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Translating English non-human subjects in agentive contexts : a closer look at Dutch

(2015) ACROSS LANGUAGES AND CULTURES. 16(2). p.285-310
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Abstract
While subjects of transitive action verbs in English and Dutch are typically realized as human agents (see Comrie 1989), both languages also feature instances of nonhuman agents in subject position. However, Vandepitte and Hartsuiker (2011) have shown that there are fewer options in Dutch and that translation issues present themselves in cases where both languages do not overlap. This paper wants to document overlap and differences in terms of non-prototypical subject realization by focussing on the strategies that are used in Dutch translations of six actions verbs (give, demonstrate, show, suggest, offer and tell) in combination with non-human subjects. Results reveal that a fair share of non-human subjects are also translated as such in the target language. Other strategies include occasional humanization of the non-human source text subjects, reduction of valency patterns with reduced agentivity vis-a-vis the English source-text sentences and shifts in the mapping of semantic roles onto syntactic functions.
Keywords
translation, contrastive research, non-human agent, argument structure

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MLA
Doms, Steven , and Bernard De Clerck. “Translating English Non-human Subjects in Agentive Contexts : a Closer Look at Dutch.” ACROSS LANGUAGES AND CULTURES 16.2 (2015): 285–310. Print.
APA
Doms, S., & De Clerck, B. (2015). Translating English non-human subjects in agentive contexts : a closer look at Dutch. ACROSS LANGUAGES AND CULTURES, 16(2), 285–310.
Chicago author-date
Doms, Steven , and Bernard De Clerck. 2015. “Translating English Non-human Subjects in Agentive Contexts : a Closer Look at Dutch.” Across Languages and Cultures 16 (2): 285–310.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Doms, Steven , and Bernard De Clerck. 2015. “Translating English Non-human Subjects in Agentive Contexts : a Closer Look at Dutch.” Across Languages and Cultures 16 (2): 285–310.
Vancouver
1.
Doms S, De Clerck B. Translating English non-human subjects in agentive contexts : a closer look at Dutch. ACROSS LANGUAGES AND CULTURES. 2015;16(2):285–310.
IEEE
[1]
S. Doms and B. De Clerck, “Translating English non-human subjects in agentive contexts : a closer look at Dutch,” ACROSS LANGUAGES AND CULTURES, vol. 16, no. 2, pp. 285–310, 2015.
@article{6867952,
  abstract     = {While subjects of transitive action verbs in English and Dutch are typically realized as human agents (see Comrie 1989), both languages also feature instances of nonhuman agents in subject position. However, Vandepitte and Hartsuiker (2011) have shown that there are fewer options in Dutch and that translation issues present themselves in cases where both languages do not overlap. This paper wants to document overlap and differences in terms of non-prototypical subject realization by focussing on the strategies that are used in Dutch translations of six actions verbs (give, demonstrate, show, suggest, offer and tell) in combination with non-human subjects. Results reveal that a fair share of non-human subjects are also translated as such in the target language. Other strategies include occasional humanization of the non-human source text subjects, reduction of valency patterns with reduced agentivity vis-a-vis the English source-text sentences and shifts in the mapping of semantic roles onto syntactic functions.},
  author       = {Doms, Steven  and De Clerck, Bernard},
  issn         = {1585-1923},
  journal      = {ACROSS LANGUAGES AND CULTURES},
  keywords     = {translation,contrastive research,non-human agent,argument structure},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {285--310},
  title        = {Translating English non-human subjects in agentive contexts : a closer look at Dutch},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1556/084.2015.16.2.7},
  volume       = {16},
  year         = {2015},
}

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