The editor’s invisibility: Analysing editorial intervention in translation

Mario Bisiada

Most corpus-based studies of translation use published texts as the basis for their corpus. This overlooks interventions by other agents involved in translation such as editors, who may have significant influence on the translated text. In order to study editors’ influence on the translation product, this paper presents a comparative analysis of manuscript and published translations, which allows a differentiation of actual translated language and edited translated language. Based on a tripartite parallel corpus of English business articles and their translations into German, I analyse translators’ and editors’ influence on grammatical metaphoricity of the text, specifically on the use of nominalisations. One finding is that a significant amount of nominalisation is re-verbalised by editors. The results show that translated language may often be the result of significant editorial intervention. Thus, by just considering source text and published translation, our picture of what translators actually do may be significantly distorted.

Publication history
Table of contents

Research on translated language usually limits translation to the act of translating. That eclipses the many other agents that are active in the translation workflow in the sense of a document production process as described by Gouadec (2007, Chapter 3). Along with Muñoz Martín (2010), I consider the translation workflow as “the period commencing from the moment the client contacts the translator and ending when the translation reaches the addressee, or when the translator is paid” (Muñoz Martín 2010, 179). We may also call this understanding the “agency of the translation as event […] which may indeed be the product of a fractured and multiple type of human agency” (Harvey 2003, 69).

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