For the status of translation studies:
Ferreira Duarte, J., A. Assis Rosa and T. Seruya (eds) (2006) Translation Studies at the Interface of Disciplines, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Gambier, Y. and L. van Doorslaer (eds) (2010) Handbook of Translation Studies, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, available online: http://benjamins.com/online/hts/.
Gile, D. (2004) ‘Translation research versus interpreting research: Kinship, differences and prospects for partnership’, in Christina Schäffner (ed.) Translation Research and Interpreting Research: Traditions, Gaps and Synergies, Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, pp. 10–34.
For interdisciplinarity with cultural studies:
Herbrechter, S. (ed.) (2002) Cultural Studies: Interdisciplinarity and Translation, Amsterdam: Rodopi.
For humanities interdisciplines linked to computing:
McCarty, W. (1999) ‘Humanities computing as interdiscipline’, available online: http://www.iath.virginia.edu/hcs/mccarty.html
—— (2003) ‘Humanities computing’, available online: www.mccarty.org.uk/essays/McCarty,%20Humanities%20computing.pdf
—— (2005) Humanities Computing, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan.
- How does the professional translation market operate in your country? Is a postgraduate qualification a requirement for working as a professional translator? Investigate what professional translators’ associations exist.
- How is the teaching of translation and interpreting structured in your own country? How many universities offer undergraduate degrees in the subject? How many postgraduate programmes are there? Is there a core content? How do the programmes differ? What theory is studied?
- Investigate how research-based translation studies fits into the university system in your country. How many universities offer ‘translation studies’ (or similar) MA or doctoral programmes. In which university departments/faculties are they housed? What are the ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ relationships to other disciplines? What do you conclude is the status of translation studies in your country?
- Is translation studies research in your country centred mainly on the theory or the practice of translation? Why do you think this is so? How do they interrelate?
- In his work on humanities computing, McCarty (1999, 2003, 2005, in Further Reading) makes the claim that an interdiscipline ‘challenges us to rethink how we organise and institutionalise knowledge’. In what ways do you think what he says applies to translation studies? (For more ideas, see Gile 2004 and Ferreira Duarte et al. 2006 in Further Reading).
Zanettin, F., G. Saldanha and S-A. Harding (2015) ‘Sketching landscapes in translation studies: A bibliographic study’, Perspectives 23.2: 161-82.
See also the Free Reading Materials tab.
The further-reading list at the end of Chapter 2 gives a number of histories of translation and readings of key writings. An accessible collection of early Western theories is:
Robinson, D. (ed.) (1997) Western Translation Theory from Herodotus to Nietzsche, Manchester: St Jerome.
More on St Jerome:
Rebenich, S. (1993) ‘Jerome: The “vir trilinguis” and the “hebraica veritas” ’, Vigiliaie Christianae 47.1: 50–77.
More on the Chinese tradition:
Cheung, M. (ed.) (2009) ‘Chinese discourses on translation: Positions and perspectives’, The Translator 15.2, Special Issue: 223–38.
Ricci, R. and J. van der Putten (eds) (2011) Translation in Asia: Theories, Practices, Histories, Manchester: St Jerome.
More on the Arabic tradition:
Selim, S. (ed.) (2009) ‘Nation and translation in the Middle East’, Special issue of The Translator 15.1: 1–13.
More on the English tradition:
Steiner, T. (ed.) (1975) English Translation Theory: 1650–1800, Assen and Amsterdam: van Gorcum.
- Modern translation theory tends to criticize the simplicity of the ‘literal vs free’ debate. Why, then, do you think that the vocabulary of that earlier period often continues to be used in reviews of translation, in comments by teachers and examiners, and in writings by literary translators themselves?
- Cicero and St Jerome may be said to represent respectively the Classical tradition of creative imitation and the Christian tradition of ‘faithful’ translation of the truth. Read the full versions of their statements and summarize their arguments (e.g. in Robinson 1997, see Further Reading). What view of language and communication do they seem to hold? How far do they go beyond the free vs literal opposition with which they are generally associated?
