Publication details [#63942]

Wang, Caiwen. 2018. Decoding and encoding the discourse meaning of punctuation. A perspective from English-to-Chinese translation. Babel 64 (2) : 225–249.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Place, Publisher
John Benjamins
Journal DOI


This exploratory research examines translation students’ use of punctuation, by applying Newmark’s (1988) classical idea of punctuation as a discourse unit for meaning demarcation. Data were collected from a group of 25 Chinese students studying specialised translations at a British university. The research focuses on the use of two punctuation marks in English: comma and point. The aim is to investigate how students of translation analyse the meaning of a source text with punctuation marks and how they subsequently convert this meaning into the target language again using punctuation marks. It turns out that students generally do not automatically copy the punctuation marks of the source text into the translation. They will customize or modify the original characters according to their meaning analysis of the text and their knowledge of punctuation in source and target languages.