Corpus Pragmatics in Translation Studies – call for papers

We welcome papers for a new volume to be published following UCCTS4 in the Yearbook of Corpus Linguistics and Pragmatics series (Springer) edited by Jesús Romero-Trillo.

The editors of the volume – Jesús Romero-Trillo (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) and Richard Xiao (Lancaster Univeristy) – seek papers on the applications of pragmatics to translation studies that implement advanced methodologies based on corpus linguistics. The interest of the volume is to present the recent developments of pragmatic theories in their broadest sense (cognitive, social, linguistic, intercultural, etc.) vis-à-vis the growing possibilities of corpus linguistics in translation studies. The topics of interest for the volume include all aspects of translation and interpreting studies. The suggested themes, however, should not be considered as limitations, and papers that go beyond or outside of these themes are also welcome. If you wish to contribute to this volume, please submit a title, a 500-word abstract in which you outline your method, data, and findings, together with your name, affiliation and contact information to the editors, by January 31, 2014.

If accepted, your full paper will be expected to be 7,000-9,000 words in length, excluding citations and appendices. Final deadline after acceptance will be August 31, 2014.

Please make a submission via email to and with the subject line “Corpus Pragmatic in Translation Studies Submission”.

A new research associate has joined CASS

A new research associate, Dr Xianyao Hu, has recently been appointed in the Department of Linguistics and English Language to work on the CASS project “Comparable and Parallel Corpus Approaches to the Third Code”, led by Dr Richard Xiao the PI of the project.

Dr Hu is Professor of Translation Studies from Southwest University in China. He was awarded his PhD in Translation Studies in 2006 at East China Normal University, specializing in Corpus-based Translation Studies. Since 2004, Dr Hu has published a range of research articles and a book on corpus-based empirical studies of Translational Norms and Universals. In 2008-2010, he worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at Beijing Foreign Studies University on a project based on a sizable bidirectional parallel corpus between Chinese and English. He taught as a teaching assistant on the MA Programme of English-Chinese Translating and Interpreting at University of Salford in 2005-2006, and spent a year as a Fulbright Visiting Scholar working in a corpus project at University of California Los Angeles in 2011-2012.

Dr Hu joined CASS on 1st November 2013, the official start date of the project. He will work with Dr Richard Xiao on the UK component of the international project, which is collaboratively undertaken by Lancaster University and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and jointly funded by ESRC in the UK and the Research Grant Council in Hong Kong.

Translation and contrastive linguistic studies at the interface of English and Chinese

A forthcoming special issue of Corpus Linguistics and Linguistics Theory, which is guest-edited by Dr Richard Xiao and Professor Naixing Wei, President of the Corpus Linguistics Society of China, is now available online as Ahead of Print at the journal website.

This special issue focuses on corpus-based translation and contrastive linguistic studies involving two genetically different languages, namely English and Chinese, which we believe have formed an important interface with its unique features as a result of the mutual interaction between the two languages.

Corpora have tremendously benefited translation and contrastive studies, and in the meantime, corpus-based translation and contrastive linguistic studies have also significantly expanded the scope of corpus linguistic research. While contrastive linguistics and translation studies have traditionally been accepted as two separate disciplines within applied linguistics, there are many contact points between the two; and with the common corpus-based approach and the usually shared type of data (e.g. comparable and parallel corpora), corpus-based translation and contrastive linguistic studies have become even more closely interconnected, as demonstrated by the articles included in this special issue.

This special issue of Corpus Linguistics and Linguistics Theory includes five research articles together with an extensive introduction written by the guest editors.

