How to manage patients in English–Spanish translation: A target-oriented contrastive approach to Methods

Ian A. Williams

Abstract

This paper describes the application of a target-oriented contrastive analysis model to an extensive corpus of medical research articles. The analysis focuses on the Methods section and a subset of lexical items representing persons viewed as the object of clinical study. Quantitative contrastive analysis revealed statistically significant differences between the translations from English and the independently created Spanish texts in all the thematic, syntactic and lexical variables analysed. Qualitative contextual analysis showed that four basic criteria for thematic position and a series of associated translation strategies are capable of correcting the excesses and deficits observed, thus producing a more natural and acceptable target language text.

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Table of contents

In recent years, considerable attention has been devoted to the analysis of scientific discourse, and particularly to the research article (RA) and the individual sections of Introduction, Methods, Results and Discussion making up its standard IMRAD format. Although the rhetorical structure of the Methods section is less well defined than that of other sections, Skelton (1994) examined 50 RAs from the British journal of general practice and identified three fundamental rhetorical moves and three optional moves “tied” to them but never [ p. 70 ]found alone. The moves can be summarised as follows: (1) characterisation of study population, plus optional (1a) assertion regarding the inclusiveness of the sample; (2) description of procedures, plus (2a) justification of a method; (3) reference to statistical tests to be used, plus (3a) justification of a statistical choice.

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