The MTrill is a process-oriented research that aims to investigate how online freely available Machine Translation (MT) systems are impacting the acquisition and processing of English as a second language. The research will shed light on issues involving a central aspect of language acquisition such as the ability to combine single words properly in a grammatical sentence in a second language. To pursue this goal, a syntactic priming experiment will be carried out in which participants will be tested as to whether they produce the same syntactic structures that had been previously seen during a translation task using an MT. The project brings a brand-new methodological approach within MT process-oriented evaluation research and it goes beyond the existing state-of-the-art approaches since it will focus on translation processing complemented by product analysis (oral production).
The project will be conducted under the supervision of Professor Andy Way and Doctor Monica Ward in the ADAPT Centre based in Dublin City university. A four-months secondment will be carried out in the Max Planck Institute of Psycholinguistics (MPI) in Nijmegen, The Netherlands, in the Neurobiology of Language research group under the supervision of Professor Peter Hagoort. The knowledge acquired during the secondment will be consolidated in the return phase through implementation of the experiments carried out for this project as well as through teaching and co-supervision activities. Results of this research will be disseminated through conferences and journal paper publications and will be communicated to multiple audiences through articles published in non-academic magazines, blogs and social media. The project began 25 April 2019 with the aim to complete by 24 April 2021 with an overall budget of €184,590,72.