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Establishing norms for functional translations from Portuguese to English: The case of academic calls for papers

Sonja Tack Erten


There is growing recognition that the greater the translator’s awareness of how specific genres operate at both the cultural and textual levels in particular language pairs, the more likely the resulting translation is to achieve the goal of functional equivalence. This study uses a small comparable corpus to investigate the similarities and differences in the genre conventions of academic calls for papers (CFPs) written in American English and Brazilian Portuguese. The schematic structure and textual functions of CFPs are identified, and Halliday’s systemic functional grammar is used to sketch out the broad common features of this genre. Significant differences at the micro-pragmatic level of discourse are then described, and several practical translation strategies are suggested for translators working from Portuguese into English. The overall aim is to encourage translators to make a series of choices that will achieve an overall effect which is highly appropriate to the pragmatic norms of the target text.


Corpus-based study, comparable corpus, calls for papers, Portuguese to English, genre, systemic functional grammar, functional equivalence.


Knowledge of culture-specific genre conventions plays a fundamental role in the act of translation. If, as Scarpa (1999: 315) says,

successful translation is intercultural communication taking place, it is of paramount importance that the […] translator recognises not only […] recurrent patterns in the source text but also the regular discontinuities between source and target text that reflect shifts in users’ expectations across different cultures.

Although genres may share some macro-pragmatic features due to broad similarities in their communicative aims, homogeneity at a more fine-grained level of analysis cannot be assumed. Lack of awareness of differing cultural expectations may result in what Reiss (1981: 126) describes as a naïve transferral of source text patterns into the target text, increasing the likelihood of a functionally inadequate translation. This may be of particular concern when translating genres between languages which have broad lexical and semantic similarities, such as Portuguese and English, since this surface likeness can mask significant differences in the underlying contexts of use and mislead the unwary translator.

One way of gaining insight into the way genres function is to collect and examine a corpus. The greater understanding of genres afforded by a close analysis of corpus data can, in turn, improve trainee translators' understanding of source texts and how to deal with pragmatic mismatches, resulting in better translations (Laviosa 2004: 105). Undoubtedly, more experienced translators could benefit from this sort of research as well. This study uses a comparable corpus to analyse the genre of academic calls for papers (CFPs) in English and Portuguese. I will first offer a brief overview of generic features and text type. Then the two sub-corpora will be analysed, relying mainly on Halliday’s (2004) systemic functional linguistics to determine the main lexico-semantic and textual features of the genre. Next, important differences in the sub-genres that become apparent in the course of the analysis will be identified, and I will use these contrastive findings to frame a discussion of the shifts that I feel are necessary in the translation of CFPs from Portuguese into English, highlighting possible strategies along the way. It is hoped that this study will take a step towards establishing some of the norms of functionally adequate translations of this genre in this particular language pair.

2. Genre and text type

A starting point for the identification of genre is asking “what purpose the text fulfils, what kind of job it does in its culture of origin” (Eggins 2004: 55, emphasis in the original). CFPs are produced and disseminated to fulfil the particular communicative requirements of scholarly communities. Academic communities thrive on both the quantity and the quality of their research. New research drives academic fields forward and helps to build individual and institutional reputations. Furthermore, scholars must publish in order to secure promotions and tenure, and universities themselves may be dependent on the publication records of their faculty members to attract research funding from third parties.

Consequently, scholars have a great need for professional communication and networking. Conferences draw together researchers who may be widely dispersed in geographic terms—this is true of international conferences in particular. Presenters can make valuable contacts, which may lead to future collaboration, and receive peer feedback on work in progress, and students at various levels of tertiary study can attend - and sometimes even present—papers as part of their initiation into the academic community. Conference proceedings are often published, and the resulting pool of 'grey literature' is used to inform further research. Seen in this light, CFPs are one of the main “mechanisms of intercommunication” within this discourse community (Swales 1990: 25).

According to systemic functional linguistics (Halliday 2004), three aspects of the context of production of a genre have implications for language use: the field, or subject matter; the mode, or role of language in the interaction; and the tenor, or the relationship between text producer and receiver. The field of CFPs is calls for academic papers in various disciplines, the mode is written to be read and the tenor is specialists to other specialists/trainee specialists. It follows from this brief register description that we can expect to see features of formal written language in CFPs, such as synoptic structure, standard grammar, grammatical simplicity, ‘prestige’ lexis and lexical density (Eggins 2004: 93).

