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A top-down approach to identifying Distinctive lexis in translation Ana Frankenberg-Garcia ISLA,Lisbon.

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Presentation on theme: "A top-down approach to identifying Distinctive lexis in translation Ana Frankenberg-Garcia ISLA,Lisbon."— Presentation transcript:

1 A top-down approach to identifying Distinctive lexis in translation Ana Frankenberg-Garcia ISLA,Lisbon

2 Traditional view of translations Inferior Contaminated by source text Severe contamination = translationese “odd, unnatural language which only appears in translations”

3 Translation scholars differ Translations are not automatically inferior Constraints of source-text language inevitable but not necessarily negative Frawley’s third code (1984) –translations different from source texts –also different from non-translated texts –deserve being studied in their own right

4 A less well-known third-code feature Distinctive distribution of lexis Shama’a (1978) –day & say in English translated from Arabic: twice as frequent than in non-translated English Tirkkonnen-Condit (2004) –Finnish verbs of sufficiency: less frequent in translations than in non-translated Finnish

5 Distinctive distribution of lexis Over-represented lexis –words markedly more frequent in translations than in non-translated texts Under-represented lexis –words noticeably less frequent in translations than in non-translated texts

6 How to identify distinctive lexis? Bottom-up approach –start with a lexical item –frequency in translated and non-translated text Shama’a’s (1978) day & say Tirkkonen-Condit’s (2004) Finnish verbs of sufficiency –But which lexical items are worthy of this comparison? –Informed decisions needed at the outset Bilinguals Translators Foreign language teachers

7 Intuitions regarding Portuguese translated from English Adverbs ending in mente (Bastos 2008) –simplesmente [simply] –exatamente [exactly] –perfeitamente [perfectly] –absolutamente [absolutely] Verbs (Tagnin 2008) –poder [can/may] Adjectives –diferente [different] –possível [possible]

8 Bottom-up approach can have limitations Under-represented words escaped perception Over-represented words can be missed too This study: Exploratory, top-down approach Confirm existing bottom-up intuitions Find out about distinctive lexis not visible to the naked eye

9 Method Bottom-up approach –start with a lexical item (informed decisions) –compare frequency in translated and non- translated texts This top-down approach –start with comparable corpus of translated & non-translated texts –identify over and under-represented words

10 Method Corpus –COMPARA 10.0 (Frankenberg-Garcia & Santos 2003) –Parallel, bi-directional corpus of English and Portuguese literary texts (3 million words) – EN-STPT-TT PT-ST EN-TT Comparable corpus of original & translated Portuguese

11 Method Corpus 39 Portuguese originals (635 K words) 32 Portuguese translations (733 K words) No distinction between different varieties of Portuguese –may have affected some of the results

12 Method Portuguese part of COMPARA annotated with PALAVRAS parser (Bick 2000) Distribution of lemmas Conjunctions, prepositions Broader POS categories for –Nouns (excluding proper nouns) –Adjectives –Verbs –Adverbs

13 Method Threshold over 10 hits per 100K words in at least one sub-corpus 482 nouns113 adjectives309 verbs99 adverbs Noun lemmas (excluding proper nouns) Adjective lemmas Verb lemmas Adverb lemmas Translated-PT 733K words Original-PT 635K words

14 Method Alternate spellings counted as one e.g. direção/direcção [direction] Loan words excluded e.g. sir Lemmas with over 1/3 hits from single author excluded e.g. cego [blind] (in Saramago’s Blindness) 482 nouns113 adjectives309 verbs99 adverbs

15 Method Criteria At least 2X more frequent in translated-PT = over-represented in translations At least 2X more frequent in original-PT = under-represented in translations 482 nouns113 adjectives309 verbs99 adverbs Distribution in Translated-PT Distribution Original-PT Frequencies per 100 K words compared

16 Distinctive nouns Translated-PT 482 nouns 42 over-represented 49 under-represented + abstract gênero, fato, problema, possibilidade, discussão, dificuldade, procura, oportunidade, questão + manner tom, modo, expressão, aspecto, atitude + groups bocado, membro, grupo, lista, maioria - humans sobrinho, moço, menino, velha, soldado, menina, velho, padre, senhora, dono, senhor, primo - Portuguese psyche saudade, lembrança, alma, tristeza type, fact, problem, possibility, discussion, search, opportunity, question tone, manner, expression, aspect, atitude bit, member, group, list, majority nephew, young man, boy, old woman, soldier, girl, old man, priest, lady, owner, gentleman, cousin nostalgia, souvenir, soul, sadness

17 Distinctive adjectives Translated-PT 113 adjectives 12 over-represented 11 under-represented + evaluative/abstract calmo, maravilhoso, evidente, familiar, pessoal, especial, horrível, suficiente, principal - visible/concrete gordo, grosso, igual, nu, morto, rico - feelings triste, alegre calm, wonderful, obvious, familiar, personal, special, horrible, enough, main fat, thick, equal, naked, dead, rich unhappy, happy

18 Distinctive verbs Translated-PT 309 verbs 32 over-represented 19 under-represented + link verbs encontrar-se, constituir, tornar-se, sentir-se, sentir-me, manter + reporting verbs revelar, exclamar, lamentar, sugerir, comentar, replicar + movement verbs inclinar-se, regressar, dirigir-se, baixar, virar-se, apanhar, apoiar, acenar, abanar + verbs preceding other verbs tentar, conseguir, permitir - dramatic, literary verbs vencer, fugir, beijar, cantar, quebrar, sonhar, amar, roubar, chorar, matar, morrer, nascer find oneself/be, constitute, become, feel, keep reveal, exclaim, regret, suggest, comment, reply bend, return, turn to, lower, turn, pick up, lean, wave, shake win, escape, kiss, sing, break, dream, love, steal, cry, kill, die, be born try, manage, allow

19 Distinctive adverbs Translated-PT 99 adverbs 13 over-represented 10 under-represented + adverbs of manner (many ending in mente) demasiado, profundamente, bastante, claro, absolutamente, completamente, simplesmente, perfeitamente, imediatamente, exatamente + adverbs of time & frequency enfim, logo, ora, ontem, jamais, amanhã, hoje too, deeply, rather/quite, clearly, absolutely, completely, simply, perfectly, immediately, exactly at last, soon, at times, yesterday, never, tomorrow, today

20 Near synomyms with contrastive distributions Translated-PT Original-PT rapariga menina [girl] recordaçãolembrança [souvenir] escolacolégio [school] compreenderentender [understand] apanharrecolher [gather/catch] completamentetodo/toda [completely] ------------------------------ 1.5 ------------------------------------------------------------ edifícioprédio [building] enormeimenso [huge] recordar lembrar [remember] repararnotar[notice] observarexaminar[observe] decidirresolver[decide] obrigarmandar[force/order] manterguardar[keep] finalmenteenfim/afinal[finally]

21 Were initial intuitions confirmed? Adverbs ending in mente (Bastos 2008) –simplesmente [simply] 2.9 –exactamente [exactly]2.3 –perfeitamente [perfectly]2.7 –absolutamente [absolutely]3.8 Verbs (Tagnin 2008) –poder [can/may]1.2 –conseguir [manage]2.2 –permitir [allow]2.1 Adjectives –diferente [different] 1.7 –possível [possible] 1.9

22 What else did I learn? Translations had too many - Abstract nouns & abstract, evaluative adjectives - Nouns depicting manner & adverbs of manner - Nouns depicting groups or group membership - Reporting, movement & link verbs & verbs preceding other verbs Translations did not have enough –Human nouns & concrete/visible adjectives –Dramatic verbs & adjectives depicting feelings –Words related to Portuguese psyche –Adverbs of time & frequency Near synonyms with contrastive distributions –translated-PT seeming to prefer the more formal of the two

23 Caveats Analysis based on lemmas is very general –Word inflections? –Polysemous lemmas? Lemmas do not tell the whole story e.g. acenar [wave] → acenar a cabeça [nod]

24 Conclusion Top-down approach generally confirmed existing bottom-up intuitions disclosed novel, unexpected semantic & cultural contrasts Findings may have an impact on –multilingual-text processing –machine translation –translation aids –translator education I hope the present methodology and findings will stimulate further research in the area

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