Skip to content
Accessible Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton June 13, 2016

Simplification in inter- and intralingual translation – combining corpus linguistics, key logging and eye-tracking

Marta Kajzer-Wietrzny, Bogusława Whyatt and Katarzyna Stachowiak


As some scholars view inter-and intra-lingual translation as a parallel activity, it is vital to establish to what extent the products of these processes are alike, and whether the processes themselves differ. This paper investigates stylistic simplification, a frequently hypothesised translation universal which involves, among others, breaking up long sentences in the process of translation (Laviosa 2002). One of the parameters commonly used in the investigations of simplification in translations is the average sentence length. In the present study we focus on sentence length to see if the tendency to incorporate stylistic simplification is equally present in the products of inter-and intralingual translation; what phases of the translation process are decisive for sentence length; whether the scope of consultation with the source text affects sentence length. Finally, we will try to verify if average sentence length is dependent on the level of translation experience.

Marta Kajzer-Wietrzny Faculty of English Adam Mickiewicz University Collegium Novum al. Niepodległości 4 61-874 Poznań Poland


Alves, F. and D. Couto Vale. 2011. “On drafting and revision in translation: A corpus linguistics oriented analysis of translation process data”. Translation: Computation, corpora, cognition 1(1). 105–122.Search in Google Scholar

Baker, M. 1993. “Corpus linguistics and translation studies: implications and applications”. In: Baker, M., F. Gill and E. Tognini-Bonelli (eds.), Text and technology: In honour of John Sinclair. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 233–250.Search in Google Scholar

Baker, M. 1998. Routledge encyclopaedia of Translation Studies. London: Routledge.Search in Google Scholar

Becher, V. 2011. Explicitation and implicitation in translation: A corpus-based study of English–German and German–English translations of business texts. Hamburg: Universitat Hamburg.Search in Google Scholar

Bisiada, M. In press. “Universals of editing and translation”. In: Hansen-Schirra, S., S. Hoffman and B. Meyer (eds.), Empirically modelling translation and interpreting. Berlin: Language Science Press.Search in Google Scholar

Blum-Kulka, S. 1986. “Shifts of cohesion and coherence in translation”. In: House, J. and S. Blum-Kulka (eds.), Interlingual and intercultural communication: Discourse and cognition in translation. Tubingen: Narr. 17–35.Search in Google Scholar

Carl, M., B. Dragsted and A.L. Jakobsen. 2011. “A taxonomy of human translation styles”. Translation journal 16(2).Search in Google Scholar

Carl, M. 2012. “Translog-II: A program for recording user activity data for empirical reading and writing research”. LREC, 4108–4112.Search in Google Scholar

Chesterman, A. 2004. “Beyond the particular”. In: Mauranen, A. and P. Kujamaki (eds.), Translation universals: Do they exist? Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 33–49.Search in Google Scholar

da Silva, I.A.L. 2015. “On a more robust approach to triangulating retrospective protocols and key logging in Translation Process Research”. In: Ferreira, A. and J.W. Schwieter (eds.), Psycholinguistic and cognitive inquiries into translation and interpreting. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 115–175.Search in Google Scholar

De Sutter G., M.-A. Lefer and I. Delaere (eds). In press. Empirical Translation Studies: New methodological and theoretical traditions. Berlin: De Gruyter.Search in Google Scholar

Dimitrova, B.E. 2003. “Explicitation in Russian–Swedish translation: Sociolinguistic and pragmatic aspects”. Swedish Contributions to the Thirteenth International Congress of Slavists, Ljubljana. Lund: Lund University. 21–31.Search in Google Scholar

Dimitrova, B.E. 2005.Expertise and explicitation in the translation process. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Search in Google Scholar

Ericsson, K.A., H.A. Simon .1984 [1993]. Protocol analysis. Verbal reports as data. (Revised ed.) Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Search in Google Scholar

Ericsson, K.A., N. Charness. 1997. “Cognitive and developmental factors in expert performance”. In: In Feltovich, P.J., K.M. Ford, R.R. Hoffman (eds.), Expertise in context: Human and machine. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. 3–41.Search in Google Scholar

Grabowski, Ł. 2012. “On translation universals in selected contemporary Polish literary translations”. Studies in Polish linguistics 7: 165–183.Search in Google Scholar

Grabowski, Ł. 2013. “Interfacing corpus linguistics and computational stylistics: Translation universals in translational literary Polish”. International journal of corpus linguistics 18(2): 254–280.Search in Google Scholar

Halverson, S. 2003. “The cognitive basis of translation universals”. Target 15(2): 197– 241.Search in Google Scholar

Halverson, S. Submitted. “Gravitational pull in translation: Testing a revised model”.Search in Google Scholar

House, J. 2008. “Beyond intervention: Universals in translation?” Trans-kom. 6–19.Search in Google Scholar

Hu, K. 2017. Introducing corpus-based translation studies. Springer.Search in Google Scholar

Immonen, S. 2006. “Translation as a writing process: Pauses in translation versus monolingual text production”. Target 18(2). 313–335.Search in Google Scholar

Jakobsen, A.L. and L. Schou. 1999. “Logging target text production with Translog.” Copenhagen studies in language 24. 9–20.Search in Google Scholar

Jakobsen, A.L. 2002a. “Orientation, segmentation, and revision in translation. Empirical translation studies: process and product”. In: Hansen, G. (ed.), Empirical translation studies: Process and product. Frederiksberg Denmark: Samfundslitteratur. 191– 204.Search in Google Scholar

Jakobsen, A.L. 2002b. “Translation drafting by professional translators and by translation students”. In: Sanchez Trigo, E. and O. Diaz Fouces (eds.), Traducción & communicación. Ayuntamiento de Vigo: Concello de Vigo. 89–103.Search in Google Scholar

Jakobsen, A.L. and K.T.H. Jensen. 2008. “Eye movement behaviour across four different types of reading task”. Copenhagen studies in language 36. 103–124.Search in Google Scholar

Jakobson, R. 1959/2000. “On linguistic aspects of translation”. In: Brower, R.A. (ed.), On translation. Cambridge: Harvard University PressSearch in Google Scholar

Jensen, K.T.H. 2011. “Distribution of attention between source text and target text during translation”. In: O’Brien, S. (ed.), Cognitive explorations of translation. London: Bloomsbury Academic. 215–236.Search in Google Scholar

Kajzer-Wietrzny, M. 2012. Interpreting universals and interpreting style. Poznań: Adam Mickiewicz University.Search in Google Scholar

Kajzer-Wietrzny, M. 2015. “Simplification in interpreting and translation”. Across Languages and Cultures 16(2): 233–255.Search in Google Scholar

Kellogg, R.T., T. Olive and A. Piolat. 2007.“Verbal and visual working memory in written sentence production”. In: Torrance, M., L. van Waes, and D. Galbraith (eds.), Writing and cognition. Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited. 97–108.Search in Google Scholar

Kruger, H. and B. Van Rooy. 2010. “The features of non-literary translated language: A pilot study”. Proceedings of Using Corpora in Contrastive and Translation Studies, England, July 2010.Search in Google Scholar

Kruger, H. 2012. “A corpus-based study of the mediation effect in translated and edited language”. Target 24(2). 355–388.Search in Google Scholar

Laviosa, Sara. 1997. “How comparable can ‘comparable corpora’ be?”. Target 9(2). 289–319.Search in Google Scholar

Laviosa, S. 1998a. “The English Comparable Corpus: A resource and a methodology”. In: Bowker, L., M. Cronin, D. Kenny and J. Pearson (eds.), Unity in diversity? Current trends in Translation Studies. 101–112.Search in Google Scholar

Laviosa, S. 1998b. “Core patterns of lexical use in a comparable corpus of English narrative prose. Meta: Journal des traducteurs”. Meta:/Translators’ Journal 43(4). 557–570.Search in Google Scholar

Laviosa, S. 2002. Corpus-based translation studies: Theory, findings, applications. Amsterdam: Rodopi.Search in Google Scholar

Mauranen, A. and P. Kujamaki. 2004. Translation universals: Do they exist? Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Search in Google Scholar

Qakes, M.P. 1998. Statistics for corpus linguistics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Oakes, M.P. and M. Ji. 2012. Quantitative methods in corpus-based translation studies: A practical guide to descriptive translation research. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Search in Google Scholar

Qin, H. and K. Wang. 2009. “Jiyu duiying yuliaoku de yingyihan yuyan tezheng fenxi” [A corpus-based study of the features of translated Chinese from English]. Foreign Language Teaching and Research 2. 131–136.Search in Google Scholar

Pilliere, L. 2010. “Conflicting voices: An analysis of intralingual translation from British English to American English”. E-Rea. Revue électronique d’études sur le monde anglophone 8(1).Search in Google Scholar

Pym, A. 2008. “On Toury’s laws of how translators translate”. In: Pym, A., M. Shlesinger and D. Simeoni (eds.), Beyond descriptive translation studies: Investigations in homage to Gideon Toury. Amstedam: John Benjamins. 311–328.Search in Google Scholar

Resch, R. 2003. “Texte im Kulturtransfer: Aspekte translatorischer Textkompetenz”. Vienna: University of Vienna.Search in Google Scholar

Scarpa, F. 2006. “Corpus-based quality-assessment of specialist translation: A study using parallel and comparable corpora in English and Italian”. In: Gotti, M. and S. Sarcevic (eds.), Insights into specialized translation – Linguistics insights. Bern: Peter Lang. 155–172.Search in Google Scholar

Schilperoord, J. 1996. It’s about time: Temporal aspects of cognitive processes in text production. Amsterdam: Rodopi.Search in Google Scholar

