Oversættelse af nominalkomposita fra engelsk til dansk: En empirisk undersøgelse af forskellige oversættelsesmetoder i tekniske forbrugertekster med særligt fokus på den ortografiske repræsentation

Thomas Brøndel Frost

Student thesis: Master thesis


Translating nominal compounds from English into Danish An empirical study of different translation methods in technical language consumer texts, with special attention to orthographic representation Nominal style is a predominant feature of both English and Danish technical language. The high frequency of complex and often very long nominal compounds in English consumer-oriented technical texts presents a problem for the Danish translator, as the possibility of nominal compounding in Danish is far more restricted than it is the case with English. The great difference between English and Danish nominal compounding is seen in the orthographic representation. Where English nominal compounds use separate orthography and hence split up a compound in separate units, Danish nominal compounds use solid orthography and are written in one word. Like in English, there are no structural limitations to the length or number of constituents in Danish nominal compounds. It must be assumed though, that in practice there is a limit for the length and complexity of such solid orthography Danish compounds, and that in some cases a translation by means of paraphrasing would be advisable. The compounds in question are often nonce formations which have not yet become established in the discourse community which the text is aimed at. Despite the fact that the formation of new words or “nonce formations” by means of compounding is following the orthographic conventions and is not structurally limited in neither English nor Danish, a direct translation into a Danish nominal compound may not be the most appropriate translation method when the receiver is the average consumer. This thesis examines the structure of English nominal compounds in technical consumer texts and their different possible translations into Danish. The purpose is to decide on a general method for translating English nominal compounds into Danish – should they be translated directly into equivalent Danish compounds or should they be paraphrased? As a theoretical basis for the empirical study and the analysis, a great deal of attention is given to the identification and definition of a nominal compound. The difference between nominal compounds and syntactical nominal phrases is a subject of great divergence and therefore also a relevant one to examine and discuss in connection with this thesis. The different views on the subject form the basis of a working definition of a nominal compound, which is used for picking out compounds to form part of the empirical study. In order to find answers to the question of an advisable translation method, a study was performed. By means of a questionnaire containing a series of English nominal compounds and different Danish translations, two respondent groups were asked to rate the different Danish translations from different criteria rooted in three different translation strategies. One respondent group consisting of state certified translators and the other group consisting of randomly selected consumers. The result of this questionnaire allows for a comparative analysis of the answers from the two groups of respondents. The study shows an overall tendency of agreement between the two groups of respondents. The answers given from the criteria relevant to consumer-oriented technical texts show that to a great extent, paraphrasing of nominal compounds is the preferred solution to at translation into Danish. Despite the overall tendency of agreement between the two groups of respondents, the translators show a fondness of the direct translations into Danish nominal compounds while the layman group to some extent accepts the separate orthography compounds, which do not follow orthographic conventions for Danish language. It is concluded that nonce formation English nominal compounds should generally be translated for layman receivers by means of paraphrasing. Nominal compounds which have become lexicalized and somewhat established in the discourse community in question will have the highest acceptability when translated into this lexicalized and established compound.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages105