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Action Research in Translation Studies

Ana Cravo, Heriot-Watt University
Josélia Neves, Escola Superior de Tecnologia e Gestão de Leiria


In this paper we aim to address the meaning of Action Research (AR), its use and the possibility of its application to the field of Translation Studies (TS). Research into new areas, such as Audiovisual Translation, often leads to the questioning of common practices and theories, wishing to find those that best respond to the issues that derive from complex textual types and from the myriad of constraints that might be involved in those translation actions. It is in such a context, that we first questioned the possibility of using Action Reseach in Translation Studies (ARTS).


Action Research, Translation Studies, Audiovisual Translation, Research Models, Translation Teachers Education, Translators Education and Training.

1. Introduction 

If one is to question the possibility of finding an interest in using AR in TS, one inevitably needs to start by questioning what is to be researched in the area and what is calling for action. A brief review of the still youthful life of TS as an independent discipline has first and foremost come to show that its object of study is complex and approachable in many different ways. The simple fact that TS have been searching for a life of its own, finding a new space beyond the traditional fields of linguistic and/or literary studies, comes to prove the wealth and complexity of "translation" as such. Long and intricate debates have been carried out in which scholars try to see TS as a science. They have attempted to define the object of study, to define means and methodologies for the analysis of an object that is in itself unclear and complex, to define, describe and/or prescribe to locate within contexts to understand processes and to evaluate interferences. This list only states a few of the many issues which have been addressed in the last fifty years. These ongoing debates serve to prove that there must be a place for new methods and methodologies for there is much still to be studied and better understood.

Very recently, various authors have come to refer to the use of AR as a means for researching translation (Albir, 2001; Hatim, 2001; Williams & Chesterman, 2002), others have actually used it in specific domains such as in translator and translation teacher education (Cravo, 1999) and translator training (Kiraly, 2000) or are using it in specific fields of audiovisual translation (Neves, 2005).

It is our conviction that AR can play an important role in TS. Issues that have not been explained, practices that have not been described, bridges between scholars and practitioners that have not yet been crossed,  gaps between theory and practice that remain to be covered, may be dealt with through AR, thus bringing new challenges to all those involved and allowing for the debate of matters pertaining to many complex phenomena.

In the knowledge that using AR in TS is complex and relatively new in the field, we would like to address the issue by setting the basic principles of AR which will frame our discussion over the use of AR as a Translation Studies research model.

2. Basic Principles of Action Research

In the Introduction of Handbook of Action Research, Reason & Bradbury (2001: 1) state that:

Action research is a participatory, democratic process concerned with developing practical knowing in the pursuit of worthwhile human purposes, grounded in a participatory worldview which we believe is emerging at this historical moment. It seeks to bring together action and reflection, theory and practice, in participation with others, in the pursuit of practical solutions to issues of pressing concern to people, and more generally the flourishing of individual persons and their communities.

The dual nature of AR allows for certain studies to be focused on action whereas others might be so much so on research. If the primary focus is on action, "the research may take the form of understanding on the part of those most directly involved" and the outcomes will be "change and learning for those who take part" (Dick, 1993). Yet, if the primary focus is on research, "more attention is often given to the design of the research than to other aspects" (ibid.). However, as Dick (ibid.) reinforces, "in both approaches it is possible for action to inform understanding, and understanding to assist action".

Coghlan & Brannick (2001: xi), on the other hand say that "action research is an approach to research which aims at both taking action and creating knowledge or theory about that action." These authors compare AR with traditional research approaches stating that "the outcomes [of AR] are both an action and a research outcome, unlike traditional research approaches which aim at creating knowledge only." (ibid.) These scholars state further that "action research is a generic term that covers many forms of action-oriented research" and that "the array of approaches indicates diversity in theory and practice among action researchers and provides a wide choice for potential action researchers as to what might be appropriate for their research." (ibid.)

Given the profusion of different terms used to refer to AR (see Note 1), we would like to state that we wouldn't like to go into the discussion whether AR should be seen as a methodology, an approach, a method or an epistemology. We tend to agree with Reason (2003: 106) in that AR should be seen as "an orientation to enquiry rather than a methodology".

Two important features that are repeatedly mentioned in the relevant bibliography are that AR is participative and cyclic in nature. Coghlan & Brannick (2001: xi) clarify this first notion by saying that in AR "the members of the system which is being studied participate actively in the cyclical process.This contrasts with traditional research where members are objects of the study". In fact, as we go through relevant literature we find concepts such as 'spiral', 'cycle' and 'reflection' (before action, in action and on action) to characterise AR. The idea conveyed by the spiral is that of a research process where each turn marks the beginning of a new AR cycle built on the understanding of the previous one (see Dick, 1993) (see Note 2). In addition, each cycle will contain different stages: observation, design of an initial plan of intervention, data collection, analysis, and the planning of new intervention. This process is not linear for while trying to solve a specific problem new ones often appear.

All authors, irrespective of their standpoint, refer to the importance of constant reflective analysis of each and every turn of every cycle. In the whole AR process, reflection plays an important role, because it is through the reflection of both the researcher and all the other participants in the process that problems are addressed, new decisions are made and new plans are devised.

In short, every step of the research will depend on the data we have collected and what we want to do with it. The aim of the research is always concerned with the understanding of a specific reality and with improvement, allied to participation, collaboration, dialogue, intervention, change, empowerment, knowledge, social justice and progress. And last, but not least, relevance is connected with the resolution of local problems that affect a specific person, a specific group of people or a specific community. AR is not concerned with abstract problems, its main objective lies in solving concrete problems that affect real people. And the solution of similar problems may require different procedures according to the contexts in which they exist.

3. When is it appropriate to use action research?

In any research methodology, the relationship that a researcher establishes with the object of study will determine the kind of research to undergo. If the focus of interest involves people, and the work they do,  and if the aim is to try to understand why they do what they do in a specific way, in the belief that while researching their ability may somehow be improved, then getting into AR might be considered.

According to Cohen & Manion (1980, 1985: 216) "action research is appropriate whenever specific knowledge is required for a specific problem in a specific situation; or when a new approach is to be grafted on to an existing system. "More than describing a specific situation, there are areas that do require intervention. And intervention becomes important, because someone, somewhere, somehow has noticed that something can be done and should be done in order to improve a specific situation.

Dick (1993) clearly states one of the main differences between AR and conventional research, as being that of data collection. He says that in "a conventional piece of research you would expect to collect all the data first". Only when the data collection is complete do you carry out your analysis. Then, in turn, interpretation and reporting would follow. "In action research you can improve the rigour of your study substantially by combining collection, interpretation, library research, and perhaps reporting"(ibid.) in cycles or simultaneously .

This author also argues that replicability is not the main aim of AR. Responsiveness is valued over replicability, because otherwise it would be very difficult to achieve action as part of the research. In his words, "action research often emphasises local relevance (that is, responsiveness) at the cost of global relevance (that is generalisation)" (ibid.). Even though we agree that responsiveness is of primary importance in AR, we will later take up the issue of replicability for we have somewhat different beliefs from Dick's perspective in this respect.

Many scholars have found fault in AR as a research method. Among them, Cohen & Manion (1980, 1985: 216) refer that

its [action research as a method] objective is situational and specific (unlike the scientific method which goes beyond the solution of practical problems); its sample is restricted and unrepresentative; it has little or no control over independent variables; and its findings are not generalisable but generally restricted to the environment in which the research is carried out.

On the other hand, others point out faults in traditional research solutions so as to highlight the merits of AR. Somekh (1993: 29), for example, states that "traditional research into innovation can only tell you how the innovation is failing; it cannot find examples of practice which are worth researching because they do not yet exist" while "action research, which incorporates an intention to integrate change and development within the research process, is the only viable methodology for carrying our meaningful research into innovations".

