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Table 3.1: The errors in the students’ translation test
3.1.1. Error 1: Word collocation
Of all errors in word choice made by students, "Word collocation" appeared
frequently most (240/808) and occupied the highest proportion (29.7%).
Example 1: In 3rd paragraph with social – cultural topic, the phrase “bảo
tồn giá trị của Di sản”.
There were still a few of students who translated the phrase to “conserve
the heritage” or“maintain the heritage”, whereas the precise collocation should
be “preserve / protect the heritage”.
Example 2: in the 1st paragraph, the sentence “người ta dùng chiếc chày
nhỏ đập vào miếng thịt cho lớp than bị cháy xém rơi xuống và làm thịt mềm”,
16/40 students also made collocation error in translating the phrase.
Source text: Người ta dùng chiếc chày nhỏ đập vào miếng thịt cho lớp
than bị cháy xém rơi xuống và làm thịt mềm
Student’s translation: People use a small pestle to beat the meat to burn
down coal and soft meat. (S25’s translation)
Suggestion version: People use the small pestle to beat the meat to remove
burnt charcoal and soften the meat.
3.1.2. Error 2: Misuse of preposition
As the above table shown, there are 215 cases (26.6%) which get problem
with “Misuse of preposition”.
Source text: Quần đảo này hình thành một khu phức hợp bởi nhiều hệ
sinh thái đa dạng.
Student’s version 1: The archipelago formed a complex by a variety of
ecosystems. (S35’s translation)
Student’s version 2: The islands formed a complex from many diverse
ecosystems. (S34’s translation)
Suggestion version: This archipelago is an ecological complex with
diverse natures and landscapes
Example 2: The phrase “Nằm ở phía Bắc Malaysia” was translated by the
students as “Located North Malaysia”. In this phrase, the student commited
prepositon error beacause of missing word “on”. The inexact phrase is “On the
north part of Malaysia”.
3.1.3. Error 3: Misuse of synonyms
It can be seen that a word can have many meanings; and vice versa, one
meaning can be expressed by many other words. The misuse of synonyms is
unavoidable. In the study, students also misused synonyms when they were
translating. There were about 126 errors (15.6%) of synonyms found in the
students’ assignments and test papers. This error type occurred when the
students depended largely on the meaning in dictionary to choose the word
without paying attention to the context of the sentence.
Example 1: there was a phrase “Khu di tích Nguyễn Sinh Sắc” and most of
the students translated the phrase it with incorrect and inexact phrases as
“Nguyen Sinh Sac vestiges”, “Nguyen Sinh Sac vestiges zone”, “Nguyen Sinh
Sac relic district”, “Nguyen Sinh Sac relic region”, “Nguyen Sinh Sac vestiges
region”, “Nguyen Sinh Sac tomb” or “Nguyen Sinh Sac mausoleums” while the
key is “Nguyen Sinh Sac relic area”. In this case, most of the students had
mistakes about misuse of synonyms when translated “khu” into “zone”,
“region”, “areal” and “district”, and the word “di tích” into “vestiges” and
“relic”. They did not realize that although those words have some near points
about meaning in dictionaries, they are only used suitably in some certain
Example 2: The Vietnamese word “những chiếc thùng” in the 1st passage
was translated by the some students as “cartons”, “barrels” or “boxes”whereas
the key is “baskets”. The students had the error about the misuse of synonyms,
the real meaning of those words is totally inappropriate with this case, so the
most suitable word is “baskets”.
Example 3: In the Vietnamese clause “Cách nướng độc đáo này giúp thịt
trâu không bị cháy mà vẫn chín đều tận bên trong”, the phrase “chín đều tận
bên trong” made 15 of students commit synonym error. They translated the
phrase “chín đều” as “ripe”, “soften” or “ripen”. However, using “ripe”,
“soften” or “ripen” in this sentence isn’t exact choice. Suggested translation
sentence is “This unique method keeps the buffalo meat from burning but inside
is cooked evenly”.
3.1.4. Error 4: Misuse of part of speech
This error covers a part of these cases. There are 118 cases among the total
cases. It takes 14.6% among the total.
Example 1: The phrase“hình thái đặc sắc về trải nghiệm không gian khác
nhau”with correct and exact phrases is “sensational experiences from the
different space”. However, some of the incorrect translation extracted from the
test results were “sensation experiences from the difference space”,
“sensational experiences from the difference space”, “sensation experiences
from the different space”.
Example 2: the phrase“nhiều hệ sinh thái đa dạng” was translated many
versions by students such as: “diversity ecosystems”; “variety ecosystems”.
However, the exact version is “diverse natures/ecosystems”.
3.1.5. Error 5: Name of organization
“Name of organization” errors were also frequently made by students in
Vietnamese-English cultural translation. In the study, students made about 109
errors. These errors made up for 13.5% of all errors.
Some of the proper names of groups, organizations or job titles found in
the 3rd paragrahp were “Bộ văn hóa”, “Khu di tích Phủ Chủ tịch tại Hà Nội” the
appropriate translations were “The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism”,
“Ho Chi Minh's Vestige in The Presidential Palace Area”. Just only 5/40
students got the exact equivalence of these proper names and the rest of the
students tested either translated them wrong or just simply gave them up.
Example 1: The pharse “Bộ Văn hóa”
Student’s version 1: Cultural Department (S23’s translation)
Student’s version 2: Culture, Sports and Tourism Department (S26’s
Suggestion version: The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
Example 2: The phrase “Khu di tích Phủ Chủ tịch tại Hà Nội”
Student’s version 1: Presidential Palace Historical Site in Hanoi. (S18’s
Student’s version 2: Ho Chi Minh Relic in Hanoi. (S26’s translation)
Suggestion version: Ho Chi Minh's Vestige in The Presidential Palace Area
3.2. The results from questionnaires
3.2.1. The students’ attitude towards translation and word choice in
translating culture texts
Table 3.1: The students’ attitude towards translation and word choice in
translating culture texts
Number of Percentage
Is word choice in
Neither important nor
Neither important nor
What do you think Easy but not interesting
Difficult but interesting
about translation of
Easy and interesting
The above table shows the students’ view about the importance of cultural
translation. Basing on the data, 62.5% students agree that cultural translation is
so vitally important in our lives. Meanwhile, up to 30% (12 students) who have
the same opinion. There is only three students (7.5%) that present the students’
neutral opinion. The answer to this question reveals that all of the students also
understood the importance of cultural translation.
Moreover, when students were asked the importance of word choice in
translating, 80% of the students agreed that word choice in translating is
important. In addition, there are 7 cases (20%) thought that word choice is
Cultural texts translation activity has never been an easy task, this is
demonstrated through the answers of the students in question 3. When the
students were asked about how they feel about learning translation, most of
them (70%) answered that translation is difficult but interesting. It can be
inferred that although translation is a difficult subject for them to master, they
still feel interested in learning it and thus they will try their best to learn and
practice translation as much as they can. There are only 7.5% of the students
thought that translation subject is a normal subject. It's not too difficult and not
enjoying. Besides, 22.5% of the students chose the answer English is both
difficult and not interesting. No one thought that translation is easy but; not
interesting or interesting.
3.2.2. The students’ difficulties and common errors in translating VietnameseEnglish texts
To resolve this question, five research questions 4, 5, and 6 were analyzed.
Question 4: In your opinion, what kind of translation is more difficult to
you in translating cultural documents?
A. English – Vietnamese translation
B. Vietnamese – English translation
Table 3.2: Difficulties in types of translation texts