Hanoi university of science and technology school of foreign languages

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1. Rationale of the research

Language is a means for people to communicate, but its variety also creates obstacles for people, leading to the emergence of translation. For the fact that economy has long been a good field for translation to flourish, we have chosen translation in economics and business for our graduation paper.

As language students, we long to explore about differences between English and Vietnamese grammar structure. During our research, we found out that one of the most-frequently-used constituents in those two languages is Noun Phrase on which we would like to choose our theme of study. English Noun Phrases might have lengthy and complex structures, and sometimes terminology for which a word-by-word translating process cannot ensure good conveyance of meaning. By our modest work, we hope that we would help the readers recognize the differences between English and Vietnamese NPs and avoid ambiguous NP translation.

2. Scope of the project

Within the scope of the study, we were assigned a 20-page extract (from page 32 to 51) of the book “Marketing Management”. (Kottler & Keller, 2012). By studying NPs in the material, we have not only come up with many useful applicable economic terms but have also found out some techniques to translate NPs more smoothly and exactly.

3. Aim of the study

Through analyzing the source text, this study aims at studying similarities and differences of English and Vietnamese Noun Phrase structure, as well as defining some noteworthy strategies in translating NPs. We, as SOFL students, hereby would like to contribute our small work to improve translation quality of NPs, especially among students in SOFL.

4. Structure of the study

The research contains four main parts:

    • Chapter I: INTRODUCTION


    • Chapter III: THE STUDY

    • Chapter IV: CONCLUSION



The birth of translation has brought much more knowledge and understanding to human-being by providing easier access to documents and books of various languages. As future translators who will translate in a daily basis, we long to dig deep into the theory of translation, especially technical translation, thus the necessity of this Chapter. Furthermore, we also focus on the variety and flexibility of English Noun Phrases and suggest some strategies to translate English Noun Phrases into Vietnamese.

I. Translation theory

What is “translation”? Nida and Taber (2003) claimed that: “Anything that can be said in one language can be said in another, unless the form is an essential element of the message.” (p.4). Newmark (1988) defined translation as “rendering the meaning of a text into another language in the way that the author intended the text” (p.5).
In other words, translation is converting from source language to target language. In this globalized world, translation, especially technical translation, is of great importance.

1. Overview of technical translation

Theoretically, technical translation is defined by Newmark (1988) as one part of specialized translation, differing from other forms of translation by terminology. Basically, we can refer technical translation to a translation whose content and terminology are related to such fields as economics, law, business, science, and technology, etc.

As translation prospers, technical translation also flourishes to meet the need of “comprehensive, accurate and effective technical documentation in a variety of languages” (Byrne, 2006). According to Kingscott (2002), it is estimated that technical translation accounts for approximately 90% of the world’s professional translation products each year.

2. Problems of Technical Translation

Several problems might emerge during the process of translating technical documents. First and foremost, technical documents require certain technical knowledge. A translator might make a dull translation if he/ she fails to understand well the meaning of the text.

Approaching a technical text, translators will definitely come up with a great variety of technical terms and concepts which might lead them to misunderstand the whole sentences or ideas. Generally, terms and acronyms often create huge troubles for translators.

Another problem is the flexibility and cumbersomeness of Noun Phrases. Vietnamese do not have the habit of using such huge system of NPs in writing documents. For this reason, we choose NPs as our main theme to study, aiming to suggest some tips to increase accuracy and smoothness in NP translation.

II. Translation of Noun Phrase

1. Overview of NPs

1.1. Definition of NPs

There are many definitions of NPs deriving from different approaches. Quirk et al (1985) approached NPs in terms of functional definition: “The noun phrase typically functions as subject, object and complement of clause and as complement of prepositional phrase” (p.245).

In the book “Analyzing English”, Jackson (1982) asserted that NP’s head was “the minimal requirement for the occurrence of a noun phrase” (p.66). Simple NP such as “students” or complex NP such as “the story about the girl who used to live there” must all possess a head noun or pronoun expressing the main idea. Below is the analysis of NP’s structure.

1.2. Structure of NPs

Carter, Hughes & McCathy (2006) stated that “NP can be quite simple or quite complex in structure” (p.126). Basing on the theory of NP in the book “Analyzing English” by Jackson (1982), we have a detailed formula of NP as foll

Pre – Modification


Post - Modification

Pre – determiner









Noun modifier





Relative clause, non-finite clause, prepositional phrase, adjective, adverb.



All the schools in town

A B F G (prepositional phrase)

Table 1: Structure of English NP

In sum, it is true to say that NPs play a crucial part of all documents in general and of Economic texts in particular.

2. Procedures applied in translating NPs in an economic text

According to Newmark (1988), translation procedures include literal translation, transference, shift or transposition, description equivalent, synonym, through translation, modulation, recognized translation, naturalization, compensation, reduction and expansion, paraphrase.

There are different ways to translate NPs in an economic text from English into Vietnamese. Because of the limited scope, we just focus on some major procedures that are used more frequently.

2.1. Shift or transposition

Shift or transposition is a translation procedure involving a change in the grammar from source language to target language (Newmark, 1988). In other words, this procedure is a change in grammar from source language to target language (singular to plural; position of the adjective; changing the word class or part of speech). According to Newmark, there are four sub-types of shift or transposition procedure.

  1. The change from singular into plural and vice versa

  2. The change is required when an SL grammatical structure does not exist in the TL

  3. The third type is the one where literal translation is grammatically possible but may not accord with natural usage in the TL.

  4. The placement of a virtual lexical gap by a grammatical structure.

All of these four sub-types are used frequently in English-Vietnamese economic translation but the first two are used more commonly than the others. Thus, in this text, we just focus deeply on these two without the others.

2.2. Omission

This procedure is used when translators want to omit words or phrases that are not essential to the meaning of the text. It means that the aim of omission is to concentrate or suppress elements in the TL text.

2.3. Addition

This method is in contrast to omission. Addition is the translation procedure that translators can add more information to the TL which is not in SL. This will make the translation easier to understand and more complete.

2.4. Transference

According to Newmark (1988), transference is considered as “the process of transferring a SL to TL”. This procedure is known as loan word, transcription, transliteration because there is no change of form when translating SL to TL. This procedure is mainly used in a number of following cases:

  1. Names of all livings

  2. Most dead people

  3. Geographical names including newly independent countries.

  4. Name of periodicals and newspaper

  5. Name of private companies and institution

  6. Name of public or nationalized institution

  7. Name of street, addresses, etc.

2.5. Recognized translation

Recognized translation is the use of the official or generally accepted translation of any institutional term. It is a procedure that the translators mainly use when they want to translate an economic term. Therefore, this method should be applied in an economic text.

E.g.: We know that “Market” is translated as “Chợ” but in an economic text, it should be translated as “Thị trường”.

In conclusion, in this chapter, we have reviewed some general information on translation, NPs and strategies applied in translating NPs in an economic text. And in the next chapter “The study”, we will delve into these five strategies.

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