Guest-edited by Sylviane Granger and Marie-Aude Lefer
[International Journal of Learner Corpus Research 9:1] 2023
► pp. 96–124
This paper explores the issue of variation in translation, as well as its connection with the concept of “literal translation” and translator experience, on the basis of a multiple student translation corpus containing concurrent Italian versions of the same English source text produced by 35 undergraduate and postgraduate trainee translators. Translation paradigms for preselected lexical items expected to trigger different degrees of variation are extracted and analysed to identify both recurrent and sporadic solutions, whose acceptability in the target language is assessed using the source text’s official translation, alternative professional translations and the Europarl Corpus as reference. The analysis shows that variation is most remarkable with respect to idiomatic/metaphorical and evaluative items than for non-idiomatic items, but also when a literal translation would not be possible in the target language. Translators are found to generally prefer literal translations whenever acceptable in the target language, irrespective of their degree of experience.