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The present paper discusses the asymmetry hypothesis (Klaudy 2003) through a bidirectional qualitative translation analysis with reference to the expression of causal relations. Bidirectional analysis allows researchers to verify whether explicitations in one translation direction are counterbalanced by implicitations in the other translation direction. According to Klaudy’s (2009) asymmetry hypothesis, this is not the case since translators prefer operations involving explicitation over operations involving implicitation. The asymmetry hypothesis, studying translation in two translation directions of one language pair provides proof for the explicitation hypothesis as a universal strategy of translation. In this study we consider one language pair (French and Dutch), one text genre (novels) and one type of cohesive markers, i.e. causal conjunctions, to reveal the extent and nature of explicitation and implicitation in either direction. To this purpose, a bidirectional parallel corpus was compiled and the translations of sentences with one of four connectives in each language were scrutinized. The results show that, while there are indeed many instances of explicitation in both translation directions, a fair number of explicit causal markers were omitted in translation, suggesting that explicitation is counterbalanced by implicitation, thus contradicting the asymmetry hypothesis.

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What is the translator’s impact on the information structure (IS) of causal expressions? This study proposes a description method for the internal IS of causal expressions with connectors and their translations. We implement Lambrecht’s view (1990) that IS relates to interlocutors’ ‘mental states’ and look upon information structuring as a cognitive patterning of linguistic elements with varying degrees of manifestness. These degrees are hypothesized to be determined by a set of at least five different features, three of which have been investigated in a parallel corpus of Dutch, French and English causal expressions: the presence of a causal connector, clause status and clause position. Primary results indicate that about one fifth of explicit causal constructions in the Dutch source texts have been rendered without their explicit causal connector in the target texts both in French and in English. In addition, the internal clause manifestness in causal sequences turns out to show more differences between the Dutch source texts and the English target texts than between the Dutch source texts and the French target texts, which mirror the Dutch source texts more closely.

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