Dr Maria Fernandez Parra
Lecturer
Modern Languages
Telephone: (01792) 602956
Room: Spanish Office - 311
Third Floor
Keir Hardie Building
Singleton Campus

Maria Fernandez-Parra is a Lecturer and Researcher in Translation. She has published  widely in topics related to translation and interpreting, particularly translation technologies, translation theory, technical and specialised translation, computer-assisted translation and institutional translation. She also carries out research into formulaic language and is interested in applying eye-tracking  and keylogging methods to research in translation. She is currently the Director of the MA Professional Translation, the Secretary of the Language Research Centre at Swansea University and the Treasurer of APTIS (Association of Programmes in Translation and Interpreting). 

Areas of Expertise

  • Computer-Assisted Translation
  • Translation Theory
  • Translation and Interpreting
  • Language Technology
  • Technical Translation
  • Translation Studies
  • Corpus Linguistics
  • Spanish Language Teaching

Publications

  1. & Embracing digital disruption in translator training: Technology immersion in simulated translation bureaus. Tradumàtica
  2. & Professionalising the Curriculum and Increasing Employability through Authentic Experiential Learning: The cases of INSTB. Current Trends in Translation Teaching and Learning-E 4, 78-111.
  3. & Exploring the Typology of Challenges and Strategies in Translating Culture-Bound Items for Professional Purposes. International Journal of English Linguistics 8(3), 1
  4. & Two sides of the coin: mapping translators’ competence criteria onto the market requirements: The case of Saudi Arabia. In In E. Poirier and D. Gallego-Hernandez (eds). Business and Institutional Translation: New Insights and Reflections. (pp. 203-218). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  5. & Recounting and reflecting: The use of first person pronouns in Chinese, Greek and British students' assignments in engineering. Journal of English for Academic Purposes 26, 66-77.

See more...

Teaching

  • MLSM07 Intermediate Spanish for Postgraduate Students

    Professional translators typically need to be able to offer 2 languages pairs. Translation MA students who may have given up another language on leaving school can take this opportunity to pick it up again at Intermediate level and develop more advanced translation skills. This module combines the post A-Level first year General Language programme with, in the second semester, the corresponding Level 2 Translation Workshop (working into English). MA students join first and second year groups as appropriate, attending all classes and taking all assessments for the relevant modules. The final mark for the MA module is composed of the overall averages for the L1 General Language and L2 Translation Workshop modules, weighted 2:1. NB: this module involves 3 hours/week of classes in semester 1 and 4.5 hours/week in semester 2, and is only offered subject to satisfactory timetabling arrangements being available.

  • MLT201 Introduction to the Theory of Translation

    The question of how to evaluate a translation has occupied linguists since antiquity. In this module, some of the main issues from the rich history of this discussion will be presented. One of the oldest issues is how literal or free a translation can or should be. An example of a more modern question is: what is the right unit of translation (why not word-for-word?, what type of larger units?). We will also consider cultural and philosophical aspects of translation, and the question to what extent the translator is (and should be) visible or invisible.

  • MLT202 Computer-Assisted Translation

    Translators have long been suspicious of computers taking over their jobs. Meanwhile a variety of tools have been developed and commercialized that increase the translator's productivity without taking over control of the translation process. These Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools have a dedicated set of functions that go far beyond those of a general purpose text editor. One component of any CAT tool is a translation memory which stores old translations and retrieves portions of them when they occur in a new source text. Another component is a terminology management system which recognizes technical terms stored in a special database. In the lecture part of this module the make-up of CAT tools and their functionality is explained, as well as their influence on the work-flow of the translator using them. In the practical part, hands-on experience with a CAT tool is acquired, illustrating the points made in lectures.

  • MLT210 Translation Project

    Professional translation involves much more than replacing expressions in one language by expressions in another one. In this module, you will work on a translation with the techniques of a professional translator. Together with your supervisor you will agree on a text to be translated and you will be given a translation brief specifying the practical context of the translation. Depending on the subject, you might want to use computer tools and/or do some terminological research as part of your translation work. The assessment does not only consist of the translation you produce, but also takes into account your commentary. The commentary will describe the problems you encountered in the translation and your approach to these problems.

