Mario Bisiada, PhD

I'm a tenure-track lecturer at the Department of Translation and Language Sciences at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. My research interests are cross-linguistic and contrastive phenomena of language, discourse and translation.

I received my PhD for a corpus-based study of translation as a site of language contact, investigating whether translations from English influence language change in German. I have gone on to publish a range of articles on the linguistic influence of editors on the translated text, where I argue for a greater awareness of mediators in corpus studies of translated language. My more recent research deals with cross-linguistic corpus-assisted discourse studies of how current societal issues are constructed and framed through metaphors and hashtags in German, English, Spanish and Catalan. I'm working on a project on the framing of migration and my most recent publication is a study of the emergence and use of the “homework” metaphor in German and English newspaper discourse.

I've recently organised the Translation in Transition 4 conference at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. I also organise a yearly international conference for undergraduate linguistics students (Congreso de Estudiantes de Grado de Lenguas Modernas y Aplicadas (CELMA)) at the UPF.
To contact me, please use the buttons in the menu on the right.

About me

Research

Frames and narratives of translation and of migration in Europe

This project seeks to advance research on the role of translation as a key mechanism of migration control and on the study of cross-linguistically existent discourse patterns. The main research objectives are

  1. to identify frames of migration and of translation in contact zones of migration in Spain and Germany, and to investigate whether particular frames can be observed cross-linguistically, which would imply the existence of cross-nationally identifiable discourse patterns or narratives on migration
  2. to analyse how these frames shape narratives of migration and of translation that are observable in both individual agents working in contact zones of migration and in organisational processes of translation in those zones

While extensive scholarly work exists on how immigration is framed in the media, it is with the recent rise of populism in Europe that the language employed by politicians and echoed in the media is increasingly becoming a pan-European topic of both interest and concern. Conservative parties increasingly adopt extreme right-wing terminology, thus shifting the limits of acceptability further and further towards a xenophobic consensus. Discursive means of manipulation or presenting subjective opinion as objective truths have become frequent strategies.
While the media play a key role in shaping the discourse on immigration and determining which frames are used and perpetuated, much work remains to be done to investigate how particular frames are introduced and established, and especially how this shapes a cross-linguistic, pan-European discourse. Recent calls to fund research within EU Horizon 2020 programme have placed emphasis on the discourse around the concept of migration and its socio-economic effects on host societies, such as distribution and impact of migration, migrant integration and education, or mobility patterns and security risks, among others. However, the centrality of language, and as a result of translation as an act of mediation that allows migrants to navigate their environment and fully participate in everyday life has been ignored. These approaches to the study of migration and its relationship to language are central to understanding migration processes within the European Union from a geopolitical perspective.
The specific objectives to be addressed by this project are:

  1. to identify through quantitative and contrastive data analysis the most recurrent frames on migration and translation to examine the connection between these two concepts
  2. to conduct a qualitative analysis of author stance and positioning towards migration in those recurrent frames
  3. to identify, through ethnographic methods of data collection and qualitative content analysis, public narratives of migration and of translation in the three areas mentioned above, and to evaluate the extent to which frames identified in RO2 shape such narratives
  4. to establish a connection between narratives of migration and of translation, and evaluate the extent to which such narratives contribute to the use of acts of translation as key strategic tools for control of migration

The Frames and Narratives of Translation and of Migration in Europe (FANTAME) research project is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (PID2019-107971GA-I00, 2020−2024).

This project is further funded by a postdoctoral grant from Pompeu Fabra University's inter- and trans-disciplinary Planetary Wellbeing initiative.