Genres are formally defined by the obligatory elements of their schematic structure (ibid.: 65), which for the CFPs in this corpus can be summarised as follows:

  • Title, place and dates of the conference
  • Background, themes and/or goals of the conference
  • Types of submissions expected
  • Submission guidelines and deadlines
  • Contact details for further information

Hatim and Mason (1990) claim that all texts are multifunctional, and CFPs are no exception. Following the taxonomy of text types proposed by Reiss (1981: 124), I would argue that the primary function of CFPs is operative in that they aim to persuade academics to prepare papers to present at a particular conference. The participation of established scholars in a conference can lend prestige to an institution, so it is important to attract the well-known names in the field.

The texts also have, of course, a strong informative function—in addition to informing their audiences of what, how and when to submit, they often provide an overview of current strands of research within a particular field.

3. Parameters of the corpus

This study is based on the close examination of a small comparable corpus, defined as “two collections of original texts in language A and language B. The two collections are generally similar with regard to text genre, topic, time span, and communicative function” (Laviosa 2004: 106). In total, twenty calls for conference, colloquium, seminar and workshop papers (eight from the United States, two from Canada and ten from Brazil) were collected from the Internet in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format. With one exception, all the CFPs assembled announced conferences that were to take place between 2007 and 2009. Ensuring that a comparable corpus is as homogenous as possible increases its reliability as a data source, and several selection criteria were applied in this regard. First, the subject areas were limited to the humanities and social sciences, with several main department disciplines represented under these broad headings (see Appendix). It was assumed that these subject areas share terminology which makes them distinct from areas such as the natural sciences, and that this greater uniformity would make it easier to spot any cross-cultural differences in the two sub-corpora.

It is also important when assembling a comparable corpus to ascertain that each text was produced in the original language as used by native speakers, since both translations and discourse written in English as a second and/or foreign language may tend towards their own internal norms, therefore revealing little about the contexts of production in the source language cultures. To fulfil this criterion, I collected texts originating exclusively from events hosted at established universities and academic/professional societies in the United States, Canada and Brazil, and excluded those CFPs written in English for conferences hosted at universities in countries where English is not the native language. I chose to focus only on American English and Brazilian Portuguese in order to limit the pragmatic variables that would inevitably arise, given the considerable cultural differences between, say, America and the United Kingdom on the one hand and Brazil and Portugal on the other.

The length of each individual CFP was limited to four pages in order to keep the study manageable. The resulting fifty-one pages of A4 text were subjected to manual analysis, and the main findings are reported below.

4. Common generic features

Before proceeding to detailed contrastive findings, it will be of benefit to the prospective translator to provide a brushstroke analysis - using the terms of Halliday’s (2004) systemic functional linguistics - of the features of this genre in the two communicative settings, irrespective of cultural differences. The CFPs in the corpus examined here were characterised by the following:

1. A high number of heavily packaged abstract participants in the conference title and background section, typically expressed through lexically dense nominal groups: “Objects of Knowledge, Objects of Exchange: Contours of (Inter) disciplinarity” (E8); “Mapeando o Impacto da EaD (Educação a Distância) na Cultura do Ensino-Aprendizagem” (P6) (‘Mapping the Impact of Distance Education on the Culture of Teaching-Learning’).

2. Abstract nominal groups which express the themes of the conference, typically arranged in bulleted lists, as in the following examples:


  • “Situating the Social Economy in the Context of Globalisation”
  • “Understanding the Social Economy: Cross Cultural Comparisons”
  • “Understanding the Social Economy: Cross Disciplinary Perspectives” (E1)


  • “Sistemas escravistas em Minas Gerais” (‘Systems of slavery in Minas Gerais’)
  • “Família e cotidiano em Minas Gerais nos séculos XVIII e XIX” (‘Family and daily life in Minas Gerais in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries’)
  • “Urbanização e comércio em Minas Gerais no século XIX” (‘Urbanisation and commerce in Minas Gerais in the nineteenth century’)(P2)

3. Human participants which describe the various roles to be played in the conference, e.g. “presenters”; “organisers”; “estudiosos” (‘scholars’); “convidados” (‘guest speakers’).

4. “Concrete participants” (Halliday 2004) which describe the artefacts of the conference, e.g. “poster”; “trabalho” (‘paper’). 

5. A high number of 'doing' verbs which reflect the action of the conference organisers and participants, as well as the dynamism of the research field itself, e.g. “submit”; “seek”; “congregar” (‘bring together’); “promover” (‘promote’).

6. Frequent use of the passive to give instructions and to objectify the process of submission and acceptance: “Notification of paper/poster acceptances will be announced […]” (E7); “Não serão aceitos projetos” (‘Projects will not be accepted’) (P8).

7. Declaratives to convey information content; imperatives to give instructions: “Symposium and panel discussion proposals are welcome” (E3); “Colocar resumos em português com, no máximo, 200 palavras, em itálico acompanhado das palavras-chave” (‘Include an abstract in Portuguese of up to 200 words, along with key words in italics’) (P6).

8. The epistemic modal 'will' to express the high degree of intentionality on the part of the organisers: “This conference will examine the relationship between the historical roots of World History and its contemporary social, political, economic and cultural dimensions” (E2); “O Workshop […] será realizado em Salvador […] (‘The workshop will be held in Salvador […]’) (P4).

9. The deontic modal 'should' as a weak directive to scholars about how to submit their work and a general avoidance of stronger directives such as ‘have to’ or 'must:' “All proposals should include short abstracts” (E6); "Cada cópia deverá ser remetida [ao] comitê [...]" (‘Each copy should be sent to the committee [...]’) (P1).

10. Mostly unmarked themes, with the occasional use of slightly marked adjunct themes which allow sentences to be organised around time, place or purpose, or to state a condition: “In the letter, state whether you are eligible for transportation reimbursement” (E8); “De modo a assegurar presença no Programa da Conferência, autores com propostas selecionadas para apresentação na Conferência deverão efetuar pagamento de Taxa de inscrição [...]” (‘In order to guarantee inclusion in the conference programme, authors whose proposals have been selected for presentation should pay the conference registration fee [...]’) (5).

Thus broad equivalence at the macro-level of analysis can be observed between the two sub-corpora, which is a result of shared communicative aims, but there are some noticeable differences at the micro-pragmatic level, with clear implications for the translator, and these are discussed in the next section.

5. Contrastive analysis: Main findings
5.1. Assumed familiarity  

There is a striking difference between the two sub-corpora in the level of assumed familiarity, with the English texts showing a clear tendency towards personalisation, as shown in Table 1 below: 

English corpus

Portuguese corpus

Exclusive ‘we’:
Invitations to submit
Narrated events



Inclusive ‘we’









Table 1
Occurrences of personalisation in the two sub-corpora
*Elided personal pronouns were not counted

The exclusive 'we', which refers to the writer and those associated with the writer (Harwood 2005: 343), was clearly preferred in the English texts in the structural move I will label as the ‘invitation to submit’. This move explicitly indicates the nature and scope of the proposals desired by the conference organisers and was typically actualised in this corpus by the following lexico-semantic constructions: “We invite” (9 occurrences), “We welcome” (3 occurrences) and “We encourage” (3 occurrences). By contrast, there was only one occurrence of one of these three forms in the Portuguese corpus: “Encorajamos” (‘We encourage’). It should be noted that both corpora also used non-personalised constructions to complete this move: the third person (e.g. “The committee invites”) was used twice in English and four times in Portuguese, and the passive voice (e.g. “Papers are invited”) was used twice in both languages.

The exclusive 'we' was also used in the English texts to express the conference organisers’ intentions and plans: "We intend for the papers […] to be published" (E4); in narration: "We canvassed the opinions of the conference audience" (E9); and to express hopes, wishes and beliefs: "We hope to see you in Pittsburgh at ETD 2009” (E7). It was used only once in Portuguese, to express a belief: “Acreditamos” (‘We believe’) (P6).

The inclusive 'we' (Harwood 2005: 343), which refers to the writer and reader together, appeared three times in the English texts, e.g. "The focus of this conference is on the Nuremberg trials, the tribulations of the 60 years since, and what lessons we have, or ought to have, learned" (E3). Such usage allows the writer to bring the readers into the text and to "appeal to scholarly solidarity" (Hyland 2001: 560). There were no instances of the inclusive 'we' in the Portuguese data.

