Doing research multilingually: An exploratory seminar
School of Education, Durham University
7th – 8th July, 2010
Discovering the process of translation with
triangulation model
A discussion based on English-Chinese Translation
Dr Binghan ZHENG
Lecturer in Chinese & Translation Studies
School of Modern Languages & Cultures
Durham University
Outline
1. Introduction & background
2. Previous research & findings
3. Methodology & research design
4. Analysis & discussion
5. Limitations & future research
6. Appendix
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1. Introduction and background
The studies on “translation problems”(TPs)
 Concept of ‘translation problems’ which manifests itself
empirically has hardly been paid any attention by translation
theorists. The reason for this may be the fact that translation
theory has had a strong theoretical, speculative, and thus nonempirical orientation.(Lörscher 1991:92)
 Since the1980s, with the emergence and development of a
process-oriented approach into TS, the concept of ‘translation
problems’ and ‘translation strategies’ has gained crucial
importance.
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1. Introduction and background
 Krings (1986a:112-171) distinguishes between three types of
problems occurring in translating:
Translation problems
L2-competence problems
Translation-competence problems
 Lörscher (1991:94) defines TPs as all those (linguistic)
problems which a subject is faced with when producing a
translation.
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1. Introduction and background
 How to identifying problems ?(Mondahl & Jensen 1996:102)
 Primary indicator:
 A translator’s identification of the problem, i.e. points out the
problem directly/indirectly & verbalizes about it.
 Secondary indicators:
 The translator senses that something is problematic, e.g.
competes suggestions for translation of same ST element,
underlines elements of ST, dissatisfies with the translation
chosen, makes corrections, or pauses.
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1. Introduction and background
 Identifying TPs from TAPs in present research:
1) the translator points out the problem
directly/indirectly & verbalizes about it;
2) the translator makes competing suggestions for the
translation of the same ST element;
3) the translator indicates his/her pondering on some
problem followed by long time pause.
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2. Previous research and findings
 2.1 The number of TPs
 According to Ericsson & Simon (1984:90), with increasing
experience of a task, a cognitively controlled process may
change into an automatic process, so that what is available for
verbalization to the novice may be unavailable to the expert.
 Krings (1986) compared the TAPs of 1 professional translator
and 8 English students and found out that the professional
reported more TPs.
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2. Previous research and findings
 2.1 The number of TPs
 Jääskeläinen & Tirkkonen-Condit (1991) further divided
translation into routine & non-routine tasks.
 “in non-routine tasks the total amount of verbalizations
produced may not necessarily be considerably smaller, because
while some processes become automated, other processes are
evoked into consciousness, i.e., the translator becomes
sensitized to new kinds of potential problems”.
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2. Previous research and findings
 2.2 The Hierarchy of TPs
 The hierarchy of translation problem ↔ The hierarchy of
translation strategy
 “a translation strategy is a potentially conscious procedure for the
solution of a problem which an individual is faced with when
translating a text segment from one language into another” (Lörscher
1991a:76)
Translation
Translation
strategies
Problems
 Jääskeläinen (1993):
Global
Global
strategies
problems
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Local
Doing research multilingually_Durham_2010
strategies
Local
problems
BINGHAN ZHENG(DR)
2. Previous research and findings
 2.2 The Hierarchy of TPs
Séguinot (1991):
text level problems ↔ lexical level problems
Other arguments: non-professionals pay more attention to
micro level translation problems (lexical choice, grammar
reconstruction, etc.), professionals work more on macro
level translation problems (style & function, cultural
references, etc.) (Gerloff 1988; Fraser 1993)
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2. Previous research and findings
 2.2 The Hierarchy of TPs
