Mario Bisiada, PhD

Mario Bisiada

link to my ORCID record

Faculty of Translation and Language Sciences
Universitat Pompeu Fabra
C. Roc Boronat, 138
08018 Barcelona, Spain

Tel: +34 93 542 2244


Slideshare: MBisiada

I'm a tenure-track lecturer working in the areas of contrastive discourse analysis and translation studies at the Department of Translation and Language Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. I'm a member of the Discourse and Translation Studies Research Group, where I'm currently working on the MODEVIGTRAD research project, led by Montserrat González.

My specific research interests are cross-linguistic and cross-cultural contrasts in German, English, Spanish and Catalan discourse, especially concerning the following issues:

For further information, please read about my research, or download my publications and conference talks.

I'm a member of the editorial board at Tradumàtica and the Journal of Languages for Specific Purposes and also a supporter and proofreader at Language Science Press. At the moment, I'm organising the Translation in Transition 4 conference, to take place in September 2019 at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. This year, I teach the introductory module to translation studies research in our MA in Translation Studies, and German language classes at BA level.


Academic appointments

Tenure-Track Lecturer (Translation Studies), since 2015
Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain

Associate Lecturer (German Linguistics), 2012 − 2014
University of Kent, UK


PhD in Translation & Intercultural Studies, 2013
University of Manchester, UK

MA in Applied Translation Studies, 2010
University of Leeds, UK

BA in English & Linguistics, 2009
University of York, UK

Abitur, 2006
Josef-Albers-Gymnasium Bottrop, Germany


The education source domain of metaphors

A recurrent accusation in political discourse across languages is that someone “hasn't done their homework”. Along with other metaphors such as “model pupil” and “learning lessons”, the expression represents a metaphor drawn from the domain of education. In a 2018 article published in Discourse & Society, I argue that the expression is a structural metaphor and an understatement, and thus works as a figurative frame, presenting often complex tasks as simple schoolwork, thus manipulating public debates. Based on an analysis of the Corpus of Historical & Contemporary American English, HANSARD corpus of British parliament speeches and the ZEIT corpus, I show that the metaphor became widespread in English in the 1960s and spread into German around 20 years later. While it was first used to say “we have done our homework” or “X has not done their homework”, thus praising oneself or accusing others, it is now used regularly in neutral contexts. Instead, it has become widespread to refer to issues in public debates as “homework”. I argue that this is problematic due to the manipulative force of the metaphor, as it frames issues in a school context, shapes the way we perceive discourse actors and pre-empts potential criticism by presenting a particular solution as a non-negotiable duty, as “homework”. I hope to continue this line of research into other languages such as Spanish (“hacer los deberes”) and Catalan (“fer els deures”).

This research is part of the MODEVIGTRAD project (Evidentiality and epistemicity in texts of evaluative discourse genres. Contrastive analysis and translation), led by Montserrat González Condom. The project is funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (FFI2014-57313-P).

Editorial Influence 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 accepted 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).

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.

Tutorización de trabajos finales/tesis

Tengo especial interés en dirigir trabajos académicos en los campos de la lingüística descriptiva o contrastiva, el análisis del discurso y los estudios de traducción basados en corpus, tratando el alemán, el inglés, el catalán y el español, así como proyectos interdisciplinarios que incluyan una de esas líneas de investigación o lenguas. Aquí están algunos trabajos que he dirigido:

Hochberg, Amy. In progress. Identifying pragmatic markers in public service announcements. PhD in Translation Studies.

Knoll, Rebecca. 2018. Language and style in Truman Capote's “Breakfast at Tiffany's” − the German translations from 1959 and 2006. MA in Translation Studies.

Cherta, Joaquín. 2018. Anàlisi descriptiva de les interferències en el lèxic català col·loquial en un programa de televisió. BA Lenguas Aplicadas.

Díaz, Ariadna. 2018. Per què són més recurrents les frases fetes calcades que les expressions “genuïnes”? El cas d'amb la que està caient. BA Lenguas Aplicadas.

Hochberg, Amy. 2017. From corpses to corpus: Identifying pragmatic markers in public service announcements. MA in Translation Studies.

Yao, Gang. 2017. From migrant to migrante: A corpus-based analysis. MA in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics.

Farré, Guillem. 2017. Vergleichende Analyse der Übersetzungen ins Spanische und Katalanische von Er ist wieder da. BA Traducción e Interpretación.

Fadaré, Pelumi. 2017. Verstehensprobleme bei der deutschen Verwaltungssprache. BA Traducción e Interpretación.

Sulca, Eva. 2017. Estudio de las portadas de la prensa española y alemana. BA Traducción e Interpretación.


Journal articles

Bisiada, Mario. Forthcoming. A cross-linguistic analysis of the “homework” metaphor in German and English political discourse. Discourse & Society 29(6).

