Primary Department
School of Applied Language & Intercultural Studies
Academic Staff
Sharon O'Brien
Phone number: 01 700
X 5381
Glasnevin Campus
Room Number

Academic biography

Sharon O'Brien is Professor of Translation Studies at the School of Applied Language and Intercultural Studies. She obtained a PhD in 2006 on the topic of Controlled Language and Post-Editing Effort (Irish Research Council Scholarship). Prior to this, she was awarded an MA by research on Language for Special Purposes, Text Linguistics and Machine Translation (1993 - EU-funded) and a BA (hons) in Applied Languages (Translation, French and German). Between 1995 - 1999 she was a Language Technology Consultant in the Localisation Industry.  She has coordinated a H2020 EU-funded RISE project called INTERACT - The International Network in Crisis Translation. She has been a funded investigator (Science Foundation Ireland) in the ADAPT research centre for over 10 years, where her focus has been on human factors and translation technology. Her teaching focuses on language technologies, research methods and translation.

Other relevant achievements:
1995 - Internship at the European Parliament, Luxembourg (3 months)
1994 - Austrian Government Scholarship - Study for one year at the Dolmetschinstitut, University of Vienna 

I am broadly interested in supervising PhDs on the following topics:
  • Crisis communication and the role of translation and interpreting
  • Translation technology, especially the impact of future AI
  • Translation technology and language learning
  • Translation process
  • Translation ethics
  • Translation and professional practice
  • Reception of translated products
  • The intersection of technical communication and translation

Research interests

I am interested in translation and especially translation technology with a specific focus on Controlled Language, Machine Translation, Post-Editing and Localisation. I take a primarily empirical approach in my research and have used keylogging and eye-tracking to research the cognitive aspects of human-translator interaction. I am also interested in end users of translation and in concepts such as translatability, usability, readability, comprehensibility and the measurement of cognitive load. I have co-authored a book on research methods for translation studies. I have also collaborated on numerous projects with industry, specifically on the topics of machine translation, post-editing and the dynamic framework for quality assessment in the localisation industry. My industrial collaborators have included Symantec, Alchemy, VistaTEC and the Translation Automation User Society.