Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0924-1884
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9986
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This paper describes an empirical contextual study of the English verbs and syntactic resources translated by observar in an extensive corpus of biomedical research articles. Quantitative analysis showed that the frequency of observar was significantly higher in the Spanish translations than in the comparable Spanish language original articles (360 vs. 162 instances; P < 0·001). Qualitative analysis of the Spanish native texts provided a linguistic profile for the verb. This profile was then used in a contextual study to assess the appropriateness of the 360 instances found in the translated texts. The results indicate that observar is only a natural translation equivalent for ‘observe’. For other verbs, an awareness both of the rhetorical, syntactic and collocational restrictions and of the range of alternative choices will allow translators to select appropriate lexical items and avoid excessive repetition of observar, thus creating a more varied target text.


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