dr. MJ van den Haak

  • De Boelelaan 1105, Main building

    1081 HV Amsterdam


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Personal profile

Personal information

Assistant Professor with expertise in UX/usability, (website) localization, translation (English to Dutch and vice versa), discourse analysis and (English) text writing.


As a researcher, I am particularly interested in the evaluation of (digital) communication. As part of my PhD research, I conducted a number of large-scale user studies to investigate the merits and drawbacks of employing various think-aloud variants for usability testing.  For the past few years I have been working, in collaboration with Dr Olga Damman (VUMC), on an NWO project entitled You are at risk: how health risk information can be made more meaningful for consumers. Our study involved a number of qualitative user studies (think aloud, eye-tracking) and quantitative experiments to discover how lay people understand and interpret health risk information in online health risk tests.  See also:http://www.nwo.nl/onderzoek-en-resultaten/programmas/begrijpelijke+taal 


As a lecturer (BKO-qualified), I strongly believe in combining theory and practice in my courses. I frequently collaborate with language professionals, translation agencies and usability companies to ensure that my teaching remains theoretically grounded and practically relevant.  

 Courses I teach/taught in the past:

  • BA Translation Dutch-English
  • BA Website localization
  • BA Intercultural communication
  • BA academic English writing
  • BA discourse analysis 
  • MA Translation English-Dutch 
  • MA Translation tutorial
  • MA Usability testing of corporate websites


  • BA and MA theses on translation, discourse analysis and usability (user research). Topics include: translating cultural elements (realia, humor) in various genres (literature, subtitling); analyzing the effects of subtitle errors on viewers' attitude; investigating the effect of different variables (user demographics, test procedure) on the effectiveness of the think-aloud method.   
  • BA and MA internships in the fields of translation, writing and usability testing. 


  • NWO Aspasia (2016): Funding for a professional UX training with the Norman Nielsen Group
  • NWO Begrijpelijke Taal (Comprehensible language and effective communication) (2013-2017): Funding for the project You are at Risk - a collaboration with Dr Olga Damman (VUMC).


  • Degree (Drs) in English linguistics (2000: VU, Amsterdam).
  • Degree (PhD) in Applied Communication Science (2008: UT Twente).

Ancillary activities

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  • PE English
  • Translation Dutch to English
  • Translation English to Dutch
  • Localization
  • Discourse
  • Interaction
  • User research
  • Usability
  • Think aloud method
  • UX
  • Subtitling


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