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Training translators to use corpora hands-on

Frankenberg-Garcia, A (2015) Training translators to use corpora hands-on In: International Association for Translation & Intercultural Studies, IATIS 2015, 2015-07-07 - 2015-07-10, Belo Horizonte, Brazil.

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With the proliferation of online off-the-peg corpora over the past decade or so, the use of corpora is no longer restricted to a small community of researchers working on language description and natural language processing. Anyone with an internet connection is now able to access corpora to help them with everyday questions about language, including questions for which dictionaries, grammars and other language resources do not always have clear answers. Translators are among those who have much to gain from using corpora, as widely acknowledged in the literature (see, for example, Zanettin 1998, Maia 2002, Bowker and Pearson 2002, Zanettin et al 2003, and Beeby et al 2009). Yet in contrast to the pressure that exists to train translators in the use of computer-assisted translation tools, there seems to be little or no incentive to teach translators to use corpora. Moreover, most of the research at the crossroads of translation and corpora seems to focus on the use of corpora in Translation Studies, and there is not yet enough information about the use of corpora in actual translation training and practice. This paper discusses some of the challenges of training translators to use corpora, and then describes how a group of 13 students studying for an MA in Translation at the University of Surrey reacted to a hands-on module on learning to use corpora in everyday translation. The analysis of the students’ reactions draws on (1) their responses to an anonymous questionnaire and (2) a corpus of graded assignments, where the students were required to write a report on their use of corpora in translation (after having been asked from day one to keep a diary with examples of using corpora in their everyday translation practice). The corpus of student reports was submitted to both a quantitative and a qualitative analysis. The quantitative analysis focuses on verifying the extent to which the students made reference to terms such as concordance, lemma, collocation, part-of-speech tagging, normalized frequency and so on, and the extent to which the actual queries described in the reports involved the use of those concepts. The qualitative analysis details a selection of examples of how different students used corpora and also their views of the experience. The students’ opinions of corpora were generally very favourable, despite the steep learning curve entailed. The analysis also indicated that while some students remained underusers of corpora, others were quite capable of carrying out sophisticated queries that provided them with answers which they would not have been able to find in other more conventional tools and resources.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Conference Abstract)
Subjects : Language
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of English and Languages > Languages and Translation
Authors :
Date : 7 July 2015
Additional Information : Item not available from this repository
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 24 Aug 2016 09:01
Last Modified : 24 Aug 2016 09:01

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