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Title: Translation universals : a usage-based approach
Author: Szymor, Nina
ISNI:       0000 0004 6423 9969
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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The language used in translated texts is said to differ from the language used in other communicative contexts. Translation-specific linguistic behaviour (translation universals) has been shown to explain those differences at the levels of syntax, lexicon, discourse, and semantics. Scholars seem to disagree as to the roots of this behaviour - some turn to socio-cultural and economic factors such as risk-avoidance while others argue that cognitive processing inherent in translation and unique to it affects the linguistic choices made by translators. The aim of this thesis is to shed new light on translation universals from a usage-based perspective. The plausibility of universal translational behaviour is assessed with reference to what we know about implicit and explicit linguistic knowledge: how it is acquired and how it affects language use. I argue that there is little support for the idea that the process of translation constrains the linguistic choices of translators. Instead, I will show that the differences between translated and non-translated texts observed in many studies, which have been attributed to translation universals, are likely to result from differences between the content of translated and non-translated components of comparable corpora. My hypothesis is supported with corpus and experimental evidence which shows that differences in the use of modality and aspect in translated and non-translated Polish texts can be explained with frequency effects: the two corpora contain different verbs whose frequency of occurrence affects translators' and authors' aspectual choices, resulting in the observed differences. The thesis has important methodological and theoretical implications for Translation Studies. First, it shows the importance of looking at the comparability of comparable corpora before turning to translation universals to explain the linguistic choices made in translation. Second, it casts doubt on the plausibility of translation universals as a factor in linguistic decision-making in translation and thereby simplifies the theoretical account needed to explain choices in translation.
Supervisor: Divjak, Dagmar ; Bermel, Neil Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available