Continuing on to the use of the second person, the reader of the English texts was addressed directly as 'you' a total of 17 times, 13 times in the instructions for submission, e.g. “If you are interested in giving a paper or presentation, running a tutorial within a workshop, or contributing a poster, please read the following criteria” (E7). Hyland (2001: 554) found that 'you' appeared 2/10,000 times in a 1.4 million word corpus of academic writing in English across eight ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ disciplines, showing that English academic audiences appreciate the "polite tenor of solidarity" (Harwood 2005: 365) created by the use of such pronouns. The reader of the Portuguese texts, on the other hand, was always referred to in the third person, e.g. “autor(a)” (‘author’); “apresentador(a)” (‘presenter’); “solicitante” (‘applicant’). 

The greater personalisation in the English corpus also matches findings in other corpus-based studies of genres, for example of Patient Information Leaflets in British English (Cacchiani 2006) and computer manuals in American English (Scarpa 1999). Assumed familiarity is clearly less appropriate in Portuguese, viewed perhaps as compromising the professional distance between producer and receiver.     

Considering these findings, the translator should feel comfortable personalising the text when working from Portuguese into English, particularly when rendering the invitation to submit. It is interesting to note that an explicit invitation does not appear in half of the Portuguese texts examined, whereas it appears at least once in each of the English texts. The translator may therefore consider inserting such an invitation, using one of the lexico-semantic constructions identified above, to ensure greater conformity to cultural expectations.

The use of personalisation could also solve the problem of how to translate fronted -se passives, that is, passives formed with the reflexive clitic -se which appear frequently in Portuguese academic writing and can form the verbal element of an (adjunct) + verb + subject sentence structure, a pattern not found in English (Johns 1992). The literal translation of the examples below reveals the awkward “linear dislocation” (Johns 1992) that needs to be addressed:

Portuguese: “Sugere-se a produção de artigos que abordem um dos tópicos a seguir [...]” (P5).

Literal translation: (‘It is suggested the production of articles which address one of the following topics [...]’). 

Suggested translation: (‘We welcome/encourage articles which address one of the following topics [...]’).

Portuguese: “Incentiva-se a apresentação de trabalhos vinculados ao tema geral da Conferência […]” (P5).

Literal translation: (‘It is encouraged the presentation of papers connected to the overall theme of the conference […]’).

Suggested translation: (‘We encourage the presentation of papers/We encourage you to present papers connected to the overall theme of the conference […]’).

Personalisation of such structures overcomes linear dislocation and has the added advantage of bringing them more in line with the typical lexico-semantic and pragmatic realisations of CFPs produced in English.

5.2 Rendering of the evaluative element

Academic papers are not automatically accepted for presentation; typically, they pass through a process of approval. Therefore, although the tenor relationship of the genre is ostensibly between peer specialists, in reality a power differential is present. There is a tension between the need for the CFP to stimulate a sufficient number of proposals and the need for the academic community to exercise quality control over such submissions. The scholar, in effect, becomes subordinate to the conference organisers in their role as academic gatekeepers. Each language will express evaluative terms with a greater or lesser degree of politeness depending on how potentially face-threatening the culture considers the process of evaluation to be. The corpus data showed significant differences in how the evaluative element of the CFP was expressed in English and in Portuguese.

In the English texts, reference to the evaluative element was often skimmed over or omitted altogether, with the emphasis kept on the benefit to the conference participant. Incentives to submit proposals might include, for example, mention of subsequent publication of the paper in the conference proceedings. There were, in fact, only three explicit references to evaluation procedures to be found in the English corpus:

“All proposals will be subject to peer review by the Organizing Committee […]” (E1).

“Submissions will be peer reviewed by the […] Program Committee” (E3).

“Submitted papers will be carefully reviewed by members of the Program Committee” (E10).

The use of “peer review” attempts to keep the communication symmetrical and minimises the potentially intimidating barrier to acceptance and inclusion in the conference programme. The addition of “carefully” in the last example seems to imply that the onus is on the committee to consider the proposal and make a fair decision rather than on the scholar to meet a particular standard. All sentences are written in the passive to convey the impression of an objective process, and this objectivity contrasts markedly with the high degree of personalisation in the ‘invitation to submit’ structural move as described above.

An explicit evaluative element was more frequently mentioned in the Portuguese texts. Criteria for acceptance and non-acceptance were also more often set out, and the CFPs usually included a list of submission formatting instructions which were far more detailed than in the English texts. This is most certainly due to the fact that the Portuguese CFPs often required scholars to submit completed papers, whereas the English ones typically requested a one-page abstract and perhaps an accompanying CV or brief biographical details about the author. The more serious tone of the Portuguese CFPs and the apparent emphasis on the 'scientific' nature of the submission and approval process would therefore seem to reflect the higher stakes involved; well-developed papers of 20 pages or so will necessarily come under greater scrutiny by conference gatekeepers than abstracts.

The lexis used to render the evaluative element in Portuguese poses problems for translators working into English. Translating according to standard dictionary equivalents would likely result in an inappropriate tenor of discourse for this genre, highlighting the power imbalance between producer and receiver. In the examples which follow, I first provide a literal translation of problematic words in the original, which I have underlined, then suggest replacements that would better fulfil pragmatic requirements in English. I also briefly explain the reasoning behind my translation choices.

Portuguese: “Os Trabalhos submetidos […] passam por um rigoroso processo de julgamento […]” (P6)

Literal translation: (‘Submitted papers pass through a rigorous judgment process […]’)

Suggested translation: (‘Submitted papers will be subject to careful review/will be carefully reviewed […]’)

Portuguese: “Cada Trabalho é lido por pelo menos dois juízes” (P6).

Literal translation: (‘Each submission is read by at least two judges’).

Suggested translation: (‘Each submission is read by at least two members of the selection panel/committee members’). 

Portuguese: “para avaliação da comissão […]” (P2)

Literal translation: (‘for the evaluation of the […] Committee’)

Suggested translation: (‘for the consideration/review of the […] Committee’)

Forms of “judge” or “evaluate” appear nowhere in the English data, and these words connote a high risk of criticism and/or non-acceptance, which would be at odds with the friendly, personalised tone of the texts and the minimal references to the evaluation process.

Portuguese: “A Coordenação […] se reserva o direito de rejeitar aqueles trabalhos […] que descumpram as normas […]” (P5)

Literal translation: (‘The Co-ordinating Committee reserves the right to reject those submissions […] which do not follow the guidelines […]’)

Suggested translation: (‘The Co-ordinating Committee reserves the right not to accept/not to consider those submissions […] which do not follow the guidelines […]’)

Portuguese: “O trabalho que não for enviado dentro das normas será automaticamente rejeitado” (P9).

Literal translation: (‘Any submission that is not sent according to the guidelines will be automatically rejected’).

Suggested translation: (‘Any submission that is not sent according to the guidelines will not be accepted/considered’).

The word “reject” has similarly harsh connotations in English. There may be intense competition for acceptance, giving the conference organisers every right to eliminate proposals that do not meet the specified standards, but the English texts emphasise every possibility of inclusion and minimise the perception of the risk of exclusion.

Portuguese: “No final do processo de julgamento, o Conselho poderá tomar as seguintes decisões sobre o trabalho: Significância suficiente para merecer apresentação […]” (P6)

Literal translation: (‘At the end of the review process, the Committee will be in a position to take the following decisions about the paper: Sufficient significance to merit presentation […]’)

Suggested translation: (‘At the end of the review process, the Committee will be in a position to take the following decisions about the paper: Significance of the content within the field of study […]’)

Portuguese: “[…] serão considerados como critérios de aceitação: a qualidade científica […]” (P8)

Literal translation: (‘[…] the following acceptance criteria will apply: scientific quality […]’)

Suggested translation: (‘[…] the following acceptance criteria will apply: quality of the work/research […]’)

From the point of view of an English-speaking scholar, particularly a well-established one, it could be considered offensive to imply that his or her work would not good enough to merit inclusion in a conference programme. The more neutral phrase "significance of the content", taken from the English data (E7), shifts the focus from the worthiness of the scholar’s effort to the appropriateness of the match between the submitted work and current lines of enquiry in the field. The word “scientific” was omitted as in English it is more typically associated with the 'hard' sciences, and its inclusion here would create an unnecessary connotation of distance, as well as implying an emphasis on positivistic research design to the possible exclusion of qualitative research, which is the hallmark of many 'soft' disciplines.

