Edited By Dagmar Knorr, Carmen Heine and Jan Engberg
The translator as a writer: Measuring the effect of writing skills on the translation product
This contribution presents the results of an experimental study of the effects of genre-specific writing training on the translation product of undergraduate translation students. A classic pretest-posttest experimental design was used, in which the experimental group was trained in writing instructive texts in their mother tongue (Dutch), whereas the control group received placebo training. In the writing training, considerable attention was drawn to consistent and action-driven titles, logical and chronological information structure, illocutionary indicators and consistent use of terminology. These issues were represented in the source text by means of rich points that had to be transedited (Stetting 1989). The effect on the target text formulation and structure was studied, as well as on the translation quality. The results show that the experimental group did not only transedit significantly more rich points, but also translated these more successfully. The experimental group’s translation products also showed significantly fewer violations of TL genre conventions, but a clear and significant effect of the writing training on overall translation quality could not be fully ascertained.
Translators are not writers, although many commonalities can be observed when comparing these two professions. In recent years, the relation and overlap between translation and writing has received increasing attention, especially in the domain of technical writing and technical translation (Gnecchi/Maylath/Mousten/Scarpa/ Vandepitte 2011: 27). Without going into detail about the debate on the differences between writing and translation, it will come as no surprise that translators should be able to write well in the target language (TL)...
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