1. Error Analysis Frameworks (L1 to L2 Translation)
  2. Error Analysis Frameworks (L2 to L1 Translation)
  3. L1 to L2 Translation Error Studies
  4. L2 to L1 Translation Error Studies


1. Error Analysis Frameworks (L1 to L2 Translation)

Gass, S. M., & Selinker, L. (Eds.). (2008). Second language acquisition. An introductory course (3rd edition). New York: Routledge.

  1. Collect Data
  2. Identify/Classify Types of error
  3. Quantify Errors
  4. Analyse Source of Errors (L1 interference, Developmental, etc.)
  5. Remediate (Pedagogical Intervention)


2. Error Analysis Frameworks (L2 to L1 Translation)

Pym, A. (1992). Translation error analysis and the interface with language teaching. In C. Dollerup, & A. Loddegaard  (Eds.), The teaching of translation (pp. 279-288). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

    1. Binary Errors
    2. Non-binary Errors

“A binary error opposes a wrong answer to the right answer; nonbinarism requires that the TT actually selected be opposed to at least one further TT1 which could also have been selected, and then to possible wrong answers. For binarism, there is only right and wrong; for non-binarism there are at least two right answers and then the wrong ones.” (Pym, 1992, p. 4)


3. L1 to L2 Translation Error Studies


Popescu, T. (2013). A corpus-based approach to translation error analysis. A case-study of Romanian EFL learners. Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences83(2nd World Conference on Educational Technology Research), 242-247. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.06.048

  • L2 (English) to L1 (Romanian)
  • Text Genre: Journalistic
  • Text Length: 500 words (Each participant a different text)
  • Participants:  30 BA Business and Public Administration
  • Translation Assessment Approach: Gass and Selinker (2008) error analysis framework (see above)
  • Type of Error:
    1. Linguistic
      • Morphological (was→were/etc.)
      • Syntactic (Question form/etc.)
      • Collocational (verb-object/subject-verb/ particle/etc.)
    2. Comprehension
      1. Misunderstanding of Lexis
      2. Misunderstanding of Syntax
    3. Translation
      1. Distorted Meaning
      2. Additions
      3. Omissions
      4. Inaccurate renditions of lexical items (beneficebenefit /etc.)

(Adapted from results presented on pp. 244-245)


Zhang, Y., & Wang, B. (2011). A feasibility study of error analysis on the teaching of Chinese-English translation–A case study of non-English major freshmen in BUPT. Journal of Language Teaching & Research2(1), 170-177. doi:10.4304/jltr.2.1.170-177. Retrieved from

  • L2 (Chinese) to L1 (English)
  • Text Genre: Not Specified
  • Text Length: 2 homework assignments (Each assignment is five sentences long). The first and final homework assignment set for the course.
  • Participants:  2 classes (each comprising 30 students) of non-English freshman at  Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunication
  • Research Approach:
    • Statistical process of Christopher D. Manning & Hinrich Schütze (1999)
    • Contrastive analysis and error analysis approaches of Gao Yuan (2002)
    • Research approach introduced by Gary D. Bouma and G.B.J. Atkinson in A Handbook of Social Science Research
    • Li Zhuqing and Wang Lei (2009): Analysis of the error types, numbers and the corresponding frequencies
  • Type of Error:
    1. Article errors
    2. Possessive / pronoun errors
    3. Subject-verb agreement errors
    4. Errors in singular or plural form of nouns
    5. Uninterrupted sentences
    6. Passive voice errors
    7. Conjunction errors
    8. Infinitive errors
    9. -ing errors
    10. Chinglish
    11. Verb tense errors
    12. Spelling errors
    13. Vocabulary misuse
    14. Preposition errors

(Categories taken from results presented on p. 173)


  • Christopher D. Manning & Hinrich Schütze. (1999). Foundations of Statistical Natural Language Processing. London: the MIT Press
  • Gary D. Bouma & G.B.J. Atkinson. (1995). A Handbook of Social Science Research. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Gao Yuan. (2002). Contrastive Analysis and Error Analysis. Beijing: Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics Press.
  • Li Zhuqing & Wang Lei. (2009). Error Analysis and Strategies Research on Translation of Higher Vocational-technical Schools. Journal of Shanxi Radio & TV University 6, 71-72.


4. L2 to L1 Translation Error Studies


Károly, A. (2012). Translation competence and translation performance: Lexical, syntactic and textual patterns in student translations of a specialized EU genre. English for Specific Purposes31, 36-46. doi:10.1016/j.esp.2011.05.005

  • L2 (English) to L1 (Hungarian)
  • Text Genre: European Commission’s written answer to a parliamentary question
  • Text Length: 12 sentences (numbered)
  • Participants: 10 BA English (Third Year)
  • Translation Assessment Approach:
    1. Criteria developed by Dróth (2001, cited in Károly, 2012, p. 39):
      1. The communicative situation (extra-linguistic factors such as cultural, social and professional background knowledge)
      2. Textual (text type, genre, rhetorical purpose, level of formality, grammatical, and lexical register, cohesive devices, and word order resulting from the information structure of the sentences)
      3. Syntactic (analysis and transfer of grammatical features)
      4. Lexical (analysis and transfer of the meaning of lexical elements)
      5. Surface features (spelling, punctuation, and word processing).
    2. Klaudy’s (2003, cited in Károly, 2012, p. 39) categories of lexical and grammatical transfer operations:
      1. Transfer operations:
        1. Grammatical
        2. Lexical
  • Type of Error:
    1. Lexical
      1. Verb
      2. Phrase
      3. Set phrase
    2. Syntactic
      1. Complex postmodifying noun phrase
      2. Postmodifying participial phrase
      3. Postmodifying prepositional phrase
      4. Modal ’shall’
      5. Clause containing two postmodifying phrases
      6. Misinterpretation of the sentence resulting from its complex syntactic structure
      7. Recognizing the plural form
    3. Textual
      1. Reference ’this’
      2. Reference ’it’
      3. Interruption ’such as Hungary’
      4. Uncommon position of ’only’
      5. Length of the sentence resulting from the number of clauses
      6. Conjunction ’on the contrary’


  • Dróth, J. (2001). Formatív értékelés a fordítás oktatásában (Formative evaluation in teaching translation). (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Pécsi Tudományegyetem, Pécs, Hungary
  • Klaudy, K., & Bart, I. (2003). EU-fordítóiskola. Európai uniós szövegek fordítása angolról magyarra (Translating EU texts from English into Hungarian). Budapest: Corvina.


  • Mohaghegh, H., Zarandi, F. M., & Shariati, M. (2011). Grammatical Errors Produced by English Majors: The Translation Task. Educational Research And Reviews6(16), 877-888.



  • Zhao, C. (2013). Analysis of Mongolian students’ common translation errors and its solutions. English Language Teaching6(3), 78-81. doi:10.5539/elt.v6n3p78. Retrieved from  
  • L1 = Mongolian (China: Inner Mongolia)
  • Translation: L3 (English) to L2 (Chinese)
  • Text Genre: Not Specified
  • Text Length: Not Specified
  • Participants: N/A
  • Translation Assessment Approach: Not Specified
  • Type of Error:
    1. Inflexible Use of Literal Translation and Free Translation
    2. Mistakes in Idiomatic Usage
    3. Inflexible and Boring Statements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s