 Deficiencies in previous research:
1. Short of precise and systematic classification of
hierarchy of TPs
2. Insufficient in comparative studies on hierarchy of
TPs
3. Small sample size and number of subjects
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2. Previous research and findings
 2.2 The Hierarchy of TPs
 Hierarchy of TPs in present study: based on A Glossary of English Grammar
(Leech 2006) and Problems in Analyzing Chinese Grammar (Lü Shuxiang
1979:28)
The Hierarchy
of TPs
Hierarchy of Static Unit
(syntax knowledge is rarely
applied)
Word level
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Phrase level
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Hierarchy of Dynamic Unit
(syntax knowledge is frequently
applied)
Clause level
Sentence and
above level
BINGHAN ZHENG(DR)
3. Methodology and research design
 The Triangulation Model(cf. Alves 2003) :
 Several data collection methods for cross-examination of the
results
 Up-to-date ideal research model in process-oriented TS
 The Triangulation Model in present study:
Translation
evaluations
Interviews
(retrospective
TAPs)
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Questionnaires
TAPs
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BINGHAN ZHENG(DR)
3. Methodology and research design
 The subjects:
20 volunteer subjects
Chinese L1, English L2
Three categories: professional, semi-professional, novice
36 samples collected from 18 subjects after screening
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3. Methodology and research design
 Basic information on subjects (S1-S18)
Type
Subject
Novice
S1-S6
Semiprofessional
Professional
15
S7-S12
S13-S18
Age Range
Translation Experience
20-24
Less than 2 years part-time translation experience;
less than 30,000 Chinese words in E–C translation;
have never published translation work.
25-29
More than 3 years part-time translation experience;
have never had full-time professional translation
experience;
100,000-300,000 Chinese words in E–C translation;
have never published translation work.
25-44
More than 3 years full-time professional translation
experience;
more than 500,000 Chinese words in E–C translation;
have had some translation works published.
Doing research multilingually_Durham_2010
BINGHAN ZHENG(DR)
3. Methodology and research design
 The source texts
Text Ⅰ:a popular science essay.
Text Ⅱ:a political speech text.
Concerns:
To include different writing styles
To balance the difficulties for translation
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3. Methodology and research design
 Experiment procedure
 a. TA training
3 GRE logic questions, verbalizing anything that went
through minds.
Introspective remarks or explanations to be strictly
avoided.
Feedback given with suggestions for improvement.
Help for familiarization with the experimental
environment in a usability lab.
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3. Methodology and research design
 Experiment procedure
 b. Data collection
Start with a warm-up exercise
Translate two STs with a briefing and perform concurrent thinking aloud
translations.
Monitoring and taking notes through a glass
partition
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reminder with a remote apparatus when a
subject becomes too engrossed in the task
and forgets to verbalize for over 5 seconds.
A follow-up interview after translation
tasks ZHENG(DR)
BINGHAN
Doing research multilingually_Durham_2010
3. Methodology and research design
 Experiment procedure
 c. Transcription and evaluation
 Transcription conventions were based on Englund
Dimotrova (2005) with some additional unique symbols.
 Two professors who are experienced in marking E-C
translation tests to assess the target texts (TTs) produced by
all subjects.
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4. Analysis and discussion
 4.1. The number of TPs
 A. Data analysis:
In general, the number of TPs decreases with the
improvement in translation proficiency.
Number & percentage
(total)
Number &
percentage (routine)
Number & percentage
(non-routine)
Novices
Semiprofessionals
208; 38.45%
109; 43.78%
99; 33.90%
175; 32.35%
76; 30.52%
99; 33.90%
Professionals
158; 29.20%
64; 25.70%
94; 32.20%
Type
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4. Analysis and discussion
 4.1. The number of TPs
 A. Data analysis:
 In line with the automaticity hypothesis: cognitive processes tend
to become more automatic through repeated practice, hence
professionals, with more practice and experience in translation,
tend to have fewer translation problems.