- Look at early writing on translation from your own languages and cultures. What are the translation contexts in which they were written? What ‘rules’ of translation are proposed? What does this tell you about their view of language?
- Do translators’ prefaces frequently appear in translations in your own country? If they do, what function do they serve, and what kind of language do they use to describe the translation?
2.2 Cicero’s ‘De optimo genere oratorum’ is available in many translations. See, for example, the translation in Douglas Robinson’s Western Translation Theory from Herodotus to Nietzsche (St Jerome 1997).
St Jerome’s ‘Letter to Pammachius’ is also readily available, for example at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf206.v.LVII.html.
2.3 Krishnamurthy, R. (2009) ‘The Indian tradition’, in M. Baker and G. Saldanha (eds) The Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, 2nd edn, pp. 449–58.
2.4 Hermans, T. (n.d.) on Etienne Dolet
2.6 Luo, X. and Hong Lei (2004) ‘Translation theory and practice in China’, Perspectives 12.1: 20–30.
2.7 The Newman-Arnold polemic (see Introducing Translation Studies, third edition, pp. 47–8)
In seventeenth-century England, translation had often been about creative imitation or recreating the ‘spirit’ of the ST, while by the mid-eighteenth century the translator’s duty moved towards an approximation of the style of the author. In the nineteenth century, where translation played a key role in the importation of German, French, Russian and other literatures, the preferred translation strategy was the subject of a major polemic between Classics scholars Francis Newman (1805–1897) and Matthew Arnold (1822–1888) over the translation of Homer, which laid bare some of the underlying cultural values of the time (see Robinson 1997b: 250–8, Reynolds 2006: 67–70, Venuti 2008: 99–120). Newman sought to emphasize the foreignness of the work by a deliberately archaic (or mock-archaic) translation that set itself against the prevailing translation practice of the day. This was violently opposed by Matthew Arnold in his lecture On Translating Homer (1861/1978), which criticized Newman’s poor usage and advocated a more transparent translation method that paid homage to the grand style of Homer. When it comes to evaluating the effect of the translation, Arnold, whose argument won the day, advises his audience to put their faith in scholars since they, he suggests, are the only ones qualified to do this. As Bassnett (2002: 75) points out, such an elitist attitude led both to the devaluation of translation (because it was felt that a TT could never reach the heights of a ST and it was always preferable to read the work in the original language) and to its marginalization (translations were to be produced for only a select élite capable of comparing source and target and appreciating the intellectual endeavour).
See also the Free Reading Materials tab.
Gentzler, E. (2001) Contemporary Translation Theories, 2nd edition, Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Kenny, D. (2009) ‘Equivalence’, in M. Baker and G. Saldanha (eds) The Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, 2nd edition, Abingdon and New York: Routledge, pp. 96–9.
Nida, E. (2002) Contexts in Translating, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Pym, A. (2010) Exploring Translation Theories, Abingdon and New York: Routledge, chs 2 and 3.
Qian, H. (1992) ‘On the implausibility of equivalent response (Part I)’, Meta 37.2: 289–301, http://www.erudit.org/revue/meta/1992/v37/n2/003148ar.pdf
Subsequent parts of the Qian article were published in Meta in 1993 and 1994 and are available online at http://www.erudit.org/revue/meta
- Equivalence and the principle of equivalent effect are keystones of Nida's theory of translation. Research more deeply the arguments around the issues and how the concepts have developed over the years (see the Further Reading section for initial references). Why do you consider that there has been such heated debate? How can the concepts be used in translator training today?
- ‘Nida provides an excellent model for translation which involves a manipulation of a text to serve the interests of a religious belief, but he fails to provide the groundwork for what the West in general conceives of as a “science”’ (Gentzler 2001: 59, see Further Reading). Do you agree with Gentzler? Is this model tied to religious texts? How well does it work for other genres (e.g. advertising, scientiﬁc texts, literature, etc.)?