Cross-linguistic framing of societal issues

Cross-linguistic corpus-assisted discourse studies is a growing field of research, especially due to the increasing importance of social media for politics and society and the availability of social media corpora. I'm interested in how political and social issues are constructed, driven and represented through linguistic devices such as hashtags and metaphors. Economic issues tend to be referred to using metaphors from the domain of education, for instance, “doing homework”, “model pupil” and “learning lessons”. In a corpus-assisted study of German and English newspapers, published in Discourse & Society, I argue that the expression is a structural metaphor and an understatement, and thus works as a figurative frame, presenting complex issues in an oversimplifying manner. I show that the metaphor, which was initially used as “we have done our homework” or “X has not done their homework” at first, is now used regularly in neutral contexts to refer to economic issues, establishing its simplifying effect as a regularly occurring frame. I currently work on a study of the #MeToo hashtag, analysing its regular collocates and the evaluative stance displayed towards it in Twitter discourse across languages.

Blog publications

Eine Metapher, sie zu knechten (23 October 2018, Der Freitag)
Die Benutzung der Metapher “Hausaufgaben machen” suggeriert ungleiche Machtverhältnisse und ersetzt Debatte durch moralische Verpflichtung. So fördert sie den Populismus.

Corona, Lockdowns, and civil liberties: why participation and debate is important (20 March 2020, Discover Society)
“As a linguist, for instance, I’m interested in the language used in the current discourse. The corona crisis is interesting in this respect, not just because previously uncommon phrases have entered our daily vocabulary basically overnight (“social distancing”, “self-isolation”, “flatten the curve”), but also with respect to the metaphors used to talk about the crisis. The coronavirus has so far mainly been framed in terms of warfare metaphors.”

Les metàfores de guerra durant la Covid-19: un recurs enverinat (7 April 2020, Pensem.)
L'ús de llenguatge bel·licita per gestionar la crisi empeny les societats democràtiques envers l'autoritarisme. En comptes de parlar d'un «enemic» que ens ataca, es pot entendre el virus com un procés, semblant a un riu.

Aus den Augen, aus dem Sinn? (8 April 2020, Der Freitag)
Die Verwendung von „räumlicher“ statt „sozialer“ Distanzierung unterstützt die Illusion, man könne Menschen mittels sozialer Medien nah bleiben. Eine Sprachanalyse zu social distancing.

Editorial Intervention in Translation

When we talk about phenomena of translated language, we usually equate translated language with the language we find in translated books, magazines, newspapers or other such published translations. What we often forget is that in the production of translated documents, there are many intermediate stages such as revision, editing or proofreading where the language in the text is changed, sometimes significantly. While some phenomena like sentence splitting are caused by both translators and editors alike (see my article in Applied Linguistics), I also show in this book chapter that translators and editors are linguistic actors that are guided by noticeably different purposes. On the one hand, they both make extensive changes to nominalisations (see my article in The Translator), which I have shown in this article published in Perspectives to happen especially when the nominalisation is postmodified, for instance by genitive attributes. On the other hand, editors also eliminate passive constructions from translations, especially when the verb is in the past tense (article published in Across Languages and Cultures). With respect to a proposed “mediation effect”, it seems that translating and editing are rather different activities. Thus, I argue for a greater inclusion of unedited texts in translation corpora (see my article published in Target).

This research was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitivity through my participation in the MODEVIGTRAD project (FFI2014-57313-P, 2016−2018).

Language contact in translation and language change

Translation as a site of language contact can play a role in language change. I'm interested in the effects that the contact of two languages both in the mind of the translator and in that of the reader can have on each other. In my PhD project, I have concentrated on the analysis of parataxis and hypotaxis in English−German translation, which has found some evidence for a diachronic decrease of hypotactic constructions in causal (article published in Languages in Contrast) and concessive clauses (article published in Text & Talk) in translated language, although this trend is not corroborated in non-translated language. As I report in those articles, there does seem to be a trend towards a greater use of sentence-initial concessive conjunctions in German business articles, which may well have been affected by language contact in translation.

Publications

Here is a complete list of my publications sorted by research topic, along with the publication details. To download any paper, just click on the title.

