Workflow for South African translations

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Chapter 3 Research methodology


This chapter presents a discussion of the research methodology. It specifies the research objectives, derived from the research questions because the questions and objectives dictate the research design. The broader research type, Section 3.3 Research type, paradigm, Section 3.4 Research philosophy and approach, Section 3.5 Research approach precede the discussion of the design in Section 3.6 Research design. The qualitative and quantitative data used in the research conclude the discussion on research methodology.

Research objectives

The research objectives link with the research design and are summarised as follows:

  • To investigate to what extent existing literature on translations contributes to the discussion about feasibility of DDC translations in the multilingual context of South Africa
  • To investigate how Google Translate performs with the translation of chosen parts of Abridged Edition 15
  • To investigate to what extent Google Translate can be used for translations of DDC
  • To describe the possible simplification of the translation process
  • To investigate a possible translation model

Research type

This section describes the type of research. There are two types of research: applied or practical versus basic (pure) or theoretical research (Roll-Hansen 2009:2).
Applied research includes an empirical approach in the form of questionnaires, surveys, interviews, observations and discussion groups and provides solutions to practical problems (Connaway & Powell 2010:2; Roll-Hansen 2009:4) as opposed to the non-empirical approach of basic research. Basic research leads to the discovery of new ideas or phenomena and aims to improve general understanding (Roll-Hansen 2009:5). Basic research expands knowledge about processes and establishes universal principles relating to such processes. The findings are significant to society in general (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill 2012:11).
The research at hand is a combination of applied and basic research because it uses empirical evidence to ascertain the feasibility of South African translations of DDC which is a practical problem in the sense that the high cost and complex process of translation could hinder the accomplishment of multilingual South African translations. It also expands knowledge of and leads to universal principles about the process of DDC translations, especially multilingual translations.

Research philosophy

Ngulube (2015:127) and Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2012:128) indicate that philosophical assumptions about knowledge form the essence of research. Philosophical views include positivism, realism, interpretivism and pragmatism (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill 2012:128).
This research is based on pragmatism which uses both positivist and interpretivist worldviews (Ngulube 2015:128). Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2012:130) mention that the research question plays a central role in pragmatism. There is no need to debate what makes up truth and reality. Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2012) summarise the ontological, epistemological and axiological aspects of pragmatism and indicate among other things that both observable phenomena and subjective meanings can provide acceptable knowledge and that data collection techniques of pragmatic research often tend to be mixed or multiple methods oriented (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill 2012:140).
The current research not only uses mixed methods of analysis, as discussed in Section 3.6.3 Research methods, but also consists of objective quantitative data derived from the evaluation of Google translations, specifically statistical evidence. It further encompasses a more subjective, qualitative interpretation of the literature and other documents, with the main research question at the core: To what extent are South African translations feasible?

Research approach

Research in general can follow an inductive, deductive, retroductive or abductive approach (Blaikie 2003:33-34).
According to Bhattacherjee (2012:3), inductive research implies making inferences from data. The researcher develops a theory or theories after data collection to identify patterns (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill 2012:48). Data samples tend to be small (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill 2012:146). Data lead to or cause theory.
The current research is inductive. There were no predefined theories about the feasibility of South African translations or any other translations. The researcher examined the data of the Google translations of Abridged Edition 15 and data from existing literature as well as other documents, and this led to the theory that the Google translations can assist in the feasibility of South African translations of DDC. Hence the data led to the theory.
Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill (2012:145) suggest that a deductive approach accentuates collection of quantitative data and an inductive approach accentuates collection of qualitative data. The type of data, however, cannot dictate the reasoning of the researcher. If no theory exists before data collection, the reasoning is still inductive, even if the researcher collects quantitative data. A combination of qualitative and quantitative data also does not suggest a combination of research approaches because the presence or absence of theory defines the approach (Saunders, Lewis & Thornhill 2012:148).

Research design

This section describes research design in terms of research purpose, research strategy and research methods.
According to Mouton (2001:56), the research design focuses on the outcome, the kind of study and the results of the study, as opposed to the method which refers to the research process and the use of certain tools. Yin (2009:26) mentions that the research design indicates the logical sequence, that is, how the data connects to the research question(s); hence, the plan to get from questions to solutions. Kothari (2004:31) describes the research design as the conceptual structure for conducting research, including data collection, measurement and analysis. Bless, Higson-Smith and Sithole (2013:130) confirm that the research design equals the overall plan. It is thus the blueprint or recipe for conducting research.

1.1 Background to the study
1.2 Problem statement
1.3 Research questions
1.4 Purpose of the study
1.5 Motivation for the study
1.6 Research objectives
1.7 Delimitations of the study
1.8 Significance of the study
1.9 Research methodology
1.10 Thesis structure
1.11 Chapter summary
2.1 Introduction
2.2 General overview and sources on multiple translations
2.3 Arabic
2.4 French
2.5 German
2.6 Hindi
2.7 Icelandic
2.8 Indonesian
2.9 Italian
2.10 Korean
2.11 Norwegian and Swedish
2.12 Persian
2.13 Russian
2.14 Spanish
2.15 Vietnamese
2.16 Chapter summary
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Research objectives
3.3 Research type
3.4 Research philosophy
3.5 Research approach
3.6 Research design
3.7 Qualitative data segment
3.8 Quantitative data segment
3.9 Ethical considerations
3.10 Chapter summary
4.1 Introduction
4.2 The 000 main class
4.3 The 100 main class
4.4 The 200 main class
4.5 The 300 main class
4.6 The 400 main class
4.7 The 500 main class
4.8 The 600 main class
4.9 The 700 main class
4.10 The 800 main class
4.11 The 900 main class
4.12 The Tables
4.13 Conclusion
4.14 Chapter summary
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Workflow for South African translations
5.3 Scenarios for a South African translation model
5.4 Chapter summary
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Findings
6.3 Recommendation
6.4 Suggestions for further research
6.5 Chapter summary
An exploratory study of translations of the Dewey Decimal Classification System into South African languages

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