- Newmark (1981: 39, see Further Reading) states: ‘In communicative as in semantic translation, provided that equivalent effect is secured, the literal word-for-word translation is not only the best, it is the only valid method of translation.’ Find examples of texts that support or challenge this claim. Revise the wording of the claim according to your findings.
3.3 Qian Hu (1992) ‘On the implausibility of equivalent response (Part I)’, Meta 37.2: 289–301, http://www.erudit.org/revue/meta/1992/v37/n2/003148ar.pdf.
Subsequent parts of the article were published in Meta in 1993 and 1994 and are available online at http://www.erudit.org/revue/meta.
Miao, Ju (2000) ‘The limitations of “equivalent effect”’, Perspectives 8.3: 197–205.
3.6 European Commission report ‘Language and Translation in International Law and EU Law’
See also the Free Reading Materials tab.
For stylistic shifts in translation:
May, R. (1994) The Translator in the Text: On Reading Russian Literature in English, Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press.
Parks, T. (2007) Translating Style, 2nd edition, Manchester: St Jerome.
Saldanha, G. (2010) ‘Translator style: Methodological considerations’, The Translator 17.1: 25–50.
For think-aloud protocols and other methods:
Lee-Jahnke, H. (ed.) (2005) Processus et cheminements en traduction et interprétation [Processes and pathways in translation and interpretation], Special issue of Meta 50.2.
Tirkkonen-Condit, S. and R. Jääskeläinen (eds) (2000) Tapping and Mapping the Processes of Translation and Interpreting, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
- Look at the work that has been done on translation style (see Further Reading) and note the differences between the various definitions and approaches. Think of ways in which it might be possible to differentiate the translator’s ‘linguistic fingerprint’ from that of the source author.
- Examine more closely the interpretive model of translation (Lederer 1994/2003). In what ways does the model differ from Nida’s three-phase model studied in Chapter 3? Which do you feel has more potential for explaining the translation process?
- Read up details of the implementation of think-aloud protocols (e.g. Tirkkonen-Condit and Jääskeläinen 2000, see Further Reading) and make a summary of the findings. Then test out the method:
- Write a detailed methodology for your experiment.
- Carry out the experiment on another student/translator (with the subject’s permission and following ethical approval procedures!).
- Describe your findings.
- What advantages and limitations of this kind of research do you note?
- How far do your findings correspond to those you noted above?
- What changes would you make to any follow-up experiment?
4.1 Gil Bardají, A. (2009) ‘Procedures, techniques, strategies: Translation process operators’, Perspectives 17.3: 161–73.
4.3 Zhang Meifang and Pan Li (2009) ‘Introducing a Chinese perspective on translation shifts: A comparative study of shift models by Loh and Vinay and Darbelnet’, The Translator 15.2: 351–74.
Discussion and research point 1, p. 110: Greenwich text
Discussion and research point 2, p. 111: Rasul's composite model of translation procedures
See also the Free Reading Materials tab.
Stylistic translation shifts
Other writing on translation shifts in the 1960s and 1970s from the then Czechoslovakia introduces a literary aspect, that of the ‘expressive function’ or style of a text. Jiří Levý’s ground-breaking work on literary translation (Umění překladu, 1963) – translated into German as Die literarische Übersetzung: Theorie einer Kunstgattung (Levý 1969) and English as The Art of Translation (Levý 2011) – links into the tradition of the Prague school of structural linguistics. In this book, Levý looks closely at the translation of the surface structure of the ST and TT, with particular attention to poetry translation, and sees literary translation as both a reproductive and a creative labour with the goal of equivalent aesthetic effect (pp. 65–9). He, too, gives a categorization of features of texts where equivalence may need to be achieved. These are (p. 19): denotative meaning, connotation, stylistic arrangement, syntax, sound repetition (rhythm, etc.), vowel length and articulation. Their importance in a translation depends on the type of text. Thus, vowel length and articulation must not vary in dubbing, while, in a technical text, denotative meaning is of prime importance and must not vary. Levý’s work was crucial for the development of translation theory in Czechoslovakia before his early death, and it has subsequently influenced scholars internationally. Another of his papers, ‘Translation as a decision process’ (1967/2000), has also had an important impact, relating the ‘gradual semantic shifting’ of translators’ linguistic choices to game theory. Hence, Levý sees real-world translation work as being ‘pragmatic’:
The translator resolves for that one of the possible solutions which promises a maximum of effect with a minimum of effort. That is to say, he intuitively resolves for the so-called MINIMAX STRATEGY.