More recently, Brydon-Miller, Greenwood & Maguire (2003: 25) state that "conventional researchers worry about objectivity, distance and controls" while "action researchers worry about relevance, social change, and validity tested in action by the most at-risk stakeholders". These authors also believe that "action research is not merely about 'doing good', it is also about doing things well" (ibid.).

3.1 Action Research as a Translation Studies research model

On researching a particular object or phenomena, the first stage to be covered is that of choosing a research model. In order to do this, according to Beeby (2000: 44), one needs to "identify the object to be investigated and the reason for studying it." In TS this is in itself a complex issue for there are multiple objects and problems begging for attention. Research models will obviously differ in face of the nature of the specific questions to be addressed; and ever since TS have come of age, with Nida's publication of Towards a Science of Translating (1964), different moments in time and space have seen the appearance of a diversity of theories which enforce different research models. On the one hand, as is the case of the structuralists and descriptivists, we find those who address the study of translation as a scientific endeavour in a positivistic attitude calling for distance, rigour, value-free description and objectivity. On the other, we find those who address their object of study in a subjective and often biased approach, in the name of a post-modern cause such as feminism or post-colonialism. We would like to think that AR could be envisaged midway between these two extremes, allying the best of both approaches: the rigour of the former and the commitment of the latter.  Taking a step ahead from conventional researchers' concern about the objectivity, distance, and control mentioned above, action researchers aim to be involved with people and particularly with the people who will, in the end, benefit from their research: the translators themselves, the students of translation and translators-to-be, the teachers of translation, and, above all, the 'consumers' of the end product, real people in real worlds rather than stereotyped addressees.

The last fifty years have seen great diversity in the theoretical models used in TS, covering the linguistic models (Mc Farlane, Federov, Jakobson, Vinay & Darbelnet, Mounin, Catford, Nida, Holmes, Koller, Newmark); semiotic models (Ljudskanov, Wilss); communicative models (Neubert, Kade, Jäger); hermeneutic models (Steiner, Ricoeur); functionalist models (Reiss, Vermeer, Nord, Chesterman); cultural models (Steiner, Venuti, Bassnett, Lefevere, Lambert, Pym, Snell-Hornby, Even-Zohar; Toury); psycholinguistic models (Krings, Bell); textual models (Neubert, Shreve, House) only to name a few. These theoretical models have been of great importance in the research models followed in view of the specific areas under scrutiny. Chesterman (2000) proposes yet another set of three different models, "intermediate constructs between theory and data" (ibid., 15), for the study of translation: the comparative model, the process model and the causal model.

The comparative model is presented as being "static, product oriented [c], centred on some kind of equivalence" (ibid.: 16). In contrast to the first model, the process model is seen as "dynamic" (ibid.: 18) allowing one "to make statements about typical translation behaviour" (ibid.). Chesterman (ibid.: 19) presents the causal model in comparison to the other two models in a systematic way:

"comparative and process models help us to describe the translation product and its relation with the source text, but they do not help us to explain why the translation looks the way it does, nor what effects it causes. The questions are 'what?' and 'when?' or 'what next' rather than 'why?'"

In defence of the application of causal models to the study of translation, Chesterman (2000: 21) adds that "the most important reason for the primacy of a causal model is a methodological one: it encourages us to make specific explanatory and predictive hypothesis." Indeed, as proposed in the causal model, AR also seeks to interpret and describe, to explain and to predict. In fact, in AR this predictive hypothesis grows out of the fact that knowledge is the result of action in which solutions are tested in use, thus allowing for some prescriptivism in that predictions might be seen as models for the improvement of practices.

Vermeer (1989 in Venuti, 2000: 223), before Chesterman, uses somewhat similar words to reinforce the need for inquiry into causes so as to account for choices: "for an act of behaviour to be called an action, the person performing it must (potentially) be able to explain why he acts as he does although he could have acted otherwise." One and the other are laying down the foundations of what we think might be Action Research in Translation Studies (ARTS).

