Mediterranean Editors and Translators Meeting 2007 – METM 07
Building Bridges, Constructing Networks

Real Jardín Botánico/CSIC, Plaza de Murillo 2, 28014 Madrid, Spain

25-26 October 2007:
Pre-METM Workshops and General Assembly
27 October 2007:
28 October 2007:
Post-METM Excursion

Poster: Discipline- and Genre-Specific Language Corpus Analysis - A Handy Tool for Clarifying Language Usage

Formal knowledge of language, personal experience with field-specific varieties, and familiarity with style guidelines are sometimes insufficient for resolving doubts about specialist English word usage. Busy editors and translators - whether or not they are first-language users of English or field specialists - can extend their range of knowledge by creating a "target language corpus" of texts to emulate. A simple corpus analysis tool called a "concordancer" can mine the corpus for reliable answers to questions about how words can be handled in keeping with the expectations of experienced readers of those text types. This approach, which helps translators and manuscript editors to work more confidently, is especially useful for teams whose usage must converge to reflect a similar pattern.

This poster shows some of the questions that can be answered with this approach. Common doubts are resolved with outputs from freeware "concordancing" software AntConc 3.1.302 (, an easy-to-use freeware program for Windows (version 3.1.2), Linux or MAC operating systems. Such software was developed to serve linguists but the outputs are intuitively useful to specialized translators, language editors, and writers - especially if their native language is not English or they are not habitual users of a specialist variety.

Mary Ellen Kerans is a freelance translator and editor in Barcelona Spain. She began using corpora as an instructor of English for specific purposes and she now uses this tool in team translation in medical specialties. Ailish Maher is a freelance translator in Berga, Spain. Ailish, Mary Ellen and Stephen Waller are developing MET's workshop on Corpus-guided editing and translation of specialist texts. This poster has previously been shown at two conferences: 1) European Association of Science Editors Ninth Conference: The Culture of Science Editing, Krakow 15-18 June 2006, and 2) PPRISEAL (Publishing and Presenting Research Internationally: Issues for speakers of English as an Additional Language), La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain 11-13 Juanuary 2007.