(Levý 1967/2000: 156)
Two other papers on translation shifts by Czech writers were published in the influential volume The Nature of Translation: Essays on the Theory and Practice of Literary Translation (Holmes 1970). František Miko concentrates on discussing different theoretical aspects of what he terms ‘shifts of expression’ or style in translation. He maintains (Miko 1970: 66) that retaining the expressive character or style of the ST is the main and perhaps only goal of the translator. Miko suggests an analysis of style under categories such as operativity, iconicity, subjectivity, affectation, prominence and contrast. In the same volume, Anton Popovič (1970: 85) emphasizes the importance of the shift of expression concept:
An analysis of the shifts of expression, applied to all levels of the text, will bring to light the general system of the translation, with its dominant and subordinate elements.
This is an important development. Shift analysis can be seen as a way of influencing the system of norms which govern the translation process, a concept which is discussed in more detail in Chapter 7. Popovič (p. 80), in terms very similar to Levý’s, relates shifts to the ‘literal vs. free’ debate, considering them to arise from the tension between the original text and the translation ideal, and to be the result of the translator’s conscious efforts faithfully to reproduce the aesthetic totality of the original. A clarification of these principles is to be seen in Popovič’s short Dictionary for the Analysis of Literary Translation (1976), where the entry ‘adequacy of translation’ is defined as synonymous with both ‘faithfulness to the original’ and ‘stylistic equivalence in translation’. Stylistic equivalence is itself defined (p. 6) as ‘functional equivalence of elements in both original and translation aiming at an expressive identity with an invariant of identical meaning’. However, in their articles neither Popovič nor Miko applies the ideas in detail to the analysis of translated texts.
Holmes, J. S. (ed.) (1970) The Nature of Translation: Essays on the Theory and Practice of Literary Translation, The Hague and Paris: Mouton.
Levý, J. (1963/1969) Umění překladu, Prague: Československý spisovatel, translated by W. Schamschula (1969) as Die Literarische Übersetzung: Theorie einer Kunstgattung, Frankfurt: Athenäum.
Levý, J. (2011) The Art of Translation, translated by P. Corness, edited by P. Jettmarová, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Levý, J. (1967/2000) ‘Translation as a decision process’, in L. Venuti (ed.) (2000) The Translation Studies Reader, 1st edition, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 148–59.
Miko, F. (1970) ‘La théorie de l’expression et la traduction’, in J. S. Holmes (ed.), pp. 61–77.
Popovič, A. (1970) ‘The concept “shift of expression” in translation analysis’, in J. S. Holmes (ed.), pp. 78–87.
——(1976) Dictionary for the Analysis of Literary Translation, Edmonton: Department of Comparative Literature, University of Alberta.
The ancient town of Greenwich has been a gateway to London for over a thousand years. Invaders from the continent passed either by ship or the Old Dover Road, built by the Romans, on their way to the capital.
In 1012, the Danes moored their longships at Greenwich and raided Canterbury, returning with Archbishop Alfege as hostage and later murdering him on the spot where the church named after him now stands.
Arabic TT (thanks to Dr Falih Al-Emara, University of Leeds)
وفي سنة 1012، أرسى الدنماركيون سفنهم الطويلة في غرينتش وأغاروا على كانتربري، ثم عادوا وقد أخذوا المطران ألفج (Alfege) رهينة ليقتلوه بعدئذ في الموضع الذي تقف عليه اليوم الكنيسة التي سميت بإسمه.
