Monday, April 26, 2021

Quality assurance and cultural sensitivity: The case study of interpreting taboo from English and French to Kinyarwanda and vice versa

Quality assurance and cultural sensitivity: The case study of interpreting taboo from English and French to Kinyarwanda and vice versa. Vital Bizimana. Univ of Rwanda, Master's. Feb 2021.

Abstract: This study claims that interpreting taboo from English and French to Kinyarwanda and vice versa  can affect negatively the quality of interpreting due to cultural factors. Therefore, it explores the  negative consequences of interpreting taboo and investigates relevant strategies to cope with them.

The methods adopted for conducting the research were the following: questionnaires to and semi-structured interviews with interpreters, as well as a comparison of interpreting performances. All  these methods helped to identify the difficulties the interpreters face when dealing with taboo and  the frequency of strategies they use in the case of such difficulties.

In order to assess the quality of the interpreting rendition, the study mainly adopted the list of  quality assessment criteria by Schjöldager (1996). Her list is comprised of comprehensibility and  delivery, language, coherence and plausibility, and loyalty.

Findings obtained at the end of the analysis first show that linguistic taboos in Kinyarwanda,  English and French cultures include but are not limited to words related to sex, race, ethnic group,  blasphemy, bad language (swearing, cursing, insults), sexual taboo (sexual organs, bodily  functions) and scatological taboo (excrements). Secondly, they indicate that ignoring or using  taboo while interpreting from English and French to Kinyarwanda and vice versa may have severe  consequences on the message, the listener and the interpreter. The message may be unfaithful,  implausible, misleading, distorted, diluted or lost. The listener may be shocked, embarrassed or  offended. The interpreter may be marginalized as someone who talks “dirty”. Finally, the findings  show that interpreters resort to various strategies to cope with challenges posed by taboo language.

On the one hand, the strategies include, for euphemistic purposes, equivalence, paraphrasing,  omission, addition and substitution. On the other hand, they are comprised of literal interpretation  and equivalence techniques for faithfulness and linguistic accuracy purposes.

In view of the above, this study recommends schools of interpreting and/or interpreting  associations to organize specialized training on interpreting taboo, to monitor the practice of  interpreting taboo and to draft guidelines on interpreting taboo. It also recommends research on  interpreting taboo from the psycholinguistic, ethical and listener’s perspectives. 

Keywords: taboo, linguistic taboo, culture, interpreting quality, interpreting strategies, euphemism

Research found that people are willing to compromise on physical attractiveness for other qualities; against expectations, people gave more importance to attractiveness than before the epidemic, maybe as proxy for good health

Settling down without settling: Perceived changes in partner preferences in response to COVID-19 concern. Alexopoulos, Cassandra et al. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships (In Press). Apr 2021.

Abstract: The goal of this study was to explore the positive association between concern related to COVID-19 and single individuals’ perceived changes to their partner preferences. In addition, we investigated the mediating role of fear of being single. Results indicated that people with greater COVID-19 concern perceived an increase in the importance of stability, family commitment, and physical/social attractiveness, as well as fear of being single. Fear of being single only negatively predicted the importance of physical/social attractiveness, whereas it positively predicted the importance of stability and family commitment. Thus, in most cases, people with a greater concern for COVID-19 perceived themselves to become more selective, even when they exhibit higher levels of fear of being single.

Egos deflating with the Great Recession: Narcissistic traits rose and fell with the U.S. economy, incresed 1982 to 2008 and then declined; economic growth is linked to more narcissism and individualism.

Egos deflating with the Great Recession: A cross-temporal meta-analysis and within-campus analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, 1982–2016. Jean M.Twenge  et al. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 179, September 2021, 110947.


• Narcissistic personality traits increased 1982 to 2008 and then declined.

• Narcissistic traits rose and fell with the U.S. economy.

• Economic growth is linked to more narcissism and individualism.

Abstract: Scholars posit that economically prosperous times should produce higher individualism and narcissism, and economically challenging times lower individualism and narcissism. This creates the possibility that narcissism among U.S. college students, which increased between 1982 and 2009, may have declined after the Great Recession. Updating a cross-temporal meta-analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory to 2013 (k = 164, N = 35,095) and adding two within-campus analyses to 2015 (Study 2: UC Davis, N = 58,287) and 2016 (Study 3: U South Alabama, N = 14,319) revealed a non-monotonic pattern, with increases in NPI scores between 1982 and 2008 and declines thereafter. The decline in NPI scores during and after the recession took narcissism back to their original levels in the 1980s and 1990s. Implications for the interplay between economic conditions and personality traits are discussed.

