Errors In The Translation Of Topic-Comment Structures Of Vietnamese Into English

| September 30, 2005
Title
Errors In The Translation Of Topic-Comment Structures Of Vietnamese Into English

Keywords: translation error, error analysis, topic-comment structure, language learners

Authors
Pham Phu Quynh Na
School of Languages and Literature – University of Western Sydney – AUSTRALIA
ppquynhna@yahoo.com

Bio Data
The author has been teaching English at University of Social Sciences and Humanities of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam for 7 years and holds a BA in Applied Linguistics from University of Social Sciences and Humanities of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Master Arts, National University of Singapore and currently a Ph.D. student at University of Western Sydney, Australia.

Qualifications: Bachelor of Arts in Applied Linguistics (University of Social Sciences and Humanities of Ho Chi Minh City), Master of Arts in English Studies (National University of Singapore)

Abstract
Starting with the assumption that Vietnamese is a topic-prominent language and the basic structure of Vietnamese manifests a topic-comment relation rather than a subject-predicate relation (Thompson 1965, Dyvik 1984, Hao 1991, Rosen 1998, Anh 2000), the aim of the study is to investigate the extent to which the typological differences between Vietnamese and English influence the process of translating authentic Vietnamese sentences into English. This investigation uses preliminary findings drawn from an error analysis of the Vietnamese-English translations by Vietnamese EFL students. The analysis focuses on the errors made when translating the dropped subject and empty elements of Vietnamese. This is important given the fact that the grammatical subject is always required in English but not in Vietnamese sentences. The translators for this study were 95 students from English translation classes in their first, second, third, and fourth years of the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The data was collected from the translation texts of these students using the same source text. This study should help to pinpoint the potential problematic errors to which students are prone when translating the topic-comment structure of Vietnamese, and provide some practical guidelines to teachers so that they can prevent these errors from the learners in the teaching of Vietnamese-English translations.

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Category: Quarterly Journal, Volume 7 Issue 3