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A Critical review of a translation strategy for plural human noun phrases in English-to-Korean translation

Cho, Euiyon 1

1동국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper critically examines a translation strategy for plural noun phrases in English-to-Korean translation which has been proposed by Kwak and Chin (2011). Since their translation strategy concerning human plural noun phrases is based on a linguistic hypothesis, in this paper, first, I argue that the linguistic hypothesis called ambiguity hypothesis concerning plural and singular interpretation of Korean human noun phrases without the Korean plural marker ‘-tul’ is invalid. It appears that Korean noun phrases with the plural marker or any plural quantifier allow only singular interpretation when they are given a definite interpretation. It will be better to assume that singular or plural interpretation of the so-called unmarked Korean noun phrase is contextually determined. Secondly, it is shown that the translation strategy, when applied for some authentic translation data, produces a mistranslation and therefore it must be discarded. It appears that English plural human nouns must be translated with Korean plural marker ‘-tul’ when they are contextually interpreted to be definite. What is suggested in this study is that any translation strategies, if needed, must be problem-centered to solve concerned translation problems occurring or to occur in translation process, not to be linguistically motivated to bridge any structural differences between source and target languages.

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