Keywords: NarcissismNarcissistic personality traitsBirth cohortTime periodRecession

5. General discussion

Across three separate studies, we identified a non-monotonic trend in narcissism scores over time, with scores increasing until the Great Recession and then decreasing during and after it. Consistent with previous research (Stewart & Bernhardt, 2010Twenge et al., 2008Twenge and Foster, 2008Twenge and Foster, 2010, cf. Grijalva et al., 2015), narcissism increased among college students between 1982 and the late 2000s. Then, around the beginning of the Great Recession, narcissism scores began to falter, by 2013–2016 falling to the levels of the 1980s/1990s. This pattern appeared in both a nationwide cross-temporal meta-analysis of college student samples (Study 1) and within-campus analyses of students from University of California, Davis (Study 2) and the University of South Alabama (Study 3). In some analyses, years with higher unemployment and fewer young people participating in the workforce had lower narcissism scores. Thus, the Great Recession may have acted as a reset for the steady rise in narcissism between the 1980s and the 2000s.

These results are consistent with theoretical models that tie narcissism and related constructs (e.g., higher individualism, lower communalism) to economic growth and decline, especially employment (e.g., Bianchi, 2014Bianchi, 2016Greenfield, 2009Park et al., 2014). It is also consistent with models that link higher socioeconomic status to higher narcissism and related variables (e.g., entitlement, antagonism; Piff, 2014Piff et al., 2012).

Although we have explored economic factors as a potential cause of trends in narcissism, other causes are also possible. For example, narcissism began to decline when the nation elected its first African-American president, Barack Obama, who regularly spoke about the importance of empathy. In addition, the increasing popularity of social media may have played a role. In the years before 2010 when social media was less popular, these sites may have encouraged narcissism as they were an effective way to gain attention and followers (Liu & Baumeister, 2016McCain & Campbell, 2018). Once social media became used by the vast majority of traditional-age college students after 2012, however, happiness and self-esteem – traits positively correlated with grandiose narcissism in young populations (Sedikides et al., 2004) – began to decline (Twenge et al., 2018), perhaps because social media leads to unflattering upward social comparison (Steers et al., 2014). The possible suppressive effects of social media on narcissism may be one reason why narcissism scores leveled off in Study 3 after 2013 and why economic factors were better predictors in analyses up to 2013 compared to those up to 2016. This suggests that other factors were lowering NPI scores after 2013. Research should continue to explore links between social media, narcissism, and poor psychological well-being.

The time-lag design of this study holds age relatively constant. Thus, age (i.e., being younger versus older) is unlikely to explain the results; not only would age have to differ systematically with year, but it would have to follow the same non-monotonic trend as narcissism to explain the results. However, this design cannot determine whether the shifts are due to cohort effects (which only affect young people) or time period effects (which affect people of all ages). If this is a cohort effect, early Millennials (those born between 1980 and 1988) reached all-time highs for narcissism and remained that way, while late Millennials (those born between 1989 and 1994) returned narcissism to the levels of the late Boomers (those born in the early 1960s) and will remain that way. If this is a time period effect, it would suggest that the narcissism of all generations deflated during and after the Great Recession.

As found in previous research, the change over time in narcissism is moderate at the average (around a third of a standard deviation), similar to many effects in social psychology (Richard et al., 2003). However, the effects are larger at the ends of the distribution. In 1982, about 19% of college students answered the majority of the NPI items in the narcissistic direction; by 2009 this was 30%, a 58% increase (Twenge & Foster, 2010). By 2013, it was back to around 19%, a 37% decrease. These changes are thus large enough to be noticeable, particularly if those scoring 20 or higher on narcissism cause issues in the classroom or workplace (Campbell et al., 2015).

