Book reviewCorpus Methodologies Explained: An Empirical Approach to Translation Studies London: Routledge, 2016. x, 234 pp.
Reviewed by Feng (Robin) Wang and Philippe Humblé
College of Foreign Languages, Jilin University | Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Since the 1990s, translation studies based on, driven by, or assisted by corpora and electronic tools have achieved considerable progress in that the methodology allows a combination of quantitative measurement and qualitative interpretation. Corpus-based/driven/assisted Translation Studies (hereafter CTS) gives continuing vitality to the discipline, either in terms of descriptive or theoretical studies, while also shedding new light on the applied branch. Corpus Methodologies Explained: An Empirical Approach to Translation Studies reflects the latest developments on key topics of CTS such as machine translation (Chapter 1, by Michael Oakes), translational stylistics (Chapter 2, by Meng Ji, and Chapter 3, by Defeng Li) and translation universals, including testing the Gravitational Pull Hypothesis (Chapters 4 and 5, by Lidun Hareide). The contents take both theoretical discussions and illustrative case studies into account, satisfying the needs of different paradigms under the umbrella of CTS. From Chapter 1 to Chapter 5, the level of theoretical conceptualization grows, as the research methods employed gradually move from essentially corpus-driven (Chapter 1 and 2) via corpus-assisted (Chapter 3) to typical corpus-based translation studies (Chapters 4 and 5). The boundary between these three paradigms sometimes is quite blurry. No paradigm is superior to the others, with preferences hinging on the research purposes and the nature of empirical evidence. For instance, Chapters 2 and 3 are both on translation stylistics, but Chapter 2 is completely data-driven, as it investigates the holistic generic shifting in the English-Chinese translation process, while Chapter 3 employs triangulation that combines the voice of the translator and recurring patterns retrieved from the corpus in order to determine the style of individual translators.