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Are translations longer than source texts?. A corpus-based study of explicitation Ana Frankenberg-Garcia ISLA, Lisbon. What is explicitation?. TRANSLATION TEXT TT explicit. SOURCE TEXT ST implicit. Vinay e Darbelnet (1958) . Explicitation. ST. TT. obligatory.

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Are translations longer than source texts?


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are translations longer than source texts

Are translations longer than source texts?

A corpus-based study of explicitation

Ana Frankenberg-Garcia

ISLA, Lisbon

what is explicitation
What is explicitation?

TRANSLATION

TEXT

TT

explicit

SOURCE

TEXT

ST

implicit

Vinay e Darbelnet (1958)

slide3

Explicitation

ST

TT

obligatory

when target language grammar

forces translators to add information

not present in source text

obligatory explicitation 1
Obligatory explicitation 1

ST

Frances liked her doctor.

Frances gostava dessa médica.

TT

Trollope, Joanna

1993 A Spanish Lover, London: Bloomsbury.

1999 Um Amante Espanhol, translated by Ana Falcão Bastos. Lisboa: Gradiva.

slide5

Obligatory explicitation 2

ST

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 […]

TT

Rey, Marcos

1986 Memórias de um Gigolô, São Paulo: Ática Editorial.

1987 Memoirs of a Gigolo, translated by Clifford Landers. New York: Avon

slide6

Explicitation

ST

TT

voluntary

when for no grammatically compelling reason

translators distance themselves from source text

making translation easier to understand

slide7

Voluntary explicitation 1

ST

Você também gosta dela?

So you like her too?

TT

Dourado, Autran

1973 O Risco do Bordado, Rio: Expressão e Cultura.

1984 Pattern for a Tapestry, translated by John Parker. London: Peter Owen.

slide8

Voluntary explicitation 2

ST

"It's probably Rummidge.

-- Então é provável que seja Rummidge.

TT

Lodge, David

1975 Changing Places, London: Secker & Warburg.

1998 Invertendo os Papéis, translated by Lídia Luther-Cavalcante. São Paulo: Scipione

slide9

Voluntary explicitation 3

" All's Well That Ends Well? " he snaps back, quick as a flash.

-- Será que éAll ' 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.

ST

TT

Lodge, David

1975 Changing Places, London: Secker & Warburg.

1998 Invertendo os Papéis, translated by Lídia Luther-Cavalcante. São Paulo: Scipione

slide10

Explicitation

ST

obligatory

TT

voluntary

qualitative evidence of explicitation
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

quantitative evidence of explicitation
Quantitative evidence of explicitation

Øverås (1998) more explicitating shifts than implicitating ones English-Norwegian Parallel Corpus

Olohan & Baker (2000) more optional that after reporting verbsBNC andTEC

slide14

Claims about

explicitation

It is one of the universal characteristics of translation Vanderauwera 1985

It is inherent to the nature of the translation processSéguinot 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

explicitation and text length
Explicitation and text length

Since explicitation often takes the form of additions…

…are translations longer than source texts?

with a parallel corpus
With a parallel corpus….

TT

ST

It’s very simple to check whether or not a TT has more words than a ST

slide17

COMPARA 5.2

http://www.linguateca.pt/COMPARA/

ST

TT

Portuguese

English

English

Portuguese

Over 1.5 million words

Published fiction

slide18

COMPARA 5.2

http://www.linguateca.pt/COMPARA/Contents.html

ST

En

TT

Pt

- 1% words

slide19

COMPARA 5.2

http://www.linguateca.pt/COMPARA/Contents.html

ST

Pt

TT

En

+11% words

compara 5 2
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

slide21

COMPARA 5.2

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

claims about text length across languages are difficult to put to test
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?

slide24

Counting words

English Portuguese

isn’t (1)

não é (2)

dei-lhe (1)

gave him (2)

teapot (1)

bule de chá (3)

Gostou? (1)

Did you like it? (4)

when comparing text length across languages
When comparing text length across languages

ST

TT

more words ≠

greater explicitation

slide26

Explicitation using fewer words

ST

What have I got to complain about? (7 words)

De que me queixo então? (5 words)

TT

Lodge, David

1995 Therapy, London: Secker & Warburg.

1995 Terapia, translated by Maria do Carmo Figueira. Lisboa: Gradiva.

slide27

More words but no explicitation

ST

Fui visitá-lo. (2 words)

I went to visit him. (5 words)

TT

Fonseca, Rubem

1988 Vastas emoções e pensamentos imperfeitos.São Paulo: Companhia das

Letras

1995 The lost manuscript, translated by Clifford Landers. London: Bloomsbury

slide28

Counting characters

English Portuguese

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)

slide29

Counting morphemes

English Portuguese

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)

slide30

Counting words

English Portuguese

isn’t (1)

não é (2)

dei-lhe (1)

gave him (2)

teapot (1)

bule de chá (3)

Gostou? (1)

Did you like it? (4)

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.

Word counts affect different languages differently…
slide32

A bi-directional analysis

SOURCE

TEXTS

TRANSLATION

TEXTS

?

>

<

L1

L2

L2

L1

But a balanced corpus is essential!

compara 5 233
COMPARA 5.2

Similar amount of Portuguese and English, but not balanced

25 Pt

12 En

En

Pt

a balanced sub corpus i
A balanced sub-corpus I

Portuguese

English

Assigning equal weight to both languages

16 source texts: 8 Pt + 8 En

Same length: 1500 words each

a balanced sub corpus ii
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

the analysis
The analysis

Source Texts

Translations

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

Translators’ notes

slide37

The results

TT

TT

TT

TT

TT

TT

TT

TT

TT

TT

TT

TT

TT

TT

TT

TT

ST

Matched t-test:

95% probability

TT significantly longer than ST

+ 5%

conclusion
Conclusion

Source Texts & Translations

Portuguese & English

  • Explicitation Hypothesis
slide39

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?

more future research
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?

implications for translator education
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.

slide42

The End

Fim

Fin

Fi