Chinese TT (Thanks to Wan Tenglong and Yang Long, University of Leeds)
Korean TT (thanks to Dr Ji-Hae Kang and students, Ajou University)
1012년 당시 바이킹들은 그리니치에 배를 정박하고 캔터베리에 침입하였다. 이 과정에서 이들은 알페지 대주교를 인질로 잡아 그리니치로 돌아온 뒤 살해했는데, 현재 그 자리에는 알페지 대주교의 이름을 딴 성 알페지 교회(St. Alfege’s Church)가 세워져 있다.
Malay TT (thanks to Dr Idris Mansor, Universiti Sains Malaysia)
Bandar lama Greenwich merupakan pintu masuk ke Kota London sejak hampir seribu tahun yang lalu. Penceroboh dari negara lain menggunakan laluan ini untuk ke ibu kota atau menggunakan Old Dover Road yang dibuat oleh pemerintah Rom.
Pada tahun 1012, penceroboh Denmark melabuhkan kapal mereka di Greenwich dan menyerang Bandar Canterbury. Dalam serangan ini, mereka telah menawan ketua biskop Alfege dan kemudian membunuhnya di suatu tempat yang telah dibina sebuah gereja yang diberi nama bersempena dengan nama beliau.
Baker, M. (ed.) (2006) Translation and Context, Special issue of the Journal of Pragmatics 38.3.
Bührig, K., J. House and Jan D. ten Thije (eds) (2009) Translational Action and Intercultural Communication, Manchester: St Jerome.
Nord, C. (2003) ‘Function and loyalty in Bible translation’, in M. Calzada-Pérez (ed.) Apropos of Ideology: Translation studies on ideology – Ideologies in translation studies, Manchester: St Jerome, pp. 195–212.
Pym, A. (2004) ‘Propositions on cross-cultural communication and translation’, Target 16.1: 1–28. See also a pre-print version at http://usuaris.tinet.cat/apym/on-line/intercultures/cross-cultural.pdf
Pym, A. (2010) Exploring Translation Theories, Abingdon and New York: Routledge, ch. 4.
- The question of the translation of metaphors in business texts was discussed in section 5.1.1. Look at a variety of text types in your own language pairs to see how metaphors are used. Consider linguistic metaphors (Newmark 1981) and conceptual metaphors (Dickins 2005). How would you translate them? Does the translation vary according to text type? Are other factors involved?
- Look again at the Snell-Hornby typology of text types (Figure 5.2 in Chapter 5). Consider how it would be applied to texts that you yourself have translated or analyzed. How successfully do you feel Snell-Hornby achieves her aim of integrating literary and technical translation?
- In the theory of translatorial action, the translator is considered to be the expert of intercultural transfer, although not always a trained expert in the subject-specific area of the TT. How far do you agree with this assessment and what does it imply for the role of the translator in modern-day communications?
- Pym (2004: 7) talks of translation as ‘a relatively high-effort, high-cost mode of cross-cultural communication, normally suited to short- term communication acts’. How does this compare with the theory of translatorial action?
- According to skopos theory, a translation commission must give details of the purpose and function of the TT in order for adequate translatorial action to take place. Try to find examples of translation skopoi to see how detailed they are and to see what this reveals about the translation initiator. For instance, what kind of translation skopos is explicitly and implicitly stated in university examination papers? If you are a professional translator, or have access to one, investigate how they are informed of and negotiate the skopos of a specific text.
- The main assessment criterion in skopos theory is ‘functional adequacy’ rather than equivalence (which would be ‘functional constancy’). Follow up this concept in Nord (1997: 34–7, 2005: 31–3) and consider how ‘adequacy’ is to be judged, and by whom.
5.3 Jiménez-Crespo, M. (2011) ‘To adapt or not to adapt in web localization’, JosTrans 15, http://www.jostrans.org/issue15/art_jimenez.php.
