, Volume 43 Issue 5 Previous Issue   
Scholarly Forum
Formal Linguistics as an Empirical Science: Ideas and Methods
Hu Jianhua
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2021, 43(5): 3-22.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.351
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This paper points out that generative linguistics, also called formal linguistics, is an empirical science that shares quite a number of similarities with theoretical physics with regard to the ways of investigating natural phenomena, given that language is also a natural phenomenon. Researchers in both formal linguistics and theoretical physics use deductive methods to investigate the natural phenomenon about which they are curious. As an empirical science, the most important characteristic of formal linguistics is that the hypotheses it proposes must be falsifiable. At present, generative linguistics has developed to the stage of the Minimalist Program, which has a particular focus on the study of the Basic Property of human language (Chomsky 2016). The Minimalist Program aims to construct a simple computational system of syntax that can be used to derive the complexities of human language. The goal of formal linguistics, as in natural science, is to account for the numerous, complicated phenomena pertaining to human language in a unified way, and in terms of a few simple principles.

Translation Studies
A Survey of the Application of Machine Translation Post-editing in Chinese Language Service Providers
Wang Huashu, Chen Nie’ao
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2021, 43(5): 23-37.   https://doi.org/10.12002./j.bisu.352
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Machine translation (MT) has been evolving rapidly due to the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI), and has had a significant impact on traditional language services. At the same time, the era of globalization and big data is characterized by an exponentially expanding amount of information. In this new era, how will language service providers (LSPs) in China grasp the opportunities generated by the evolution of MT and meet the challenges posed by the information explosion? In this study, the authors, based on a survey involving 218 LSPs in China, summarize how MT and machine translation post-editing (MTPE) have been applied in these enterprises. This is followed by a discussion of the areas for improvement in MT quality and MTPE workflow, and suggestions to improve these aspects from the perspectives of the language service industry, institutions of higher education, and individual translators. It is hoped that the application of, research on, and talent training for MTPE will receive due attention in the future.

A Study of the Training Model of Post-editing Competence Driven by Book Translation Projects
Xiao Zhiqing
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2021, 43(5): 38-51.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.353
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In the era of artificial intelligence (AI), the rapid development of machine translation technology has had a tremendous impact on language service industry and on translation education, in which the cultivation of students’ post-editing competence has become an important aspect. The present gap between the huge demand for professional post-editors in the language service market and the shortage of such professionals has raised the question of how to design an innovative training model and produce qualified post-editors who meet the market demand. This paper explores a new training model for post-editing competence driven by book translation projects and based on the “CAT+MT+PE” collaborative translation between teachers and students, and introduces and discusses its connotations, teaching design, implementation steps, and effects. To address the possible problems of book translation resources, pre-translation training costs, translation production platforms, project management risks, and other challenges in this model, we propose corresponding countermeasures and suggestions in the hope of sharing our doings and findings with other MTI educational institutions in China.

Research on the Post-editing Features of Computer-Aided Translation Tools
Zhou Xinghua, Li Yiyang
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2021, 43(5): 52-65.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.354
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Foreign research on post-editing began in the mid-1980s, while domestic research on this subject began in the early twenty-first century. However, the existing research has failed to pay sufficient attention to post-editing using computer-aided translation (CAT) tools, which is the main translation environment at present. Therefore, taking four tools as examples, this paper discusses the post-editing features of CAT tools. The research reveals that CAT tools are more suitable for post-editing jobs than other tools, and can be taken as the appropriate mass production tools for post-editing jobs, regardless of whether the perspective is from machine translation applications, post-editing operations, or workflows. In addition, new artificial intelligence technologies have further improved post-editing efficiency and human-computer interaction experience. The research on and teaching of post-editing should place more emphasis on the CAT environment, as well as on the practice of and demand for post-editing in the translation industry.

A Study of the Assessment of Translations and Post-editing in Neural Machine Translation
Guo Wanghao, Hu Fumao
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2021, 43(5): 66-82.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.355
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Although great progress has been made in neural machine translation technology and neural machine translation systems are developing extremely quickly in terms of practicality and commercialization, their performance in the vertical field remains unsatisfactory. In this study, the research object has been the English-Chinese translation of military texts conducted by the mainstream machine translation systems in China and overseas. The average of BLEU scores for the five machine translation systems — Google, Baidu, Tencent, NetEase Youdao, and Sogou — is only 20.854 for the 1 000 test datasets in an independently constructed military corpus, which is 6.62 BLEU lower than the outcome for the general corpus. The study’s results indicate that, of the 5 050 errors in the 15 categories of spelling, vocabulary, syntax and semantics, errors in the translation of military terms accounted for the greatest proportion (42.83%), followed by errors in the translation of common words and hierarchy errors. The results show that the existing neural machine translation systems cannot achieve high-quality translations of military texts to meet the actual needs; thus, more extensive post-editing research to improve the accuracy of military text translations is an urgent requirement.

