An Application of Temporal Frame in Translating Chinese News into English

Da Hui Dong


Many researchers have found that in acquiring the English tense system L2 learners often lack an awareness of tense conventions in the context of a text, which prevents them from using correct grammatical morphology. The present study reports the outcome of an experiment in which native Chinese speaking learners have shown significant improvement in choosing correct tense when translating Chinese news articles into English after being introduced to the concept of “temporal frame” (Matthiessen, 1996; Smith, 2003) in their News English classes over eight weeks. This study included an experiment group of 27 subjects and a control group of 75 subjects. Those in the experiment group were final-year undergraduate students of a News translation and interpreting program in a Taiwanese university; while those in the control group came from other discipline-specific translation and interpreting programs (e.g. Science and Technology and Trade and Economics) and the postgraduate translation and interpreting program of the same university. 

The results show that:

(1) subjects from both experiment group and control group have no significant differences in terms of choosing correct English tense in the pre-test;

(2) previous exposure to News English (News-specific vs other discipline specific) and the English proficiency level (postgraduate vs undergraduate) make little difference in subjects' command of English tense;

(3) subjects from the experiment group perform significantly better than those from the control group in terms of choosing correct English tense in the post-test.


translation Chinese into English; News; Temporal Frame; Discourse; Translation into English

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