Interview with Elpida Loupaki


Elpida Loupaki1Elpida Loupaki is a Lecturer in Descriptive Translation Studies at the School of French, at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. She teaches General Translation, Specialised Translation and Terminology research techniques at both the Translation Department and the Postgraduate Program in Translation. She obtained her degree in French Language and Literature at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, her Master Degree in Professional Translation at the Institut de Traducteurs, d’Interprètes et de Relations Internationales at Strasbourg University and her PhD in Language and Communication at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

Her main research interests include EU translation, News Translation as well as Translation and Ideology. She is a member of the European Society for Translation Studies (EST) and of the Hellenic Society for Terminology (ELETO).

She currently coordinates a terminology project in cooperation with TermCoord, in the domain of migration.


1. You are a lecturer at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, School of French, Department of Translation. The Aristotle University has recently established an Inter-Faculty Postgraduate Programme in Translation and Interpretation. Could you please tell us more about the programme and the University´s main activities in the field of translation and terminology?

Our Master Program in Conference Interpreting and Translation was established in 2004. This program is offered jointly by the Schools of Philology, English, French, German and Italian of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The MA in Translation aims to provide students with skills in translation methodology, IT tools for translation and terminology management, in order to become professional translators. It is designed for those who already have a high level of linguistic competence in two working languages (i.e. English and French, or German, or Italian, or Spanish) and who would like to deepen their knowledge of translation..


2. In your work as a Translation professor at the Aristotle University, what importance do you give to terminology? Do you encourage terminology work alongside translation work during your classes?

From my experience in teaching General and Specialised Translation at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, I can assure you that terminology is everywhere! Even in General Translation texts, where there is supposedly no terminology, we usually find terms from different domains. I always encourage terminology activities, from basic glossary building to more complex tasks involving term extraction and validation.


3. Do you think that Terminology and Translation should be studied as separate disciplines in Translation departments?

Terminology is a scientific field of its own and therefore it can be studied as a separate discipline, especially at post graduate level. However, in most universities, with good reason, Terminology and Translation practice are interrelated. And this happens because aspects of terminology, such as term extraction, synonymy or validation, are integral parts of the translation process as well.


4. What are the opportunities in Greece for young people who want to study translation or terminology? What is your advice to the new generation of young translators and terminologists?

I believe that both translation and terminology offer great job opportunities for young people today because multilingual communication is an everyday practice in our globalised society. Furthermore, terminology and related IT tools are in great demand on the labour market as they enhance productivity, accuracy and rapidity.


5. What new trends in terminology research have you noticed in recent years in Greece? What is your outlook on the future?

Terminology has gained academic attention over the last two decades. The contribution of the Translation Services of the European Union has been very valuable to the field; for example, the development of different tools for translators such as the IATE data base or Systran. The Hellenic Terminology Society (ELETO) has also done very important work on terminology standardisation, terminology networks and cooperation between experts. Finally, at a university level, we notice a growing number of Master thesis and PhD research focused on terminology applications.


6. One of your research interests is related to EU translation. Can you explain why you choose this topic? Can you briefly present to us your basic findings?

Translation in the European Union was my first research interest as I have studied translation at the University of Strasbourg and had the opportunity to attend European Parliament plenary sessions. I initially observed that although the original speeches from the EP members got more emotional from time to time, their translations never did so. Using DTS as a theoretical framework and functional approaches to translation, I analysed a two-year corpus of speeches delivered at the plenary. Comparative analysis of the source text and the target text revealed a number of shifts in metaphorical uses, repetitions and direct questions, all features contributing to the involvement of the source text. Shifts identified were not imposed by the grammatical rules of the target language; on the contrary, in most cases, a translational solution recreating the original involvement was available and easy to find in the target language. The analysis of parameters governing the production and reception of the translations examined led us to the conclusion that shifts identified in the corpus are highly regulated by these exact factors governing the translation activity (such as the technical character of texts, absence of audience, change of medium, etc.). In this way, shifts could be seen as complying with some translational norms in force inside the EU environment.


7. Your article “Investigating translators´ strategies in rendering ideological conflict: the case of news translation´´ indicates that the translator can undermine or strengthen particular features of ideological conflicts in the context of news reproduction. This raises the question whether the term “translator´´ can still be used. What is your alternative suggestion?

My suggestion is not to change the denomination of people involved in news translation. On the contrary, I believe that this activity should be studied more systematically by Translation Studies as it constitutes a special field of application. It is, however, worth mentioning that people working in the media do not consider themselves as “translators”. So from this point of view they do not feel committed to the original message, which they use as raw material for the production of a new text. This perspective along with the ideological reframing of an event inevitably influences the translation strategies.


8. You paid a study visit at TermCoord in October. What do you think about TermCoord´s original approach of communicating terminology management research within Parliament to terminologists all around Europe through its external website,

TermCoord’s work is really exemplary. I use the TermCoord website as a reference point for both terminology tools and bibliographical references. The idea to connect terminology research within Parliament to terminologists all around the world could be compared to the model of “distributed teams”. Within this model terminology teams are dispersed and they exchange information and best practices. The benefits of exchange are very important as each team member comes from a different linguistic and cultural background and this diversity enforces performance.


9. The Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament has recently launched a project on academic cooperation with universities in EU Member States to give students the opportunity to do terminology research and contribute to IATE. What do you believe will be the impact of these projects on the students involved?

I quote directly the words of one of my students, when she was asked the same question during a presentation of our project: “This project was a rather interesting and fulfilling experience. First and foremost, we had the rare opportunity to get a hands-on experience with terminology search and extraction, glossary formation etc. We learned what the tasks and challenges of a real terminologist are and gained valuable experience on the matter, which could possibly help us in the future if we decide to delve into the field of terminology.”


10. You recently received the European Certification of Terminology Manager and you are the coordinator of the ECQA-Terminology Basic Application Scenario in collaboration with TermCoord. Could you please tell us more about the project’s aims and its contribution to IATE?

Our terminology project focuses on the domain of migration. We have worked for one semester and collected some 200 terms related to migration, human trafficking and asylum. The language pair is English-Greek and the aim was to provide input for IATE. For this reason the terms should not be already documented in IATE. We cooperate very well with the TermCoord team; they provided us with access to internal IATE and are always willing to answer our questions.


Interviewer: Katerina Karavasili

KaterinaKaterina was born in Thessaloniki, Greece. She studied Translation (GR-EN-DE) at the Ionian University in Greece. She entered the Greek National School of Public Administration in 2008, where she studied tourism economy. She worked for two years as a writer, editor and social media administrator for a website in Greece. She is currently a post-graduate student of German language and culture at the Universities of Luxembourg, Saarland and Lorraine. She speaks Greek, English and German and she is currently learning French.