Linguistic Studies
The Mechanisms and Triggering Factors in the Historical Development of English Middles
Feng Shuang, Yin Hongshan
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2021, 43(5): 83-103.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.356
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A large number of synchronic studies of English middles have arisen in the field of linguistics from multiple perspectives, in which the focus is mainly on the type that has adverbial modifications. However, to date, these studies have neither reached consensus on the defining properties of middles, nor have they accounted for them adequately in terms of the syntactic structure. This paper focuses on several types of English middles, and discusses their origins and historical development. Moreover, it aims to identify the defining property of middles in terms of the mechanisms and triggering factors in their development. The result reveals that the development of English middles follows a path that is different from that of other Indo-European languages. The historical disappearance of reflexives in the English language did not essentially result in the origin of middles. The change of meaning of will and, more importantly, the reanalysis of modal auxiliaries in the sixteenth century, triggered the reanalysis of ergatives as middles. This paper proposes that modality is the defining property of middles from a diachronic perspective. Modals or adverbs appear in middles in order to identify and restrict the interpretation of the modal operator in the T position. Next, the development of middles can be characterized in terms of the change in the manner of specifying the modal operator in the T position, from the direct merge of a modal in T as a basic strategy to the covert movement of a facility adverb or event adverb, which is a later development.

Foreign Literature Studies
Subjective Time and Transformation Space in Dostoevsky’s Novel Poor Folk as a Literary Biography
Wan Haisong
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2021, 43(5): 104-117.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.357
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The epistolary novel Poor Folk is Dostoevsky’s strongly autobiographical work, and literary biography is its main biographical feature. As a specific cultural memory, a literary biography is characterized by both authenticity and fiction, which complement each other in the novel Poor Folk. The literary biography in Poor Folk is related closely to the awakening of the characters’ self-consciousness. The characteristic of time in the novel is the absolute subjectivity and the flow of time that coexist with the stagnation of time in the work. The space feature is the unique transformation during a period of social change, which is also the artistic reflection of the subjective construction of consciousness in epistolary novels. The disintegration of the traditional idyll chronotope and the reconstruction of the modern chronotope of subjectivity in the novel Poor Folk form a type of isomorphism with Dostoevsky’s autobiography.

Foreign Language Education Studies
From English for General Purposes to English for Academic Purposes: A Multi-case Study of Teacher Change
Han Jiying, Zhang Jing, Zhao Yanlin
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2021, 43(5): 118-131.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.358
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Against the background of the transition from English for General Purposes to English for Academic Purposes, this study adopts a qualitative, multi-case approach to explore how and why teachers change during the process of curriculum reform from three perspectives, namely teaching activities and materials, teaching practice, and teachers’ attitudes. The results have indicated that college English teachers’ changes are multidimensional, and are affected via the concurrent influence of the nation’s practical needs and curriculum requirements, the students’ needs and feedback, as well as the teachers’ cognition and reflection. In order to adapt to the teaching requirements and objectives of the new curriculum, teachers constantly implement innovative methods and diversified teaching activities, and explore and adjust their teaching practice.

Young Scholars Forum
A Framework for the Translation Criticism of Classical Chinese Poetry from the Perspective of the “Six Observes” Proposed by Liu Xie
Feng Quangong
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2021, 43(5): 132-146.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.359
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Classical Chinese literary theory, with its long history and rich theoretical resources, has the potential to provide the most fertile soil for the development of translation theories with Chinese characteristics. This paper, based on the “six observes” proposed by Liu Xie in The Literary Mind and the Craving of Dragons and on its modern version elucidated by Huang Weiliang, presents a tentative operational framework for the translation criticism of classical Chinese poetry, including observing the normative form, the events and content, the words and diction, the musical qualities, continuity and mutation, and novelty and normality. By taking the specificity of translating classical Chinese poetry into consideration, many topics and angles are sketched out in the framework in which the translation criticism of classical Chinese poetry can be conducted on both macro and micro levels based on relevant, extensive, and close reading. Case studies from the “six observes” should emphasize specific points of observation in order to identify the special values of translated poems because not every point of observation is highlighted equally in the framework. It is hoped that this framework can be applied as a method of criticism in other fields of literary translation criticism as well.

A Critical Discourse Analysis of COVID-19 Reports in China’s and America’s Mainstream Media from the Perspective of Appraisal Theory
Yang Yang
Journal of Beijing International Studies University, 2021, 43(5): 147-159.   https://doi.org/10.12002/j.bisu.360
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This paper adopts the perspective of appraisal theory to conduct a critical discourse analysis based on China’s and America’s news reports about COVID-19 in the mainstream media. The results revealed that both “judgment” and “appreciation” accounted for a high proportion in China Daily and the Los Angeles Times, although there were differences in the distribution of attitude resources. With regard to judgment, China Daily tended to use tenacity and capacity, while the Los Angeles Times tended to use capacity and normality; with regard to appreciation, both China Daily and the Los Angeles Times tended to use valuation. China Daily used more positive attitude resources than did the Los Angeles Times. Based on our analysis, we can see that China Daily provided a more positive and objective evaluation of this epidemic, thus affirming the Chinese government’s policies and actions to combat the epidemic, and expressing the belief that, under the leadership of the government, combined with the active cooperation of the Chinese medical team, the epidemic would soon be under control. Although the Los Angeles Times largely recognized the efforts and contributions of China in the fight against COVID-19, the numerous negative evaluations also revealed suspicion of and even prejudice against China’s measures to prevent and control the disease. Such prejudice is not conducive to the establishment of China’s international image.

10 articles