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Evolving Nature of the English Language

Studies in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics


Edited By Robert Kiełtyka and Agnieszka Uberman

This volume presents a collection of interdisciplinary papers pertaining to the most thought-provoking problems in the areas of both theoretical and applied linguistics. The contributors focus on contemporary developments in morphological, semantic and pragmatic theorizing. The contributions are also devoted to various aspects of the methodology of teaching English as well as some intricacies of translation.

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When Languages Interfere Too Much: On Interference and Negative Transfer in Translation (Karolina Puchała-Ladzińska)


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Karolina Puchała-Ladzińska

When Languages Interfere Too Much: On Interference and Negative Transfer in Translation

Abstract: Interference is an inevitable phenomenon when people learn a foreign language or when they use two or more languages on a daily basis, since they tend to transfer certain linguistic forms from one language to another. Interestingly enough, the direction of this transfer is not only from their native language to a foreign one, but also the other way round, the latter case being called “backlash interference.” The purpose of this article is to present and analyze the instances of backlash interference in translated texts produced by trainee translators with a view to establishing its possible causes and suggesting certain preventative measures to be applied throughout the translation course.

Keywords: interference, backlash interference, negative transfer, translation

Interference and transfer

Although these two terms are frequently treated as synonyms (for instance, English Wikipedia suggests they are used interchangeably: “Language transfer (also known as L1 interference (…)”1), there is an important difference between the two that must not be neglected. The term “interference” (Polish: “interferencja”) is defined by Tomaszkiewicz (2006, 44) as: “Translation error resulting from lack of knowledge or inadequate translation technique, and consisting in using in the target text a linguistic form that is typical of the source language.”2 To express this definition in a simpler way, one may say that interference is an act of “transferring patterns and...

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