Beiträge zur Übersetzungs- und Dolmetschwissenschaft (Köln/Germersheim)
Translation as a Site of Language Contact, Variation and Change (Juliane House)
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Translation as a Site of Language Contact, Variation and Change
This paper1 reports on a project which examined the question of whether and how global English impacts on other languages through language contact in translation. The project was carried out at Hamburg University’s Research Centre “Multilingualism” (Sonderforschungsbereich “Mehrsprachigkeit”) and was generously funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) for 12 years from 1999 to 2011.2 In this paper, a description of the project’s background, design and multilingual corpus as well as the qualitative analytical procedure adopted is first outlined. Synchronic and diachronic qualitative comparative analyses of originals and translations English-German in two genres (popular science and economic texts) and a set of validating qualitative analyses examining translations are then presented and discussed. Since the results of these qualitative analyses point to a number of elements expressing “subjectivity” and “addressee orientation” that were found to be vulnerable to variation and change, these qualitative analyses were supplemented by quantitative diachronic analyses. The paper closes with a description of a renewed phase of qualitative analyses, in which some of the vulnerable linguistic elements found to have changed in frequency in the corpus over time (such as personal pronouns, markers of modality or coordinate conjunctions) are re-contextualized and investigated in terms of the translation relation and the co-occurrences holding for each individual element in the English and German texts. The paper closes with a cautious interpretation of the results shying...