I'm an associate professor of Translation studies with a focus on interpreting at the Institute for Interpreting and Translation Studies, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism at Stockholm University.
I defended my thesis in 2013 at the Univeristy of Bergen (Norway) my thesis dealt with professional experience and expertise among conference interpreters.
I have just finished a Swedish Research council funded project The invisible process - Cognition and working memory of dialogue interpreting.
I'm work package leader in the DEPICT project funded by the Norwegian Research Council. My work package focus on sign language interpreters use of depiction and we start our research in January 2022.
I'm currently on 80% leave, but teach occasionally at:
At MA-level I teach the following courses occasionally:
I have developed courses both for the conference interpreting training and the public service interpreting training. I have developed the master's program in interpreting and the program for public service interpreting. I have also developed the course for interpreting teachers, Pedagogy and didactics for interpreting teachers. I was also involved in the launch of the course for public service interpreters at the department for Language and Literature at Lund University.
I supervise students at all levels with theses in interpreting. My areas of expertise are cognition in interpreting and sociology in interpreting.
Current PhD supervision:
Nereida Betancor-Sánchez with a project on distance dialogue interpreting.
Elisabet Trengereid-Olsen at Western Norway University of Applied Sciencies. Elisabet is a PhD in the DEPICT project and focus on deaf newly arrived womens communication strategies and experiences of the introductory course for newly arrived.
Aleksandra Adler who wrote her PhD within my VR project "The invisible process - cognition and working memory in dialogue interpreting". Her thesis deals with experience and directionality and their impact on cognitive load in dialogue interpreting. She defended her thesis in November 2023 and you can read it here.
Johanna Granhangen Jungner at Karolinska instituet. Johanna's thesis deals with communication over language barriers in child oncology care. Johanna defended her thesis in December 2018 you can read it here.
Gro Hege Saltnes Urdal whose thesis at the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences deals with students' Education and Buildung on their way to become interpreters for the deaf-blind. Gro's defended her thesis in August 2019. Read more about her work Interpreter students’ development of professional characteristics as interpreters for deafblind individuals: Evidence-based practice and Bildung processes.
My research deals with cognitive processes in interpreting and translation, and interpreters' and translators' development of competence and expertise as part of these processes. I also study deliberate practice in interpreting as a characteristics of expertise.
Another area of my research deals with children as language brokers for their families, and the communicative processes of children in families with limited Swedish proficiency in their encounter with the surrounding society.
At TÖI, I survey, develop and monitor the assessment at entrance tests and final tests. I also work with pedagogical and didactical approaches to interpreting training.
I'm group leader for the SPRINT research group (Stockholm Process Research in Interpreting and Translation). The group is a forum for process researchers at the Institute for Interpreting and Translation Studies at Stockholm University. We do not run a joint research project, instead we support each other's projects and applications. We also read and discuss new research.
"DEPICT Signed Language Depiction as an Engine for Promoting Inclusion, Communication, and Translation". In the project I'm work package leader for a study investigation depiction in sign language interpreting. The project is financed by the Norwegian research council and runs from 2021 to 2025.
”Children's participants in communication with interpreters on site and distance” (with Pernilla Pergert, Johanna Granhagen-Jungner and PhD student Melissa Jakobsson, KI). The project investigates interpreting and communication over language barriers among families with limited Swedish proficiency. We use quesionnaires, interviews and observations. The PhD project is financed through the Mälardalen reserach school in health care sciences and KI.
In 2023 i finished the project ”Invisible process – Cognition and working memory of dialogue interpreting” (which I have been running with Birgitta Englund Dimitrova). The project dealt with cognitive processes in dialogue interpreting. We used psychometric instruments, and also used experimental role plays and retrospection. This project ran for six years (2017-2023) and was funded by the Swedish Research council (VR 2016-01118). You can find the project summary here
Research group Childhood cancer health care research”, at the Department for Women's and Children's health at Karolinska institutet.
Research group "Sign language, Interpreting and Communication", Research program of language, communication and learning, Department of language, literature, mathematics and interpreting, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences.
Board member (since 2021) of the research network TREC (Translation, Research, Empiricism, Cognition), which is an international network for reserach on cognitive proceses in interpreting and translation.
2022-- President of the European Society for Translation Studies.
I'm a professional interpreter, authorized by the Swedish authorization agency Kammarkollegiet and a member of the International Association of Conference Interpreters (AIIC). I'm also an accredited conference interpreter to the European institutions. My working languages are English, French, Danish and Swedish.
2018-2020 I was external advisor in the European Commission project to create a Knowledge Centre on Interpretation
2022 -- vice president of "European Masters in Conference Interpreting". EMCI is a European network with 15 universities training conference interpreters. TÖI is one of the members.