5.1. Limitations and future research

This research is limited in several ways. First, the method of cross-temporal meta-analysis is limited to the available data. The samples taken each year are not random. Optimally, they are random with respect to the association of interest (i.e., narcissism and time) but that is not guaranteed. We partially remedied this by also examining samples from the same college campus in Studies 2 and 3. Ideally, future research will explore changes over time in other individual difference data sets that are differently constructed, include variables related to narcissism such as better-than-average ratings or values, and include relevant cultural products (e.g. song lyrics). Also, all three of these studies were limited to college students, who are a growing but select portion of young Americans. The conclusions are also limited to the U.S.; it is unknown if the downward trend in narcissism after 2008 also appeared in other countries.

Second, there is not an optimal economic measure to use in this research. We used the unemployment rate and the employment to population ratio because they have a long history of use and are linked directly to individuals' economic experience. The unemployment rate may not have a direct or immediate effect on college students via their job prospects, but may influence them through their parents' employment experiences and their sense of their own economic prospects in the future. Other measures of economic activity such as GDP may be less directly related to individuals psychologically, and price inflation/deflation is challenging to measure cleanly. For example, the consumer price index (CPI) often obscures the sources of inflation that dominate people's thinking on a day-to-day basis (e.g., education, housing prices, and medical care). Overall, there is a need for more sophisticated economic models and data in terms of psychological processes.

When and how does the number of children affect marital satisfaction? An international survey

Kowal M, Groyecka-Bernard A, Kochan-Wójcik M, Sorokowski P (2021) When and how does the number of children affect marital satisfaction? An international survey. PLoS ONE 16(4): e0249516. Apr 22 2021.

Abstract: The present global study attempts to verify the links between marital satisfaction and the number of children as well as its moderators in an international sample. Data for the study was obtained from our published dataset and included 7178 married individuals from 33 countries and territories. We found that the number of children was a significant negative predictor of marital satisfaction; also sex, education, and religiosity were interacting with the number of children and marital satisfaction, while there were no interactions with economic status and individual level of individualistic values. The main contribution of the present research is extending our knowledge on the relationship between marital satisfaction and the number of children in several, non-Western countries and territories.


Our findings are in line with other research [2628], which showed that the number of children can be considered as a global, negative correlate of marital satisfaction. Even though some previous studies found that being a parent (as compared to non-parents) is linked to increased overall well-being [12] (and that there are pronounced, cross-cultural differences within this matter, e.g., between American and Chinese adults [62]), the current analyses seem to refute the notion that such beneficial influence of parenthood extends to marital satisfaction. Moreover, as much greater share of variance can be attributed to individuals than to countries, one can reasonably conclude that marital satisfaction depends more on the individual characteristics than on the values promoted in the country. At the same time, we found that the association between marital satisfaction and the number of children vary substantially across countries, what necessitates further investigations.

Our study provided evidence for the complexity and the influence of other variables on the link between marital satisfaction and the number of children, namely, sex, education, and religiosity. We observed that a higher number of children was associated with decreased marital satisfaction only among women. According to the social role theory [37], it is women who are culturally pressured to fulfill tasks related to childbearing and housekeeping, while men provide for their families outside of the home. In such a situation, having more children generates more home duties for mothers than fathers [634]. At the same time, as caring for children and their safety is a typical female role [37], men may solely focus on having fun and playing with the offspring [2], and thus, men may experience less distress and, in turn, more positive emotions regarding their spouse. Considering the imbalance between spouses’ duties related to having more children, results of the present study are in line with the equity theory [35], which predicts that partners, who invests more in the relationship than their spouses, experience more severe distress.

In addition to the sex differences, our analyses showed the interactive effect of the number of children and the level of parental education on marital satisfaction. Previous findings suggested that higher level of parental education should facilitate family size planning and achieving a balance between familial and personal life goals by both parents [63]. However, our results advocate for the opposite–we observed that the more education parents receive, the lower levels of marital satisfaction they experienced. When higher educated parents have more children, they may encounter more difficulties in balancing various social roles. This situation may result from the limitations of time and personal resources necessary to reconcile satisfyingly fulfilling parental, partner, and professional roles at the level determined by generally available knowledge [64].

