A corpus-based study
of loan words
in original and translated texts
Ana Frankenberg-Garcia
ISLA - Lisbon
[email protected]
Loan words in
monolingual settings
1. When people fail to retrieve equivalent words
in the language they are speaking
language loss
2. To evoke meanings that go beyond the
propositional meaning of the words used
language enrichment
Loan words in translation
1. Culturally-bound concepts difficult to translate
last resort for want of a better solution
2. Conveying source-text culture
intentional translation strategy
Loan words in translation
• Vinay & Darbelnet (1958): emprunts
To fill in semantic gaps or add local colour
Easy way out
• Newmark (1988): transference
To use with moderation
Translator’s job is to translate, to explain
• Venuti (1995)
Option to domesticate or foreignize
Translators should keep foreign texts foreign
• Toury (1995)
Relative status of source-text language and culture
Affects the extent to which it interferes in the translation
Motivation
• The use of loans is not a prerogative of
translations
• When looking at loan words in translation,
it makes sense to look at how loans are
used in texts that are not translations
Loan words
in original and translated texts
•
Are there more loans in translations than
in source texts?
•
Is the superimpostion of languages in
source texts effaced by translation?
•
Does the relative status of the ST
language and culture affect the use of
loans in translation?
Questions such as these are much easier to tackle
with the help of corpora
Method
COMPARA 6.0
www.linguateca.pt/COMPARA
[Dec 2004 – Mar 2005]
Bidirectional parallel corpus of English and Portuguese
(published fiction)
Original
Portuguese
Translated
English
Original
English
Translated
Portuguese
Focus on frequency and language distribution of loans
Method
sub-corpus
COMPARA contains over 2 million words, with texts
published between 1837 and 2000
Sub-corpus of texts published in the last 30 years:
• 15 original Portuguese fiction extracts (277,243 words)
• 13 original English fiction extracts (191,913 words)
• 15 extracts of Portuguese fiction in English translation
(312,322 words)
• 15 extracts of English fiction in Portuguese translation
(415,690 words)
1,197,168 words
Method
sub-corpus: note 1
• Not all stories set exclusively in English or
Portuguese speaking worlds
• Not all stories take place in the last thirty years
May affect how loans are used, but
typical of fiction!
• What matters is:
– Stories written by modern English and Portuguese-speaking
writers
– Stories read by English and Portuguese-speaking readers of
today
Method
English (28 texts) sub-corpus: note 2
5 authors
David Lodge, Joanna Trollope, Julian Barnes, Nadine Gordimer, Richard Zimler
10 translators
Alan Clarke, Cliff Landers, David Brookshaw, Ellen Watson, Giovanni Pontiero,
Gregory Rabassa, John Byrne, John Parker, Mary Fitton, Richard Zenith
Portuguese (30 texts)
12 authors
Autran Dourado, Cardoso Pires, Chico Buarque, Jorge de Sena, José E.
Agualusa, José Saramago, Marcos Rey, Mário de Carvalho, Mia Couto,
Patrícia Melo, Paulo Coelho, Rubem Fonseca
10 translators
Ana M. Amador, Carlos G. Babo, Geraldo G. Ferraz, Helena Cardoso, J. Teixeira
Aguilar, José Lima, Lídia C-Luther, M. Carlota Pracana, M. Carmo Figueira,
Paula Reis
more individual author differences in Portuguese
Method
sub-corpus: note 3
English
Different varieties of English and
Portuguese not taken into account
Portuguese
Method
 What was considered a loan
 How loans were counted
 How loans were sorted by language
Defining loans
Disagreement among individuals and within language
communities
Loans:
words in a language other than the main language of the
text that authors and translators (or publishers) chose to
set off by highlighting
- criterion used in COMPARA to mark foreign words
- can be retrieved automatically
Note 1
readers (and corpus makers & users) may have different perceptions
Note 2
same word can be a loan in some texts but not in others
Defining loans
same word classified differently in different languages
EBDL5 (262):`What d'you take me for, a
robot?´
EBDL5 (262): -- O que é que você pensa
que eu sou? Algum robot?
Defining loans
same word classified differently in same language
PBRF1 (318): Usava jeans apertados, suas pernas eram grossas
e os braços finos.
PBPC2 (934): A única coisa que mantinha o sentido de realidade eram nossos trajes, jeans e camisetas com vieiras
costuradas.
EBDL3T1(1279): Boon tinha realmente chegado, provocantemente vestido com camiseta e jeans e acompanhado duma
bela e altiva Pantera Negra, que ia entrar no programa
dessa noite.
EBJT1 (1962): Era um rapaz, um rapaz magro de jeans e com um
blusão de cabedal.
Instead of external parameters, definition reflects opinions
of authors and translators (and editorial policies)
Defining loans
titles and named entities marked foreign not included
EBJB1(64): Besides, I remember the end of
L'Education Sentimentale.
PBRF1(560): Até que o Fleming escolheu um bom
título, Diamonds are Forever, pensei, mas o
filme de Guy Hamilton era medíocre.
PBAA2(603): It looks like a ship is arriving,
and it's the Cruzeiro.´
EBDL3T2 (1153): Teve uma lua-de-mel de curta
duração com a Radio One, que se transformou
numa espécie de casamento sadomasoquista.
Counting loans
single words and multi-word expressions counted as one loan
EBJB2 (500): …he was going to get the best
quid pro quo out of God in the forthcoming
negotiations.
= 1 loan
EBJT2 (241): `I shall bring tapas also,´
José said, moving towards the door.