5.4 Babych, B., A. Hartley, K. Kageura, M. Thomas and M. Utiyama (2012) ‘MNHTT: A collaborative platform for translator training’.
5.5 Mason, I. (2000) ‘Audience design in translating’, The Translator 6.1: 1–22.
Discussion point 3, p. 139
McDonough Dolmaya, J. (2012) ‘Analyzing the crowdsourcing model and its impact on public perceptions of translation’, The Translator 18.2: 167–91.
See also the Free Reading Materials tab.
For recent studies from a discourse analysis perspective:
Baker, M., M. Olohan and M. Calzada-Pérez (eds) (2010) Text in Context: Essays on Translation and Interpreting in Honour of Ian Mason, Manchester: St Jerome.
House, J. (2002) ‘Universality versus culture specificity in translation’, in A. Riccardi (ed.) Translation Studies: Perspectives on an Emerging Discipline, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 92–110.
Mossop, B. (2007) Revising and Editing for Translators, 2nd edition, Manchester: St Jerome.
Munday, J. (forthcoming, 2012) Evaluation in Translation: Crucial Points of Translator Decision-Making, Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
Williams, M. (2004) Translation Quality Assessment: An Argumentation-Centred Approach, Ottawa: Ottawa University Press.
- Quality and errors are central to House’s model. Yet her model is written from a strongly academic viewpoint. Compare how translation errors are categorized by translator associations, translator agencies and organizations (e.g. the UN). What criteria do they give for revising translations and assuring quality? Look also at the criteria by which your own translations may be evaluated. Assess the advantages and weaknesses of these classifications, and how they compare to House’s model. Look at Williams (2004) and Mossop (2007) for additional ideas (see Further Reading).
- Later work by House (2002: 107, see Further Reading) suggests that there is now ‘a trend towards cultural universalism and cultural neutralism – which is really a drift towards Anglo-American norms’. She feels that a consequence of this is a reduction in cultural filtering. How much cultural filtering do you note in texts translated into your languages?
- Find translations of President Obama’s 2009 inauguration speech in your own languages. How do the translators deal with questions of dynamic language, including the degree of evaluation, potentially contested key concepts and pronoun choice? What differences do you note between translations and interpretations of the speech? A transcription of the original speech can be found at www.whitehouse.gov/blog/inaugural-address/.
6.1 Jiang Chenzi (2010) ‘Quality assessment for the translation of museum texts: Application of a systemic functional model’, Perspectives 18.2: 109–26.
6.4 Munday, J. (2007) ‘Translation and ideology: A textual approach’,The Translator 13.2: 195–217.
See also the Free Reading Materials tab.
Pym, A. (2008) ‘On Toury’s laws of how to translate’, in A. Pym, M. Shlesinger and D. Simeoni (eds) Beyond Descriptive Translation Studies, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 311–28.
Pym, A. (2010) Exploring Translation Theories, Abingdon and New York: Routledge, ch. 5.
Schäffner, C. (1998) ‘The concept of norms in translation studies’, Current Issues in Language and Society 5.1–2: 1–9.
Toury, G. (1995) ‘The nature and role of norms in translation’, in Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond, Amsterdam-Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1995, 53–69, available at http://www.tau.ac.il/~toury/works/GT-Role-Norms.htm
- Consider the position of translation in the polysystem of your own country. Would you say that it occupies a primary or secondary position? Have there been noticeable changes over the years? What might have caused these changes? As far as translated literature’s own polysystem is concerned, are there variations according to genre, SL, etc.?
- Look at the different case studies given in Toury’s Descriptive Translation Studies (1995). What elements do they have in common? What studies could you carry out to test or extend these findings?
- Analyse suitable ST-TT pairs and compare the results. How feasible are Toury’s proposed laws of translation and Chesterman’s S-universals and T-universals?
- Find other examples of studies which seem to support or challenge Toury’s laws of standardization and interference. Pym’s article ‘On Toury’s laws of how translators translate’ (Pym 2008, see Further Reading) discusses the commonplaceness and contradiction in the two laws through the concept of social conditions and translator risk-avoidance. What examples can you find to support or challenge this possible unification? What extra-linguistic variables seem to condition the laws?
