Faculty Research Assistance Program (FRAP) Directory

The FRAP Directory allows students to identify UCSB faculty who are looking for undergraduate students to participate in their research projects or creative activities. Please use the links below to find opportunities by discipline. Students, if your desired discipline is not listed, please contact the Undergraduate Research Initiatives office at 805-893-3090 or urca@ltsc.ucsb.edu for assistance. Faculty, if you would like to post your research or creative activity opportunity, please complete the online submission form.

Spanish and Portuguese Studies

Aline Alves Ferreira

Phelps 4327

Research Project

My laboratory (Bilingualism, Translation and Cognition Laboratory) has been created and I am developing an experimental design for a new data collection, divided in Part 1 and Part 2:

Part 1: Data will be collected in my lab. Participants are our language students (heritage speakers or speakers of Spanish as an L2) who received excellent training from our professors, instructors, and TA’s. However, those participants have different levels of proficiency, and often have to do translation and interpreting within their own communities without any prior specific training. There is a long way between being bilingual and being able to produce good quality written translations and provide good oral interpreting services - after developing translation competence. The development of awareness and familiarity with the nature and structure of specific problems and problem solving skills can be developed as a result of knowledge accumulation. It includes ongoing pattern learning, resulting in the recognition, representation, and storage of meta-knowledge. In order to become a translation expert, one has to know translation and all of its sub-competences better and at deeper levels than anyone else.

Part 2: Data will be collected in my lab (whenever is possible) and also at the translators’ office. As it is extremely difficult for translators to leave their work place to carry out a translation in experimental conditions, I am planning to go to the translators’ offices and conduct the study in an environment that is well known for the participants, without extreme interference on the ecological validity of the experiment. Those participants are professional translators and already have developed competence in translation; however, they are constantly challenged by their daily tasks resulting in an ongoing pattern leaning in a different way (in comparison to students).

It seems primordial to understand better our students’ and professional profiles, as each individual presents different linguistic characteristics that have to be investigated before the translation/interpreting training. I hope that the training will result in better prepared community interpreters and translators for our community. In order to improve the practice of translation, students’ individual characteristics should be investigated. A comparison with a professional group will be carried out. Results should indicate in which direction our programs could go in order to better answer to our students’ needs. Better professionals, in consequence, are beneficial to our community.


This study aims at investigating how translation competence is acquired in our context (students from UCSB, commonly Spanish heritage speakers, English dominant speakers), based on a detailed analysis of each student’s language skills, background, and performance. For instance, proficiency in both languages must be evaluated, along with student’s language and cultural dominance. Each of those variables plays a different role in the development of the translation competence and its sub-competences (e.g., linguistic, cultural, textual, subject, research, and transfer competence). In this sense, the proposed research aims at investigating the development of the bilingual sub-competences and how they are related to the translation performance into both languages (first language and second language). The study will also investigate patterns in professional translation’ behavior when carrying out translation tasks from English into Spanish and from Spanish into English. The same variables (language skills, background, and performance) will be analyzed.

Undergraduate Contribution

Different types of materials will be used to collect data about the translation process and product, as well the participants’ bilingual characteristics. The results will be triangulated. Research Assistants will help me to analyze the data in the laboratory (linguistics), and possibly co-author a study with me.


SPAN100 or SPAN594F

Candidate must feel comfortable using computers and confident in their ability to learn any new programs quickly (including R and/or SPSS)