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Word clusters and reformulation markers in Chinese and English: Implications for translation universal hypotheses

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Languages in Contrast
Issue number2
Volume11
Number of pages27
Pages (from-to)145-171
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This article presents a corpus-based contrastive study of word clusters and reformulation markers in Chinese and English, and discusses the implications of the findings for translation universal hypotheses. The study is based on three balanced comparable corpora which represent British English, native Chinese and translational Chinese in addition to an English-Chinese parallel corpus which provides a basis for comparing native and translated English and investigating explicitation in translation. Our results show that word clusters are substantially more common in translated Chinese, suggesting a tendency in translations to use fixed and semi-fixed recurring patterns in an attempt to achieve improved fluency. The more frequent use of word clusters, especially those of high frequency and high coverage in translational Chinese, is also likely to be a result of the influence of the English source language because word clusters are significantly more prevalent in native English in relation to native Chinese. Chinese and English tend to use reformulation markers of different styles while on the other hand, reformulation markers are generally more common in both translated English and translated Chinese than in their native counterparts, suggesting that reformulation markers function as a strategy for explicitation in translations, which tend to use oral, stylistically simpler forms than non-translated texts.