15.3452, Diss: Translation: Williams: 'Recurrent Features...'

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LINGUIST List: Vol-15-3452. Thu Dec 09 2004. ISSN: 1068 - 4875.

Subject: 15.3452, Diss: Translation: Williams: 'Recurrent Features...'

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Date: 07-Dec-2004
From: Donna Williams < sissela at yahoo.com >
Subject: Recurrent Features of Translation in Canada: A Corpus-based Study

-------------------------Message 1 ----------------------------------
Date: Thu, 09 Dec 2004 15:04:01
From: Donna Williams < sissela at yahoo.com >
Subject: Recurrent Features of Translation in Canada: A Corpus-based Study

Institution: University of Ottawa
Program: Department of Computational Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004

Author: Donna A. Williams

Dissertation Title: Recurrent Features of Translation in Canada: A Corpus-based

Linguistic Field(s): Text/Corpus Linguistics

Subject Language(s): English (ENG)
                     French (FRN)

Dissertation Director(s):
Barbara Folkart
Roda P. Roberts
Lynne Bowker

Dissertation Abstract:

Based as it is on the theory of translation universals, the general hypothesis
that translated texts are distinguishable from non-translated texts by certain
recurrent features of translation has been tested in recent contributions to
Corpus-based Translation Studies. This hypothesis assumes that translation will
leave similar traces in different languages.

Major corpus-based studies have recently investigated three specific
hypothetical recurrent features of translation (normalization, explicitation,
and simplification). However, each of these research projects has hypothesized
only one recurrent feature of translation at a time, using mainly literary,
Anglo-European corpora, and using English as the sole target language of the
translated texts. In the present study, all three of the above
previously-studied recurrent features of translation are hypothesized and
investigated, along with a fourth (levelling-out), which has not been the
subject of previous study. Characteristics of translated and non-translated
texts are compared in both English and French: appropriately for study of
hypothetical "universal" features, the present research is carried out on target
texts in more than one language. Our corpora consist of texts taken from
Canadian Federal Government Web sites; they constitute a broad sample of
non-literary texts. Specific techniques of analysis are adapted from the
literature, and where appropriate, new techniques are devised. WordSmith
(versions 3 and 4) was the primary tool used for corpus analysis. The empirical
evidence gathered in the present research supports the hypotheses of
normalization and explicitation as recurrent features of translation into both
English and French, but does not support the hypotheses of simplification and
levelling-out. There is some indication that translated texts in both English
and French tend to be more difficult to read (according to the standards of
readability indices), an unexpected but interesting finding. All of these
results must be interpreted in the light of future corpus-based study of
recurrent features of translation, and it is recommended that a standardized
protocol for recording the attributes of future comparable corpora should be

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