There are reasons to believe that AR has strong affinities with the causal model in that one of its main concerns is to develop reflexive thinking in all those involved in multiple research cycles that seek cause and effect in a productive manner. By working collaboratively with the stakeholders, the researchers may be given insights into problems which they were hitherto unaware of. Furthermore, the sum of the variety of inputs on the same issue and the fact that one same problem may be simultaneously addressed through various viewpoints, will result in a better informed and holistic perspective of the issue under analysis, simultaneously contributing towards social change and informed knowledge.

Further to this challenge to inquire into reasons for action, by answering why questions, what we believe to be one of the greatest assets AR can bring TS is that opportunity to bridge the gap between scholars and practitioners and between theory and practice. These two dichotomies – scholars/practitioners and theory/practice – need not continue to be, for that which characterises each one can only be productive and an asset to the other. Researchers will benefit from the experience shared with professional translators in that they will be involved in day-to-day experiences that they quite often only know of in conceptual terms. On the other hand, professionals will benefit from the interaction with scholars who may point ways towards solutions to problems on the basis of theoretical premises. The opportunity to work together, in view of common ground, will amount to dialogically instructed choices that will feed into empirically proven theoretical knowledge and simultaneously "bring about change as part of the research act" (McTaggart n/d).

However attractive AR might appear to the less wary researcher, there are possible problems that need to be addressed openly from the onset. Working collaboratively means gaining entrance into often less permeable groups and building upon the trust of those who are to become co-researchers. It is difficult to get people to subject themselves to scrutiny. In cases where the researchers want to interact with their clients/receivers so as to inquire about the adequacy of their translation solutions, this needs to be done with "sensible sensitivity". By involving these people in the research project, by empowering them to take an active role in the resolution of a problem, it becomes easier to elicit sensitive information that might otherwise be held back for fear of unwanted exposure. Working directly with the subjects under study might be seen as a form of personal involvement which is not wanted in scientific endeavours. Personal detachment might be useful when working with exact sciences but might not be absolutely necessary within social sciences. This does not mean that the qualitative data collected through interviews, daily interaction and shared experience is necessarily biased and therefore of little scientific rigour. AR prioritises the constant evaluation of its findings. Whenever necessary, findings may be checked according to triangulation parameters and the simple fact that people are committed as subjects may stimulate honesty and trustworthiness. AR presupposes the dissemination of knowledge both within closed circles and in terms of academic and social fields (see Ebbutt, 1985; Nunan, 1993). Sharing experiences and findings in both closed and open environments (e.g.: meetings, conferences, written articles and reports) will stimulate rigour, accountability and replicability. That which might be addressed as a local issue, as a personal or restricted problem may, at various stages, be extendable or even transposable to other or even broader contexts. Is this not also one of the requirements of any research programme?

If working with people at large is problematic, in the world of translation, bringing academia and the professional world together might also call for ingenious effort. As mentioned before, both parties have much to benefit from such interaction: theoreticians will be given the opportunity to take a hand in the translation activity and translators will gain from the much desired visibility they will be given through the visibility of the projects themselves. It needs also be mentioned that professionals are often too involved in running their business or meeting their deadlines to find the time to research into problems and to question possibilities. Hatim (2001:  6) mentions that the use of AR may encourage "self criticism (c) within the professional group through looking more systematically at the kind of difficulties encountered and the practices which engender them."  Yet, self criticism calls for systematic enquiry, and that calls for time, something that does not abound in the lives of professional translators. Their major concerns are pragmatic in nature, and getting the job done quickly and effectively does not afford precious time spent analysing the implications of their choices. Reflexive action is time consuming and time is money in the translation business as in any other commercial activity. If, in a compromising deal, practitioners are to come in with their know-how and experience and theoreticians are to put in their time-consuming reflections in the solution of common problems, both will come to benefit, for some part of the other's contribution will be taken in and put to use in future actions. Furthermore, through the interaction between scholars and professionals, TS will have the opportunity to be, as Pym (2002) envisages, "like translation itself, (c) a social problem-solving activity".

