Memento Bootcamp 2020

We invite applications for the third MEMENTO boot-camp, which will take place over at least two weekends (8.2.-9.2.2020 and 29.2.2020 ) virtually and one week in Germersheim from 4.7.-11.7.2020 at the TRA&CO Center in 2020.

Deadline for application is 7th January 2020.

Deadline extension: New Deadline 9am GMT 13th January 2020.


Priming mechanisms in written and spoken translation


Priming within and/or across languages – whether it is structural and/or semantic in nature has been studied extensively in a range of contexts. However, the role these priming mechanisms play during translation is far less well understood.

In psycholinguistics, experimental paradigms based on phonological (e.g. Gor, 2018), morphological (e.g. Jacob, 2018), syntactic (e.g. Hartsuiker and Bernolet, 2017; Van Gompel and Arai, 2018), and semantic priming (Tytus and Rundblad, 2016) have yielded detailed insight into mechanisms of bilingual language processing and production (Clahsen and Jacob, 2018). Priming paradigms have also been extensively used to investigate language acquisition, e.g. the development of syntactic representations in L1 (Peter and Rowland, 2019). Structural priming studies investigating L2 language acquisition (Bernolet et al., 2013) point at the fundamental importance of priming for linguistic processing more generally; the role of L2 competence has also been studied in this context. Priming effects are also insightful with regard to the representation of morphologically-complex words in the L1 and L2 Mental Lexicon (Diependaele et al., 2011; Feldman et al., 2010; Foote, 2017; Jacob et al., 2017; Silva and Clahsen, 2008; Veríssimo et al., 2018). Structural priming may also play a crucial role in contact-induced language change (Kootstra and Muysken, 2017; Kootstra and Şahin, 2018; Nitschke et al., 2010).

While priming has not been explicitly referred to when studying the influence of aspects of the source language on target texts in translation, priming is a parsimonious explanation for the well-documented phenomenon of interference (e.g., Cappelle and Loock, 2013; Jiménez-Crespo and Tercedor Sánchez, 2017). Priming mechanisms and the role they play during learning and acquisition can be drawn upon equally parsimoniously when studying the acquisition of informal or formal translation competence. The role of priming during post-editing of machine translated texts (PEMT), i.e. the effect of the machine translated target text on the final target text has been suggested (e.g., Elming, Winther Balling and Carl, 2014; Green, Heer and Manning, 2013), but not studied systematically or rigorously.

In sum, priming paradigms have emerged as a key methodological tool to study the processing, production, and acquisition of a wide range of different linguistic phenomena. The fact that priming effects also occur when primes and targets are presented in different languages suggests that such paradigms may also constitute a valuable tool to investigate translation. Priming across languages has been argued to play a key role in translation as a task (Maier et al., 2017) – be it in single word studies or studies investigating larger units (e.g., PEMT or interpreting). The question to what extent priming has a facilitating or inhibiting effect on the process of translation is not well studied; however, such studies are potentially revealing with regard to both the architecture of a translator’s bilingual Mental Lexicon and the process of translation itself. In this context, one particularly interesting issue is the role of word order; in translation, word order varies more freely than in typical cross-linguistic priming studies that manipulate word order differences across languages. While some studies show that cross-linguistic structural priming occurs independently of word order (Bernolet et al., 2007; Chen et al., 2013; Shin and Christianson, 2009), others conclude that word order plays an important role (Jacob et al., 2017; Kidd et al., 2014; Loebell and Bock, 2003).  This raises the question of how we can model and explain priming effects. For syntactic priming, several such attempts have been suggested, including combinatorial nodes (Hartsuiker et al., 2004; Hartsuiker and Pickering, 2008), thematic roles (Ziegler and Snedeker, 2018) or hierarchical tree structures (Jacob et al., 2017). Translation as a task can contribute to our understanding in this regard. Translation tasks offer the possibility to manipulate the relationship between source and target language both more freely and in a more controlled manner than typically used tasks such as confederate or picture description designs. In addition, the role of working memory load during translation and interpreting has been investigated (Liu et al., 2004; Rothe-Neves, 2003), but not in relation to the strength of (either facilitating or inhibiting) priming effects.

To conclude, the use of priming paradigms in studies investigating translation promises to open up exciting future avenues for research. We thus hope that the boot-camp brings together researchers from both translation research and experimental psycholinguistics, and thus leads to new ideas for investigating how bilinguals in general and translators in particular represent and process language.

