Englund Dimitrova at Alhambra, Spain.

Birgitta M E Englund Dimitrova

Professor emerita

Visa sidan på svenska
Works at The Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 D
Room D 671
Postal address Institutionen för svenska och flerspråkighet 106 91 Stockholm

About me

I am Professor Emerita of Translation Studies at Stockholm University. 


Current research

Currently, I’m engaged mainly in four different projects:

Invisible process – cognition and working memory of dialogue interpreting

This project is led by Senior Lecturer Elisabet Tiselius, and is financed for the years 2017-2020 by the Swedish Research Council. Its focus is on investigating the cognitive processes of dialogue interpreters with different amount of interpreting experience, using both quantitative and qualitative research methods.  Languages are Swedish, French and Spanish. In this project, I am able to combine my interest in two different problem areas that I have been working on since the 1990’ies, i e, Interaction in interpreted conversations and Cognitive aspects of the translation and interpreting process (see below).  The researchers in this project are Elisabet Tiselius, PhD student Aleksandra Adler and myself. In 2018, MA student Thomas Thomsen finished his Masters thesis within the project. For project description, see pdf-file to the right. With Elisabet Tiselius, I have recently (2019) published a paper on dialogue interpreters' language proficiency, see below under Publications. 

Talk show leader and interpreter  – a study of dual-role mediation and TV-interpreting

In this project, I’m investigating verbal and non-verbal interpreting techniques and ethics in a TV-show where one and the same person is both interviewing a guest (in Russian) and interpreting his conversation with her into Swedish, for the viewers. I have presented preliminary results at two international conferences and in guest lectures at the Karl Franzens-Universität in Graz, Austria, at the Slavic Section of the Department of Slavic and Baltic languages, Finnish, Dutch and German, at Stockholm University, and at Göteborg University. Two papers from this project were published in 2019. One, focusing on the clash of different ethical stances in this dual-role mediation situation, is published with open access in Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice. The other paper deals with cognitive (over)load in dual-role mediation, see Publications below.  

Translation Studies in Sweden during 30 years – a bibliography

I have been gathering information about Swedish books published within Translation Studies over the last 30 years, and plan to publish this material in a book.

The translations of Johan Helmich Roman

Johan Helmich Roman (1694-1758) was a Swedish composer, often called "The father of Swedish music". Most well-known perhaps for The Drottningholm music (1744). Roman also actively promoted the use of the Swedish language in church music by translating, both church music and theoretical works of music. In June 2020, I present some research questions in this project at the on-line conference Musikforskning idag (Musicology today), see pdf with abstract (only in Swedish, English version will follow shortly) to the right on this page. 


Previous research - an overview

My previous research falls mainly within the following interest areas:

Interaction in interpreted conversations. Publications from 1991 and onwards

Within this area, I have studied authentic interpreted medical consultations (with doctors), mainly how turn-taking is managed and feedback. Languages: Spanish-Swedish. I was one of the pioneers in using video recordings for doing such conversation analysis of interpreted encounters already in the 1990’ies. The recordings were also the empirical data for an analysis of overall non-verbal-elements in the conversations.   

My current research (2017) connects with this research interest, both from an interaction perspective (see above the project Talk show leader and interpreter  – a study of TV-interpreting) and from a combined interaction and cognitive perspective (see above the project Invisible process – cognition and working memory of community interpreting).

Cognitive aspects of the translation and interpreting process. Publications from 1993 and onwards  

Cognitive aspects of the translation and interpreting process has been one of my research areas for a number of years, yielding a large number of publications. I have studied the phases of the translation process and their characteristics, particularly how translators review and revise their translations. This focus was connected with a study of how translators with different amount of translation experience approach a translation task, and, as a particular aspect of this, expertise in the translation process. I have also elaborated a method for studying, in process based data, textual characteristics of the target text, i e, a combined process and product approach. I applied the method in a study of how translators deal with implicit information in the source text and eventual explicitations in the process and product. Languages: Russian and Swedish. Main research/data collection methods have been keystroke logging and introspection (think-aloud and retrospection).

I am now further developing this research interest in the current project Invisible process – cognition and working memory of community interpreting, see above.

Translation of dialect in fiction. Publications from 1987 and onwards

I have worked on this project on and off during my entire work as a Translation Studies scholar, and as a result published 7 papers, published in Sweden, Finland, Germany and Russia.  The first paper (1987, in Bulgarian) took as the starting point my own work as a translator, grappling with the problem of translating a rural Bulgarian dialect in a modern short story into Swedish. 5 papers (1997 and 2004 in English; 2001, 2002 and 2012 in Swedish) theorize dialect translation and analyze empirically patterns of dialect features in Swedish literature and their translations into English, French, Bulgarian and Russian. The latest publication (2016, in Swedish) triangulates different empirical methods: text analysis, introspection (translators’ commentaries) and readers’ focus group discussion. Several of the papers deal with children’s literature.

