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Rudy Loock Université de Lille 3, France & CNRS UMR 8163 STL Using corpora to define target- language use in translation UCCTS 2010 Edge Hill University.

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Presentation on theme: "Rudy Loock Université de Lille 3, France & CNRS UMR 8163 STL Using corpora to define target- language use in translation UCCTS 2010 Edge Hill University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Rudy Loock Université de Lille 3, France & CNRS UMR 8163 STL Using corpora to define target- language use in translation UCCTS 2010 Edge Hill University 27-29 July 2010

2 1. Introduction Starting point : teaching considerations Literal translation belongs to an ideal world Translators have to face several types of constraints when translating from source-language (SL) to target-language (TL) : Morphological Syntactic Stylistic 2

3 1. Introduction Morphological constraints : some morpheme associations are possible in SL but not in TL (1) Adj + -ly : slow>slowly / lent>lentement ; quick>quickly / rapide>rapidement ; clever>cleverly / intelligent>intelligemment fervent>fervently / fervent>*fervemment (avec ferveur) ; interesting>interestingly / intéressant>*intéressamment (de façon intéressante) (2) success>successful / succès>*successeux (avec succès) (3) compounding : white-teethed ; leather-bound ; gay-friendly = lexical gaps 3

4 1. Introduction Syntactic constraints : Some syntactic organizations are possible in SL but not in TL (4) dative passive: Lily was given flowers. >*Lily a été donnée des fleurs. (Lily a reçu des fleurs.) (5) satellite-framed vs. verb-framed language (cf. Talmy, Slobin): Mary swam across the river. > *Mary a nagé à travers la rivière. (Mary a traversé la rivière à la nage.) (6) stranded prepositions: The article which I referred to > *Larticle que jai référé à (larticle auquel jai référé) 4

5 1. Introduction Stylistic constraints Some literal translations are impossible because the result would be long, complex or clumsy sentences that do not combine together properly (7) The reason I don't have him thrown out is because I find all this curiously thrilling. => Si je ne le fais pas jeter dehors, c'est que je trouve toute cette histoire curieusement excitante. 5

6 1. Introduction But not sufficient : need to explain why one translation sounds better, more natural twhile another sounds like translation : « Thats not what native speakers usually say… » « Your translation is fine, but does not sound completely natural… » =Usage/langue use constraint that takes into account the way real people really use the language 6

7 1. Introduction Problem: how to determine language use/usage? Some is codified/lexicalized and listed in dictionaries: table leg vs. pied de table cast-iron case vs. dossier en béton But what about non-codified usage? Intuition of native speakers? (What if youre not?) General conceptions based on personal experience (talent)? More scientific way of determining the usage constraint? => Corpora investigation 7

8 2. Determining usage Lexical usage Expressions to refer to influenza endemic to birds : E : bird flu | avian (in)flu(enza) | H5N1 virus/strain F : grippe du poulet | grippe aviaire | virus/souche H5N1 The different terms seem to suggest a series of equivalences : (e.g. bird flu = grippe du poulet) But speakers do not use these terms in the same way/with the same frequency in English and in French => Search on Google 8

9 2. Determining usage 9 Google search July 2010

10 2. Determining usage Expression of periodicity : weekly vs. hebdomadairement 10 Google search July 2010

11 2. 2. Determining usage Syntactic usage : more difficult to evaluate e.g. relative clauses : - not always translated literally, i.e. using the same structure - seems to be some systematicity independently of syntactic constraints Corpus search But Google impossible to use 11

12 2. Determining usage Corpus-based study on the translation of RCs from English to French and from French to English (Loock 2009) Corpus: first 25,000 words taken from: 2 novels originally written in French and translated into English (N. Hornbys How to be Good and D. Lodges Thinks…) 2 novels originally written in English and translated into French (F. Beigbeders Windows on the world and B. Werbers Les Fourmis) Search for some systematic differences/patterns 12

13 2. Determining usage Global results : RCs not systematically maintained * Participle clauses, independent clauses, adjectives, noun phrases, parentheticals, ellipsis… 13 CorpusNumber of RCsTranslation with RCTranslation with other structure* HORNBY15493 (60,4%)61 (39,6%) LODGE11982 (68,9%)37 (31,1%) BEIGBEDER10056 (56%)44 (44%) WERBER15273 (48%)79 (52%)

14 2. Determining usage Systematic non-literal translations (ceteris paribus): - (Much) more frequent use of cleft structures (it is [X] that…/cest [X] qui…) in F than in E: (8) Et tout d'un coup c'est David qui prend la parole, en fixant les marches de l'escalier au milieu desquelles coule une rivière. (Beigbeder 99) => Then, suddenly, David starts to speak, staring at the river running down the steps. (9) C'est une antenne anonyme qui vient d'émettre cette phéromone phrase. (Werber 71) An anonymous antenna had just emitted this pheromone sentence. (10) Ce sont tout d'abord les murs qui subissent une grande secousse latérale. (Werber 110) => First the walls were shaken by a big lateral tremor. 14

15 2. Determining usage In general, RCs are often reformulated when translated from E to F with prepositional phrases: (11) He had a glass of white wine in his hand and I guess it wasn't the first one he'd imbibed that evening. (Lodge 51) => Il tenait à la main un verre de vin blanc et ce n'était sûrement pas pour lui le premier de la soirée. (12) Or we may develop computers that are carbon-based, like biological organisms, instead of silicon-based ones.' (Lodge 90) => Nous pourrions aussi élaborer des ordinateurs à base de carbone comme les organismes biologiques, au lieu qu'ils soient à base de silicone. (13) David's only steady income derives from a newspaper column he contributes to our local paper. (Hornby 15) => David tire son seul revenu régulier d'une rubrique dans notre journal local. 15

16 2. Determining usage Frenchs RCs, when they are reformulated, are often replaced with –ing clauses (25% in our corpus): (14) Si un Boeing entrait sous mes pieds, je saurais enfin ce qui me torture depuis un an : je saurais la fumée noire qui monte du sol, la chaleur qui fait fondre les murs, les fenêtres explosées… (Beigbeder 21) => If a Boeing were to crash below my feet, I would finally know what it is that has tortured me for a year now: the black smoke seeping from the floor, the heat melting the walls, the exploded windows... (15) L'écrivain est comme la cavalerie, qui arrive toujours trop tard. (Beigbeder 25) => The writer is like the cavalry, always arriving too late. 16

17 2. Determining usage Some general tendencies can be defined for syntactic usage and help translation learners to provide translations that respect such usage. N.B. : small corpus (4x25,000 words) no hard rules 17

18 3. Questions and issues Why is this important? Cf. study by Cappelle on translation from E to F, specifically on VPs expressing direction : Mary [swam] [across] the river. Mary[traversa] la rivière [à la nage]/[en nageant]. What happens when translators translate from a verb-framed (F)to a satellite(E)-framed language (or vice-versa)? Do they reframe or do they otherwise rephrase? 18

19 3. Questions and issues Comparison between 3 corpora : (i) A corpus of translated texts from SL to TL (e.g. Victor Hugo in English) (ii) A corpus of SL texts (e.g. Victor Hugo in French) (iii) A corpus of TL texts (e.g. Charles Dickens in English) Cappelles results show that translated texts and original texts clearly differ: under-representation of manner-of-motion verbs (typical of Germanic languages) in English translated from French as compared with original English => What does this mean about the quality of the translations? 19

20 3. Questions and issues Isnt there a danger of trying to reduce a language to a stereotypical series of linguistic properties? e.g. The fact that grippe du poulet (bird flu) is hardly ever used in F does not mean it is *never* used. Rigidify language use and personification of language (E uses bird flu while F used grippe aviaire). Should not be considered as hard rules but tendencies translators should be aware of. 20

21 3. Questions and issues Languages change with time, so usage changes with time can corpora show such evolution? 21

22 3. Questions and issues 22

23 Conclusion At a time when usage-based linguistics/grammar is becoming more and more popular, one might also consider usage-based translation. Permits the discovery of systematic tendencies that are characteristic of specific languages. Final aim : Taking usage into account improves the quality (fluency, natural character) of translations. 23

24 References Cappelle, B. 2010. Reframing and rephrasing in translation, Talk given at the Verbes et complexités verbales Symposium, Paris 7, France, May 31-June 1. Loock, R. 2009. Parce quen plus il faut traduire la syntaxe ?! : contraintes et stratégies dans la traduction de la structuration dun texte, in D'Amélio (ed.), Actes du colloque international « La forme comme paradigme du traduire » Mons; CIPA : 173-190. Slobin, D. 2004. The many ways to search for a frog: linguistic typology & the expression of motion events. In S. Strömqvist & L. Verhoeven eds. Relating Events in Narrative. Vol 2, 219-257. Mahwah, NJ: LEA. Talmy, L. 2000. Toward a Cognitive Semantics: Typology and Process in Concept Structuring, vol. 2. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. Relative clauses corpus: - Hornby, N. 2001. How to Be Good. Viking Airside Ed. Translated by I. Chapman. La Bonté mode demploi. 10-18. - Lodge, D. 2002. Thinks. Penguin New Ed. Translated by S. Mayoux. Pensées secrètes. Rivages Poche. - Beigbeder, F. 2005. Windows on the World. Gallimard. Translated by F. Wynne. Windows on the World. Harper Perennial. - Werber, B. 1991. Les Fourmis. Livre de poche. Translated by M. Rocques. The Empire of the Ants. Bantam books. 24

25 Thank you for your attention! 25 Contact:

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