There is a whole lot of translators and interpreters out there that claim to be using corpus linguistics as a translation aid, but in fact they just use concordancers as a fall back solution to missing dictionary entries. They don't really know what corpus linguistics is about.
The fact is - and being originally a translator myself, I feel obliged to do a little bit of self-criticism here - that translators and language teachers are not yet able to recognize the real boundaries and potential of computational linguistics, often using corpus linguistics terminology as a mere embellishment of their CVs. So no, I don't think everyday translators really make (proper) use of corpus linguistics. My BA thesis in translation and interpreting dealt with a really really basic introduction to corpus linguistics and its use in translation studies, and that was considered a quite good job back then. Looking back at it now, I realize how little I knew about the interaction of language and computers and how much mathematics can actually contribute to the description of a language.
On the other side, I think that corpus linguistics can very well be of help to computational linguists. Yorick mentioned the WAC initiative. Any corpus linguist would probably ask questions about the representativity of the corpus, which we computational linguists often take as granted. We often think that numbers and source compatibility suffice, but implementing representativity is much more difficult than that. And we all know how important a well-balanced corpus is to a computational linguist. So here you have it, language engineering is like apples: you never throw away anything.
As far as Dan Melamed's assertion about absence of meaning: if it were really so, what are we all doing here?
Just my two pennies.
Andrea Mulloni part-time PhD Student University of Wolverhampton
That was a hard test Marcie. I didn't know if it was an essay test, True or False, or multiple choice. I just put down "Not Guilty".
On 19 Aug 2008, at 12:19, Lou Burnard wrote:
> Lou (who really shouldn't post to public lists before having had his
> second coffee of the day) says "Sadly, none of [the language-teaching]
> community seems to have seen fit (yet) to contribute to the present
> discussion. "
> Geoffrey Williams is very definitely a member of that community,
> and so
> I believe is Dr Louw. Apologies to both for misrepresenting their
> respective allegiances.
> I stand by my assertion that the debate hasn't taken fully into
> the transformative effects of corpora and corpus-methods in that
> specific discipline though.
> Corpora mailing list
> Corpora at uib.no
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