Member of editorial board
InContext - Studies in Translation and Interculturalism
Nordisk tidsskrift for oversettelses- og tolkeforskning
A selection from Stockholm University publication database
Monitoring in dialogue interpreting: cognitive and didactic perspectives
2023. Elisabet Tiselius, Birgitta Englund Dimitrova. Routledge Handbook of Public Service Interpreting, 309-324Chapter
The chapter introduces the concept of monitoring in dialogue interpreting, and argues that it is central to understanding and learning dialogue interpreting. The chapter first outlines the epistemological and theoretical foundations of monitoring with a discussion of the distinctions between translation acts and translation events, proposed and discussed by Toury (2012), Chesterman (2015), and Muñoz (2016). Monitoring is then shortly discussed within the framework of distributed cognition. In the chapter, different theories of monitoring from Translation Studies, Speech Studies and theories of interaction, are explored, namely, Toury (1995/2012), Levelt (1983), Laver (1980), and Goodwin (1980). We discuss the monitoring concepts, exemplifying them with our own research data. We propose an understanding of monitoring as a cognitive process in dialogue interpreting, arguing that six different (sub)processes are monitored. We go through results from studies relating to monitoring in dialogue interpreting, and we also make the connection between monitoring and coordination clear. Finally, we argue that teaching students the concept of monitoring will contribute to developing their meta-cognitive awareness, which will be applied to the interpreting task. We end our chapter by giving examples of how monitoring can be taught in interpreting training.
Testing the working memory capacity of dialogue interpreters
2023. Elisabet Tiselius, Birgitta Englund Dimitrova. Across Languages and Cultures 24 (2), 163-180Article
Allocation and management of working memory resources are crucial for successful interpreting. A number of studies have found clear indications that simultaneous interpreters have larger working memory capacity, at least in some areas, than other bilinguals. To date, no studies have focused on the working memory of dialogue interpreters. The study reported in this paper investigated the main differences and similarities in working memory between experienced and inexperienced dialogue interpreters when it comes to central executive functions. We also compared experienced dialogue interpreters to experienced simultaneous conference interpreters. Fifteen dialogue interpreters with two working languages, Swedish and either French, Polish or Spanish, participated in the following working memory tests: tests for updating (2-back), inhibition (arrow flanker), attention-sharing, storage and processing (Barrouillet, letter span, matrix span, operation span). We found no significant differences between the experienced and inexperienced dialogue interpreters, and there were significant differences between the experienced dialogue interpreters and a comparison group of experienced simultaneous conference interpreters (n = 28). Although the number of participants is small, the study may serve as a baseline for future work on the cognition of dialogue interpreting.
Innovative approaches to study Cognitive Translation and Interpreting Studies
2022. Elisabet Tiselius, Raphael Sannholm, Laura Babcock. Translation, Cognition & Behavior 5 (2), 216-220Article
Swedish interpreter professions: How legislation and public institutions contribute to creation and disruption of work, remuneration and education
2022. Elisabet Tiselius. Translator (Manchester) 28 (2), 178-195Article
This article explores how the interpreter professions in Sweden have been forged through different types of legislation and public actions. The study covers the period from 1971 to 2018 and investigates different public documents such as laws, bills, and special investigations in order to trace the development of the three interpreter professions, public service interpreting, sign language interpreting and conference interpreting. Document analysis and content analysis are used to frame how the term interpreter is conceptualised and used. Newspaper corpora and archives are used to explore how different types of interpreters are covered in media. Furthermore, the use, provision, remuneration, and education of interpreters in Sweden are investigated through the same documents. The study concludes that in a number of cases direct links can be found between the development of the profession and special investigations and legislation.
Tolkar vi med kroppen eller med knoppen?: Om förkroppsligad kognition i dialogtolkningens pas de trois
2022. Elisabet Tiselius. Tango för tre, 28-37Chapter
This article discusses embodied cognition in dialogue interpreting. In the article, I adopt Muñoz Martín’s (2017) 4EA understanding of processes in interpreting as 1) embodied, 2) embedded, 3) enactive, 4) extended, and 5) affective. I argue that embodied cognition can be studied through the interpreter use of turn-taking and body language, among other things. I show through three examples how embodied cognition can be studied through gestures and gaze. The embodied cognition approach can be used as a tool to understand the co-construction of meaning (Wadensjö 1992) in an interpreter mediated talk.
Conference and Community Interpreting: Commonalities and differences
2021. Elisabet Tiselius. The Routledge Handbook of Conference Interpreting, 49-61Chapter
This chapter discusses the commonalities and differences between spoken language conference and community interpreting. The aim is to describe the common core of these two fields of activity, often treated as two different professions. The chapter starts by describing what is argued are common core concepts of interpreting, namely, monologic/monologue vs dialogic/dialogue, setting, mode and modality. Then conference and community interpreting are compared from the perspectives of profile, skills, training, directionality, users, working conditions, professionalization, and research. Reasons for the two fields of activity being conceptualized as two different professions are discussed. Possible reasons identified include organization, setting and placement, remuneration, status of users, and levels of education. However, since the core concepts, competencies and knowledge are the same or very similar, and since a professional interpreter can be, and many are, active in both conference and community interpreting, it is argued that it may be more fruitful to consider them as fields of activity rather than different professions.
