Translation ambiguity

John W. Schwieter, Anat Prior

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter provides a critical overview of translation ambiguity, which arises when bilinguals are confronted with a situation in which more than one translation is possible for a given word. We first discuss the sources of translation ambiguity, its prevalence, and the methods for measuring it. We then describe the consequences of translation ambiguity for lexical processing and learning. Finally, we explore how translation ambiguity can be modeled in the bilingual mental lexicon and discuss the possibility that bilingualism is another expression of ambiguity in which the bilingual mind is constantly activating multiple meanings in translation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBilingual Lexical Ambiguity Resolution
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages30
ISBN (Electronic)9781316535967
StatePublished - 24 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2020.


  • Ambiguity resolution
  • Bilingual lexicon
  • Homograph
  • Meaning ambiguity
  • Translation ambiguity
  • Translation semantic variability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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