"Small comparable corpora for the retrieval of culture-related elements and their impact for translation"

by Prof Rozane Rebechi, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul

Update: the event has now finished (Feb 26th 2021).


This talk attempts to share findings of research I have carried out for the past years involving English-Portuguese translation of cultural references. Much has been discussed about the difficulties to translate culture-related elements, after all, “[t]he worlds in which different societies live are distinct worlds, not merely the same world with different labels” (Sapir, 1949: 162). However, semiautomatic investigation of simple and compound keywords retrieved from (small) comparable corpora demonstrate that functional translation (Nord, 2006) of texts of a similar genre in different languages and cultures go far beyond linguistic equivalence, as the specificities of the genre in both languages and cultures should also be considered by translators. To produce texts that work properly for the target reader, the translator should be aware of the domain conventions in both languages and cultures before deciding what aspects should be maintained, adapted, or omitted. Using examples resulting from the analysis of obituaries, cooking recipes, and restaurant reviews (Rebechi, 2018, 2020, 2021), the presentation seeks to demonstrate that the assumptions underlying corpus linguistics may not only help translators to interpret the source language texts, but also assist them in finding solutions for the translation process (Stewart, 2000).


  • Nord, C. (2006). Loyalty and fidelity in specialized translation. Confluências: Revista de Tradução Científica e Técnica, 29–41.
  • Rebechi, R. R., & da Silva, M. M. (2018). Obituaries in translation: a corpus-based study. Cadernos de Tradução, 38(3), 298–318.
  • Rebechi, R., & Tagnin, S. (2020). Brazilian cultural markers in translation: A model for a corpus-based glossary. Research in Corpus Linguistics, 8, 65–85.
  • Rebechi, R. R.; Schabbach, G. R.; Freitag, P. H. (2021). Sobre a busca por equivalentes funcionais em um corpus comparável português-inglês de críticas gastronômicas. TradTerm, 37(2), 430-459.
  • Sapir, E. Culture, Language and Personality. Los Angeles: University of California, 1949.
  • Stewart, D. (2000). Conventionality, Creativity and Translated Text: The Implications of Electronic Corpora in Translation. In M. Olohan (Ed.), Intercultural Faultlines (pp. 73–91). Manchester/Northampton: St. Jerome.

Speaker’s bio

Rozane Rebechi is a professor and researcher at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. She holds a Master and a Ph.D. degrees in English Language and Literature from the University of São Paulo (Brazil). Her main areas of research are Translation, Terminology, and Discourse, to which she applies Corpus Linguistics as methodology. She is currently chair of the Brazilian Association of Researchers in Translation (ABRAPT) and Associated Partner to the European Masters in Technology for Translation and Interpreting (EM TTI). She was recently nominated vice-dean for International Affairs and director of the academic mobility department of UFRGS. Rozane has published several papers in national and international journals and edited volumes on translation and terminology.


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