Scott M. 2008. WordSmith Tools Version 5.Search in Google Scholar

Schmid, B. 2005. A duck in rabbit’s clothing. integrating intralingual translation. (MA thesis, University of Vienna.)Search in Google Scholar

Schmid, B. 2008. “A duck in rabbit’s clothing. integrating intralingual translation” In: Kaiser-Cooke, M. (ed.), Das Entenprinzip. Translation aus neuen Perspektiven. Frankfurt: Peter Lang. 19–75.Search in Google Scholar

Serbina, T., P. Niemietz and S. Neumann. 2015. “Development of a keystroke logged translation corpus”. In: Zanettin, F. and C. Fantinuoli (eds.), New directions in Corpus- based Translation Studies. 11–33.Search in Google Scholar

Steiner, G. 1975. After Babel: Aspects of language and translation. London: Oxford University Press.Search in Google Scholar

Shlesinger, M. 1991. “Interpreter latitude vs. due process. Simultaneous and consecutive interpretation in multilingual trials”. In: Tirkkonen-Condit, S. (ed.), Empirical research in translation and intercultural studies. Tubingen: Gunter Narr. 147–155.Search in Google Scholar

Teich, E. 2003. Cross-linguistic variation in system and text: A methodology for the investigation of translations and comparable texts (vol. 5). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Search in Google Scholar

Tirkkonen-Condit, S. 2004. “Unique items-over-or under-represented in translated language?”. In: Mauranen, A. and P. Kujamaki Translation universals: Do they exist? Amsterdam: Benjamins. 177–186.Search in Google Scholar

Toury, G.1985. “A rationale for descriptive translation studies”. In: Hermans, T. (ed.), The manipulation of literature. Studies in literary translation. London: Croom Helm. 16-41.Search in Google Scholar

Toury, G. 1991. “What are descriptive studies into translation likely to yield apart from isolated descriptions?”. In: Leuven-Zwart, K. and A.B.M. Naaijkens (eds.), Translation studies: The state of the art. Proceedings from the First James S. Holmes Symposium on Translation Studies. Amsterdam: Rodopi. 179–192.Search in Google Scholar

Toury, G. 1995. Descriptive translation studies and beyond. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Search in Google Scholar

Ulrych, M. and A. Murphy. 2008 “Descriptive translation studies and the use of corpora: Investigating mediation universals”. In: Torsello, C.T., K. Ackerley and E. Castello (eds.), Corpora for university language teachers. Bern: Peter Lang. 141–166.Search in Google Scholar

Vanderauwera, R. 1985. Dutch novels translated into English: The transformation of a “minority” literature. Amsterdam: Rodopi.Search in Google Scholar

Whyatt, B., M. Kajzer-Wietrzny and K. Stachowiak. In press. “A comparative analysis of decision making in interlingual and intralingual translation. Combining process and product”. In: Jakobsen, A.L. and B. Mesa-Loa (eds.), Translation in transition: between cognition, computing and technology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Search in Google Scholar

Whyatt, B., K. Stachowiak and M. Kajzer-Wietrzny. Submitted. “Similar and different: Cognitive rhythm and effort in translation and paraphrasing”. Poznań Studies in Contemporary Linguistics.Search in Google Scholar

Williams, D.A. 2005. “Recurrent features of translation in Canada: A corpus-based study”. University of Ottawa.Search in Google Scholar

Wodak, R., F. Menz and J. Lalouschek. 1989. Sprachbarrieren: Die Verständigungskrise der Gesellschaft. Vienna: Edition Atelier.Search in Google Scholar

Xiao, R. and X. Hu. 2015. “The features of translational Chinese and translation universals”. In: Xiao, R. and X. Hu (eds.), Corpus-based studies of translational Chinese in English-Chinese translation. Berlin: Springer. 157–167.Search in Google Scholar

Zethsen, K.K. 2009. “Intralingual translation: An attempt at description”. Meta: Journal des traducteurs / Meta: Translators’ journal 54(4). 795–812.Search in Google Scholar

Appendix Mean sentence length across groups and tasks

Professional Translators (PTs)Translation Trainees (TTs)
Interlingual Translation (INTER)Intralingual Translation (INTRA)Interlingual Translation (INTER)Intralingual Translation (INTRA)
Mean Sentence LengthStandard DeviationMean Sentence LengthStandard DeviationMean Sentence LengthStandard DeviationMean Sentence LengthStandard Deviation
W=50 for N=17, the difference does not reach the level of statistical significance at p ≤ 0.05W=16 for N=16, the difference is statisti-cally significant at p ≤ 0.05
U=54, the difference is statistically significant at p ≤ 0.05
U=125.5, the difference does not reach the level of statistical significance at p ≤ 0.05
Published Online: 2016-6-13
Published in Print: 2016-6-13

© 2016 Faculty of English, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland