Friday, February 02, 2007

Andrew Chesterman: Translation Strategies

Machine translation is a great challenge. In order to make the scope of the task clearer, our research group invited prof. Andrew Chesterman to give us insights on some of the issues that human expert translators take into account. Andrew is Professor of Multilingual Communication at the Department of General Linguistics, University of Helsinki. He is the author of several books including "Can Theory Help Translators? A dialogue between the ivory tower and the wordface" (with Emma Wagner, 2002).

The presentation covered some aspects related to translation theory. For instance, the relation between translations and their source texts is a complex issue. Translations are assumed to be somehow "the same" as the original, but they are obviously different. One can ask what does the equivalence mean. A central topic of the presentation was translation strategies: what kinds of textual changes do translators make? Another important insight we got was that there are many kinds of potentially good translations, depending on the objective.

Discussion after Prof. Chesterman's presentation. Dr. Mathias Creutz
explaining issues related to statistical machine translation.

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