A multifactorial analysis of explicitation in translation

Sandrine Zufferey and Bruno Cartoni

The search for translation universals has been an important topic in translation studies over the past decades. In this paper, we focus on the notion of explicitation through a multifaceted study of causal connectives, integrating four different variables: the role of the source and the target languages, the influence of specific connectives and the role of the discourse relation they convey. Our results indicate that while source and target languages do not globally influence explicitation, specific connectives have a significant impact on this phenomenon. We also show that in English and French, the most frequently used connectives for explicitation share a similar semantic profile. Finally, we demonstrate that explicitation also varies across different discourse relations, even when they are conveyed by a single connective.

Table of contents

An important topic in translation studies over the past decades has been the identification of ‘translation universals,’ that is properties of translated texts triggered by the process of translation (e.g., Vanderauwera 1985; Mauranen and Kujamäki 2004). Many potential translation universals have been formulated, such as simplification (Laviosa-Braithwaite 1997), conventionalization (Baker 1993) and underrepresentation of target-language specific items (Tirkkonen-Condit 2004). But one of the most well known hypotheses about translation universals, called the “explicitation hypothesis,” was formulated by Blum-Kulka (1986, 292):

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