  • MLT301A Translation Project (Sem 1)

    Professional translation involves much more than replacing expressions in one language by expression in another one. In this module, you will put into practice everything you have learned about the translation process in the course of your studies. Together with your supervisor you will agree on a text to be translated and you will be given a translation brief specifying the practical context of the translation. Depending on the subject, you might want to use computer tools and/or do some terminological research as part of your translation work. The assessment does not only consist of the translation you produce, but also takes into account your commentary. The commentary will describe the problems you encountered in the translation and your approach to these problems.

  • MLT301B Translation Project (Sem 2)

    Professional translation involves much more than replacing expressions in one language by expression in another one. In this module, you will put into practice everything you have learned about the translation process in the course of your studies. Together with your supervisor you will agree on a text to be translated and you will be given a translation brief specifying the practical context of the translation. Depending on the subject, you might want to use computer tools and/or do some terminological research as part of your translation work. The assessment does not only consist of the translation you produce, but also takes into account your commentary. The commentary will describe the problems you encountered in the translation and your approach to these problems.

  • MLT317 Translation Work Experience for BA Students

    As a student of translation, you tend to work with much precision on the solution of individual translation problems. This is of course an essential component of the work of professional translators. However, when you make the step from being a translation student to working as a professional translator, there are other factors that play a role in your day-to-day work. This module is intended to provide you with the knowledge and skills you need to make this step successfully. The first part of the module (TB1) consists of a number of lectures by industry professionals presenting translation project workflow and organization of the translation business, project management software, and job application procedures. It is concluded with an application letter and a CV for a position as translator/reviser in a translation agency. The translation agency is not entirely real, but real enough to work in practice. In TB2, you will work as a junior translator/revisor in this (fictitious) agency, managed by MA Translation students enrolled in the corresponding MA module. The work involves translating relatively short texts at a speed that reflects realistic demands. This means that you will have to observe tight deadlines while at the same time applying professional quality assurance procedures. As part of these quality assurance procedures, you will also be asked to revise translations by colleagues. Translation work will often be expected to be carried out with Computer-Assisted Translation tools. In the agency, you will have an MA student as a mentor, who can help you with any professional questions.

  • MLT318 Terminology Management

    Terminology management is one of the most time-consuming aspects of professional translation. Many dedicated tools have been developed to reduce the time translators have to spend on terminology. The proper use of these tools requires a good understanding of the theoretical background of terminology as well as some practice. In this module, we will consider different types of terms and the proper treatment of each of them. We will also work with some of the state-of-the-art termbase software.

  • MLTM03 Translation Tools

    In 10 two-hour guided computer classes held weekly through Semester 1, this module provides hands-on training in key computerised tools and techniques required by the modern translation profession. Starting with productivity-enhancing aspects of generic office software (Word, Excel), we move on to look at online resources and data mining. The bulk of the module is devoted to hands-on use of three leading translation memory systems (e.g. SDL Trados, MemSource, Lionbridge's Translation Workspace, Google Translator Toolkit) to a professional standard. Assessment is by one group-based practical assignment in which students localize an English-language website into several languages, working in teams and each then writing an individual report. 20% of the marks are contributed by the group¿s data files, 20% by the quality of the translation and terminology produced by each language team, and 60% by the individual report.

  • MLTM05 Foundations of Translation and Interpreting

    Studying translation involves a number of special skills. They include, for instance, making optimal use of monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, and writing a well-structured commentary explaining your translation strategy or your use of specialized software. There are also some general skills you need, such as setting up a bibliography for a particular topic and formatting your documents to a professional standard. Apart from these skills, this module will also give you some general introductory knowledge of, for instance, the difference between terms and words and the organization of Computer-Assisted Translation tools. Finally, this module will introduce you to basic linguistic concepts and terminology, which you can use in discussing your translation work.

  • MLTM11 Translation Technologies

    This module follows on from MLTM03, expanding the range of Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools which students will be trained to handle and further developing their generic IT skills with specific reference to translation tasks. The 10 two-hour guided computer classes held weekly through Semester 2 explore a range of software packages including Deja-Vu, Star Transit, SDL Passolo and Systran. Particular emphasis is placed on the exchange of translation data between different packages. The assignment for the module is a software comparison in which students will select and evaluate a CAT tool which has not been taught as part of the module, comparing it in detail to one that has. The individual report that they write will carry 100% of the marks.

