Explicitation in children’s literature translated from English to Chinese: a corpus-based study of personal pronouns

Xiaomin Zhang, Haidee Kotze, Jing Fang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

There is substantial empirical evidence that translated texts demonstrate increased explicitness of lexicogrammatical encoding (or explicitation) compared to both source texts and non-translated texts in the target language. This increased explicitness has been ascribed to a number of causes, including source-language transfer or cross-linguistic priming, cognitive complexity or effort, and conservatism or risk aversion. This study investigates the occurrence of and the proposed reasons for the increased explicitness of translation, focusing on translated Chinese children’s literature as a test case. Quantitative corpus-linguistic methods are used to analyse the frequency of personal pronouns (as an operationalisation of lexicogrammatical explicitness) in a custom-built comparable corpus of translated and non-translated Chinese children’s literature. Qualitative analysis is used to explore the potential reasons for the differences in explicitness between these two subcorpora. The findings show that personal pronouns are more frequently used in Chinese children’s literature translated from English, compared to non-translated Chinese children’s books. However, this tendency does not play out across all the individual personal pronouns, suggesting that cross-linguistic influence or the “shining through” of the source language is at the root of this increased explicitness.
LanguageEnglish
JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translatology
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

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children's literature
linguistics
language
operationalization
conservatism
cause
evidence

Keywords

  • explicitation
  • corpus study
  • translation
  • children's literature

Cite this

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title = "Explicitation in children’s literature translated from English to Chinese: a corpus-based study of personal pronouns",
abstract = "There is substantial empirical evidence that translated texts demonstrate increased explicitness of lexicogrammatical encoding (or explicitation) compared to both source texts and non-translated texts in the target language. This increased explicitness has been ascribed to a number of causes, including source-language transfer or cross-linguistic priming, cognitive complexity or effort, and conservatism or risk aversion. This study investigates the occurrence of and the proposed reasons for the increased explicitness of translation, focusing on translated Chinese children’s literature as a test case. Quantitative corpus-linguistic methods are used to analyse the frequency of personal pronouns (as an operationalisation of lexicogrammatical explicitness) in a custom-built comparable corpus of translated and non-translated Chinese children’s literature. Qualitative analysis is used to explore the potential reasons for the differences in explicitness between these two subcorpora. The findings show that personal pronouns are more frequently used in Chinese children’s literature translated from English, compared to non-translated Chinese children’s books. However, this tendency does not play out across all the individual personal pronouns, suggesting that cross-linguistic influence or the “shining through” of the source language is at the root of this increased explicitness.",
keywords = "explicitation, corpus study, translation, children's literature",
author = "Xiaomin Zhang and Haidee Kotze and Jing Fang",
year = "2020",
doi = "10.1080/0907676X.2019.1689276",
language = "English",
journal = "Perspectives: Studies in Translatology",
issn = "0907-676X",
publisher = "Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Explicitation in children’s literature translated from English to Chinese

T2 - Perspectives: Studies in Translatology

AU - Zhang, Xiaomin

AU - Kotze, Haidee

AU - Fang, Jing

PY - 2020

Y1 - 2020

N2 - There is substantial empirical evidence that translated texts demonstrate increased explicitness of lexicogrammatical encoding (or explicitation) compared to both source texts and non-translated texts in the target language. This increased explicitness has been ascribed to a number of causes, including source-language transfer or cross-linguistic priming, cognitive complexity or effort, and conservatism or risk aversion. This study investigates the occurrence of and the proposed reasons for the increased explicitness of translation, focusing on translated Chinese children’s literature as a test case. Quantitative corpus-linguistic methods are used to analyse the frequency of personal pronouns (as an operationalisation of lexicogrammatical explicitness) in a custom-built comparable corpus of translated and non-translated Chinese children’s literature. Qualitative analysis is used to explore the potential reasons for the differences in explicitness between these two subcorpora. The findings show that personal pronouns are more frequently used in Chinese children’s literature translated from English, compared to non-translated Chinese children’s books. However, this tendency does not play out across all the individual personal pronouns, suggesting that cross-linguistic influence or the “shining through” of the source language is at the root of this increased explicitness.

AB - There is substantial empirical evidence that translated texts demonstrate increased explicitness of lexicogrammatical encoding (or explicitation) compared to both source texts and non-translated texts in the target language. This increased explicitness has been ascribed to a number of causes, including source-language transfer or cross-linguistic priming, cognitive complexity or effort, and conservatism or risk aversion. This study investigates the occurrence of and the proposed reasons for the increased explicitness of translation, focusing on translated Chinese children’s literature as a test case. Quantitative corpus-linguistic methods are used to analyse the frequency of personal pronouns (as an operationalisation of lexicogrammatical explicitness) in a custom-built comparable corpus of translated and non-translated Chinese children’s literature. Qualitative analysis is used to explore the potential reasons for the differences in explicitness between these two subcorpora. The findings show that personal pronouns are more frequently used in Chinese children’s literature translated from English, compared to non-translated Chinese children’s books. However, this tendency does not play out across all the individual personal pronouns, suggesting that cross-linguistic influence or the “shining through” of the source language is at the root of this increased explicitness.

KW - explicitation

KW - corpus study

KW - translation

KW - children's literature

U2 - 10.1080/0907676X.2019.1689276

DO - 10.1080/0907676X.2019.1689276

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JO - Perspectives: Studies in Translatology

JF - Perspectives: Studies in Translatology

SN - 0907-676X

ER -