Ideally speaking, AR projects in Translation Studies would be horizontal in nature, bringing together academics, practitioners and receivers/clients; however, in order to come into being, action researchers-to-be need to 'learn' how to do AR, how to observe – reflect – plan – act – evaluate – modify in ever repeated cycles, which allow for those spirals within spirals, in the solution of problems which spring from the resolution of other problems. Doing AR requires discipline and self-awareness as well as communicative and interaction skills. It comes as obvious that the sooner one acquires such skills the easier it will be to apply them effortlessly in every day situations. This leads us to believe that the use of AR in translator education and training programmes can contribute towards a future generation of committed reflexive professionals. In our view, this will mean a long term investment that may lead to greater insight into long standing problems in TS.                                                                                       

3.2. Action Research in Translator Education and/or Training

As we write, the debate continues as to where and how translators ought to be educated and/or trained. The challenges that the Bologna process brings to the education of future professionals are an opportunity to approach translator education and training with a critical attitude.

We share Gouadec's (in Pym, 2003: 13) opinion that translators should be trained at higher education institutions for

the university is the only place where people have the time and willingness to insist on proper methodologies and strategies whereas on-the-job activities are much too sensitive to the pressures of time-to-market, productivity, and economic survival.

Further, we tend to believe that the models that students experience at higher education institutions will be replicated in their professional lives in the future and it is why we foster the use of AR in the education and training of future translators.

On the basis of McNiff's (1992: 28) words that "action research is an approach that helps people to question" we formulate one of our strongest beliefs in what concerns translator education/training: the ability to question comes with maturity. This maturity is multi-faceted, for questioning may lead both to second and third person enquiry as well as to first person enquiry. Questioning oneself about personal choices and actions is often daunting and perhaps one of the most cumbersome facets of reflexive thinking. However, the ability to question one's decisions and, coming back to Chesterman's and Vermeer's why question, to find a reason – even if not an absolute answer to the question – will, in the end, be the sign that the translator-to-be is on the way to professional maturity.

The benefits of using AR within translator education appear obvious in the line of what has been said in terms of research in TS. Even if undergraduate students do not have the maturity and skills for autonomous thinking, they will benefit from direct interaction with scholars, professionals and their future clients/receivers at large. In so doing, they will be allowed to look "into the inner workings of the professional world [and] not only view it from inside the academic cocoon" (Díaz Cintas, 2004: 201).

Mayoral writes in reply to Pym's question about training translators (in Pym, 2003: 5):

students must be trained for teamwork, sharing translation tasks not only with other translators but also with professionals in other fields (actors, producers, multimedia technicians, editors, etc.).

To this we add, if students are further given the opportunity to interact with all those involved in the commissioning of their project – still without being submitted to the pressure of professional involvement – they will know many of the tricks of the trade even before coming into the trade. If "learning to be a professional translator means learning to act like one" (Kiraly in Pym, 2003: 29) the sooner students come into direct contact with professionals, the better they will know how to deal with the difficulties of the professional world.

In addition, if translators-to-be become aware that their work is to be useful to their clients/receivers; if they are called to be aware of the real needs of their specific addressees; if these addressees are more than theoretical constructs, and have faces as people; audience design and reception analysis – an area calling for research (see Gambier, 2003) – will have been started.

Youths are often noted for their committed approaches to life. History has shown that youthful energy has led the action of many agents of change. By involving students in projects that may lead to social change (even if only at micro-level) the seed will have been sown and, as professionals, these translators will envisage their work as a purposeful endeavour, possibly even as a service to the community they interact with. This belief has been proved in a number of research projects implemented at Escola Superior de Gestão de Leiria where final year undergraduate students have been actively involved in accessibility projects that have had actual application both at a regional and a national level (see Note 3).

In short, in stating a case of the use of AR in the education/training of future translators, we definitely share Kiraly's (2000: 101) notion that AR is "a multifaceted approach to seeking answers to local problems, and one that (c) can be particularly valuable for perpetuating innovation in the often unreflective practice of translator education."