A disjunct in culturally appropriate usage can also be observed in the use of titles. Baker (1992: 242-243) reminds us that translators must be particularly sensitive to modes of address. Translated literally into English, the typically used titles of the Portuguese groups charged with approving proposals would not convey the desired effect:

“Comissão Científica” (‘Scientific Commission’)
“Comitê Científico” (‘Scientific Committee’)
“Comissão Organizadora” (‘Organising Commission’)

A “commission” in English generally refers to a government body, e.g. The European Commission. As mentioned above, the word “scientific” is more readily associated with ‘hard’ sciences such as technology or biology. English-speaking scholars may find it intimidating to have their proposals reviewed by such official sounding groups. Translators would be well-advised to translate the titles of these groups according to their more neutral-sounding English counterparts, commonly found in the data of the English texts: Selection Committee, Program Committee or Organising Committee.

Section 1.1 has identified several examples of culture-specific items, defined by Aixelá (1996: 58) as

those textually actualised items whose […] connotations in a source text involve a translation problem in their transference to a target text, [due to their] different intertextual status in the cultural system of the readers of the target text (emphasis in the original).

The words and phrases identified here pose problems for translation in relation to this specific language pair due to differing pragmatic requirements and remind us that translation is "a complex rewriting process" (ibid.: 52), far more than the simple transferral of propositional meanings across texts.

5.3 The force of directives

A final point relates to the use of imperatives. Grammatical imperatives were found in the instructions for submission section in both languages, although their differences in realisation have implications for translation. In English, there were 24 occurrences of the non-let type imperative, 15 (63%) of which were preceded by the word “please”, e.g. “Please make sure that you include complete contact information” (E6). In Portuguese, the imperative occurred 19 times as an infinitive form, as in “Submeter até dois trabalhos como autor(a) […]” (‘Submit up to two proposals per author’) (P8), and once as a formal imperative: “Utilize fonte de letra Times New Roman 12 pt” (‘Use Times New Roman 12 point font’) (P4). There were no instances of “por favor” (‘please’), as both the Portuguese infinitive and formal imperative grammatical structures express politeness in and of themselves. When translating from Portuguese into English, it is important to bear in mind that, in English, there is a pragmatic requirement to mitigate the force of an imperative in order to fulfil cultural norms of politeness. Imperatives need to sound more like requests or friendly directives than demands in order to avoid the risk of causing offence to the audience.

The aforementioned divergences between CFPs in English and Portuguese seem to point toward a basic difference in the orientation of texts in this genre. Following Scarpa (2006: 37-38), I suggest that Portuguese CFPs could be described as more subject-oriented, with their focus on the precision and objectivation of the submission and approval process, whereas English CFPs are more hearer-oriented and seem concerned with creating an impression of "collegiality" (Hyland 2001: 552) and inclusion. 

6. Conclusion

The picture that has emerged from this analysis indicates that although CFPs in English and Portuguese are broadly similar, there are some important pragmatic differences that need to be taken into consideration when translating from Portuguese into English. It is recommended that translators make greater use of personalisation, attenuate the 'judgemental' connotation of the submission and approval process, render group titles according to target text cultural norms and mitigate imperatives in order to create a more subtly appropriate pragmatic effect on the target reader, thereby achieving the skopos (Vermeer 2000) of functional equivalence.

This study is limited by the small size of the corpus examined. Although care was taken not to overgeneralise the data, the findings may nonetheless have been unduly influenced by the idiosyncrasies of individual texts and may not be representative of the genre as a whole. The findings may also only be relevant to CFPs in the ‘soft’ disciplines. Despite this, it is hoped that this study has broken ground by identifying possible areas of divergence that can be followed up with further qualitative and quantitative analysis of a wider corpus. This study would also benefit from comparison to a parallel corpus of CFPs in this language pair in order to examine if translators have viewed the divergences identified here as problematic, and if so, what strategies they have employed to solve them. Small scale corpus-based studies of genre such as these can gradually build into a whole, contributing to the translator’s awareness of how genres function in their natural settings and aiding success in functional translations.

