The games translators play
This chapter applies tools of corpus linguistics and game theory to an aligned parallel corpus of ancient Indian cultic poetry, the Ṛgveda, and its translations in German and Russian (ca. 690,000 tokens in total). The research analyses the relationship between translators’ choice preferences in rendering ambiguous Vedic terms, using such techniques as transcription and explicitation, and the source text content. The latter is represented as two translation constraints, one dealing with content uniqueness (measured by the number of hapaxes) and another with context (text location). Translators apply lexical adjustment if the amount of information available to them is low and there is a perceived necessity to explain the meaning of a key word. When the degree of ambiguity of the source text cannot be estimated, often the case with uniquely attested lexis, individual translation choices aggregate to a coherent strategy, which results in complementarity between the translations.