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  • Author or Editor: Marta Kajzer-Wietrzny x
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Baker’s idea to make use of various corpus linguistics methods in translation studies (1993, 1995, 1996) was quickly taken up by other scholars and the approach has on many occasions been applied in the investigations of translation universals. Simplification is one of the most frequently tested hypotheses in this context. In her seminal corpusbased study of simplification, Laviosa (1998) proved that the range of vocabulary used in translations is narrower, which is indicated by lower lexical density, greater percentage of high frequency words and by the fact that the list head of a corpus of translated texts accounts for a larger area of the corpus. The present study will employ Laviosa’s (1998) methodology to examine whether the language of simultaneous interpretation from German, Dutch, French and Spanish into English displays traces of simplification when compared to speeches originally delivered in English and whether the same patterns are observed in English translations of the same speeches.

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Empirical Translation Studies have recently extended the scope of research to other forms of constrained and mediated communication, including bilingual communication, editing, and intralingual translation. Despite the diversity of factors accounted for so far, this new strand of research is yet to take the leap into intermodal comparisons. In this paper we look at Lexical Diversity (LD), which under different guises, has been studied both within Translation Studies (TS) and Second Language Acquisition (SLA). LD refers to the rate of word repetition, and vocabulary size and depth, and previous research indicates that translated and non-native language tends to be less lexically diverse. There is, however, no study that would investigate both varieties within a unified methodological framework. The study reported here looks at LD in spoken and written modes of constrained and non-constrained language. In a two-step analysis involving Exploratory Factor Analysis and linear mixed-effects regression models we find interpretations to be least lexically diverse and written non-constrained texts to be most diverse. Speeches delivered impromptu are less diverse than those read out loud and the non-constrained texts are more sensitive to such delivery-related differences than the constrained ones.

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