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Evaluating Sight Translation: A Corpus-based Approach

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  1. Evaluating Sight Translation: A Corpus-based Approach Wallace Chen, PhD Assistant Professor Graduate School of Translation, Interpretation, and Language Education (GSTILE) Monterey Institute of International Studies Monterey, California, USA wallace.chen@miis.edu

  2. Outline • Sight Translation • Current assessment approach • Corpus-based assessment approach • Data • Applications & findings • Implications & conclusions UCCTS 2010

  3. Sight Translation • an integral part of 1st-year translation courses • skim a text and verbally translate at the same time • Skills required analytical skills cohesion / transition vocabulary time management summarizing skills pressure / stress management UCCTS 2010

  4. Current assessment approach • assess performance based on verbal output • length of text: less than 1,000 words • assessment criteria: meaning (accuracy), completeness, naturalness, backtracking, pauses, time management, grammar, pronunciation, numbers, terminology, register, cohesion/coherence, sentence structure…… • Class review and introspection UCCTS 2010

  5. Corpus-based assessment approach • Corpus: a systematic collection of texts on computer for purposes of linguistic research • quantitative analysis in support of qualitative introspection • reference (parallel) texts for improving translation quality • data retrieval for the analysis of translation behaviors UCCTS 2010

  6. Data • Reference Corpus (RC): 28,000 words Subjects: rainforest conservation, computing, telecommunications • Translation Learners’ Corpus (TLC) - 2 sight translation exams (1 with reference official translation) - 32 students - 64 transcripts of sight translation into English • Corpus of Comment Tags (CCT) - 10 texts with comment tags UCCTS 2010

  7. Three corpora: applications and findings (I) • Reference Corpus (RC) -collocation - terminology - idiomatic expressions - confirmation of intuition - translation equivalent - target language patterns - new expressions #some examples UCCTS 2010

  8. Three corpora: applications and findings (II) • Translation Learners’ Corpus (TLC) - compare translation behaviors among students - compare between student translation and reference translation - time management: students finishing earlier have a tendency to score higher - lengthy translations suggest lexical overuse (39 vs. 59 for and) UCCTS 2010

  9. Three corpora: applications and findings (III) • Corpus of Comment Tags (CCT) - fewer tags mean higher scores - fast translators receive fewer tags - repeated tags suggest common textual difficulties - comment tags reveal room for improvement for individual translators UCCTS 2010

  10. Implications & conclusions • Supplement current approaches to assessment • Identify and visualize common issues • Understand translation patterns and suggest room for being flexible • Learn from examples • Corpus construction for research and teaching purposes, e.g. text selection UCCTS 2010