3.3. Action Research in Translation Teachers Education

Knowing how to translate is not synonymous to knowing how to teach translation, just as knowing how to teach a foreign language does not amount to knowing how to teach translation. Nevertheless, as happens in terms of research, the field of translator education would have a lot to gain from the joining of both skills – teaching and doing translation. The experience will be all the richer if we are to find in those who teach characteristics such as: self-criticism, reflective thinking, pre-disposition to learn and to improve, a will to adapt and change according to the teaching and learning contexts in case.

Teachers of translation quite often come into the profession from a wide range of initial education/training which is not specifically directed towards translation. It may be true that a significant number of teachers have been put through teacher training programmes, but then again, how many have actually been trained in teaching translation?

Most of us, involved in translator education or translator training, naturally combine action with reflection. We plan our work, we act, we observe the development of the action process and we reflect upon what worked, what did not work and what worked differently from the expected. These concerns, which are felt by many teachers and trainers who are eager to improve their practices in order to improve their students' and trainees' outcomes, have been at the heart of most teaching strategies that have been used by many teachers and in many institutions educating and training translators.

We agree with Kiraly (2000: 6) when he states that there is a need to educate generations of educators who know how to do classroom research and how to design classroom environments that lead to professional competence. With AR the teacher's role is somewhat different from that found in most traditional teaching practises. The teacher takes on the role of an initiator or facilitator acting as a more knowledgeable fellow researcher in the group. According to Kiraly (in Pym, 2003: 30), "rather than assuming roles of knowers and learners respectively, teachers and students become partners, members of a mutually supportive learning team." Students involved in AR projects take an active role in their learning process and learn to 'think' and question rather than to 'know' facts and figures per se. The stimulus of autonomous reflexive thinking in an early phase will inevitably lead to reflexive professionals who have learnt how to work collaboratively as a team, pulling their weight and taking personal responsibility for the outcome of the whole. But if we want to have reflective students, we need to have reflective teachers as well.

Mayoral (in Pym, 2003: 5) made the point that:

as things stand at present, our knowledge of translation pedagogy is not sufficiently established, consistent or agreed-upon for it to become the basis of a training program.

We strongly believe that this situation could change if more of us got involved in classroom research with the strong commitment of sharing the findings through, for example, position papers or journals. We can't share Gouadec's opinion that trainers' experience as translators alone "should clearly decide on their teaching approaches" (in Pym, 2003: 13). There is surely more to it. If we are to see "the much-needed paradigm shift in translator education" proposed by Kiraly (in Pym, 2003: 27) perhaps we should address translation teacher's training seriously. The old question of who should be teaching future translators (practioners or teachers - often coming from other areas), can be abandoned if all are taught to think about their practices. If it may be difficult to start from scratch – there are too many teachers of translation in the market as it is – perhaps it is possible to believe that by implementing AR in our teaching projects, as truly social-constructivist educational experiences which will include:

authentic practice in actual professional activities, a collaborative learning environment including not only interaction among students but also the extensive involvement of the students in every aspect of the teaching/learning process, including syllabus and curriculum design, task selection, sub-task identification and assessment of their own performance and learning, as well as programme effectiveness. (Ibid., 30)

We will be contributing towards life-long education for we will be training ourselves as teachers continually. We will be questioning our methodologies and pedagogical choices; we will be on the way to taking a small step forward towards a new translation teaching/training paradigm. A shift from the teacher centred model might mean that a new generation of translation teachers be trained. A good start could be to have translation teachers with knowledge of AR working together and getting involved in classroom research. The reports of all the action, the reflection and the innovation in which many translation teachers are probably getting involved is much needed, for it is possible that many of us have been carrying out AR even without being aware of it.

4. Final comments

On closing this reflection about the possibility of ARTS we turn to its opening lines to realise that more than three years have elapsed since we first started questioning such a hypothesis. In fact, these years were, in themselves, yet another important cycle in our activity as action researchers in TS. We have researched into our own research methods, hoping to be reflexive and critical; we have questioned our beliefs and practices; we have sought theory and evidence to support our choices and we have actively, even if modestly, contributed towards change. We have worked in close collaboration; we have exchanged ideas on many of our doubts and views with fellow researchers in the field of TS and in other fields. We have addressed each of the problems that came to be in multiple perspectives, in the knowing that there is still so much more to see, change and do.

