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Academic Paper


Title: Translation ambiguity in and out of context
Author: Anat Prior
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of Haifa
Author: Shuly Wintner
Institution: University of Haifa
Author: Brian Macwhinney
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Carnegie Mellon University
Author: Alon Lavie
Institution: Carnegie Mellon University
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: We compare translations of single words, made by bilingual speakers in a laboratory setting, with contextualized translation choices of the same items, made by professional translators and extracted from parallel language corpora. The translation choices in both cases show moderate convergence, demonstrating that decontextualized translation probabilities partially reflect bilinguals’ life experience regarding the conditional distributions of alternative translations. Lexical attributes of the target word differ in their ability to predict translation probability: form similarity is a stronger predictor in decontextualized translation choice, whereas word frequency and semantic salience are stronger predictors for context-embedded translation choice. These findings establish the utility of parallel language corpora as important tools in psycholinguistic investigations of bilingual language processing.

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This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 32, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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