Zero translations and cross-linguistic equivalence: evidence from the English-Swedish Parallel Corpus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


This paper examines omission (zero translation) and related translation strategies in the English-Swedish Parallel Corpus and, in particular, how translators handle various discourse expressions (connectors, particles) that do not have a straightforward equivalent in the target language. It is demonstrated that, although connectors are sometimes omitted for other reasons than cross-linguistic non-equivalence, omission is especially common with language-specific connectors and particles which have no obvious target language counterpart, such as the Swedish explanatory connector nämligen and modal particle ju and the English transitional markers now and well. These expressions also give rise to various compensatoy translation strategies which only partly capture the meaning of the original. The paper also examines the cultural transfer effect caused by the translation of English terms of endearment (darling, love, etc) which have no natural counterparts in Swedish and therefore sound affected and 'foreign' when rendered in Swedish.


  • Bengt Altenberg
  • Karin Aijmer
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Languages and Literature


  • contrastive analysis, translation, corpus linguistics
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFrom the COLT’s mouth ... and others’. Language corpora studies in honour of Anna-Brita Stenström
EditorsLeiv Egil Breivik, Angela Hasselgren
ISBN (Print)90-420-1479-2
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Publication categoryResearch