Informed Consent: an overlooked part of ethical research in Interpreting Studies
2021. Elisabet Tiselius. InContext 1 (1)Article
This article discusses the concept of informed consent in interpreting studies. Informed consent implies that a person must be given enough information to be able to consent to participate voluntarily in a research project. The article first gives an overview and background of the origins of informed consent, and its place in ethical research. The article then points to different areas where informed consent in interpreting studies may be delicate, and what to think about in order to obtain truly informed consent; examples are given from different research studies. The article also discusses the research participants’ right to their data and what happens when informed consent is revoked. I argue in the article that research students should be taught and trained in truly informed consent, and that the informed consent process should be piloted before the initiation of a study.
Re-examining “Practice” in Interpreter Education
2021. Rachel Herring (et al.). International Journal of Interpreter Education 14 (1), 82-88Article
In this commentary, the authors explore “practice” in interpreter education. They outline differences in meaning and usage of the term, including the notions of “reflective practice” and “deliberate practice,” discuss the importance of high-quality skill development-focused practice (SDFP) in skill acquisition, and call for a systematic program of research into SDFP in interpreter education, particularly within the context of dialogue interpreting.
Reasons for not using interpreters to secure patient-safe communication: A national cross-sectional study in paediatric oncology
2021. Johanna Granhagen Jungner, Elisabet Tiselius, Pernilla Pergert. Patient Education and Counseling 104 (8), 1985-1992Article
Objective: To investigate the reasons for not using interpreters to secure patient-safe communication.
Methods: Healthcare personnel at six paediatric oncology centres in Sweden responded to the Communication over Language Barriers questionnaire. Descriptive and comparative analyses were performed.
Results: The participants (n = 267) often cared for patients with limited Swedish proficiency, although they were not trained in using interpreters. A lack of time was perceived as a barrier in emergency care situations, but also in planned care situations. Another barrier was the interpreter’s ability to correctly interpret medical/care terminology. There were significant differences in evaluating the interpreters’ abilities between those with/without education in using interpreters, and between Medical Doctors and Nursing Assistants. Participants were unsure whether the patient had received the correct information and thought that it was difficult to control the family/patient’s understanding of the given information. The vast majority did not perceive financial constraints as a barrier for using interpreters.
Conclusions: Economic resources and legislation are not enough to increase the use of interpreters. Reasons for not using interpreters are found in limitations of time, training, and interpreters’ skills and knowledge.
Practice Implications: There is a need for a greater focus on training, interpreters’ skills, and booking procedures in paediatric healthcare.
The Routledge Handbook of Conference Interpreting
2021. .Book (ed)
Providing comprehensive coverage of both current research and practice in conference interpreting, The Routledge Handbook of Conference Interpreting covers core areas and cutting-edge developments, which have sprung up due to the spread of modern technologies and global English.
Consisting of 40 chapters divided into seven parts—Fundamentals, Settings, Regions, Professional issues, Training and education, Research perspectives and Recent developments—the Handbook focuses on the key areas of conference interpreting. This volume is unique in its approach to the field of conference interpreting as it covers not only research and teaching practice but also practical issues of the profession on all continents.
Bringing together over 70 researchers in the field from all over the world and with an introduction by the editors, this is essential reading for all researchers, trainers, students and professionals of conference interpreting.
Turn-taking in dialogue interpreting: Coping with cognitive constraints
2021. Elisabet Tiselius, Birgitta Englund Dimitrova. Cognitive Linguistic Studies 8 (2), 328-355Article
This study addresses cognitive aspects of turn-taking and the role of experience in dialogue interpreting, by investigating the temporal and textual properties of the coupled turn (i.e. the original utterance and its interpretation). A comparison was made using a video-recorded scripted role-play between eight interpreters, with Swedish-French or Swedish-Spanish as working languages and with different levels of experience. Cognitively challenging long stretches of talk were introduced in both directions of the working languages and analyzed with a multi-modal approach. We identified a number of quantitative measures, such as the number of coupled turns and the time used. Furthermore, we qualitatively analyzed the types of renditions. The findings suggest that the mean length of time of the coupled turn, which we label processing span, is a measure that is not primarily related to interpreting experience but rather reflects the constraints of the interpreter’s working memory. A further finding is that the inexperienced interpreters have a higher percentage of reduced renditions than the experienced interpreters, and this difference is statistically significant.