A comparative study on effects of controlled English on the translatability of technical texts from English to Turkish


  • Alpaslan Acar Ankara University, Turkey




Translation studies, controlled language, translatability, technical translation, technical communication


Controlled language, as a subset of natural language, refers to the restricted or standardised use of lexicon, grammar, and style. It has been hypothesised that the use of controlled language makes technical texts more translatable and therefore more understandable. This paper reports the results of an experimental study designed to test this hypothesis. To try out the hypothesis, a text written in controlled technical language and standard technical language was translated by 40 participants. The participants did not any see any difference between the two texts in terms of translatability. The texts were analysed qualitatively and quantitatively.  In terms of accuracy, language style and textual cohesion, the translated texts turned out to be more appropriate in the context of controlled technical English. However, it has been also shown that the participants, regardless of the text types, are still to loyal to the source text, ignoring the fact that they are translating for a new audience. Conclusively, the results showed that controlled technical language improved the comprehensibility and translatability of technical documentation in terms of accuracy, style and text quality. The study suggests that international companies should employ technical writers and translators who prioritise the language and extralinguistic norms of the target audience, rather than blindly adhering to the source text.