Trainee translators’ research styles: A taxonomy based on an observation study at the University of Silesia, Poland


  • Joanna Ewa Sycz-Opoń University of Silesia


Information-seeking behaviour, research behaviour, translator’s instrumental competence, translator’s resourcing skills, legal translation, research styles.


This paper presents a typology of information-seeking styles exhibited by 52 students of the MA translation and interpreting programme at the University of Silesia, Poland. The typology emerged during the large-scale investigation into trainee translators’ research behaviour occurring during translation of a legal text from English into Polish (Sycz-Opoń 2019). The method of investigation combined observation of students’ recorded performances with a think-aloud protocol (TAP). The case-study analysis brought to light significant variation in student’s information-seeking behaviour, which had gone unnoticed in the aggregate statistical data. Individual differences included students’ source preference, search intensity, level of criticism towards sources, diligence, risk-taking, self-confidence, and source reliance. As a result of the analysis the six research styles emerged: traditionalist, innovator, minimalist, true detective, procrastinator, and habitual doubter. They are presented in this paper with special attention to each style’s strengths, weaknesses and recommended teaching approaches. The results suggest the need for information-seeking training geared towards the diverse needs of individual students.