  • Aixelá, Javier Franco (1996). “Culture-specific items in translation.” Román Alvarez & M. Carmen Africa Vidal (eds) (1996). Translation, power, subversion. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, 52-78.
  • Baker, Mona (1992). In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation. London: Routledge.
  • Cacchiani, Silvia (2006). “Dis/Similarities between Patient Information Leaflets in Britain and Italy: implications for the translator.” New Voices in Translation Studies 2, 28-43.
  • Eggins, Suzanne (2004). An Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics. London: Continuum.
  • Halliday, Michael Alexander Kirkwood (2004). An Introduction to Functional Grammar. London: Arnold.    
  • Harwood, Nigel (2005). “'We do not seem to have a theory...the theory I present here attempts to fill this gap': inclusive and exclusive pronouns in academic writing.” Applied Linguistics 26(3), 343-375.
  • Hatim, Basil and Mason, Ian (1990). Discourse and the Translator. London: Routledge.
  • Hyland, Ken (2001). “Bringing in the reader: addressee features in academic articles.” Written Communication 18(4), 549-574.
  • Johns, Tim (1992). “'It is presented initially': Linear dislocation and interlanguage strategies in Brazilian academic abstracts in English and Portuguese.” Ilha do Desterro: A Journal of English Language, Literatures in English and Cultural Studies 0(27). (consulted 01.05.2009).
  • Laviosa, Sara (2004). “Corpora and the translator.” Harold Somers (Ed) (2004). Computers and Translation: a translator's guide. Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 105-117.
  • Reiss, Katharina (1981). “Type, kind and individuality of text.” Poetics Today 2(4), 121-131.
  • Scarpa, Federica (1999). “Corpus evidence of the translation of genre-specific structures.” Textus 12, 315-332.
  • Swales, John (1990). Genre Analysis: English in Academic and Research Settings. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Vermeer, Hans (2000). “Skopos and commission in translational action.” Lawrence Venuti (Ed) (2000). The Translation Studies Reader. London: Routledge, 221-232.
Appendix: Composition of the comparable corpus
English corpus


Subject field


Carleton University: International Student Workshop on the Social Economy



University of Manitoba: International Conference on World History and Historical Materialism



Samuel Rosenthal Centre for Judaic Studies: 37th Annual Scholars Conference on the Holocaust and the Churches



Massachusetts Maritime Academy: 2009 Maritime Conference in the Humanities



University of Maryland: Undergraduate Research Symposium



Rollins College: American Association for Chinese Studies 51st Annual Conference

Chinese Studies


University of Pittsburgh: 12th International Symposium on Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Information Management


Harvard University: Interdisciplinary Graduate School Conference



Notre Dame Centre for Ethics and Culture 10th Annual Fall Conference



City College of New York: The Langston Hughes Festival’s Third Symposium


Portuguese corpus


Subject field


IE/UNICAMP: I Encontro Internacional da Associação Keynesiana Brasileira
(‘State University of Campinas Economy Institute: 1st International Meeting of the Brazilian Keynesian Association’)



UFMG Cedeplar: XIII Seminário Sobre a Economia Mineira
(‘Federal University of Minas Gerais Centre for Development and Regional Planning in Minas Gerais: 8th Seminar on the Economy of Minas Gerais’)



USP: II Congresso Internacional Spinoza & Nietzsche
(‘University of São Paulo: 2nd International Congress on Spinoza & Nietzsche’)



Associação Brasileira de Estudos Populacionais: Workshop Demografia dos Negócios
(‘Brazilian Association of Population Studies: Business Demographics Workshop’)

Population Studies


COLADRI: II Conferência Latino-Americana de Direito e Relações Internacionais
(‘2nd Latin American Conference on Law and International Relations’)

Law/International Relations


Associação Brasileira de Educação a Distância: 14 o Congresso Internacional
(‘Brazilian Association of Distance Learning: 14th International Congress’)



Núcleo de Estudos em Espaço e Representações (NEER): II Colóquio Nacional
(‘Centre for Studies in Space and Representations: 2nd National Colloquium’)



UNIOESTE: 4o Seminário Nacional Estado e Politícas Sociais
(‘Western Paraná State University: 4th National Seminar on State and Social Politics’)

Political Science


Universidade Federal do Mato Grosso: Seminário de Práticas de Ensino de Música e 6 o Simpósio sobre o Ensino Musical
(‘Federal University of Mato Grosso: Seminar on the Practices of Music Teaching and 6th Symposium on Musical Instruction’)



Unicamp: V Colóquio Internacional Marx e Engels Centro de Estudos Marxistas (Cemarx)
(‘State University of Campinas Marx and Engels Centre for Marxist Studies: 5th International Colloquium’)



Tack Erten 1Sonja Tack Erten has an MA in EFL and Applied Linguistics from Kings College London and teaches English for Academic Purposes. She has recently submitted her dissertation for the MA in Translation Studies at the University of Portsmouth and intends to specialise in the translation of academic discourse and literature from Brazilian Portuguese into English.