Number & percentage
(total)
Number &
percentage (routine)
Number & percentage
(non-routine)
Novices
Semiprofessionals
208; 38.45%
109; 43.78%
99; 33.90%
175; 32.35%
76; 30.52%
99; 33.90%
Professionals
158; 29.20%
64; 25.70%
94; 32.20%
Type
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4. Analysis and discussion
 4.1. The number of TPs
 A. Data analysis:
 Compare:
 A. Professional translator in Seguinot (1989) verbalised
little and in general worked quickly and efficiently.
 --Carried out routine tasks
 B. Krings (1988a), Gerloff (1988), and Jääskeläinen (1990b)
reported the exact opposite happening: professional
translators spent more time and more effort on the task
than non-professionals.
 --Carried out non-routine tasks
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4. Analysis and discussion
 4.1. The number of TPs
 B. Further study on routine and non-routine tasks:
a) In routine tasks, the number decreases significantly at the
higher levels of translation proficiency; while in non-routine tasks,
there are almost no differences between three types of subjects
in number of TPs.
Number &
percentage
(total)
Number &
percentage
(routine)
Number &
percentage (nonroutine)
Novices
Semiprofessionals
208; 38.45%
109; 43.78%
99; 33.90%
175; 32.35%
76; 30.52%
99; 33.90%
Professionals
158; 29.20%
64; 25.70%
94; 32.20%
Type
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BINGHAN ZHENG(DR)
4. Analysis and discussion
 4.1. The number of TPs
 B. Further study on routine and non-routine tasks:
b) Novices have minimum difference between routine and
non-routine tasks in number of TPs (109 vs 99), while
professionals have maximum difference (64 vs 94).
Number &
percentage
(total)
Number &
percentage
(routine)
Number &
percentage (nonroutine)
Novices
Semiprofessionals
208; 38.45%
109; 43.78%
99; 33.90%
175; 32.35%
76; 30.52%
99; 33.90%
Professionals
158; 29.20%
64; 25.70%
94; 32.20%
Type
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4. Analysis and discussion
 4.1. The number of TPs
 B. Further study on routine and non-routine tasks:
c) 14 out of 18 subjects (77.8%) have fewer TPs in carrying out
routine tasks, which means routine tasks are performed quickly and
effortlessly with fewer TPs to be solved; however, this rule does not
apply to novices as only 50% of them have fewer TPs in doing
routine tasks.
Number &
percentage
(total)
Number &
percentage
(routine)
Number &
percentage (nonroutine)
Novices
Semiprofessionals
208; 38.45%
109; 43.78%
99; 33.90%
175; 32.35%
76; 30.52%
99; 33.90%
Professionals
158; 29.20%
64; 25.70%
94; 32.20%
Type
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4. Analysis and discussion
 4.1. The number of TPs
 C. Conclusion:

The number of TPs can by no means serve as an
indicator for translation proficiency in a general
way.
 It reduces with increased automaticity in translating, but
increases with growing awareness of potential problems.
 This is the same for translators in non-routine situations.
The number of TPs can to some extent serve as an
indicator for translation proficiency in translating
routine tasks.
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4. Analysis and discussion
 4.2. The hierarchy of TPs
 A. General distribution of TPs in different hierarchies
Static Unit(word, phrase level) accounts for 71.22%;
Dynamic Unit(clause, sentence and above sentence level)
accounts for 28.79%.
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Type
Novices
Semi-professionals
Professionals
Word level
47.68
28.76
26.24
Phrase level
33.91
45.56
31.51
Clause level
12.10
17.67
28.62
Sentence and above
level
6.31
8.02
13.62
Average percentage
34.23
36.99
19.47
9.32
Doing research multilingually_Durham_2010
BINGHAN ZHENG(DR)
4. Analysis and discussion
 4.2. The hierarchy of TPs
 A. General distribution of TPs in different hierarchies
Compare: Krings (1987:169) argued that 90% of TPs are at
word level, which is much higher percentage than that in our
statistic result.
