Translation norms for English and Spanish: The role of lexical variables, word class, and L2 proficiency in negotiating translation ambiguity

Anat Prior, Brian Macwhinney, Judith F. Kroll

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We present a set of translation norms for 670 English and 760 Spanish nouns, verbs and class ambiguous items that varied in their lexical properties in both languages, collected from 80 bilingual participants. Half of the words in each language received more than a single translation across participants. Cue word frequency and imageability were both negatively correlated with number of translations. Word class predicted number of translations: Nouns had fewer translations than did verbs, which had fewer translations than class-ambiguous items. The translation probability of specific responses was positively correlated with target word frequency and imageability, and with its form overlap with the cue word. Translation choice was modulated by L2 proficiency: Less proficient bilinguals tended to produce lower probability translations than more proficient bilinguals, but only in forward translation, from L1 to L2. These findings highlight the importance of translation ambiguity as a factor influencing bilingual representation and performance. The norms can also provide an important resource to assist researchers in the selection of experimental materials for studies of bilingual and monolingual language performance. These norms may be downloaded from www.psychonomic.org/archive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1029-1038
Number of pages10
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (all)

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