Primary Department
School of Applied Language & Intercultural Studies
Academic Staff
Phone number: 01 700
Glasnevin Campus
Room Number

Academic biography

Currently, Associate Dean for Research in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. 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 (funded by an Irish Research Council Scholarship). She was co-ordinator of a H2020 EU-funded RISE project called INTERACT - The International Network in Crisis Translation (2017-2020). She was a funded investigator (Science Foundation Ireland) in the ADAPT research centre for over 10 years, where her focus was on human factors and translation technology. Prof. O'Brien holds 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 worked as a Language Technology Consultant in the Localisation Industry. Her teaching focuses on crisis communication and translation, language technologies and HCI, localisation, and research methods.

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 interdisciplinary PhDs on the following topics:

  • Crisis communication and especially the role of translation and interpreting;
  • Translation technology, especially the impact of future AI;
  • Translation technology and language learning;
  • Translation and cognitive processes;
  • Translation and ethics;
  • Translation and professional practice;
  • Reception of translated products;
  • The intersection of technical communication and translation.

Research interests

I am interested in interdisciplinary research that touches on the topics of translation, AI, HCI, and crisis communication, broadly speaking. I take a primarily empirical approach in my research and have used keylogging and eye-tracking to research the cognitive aspects of translator-computer 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 and have co-edited two books on translation and interpreting in crisis settings. 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. I have also collaborated with NGOs in the humanitarian sector.