The Laboratory for Multilectal Mediated Communication & Cognition

What’s in a name?

Communication is a process by which symbols, signs, or behavior are used and exchanged to let the intervening parties share information.

A lect is any distinct language variety, including languages, dialects, registers and styles. Multilectal refers to communicative events in which more than one lect is used, whether different languages, dialects, registers, etc.

Mediation is the indirect conveyance or communication through an intermediary. Such intermediaries are here called mediators. As they intervene in a communicative event, such event may be described as mediated.

When these terms are combined into the expression multilectal mediated communication, they refer to all communicative events where more than one oral, written or signed language variety are used and someone mediates between at least two other parties (not necessarily present).

Multilectal mediated communication is thus an accurate (if ugly?) umbrella term for tasks such as translating, interpreting, revising, post-editing, subtitling, dubbing, respeaking, transcreating, transediting, and the like, whether synchronous or not, professional or not.

Multilectal mediated communication may be studied from many perspectives, such as philosophical, anthropological, sociological, psychological, linguistic, communicative, and the like. We are interested in cognitive approaches.

Cognition refers to the set of conscious and unconscious acts, processes and functions to create knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.

Adopting a cognitive approach means that our referential framework is Cognitive Science, that is, that we make use of all the approaches above from a cognitive perspective, because we think that none of them (e.g., linguistics, psychology) are enough to separately explain but partial aspects of the phenomena we are interested in.

A laboratory is a place equipped for empirical study in a discipline or for testing and analysis. In a tertiary institution, a laboratory is a room containing scientific equipment where students are taught science subjects, such as Cognitive Translatology.

Perhaps we could have named it a lair, a cave, or a control room, but we do have some research equipment and like to work there together. At the Lab we have meetings, classes and presentations. So, this is the

What’s in our work?

At the we are trying to describe, understand, and explain the mental processes of people involved in multilectal mediated communication events, from a situated perspective that we call Cognitive Translatology.

Cognitive Science hosts many orientations and we are happy with Situated Cognition. We basically think that cognition emerges from the interaction with the world and that, therefore, it is embodied, embedded, enacted, extended, affective, and often distributed. This is what inspires our research, a school of thought that we labeled Cognitive Translatology (not to be confused with Cognitive Translation & Interpreting Studies, which is the whole agora where different schools meet).

Our cognitive approach entails two commitments: (a) to construct knowledge on the basis of empirical research; (b) to cohere with what is known about our object of study in the rest of the cognitive sciences.

A good theory is nothing else than a research program, so while we strive to put data where our reason is, we are continuously learning in areas such as attention and control; multitasking and task/language switching; cognitive workload, demand, and effort; conscious and automated behavior and expertise. The bilingual mental lexicon, naturalistic decision-making under uncertainty, fuzzy problem solving, self-regulation, implicit beliefs and human-computer interaction are other research areas we usually dive in. We are also working on scientometrics and on remote communication, because we want to know where we come from and also where we are going.