Cross-linguistic studies of hashtags and metaphors in discourse

A cross-linguistic analysis of the “homework” metaphor in German and English political discourse

Discourse & Society 29(6), 609−628
2018
10.1177/0957926518802916

Editing in translation

Translated language or edited language? A study of passive constructions in translation manuscripts and their published versions

Across Languages and Cultures 20(1), 35−56
2019
10.1556/084.2019.20.1.2

Translation and editing: A study of editorial treatment of nominalisations in draft translations

Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice 26(1), 24−38
2018
10.1080/0907676X.2017.1290121

The editor's invisibility: Analysing editorial intervention in translation

Target 30(2), 288−309
2018
10.1075/target.16116.bis

Editing nominalisations in English−German translation: When do editors intervene?

The Translator 24(1), 35−49
2018
10.1080/13556509.2017.1301847

Universals of editing and translation

Empirical modelling of translation and interpreting, edited by S. Hansen-Schirra, O. Czulo & S. Hofmann. Language Science Press, 241−275
2017
10.5281/zenodo.1090972

Lösen Sie Schachtelsätze möglichst auf”: The impact of editorial guidelines on sentence splitting in German business article translations

Applied Linguistics 37(3), 354−376
2016
10.1093/applin/amu035

Language change through translation

Structural effects of English-German language contact in translation on concessive constructions in business articles

Text & Talk 36(2), 133−154
2016
10.1515/text-2016-0007

Changing conventions in German causal clause complexes: A diachronic corpus study of translated and non-translated business articles

Languages in Contrast 13(1), 1–27
2013
10.1075/lic.13.1.01bis

Thesis

From hypotaxis to parataxis: An investigation of English–German syntactic convergence in translation

University of Manchester PhD thesis
2013
EThOS:uk.bl.ethos.603111

Reviews & unindexed publications

Students

I'm interested in supervising research projects that fall within my research interests outlined above, or that pertain to the fields of contrastive linguistics, corpus linguistics, cross-linguistic discourse or translation studies, especially involving German, English, Spanish and Catalan, or interdisciplinary projects that touch on any of these areas:

  • cross-linguistic corpus-assisted discourse studies of framing and metaphors
  • the role of intervening agents such as editors in translation
  • corpus-based studies of language variation and change with translation as the site of language contact
  • differences in information structure across languages

My approach to supervision is based on an open and friendly relationship on an equal footing. My philosophy is that my students work with me, not for me, and that it is my duty to help them establish themselves as independent researchers in the academic world. I don't impose topics on my students, but welcome and encourage self-determined exploration of their research interests. They are expected to send written work to me regularly during term time, to be discussed in personal meetings every two or three weeks. I don't generally do remote supervision or feedback by email. My students are encouraged to write and submit one or two articles during thesis writing, and I do take authorship seriously − I will not expect to be co-author on my students' publications. Potential applicants are invited to contact any of my students to get their opinion.

Here are some research projects I have supervised:

PhD theses

Representation of obesity in Chinese media (2010-2019): A corpus-assisted multimodal critical discourse analysis

Xiang Huang, PhD in Translation Studies (in progress)
This project aims to conduct a corpus-assisted multimodal critical discourse analysis of the representation of obesity in Chinese media over the past decade (2010-2019). Comparing representations of obesity in China’s authority-controlled official media and in its market-oriented social media, I will explicate the intricate relations among language and visual cues, body-related ideologies and socio-political contexts on the discussion of obesity in post-reform China. Through an integration of the theories and methods from multimodal critical discourse analysis, corpus-assisted discourse studies and conceptual metaphor analysis, I will examine how obesity has been discursively extended from a biomedical issue to a social-therapeutic and further a cultural-political one in China. To the best of my knowledge, this project is the first of its kind to examine the multimodal (linguistic and visual) discourses surrounding obesity in Chinese media. It thus offers a timely response to the need for more research which explores obesity in the non-Western context to elucidate contextual nuances of obesity in China. The originality of the project can also be found at theoretical and methodological levels as I set out to demonstrate how an integrative orientation combining multimodality, critical discourse analysis, corpus linguistics and metaphor analysis can enhance health discourse analysis in Chinese, an under-researched language in this area.

