Thinking for translating: A think-aloud protocol on the translation of manner-of-motion verbs

Paula Cifuentes-Férez and Ana Rojo

Abstract

Typological studies on the linguistic expression of motion are certainly of interest to translation scholars. The study of how motion is expressed across languages has indeed revealed some striking typological differences (e.g., Talmy 1985, 1991, 2000; Berman and Slobin 1994; Stromqvist and Verhoeven 2004), which can account for some of the strategies translators resort to when dealing with motion expressions (Slobin 1996; Ibarretxe-Antuñano 2003; Cifuentes-Férez 2006, 2013; Ibarretxe-Antuñano and Filipović 2013). However, the question still remains as to whether translators’ decisions are exclusively guided by such typological differences or whether there are other experience- or task-related factors that may explain their behaviour. This paper provides empirical evidence on the type of factors that guide translators’ decisions when translating manner-ofmotion verbs, exploring the impact of different types of texts and the translator’s level of expertise. For this purpose, a pilot think-aloud protocol is implemented in order to examine the translation process of ten Spanish translators (five professionals and five graduate students without professional experience) when transferring manner-of-motion verbs from English into Spanish. Our results reveal that the way translators deal with manner information is mainly influenced by typological differences between the two languages. But differences in the translators’ level of professional expertise and in task-related constraints (e.g., the degree in which different type of texts focus on motion verbs) also have an effect on the strategies that translators choose to convey manner information.

Keywords:
Table of contents

The study of cross-linguistic differences in the expression of motion is of particular importance for translation scholars and professionals (e.g., Rojo and Ibarretxe-Antuñano 2013). Motion seems to be a universal concept, but it is a well-known fact that languages differ in the way they lexicalise this domain. Talmy (e.g., 1985, 1991, 2000) is one of the scholars who has looked at the universal mechanisms of mapping between motion event components (figure, ground, motion, path and manner) and linguistic expressions, and has found universal principles with a typological variation. The options for mapping do not vary enormously but rather exhibit two major alternatives, which lie in the essence of two typologically distinct lexicalisation strategies. As a result, he distinguishes two types of languages—whose prototypical representatives are English and Spanish—on the basis of which morphosyntactic element is characteristically used to encode the path of motion (since path is the defining component of a motion event). In verb-framed languages (V-languages) such as Spanish, the path of motion is expressed in the verb root (see example 1), whereas in satellite-framed languages (S-languages) such as English, it is lexicalised in the satellite, leaving the verb slot free to encode the manner of motion (see example 2):

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price. Direct PDF access to this article can be purchased through our e-platform.

