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  • 1 Universitat Pompeu Fabra, C. Roc Boronat, 138, 08018 Barcelona, Spain
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Abstract

Can translated language really be analysed based on published texts, given the many agents that may influence the translator's work before publication? This article seeks to address this question through a parallel corpus study of English business articles, their German translation manuscripts and the published German translations. The objects of study are passive voice constructions. I analyse the frequency of instances where translators used the active voice to translate verbs that are in passive voice in the source text (and vice versa), and whether editors maintained that construction or intervened to change it again. The study finds that translators use the passive voice extensively to translate active voice constructions. Editors intervene often to change such constructions back to active voice. This suggests that translators mainly passivise while editors mainly activise constructions. The tense used in the source text is shown to have an effect on whether these interventions take place or not. The article argues that there is a difference between what translated language actually is and what we find in published texts.

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