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Google translator and the effectiveness of the literary semantic equivalence English-Portuguese in Daniel Defoe's Moll Flanders

Grant number: 14/00245-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2014
Effective date (End): December 31, 2014
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Literature
Principal Investigator:Regiani Aparecida Santos Zacarias
Grantee:Fabrício Leal Bernardo
Home Institution: Faculdade de Ciências e Letras (FCL-ASSIS). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Assis. Assis , SP, Brazil


The Google language translator tool available on Google website has set a clash between unconditional fans and fierce critics. Concerning the translations English-Portuguese, its functionality is exalted by those who have not mastered the English language but, at the same time, need it for various reasons, and is also criticized by many who possess advanced or intermediate level of proficiency in the language of Shakespeare and Daniel Defoe, author of the eighteenth-century novel Moll Flanders. These conflicts make us question how effective is the translation provided by the electronic engine Google Translator (GT). Certain is that the tool has its inadequacies regarding the translation process, which involves much more than simple decoding of entries in a given language. This research emphasizes assess the degree of semantic equivalence of the electronic translator, based in theories of semantic and translation. We will submit excerpts from 3 different chapters of the original book published in the English language The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Famous Moll Flanders &C to the online translation engine GT for the Portuguese outcome. Thus, in this study we expect to identify possible flaws of semantic nature in electronic literary translation, study them and clarify their possible origins.