Slavic and Bulgarian studies. Publications between 1977 and 1988

My very first research area was within Slavic and Bulgarian Studies. My PhD thesis was a contrastive study of the syntax of yes/no-questions in modern Bulgarian and Macedonian, and I have also published articles on other selected grammatical problems in modern Bulgarian and Macedonian.  Furthermore, many of my publications within Translation and Interpreting Studies deal with one or more Slavic languages. 


A snapshot of my career


PhD Slavic linguistics (Bulgarian and Macedonian), Stockholm University


Teaching Bulgarian at Department of Slavic and Baltic Languages, Stockhom University


Engaged in a project for developing interpreting service within the health care system of Stockholm regional council. During this time, I also taught Macedonian at Uppsala University and Bulgarian at Oslo University, Norway.


Assistant Professor, from 1992 Associate Professor, of Bilingualism/Translation/Interpreting, at Department of Slavic languages (1986-1988) and Centre for Research on bilingualism, Stockholm University  


Associate Professor of Translation and Interpreting at Institute for Interpretation and Translation Studies, Stockholm University


Full Professor in Translation Studies, at Institute for Interpretation and Translation Studies, Stockholm University


professor emerita, at Institute for Interpreting and Translation Studies, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Stockholm University


My publications

See pdf file to the right for a full list of my publications.

A large number of my publications are electronically available, in DIVA, the publication database of Stockholm University, and also on my academia webpage, see link to the right. However, for copyright reasons, I cannot give access to all my publications on internet. 



A selection from Stockholm University publication database
  • 2019. Birgitta Englund Dimitrova. Slavica Antiqua et Hodierna. En hyllningsskrift till Per Ambrosiani., 235-250

    This paper is a case study of cognitive load in consecutive interpreting. The data is taken from an example of dual role mediation in an entertainment show on Swedish TV, where the host interviews a Russian-speaking guest while at the same time functioning as interpreter for the Swedish viewers.  The assumption of the study is that performing such double functions is cognitively taxing and may lead to cognitive overload, affecting the interpreting process. Methodologically, the study uses multimodal conversation analysis for the analysis of utterances in combination with non-verbal elements (gaze, hand movements). This analysis from a micro perspective is embedded within a macro perspective analysis where elements of thick description serve to contextualize the situation in order to tentatively explain some problems in the interpreting process and the strategies used to solve them.

  • 2019. Elisabet Tiselius, Birgitta Englund Dimitrova.

    Language proficiency of dialogue interpreters, who typically work in the public service sector, is an under-researched area. Contrary to conference interpreters, for dialogue interpreters there is no generally accepted definition of proficiency levels of working languages. This article discusses language proficiency in dialogue interpreting. It presents a methodological problem, namely, how to define and determine a given interpreter’s stronger and weaker working language. In our article we discuss different methods for determining the individual interpreter’s stronger and weaker working languages, such as self-assessment, demographic, socio-linguistic questionnaire and test score (Dialang). We conclude that there is a need for more research into this area.

  • 2018. Birgitta Englund Dimitrova.

    This case study examines a Swedish TV interview with a Soviet pop singer in 1985 where the talk show host, who is both a trained interpreter and an experienced media journalist, acts as a dual-role mediator, interviewing and interpreting at the same time. The analysis is contextualized within the political and military relations between Sweden and the USSR in the 1980s. Theoretically, the study draws on ethics of interpreting, ethics of entertainment and the notions participation status or footing. A potential challenge for a dual-role mediator is that two different ethical stances are involved; here, ethics of entertainment (entertainment, comfort, culture value orientation) and ethics of interpreting (impartiality, neutrality, accuracy). These may clash, but the study claims that the different stances can also be used to the participants’ advantage. Here, the role of talk show host dominates over the role of interpreter, and interpreting ethics can be flouted and played with if it suits the purposes of the former. The study shows the complexity of dual-role mediation and emphasizes the need to take into account the perspectives of both of the involved roles in research on participants’ interaction and changes of footing.

  • 2018. Birgitta Englund Dimitrova, Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow.