Bisiada, Mario. Forthcoming. Translated language or edited language? A study of passive constructions in translation manuscripts and their published versions. Across Languages and Cultures.

Bisiada, Mario. 2018. The editor's invisibility: Analysing editorial intervention in translation. Target 30(2). 288−309. doi:10.1075/target.16116.bis.

Bisiada, Mario. 2018. Editing nominalisations in English−German translation: When do editors intervene? The Translator 24(1). 35−49. doi:10.1080/13556509.2017.1301847.

Bisiada, Mario. 2018. Translation and editing: A study of editorial treatment of nominalisations in draft translations. Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice 26(1). 24−38. doi:10.1080/0907676X.2017.1290121.

Bisiada, Mario. 2016. Structural effects of English-German language contact in translation on concessive constructions in business articles. Text & Talk 36(2). 133−154. doi:10.1515/text-2016-0007.

Bisiada, Mario. 2016. Lösen Sie Schachtelsätze möglichst auf: The impact of editorial guidelines on sentence splitting in German business article translations. Applied Linguistics 37(3). 354−376. doi:10.1093/applin/amu035.

Bisiada, Mario. 2013. 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. doi:10.1075/lic.13.1.01bis.

Bisiada, Mario. 2009. [R] in Germanic Dialects—Tradition or Innovation? Vernaculum 1. 83–99.

Book chapters

Bisiada, Mario. 2017. Universals of editing and translation. In Silvia Hansen-Schirra, Oliver Czulo & Sascha Hofmann (eds.), Empirical modelling of translation and interpreting, 241−275. Berlin: Language Science Press. doi:10.5281/zenodo.1090972.


Bisiada, Mario. 2013. From hypotaxis to parataxis: An investigation of English–German syntactic convergence in translation. University of Manchester PhD thesis.


Bisiada, Mario. 2017. Readability: Text and context. Style 51(2). 257−263. doi:10.1353/sty.2017.0019.

Bisiada, Mario. 2015. Translation: A multidisciplinary approach. Meta 60(3). 640−644. doi:10.7202/1036148ar.

Bisiada, Mario. 2015. Metaphor and intercultural communication. Language and Intercultural Communication 15(4). 616−621. doi:10.1080/14708477.2015.1053176.


Invited Talks

The editor's invisibility: What corpus analysis of draft translations can reveal about the translation product
Technische Hochschule Köln, Germany (26 October 2017)
ARTIS Training Event: Corpora in translation and interpreting studies

Language change through language contact in English−German translation
Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain (11 October 2017)
Grup de Lingüística Formal (GLiF) Research Seminar

Features of mediated discourse: A corpus investigation of translated and edited language
Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain (11 December 2015)
Grup d'Estudis del Discurs (GED) Research Seminar

Syntactic change through translation: A corpus-based approach to language change
University of Lancaster, GB (10 November 2011)
UCREL Corpus Research Seminar

Conference Talks

Bisiada, Mario. 2017. The editor’s invisibility: Changes to nominalisation in the translation workflow. Translation in Transition 3. Universiteit Gent, Belgium.

Bisiada, Mario. 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.

Bisiada, Mario. 2016. Precision or readability? On the influence of editors in English-German business translation. Meaning in Translation: Illusion of Precision. Riga Technical University, Latvia.

Bisiada, Mario. 2016. Editors' influence on passive use in English-German business translation. Congreso Internacional de Traducción: EnTRetextos. Universitat de Valencia, Spain.

Bisiada, Mario. 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.

Bisiada, Mario. 2015. 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.

Bisiada, Mario. 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.

Bisiada, Mario. 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.

Bisiada, Mario. 2015. Differentiating the translation process: A corpus analysis of editorial influence on translated business articles. Translation in Transition 2015. Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, Germany.

Bisiada, Mario. 2014. 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.

Bisiada, Mario. 2013. Diachronic change in causal cohesive devices in translated and non-translated German business articles. 7th International Contrastive Linguistics & 3rd Using Corpora in Contrastive and Translation Studies Conference (ICLC7 - UCCTS3). Universiteit Gent, Belgium.

Bisiada, Mario. 2012. 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.

Bisiada, Mario. 2011. Syntactic change through translation: A corpus-based approach to language change. 20th International Postgraduate Linguistics Conference (PLC20). University of Manchester, UK.

Bisiada, Mario. 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.


Year Journal
2018 Perspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice, TRANS: Revista de Traductología, HUMOR: International Journal of Humor Research
2016 Pragmatics and Society, Meta, inTRAlinea, New Voices in Translation Studies


Modules taught this year

Modules taught previously at UPF

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

2015 − 2016
Formació Inicial en Docència Universitària
Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain
2013 − 2014
Associate Teacher Accreditation Programme
University of Kent, UK