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Rethinking translation unit size: an empirical study of an English-Japanese newswire corpus

Kondo, Fumiko (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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The translation unit has been regarded as an elusive notion in linguistics. The literature shows that there seems to be little agreement regarding, in particular, their identification and size. This study attempts to rethink these two central issues of translation units with the help of a parallel corpus: the ARC (the Alignment of Reuters Corpora), an English-Japanese newswire corpus. The main achievements of this study are: the identification of five variables associated with translation unit size; the establishment of an unbiased, reproducible identification method; and, the demonstration that translation pairs (i.e. translation units and their equivalents) are ideal for contrastive analysis. The identification method, ‘the one-equivalent principle’, established in this thesis is justified linguistically by a thorough, systematic review of the relevant literature, and empirically using nine case studies. The target words of the case studies were the most frequent content words in the ARC: market; government; year; economic; new; foreign; said; told; and, expected. The examination of translation unit size, as well as non-translation units and translation pairs, shows that parallel corpora, and the one-equivalent principle, are powerful tools for understanding the nature of translation units.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Teubert, Wolfgang
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:School of English
Subjects:PE English
PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:724
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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