A Multifactorial Analysis of Anaphoric Choice in Translated Chinese

Xiuling Xu

Beijing Foreign Studies University / ILOS

Corpus-based translation studies have so far been largely confined to lexical and grammatical levels. Textual features, however, are rarely dealt with in previous studies. The present study therefore aims to explore the use of anaphora, a linguistic feature at the textual level, in Chinese translated from English as compared with non-translated native Chinese.

Anaphoric devices in Chinese can be broadly classified into three types, i.e. nominal, pronominal, and zero anaphora, and the choice of these three types of anaphoric devices is not at random but instead is influenced by semantic, syntactic, and discourse factors (e.g. animacy of the referent, syntactic roles of the antecedent and the anaphor, referential distance, potential interference). Although anaphoric choice in native Chinese has been widely investigated, not much attention has been paid to anaphoric choice in translated Chinese. As previous studies have revealed that language use in translated texts differs systematically from language use in non-translated texts, it is therefore worthwhile to compare the factors affecting anaphoric choice in translated Chinese with those in native Chinese, so as to unveil the distinct features of translated Chinese. The present study will adopt the multifactorial statistical approach (cf. Gries 2013) to investigate the concurrent influence of multiple factors that work together to result in the writer/translator’s final choice of one anaphoric type over the others. Multifactorial analysis enables us to quantify the contribution of each factor as well as the interactions between factors. The present study will help us understand the features of translated Chinese from the textual level, and offer more insights into the constraints under which translation activity is operated.

Keywords: anaphoric choice; translated Chinese; multifactorial analysis


Xiuling Xu is a visiting PhD student staying at ILOS for all of this academic year. In her talk she will give an outline of her ongoing PhD work, including a presentation of her translation corpus and annotation scheme.

Publisert 21. nov. 2017 16:15 - Sist endret 21. nov. 2017 16:17