[New publication] Perspectives: 2019, 27 (1)

A corpus-based multimodal approach to the translation of restaurant menus by Saihong Li

Abstract: Translated restaurant menus facilitate tourism and consumerism, but menu translation remains a peripheral area of professional translation and translation studies. This has economic consequences, because translations that exclude a dish’s ingredients, cooking methods, or cultural associations may deter consumers. This article analyses translated menus featuring Chinese dishes in order to establish the extent to which intersemiotic, image-based approaches are used to complement written translations; the level of consistency with which ingredients and cooking methods are translated; and the frequency of culturally specific dish names that are challenging to translate. A corpus-based methodology is used to compare 3,000 Chinese dish names and their translations from China, Taiwan and abroad. The data reveals very limited intersemiotic translation in existing menus, inconsistent translations of ingredients and cooking methods, and a high percentage of dishes with culturally specific names. However, these are often omitted in translation, or lack supplementary information concerning their ingredients. It is proposed that a multimodal translation approach incorporating Jakobson’s tripartite theory can enhance menu translation. Menus featuring Pinyin as an intralingual translation can engage learners of Chinese who use this method; interlingual explicitation clarifies a dish’s ingredients, cooking methods and cultural specificity; and intersemiotic, image-based translation conveys culinary artistry clearly.

The translation of food-related culture-specific items in the Valencian Corpus of Translated Literature (COVALT) corpus: a study of techniques and factors by Josep Marco

Abstract: This article aims to analyse the translation of food-related culture-specific items (CSI) in the English–Catalan subcorpus of the Valencian Corpus of Translated Literature (COVALT). This general aim can be broken down into two specific aims: to find out what techniques prevail in the translation of these cultural items, and to determine what factors influence the choice of specific techniques. Corpus analysis is carried out by means of the Corpus Query Processor. The theoretical framework deals with the definition and scope of the concept of CSI, the classifications of techniques put forward in the literature for the translation of CSI, and the position of food- and drink-related elements within the broader category of CSI. Analysis of the results yielded by the corpus shows that neutralising techniques prevail over foreignising and domesticating ones, with the latter coming last in descending order. The most prominent factors identified are non-existence of the source text (ST) item in the target culture, different degrees of institutionalisation, the ST item having been imported into the target culture, and different degrees of granularity. Correlations between techniques and factors are never very strong, but some are strong enough to deserve further attention.

Museum audio description: the problem of textual fidelity by Rachel S. Hutchinson & Alison F. Eardley

Abstract: Museums present a myriad of source texts, which are often highly ambiguous. Yet museum audio description (AD) is sited in an AD tradition that advocates objectivity. In screen AD, researchers have examined multiple aspects of the translation decisions facing the describer-translator, considering the ways in which AD is shaped by the demands of the source text, the impact of AD on the recipient’s experience and how these aspects may relate to objectivity. We examine the extent to which these decisions may apply to museum AD or differ in a museum setting. We argue that the notion of the ‘source text’ for museums should be expanded beyond the visual elements of museums’ collections, encompassing the wider museum visiting experience. Drawing upon research from museum studies and psychology, we explore the empirical evidence that characterises the experiences of mainstream sighted visitors and discuss the implications for museum AD. If it is to offer true access to the museum experience, then museum AD must consider not only the assimilation of visual information, but also the social, cognitive and emotional elements of visits. From this perspective, the emphasis is shifted from visual to verbal translation to the creative possibilities of re-creation in museum AD.

Unintended consequences of translation technologies: from project managers’ perspectives by Akiko Sakamoto


Abstract: Recent years have seen the advance of increasingly efficient translation and translation-related technologies, such as neural machine translation and crowdsourcing-style translator procurement platforms. These artificial-intelligence, big-data and algorithm-driven online systems are hailed as successes in the media- and technology-vendor-led public discourse. However, in light of the notion of ‘solutionism’, there may be a risk that unintended adverse consequences of these technologies on users remain obscured. As a result, a correct assessment of the influence of technologies on human actors may become difficult. In order to identify such unintended consequences of translation technologies, the present article explores technology users’ perceptions about how the technology is affecting their business practice. The discussion draws on data collected in a focus group study with 16 translation project managers. The study reveals that project managers are feeling a high level of uncertainty and unease about the effects of technology when they talk about business practices, particularly in the following areas: translators’ use of machine translation, pricing for post-editing, post-editors’ profiles and skills and technology-induced new power struggles in the industry.