Related publications

Huang, Xiang. 2020. Army deserters or fat kids? A corpus-assisted critical metaphor analysis of obesity news in Chinese official media. Corpora & Discourse International Conference 2020 (CADS2020) − University of Sussex, UK

Analysing reader-writer relationship and technicality of vocabulary in multilingual health information websites

Amy Dara Hochberg, PhD in Translation Studies (in progress)
The purpose of this PhD thesis is to determine, via a corpus study of technicality of vocabulary and writer-reader role relationship whether multilingual health communication websites in English, Spanish, French, Catalan, and Hebrew are appropriately written with regard to health literacy, and whether each cultural population would receive the health information equally as intended. This study questions whether, first, the two pragmatic determinants in multilingual health communication websites are at an adequate level for the lay reader, and second, whether the determinants reflect the cultural values of the writer or have been adapted to those of the target audience.

Related publications

Hochberg, Amy Dara. 2019. Analyzing pragmatic elements in health information websites. 29th European Systemic Functional Linguistics Conference − Polytechnic of Leiria, Portugal

Final MA projects

How do you meme? La transcreación y la adaptación cultural en memes de internet
Mar Floristán, MA in Translation Studies 2020
Discurso y biopoder en la (re)presentación de las migraciones en prensa
Javier Rodríguez, MA in Translation Studies 2020
Tendencias en la traducción literal de memes del inglés al español
Amalia del Río, MA in Translation Studies 2019
Language and style in Truman Capote's “Breakfast at Tiffany's” − the German translations from 1959 and 2006
Rebecca Knoll, MA in Translation Studies 2018
From corpses to corpus: Identifying pragmatic markers in public service announcements
Amy Dara Hochberg, MA in Translation Studies 2017
From migrant to migrante: A corpus-based analysis
Gang Yao, MA in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics 2017

Final undergraduate projects

Análisis pragmático-discursivo del humor desde una perspectiva feminista
Georgina Garcia, BA in Applied Languages 2020
Comparació generacional de les interferències lèxiques del castellà al català a la Garriga
Núria Piñol, BA in Applied Languages 2020
Categorical speech perception in bilinguals: A review on previous research and an experimental proposal
Michelle Throssell, BA in Applied Languages 2020
Comparative analysis of stress-shifting pronominal encliticisation in two Menorcan towns
Júlia Florit, BA in Applied Languages 2019
Awarded the New Talents in Catalan Sociolinguistics 2019 prize by the Catalan Society of Sociolinguistics
Una anàlisi prosòdica del dialecte tortosí i lleidatà
Mariona Reverté, BA in Applied Languages 2019
Presented at the 11th Workshop on Catalan Prosody, 2019: La identificació del lleidatà i del tortosí en base a la prosòdia (with Joan Borràs-Comes)
Neologismes del català en l'àmbit de la gastronomia: Anàlisi de la revista gastronòmica Cuina
Tània Ricart, BA in Applied Languages 2019
L'adquisició dels pronoms clítics ci i ne de l'italià com a L2 i com l'afecta l'existència de pronoms equivalents en la llengua materna dominant: Els bilingües de català i castellà
Maria del Mar Sagué, BA in Applied Languages 2019
¡Que caes el puchero! Verbos inacusativos y su transividad en Castilla y León
Clàudia Martínez, BA in Applied Languages 2019
Presented at the I Congreso de Estudiantes de grado de Lenguas Modernes y Aplicadas (CELMA), 2019: ¡Que caes el puchero! Verbos inacusativos y su transividad en Castilla y León
An analysis of L1 Spanish and L1 Russian students’ interlanguage pragmatic competence in L2 French
Nadezda Shchinova, BA in Applied Languages 2019
Per què són més recurrents les frases fetes calcades que les expressions “genuïnes”? El cas d'amb la que està caient
Ariadna Díaz, BA in Applied Languages 2018
Presented at the 12th Toronto Undergraduate Linguistics Conference (TULCON12), 2019: Why are calqued idioms more acceptable than “genuine” expressions? A pragmatic case study of Catalan.
Anàlisi descriptiva de les interferències en el lèxic català col·loquial en un programa de televisió
Joaquín Cherta, BA in Applied Languages 2018
Vergleichende Analyse der Übersetzungen ins Spanische und Katalanische von Er ist wieder da
Guillem Farré, BA in Translating and Interpreting 2017

Talks

Here is a list of events where I've given talks as invited speaker.