We hypothesized that material status may be interacting with the number of children and marital satisfaction. Surprisingly, we found no support for this hypothesis. Parents of more children, regardless of their material situation, reported lower levels of marital satisfaction. Two complementary mechanisms may explain these findings. First, according to the restriction of freedom model [26], parents of high material status may more severely perceive a greater restriction of their free time. Instead of pursuing desirable careers or fulfilling dreams that would otherwise be financially affordable, parents focus on their offspring (who require time and attention). Second, according to the financial cost model [26], having children entails a myriad of expenses. With more children, it is even more difficult to make ends meet. Also, economic problems may be associated with husbands’ increased hostility and decreased supportiveness, both leading to wives’ perceptions of lower marital quality [39]. On the other hand, Twenge et al. [26] showed that when a couple becomes parents, a relationship between the transition to parenthood and the decline of marriage satisfaction may be stronger for individuals of higher socioeconomic status. Thus, we conclude that when the number of children increases, neither good nor bad material situation protects spouses from experiencing decreased levels of marital satisfaction. Similarly, in case of individualism. Previous studies found that parents from Western countries, usually recognized as more individualistically oriented [49], experience a decrease of marital satisfaction upon birth of their children [26], and thus, we hypothesized that more level of individualistic values may interact with marital satisfaction and the number of children. However, we found no evidence for the influence of individualism on this relationship.

Analyzing the impact of religiosity on the number of children and marital satisfaction, we observed that religiosity may be a protective buffer against a marital satisfaction decrease in larger families. Many religious communities stress positive marital and family relations [6566], offer different forms of support to parents [67], and value parenting likewise bringing up children through religious teachings, ceremonies or accommodations to families with children [6568]. Furthermore, religious people may not consider maternity in terms of inner conflict between individual aims and parent obligations [669]. On the contrary, religiosity may promote traditional roles (i.e., being a parent, a spouse), and thus, positively influence the link between parenthood and marital satisfaction [7072].

The correlations between the number of children and marital satisfaction differed across countries (see Fig 1), being positive in few cases (only among men) and negative in others. However, these correlations were never strong. The plot suggests no emerging patterns that could condition the direction and intensity of these relationships (e.g., a positive relationship in men in Germany, Nigeria, and Mexico). However, a positive effect of individualism on marital satisfaction suggests that it remains dependent on culturally determined issues. Although individualism did not differentiate the relationship of our interest, some country-level or other culturally relevant aspects of spouses’ functioning should be tested in future studies. For example, work culture [73], country policies [74] or social equity norms shared within a society [36] may explain to a higher extent the cultural differences in the role that number of children play in marital satisfaction. Nevertheless, due to the limitations described below we want to stress that the present results should be treated with caution until future cross-cultural studies provide further support.

Strengths and limitations

Results of the present analysis are not free of limitations. Most importantly, the statistical significance of the observed relationship between marital satisfaction and the number of children was very close to the conventional threshold of 0.05. We cannot exclude the scenario in which the significance of this predictor might have been a result of a large sample size, what required caution in drawing any general conclusions. Furthermore, the data samples are not fully representative for the whole world’s population, as the majority of participants inhabited more urbanized regions. We were also unable to analyze interdependent marriage dyads or non-married, cohabitating couples. Moreover, religiosity appeared to be a moderator of the link between the number of children and marital satisfaction, but, unfortunately, it was assessed only by a single question in the survey (“Are you religious?”), which makes further interpretations difficult. The partial, declarative knowledge of participants economic status also limits our conclusions. It would be insightful if future studies focused on the age of the children, as it may also affect the relationship between the family size and marital satisfaction. Finally, our study did not focus on very complex relationships between our variables of interest (i.e., three-way-interactions). We suggest that building upon sound theoretical backgrounds, future studies could form more detailed hypotheses on the interplay between several predictors of marital satisfaction and their temporal dynamics.

On the other hand, in the present analysis we used a large-scale sample database from different regions of the world. All participants answered the same questionnaires, which tried to capture numerous important variables, previously shown to correlate with marital satisfaction. The data was collected in the same period of time and originated in different regions of the world. The main contribution of the present research is extending our knowledge on the relationship between marital satisfaction and the number of children and variables that are frequently hypothesized to influence this relationship (i.e., sex, religiosity, age, education, level of individualism, material situation, and marriage duration) in several, non-Western countries and territories. Such insight may be especially important when considering the importance of marital satisfaction on health and well-being both of spouses [75] and their children [76].