Academic journal article Translation & Interpreting

What Does Translation Memory Do to Translation? the Effect of Translation Memory Output on Specific Aspects of the Translation Process

Academic journal article Translation & Interpreting

What Does Translation Memory Do to Translation? the Effect of Translation Memory Output on Specific Aspects of the Translation Process

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

Translation Memory (TM) software first became available commercially in the 1990s, with the concept having first been debated in the 1970s (Somers, 2003, p. 31). Since then, the use of TM tools has grown steadily. This growth in uptake has coincided with a change in pricing, and a three-tier pricing structure has emerged within which different 'matches' provided by the TM systems are often remunerated differently (O'Brien, 2007, p. 80). A general decrease in the amount translation commissioners and language service users are prepared to pay for translation has also been observed (DePalma, Stewart, & Whittaker, 2010). This article reports on a keylogging experiment using Translog-II carried out to investigate the effect that the use of fuzzy matches from a TM system within the 70%-95% range has on translation, concentrating on the effect that the adaption and correction process has on the translation process compared to manual translation. This article therefore posits the question as to whether the use of TM material to form a translation could be considered a revision process which is easier than manual translation, thus deserving of lower remuneration. This is done within a hypothetico-deductive framework, in which the research question is broken down into eight related deductive hypotheses which have been tested experimentally. In order to answer this research question, participants were required to translate from English to Welsh, a language pair that has undergone considerable professionalization over the last few years, with its professional organization (Welsh Association of Translators and Interpreters) having been established in 1976. (1) The experimental procedure measures dependent variables which are directly linked to cognitive and text production effort, as well as those related to time and productivity.

2. Theoretical Framework

In order to select the appropriate dependent variables, a description of the translation process must be provided. Following Englund-Dimitrova's (2005) process study on explication in translation, the translation process can usefully be modelled by considering translation first and foremost as a text production process (or text reproduction process), albeit an expert one for which excellent knowledge of two languages and their cultural backgrounds are the most basic requirements. Englund-Dimitrova (2005), based on the original research of Hayes (1996), identifies within translation three broad processes, which each contain a number of sub-tasks. Translation and its three broad processes will be described below.

2.1 Planning

Limiting the discussion to professional written translation, the purpose of translation is to produce a (target) text (TT) in Language B of a (source) text (ST) which already exists in Language A. In contrast to monolingual writing therefore, the translator always bases the TT on another text; the text created by the translator is neither independent of the original text upon which it is based, nor is it necessarily a text in its own right as it will always be compared for fidelity against another extant text. In order to create the new target text, the translator is first required to acquire degrees and shades of meaning contained within the ST by a process of reading and comprehending. This process is essential, for without it no new TT, which in professional translation contexts must communicate the meaning of the ST correctly and accurately, could exist. A translator could create a new text without reference to another text, but in such a scenario the resultant text could not be considered a translation. Relevant elements of the ST must first be read and understood therefore, and within the context of TM systems, this is likely to be the whole source segment displayed, or sub-sentential elements within it. This initial period of reading and understanding for meaning, or the process of finding a 'Meaning Hypothesis' (Gile, 1995, p. …

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