Training translation teachers in an initial teacher education programme: a self-efficacy beliefs perspective by Di Wu, Lan Wei and Aiping Mo


Abstract: Most of the translation programmes around the world focus more on training professional translators or translation researchers, and less on translation teachers. As a consequence, there is little experience of teacher training available in the discipline of translation studies, even though there is high demand for well-trained translation teachers. In this article, we first present the initial teacher education programme, called the Master of Arts (MA) in Translation Education, that has been running for several years at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies in China. Then, we report an exploratory study that examines the influences of the programme on pre-service translation teachers in terms of their self-efficacy beliefs in translating, teaching and research. By analysing the interview and the focus group data from the six participants, we found that in general the programme had positive influences on the development of self-efficacy beliefs of the participants, suggesting that the training of translation teachers could be a success when it is conducted in a formal and systematic way. The findings of the study provide some implications regarding the training of, and research on, translation teachers.

Is consecutive interpreting easier than simultaneous interpreting? – a corpus-based study of lexical simplification in interpretation by Qianxi Lv & Junying Liang


Abstract: Lexical simplification parameters, labeled as representative of the cognitive load in various processes, have been applied in corpus-based studies on translation universals and interpreting outputs. We speculate that the output of simultaneous interpreting (SI), the extreme situation of language control, might be more simplified than that of consecutive interpreting (CI) due to the high cognitive load. To test this hypothesis, the present study examines the simplification patterns of rendered texts, based on a corpus composed of SI and CI output texts, read-out translated speeches and non-interpreted, original English speeches in three dimensions: information density, lexical repetitiveness and lexical sophistication. The results demonstrate that all of the parameters apply more to CI than to SI, indicating that the CI output is more simplified than the SI output. This pattern of results implies that the cognitive load of CI, if not higher, may be as high as that of SI. The research reported here is the first to compare quantitatively the lexical features of the output of CI versus SI. The counterintuitive results lend support to the modification of the established Effort Model of CI.

Optimising the Europarl corpus for translation studies with the EuroparlExtract toolkit by Michael Ustaszewski

Abstract: The freely available European Parliament Proceedings Parallel Corpus, or Europarl, is one of the largest multilingual corpora available to date. Surprisingly, bibliometric analyses show that it has hardly been used in translation studies. Its low impact in translation studies may partly be attributed to the fact that the Europarl corpus is distributed in a format that largely disregards the needs of translation research. In order to make the wealth of linguistic data from Europarl easily and readily available to the translation studies community, the toolkit ‘EuroparlExtract’ has been developed. With the toolkit, comparable and parallel corpora tailored to the requirements of translation research can be extracted from Europarl on demand. Both the toolkit and the extracted corpora are distributed under open licenses. The free availability is to avoid the duplication of effort in corpus-based translation studies and to ensure the sustainability of data reuse. Thus, EuroparlExtract is a contribution to satisfy the growing demand for translation-oriented corpora.

A cognitive perspective on equivalent effect: using eye tracking to measure equivalence in source text and target text cognitive effects on readers by Callum Walker

Abstract: Eye-tracking methods have long been used to explore cognitive processing in reading, but the recent burgeoning of such methods in the field of translation studies has focused almost entirely on the translation process or audiovisual translation, neglecting the effects of the translation product itself. This paper presents a proof-of-concept study using eye tracking to compare fixation data between native readers of a French literary source text and native readers of its English translation at specific, corresponding points in the texts. The preliminary data are consistent with previous findings on the relationship between the features of the fixated word and fixation durations. These findings are also consistent with stylistic analyses and indicate that this method can be used to compare the levels of cognitive effort between two readership groups in order to investigate whether their experience is similar – whether an ‘equivalent effect’ has been achieved – thus contributing to the ongoing discourse surrounding equivalence in translation studies.

Two or three lines: a mixed-methods study on subtitle processing and preferences by Agnieszka Szarkowska & Olivia Gerber-Morón

Abstract: The typically recommended maximum number of lines in a subtitle is two. Yet, three-line subtitles are often used in intralingual English-to-English subtitling on television programmes with high information density and fast speech rates. To the best of our knowledge, no prior empirical work has contrasted the processing of three-line with two-line subtitles. In this study, we showed participants one video with two-line subtitles and one with three-line subtitles. We measured the impact of the number of lines on subtitle processing using eye tracking as well as comprehension, cognitive load, enjoyment and preferences. We conducted two experiments with different types of viewers: hearing native speakers of English, Polish and Spanish as well as British hard of hearing and deaf viewers. Three-line subtitles induced higher cognitive load than two-line subtitles. The number of lines did not affect comprehension. Viewers generally preferred two-line over three-line subtitles. The results provide empirical evidence on the processing of two- and three-line subtitles and can be used to inform current subtitling practices.