We firmly believe that more than theorising about AR in TS, it is important that we actually do it. Only so will it be possible to understand to what extent it can be useful to the field. If no more can be got from our experience, we hope to have set forward a hypothesis that needs to be seriously addressed: that indeed there is space for Action Research in Translation Studies.


A word of thanks to all those who have read this paper through and who have offered us their comments on the subject. Among them, Professor Lambert, who coordinated CETRA 2003 where we first set forward the possibility of using Action Research in Translation Studies, Professors Ian Mason, Jorge Díaz Cintas, Maria Teresa Roberto and Yvonne McLaren, supervisors to our PhDs, and Professors Yves Gambier, Anthony Pym, Don Kiraly and Manuela Abrantes who also made our research richer for their comments. Our gratitude also goes to the JoSTrans' reviewer who gave us the opportunity to address our article anew, thus helping us to work though another important cycle, that of re-evaluation and systematisation.

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Ana Cravo was involved in translator education for eleven years. She has a degree in Languages and Literatures (English and German) by the University of Lisbon and a Masters of Education in Supervision by the University of Nottingham. She is presently working on a PhD on Quality Control in Interlingual Subtitling under the supervision of Prof. Ian Mason and Dr. Yvonne McLaren at Heriot-Watt University.


Josélia Neves has a degree in Languages and Literatures and a Masters in English Studies with a dissertation on the film adaptation of Henry James' works. In the past 12 years she has been involved in Translator Education and Training at Escola Superior de Tecnologia e Gestão de Leiria, in Portugal, where she has developed a number of projects in the field of audiovisual translation, with a focus on accessibility to the media. She has recently completed her PhD on Subtitling for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing to Roehampton University, under the supervision of Prof. Jorge Díaz Cintas.


Note 1: On reviewing literature we realised that some authors call 'action research' a method (Cohen & Manion 1980, 1985: 216; Hopkins, 1985, 1993: 47; Moreira, 2001: 25), some a methodology (Somekh, 1993: 28); some an approach (McNiff, 1988: 24; Nunan, 1993: 41; McTaggart, 1994: 313; Jennings & Graham, 1996: 268) and others a paradigm (McWilliam, 1992, quoted in McTaggart, 1994: 325). But we also find authors who use more than one of the above designations to refer to AR.  Hatim (2001: 3) opts for the term methodology, later to use approach (ibid.: 189). On the other hand, Hopkins (1985, 1993: 46-47), for example, uses both terms method and methodology and, from what he says, one may infer that different approaches to AR may lead to different models (he refers the models developed by Kemmis, Elliott, Ebbutt and McKernan). Yet, Dick (1993) introduces AR as a paradigm and he describes four action research methodologies (namely: participatory action research, action science, soft systems methodology and evaluation).
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Note 2: Authors, such as Gummesson (1991, quoted in Dick 1993), mention the "hermeneutic spiral"; others, as Dick (1993) and Philip-Harbutt (2003:95), talk about "cycles within cycles"; others still, as McKay & Marshall (1999: 603) mention the "dual cycle process", and Coghlan & Brannick (2001: 20) speak of a "meta cycle". Further to this, Atkinson (1994: 395) mentions "little mini cycles of rapid decisions within the larger cycle" and envisages the existence of "incomplete cycles that can go from one to a series of unplanned actions with little or no reflection".
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Note 3: These projects have all been carried out withing the subject of Translation Tecnologies or as part of students' end of degree internship and have ranged from providing SDH on a commercial television channel (Projecto "Mulheres Apaixonadas" – 2003); providing live subtitling for the European Deaf Football Championship Draw (2004); providing accessibility features within the context of museums (Museu Escolar – Leiria 2006); and providing live subtitling for Sunday Services and audio-description in the Fátima Shrine (2006).
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