= 1 loan
Counting loans
quotations counted as one loan
EURZ1 (1275): …a weedy boy with pale-green
eyes yells at her in a prideful voice, «
Vai-te foder, vaca! , fuck off, cow!»
= 1 loan
EBJB1(188): …he found himself constantly
irritated by a parrot which screamed, `Astu déjeuné, Jako? ´ and `Cocu, mon petit
coco.´
= 2 loans
Counting loans
lists and repetitions counted as separate loans
PBPM1 (99): Urutus, jararacas,
cascavéis, jararacuçus, surucutingas,
cotiaras -- I saw these and many
other serpents in the slides that
Melissa projected during her talk.
= 6 loans
EBJT2 (368):`The little eggs of the
codoniz , what is the codoniz ?´
= 2 loans
Sorting loans
co-text used to resolve ambiguity
EBDL5(1802): `Can I take this thing off?´ he
said, plucking at his lei .
lei = Hawaiian, not Italian
EBJT2(95): `You must look after yourself,
querida .´
querida = Spanish, not Portuguese
Sorting loans
loans classified according to their origins
EBDL5(262): -- O que é que você pensa que eu
sou? Algum robot ?
robot = Czech
EBDL1T2(889): a plastic container of frozen
moussaka could be concealed without much
difficulty.
moussaka = Greek
Results
distribution of loans
Original
Portuguese
Original
English
9 (out of 15) texts
had no loans at all
Just 1 (out of 13) texts
did not have any loans
1.5 loans/ 10 K
words
16.9 loans/ 10 K
words
Original English fiction more permeable to loans
than original Portuguese fiction
Results
distribution of loans
Translated
Portuguese
Translated
English
All texts contained
loans
One third of the texts
contained no loans at
all
24.3 loans/ 10 K
words
4.1 loans/ 10 K
words
When reading translated fiction, Portuguese readers
more exposed to loans than English readers
Results
distribution of loans
Original
Portuguese
Translated
Portuguese
More than half the
texts contained no
loans at all
All texts contained
loans
1.5 loans/ 10 K
words
24.3 loans/ 10 K
words
Portuguese readers must notice a big difference….
Results
distribution of loans
Original
English
Translated
English
All but one text
contained loans
One third of the texts
contained no loans at
all
16.9 loans/ 10 K
words
4.1 loans/ 10 K
words
The number of loans in present in text shouldn’t add a
particularly foreign ring to English translations….
Results (so far)
• Loan words seem to enter the Portuguese
language more through fiction translated from
English than through original fiction
• The opposite seems to occur in English
Do Portuguese translators tend to foreignize
texts?
Do English translators tend to domesticate
texts?
What happens to loans in the process of translation
Results
net difference in overall number of loans
ST
(English)
ST
(Portuguese)
3X
TT
(Portuguese)
TT
(English)
Both Portuguese and English translations tripled the total number of
loans present in source texts
English translators not really sheltering readers from loans
Few loans in Portuguese source texts makes loans in translated English
seem scant by comparison
Results
Loans in common, loans added and loans removed
ST
(English)
ST
(Portuguese)
TT
(Portuguese)
TT
(English)
Both PT and EN translators tend to:
Preserve loans originally present in source texts
Add more loans of their own
Remove very few loans (except…)
Results
language distribution of loans
Original
Portuguese
Translated
Portuguese
Loans from just 4
languages:
Loans from 14
identified languages
English
English prevails
(22 loans in 2 texts)
(475 loans in 13 texts)
Latin
(15 loans in 2 texts)
French noticeable
French
(238 loans in 13 texts)
(4 loans in 4 texts)
German
(1 loan in 1 text)
None prevails
Results
language distribution of loans
Original
English
Translated
English
Loans from 12
identified languages
Loans from just 8 identified
languages
French prevails
French prevails
(117 loans in 10 texts)
(43 loans in 6 texts)
Portuguese is rare
Portuguese is noticeable
(14 loans but all in 1
text)
(35 loans in 7 texts)
Results
language distribution of loans
ST
(English)
TT
(Portuguese)
More loan languages: + 2
Lots of loans from source text language: + 475
More French: 117 → 238 (+121)
More Latin:
21 → 34 (+15)
More Italian: 11 → 20 (+9)
Less Spanish: 25 → 22 (-3)
Portuguese effaced: -14 (no compensation)
Results
language distribution of loans
ST
TT
(Portuguese)
(English)
More loan languages: + 4
Few loans from source text language: + 35
More French: 4 → 43 (+39)
More Latin: 15 → 19 (+4)
Spanish introduced: 0 → 4 (+4)
Italian introduced: 0 → 7 (+7)
English effaced: -22
(2 loans compensated by French)
Overall Results
Original PT
Translated EN
PT
Original EN
Translated PT
EN
Both
PTST
and
EN
translation
tripled
the number
loans
Toury
(1995)
Loans
from
abound
in translated
butofused
Difference
between
number
of loans
inPortuguese,
English
originals
andvery
Increased
the
number
of
loan
Tolerance
ofnot
interference
is
likely
tolanguages
beoriginals
greater when
translation is
Huge
difference
between
Portuguese
and translations
sparingly
in
translated
English
translations
as
conspicuous,
but…
Didcarried
not remove
superimpostion
of languages
ST (except
More
loans
and
more
loan languages
in
originalinEnglish
fiction
out from
‘major’
to ‘minor’
language/culture
when loans were from translation language)
Conclusion
• Commentaries on use of loans often controversial and
based on anectodal evidence
• This study examined some hard data on use of loans in
original and translated texts
• Only possible thanks to a corpus and corpus techniques
• Future: more research using more texts, different genres
& other language pairs
Obrigada!
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A corpus-based study of loan words in original and