Automated Rhythmic Device Search in Literary Texts Applied to Comparing Original and Translated Texts as Exemplified by English to Russian Translations


Analysis of a translated text’s functional equivalence to its original based on the attainment of rhythmic equivalence is an extremely important task of modern linguistics. The rhythmic component is an integral part of functional equivalence, which cannot be attained without reproducing the rhythmic devices of the original text. For the purposes of analyzing rhythmic devices in an original literary text and its translations, the authors have developed the software tool ProseRhythmDetector, which can find and visualize lexical and syntactic devices in English- and Russian-language prose, specifically anaphora, epiphora, symploce, anadiplosis, epanalepsis, reduplication, epistrophe, polysyndeton, and aposiopesis. The objective of this study is to present the results of the testing of ProseRhythmDetector on two English-language literary texts and their Russian translations: “Villette” by Charlotte Brontë and “The Black Prince” by Iris Murdoch. Using the results obtained by the software tool, the authors cross-referenced rhythmic devices in the original and translated texts and compared rhythm aspects and their contexts. The experiment made it possible to identify specific characteristics of a translator’s rendition of the author’s style, as well as detect and explain cases in which the use of rhythmic devices in the translated texts do not correspond to the originals. The application of the ProseRhythmDetector software tool significantly reduced the researchers’ workload by automatically retrieving lexical and syntactic devices with a rather high accuracy (from 62 to 93% for different rhythmic devices).

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The study was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, project no. 19-07-00243.


Nadezhda S. Lagutina,, PhD, associate professor.

Ksenia V. Lagutina,, postgraduate student.

Elena I. Boychuk,, PhD, associate professor.

Inna A. Vorontsova,, Dr.Sc., associate professor.

Ilya V. Paramonov,, PhD, associate professor.

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Correspondence to N. S. Lagutina or K. V. Lagutina or E. I. Boychuk or I. A. Vorontsova or I. V. Paramonov.

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The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

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Translated by A. Ovchinnikova

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Lagutina, N.S., Lagutina, K.V., Boychuk, E.I. et al. Automated Rhythmic Device Search in Literary Texts Applied to Comparing Original and Translated Texts as Exemplified by English to Russian Translations. Aut. Control Comp. Sci. 54, 697–711 (2020).

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  • prose rhythm
  • rhythm analysis
  • natural language processing
  • rhythmic devices
  • automation