     The contributions of this volume explore the dynamics of the interface between the cognitive and situational levels in translation and interpreting. Until relatively recently, there has been an invisible line in translation and interpreting studies between cognitive research (e.g., into mental processes or attitudes) and sociological research (e.g., concerning organization, status, or institutions). However, rapid developments in translation and interpreting practices (professional, non-professional) have brought to the fore the need to rethink theoretical perspectives and to apply new research methods. The chapters in this volume aim to contribute to this discussion through conceptual and/or empirical research. Drawing on different theoretical and methodological frameworks, they offer insights into diverse translation and interpreting situations, in a number of different countries and cultures, and their consequences for individual and collective cognition. Originally published as special issue of Translation Spaces 5:1 (2016). 

  • 2016. Birgitta Englund Dimitrova, Elisabet Tiselius. Reembedding Translation Process Research, 195-214

    This article discusses cognitive aspects of professional community interpreting. We give an overview of earlier research into community interpreting, arguing that cognitive aspects have largely been neglected. We propose that in building a model of the mental processes of the community interpreter, different kinds of monitoring are a crucial and pervasive component. Monitoring contributes to and enables the double function of the interpreter: translating and managing the interaction of the interpreted encounter. We furthermore stress the importance of the notion of professional self-concept for explaining the interpreter’s decision-making and exemplify this by analyzing turn-taking in two Swedish-Spanish interpreted encounters.

  • 2016. Birgitta Englund Dimitrova. Sinhronija, diahronija, tekstologija. Sbornik naučnyh stat’ej i perevodov, 355-362

    Artikeln behandlar dialekt i barnboksöversättning, på grundval av Emil i Lönneberga i översättning till ryska. Materialet är a) 20 olika översättningar till ryska (2 publicerade och 18 gjorda av ryska universitetsstudenter i svenska), b) studenternas kommentarer till sina översättningar, och c) en fokusgruppsdiskussion (6 ryska universitetsstudenter i svenska) av de olika lösningarna. Studien visar en bred variation i olika lösningstyper och konkreta lösningar. Den morfosyntaktiska lösningstypen framträder här som översättningsnorm [Toury 1995]. Den har störst frekvens i materialet, den förekommer i båda de publicerade versionerna och den tas emot mest positivt av läsarna. Övriga lösningstyper är mindre frekventa och har en mer idiosynkratisk karaktär. En jämförelse mellan översättningskommentarerna och diskussionen med läsarna visar att det inte alltid finns överensstämmelse mellan hur översättarens intention och läsarnas reception.

  • Article Cognitive space
    2016. Birgitta Englund Dimitrova, Maureen Ehrensberger-Dow. Translation Spaces 5 (1), 1-19
  • 2015. Amparo Hurtado Albir (et al.). Translation & Interpreting 7 (1), 5-25

    The aim of this paper is to discuss some developments in empirical translation research with an experimental and cognitive perspective. The focus is on the activities and research of the network TREC (Translation, Research, Empiricism, Cognition). The network was formed in 2011, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness and led by PACTE (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona). It consists of translation scholars and research groups united by their common interest in empirical and experimental research, particularly in relation to the cognitive operations that underlie the task of translating.

    The paper first gives a short general overview of research on translation as a cognitive activity and outlines the objectives of the TREC network. The network members, representing universities from Argentina, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, and the USA, then present their most important contributions to cognitively oriented research (topics, methods, results). Finally, some conclusions are drawn and perspectives for future research are outlined.

  • 2014. Birgitta Englund Dimitrova, Elisabet Tiselius. Monografías de Traducción e Interpretación MonTi Special Issue (ed. R. Muñoz Martín) 1 (1), 177-200

    For studying the processes involved in translation and in interpreting, retrospection is one of the few research methods equally suitable for both areas. At the first workshop on research methods in process-oriented research, in Graz in 2009, we presented the results of a pilot study of retrospection as a research method, published as Englund Dimitrova and Tiselius (2009). The study involved data from two groups (15 years of professional experience vs. no professional experience), each with 3+3 subjects (interpreter subjects vs. translator subjects, all with Swedish as their L1). The source text was a 10-minute plenary speech in English from the European Parliament, interpreted simultaneously into Swedish. For the translation data, the translator subjects translated the original European Parliament transcript of the speech, 1,093 words, writing in Translog. After the task, subjects did immediate retrospection. The first analysis of the data indicated that a challenge when using retrospection is that subjects tend to report having forgotten about some of their processes.


    In this paper we report an analysis of the process data in relation to the retrospective protocols. Our focus is on reported problems and the occurrences of problem indicators in the process. It was found that most reported problems are confirmed by the presence of problem indicators in the process. However, the majority of problem indicators found in the process do not correspond to any reported problem. Hence, the subjects’ problem reports can only explain a limited number of the potential problems in the process. The need for further research into retrospection as a research method in Translation Studies is pointed out.

Show all publications by Birgitta M E Englund Dimitrova at Stockholm University

Last updated: December 10, 2020

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