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Translog-II: A program for recording user activity data for empirical reading and writing research

This paper presents a novel implementation of Translog-II. Translog-II is a Windows-oriented program to record and study reading and writing processes on a computer. In our research, it is an instrument to acquire objective, digital data of human translation processes. Translog-II consists of two main components: Translog-II Supervisor and Translog-II User, which are used to create a project file, to run a text production experiments (a user reads, writes or translates a text) and to replay the session. Translog produces a log files which contains all user activity data of the reading, writing, or translation session, and which can be evaluated by external tools.

Translog-II has three main functions:

1. create a project file:

- determine the size and orientation of a source and a target window on the screen for reading and writing permission respectively.
- produce texts for the source and/or the target window, their layout, text font, size, color, line spacing etc.
- determine which data are to be logged, keyboard and eye-tracking

2. run and record a Translog-II session:

- load a project file
- calibrate eye-tracker (if connected)
- record and log UAD

3. replay and analyze a recorded log file:

- statistics: figures about text production/ elimination/ navigation events
- user view: replays the translation session in time
- linear view: plots a textual representation of the UAD
- pause plot: shows a 2D representation how the text emerge in time

The Translog-II Supervisor program implements the functions 1. (create a project file) and 3. (replay a log file), Translog-II User is only used to record a Translog session and to store the UAD in a log file. A Translog-II project file can be configured for a reading experiment, where only the “source window” will be visible during the recording session, it can be configured for a writing experiment, where only the “target window” is visible in which a text can be typed, or for a translation experiment, in which both windows are visible. In fact Translog-II also allows for post-editing texts, if a pre-defined text is entered in the target window. Translog-II allows the source and the target windows to be horizontally or vertically oriented and the source or target windows to be left or right, or bottom or top.

Similar programs such as ScriptLog (http://www.scriptlog.net/demo.asp), and InpuLog (http://www.inputlog.net/download.html) are mainly intended for logging and analyzing writing processes, while Translog is specially designed for the acquisition of data for translation process research, and is widely used in the translation process research community. Schou et al (2009) count more than 80 publications making use of Translog, for translation process research of linguistic phenomena, (e.g. the translation of metaphors, cognates, idioms, etc.) as well as translator behaviour and cognitive processes (e.g. translator's awareness, memory constraints, (self)revision etc.), translation expertise, translation under time pressure, and machine translation post-editing. Translog is also used for translator training, teaching and learning purposes.