The Boot-camp

We invite applications for participants to a collaborative extended workshop which will be initiated over two weekends (8.-9.2.2020 and 29.2.2020). The first day of the first meeting will consist of 20-minute online presentations during which participants present their (group’s) proposal. The second day of the first meeting will serve to form groups who may or may not gather data or collaborate more directly prior to the week-long stay in Germersheim. The purpose of the second day of the first online meeting is to initiate a dialogue and allow for an extended multi-directional Q&A in small groups. The purpose of the second virtual meeting is to present updated research proposals which resulted from the groups that formed during the first meeting and the discussions in these groups. For those groups who decide to gather data prior to the week-long stay in Germersheim, there will be a third online meeting (date t.b.c.) in order to discuss progress.

The aim is to find ways of collaborating across traditional disciplinary boundaries by investigating the role of priming during translation – understood as broadly as detailed above. Ideally, we would find converging evidence from a range of languages and methods in order to address the issues raised above such that studies in different language combinations could be replicated at different institutions, the same or similar questions may be addressed with different methods (e.g., brain imaging techniques, behavioural studies using Translog in the TPR-DB format (Carl, 2012; Carl et al., 2016) and longer texts or single word / single sentence studies in addition to reaction times or other behavioural measures) and the same language combinations or the same issues may be targeted with the same methodological tools and language combinations using different populations. The purpose of this collaboration across disciplinary boundaries is to allow for cross fertilization of methods, paradigms, models and hypotheses so that new ways of looking at old problems from different perspectives will result in a strengthened, coherent and joint approach to the intersections between the disciplines: translation as a task, practice and theoretical model – the study of which will benefit individual disciplines in complementary ways.

The week-long stay in Germersheim will serve to continue the dialogue across disciplinary boundaries more intensively. During the week-long bootcamp, there will be 6 keynote speakers who will give impulses on central aspects for the work happening during this week. Those participants or groups of participants who have not gathered data in the months prior to the boot-camp, will fine-tune their research proposals more concretely. The experiments planned during the initial virtual meetings will be carried out over a period of 4 months and resulting data will be analysed, presented, discussed and reported during the week-long (4.-11.7.2020) bootcamp which will take place in Germersheim. During the bootcamp, each group will present the day’s work in progress in the afternoon and all participants will have the opportunity to provide feedback. During this week, those who have results will start drafting the final publication and others may want to discuss their research proposals in more detail. The aim is a joint publication of all participants.


Keynote speakers

Michael Carl

Harald Clahsen

Silvia Hansen-Schirra

Robert J. Hartsuiker

Gunnar Jacob

Lieve Macken

Dates & Deadlines

Virtual workshop 1:                   8.-9.2.2020

Virtual workshop 2:                   29.2.2020

Workshop in Germersheim:      4.-11.7.2020

Deadline for application is 7th January 2020.

Please send a detailed research proposal to by 7th January 2020 in addition to a brief CV and cover letter. The research proposal should not exceed two pages (excluding references).

Grants for accommodation and travel are available.


Bernolet, S., Hartsuiker, R.J., Pickering, M.J., 2013. From language-specific to shared syntactic representations: the influence of second language proficiency on syntactic sharing in bilinguals. Cognition 127, 287–306.

Bernolet, S., Hartsuiker, R.J., Pickering, M.J., 2007. Shared syntactic representations in bilinguals: Evidence for the role of word-order repetition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 33, 931–49.

Cappelle, B., Loock, R., 2013. Is there interference of usage constraints?: A frequency study of existential there is and its French equivalent il y a in translated vs. non-translated texts. Target 25, 252–275.

Carl, M., 2012. Translog-II : a Program for Recording User Activity Data for Empirical Reading and Writing Research, in: The Eighth International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation. 21-27 May 2012, Istanbul, Tyrkiet. Department of International Language Studies and Computational Linguistics, pp. 2–6.

Carl, M., Bangalore, S., Schaeffer, M. (Eds.), 2016. New Directions in Empirical Translation Process Research: Exploring the CRITT TPR-DB. Springer.

Chen, B., Jia, Y., Wang, Z., Dunlap, S., Shin, J.-A., 2013. Is word-order similarity necessary for cross-linguistic structural priming? Second Language Research 29, 375–389.

Diependaele, K., Duñabeitia, J.A., Morris, J., Keuleers, E., 2011. Fast morphological effects in first and second language word recognition. Journal of Memory and Language 64, 344–358.

