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Consulting corpora

Dr Ana Frankenberg-Garcia explains the benefits of corpora ahead of the ITI corpus workshop she is running on 8 February 2019 at Aston University.

You are in the middle of a translation but are not sure what word to use. Dictionaries, glossaries, terminological databases, style guides and online searches are no use, and your fellow translators don’t know either. This is where a corpus can help more than any other resource.

Traditionally, a corpus is just a collection of writing, like all the writings of a famous author. In this context, a corpus is a collection of authentic texts in digital format sampled to be representative of a whole language or of a specific type of language. For example, the British National Corpus gives you a snapshot of how British English is used. The European Medicine Agency corpus enables you to observe and understand objectively how words are used in the pharmaceutical industry. Corpora can help you use specialised languages, or simply clarify general questions about English or any other language.

Corpora are, after all, where lexicographers and linguists get the raw material they need to compile dictionaries and other resources. In the past, corpus software was not very user-friendly. Nowadays, however, software like Sketch Engine allows anyone with a computer and an internet connection to start benefiting from corpora straight away, with no software installation and very little training. This means, for example, that instead of having to read endless pharmaceutical texts from beginning to end to find out how a word like "vial" is used, you can retrieve the word in the centre of your screen and simply scroll down to check how specialists have used it.

The ITI corpus workshop is a hands-on, one day event where you will learn the skills you will need to understand and work with corpora in your regular translation practice. Throughout the day you will have the opportunity to use the Sketch Engine corpus tools yourself, with access to corpora in over sixty languages.

Following the workshop, participants will be able to continue using Sketch Engine from their own computers for an extended trial period. 

Dr Ana Frankenberg-Garcia is Reader in Translation Studies and Programme Leader of the MA in Translation at the University of Surrey. Ana has extensive experience of professional development, having previously delivered several highly successful corpus workshops for the ITI, the EU Commission DG-Translation, and the Society for Editors and Proofreaders among others.

For more information about the workshop, click here.

To reserve a place on the workshop download and complete the registration form below.





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