Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-544b6db54f-rcd7l Total loading time: 0.5 Render date: 2021-10-22T15:38:27.318Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

5 - Translation Ambiguity

from Part II - Bilingual Lexical Processing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 December 2019

Roberto R. Heredia
Affiliation:
Texas A & M University
Anna B. Cieślicka
Affiliation:
Texas A & M University
Get access

Summary

This chapter provides a critical overview of translation ambiguity, which arises when bilinguals are confronted with a situation in which more than one translation is possible for a given word. We first discuss the sources of translation ambiguity, its prevalence, and the methods for measuring it. We then describe the consequences of translation ambiguity for lexical processing and learning. Finally, we explore how translation ambiguity can be modeled in the bilingual mental lexicon and discuss the possibility that bilingualism is another expression of ambiguity in which the bilingual mind is constantly activating multiple meanings in translation.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Schwieter, J. W., & Ferreira, A. (Eds.). (2017). The handbook of translation and cognition. Malden MA: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tokowicz, N. (2015). Lexical processing and second language acquisition. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
Tokowicz, N., & Degani, T. (2010). Translation ambiguity: Consequences for learning and processing. In VanPatten, B. & Jegerski, J. (Eds.), Research on second language processing and parsing (pp.281293). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Alario, F., Ferrand, L., Laganaro, M., New, B., Frauenfelder, U., & Segui, J. (2004). Predictors of picture naming speed. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 36, 140155CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Allen, D., & Conklin, K. (2013). Cross-linguistic similarity and task demands for Japanese-English bilingual processing. PLoS ONE, 8(8), e72631.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Allen, D., & Conklin, K. (2014). Cross-linguistic similarity norms for Japanese-English translation equivalents. Behavioral Research Methods, 46(2), 540563.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Altarriba, J., & Gianico, J. (2003). Lexical ambiguity resolution across languages: A theoretical and empirical review. Experimental Psychology, 50(3), 159170.Google ScholarPubMed
Arêas da Luz Fontes, A., & Schwartz, A. (2010). On a different plane: Cross-language effects on the conceptual representations of within-language homonyms. Language and Cognitive Processes, 25, 508532.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Basnight-Brown, D., Kazanas, S., & Altarriba, J. (2018). Translation ambiguity in Mandarin-English bilinguals: Translation production differences in concrete, abstract and emotion words. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism. https://doi.org/10.1075/lab.17037.basCrossRef
Boada, R., Sánchez-Casas, R., Gavilán, J., García-Albea, J., & Tokowicz, N. (2013). Effect of multiple translations and cognate status in translation recognition performance of balanced bilinguals. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 16, 183197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Bowers, J. S., Mimouni, Z., & Arguin, M. (2000). Orthography plays a critical role in cognate priming: Evidence from French-English and Arabic-French cognate. Memory and Cognition, 28(8), 12891296.Google Scholar
Bracken, J., Degani, T., Eddington, C., & Tokowicz, N. (2017). Translation semantic variability: How semantic relatedness affects learning of translation-ambiguous words. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 20(4), 783794.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Brysbeart, M., & Duyck, W. (2010). Is it time to leave behind the Revised Hierarchical Model of bilingual language processing after fifteen years of service? Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 13(3), 359371.Google Scholar
Clifton, C., Frazier, L., & Rayner, K. (Eds.). (1994). Perspectives on sentence processing. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
Cristoffanini, P., Kirsner, K., & Milech, D. (1986). Bilingual lexical representation: The status of Spanish-English cognates. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 38(3), 367393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
De Groot, A. (1992). Determinants of word translation. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 18(5), 10011018.Google Scholar
De Groot, A. M. B., & Keijzer, R. (2000). What is hard to learn is easy to forget: The roles of word concreteness, cognate status, and word frequency in foreign-language vocabulary learning and forgetting. Language Learning, 50(1), 156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
De Groot, A., & Nas, G. (1991). Lexical representation of cognates and noncognates in compound bilinguals. Journal of Memory and Language, 30, 90123.Google Scholar
Degani, T., & Goldberg, M. (2019). How individual differences affect learning of translation-ambiguous vocabulary. Language Learning, 69(3), 600651.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Degani, T., Prior, A., Eddingtion, C., Arêas da Luz Fontes, A., Tokowicz, N. (2016). Determinants of translation ambiguity: A within and cross-language comparison. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 6(3), 290307.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Degani, T., Prior, A., & Tokowicz, N. (2011). Bidirectional transfer: The effect of sharing a translation. Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 23, 1828.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Degani, T., & Tokowicz, N. (2010). Ambiguous words are hard to learn. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 13, 399–314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Degani, T., & Tokowicz, N. (2013). Cross-language influences: Translation status affects intraword sense relatedness. Memory and Cognition, 41(7), 10461064.Google ScholarPubMed
Degani, T., Tseng, A., & Tokowicz, N. (2014). Together or apart? Learning of ambiguous words. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 17(4), 749765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dijkstra, T., Grainger, J., & van Heuven, W. J. B. (1999). Recognition of cognates and interlingual homographs: The neglected role of phonology. Journal of Memory and Language, 41(4), 496518.Google Scholar
Eddington, C., Degani, T., & Tokowicz, N. (2019). English and German translation norms: Examining translation ambiguity across proficiency levels.
Eddington, C., & Tokowicz, N. (2013). Examining English-German translation ambiguity using primed translation recognition. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 16, 442457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Elston-Güttler, K., & Williams, J. (2008). L1 polysemy affects L2 meaning interpretation: Evidence for L1 concepts active during L2 reading. Second Language Research, 24, 167187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Forster, K., & Chambers, S. (1973). Lexical access and naming time. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 12, 627635.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Frenck-Mestre, C., & Prince, P. (1997). Second language autonomy. Journal of Memory and Language, 37, 481501.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Garthercole, V., & Moawad, R. (2010). Semantic interaction in early and late bilinguals: All words are not created equally. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 13, 385408.Google Scholar
Gearailt, D. (2005). Dictionary characteristics in cross-language information retrieval. Technical report No. 616. University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. www.cl.cam.ac.uk/techreports/UCAM-CL-TR-616.pdf
Gernsbacher, M., Robertson, R., & Werner, N. (2002). The costs and benefits of meaning. In Gorfein, D. & David, S. (Eds.), On the consequences of meaning selection: Perspectives on resolving lexical ambiguity: Decade of behavior (pp. 119137). Washington, DC: American Psychology Association.Google Scholar
Gollan, T., Slattery, T., Goldenberg, D., van Assche, E., Duyck, W., & Rayner, K. (2011). Frequency drives lexical access in reading but not in speaking: The frequency lag hypothesis. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 140, 186209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gorfien, D. (Ed.) (2002). On the consequences of meaning selection: Perspectives on resolving lexical ambiguity. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
Grainger, J., & Frenck-Mestre, C. (1998). Masked priming by translation equivalents in proficient bilinguals. Language and Cognitive Processes, 13(6), 601623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Guo, T., Misra, M., Tam, J., & Kroll, J. (2012). On the time course of accessing meaning in a second language: An electrophysiological and behavioral investigation of translation recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 38(5), 11651186.Google Scholar
Jiang, N. (2002). Form-meaning mapping in vocabulary acquisition in a second language. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 24, 617637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jiang, N. (2004). Semantic transfer and its implications for vocabulary teaching in a second language. The Modern Language Journal, 88(30), 416432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kambe, G., Rayner, K., & Duffy, S. (2001). Global context effects on processing lexically ambiguous words: Evidence from eye fixations. Memory and Cognition, 29, 363372.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kellas, G., Ferraro, F., & Simpson, G. (1988). Lexical ambiguity and the timecourse of attentional allocation in word recognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 14, 601609.Google ScholarPubMed
Kroll, J., & Stewart, E. (1994). Category interference in translation and picture naming: Evidence for asymmetric connections between bilingual memory representations. Journal of Memory and Language, 33, 149174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kroll, J., & Tokowicz, N. (2001). The development of conceptual representation for words in a second language. In Nicol, J. (Ed.), One mind, two languages: Bilingual language processing (pp. 4971). Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Kroll, J., & Tokowicz, N. (2005). Models of bilingual representation and processing: Looking back and to the future. In Kroll, J. & De Groot, A. (Eds.), Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic approaches (pp. 531554). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Kroll, J., van Hell, J., Tokowicz, N., & Green, D. (2010). The Revised Hierarchical Model: A critical review and assessment. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 13(3), 373381.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lalor, E., & Kirsner, K. (2001). The representation of “false cognates” in the bilingual lexicon. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 8(3), 552559.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Laxén, J., & Lavaur, J.-M. (2010). The role of semantics in translation recognition: Effects of number of translations, dominance of translations and semantic relatedness of multiple translations. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 13(2), 157183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lemhöfer, K., & Dijkstra, T. (2004). Recognizing cognates and interlingual homographs: Effects of code similarity in language-specific and generalized lexical decision. Memory and Cognition, 32, 533550.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lemhöfer, K., Dijkstra, T., & Michel, M. C. (2004). Three languages, one ECHO: Cognate effects in trilingual word recognition. Language and Cognitive Processes, 19, 585611.Google Scholar
Libben, M. (2017). Non-selective language activation and bilingualism as the default mental lexicon. In Libben, M., Goral, M., & Libben, G. (Eds.), Bilingualism: A framework for understanding the mental lexicon (pp. 103122). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Libben, M., Goral, M., & Libben, G. (2017). The dynamic lexicon: Complex words in bilingual minds. In Libben, M., Goral, M., & Libben, G. (Eds.), Bilingualism: A framework for understanding the mental lexicon (pp. 17). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Libben, G., & Schwieter, J. W. (2019). Lexical organization and reorganization in the multilingual mind. In Schwieter, J. W. (Ed.), The handbook of the neuroscience of multilingualism (pp. 297312). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lotto, L., & De Groot, A. M. B. (1998). Effects of learning method and word type on acquiring vocabulary in an unfamiliar language. Language Learning, 48(1), 3169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lu, Y., Wu, J., Dunlap, S., & Chen, B. (2017). The inhibitory mechanism in learning ambiguous words in a second language. Frontiers in Psychology, 8(636).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lyons, J. (1995). Linguistic semantics. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Malt, B., & Sloman, S. (2003). Linguistic diversity and object naming by non-native speakers of English. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 6, 4767.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Michael, E., Tokowicz, N., Degani, T., & Smith, C. (2011). Individual differences in the ability to resolve translation ambiguity across languages. Vigo International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 8, 7997.Google Scholar
Morford, J., Wilkinson, E., Villwock, A., Pinar, P., & Kroll, J. (2010). When deaf signers read English: Do written words activate their sign translation? Cognition, 118, 286292.Google Scholar
Nelson, D., McEvoy, C., & Dennis, S. (2000). What is free association and what does it measure? Memory and Cognition, 28, 887899.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Oldfield, R., & Wingfield, A. (1965). Response latencies in naming objects. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 17, 273281.Google ScholarPubMed
Peterson, R., & Savoy, P. (1998). Lexical selection and phonological encoding during language production: Evidence for cascaded processing. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 24, 539557.Google Scholar
Prior, A., Kroll, J., & MacWhinney, B. (2013). Translation ambiguity but not word class predicts translation performance. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 16(2), 458474.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Prior, A., MacWhinney, B., & Kroll, J. (2007). Translation norms for English and Spanish: The role of lexical variables, word class, and L2 proficiency in negotiating translation ambiguity. Behavior Research Methods, 39(4), 10291038.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Prior, A., Wintner, S., MacWhinney, B., & Lavie, A. (2011). Translation in and out of context. Applied Psycholinguistics, 32, 93111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rayner, K., & Duffy, S. (1986). Lexical complexity and fixation times in reading: Effects of word frequency, verb complexity, and lexical ambiguity. Memory and Cognition, 14, 191201.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Sánchez-Casas, R. M., Davis, C. W., & García-Albea, J. E. (1992). Bilingual lexical processing: Exploring the cognate/non-cognate distinction. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 4(4), 293310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sánchez-Casas, R., & García-Albea, J. (2005). The representation of cognate and noncognate words in bilingual memory: Can cognate status be characterized as a special kind of morphological relation? In Kroll, J. & De Groot, A. (Eds.), Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic approaches (pp. 226250). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Schönpflug, U. (1997). Bilingualism and memory. Paper presented at the 1st International Symposium on Bilingualism, Newcastle, UK, April 9–12.
