Translation Ambiguity: Consequences for Learning and Processing

Natasha Tokowicz, Tamar Degani

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


Translation ambiguity occurs when a word in one language can be translated in more than one way into another language. This cross-language phenomenon comes from several sources of within-language ambiguity including lexical ambiguity, polysemy, and near-synonymy. We review the existing research on translation ambiguity, including its consequences for vocabulary learning, for lexical processing (e.g., translation performance), and for meaning representation. When possible, we discuss how the impact of translation ambiguity is affected by or interacts with the source of the ambiguity (i.e., near-synonymy vs. lexical ambiguity) and L2 proficiency level.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch in Second Language Processing and Parsing
EditorsBill VanPatten, Jill Jegerski
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9789027287489
ISBN (Print)9789027253156
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2010

Publication series

NameLanguage Acquisition & Language Disorders
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
ISSN (Print)0925-0123


  • language
  • psycholinguistics
  • second language learning
  • lexical processing
  • translation


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