Monday, August 31, 2009

FAQ #2: On Research Topics

I get many questions regarding possible research topics for people who are writing theses or dissertations on translation studies. Since you spend a lot of time and energy on your research, you need to choose something that you actually find interesting and worth looking into, not just something you think sounds good. It’s true that there are quite a few underresearched areas out there (children’s literature, for example, or subtitling, or certain language pairs), but you shouldn’t choose a topic based on that alone.

So I am sorry to say that I can’t offer readers lists of potential subjects for their research. All I can suggest is that you think carefully about what languages you know, what you have studied or excelled at in school thus far, and what your hobbies and interests are, and then try to find a way to combine them. In my case, for example, I learned Swedish by reading children’s books and that led to me falling for children’s literature in Scandinavia and making its translation the subject matter for my research.

No comments: