Translation Studies Glossary

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Welcome to the EST Translation Studies Glossary

The glossary is designed to be a set of recommendations rather than prescriptions. All translation scholars are invited to contribute to its updating. The glossary is intended to function not only as a support tool for members of EST but also as an instrument of presenting EST and making Translation Studies accessible to the outside world.

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1. The fact that a translation is done into the translator's L1, L2, L3, etc.
2. The variable constituted by the values L1, L2, L3, etc. as the language the translator works into.

Use in context

"'Directionality' refers to whether translation or interpreting is done into or out of one’s first language (L1)" (Pavlović 2008: 79)


If my first language is French and I translate both into English and into French, when I compare the two performances I am studying directionality.

Corresponding terms in other languages

DE: Direktionalität
ES: direccionalidad
FA: سویگی
FR: directionalité
IT: direzionalità
PT: direcionalidade


1. In training contexts, the terms L1, L2, etc. are usually replaced by A language, B language, etc.
2. This sense is not to be confused with "translation flow", which refers to the mass movements of translations between languages.
3. The term should not be confused with “directness”, which refers to the fact that a translation is direct (and not indirect).


Apfelthaler, Matthias. 2020. "A comprehensive bibliography of translation & interpreting directionality".
Apfelthaler, Matthias. 2019. "Directionality". In M. Baker and G. Saldanha (eds.) Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. 3rd ed. London/New York: Routledge, 152–156.
Bartłomiejczyk, Magdalena. 2015. "Directionality". In F. Pöchhacker, N. Grbić, P. Mead, and R. Setton (eds.) Routledge Encyclopedia of Interpreting Studies. London/New York: Routledge, 108–110.
Bartłomiejczyk, Magdalena. 2006. "Strategies of simultaneous interpreting and directionality". Interpreting 8(2): 149–174.
Campbell, Stuart. 1998. Translation into the second language. London and New York: Longman.
Ferreira, Aline and John W. Schwieter. 2017. "Directionality in translation". In J. W. Schwieter and A. Ferreira (eds.) The Handbook of Translation and Cognition. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 90–105.
Grosman, Meta, Mira Kadric, Irena Kovačič, and Mary Snell-Hornby (eds.). 2000. Translation into non-mother tongues: In professional practice and training. Tübingen: Stauffenburg.
Kelly, Dorothy, Anne Martin, Marie-Luise Nobs, Dolores Sánchez, and Catherine Way (eds.). 2003. La direccionalidad en traducción e interpretación: Perspectivas teóricas, profesionales y didácticas. Granada: Atrio.
Pavlović, Nataša. 2008. "Directionality in translation and interpreting. Preliminary report on a questionnaire survey in Croatia".
Pavlović, Nataša. 2010. What Were They Thinking? Students’ Decision Making in L1 and L2 Translation Processes. Hermes – Journal of Language and Communication Studies 44: 63-87.
Pokorn, Nike K. 2005. Challenging the traditional axioms: Translating into a non-mother tongue. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Pokorn, Nike K. 2011. "Directionality". In Y. Gambier and L. van Doorslaer (eds.) Handbook of Translation Studies: Volume 2. Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 37–39.
Wang, Baorong. 2011. "Translation Practices and the Issue of Directionality in China". Meta 56(4): 896-914.

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