Schoonbaert, S., Duyck, W., Brysbaert, M., & Hartsuiker, R. J. (2009). Semantic and translation priming from a first language to a second and back: Making sense of the findings. Memory and Cognition, 37(5), 569586.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Schwarz, A., & Kroll, J. (2006). Bilingual lexical activation in sentence context. Journal of Memory and Language, 55, 197212.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, Y., Walters, J., & Prior, A. (2012). Translation norms for Hebrew and English. Edmond J. Safra Foundation Technical Report, No. 2012–1.
Tokowicz, N. (2014). Translation ambiguity affects language processing, learning, and representation. In Miller, R., Martin, K., Eddington, C., Henery, A., Marcos Miguel, N., Tseng, A., Tuninetti, A., & Walter, D. (Eds.), Selected proceedings of the 2012 Second Language Research Forum (pp. 170180). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla.Google Scholar
Tokowicz, N., & Degani, T. (2010). Translation ambiguity: Consequences for learning and processing. In VanPatten, B. & Jegerski, J. (Eds.), Research on second language processing and parsing (pp. 281293). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tokowicz, N., & Kroll, J. (2007). Number of meanings and concreteness: Consequences of ambiguity within and across languages. Language and Cognitive Processes, 22, 727779.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Tokowicz, N., Kroll, J., De Groot, A., & van Hell, J. (2002). Number-of-translation norms for Dutch-English translation pairs: A new tool for examining language production. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers, 34, 435451.Google ScholarPubMed
Tseng, A., Chang, L.-Y., & Tokowicz, N. (2014). Translation ambiguity between English and Mandarin Chinese: The roles of proficiency and word characteristics. In Schwieter, J. W. & Ferreira, A. (Eds.), The development of translation competence: Theories and methodologies from psycholinguistics and cognitive science (pp. 107165). Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.Google Scholar
Twilley, L., Dixon, P., Taylor, D., & Clark, K. (1994). University of Alberta norms of relative meaning frequency for 566 homographs. Memory and Cognition, 22, 111126.Google ScholarPubMed
Vaid, J., & Meuter, R. (2017). Languages without borders: Reframing the study of the bilingual mental lexicon. In Libben, M., Goral, M., & Libben, G. (Eds.), Bilingualism: A framework for understanding the mental lexicon (pp. 839). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
van Hell, J., & De Groot, A. (1998). Conceptual representation in bilingual memory: Effects of concreteness and cognate status in word association. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 1, 193211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Voga, M., & Grainger, J. (2007). Cognate status and cross-script translation priming. Memory and Language, 35, 5, 938952.Google ScholarPubMed
Wen, Y., & van Heuven, W. (2016). Chinese translation norms for 1,429 English words. Behavior Research Methods.
Zhang, S. (1995). Semantic differentiation in the acquisition of English as a second language. Language Learning, 45, 225249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Zhang, Y, Chen, B., Tang, Y., Yao, P., & Lu, Y. (2018). Semantic similarity to known second language words impacts learning of new meanings. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(2048).CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×