Empirical research methods in Translation Studies have been used in Spain for a decade. The article touches upon the most recent studies carried out in Spain as well as the trends in current research. A research methodology based on the scientific method is proposed, and a research design to study the acquisition of translation competence in trainees is presented, including three original measuring instruments created for the study: the first instrument measures the translation notions of the students; the second one measures students’ performance with translation problems; and the third one measures performance regarding translation errors. © 1999, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.