Elming, J., Winther Balling, L., Carl, M., 2014. Investigating User Behaviour in Post-editing and Translation Using the CASMACAT Workbench, in: O’Brien, S., Simard, M., Specia, L., Carl, M., Balling, L.W. (Eds.), Expertise in Post-Editing: Processes, Technology and Applications. Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Feldman, L.B., Kostić, A., Basnight-Brown, D.M., Đurđević, D.F., Pastizzo, M.J., 2010. Morphological facilitation for regular and irregular verb formations in native and non-native speakers: Little evidence for two distinct mechanisms. Bilingualism 13, 119–135.


Gor, K., 2018. Phonological priming and the role of phonology in nonnative word recognition. Bilingualism 21, 437–442.

Green, S., Heer, J., Manning, C.D., 2013. The efficacy of human post-editing for language translation, in: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - CHI ’13. Presented at the the SIGCHI Conference, ACM Press, Paris, France, p. 439.

Hartsuiker, R.J., Bernolet, S., 2017. The development of shared syntax in second language learning. Bilingualism 20, 219–234.

Hartsuiker, R.J., Pickering, M.J., 2008. Language Integration in Bilingual Sentence Production. Acta psychologica 128, 479–89.

Hartsuiker, R.J., Pickering, M.J., Veltkamp, E., 2004. Is Syntax Separate or Shared between Languages? Cross-Linguistic Syntactic Priming in Spanish-English Bilinguals. Psychological Science 15, 409–14.

Jacob, G., 2018. Morphological priming in bilingualism research. Bilingualism 21, 443–447.

Jacob, G., Katsika, K., Family, N., Allen, S.E.M., 2017. The role of constituent order and level of embedding in cross-linguistic structural priming. Bilingualism 20, 269–282.

Jiménez-Crespo, M.A., Tercedor Sánchez, M., 2017. Lexical variation, register and explicitation in medical translation: A comparable corpus study of medical terminology in US websites translated into Spanish. TIS 12, 405–426.

Kidd, E., Tennant, E., Nitschke, S., 2014. Shared abstract representation of linguistic structure in bilingual sentence comprehension. Psychonomic bulletin & review.

Kootstra, G.J., Muysken, P., 2017. Cross-linguistic priming in bilinguals: Multidisciplinary perspectives on language processing, acquisition, and change. Bilingualism 20, 215–218.

Kootstra, G.J., Şahin, H., 2018. Crosslinguistic structural priming as a mechanism of contact-induced language change: Evidence from Papiamento-Dutch bilinguals in Aruba and the Netherlands. Language 94, 902–930.

Liu, M., Schallert, D.L., Carroll, P.J., 2004. Working memory and expertise in simultaneous interpreting. Interpreting - International Journal of Research and Practice in Interpreting 6, 19–42.

Loebell, H., Bock, K., 2003. Structural Priming Across Languages. Linguistics 41, 791–824.

Maier, R.M., Pickering, M.J., Hartsuiker, R.J., 2017. Does translation involve structural priming? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 70, 1575–1589.

Nitschke, S., Kidd, E., Serratrice, L., 2010. First language transfer and long-term structural priming in comprehension. Language and Cognitive Processes 25, 94–114.

Peter, M.S., Rowland, C.F., 2019. Aligning Developmental and Processing Accounts of Implicit and Statistical Learning. Top Cogn Sci 11, 555–572.

Rothe-Neves, R., 2003. The Influence of Working Memory Features on Some Formal Aspects of Translation Performance, in: Triangulating Translation: Perspectives in Process Oriented Research. John Benjamins, Amsterdam and Philadelphia, pp. 97–119.

Shin, J.-A., Christianson, K., 2009. Syntactic processing in Korean-English bilingual production: evidence from cross-linguistic structural priming. Cognition 112, 175–80.

Silva, R., Clahsen, H., 2008. Morphologically complex words in L1 and L2 processing: Evidence from masked priming experiments in English. Bilingualism 11, 245–260.

Tytus, A.E., Rundblad, G., 2016. Cross-language priming as a means of investigating bilingual conceptual representations: A comparison of visual and auditory modality. LAB 6, 440–466.

Van Gompel, R.P.G., Arai, M., 2018. Structural priming in bilinguals. Bilingualism 21, 448–455.

Veríssimo, J., Heyer, V., Jacob, G., Clahsen, H., 2018. Selective Effects of Age of Acquisition on Morphological Priming: Evidence for a Sensitive Period. Language Acquisition 25, 315–326.

Ziegler, J., Snedeker, J., 2018. How broad are thematic roles? Evidence from structural priming. Cognition 179, 221–240.