From Babylon to Bergen: On the usefulness of aligned texts

How to Cite

Ebeling, Signe, and Jarle Ebeling. 2013. “From Babylon to Bergen: On the Usefulness of Aligned Texts”. Bergen Language and Linguistics Studies 3 (1).


After outlining a short and select history of (the usefulness of) parallel texts and alignment, this paper presents a case study where the point of departure is a Norwegian text extract aligned against its translations into seven different target languages, using the Translation Corpus Aligner, originally developed by Knut Hofland. Our main concern is cases where there is not a one-to-one correspondence at sentence level between original (source) and translation (target) text. We seek to answer questions such as why a translator, translating into a specific language has chosen to split, or merge, a sentence in the source texts, while translators, translating into other languages have chosen not to do so. The study shows that a multitude of contributing factors seem to be involved , including author and translator style, target language constraints and preferences and perhaps even country- or language-specific translation guidelines.

Keywords: alignment; parallel texts; contrastive analysis; corpora; translation strategies

Copyright (c) 2013 Signe Oksefjell Ebeling, Jarle Ebeling

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 International License.

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.

Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.

Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).

Bergen Open Access Publishing