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Are translations longer than source texts? A corpus-based study of explicitation Ana Frankenberg-Garcia ISLA, Lisbon.

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Presentation on theme: "Are translations longer than source texts? A corpus-based study of explicitation Ana Frankenberg-Garcia ISLA, Lisbon."— Presentation transcript:

1 Are translations longer than source texts? A corpus-based study of explicitation Ana Frankenberg-Garcia ISLA, Lisbon

2 What is explicitation? SOURCE TEXT ST implicit TRANSLATION TEXT TT explicit Vinay e Darbelnet (1958)

3 ST TT obligatory Explicitation when target language grammar forces translators to add information not present in source text

4 Obligatory explicitation 1 Frances liked her doctor. Frances gostava dessa médica. Trollope, Joanna 1993 A Spanish Lover, London: Bloomsbury Um Amante Espanhol, translated by Ana Falcão Bastos. Lisboa: Gradiva. ST TT

5 sua pele lembrava a crosta lunar e tinha o nariz mais volumoso do mundo; o cabelo era cor de fogo […] her skin resembled the lunar crust and she had the most voluminous nose in the world; her hair was the color of fire […] Rey, Marcos 1986 Memórias de um Gigolô, São Paulo: Ática Editorial Memoirs of a Gigolo, translated by Clifford Landers. New York: Avon Obligatory explicitation 2 ST TT

6 ST TT Explicitation when for no grammatically compelling reason translators distance themselves from source text making translation easier to understand voluntary

7 Voluntary explicitation 1 Você também gosta dela? So you like her too? Dourado, Autran 1973 O Risco do Bordado, Rio: Expressão e Cultura Pattern for a Tapestry, translated by John Parker. London: Peter Owen. ST TT

8 Voluntary explicitation 2 "It's probably Rummidge. -- Então é provável que seja Rummidge. Lodge, David 1975 Changing Places, London: Secker & Warburg Invertendo os Papéis, translated by Lídia Luther-Cavalcante. São Paulo: Scipione ST TT

9 Voluntary explicitation 3 " All's Well That Ends Well? " he snaps back, quick as a flash. -- Será que é All ' s well that ends well? -- ele diz rápido como um relâmpago.* *Tudo está bem quando acaba bem é o título de uma peça de Shakespeare, que nasceu em Stratford-upon- Avon. Lodge, David 1975 Changing Places, London: Secker & Warburg Invertendo os Papéis, translated by Lídia Luther-Cavalcante. São Paulo: Scipione ST TT

10 ST TT voluntary Explicitation obligatory

11 Qualitative evidence of explicitation Vanderauwera (1985) modifiers, qualifiers & conjunctions Dutch-English Blum-Kulka (1986) lexical repetition English-Hebrew Séguinot (1988) connectives French-English & English-French

12 Ten years or so later…. corpus studies

13 Quantitative evidence of explicitation Øverås (1998) more explicitating shifts than implicitating ones English-Norwegian Parallel Corpus Olohan & Baker (2000) more optional that after reporting verbs BNC and TEC

14 It is one of the universal characteristics of translation Vanderauwera 1985 It is inherent to the nature of the translation process Séguinot 1988 The Explicitation Hypothesis: translations tend to be more explicit than source texts, regardless of the increase in explicitness dictated by language- specific differences Blum-Kulka 1986 Claims about explicitation

15 Explicitation and text length Since explicitation often takes the form of additions… …are translations longer than source texts?

16 With a parallel corpus…. It’s very simple to check whether or not a TT has more words than a ST ST TT

17 COMPARA 5.2 STTT Over 1.5 million words Published fiction Portuguese English

18 COMPARA 5.2 ST En TT Pt - 1% words

19 COMPARA 5.2 ST Pt TT En +11% words

20 COMPARA 5.2 Pt-En translators better off if they base their fees on TT words En-Pt translators better off if they base their fees on ST words But impossible to tell the extent to which differences observed are due to differences between: Portuguese & English or source texts & translations

21 COMPARA 5.2 Word counts as such shed little light on the relationship between translation and explicitation

22 Claims about text length across languages are difficult to put to test Corpora list Over twenty postings on the subject! How do you measure it?

23 Different scales affect different languages differently English Portuguese

24 Counting words EnglishPortuguese isn’t (1) não é (2) gave him (2) dei-lhe (1) teapot (1) bule de chá (3) Did you like it? (4) Gostou? (1)

25 When comparing text length across languages ST TT more words ≠ greater explicitation

26 Explicitation using fewer words What have I got to complain about? (7 words) De que me queixo então? (5 words) Lodge, David 1995 Therapy, London: Secker & Warburg Terapia, translated by Maria do Carmo Figueira. Lisboa: Gradiva. ST TT

27 More words but no explicitation Fui visitá-lo. (2 words) I went to visit him. (5 words) Fonseca, Rubem 1988 Vastas emoções e pensamentos imperfeitos.São Paulo: Companhia das Letras 1995 The lost manuscript, translated by Clifford Landers. London: Bloomsbury ST TT

28 Counting characters EnglishPortuguese isn’t (5) não é (5) gave him (9) deu-lhe (7) teapot (6) bule de chá (11) Did you like it? (16)Gostou? (7)

29 Counting morphemes EnglishPortuguese isn’t (4) não é (4) gave him (4) deu-lhe (4) teapot (2) bule de chá (3) Did you like it? (4)Gostou? (3)

30 Counting words EnglishPortuguese isn’t (1) não é (2) gave him (2) dei-lhe (1) teapot (1) bule de chá (3) Did you like it? (4) Gostou? (1)

31 Word counts affect different languages differently… To make any claims about text length across languages based on word counts… …the language-dependent bias of word counts has to be controlled.

32 TRANSLATION TEXTS SOURCE TEXTS L1 L2 L1 A bi-directional analysis But a balanced corpus is essential! ? > <

33 COMPARA 5.2 Similar amount of Portuguese and English, but not balanced 25 Pt 12 En Pt En

34 A balanced sub-corpus I English Portuguese Assigning equal weight to both languages 16 source texts: 8 Pt + 8 En Same length: 1500 words each

35 A balanced sub-corpus II Ensuring no particular author or translator is over-represented 16 ST = 16 authors 8 Pt + 8 En 16 TT = 16 translators 8 Pt + 8 En

36 Pt 1500 words Pt 1500 words Pt 1500 words Pt 1500 words Pt 1500 words Pt 1500 words Pt 1500 words Pt 1500 words En 1500 words En 1500 words En 1500 words En 1500 words En 1500 words En 1500 words En 1500 words En 1500 words ? The analysis Source Texts Translations Translators’ notes

37 ST TT The results + 5% Matched t-test: 95% probability TT significantly longer than ST

38 Conclusion Portuguese & English Source Texts & Translations Explicitation Hypothesis

39 Future research… This study was based on only a small sample of Portuguese and English source texts and translations Do different samples (and genres) of Portuguese and English ST & TT render similar results? Can these results be replicated using different ST-TT language combinations?

40 More future research… On a more exploratory front: Is there anything qualitatively deviant about translations that are much longer or much shorter than the average increase or decrease in text length for a particular language pair?

41 Implications for translator education? Findings like these can help translators become generally more informed about what goes on when they are translating Learning that text length can vary from source texts to translations for more reasons than just the differences between languages is an important step towards this end.

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