n Language Matters : Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa - CTS and Bible translation : a study in belling the cat? : parallel / bilingual corpora

Volume 35, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-5986



Corpus-based translation studies (CTS) is a very new technique in translation studies. In Bible translation, researchers have been collating corpora of source texts since the eighteenth century. In recent times, corpora of translated Bible texts have also been generated by a number of researchers. Thus the notion of working with corpora rather than with individual texts is not new to Bible translation. However, until very recently these corpora were examined manually, so that the introduction of computer-aided tools for corpus analysis represents a significant advancement for the Bible translator or researcher. By its very nature, the Bible lends itself remarkably well to (computerised) corpus projects. It is by definition a corpus of 66 books, and the pre-existing divisions into books, chapters and verses gives it an unusual advantage in annotation over literary works in the context of a parallel corpus. This article looks at the ways in which the Bible and its translations lend themselves to the formation of a specific corpus, the types of corpora and texts that could be considered as well as the challenges involved in producing these parallel corpora. The article then goes on to examine the potential applications of such a corpus for both the production of new Bible translations and the evaluation of existing ones. Applications to other nonreligious linguistic problems are also explored. In assessing these challenges, it becomes evident that CTS indeed redefines the nature of translation research as well as the role of the researcher. Finally, the status of existing projects to produce a parallel corpus based on Biblical texts will be reported.

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