These studies combine contrastive analysis and translation studies on the basis of comparable corpora (either multilingual or monolingual) and parallel corpora of English and Chinese, two most widely spoken world languages that differ genetically. While the decision to involve English and Chinese in the research reported in this volume was largely based on the authors’ strong languages (they are all competently bilingual in Chinese and English), the significance of the typological distance between the two languages covered in these studies cannot be underestimated. In comparison with studies of typologically related languages, translation and cross-linguistic studies of genetically distant languages such as English and Chinese can have more important theoretical implications for linguistic theorization. Studying such language pairs help us gain a better appreciation of the scale of variability in the human language system while theories and observations based on closely related language pairs can give rise to conclusions which seem certain but which, when studied in the context of a language pair such as English and Chinese, become not merely problematized afresh, but significantly more challenging to resolve (cf. Xiao and McEnery 2010).

Studies reported on in this special issue embody features at the interface of English and Chinese, which can be expected to have important significance and practical implications for linguistic theorizing.

Is translated Chinese still Chinese?

Is translated Chinese still Chinese? Do translated English and translated Chinese have anything in common? Can the properties observed on the basis of translational English in contrast to comparable non-translated English be generalised to other translational languages? These interesting questions were explored in Dr Richard Xiao’s keynote lecture entitled “Translation universal hypotheses reevaluated from the Chinese perspective”, delivered at the joint meeting of the 11th International Congress of the Brazilian Association of Researchers in Translation (ABRAPT) and the 5th International Congress of Translators, held at the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Florianópolis on 23-26 September 2013.

Corpus-based Translation Studies focuses on translation as a product by comparing comparable corpora of translated and non-translated texts. A number of distinctive features of translations have been posited including, for example, explicitation, simplification, normalisation, levelling out (convergence), source language interference, and under-representation of target language unique items.

Nevertheless, research of this area has until recently been confined largely to translational English and closely related European languages. If the features of translational language that have been reported on the basis of these languages are to be generalised as “translation universals”, the language pairs involved must not be restricted to English and closely related European languages. Clearly, evidence from a genetically distant language pair such as English and Chinese is arguably more convincing, if not indispensable.

Richard’s presentation reevaluated the largely English-based translation universal hypotheses from the perspective of translational Chinese, on the basis of a systematic empirical study of the lexical and grammatical properties of translational Chinese represented in a one-million-word balanced corpus of translated texts in contrast with a comparable corpus of native Chinese texts.

The conference was organised by the Brazilian Association of Researchers in Translation (ABRAPT). During the conference, Richard also gave a talk about corpus-based translation studies at the Roundtable “Translation and Interdisciplinarity”.

Acquisition of Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language

The British Academy has awarded Lancaster University a three-year grant under its International Partnership and Mobility Scheme (IPM 2013). The research partner in the joint project is Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (GDUFS) in China. The project is entitled “The corpus-based approach to the acquisition of Mandarin Chinese as a foreign language”, which aims to develop a one-million-word balanced corpus of spoken and written Chinese interlanguage, and on the basis of this corpus, to explore various theoretical and practical issues pertaining to the acquisition of Chinese as a foreign language. The research team includes six staff members from the Linguistics department and the Confucius Institute at Lancaster, as well as six staff members from the Centre for Linguistics and Applied Linguistics (the only national key research centre of its kind approved by the Ministry of Education) and the Institute for International Education at GDUFS. For more information, please contact Dr Richard Xiao (, the PI of the project.

Facilitating Critical Discourse Analysis of Contemporary China

This department R&D project aims to build a large corpus of Chinese news text designed to facilitate diachronic critical discourse analysis of social changes in contemporary China, helping to enhance the department’s already-strong reputation in corpus-based CDA by extending it to a language and culture other than English and the West. The resulting corpus will comprise more than 1.3 million news articles published in China’s most authoritative and influential newspaper, People’s Daily, between May 1946 and December 2003, covering all major historical periods in the history of Communist China. The prestigious status of the newspaper and the full temporal coverage of this collection will form the basis for a reliable diachronic discourse study of social changes in contemporary China since World War II to provide a true picture of contemporary China and yield critical insights into contemporary Chinese society.

For more information, contact the project director Richard Xiao at