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Translating in the 21st Century in a 20th Century Corpus Culture Randall A. Major Faculty of Philosophy University of Novi Sad.

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Presentation on theme: "Translating in the 21st Century in a 20th Century Corpus Culture Randall A. Major Faculty of Philosophy University of Novi Sad."— Presentation transcript:

1 Translating in the 21st Century in a 20th Century Corpus Culture Randall A. Major Faculty of Philosophy University of Novi Sad

2 Two words of thanks

3 Personal Background Translator Teacher of (future) translators Interested in Corpus Linguistics Reflections based on experience

4 Some (Translator) Frustrations The software, often magnificent, is equally often not very user-friendly

5 User Friendliness?

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9 Some (Translator) Frustrations The software, often magnificent, is equally often not very user-friendly It seems that sometimes programmers don’t think of the end users and their needs (don’t take into account the specificities of Serbian, for example) Little effort has been made to make Serbian itself user-friendly (jeste comes from biti?)

10 More (Translator) Frustrations Based on Fallacies: – It’s enough to be bilingual to be a translator – Everyone in Serbia “speaks English” and therefore almost anyone can be a translator – Translation is seen as “type this Serbian text out for me in X language” – “We have enormous lexical resources available – RMS is in 6 volumes (or one big one), and RSANU is nearly finished at volume 20”

11 Difficulties The problem of alphabet(s) The problem of historical dictionaries vs. usage dictionaries The problem of up-to-date dictionaries The problem of translation dictionaries Creating a Serbian to English parallel corpus: what might it mean?

12 The Problem of Alphabets Great advances made possible with the introduction of Unicode Serbian is specific – represented in two alphabets The characters occupy different spaces in the Unicode map

13 Unicode addresses for ć and ћ

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15 The Problem of Alphabets Great advances made possible with the introduction of Unicode Serbian is specific – represented in two alphabets The characters occupy different spaces in the Unicode map > Many computer tools are unable to cope with the differences (even simple searches, TM, etc.)

16 The Problem of Historical vs Usage Dictionaries The most important dictionaries in Serbian are HISTORICAL and not USAGE dictionaries. Flood of new terminology coming from other languages, especially English. Creation of unnecessary words, false friends (e.g. mobbing vs. мобинг) Changes in meaning over time NOT encapsulated Shifts of “primary meaning”

17 The Case of Inače RMSRSANU Prilog+adverbialPrilog 1.na drugi način, drukčije1. u drukčijem, suprotnom slučaju, u protivnom 2.a. osim toga, pored toga 2. a. posmatrano u celini, uopšte uzevši b. po drugim osobinama, b. i bez toga, i bez obzira s drugog gledišta na dati slučaj, ionako c. uostalom c. na drugom mestu, na drugim mestima 3.u suprotnom slučaju3. a. obično, redovno, u drugoj prilici, u drugim prilikama b. po drugom imenu, ili drukčije 4. na drugi način, drukčije; različito; suprotno

18 The Case of Inače RMSRSANU Prilog+adverbialPrilog 1.na drugi način, drukčije1. u drukčijem, suprotnom slučaju, u protivnom 2.a. osim toga, pored toga 2. a. posmatrano u celini, uopšte uzevši b. po drugim osobinama, b. i bez toga, i bez obzira s drugog gledišta na dati slučaj, ionako c. uostalom c. na drugom mestu, na drugim mestima 3.u suprotnom slučaju3. a. obično, redovno, u drugoj prilici, u drugim prilikama b. po drugom imenu, ili drukčije 4. na drugi način, drukčije; različito; suprotno

19 The Case of Inače RMSRSANU Prilog+adverbialPrilog 1.na drugi način, drukčije1. u drukčijem, suprotnom slučaju, u protivnom 2.a. osim toga, pored toga 2. a. posmatrano u celini, uopšte uzevši b. po drugim osobinama, b. i bez toga, i bez obzira s drugog gledišta na dati slučaj, ionako c. uostalom c. na drugom mestu, na drugim mestima 3.u suprotnom slučaju3. a. obično, redovno, u drugoj prilici, u drugim prilikama b. po drugom imenu, ili drukčije 4. na drugi način, drukčije; različito; suprotno

20 The Case of Inače RMSRSANU Prilog+adverbialPrilog 1.na drugi način, drukčije1. u drukčijem, suprotnom slučaju, u protivnom 2.a. osim toga, pored toga 2. a. posmatrano u celini, uopšte uzevši b. po drugim osobinama, b. i bez toga, i bez obzira s drugog gledišta na dati slučaj, ionako c. uostalom c. na drugom mestu, na drugim mestima 3.u suprotnom slučaju3. a. obično, redovno, u drugoj prilici, u drugim prilikama b. po drugom imenu, ili drukčije 4. na drugi način, drukčije; različito; suprotno

21 The problem of up-to-date dictionaries Is there an up-to-date, corpus based dictionary of the Serbian language? Are the meanings copied from former (historical) dictionaries or derived from usage? Learner’s dictionaries, specialized (medical, legal, engineering…) dictionaries, frequency dictionaries, based on a modern corpus?

22 The problem of translation dictionaries If you don’t have a modern, corpus based dictionary, it’s really hard to have an accurate translation dictionary…

23 The Case of Inače MBŽB inače - adverb 1.otherwise 1. otherwise; else 2.(+ i) already, anyway, 2. (+ i) anyway anyhow Note that there were 20 nuances of meaning given in the Serbian dictionaries

24 Creating a Serbian to English parallel corpus: what might it mean? Work in progress: A Parallel Literary Corpus Serbian into English Carefully chosen, representative (important for multi-lingual parallel corpus) Modern authors ( David Albahari, Ivo Andrić, Vladislav Bajac, Svetislav Basara, Miloš Crnjanski, Danilo Kiš, Svetlana Velmar-Janković, Mirjana Novaković, Vida Ognjenović, Milorad Pavić, Milisav Savić, Slobodan Selenić, Meša Selimović, Srdjan Valjarević, Milovan Vitezović, etc. ), SPiT “Official” published translations

25 Benefits? To see how native speakers of English experience Serbian words, phrases, syntax, sentence focus, etc. To clarify syntactic similarities and differences in the two languages To study the possible existence of translationese in terms of phrasing, adverbial usage, tense vs. aspect

26 Benefits? Training of future translators based on actual corpus evidence as opposed to “because I said so…” More objective evaluation of translations based on corpus results instead of intuition Possible applications in MT… Possible aid in developing primary meanings for Serbian words in Serbian monolingual dictionaries

27 Conclusion The national Serbian corpus must have a parallel corpus (if possible a multilingual one) The parallel corpus must have a scope beyond literature The parallel corpus would benefit everyone – teachers, translators, lexicographers, dictionary users, and so on…

28 That’s all for now… Thank you for your attention!


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