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Title: Explicitation, implicitation and shift of conjunctions in English-Chinese translations of institutional texts : a corpus-assisted study
Author: Looi, Wai Ling
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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Unlike other texts, institutional texts are formal which are supposedly translated literally or formally. In spite of this, there exists a hypothesis called the explicitation hypothesis, proposed by Blum-Kulka (1986), which posits that the translation process encourages explicitation of conjunctions, and that the more complex the texts, like institutional texts, the more explicitation (Whittaker, 2004). There is another contending view that, unlike English, Chinese is a systemically implicit language and this implicitness should be manifested in a reduced use of conjunctions in Chinese translated texts as compared to English source texts. This research sets out to investigate these disagreements empirically. This research will be a corpusassisted study where comparisons are made using parallel corpora (English source texts and their translated Chinese target texts), monolingual comparable corpora (translated Chinese target texts and non-translated Chinese texts) and a combination of both. This study found that the translated texts show a combined influence of the source texts, the interpretation of translators, the influence of the target language and only some influence from the non-translated texts, making the translated texts very different from the non-translated texts. The study also found that explicitation overshadows implicitation in both the monolingual and the parallel analysis. The source texts influence strongly the usage of hypotactic conjunctions while the translators prefer to explicitate paratactic conjunctions. Interestingly, the changes made by the translators seem to show similar sequences of those thoughts as the nontranslated texts. Some linguistic reasons of change are identified to inform translators as to which linguistic elements in the source texts may have affected their actions of change, so this study recommends that they rethink their strategies to produce better quality translations. Cumulatively, the differences between the use of conjunctions in the translated texts and the non-translated texts have caused subtle meaning changes.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral