Exploring predictors of translation performance


  • Mehdi Ghobadi Institute of Humanities and Cultural Studies
  • Sadaf Khosroshahi Islamic Azad University South Tehran Branch
  • Fatemeh Giveh Islamic Azad University South Tehran Branch


Emotional intelligence, tolerance of ambiguity, working memory, translation performance, regression analysis, Translation Studies.


The study reported on examined the question of whether translators’ cognitive faculties might be able to predict their performance on a translation task. Research on individual cognitive differences in translation has been a new issue in the realm of Translation Studies. However, the majority of previous studies have targeted single cognitive faculties for the purpose of investigation and we therefore know little about how sets of cognitive faculties can affect the process of translation from one language into another. In this study, three individual cognitive differences were targeted: emotional intelligence (EI), tolerance of ambiguity (TA), and working memory (WM). For the purposes of the study, 54 Iranian MA students of Translation Studies were sampled as participants. The participants completed measures of their EI, TA, and WM. In addition, they were requested to translate an excerpt from English (Source Language) into Persian (Target Language). The results of multiple regression analysis indicated that the regression model, incorporating EI, TA, and WM as its predictors, was able to predict a significant amount of variance in participants’ translation performance. Of the three predictors, the contributions of TA and WM to the total variance in the participants’ translation scores were statistically significant, while the contribution of EI to the total variance was not. The findings of the study have some implications for research and practice in the field of Translation Studies.