IATIS logo

4th IATIS International Translator Training Workshop

Cross-linguistic and corpus-based translation studies − Challenges and implications
Uzbek State World Languages University, Uzbekistan (3 April 2019)

Conference talks

Click on the icon to download the slides.

conference poster

Movement or debate? Differing discourses on the #MeToo hashtag in English, German and Spanish

Genealogies of Knowledge II: Evolving transnational, transdisciplinary and translational epistemologies − Hong Kong Baptist University, China, 2020

Already a movement or still a debate? Framings of the #MeToo hashtag in German, English and Spanish

Translation in Transition 4 − Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain, 2019

screenshot

The “education” frame as a means to establish unequal power relations and manipulate debates

23rd DiscourseNet Conference (DN23) − Università degli Studi di Bergamo, Italy, 2019

The editor’s invisibility: Changes to nominalisation in the translation workflow

Translation in Transition 3 − Universiteit Gent, Belgium, 2017

“Tsipras’s homework has been thrown back in his face”: A cross-linguistic study of the “homework” metaphor as positive self- and negative other presentation

International Contrastive Linguistics Conference 8 (ICLC8) − National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, 2017

Precision or readability? On the influence of editors in English-German business translation

Meaning in Translation: Illusion of Precision − Riga Technical University, Latvia, 2016

Editors' influence on passive use in English-German business translation

Congreso Internacional de Traducción: EnTRetextos − Universitat de Valencia, Spain, 2016

An investigation of diachronic change in hypotaxis and parataxis in German through language contact with English in translation

Diachronic Corpora, Genre and Language Change − University of Nottingham, UK, 2016

Tracing nominalisation through the phases of English-German translation: A case study of grammatical metaphor

The 42nd International Systemic Functional Congress (ISFC42) − RWTH Aachen, Germany, 2015

Investigating English-German translation of ideational grammatical metaphor in business articles

Metaphors in/and/of Translation: Specialised Researching and Applying Metaphor seminar − Universiteit Leiden, Netherlands, 2015

Estudio de caso de la metáfora gramatical a través de un análisis corpus de la traducción del inglés al alemán

7.o Congreso Internacional de Lingüística del Corpus (CILC 2015) − Universidad de Valladolid, Spain, 2015

Differentiating the translation process: A corpus analysis of editorial influence on translated business articles

Translation in Transition 2 − Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany, 2015

The effect of sentence splitting on cohesion in German business translations

4th Using Corpora in Contrastive and Translation Studies Conference (UCCTS4) − University of Lancaster, UK, 2014

Diachronic change in causal cohesive devices in translated and non-translated German business articles

7th International Contrastive Linguistics (ICLC7) & 3rd Using Corpora in Contrastive and Translation Studies Conference (UCCTS3) − Universiteit Gent, Belgium, 2013

Language change through translation? Investigating diachronic syntactic change in English–German business article translations

8th International Postgraduate Conference in Translation & Interpreting (IPCITI8) − Dublin City University, Ireland, 2012

Syntactic change through translation: A corpus-based approach to language change

20th International Postgraduate Linguistics Conference (PLC20) − University of Manchester, UK, 2011

The effect of translation on language change: How corpora can advance the debate

7th International Postgraduate Conference in Translation & Interpreting (IPCITI7) − University of Edinburgh, UK, 2011

Teaching

Modules I teach this year:

Past teaching

At the University of Kent, I taught German linguistics, German phonetics & phonology, German as a second language and Translation between English and German. I also supervised extended year abroad essays on linguistic issues of present-day German.

Teaching qualifications

  • Formació Inicial en Docència Universitària
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 2016
  • Associate Teacher Accreditation Programme
    University of Kent, 2014