Przybyl, Heike; Karakanta, Alina; Menzel, Katrin; Teich, Elke

Exploring linguistic variation in mediated discourse: translation vs. interpreting

Kajzer-Wietrzny, Marta; Bernardini, Silvia; Ferraresi, Adriano; Ivaska, Ilmari;  (Ed.): Mediated discourse at the European Parliament: Empirical investigations, Language Science Press, pp. 191–218, Berlin, 2022.

This paper focuses on the distinctive features of translated and interpreted texts in specific language combinations as forms of mediated discourse at the European Parliament. We aim to contribute to the long line of research on the specific properties of translation/interpreting. Specifically, we are interested in mediation effects (translation vs. interpreting) vs. effects of discourse mode (written vs. spoken). We propose a data-driven, exploratory approach to detecting and evaluating linguistic features as typical of translation/interpreting. Our approach utilizes simple wordbased 𝑛-gram language models combined with the information-theoretic measure of relative entropy, a standard measure of similarity/difference between probability distributions, applied here as a method of corpus comparison. Comparing translation
and interpreting (including the relation to their originals), we confirm the previously observed overall trend of written vs. spoken mode being strongly reflected in the translation and interpreting output. In addition, we detect some new features, such as a tendency towards more general lexemes in the verbal domain in interpreting or features of nominal style in translation.