Foreign names into native tongues
How to transfer sound between languages — transliteration, phonological translation, nativization, and implications for translation theory
San Francisco State University
The transfer of sound from one language into another is not a uniform process, but rather, takes different forms depending on the orthographies and phonological properties of source and target languages, the less common of which involve processes significantly different from transliteration between European phonetic scripts. This paper pools techniques commonly used in loanword phonology and second language acquisition to illustrate complications that arise when translating names from English into languages such as Japanese and Chinese, which differ significantly from the source language in syllable structure and orthographic convention. Competing strategies of adaptation and accommodation are placed in the context of lexical retrieval and compared with experimental studies of nativization in interlanguage. It will be shown that for names to be perceived as similar-sounding across language boundaries, it would be desirable to look beyond segmental equivalence and consider stress, syllable count and other suprasegmental factors that play a greater role in phonological memory.
Keywords: transliteration, phonological translation, adaptation, accommodation, nativization
In: Target 19:1. 2007 193 pp. (pp. 45–68)