaskis, eds. The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Globalisation. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, pp. 391–405.

Ehrensberger-Dow, Maureen. 2019. Ergonomics and the translation process @ Slovo.ru: Baltic accent 10 (1): 37–51.

Hvelplund, Kristian Tangsgaard. 2016. Cognitive efficiency in translation @ R. Muñoz, ed. Reembedding Translation Process Research. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2016, pp. 149–170.

Kappus, Martin & Maureen, Ehrensberger-Dow. 2020. The ergonomics of translation tools : understanding when less is actually more @ The Interpreter and Translator Trainer 14 (4): 386–404.

Moorkens, Joss. 2020. “A tiny cog in a large machine” Digital Taylorism in the translation industry @ Translation Spaces 9 (1): 12–34.

Moorkens, Joss. 2021. Translation in the neoliberal era @ E. Bielsa & D. Kapsaskis, eds. The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Globalisation. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, pp. 323–336.

Moorkens, Joss & Marta Rocchi. 2021. Ethics in the Translation Industry @ K. Koskinen and N. Pokorn, eds. The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Ethics. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, pp. 320–337.

Moorkens, Joss & Sharon O'Brien. 2017. Assessing user interface needs of post-editors of machine translation @ D. Kenny, ed. Human Issues in Translation Technology. Abingdon, UK: Routledge, pp. 109–130.

Muñoz Martín, Ricardo. 2010. On paradigms and cognitive translatology @ G. M. Shreve & E. Angelone, eds. Translation and Cognition. Amsterdam, John Benjamins, pp. 169–187.

Muñoz Martín, Ricardo. 2016. Of minds and men–Computers and translators @ Poznan Studies in Contemporary Linguistics 52: 351–381.

Muñoz Martín, Ricardo. 2016. Reembedding translation process research. An introduction @ R. Muñoz, ed. Reembedding Translation Process Research. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2016, pp. 1–20.

Muñoz Martín, Ricardo & Ana María Rojo López. 2018. Meaning @ S.-A. Harding & O. Carbonell, eds. The Routledge Handbook of Translation and Culture. London: Roudledge, pp. 73–90.

Muñoz Martín, Ricardo & César A. González Fernández. 2021. Cognitive translatology: A primer, revisited @ 语言、翻译与认知 (Studies in Language, Translation & Cognition) 1(1): 131-165.

Muñoz Martín, Ricardo & Sandra L. Halverson. 2020. The times, they are a-changin’. Multilingual mediated communication and cognition @ R. Muñoz & S. L. Halverson, eds. Multilingual Mediated Communication and Cognition. London: Routledge, pp. 1–17.

O'Brien, Sharon. 2012. Translation as Human-Computer Interaction. @ Translation Spaces 1 : 101–122.

O’Brien, Sharon & Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow. 2020. MT Literacy: A cognitive view @ Translation, Cognition & Behavior 3 (2): 145–164.

O’Brien, Sharon, Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow, Marcel Hasler & Megan Connolly. 2017. Irritating CAT tool features that matter to translators @ Hermes—Journal of Language and Communication in Business 56: 145–162.

O'Hagan, Minako, ed. 2020. The Routledge Handbook of Translation & Technology. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.

Ragni, Valentina & Lucas Nunes Vieira. 2021. What has changed with neural machine translation? A critical review of human factors@ Perspectives.

Reddy, Michael J. 1979. The Conduit Metaphor: A case of frame conflict in our language about language. @ A. Ortony, ed. Metaphor and Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 284–310.

Teixeira, Carlos S. C. & Sharon O’Brien. 2017. Investigating the cognitive ergonomic aspects of translation tools in a workplace settings @ Translation Spaces 6 (1): 79–103.

Vieira, Lucas Nunes. 2020. Automation anxiety and translators @ Translation Studies 13 (1): 1–21.

Teaching methods

As concerns the teaching methods of this course unit, all students must attend the online Modules 1, 2 on Health and Safety [https://www.unibo.it/en/services-and-opportunities/health-and-assistance/health-and-safety/online-course-on-health-and-safety-in-study-and-internship-areas].


The course will hinge on the instructor's introductory presentations and students' debates and presentations. Students are expected to meet once a week outside class to discuss the next weeks' topic, and prepare their debate interventions. The Socratic method will be used to challenge the students' received views and to prompt critical thinking and active participation.

Assessment methods

the course grade will result form adding:

1 grade for individual midterm presentation, 25%

1 grade for individual final presentation, 25%

1 grade for oral exam, 20%

2 grades (15% each) for a 500-1000 word-long review of two articles from the reading list. 30%

Please note: Students can turn in as many reading reviews as they wish. Only the two with the highest grades will be computed for the grade.

Learning Assessment Scale

30 - 30L Excellent. The student has acquired all targeted insights and concepts, and is able to brilliantly express, argue, and summarize them with complete mastery at her age.

27 - 29 Above average. The student shows a solid command of the materials with minor errors and hesitations at expressing her views.

24 - 26 Generally sound. The student shows a few inconsistencies and gaps in her knowledge. She does not express her ideas in a totally fluent, logical manner.

21-23 Adequate. The student displays significant shortcomings and just an adequate command of the targeted knowledge and cannot express a clear line of thought without falling into unsupported, vague ideas, clichés and idées reçues.

18 - 20 Minimum. The student only grasped just the basic targeted concepts and failed to develop her own opinion, and to express her own views except for the main lines entertained in the course.

< 18 Fail. The student does not reach a minimal threshold of knowledge, shows scarce to no reflection upon the topics covered, and cannot seem to be able to express them in coherent arguments and explanations.

Office hours

See the website of Ricardo Munoz Martin