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Type
Novices
Semi-professionals
Professionals
Word level
47.68
28.76
26.24
Phrase level
33.91
45.56
31.51
Clause level
12.10
17.67
28.62
Sentence and above
level
6.31
8.02
13.62
Average percentage
34.23
36.99
19.47
9.32
Doing research multilingually_Durham_2010
BINGHAN ZHENG(DR)
4. Analysis and discussion
 4.2. The hierarchy of TPs
 A. General distribution of TPs in different hierarchies
 Justifications:
a) Krings’ subjects are 8 English MA students, classified as nonprofessionals in our research, have comparatively higher
percentages in lower level TPs.
b)
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Krings’ translation tasks--English-German translations
(between family languages)
The present tasks--English-Chinese translations
(between distant languages).
Due to larger difference in syntax structures & cultural factors,
E-C translation is comparatively more complicated, produces
more macro TPs to be considered.
Doing research multilingually_Durham_2010
BINGHAN ZHENG(DR)
4. Analysis and discussion
 4.2. The hierarchy of TPs
 A. General distribution of TPs in different hierarchies
 Features in Chinese language:
parataxis, covert cohesion, preponderance of verbs, (verb)
serialization, etc.
 Features in English language:
hypotaxis, overt cohesion, preponderance of nouns,
subordination, etc.
 E-C translating, to faithfully render English into expressive
and idiomatic Chinese expressions, avoiding Europeanized
translation, a translator has to deal with many translation
problems at clause, sentence and above sentence level.
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4. Analysis and discussion
 4.2. The hierarchy of TPs
 B. Comparative study of TPs among different
translators:
 Percentages in hierarchy of Static Unit:
Professionals<Semi-professionals<Novices
 Percentages in hierarchy of Dynamic Unit:
Novices<Semi-professionals<Professionals
Type
Novices
Semi-professionals
Professionals
Average
percentage
Word level
47.68
28.76
26.24
Phrase level
33.91
45.56
31.51
Clause level
12.10
17.67
28.62
Sentence & above
level
6.31
8.02
13.62
34.23
36.99
19.47
9.32
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4. Analysis and discussion
 4.2. The hierarchy of TPs
 B. Comparative study of TPs among different
translators:
 In line with Jääskeläinen(1993) & Lörscher(1993):
with improvement in translation proficiency, a
translator tends to have more macro level TPs.
Type
Novices
Semi-professionals
Professionals
Average
percentage
Word level
47.68
28.76
26.24
Phrase level
33.91
45.56
31.51
Clause level
12.10
17.67
28.62
Sentence & above
level
6.31
8.02
13.62
34.23
36.99
19.47
9.32
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BINGHAN ZHENG(DR)
4. Analysis and discussion
 4.2. The hierarchy of TPs
 B. Comparative study of TPs between different translators:
 Justifications:
 a) More potential micro level problems (lexical choice,
collocation, idiom equivalence) can be solved within
automatic translation processes.
 b) Translators become more sensitive to macro level
problems, more flexible in sentence transference and
consider more translation problems inherent in language
structures.
 In E-C translation, dividing English long sentences into
Chinese short sentence expressions, changing English
passive voice into Chinese active voice, are all favored
strategies leading to better translation.
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4. Analysis and discussion
 4.2. The hierarchy of TPs
 B. Comparative study of TPs between different translators:
 Justifications:
 c) Different modes of translation process:
 Professionals: ‘top-down’ approach
 Focus: A global view and overall understanding of the text
 Novices: ‘bottom-up’ approach
 Focus: The expression of separate words or phrases
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5. Limitations and future research
Limitations:
 Experimental techniques & corpus scale
Future research:
 Chinese into English translation
 Triangulation model consisting of TAPs,
Translog or Camtasia, post-experiment
interviews and so on.
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6. Appendix:examples of TAPs
transcription and protocol presenting
Explanations and examples on consulting purposes (CP)
CP
Explanations
The participant is facing
an unfamiliar word or
CM phrase and consulting it
with translation
instruments.
