Who should say “I” in empirical research? 
Anthony Pym 

Anthony Pym

A basic problem when reporting any empirical research is whether to use the first-person singular I. Some fields of the humanities never allow this pronoun to be used, since that would compromise the author’s objectivity: no one would take the results seriously. In other fields, however, are increasingly allowed and even condoned direct expressions of subjective involvement. How could or should we position ourselves in this issue?  

Aesthetics aside, this seminar will argue that all research is informed by personal interest and we should accept and condone this, and that we should encourage critical self-reflection on our own interests by encouraging the first-person singular. The second part of the seminar will nevertheless present cases, mostly drawn from translation studies, where empiricism and critical self-reflection are necessary partners in our epistemologies. Separately, they can lead to either tedium or egoism. Together, they can produce knowledge that is engaging, valid, and new.  

ANTHONY PYM is Distinguished Professor of Translation and Intercultural Studies at Universitat Rovira i Virgili of Tarragona, Extra-ordinary Professor at Stellenbosch University in South Africa, and Honorary Professor at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. He was President of the European Society for Translation Studies from 2010 to 2016. He holds a doctorate in sociology from the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He has authored or edited some 30 books and more than 240 articles and book chapters in the field of translation and intercultural studies. His most recent book, written with Yu Hao, is How to augment language skills. Generative AI and machine translation in language learning and translator training (Routledge).