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Characteristics of original text

Characteristics of the original text describe qualitatively the style of the text. This is partly a subjective dimension, but can also be more objectively described with diligent analysis of the original text. It is also a relative dimension, since it can only be measured against other texts. Thus it is dependent on text type for instance. At least until now there exist no quantitative universal norms or standards for characteristics of text. Typically the original text can be characterized as being:

Repetitiveness means that the text contains more repetitions of individual terms or words, phrases, sentences, and even full paragraphs than usual. It may mean word-for-word repetition or similarities in constructions used in the text. Thus repetitiveness may also imply that word order or the structure of sentences is more consistent than usual. Typically, repetitive text is encountered in technical text types.

Idiomatic is in many respects the opposite of repetitive. Basically idiomaticity means the use of the expressive possibilities of the language to the fullest in the text. It may imply a large variance of words or the use of rare words and colourful idioms. This may lead to the use of many different terms for basically the same concept for the sake of nuances. Idiomaticity may also imply greater variance of sentence structure and other constructions than usual. Typically, idiomatic text is encountered in literature and advertising.

Terminology-rich means that the text contains more specific terminology than usual. Specific terminology is understood here as words and phrases being used only within a specific field or having meanings deviant from general vocabulary. Thus understanding terminology-rich text requires knowledge of the specific field in question. Typically, terminology-rich text is encountered in scientific text of any kind and technical text.

Terminology-poor is not exactly the opposite of terminology-rich. It can be understood to mean that the text simply uses only general vocabulary and thus should be understood by anyone with good general knowledge of the language. Terminology-poor can also be understood to imply that the language lacks necessary standard terms in some specific field and thus has to use alternative expressions or constructions. This may lead to long and awkward sentences which may contain ambiguity or lack exactness.


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Next: Languages involved Up: Dimensions of translation Previous: Text types

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