References

Aske, John
1989 “Path Predicates in English and Spanish: A Closer Look.” Proceedings of the Berkeley Linguistics Society 15: 1–14. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Aurnague, Michel
2011 “How Motion Verbs are Spatial: The Spatial Foundations of Intransitive Motion Verbs in French.” Lingvisticae Investigationes 34 (1): 1–34. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Beavers, John, Beth Levin, and Shiao Wei Tham
2010 “The Typology of Motion Expressions Revisited.” Journal of Linguistics 46: 331–377. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Berman, Ruth, and Dan I. Slobin
eds 1994Relating Events in Narrative: A Crosslinguistic Developmental Study. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
Boynton, Sandra
1993Barnyard Dance! New York: Workman Publishing Company.Google Scholar
Cappelle, Bert
2012 “English is Less Rich in Manner-of-motion Verbs when Translated from French.” Across Languages and Cultures 13(2): 173–195. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Cifuentes-Férez, Paula
2006La Expresión de los Dominios de Movimiento y Visión en Inglés y en Español desde la Perspectiva de la Lingüística Cognitiva. Unpublished M.A. thesis Universidad de Murcia.
2009A Crosslinguistic Study on the Semantics of Motion Verbs in English and Spanish. Munich: LINCOM.Google Scholar
2013 “El Tratamiento de los Verbos de Manera de Movimiento y de los Caminos en la Traducción Inglés-Español de Textos Narrativos.” Miscelánea 47: 53–80.Google Scholar
2014 “A Closer Look at Paths of Vision, Manner of Vision and their Translation from English into Spanish.” Languages in Contrast 14 (2): 214–250. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Collins, Suzanne
2010Mockingjay. New York: Scholastic Press.Google Scholar
Croft, William, Johanna Barðdal, Willem B. Hollmann, Violeta Sotirova, and Chiaki Taoka
2010 “Revising Talmy’s Typological Classification of Complex Event Constructions.” In Contrastive Studies in Construction Grammar, ed. by Hans C. Boas, 201–235. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Davies, Mark
2004BYU-BNC. (Based on the British National Corpus from Oxford University Press). Available online at http://​corpus​.byu​.edu​/bnc/. Accessed 16 June 2014.
Fanego, Teresa
2012 “Motion Events in English: The Emergence and Diachrony of Manner Salience from Old English to Late Modern English.” Folia Linguistica Historica 33: 29–85.Google Scholar
Filipović, Luna
1999Language-specific Expression of Motion and its Use in Narrative Texts. MPhil diss. University of Cambridge.
2007Talking about Motion. A Crosslinguistic Investigation of Lexicalisation Patterns. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
2008 “Typology in Action: Applying Insights from Typological Contrasts.” International Journal of Applied Linguistics 18 (1): 42–61. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Filipović, Luna, and Ivana Vidaković
2010 “Typology in the L2 Classroom: Second Language Acquisition from a Typological Perspective.” In Inside the Learner’s Mind: Cognitive Processing in Second Language Acquisition, ed. by Martin Pütz and Laura Sicola, 269–291. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Ibarretxe-Antuñano, Iraide
2003 “What Translation Tells Us about Motion: A Contrastive Study of Typologically Different Languages.” International Journal of English Studies 3 (2): 151–176.Google Scholar
2009 “Path Salience in Motion Events.” In Crosslinguistic Approaches to the Psychology of Language: Research in the Tradition of Dan Isaac Slobin, ed. by Elena Lieven, Susan Ervin-Tripp, Jiansheng Guo, Nancy Budwig, Keiko Nakamura, and Șeyda Őzçalişkan, 403–414. New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
Forthcoming. “Linguistic Typology in Motion Events: Path and Manner.” Anuario del Seminario de Filología Vasca ‘Julio de Urquijo.’ International Journal of Basque Linguistics and Philology.
Ibarretxe-Antuñano, Iraide, and Luna Filipović
2013 “Lexicalisation Patterns and Translation.” In Cognitive Linguistics and Translation: Advances in Some Theoretical Models and Applications, ed. by Ana Rojo and Iraide Ibarretxe-Antuñano, 251–282. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Jaka, Airoa
2009 “Mugimenduzko Ekintzak Ingelesez eta Euskaraz, Sarrionandiaren Itzulpen Baten Zzterketatik Abiatuta.” Uztaro 69: 53–76.Google Scholar
Jääskeläinen, Riitta
2011 “Studying the Translation Process.” In The Oxford Handbook of Translation Studies, ed. by Kirsten Malmkjaer and Kevin Windle, 123–135. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Kopecka, Annetta
2006 “The Semantic Structure of Motion Verbs in French: Typological Perspectives.” In Space in Languages: Linguistic Systems and Cognitive Categories, ed. by Maya Hickman and Stephanie Robert, 83–101. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
2011 “From Satellite- to a Verb-framed Pattern: A Typological Shift in French.” In Variation and Change in Adpositions of Movement, ed. by Hubert Cuyckens, Walter de Mulder, and Tanja Moltermans. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
Mayer, Mercer
1969Frog, Where Are You? New York: Dial Press.Google Scholar
Papafragou, Anna, Christine Massey, and Lila Gleitman
2006 “When English Proposes What Greek Presupposes: The Cross-linguistic Encoding of Motion Events.” Cognition 98: 75–87. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Pourcel, Stephanie, and Annetta Kopecka
2005 “Motion Expression in French: Typological Diversity.” Durham and Newcastle Working Papers in Linguistics 11: 139–153.Google Scholar
Rojo, Ana, and Iraide Ibarretxe-Antuñano
2013Cognitive Linguistics and Translation: Advances in Some Theoretical Models and Applications. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Slobin, Dan I
1991 “Learning to Think for Speaking: Native Language, Cognition, and Rhetorical Style.” Pragmatics 1: 7–26. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
1996 “From ‘Thought and Language’ to ‘Thinking for Speaking’.” In Rethinking Linguistic Relativity, ed. by John Gumperz and Stephen C. Levinson, 195–217. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
1997 “Mind, Code and Text.” In Essays on Language Function and Language Type: Dedicated to T. Givón, ed. by Joan Bybee, John Haiman, and Sandra A. Thomson, 437–467. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
2003 “Language and Thought Online: Cognitive Consequences of Linguistic Relativity.” In Language in Mind: Advances in the Study of Language and Thought, ed. by Dedre Gentner and Susan Goldin-Meadow, 157–192. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
2004 “The Many Ways to Search for a Frog: Linguistic Typology and the Expression of Motion Events.” In Relating Events in Narrative: Typological and Contextual Perspectives in Translation, ed. by Sven Strömqvist and Ludo Verhoeven, 219–257. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
2005 “Narrating Events in Translation.” In Perspectives on Language and Language Development: Essays in Honor of Ruth A. Berman, ed. by Dorit Ravid and Hava Bat-Zeev Shyldkrot, 115–129. Dordrecht: Kluver. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
2006 “What Makes Manner of Motion Salient?” In Space in Languages: Linguistic Systems and Cognitive Categories, ed. by Maya Hickman and Stephanie Robert, 59–82. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Slobin, Dan I., and Nini Hoiting
1994 “Reference to Movement in Spoken and Signed Language: Typological Considerations.” Proceedings of the Twentieth Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistic Society, 487–505. Berkeley: Berkeley Linguistics Society.
Soroli, Efstathia, Halima Sahraoui, and Carol Sacchett
2012 “Linguistic Encoding of Motion Events in English and French. Typological Constraints on Second Language Acquisition and Agrammatical Aphasia.” Language Interaction and Acquisition 3(2): 261–287. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Strömqvist, Sven, and Ludo Verhoeven
2004Relating Events in Narrative: Typological and Contextual Perspectives. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Talmy, Leonard
1985 “Lexicalization Patterns: Semantic Structure in Lexical Forms.” In Language Typology and Lexical Descriptions: Vol. 3. Grammatical Categories and the Lexicon, ed. by Timothy Shopen, 36–149. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
1991 “Path to Realization: A Typology of Event Conflation.” Berkeley Linguistic Society 7: 480–519. CrossrefGoogle Scholar
2000Toward a Cognitive Semantics. 2 vols. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar