Edited by Sylviane Granger and Marie-Aude Lefer
[Languages in Contrast 20:2] 2020
► pp. 209–234
Differences in the lexical variation of reporting verbs in French, English and Czech fiction and their impact on translation
The aims of this paper are to analyse differences in the degree of lexical variation (type/token ratio and hapax/token ratio) of reporting verbs in reporting clauses placed medially or in postposition in English, French and Czech fiction and to evaluate their consequences in translation, especially in regard to explicitation/implicitation. We expect that, in translations from a language with a low degree of lexical variation of reporting verbs into a language with a high degree of lexical variation, the frequency and the degree of explicitation will be higher than in translations involving languages less different with respect to lexical variation. The analysis, relying on data extracted from the InterCorp multilingual corpus, proposes a classification of reporting verbs based on the type and amount of information conveyed, which allows evaluating the degree of explicitation operated in translations. The results show that most shifts involve only the neutral reporting verb say/dire, replaced by a stylistically more specific synonym or by a verb explicitating information obvious from the context. This suggests that modifications of reporting verbs in translation are motivated primarily by respect for the stylistic norm of the target language and the degree of acceptability of the repetition of the neutral reporting verb.