Seminar: Empirical translation studies in the post-Baker era: Multi-methodological, multifactorial and interdisciplinary

Seminar: Empirical translation studies in the post-Baker era: Multi-methodological, multifactorial and interdisciplinary

Who: Professor Dr. Gert de Sutter, Associate Professor in Translation Studies and Dutch Linguistics in the Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication, Ghent University

When: Thursday 31 May 2018, 13.00-14.00

Where: Delbridge Room (12SW 558), Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University

What: Empirical translation studies in the post-Baker era: Multi-methodological, multifactorial and interdisciplinary

Abstract

More than twenty years after Baker’s (1993) seminal paper on the potential of corpus-linguistic methods for translation studies, the present paper offers a critical analysis of the current state of the art in translation studies, focusing on what the Bakerian strand of research has yielded in terms of description, methodology and theory. This analysis leads to the detection of problem areas, which pose serious limitations to scientific progress in the field. We will argue that these limitations can be overcome, paradoxically, by re-applying and updating Baker’s initial research program. More particularly, we will propose a revised research agenda for Empirical translation studies, which has a necessarily larger methodological scope and more theoretical awareness than most of the current work in corpus-based translation studies. At the very heart of this proposed research agenda is the description of translation as an inherently multidimensional linguistic activity and product, which is simultaneously constrained by sociocultural, technological and cognitive events, and which ultimately leads to a better understanding of what translation exactly is, how it is shaped by varying circumstances, and how it relates to other types of monolingual and bilingual communication. The added value of this research agenda is exemplified in two interrelated case studies on optional that in English complement clause constructions ('he said (that/Ø) he just wanted to see how strong he is'). The first case study investigates to what extent that alternation is used differently in translations compared to non-translated original writing; we will do so by applying both a 'classical' generalized linear mixed effects regression with translation vs. non-translation as main and interaction effect and a Multifactorial Prediction and Deviation Analysis using Regressions (MuPDAR), an approach specifically designed (by Stefan Gries and colleagues) to trace subtle usage differences between language varieties. Finally, the second case study investigates to what extent (French-speaking) learners of English use that alternation differently than mother-tongue speakers of English. This second case study will allow us to draw parallels between the bilingual communication settings of language learners on the one hand and translators on the other hand.

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