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Translation norms for Malay and English words: The effects of word class, semantic variability, lexical characteristics, and language proficiency on translation

Lee, Soon Tat; van Heuven, Walter J.B.; Price, Jessica M.; Leong, Christine Xiang Ru

Translation norms for Malay and English words: The effects of word class, semantic variability, lexical characteristics, and language proficiency on translation Thumbnail


Authors

Soon Tat Lee

Jessica M. Price

Christine Xiang Ru Leong



Abstract

Translation equivalents are widely used in bilingual research concerning word processing (e.g., Eddington & Tokowicz, 2013; Jouravlev & Jared, 2020) and second-language vocabulary learning (e.g., Bracken et al., 2017; Degani et al., 2014). Although translation norms exist in several languages, to date there are no Malay-English translation norms. This study presents the first Malay-English translation norms collected with highly proficient Malay-English bilinguals. Furthermore, the study investigates the impact of lexical characteristics on translation ambiguity. The forward translation (FT) task (N = 30) collected English translations for 1004 Malay words selected from the Malay Lexicon Project (Yap et al., 2010), and subsequently the backward translation (BT) task (N = 30) gathered Malay translations for 845 English words obtained from the FT phase. The data revealed a high prevalence of translation ambiguity in both translation directions. Specifically, verbs, adjectives, and class-ambiguous words were more translation-ambiguous than nouns. Furthermore, within-language semantic variability and word length were positively correlated with translation ambiguity, whereas word frequency only correlated with translation ambiguity in FT. Word length and word frequency of the source words and their translations were positively correlated. Intriguingly, only in FT were bilinguals with higher Malay proficiency more likely to provide accurate and dominant translations for the Malay words. These findings contrast with those reported in translation norming studies involving other language pairs. The translation norms provide a useful resource for bilingual language studies involving Malay-English bilinguals.

Citation

Lee, S. T., van Heuven, W. J., Price, J. M., & Leong, C. X. R. (2023). Translation norms for Malay and English words: The effects of word class, semantic variability, lexical characteristics, and language proficiency on translation. Behavior Research Methods, 55, Article 3585-3601. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-022-01977-3

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 6, 2022
Online Publication Date Oct 11, 2022
Publication Date 2023-10
Deposit Date Oct 14, 2022
Publicly Available Date Oct 12, 2023
Journal Behavior Research Methods
Print ISSN 1554-351X
Electronic ISSN 1554-3528
Publisher Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 55
Article Number 3585-3601
DOI https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-022-01977-3
Keywords General Psychology; Psychology (miscellaneous); Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous); Developmental and Educational Psychology; Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/12328236
Publisher URL https://link.springer.com/article/10.3758/s13428-022-01977-3

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