Interactional metadiscourse in translated and non-translated medical research article abstracts: a corpus-assisted study

Kanglong Liu, Hao Yin, Andrew K.F. Cheung (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


This study examines the linguistic and rhetorical characteristics of English medical research article abstracts (RAAs), a crucial medium for the global dissemination of medical information. Two corpora were compiled for analysis: the first consisting of non-translated English medical RAAs sourced from ten leading English-language medical journals, and the second of English medical RAAs translated from ten prominent Chinese medical journals. The findings of the study reveal several key points: 1) Translated medical RAAs exhibit lower levels of tentativeness, primarily due to a significant underrepresentation of hedges (e.g. likely); 2) Translated medical RAAs display higher levels of assertiveness, as indicated by the more frequent use of boosters (e.g. significantly); and 3) No significant difference was observed between the two types of medical RAAs in terms of their use of attitude markers, indicating a similarity in the attitudinal approach when presenting medical research findings in both translated and non-translated medical RAAs. These divergences can be attributed to the unique rhetorical and disciplinary conventions that govern the dissemination of medical knowledge in China compared to Western countries, highlighting the influence of cultural and linguistic norms on scientific communication. This investigation offers novel insights into the translation of medical RAAs, shedding light on cross-cultural divergences in the presentation of medical findings and enriching the discourse on scientific communication across languages.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translation Theory and Practice
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2024


  • corpus analysis
  • Interactional metadiscourse
  • research article abstracts
  • translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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