  • MLTM14 Consecutive Conference Interpreting

    This module is available initially in English<>Mandarin and English<>Spanish only. It will develop strategies and techniques to perform bi-directional Consecutive Conference Interpreting (CCI) from Language A (English) to Language B (Mandarin or Spanish) and vice versa. It involves advanced development of multilingual skills as well as interpersonal/intercultural communication skills (active listening, note-taking, memory retention, aural presentation, public-speaking). Students will be exposed to authentic talks, lectures, conference papers and speeches delivered by European Parliamentarians, TED.com Presenters, the UK's Political Speech Archive, and other countries' politicians, lecturers and experts in various fields. The contexts are Current Affairs and topics of political, socio-economic, scientific and environmental impact in both languages/cultures and their corresponding terminology. Students will also be encouraged to research, write and deliver their own speeches for confidence-building and peer interpreting practice. Training will take place in a fully-equipped Interpreting Suite (delegate units and booths). The Assessment will take the form of two fifteen-minute recorded CCI oral examinations, as follows: one from Language A to Language B (50%) and the other from Language B to Language A (50%). A wide range of material will be available on Blackboard for in-class and extra practice. All students will be required to purchase the textbook Note-Taking for Consecutive Interpreting - A Short Course, by Andrew Gillies (2017 edition). Students will be encouraged to attend meetings, lectures and conferences to widen their knowledge and practise their skills. They will also have the opportunity to participate in a couple of field visits to practise CCI. Successful candidates will be encouraged to apply for placement opportunities at the European Commission Directorate-General for Interpretation and/or The Internship Programme at the United Nations Offices either in Geneva or in New York. Students are expected to do extensive guided private study (e.g., note-taking tasks, Short-Term Memory exercises, speech delivery practice etc.).

  • MLTM17 Translation Work Experience for MA Students

    The first part of this module consists of a number of lectures by industry professionals presenting translation project workflow and organization of the translation business, project management software, and job application procedures. It is concluded with an application letter and a CV for a position in a translation agency. In the second part of the module, this fictitious translation agency will be operational. The texts to be translated are selected by lecturers who act as customers. In addition, translation agencies or international partners may act as customers. Translation agencies will use archived work. For each translation, the originator of the task fills in a customer satisfaction report, a brief summary overview of the extent to which the product satisfies professional standards.

  • MLTM18 Terminology Management

    Terminology management is one of the most time-consuming aspects of professional translation. Many dedicated tools have been developed to reduce the time translators have to spend on terminology. The proper use of these tools requires a good understanding of the theoretical background of terminology as well as some practice. In this module, we will consider different types of terms and the proper treatment of each of them. We will also work with some of the state-of-the-art tools for the description and extraction of terms in practical sessions in the computer lab, including SDL Trados MultiTerm and MultiTerm Extract.

Supervision

  • Untitled (current)

    Student name:
    MA
    Other supervisor: Dr Federico Lopez-Terra
  • EXPLORING CULTURAL CHALLENGES IN ENGLISH-ARABIC TRANSLATION: A NEW APPROACH TO DEVELOPING TRANSLATOR ASSESSMENT«br /» (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Lloyd Davies
  • Nominal Compounds in English and their Translations into Spanish and Slovak. (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Dr Rocio Perez-Tattam
  • A comparative evaluation of the performance of Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) and Machine Translation (MT) tools in English-Arabic translation (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Andrew Rothwell
  • 'An Evaluation of Translation Programmes in Saudi Arabian Universities.' (awarded 2018)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof Andrew Rothwell

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Director of MA in Professional Translation

    2014 - Present

  • Associate Dean for Postgraduate Taught Masters

    2014 - 2015

  • Chair of the COAH Year Abroad Sub-Committee

    2013 - Present

  • BA Translation Programme Director

    2013 - 2014

  • Exams Officer (Hispanic Studies)

    2012 - 2014

  • Exams Officer (Translation)

    2012 - Present

External Responsibilities

  • Treasurer of APTIS, Association of Programmes in Translation & Interpreting Studies

    2017 - Present

  • Senior Fellow , Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)

    2016 - Present

Research Groups

  • FLaRN – Formulaic Language Research Network

    The Formulaic Language Research Network (FLaRN) is a loose association of professional and student academic researchers. It is a tool for keeping a group of like-minded people from around the world in touch with each other, and has been the focal point for three postgraduate conferences. The network exists to co-ordinate research work in the field of formulaic language, to share ideas and resources, and to create a sense of community between researchers who are not necessarily in geographical proximity.

  • Secretary of the Language Research Centre (LRC)

    The Language Research Centre (LRC) is a global hub for single, inter- and multi- disciplinary empirical research into language data and processes.