Explicitation and implicitation of nominal constituents in translated fiction and non-fiction (Dutch-German)

Start - End 
2012 - 2019 (ongoing)
Department of Translation, Interpreting and Communication
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Research Period 
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Research Methodology 



Explicitation and implicitation are two translatological concepts that translation researchers have been investigating ever since their first mention by Vinay/Darbelnet (1958/1977), but especially after Blum-Kulka (1986) formulated her explicitation hypothesis and introduced corpus-based research in translation studies. Research got a further impetus when Baker (1993) embarked upon the search for possible translation universals and Klaudy/Károly (2005) postulated the asymmetry hypothesis, which was adapted by Becher (2010).

The numerous studies on explicitation and implicitation are, however, difficult to compare, primarily because explicitation and implicitation have been interpreted differently, not rarely intuitively, by many translation researchers (cf. Becher 2010, Murtisari 2013). This is due to the fact that the concept explicitness, which underlies explicitation and implicitation, has never been satisfactorily defined in translation studies (Murtisari 2014).

It is therefore the aim of this dissertation to first and foremost define explicitness, and this from a relevance-theoretic perspective. Based on Gutt (2000) and his followers in the relevance-theoretic approach to translation studies (cf. Alvez/Conçalves 2010, Murtisari 2013), it is believed to be meaningful and promising to consider explicitness, and by extension explicitation and implicitation, from a relevance-theoretic point of view.

But the dissertation seeks to go beyond theorising by bringing the definitions of explicitation and implicitation into practice in a corpus-based study for the language pair Dutch-German, which has hardly been investigated in this respect (cf. Van de Velde 2011). Focus of the study is nominal compounding, a very productive word formation category in Dutch and German, but said to be often realized differently in these closely related languages: Where German prefers a compound, Dutch sometimes opts for an alternative construction (Hüning/Schlücker 2010, Schlücker 2012), which in turn may lead to shifts in meaning. Four different variables will be considered: translation direction, text type, information distribution and translator.  


Alves, F., & Gonçalves, J. L. (2010). Relevance and translation. In Y. Gambier & L. van Doorslaer (Eds.), Handbook of Translation Studies (Vol. 1, pp. 279-284). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Baker, M. (1993). Corpus Linguistics and Translation Studies: Implications and Applications. In M. Baker, G. Francis & E. Tognini-Bonelli (Eds.), Text and Technology. In honour of John Sinclair. (pp. 233-250). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Becher, V. (2010). Abandoning the Notion of 'Translation-Inherent' Explicitation: Against a Dogma of Translation Studies. Across Languages and Cultures, 11(1), 28.

Blum-Kulka, S. (1986). Shifts of Cohesion and Coherence in Translation. In J. House & S. Blum-Kulka (Eds.), Interlingual and intercultural communication (pp. 17-35). Tübingen: Günter Narr Verlag.

Gutt, E.-A. (2000). Relevance and Translation. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing.

Hüning, M., & Schlücker, B. (2010). Konvergenz und Divergenz in der Wortbildung - Komposition im Niederländischen und im Deutschen. In A. Dammel, S. Kürschner & D. Nübling (Eds.), Kontrastive Germanistische Linguistik (pp. 783-825). Hildesheim/Zürich/ New York: Georg Olms Verlag.

Klaudy, K., & Károly, K. (2005). Implicitation in translation: Empirical evidence for operational asymmetry in translation. Across Languages and Cultures, 6(1), 13-28.

Murtisari, E. T. (2013). A Relevance-based Framework for Explicitation and Implicitation in Translation. An Alternative Typology. trans-kom, 6(2), 315-344.

Murtisari, E. T. (2014). Response to Becher's Two Papers on the Explicitation Hypothesis. trans-kom, 7(2), 272-281.

Schlücker, B. (2012). Die deutsche Kompositionsfreudigkeit. Übersicht und Einführung. In L. Gaeta & B. Schlücker (Eds.), Das Deutsche als kompositionsfreudige Sprache (pp. 1-25). Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter.

Van de Velde, M. (2011). Explizierung und Implizierung im Übersetzungspaar Deutsch-Niederländisch. Eine quantitative Untersuchung. In P. A. Schmitt, S. Herold & A. Weilandt (Eds.), Translationsforschung (pp. 865-884). Leipzig: Peter Lang.

Vinay, J.-P., & Darbelnet, J. (1977). Stylistique comparée du Français et de l'Anglais (2 ed.). Paris: Didier.



Phd Student(s)


Silvia Hansen-Schirra

Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz