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How do English translations differ from native English writings?: A multi-feature statistical model for linguistic variation analysis

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>25/10/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory
Issue number2
Volume15
Number of pages36
Pages (from-to)347-382
Publication statusPublished
Early online date9/02/16
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper discusses the debatable hypotheses of “Translation Universals”, i. e. the recurring common features of translated texts in relation to original utterances. We propose that, if translational language does have some distinctive linguistic features in contrast to non-translated writings in the same language, those differences should be statistically significant, consistently distributed and systematically co-occurring across registers and genres. Based on the balanced Corpus of Translational English (COTE) and its non-translated English counterpart, the Freiburg-LOB corpus of British English (FLOB), and by deploying a multi-feature statistical analysis on 96 lexical, syntactic and textual features, we try to pinpoint those distinctive features in translated English texts. We also propose that the stylo-statistical model developed in this study will be effective not only in analysing the translational variation of English but also be capable of clustering those variational features into a “translational” dimension which will facilitate a crosslinguistic comparison of translational languages (e. g. translational Chinese) to test the Translation Universals hypotheses.

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