TAPs examples
(S2/novice/V1)
(TAPs):◇(symphony)〖金山词霸〗查一下什么意思, s-y-mp-h-o-n-y交响乐,交响曲,交响乐,symphony,◆/symphony…交
响曲吧。
(English for TAPs):◇(symphony)〖Kingsoft Powerword〗
Check the meaning, s-y-m-p-h-o-n-y Jiaoxiangyue, Jiaoxiangqu,
Jiaoxiangyue,symphony,◆/symphony…ok, use jiaoxiangqu.
(S7/semi-professional/V2)
The participant is not sure (TAPs):terror就把它翻译成恐怖势力吧?查一下。〖金山词霸〗
about the meaning of a
◇t-e-r-r-o-r[14s]◆嗯,△我们共同反对恐怖行~/恐怖行动▲/
VM word or phrase and
verifying it with
translation instruments.
(English for TAPs):terror, how about Kongbu Shili?Have a check.
〖Kingsoft Powerword〗◇t-e-r-r-o-r[14s]◆eh, △Women Gongtong
Fandui Kongbu Xing~/Kongbu Xingdong▲/
CP
Explanations
TAPs examples
(S14/professional/V1)
(TAPs):judgment翻译成评判?/论断?/嗯-先查一下词典看一下judgment还有没有别的
The participant
翻译?◇〖金山词霸〗judgment,judgment……呃——意见,看法,◆那么就可以翻译成——/
acknowledges the
这里竟然用到conceive↓,conceive一般都是说一个很重要的理论,不能仅仅只说,道德(的一
general meaning of a
个看法)/道德——评判?判断?...... judgment这里只能翻译成判断喽。
word or phrase and
OE
search for its extra
(English for TAPs):judgment, say, Pingpan?/Lunduan?/eh-look it up first, judgment, see if any
optimized
other translations◇〖Kingsoft Powerword〗judgment,judgment……er——Yijian, Kanfa,◆ok then
expressions to fit for
I can translate it as ——/Here’s “conceive”↓ . Conceive generally refers to a very important theory.
the particular context.
Cannot only say Daode(de Yige Kanfa)/Daode——Pingpan?Panduan?...... So judgment here
can only be translated as Panduan.
(S13/professional/V1)
(TAPs):brilliant,伟大的,brilliant/(brilliant)换一个词,换一个词,因为前面已经有“伟
大”和“杰出”了,换一个近义词,brilliant,查一下金山词霸/◇〖金山词霸〗~l-i-a-n-t,
The participant
brilliant,有才气的……[2s]◆/才气,才气形容人不能形容理论……[2s]思考一个怎样的理论?
acknowledges the
/科学理论/思考一个/◇brilliant,辉煌的,壮丽的,超群的,超群的,卓越的,看(一下)
meaning of a word or 卓越的或者超群的科学理论。
SC phrase and search for
its proper collocation (English for TAPs):brilliant,Weida de,brilliant/(brilliant)change a word, change a word,
from translation
‘coz there are Weida and Jiechu already, should use a synonym,brilliant,have a check in the
instruments
Powerword/◇〖Kingsoft Powerword〗~l-i-a-n-t,brilliant,You Caiqi de……[2s]◆/Caiqi,
Caiqi modifies a person, not a theory……[2s]think about a what theory?/scientific theory/think
about a /◇brilliant,Huihuang de,Zhuangli de,Chaoqun de,Chaoqun de,Zuoyue de, say,
Zuoyue de or Chaoqun de scientific theory.
Doing research multilingually: An exploratory seminar
School of Education, Durham University
7th – 8th July, 2010
Thank you very much!
Questions &
comments…
Contact Information:
38
Binghan ZHENG (Dr)
Lecturer in Chinese & Translation Studies
School of Modern Languages & Cultures
Durham University
Email: [email protected]