- Read the various papers in Beyond Descriptive Translation Studies (Pym et al. 2008) see Further Reading. How far do they advance or modify Toury’s model?
Among the many studies in this area, the following are particularly noteworthy.
For cultural studies and comparative literature:
Apter, E. (2005) The Translation Zone: A New Comparative Literature, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Casanova, P. (2004) The World Republic of Letters, translated by M. DeBevoise, Cambridge, MA; Harvard University Press.
For gender studies:
Larkosh, C. (ed.) (2011) Re-engendering Translation: Transcultural Practice, Gender/Sexuality and the Politics of Alterity, Manchester: St Jerome.
Von Flotow, L. (2010) ‘Gender in translation’, in Y. Gambier and L. van Doorslaer (eds) Handbook of Translation Studies, vol.1, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Von Flotow, L. (ed.) (2011) Translating Women, Ottawa: University of Ottawa Press.
For postcolonial studies:
Appiah, K. (1993/2004) ‘Thick translation’, in L. Venuti (ed.) The Translation Studies Reader, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 389–401.
Bandia, P. (2008) Translation as Reparation: Writing and Translation in Postcolonial Africa, Manchester: St Jerome.
Bandia, P. (2010) ‘Post-colonial literatures and translation’, in Y. Gambier and L. van Doorslaer (eds) Handbook of Translation Studies, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Batchelor, K. (2009) Decolonizing Translation: Francophone African Novels in English Translation, Manchester: St Jerome.
Cronin, M. (2006) Translation and Identity, Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
Simon, S. (2011) Cities in Translation: Intersections of Language and Memory, Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
For translation and conflict:
Baker, M. (2006) Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account, London and New York: Routledge.
Inghilleri, M. and S.-A. Harding (eds) Translation and Violent Conflict, Special issue of The Translator 16.2.
Salama-Carr, M. (ed.) (2007) Translating and Interpreting Conflict, Amsterdam: Rodopi.
- Lefevere (1992: 9, see chapter) considers translation to be ‘potentially the most influential’ form of rewriting. How far do you agree with him? Compare this with examples taken from other forms of rewriting (film adaptations, anthologization, historiography, etc.).
- Look for examples from translations in various times and locations that reveal a gender bias. How is that bias revealed? Is there a pattern to these examples? How might the translator have acted differently?
- How far do you agree with Niranjana that translation studies has been overly dominated by Western theories? If this is true, how can or should the situation be changed?
- ‘Co-existence implies translating the culture and (political, religious, emotional) language of the other into a language and culture that is strengthened by the presence of the other. The alternative to translation is the muteness of fear’ (Cronin 1996: 200, see chapter). How far does this statement hold for the linguistic policies of your own country?
- In what ways might the researcher’s own ideology condition the choice of analytical tools and the relation to cultural theory?
- Ideology has often been understood in the sense of manipulation in translation studies. Look at the recent work in this area. What definitions are given for ‘ideology’? What assumptions do researchers have about how ideology is manifested in translation? Is there a pattern to the findings of the different studies?
8.2 Aksoy, N. (2010) ‘The Relation Between Translation and Ideology as an Instrument for the Establishment of a National Literature’. Meta 55: 438–55.
8.3 Wallmach, K. (2006) ‘Feminist translation strategies: Different or derived?’ Journal of Literary Studies 22.1–2: 1–26.
8.4 Batchelor, K. (2008) ‘Third Spaces, mimicry and attention to ambivalence: Applying Bhabhian discourse to translation theory’, The Translator 14.1: 51–70.
See also the Free Reading Materials tab.
Postcolonial writing in an Irish context
Postcolonial writing on translation is not restricted to non-European contexts. It is the translation of Irish literature that is the subject of studies by Michael Cronin (Translating Ireland: Translation, Languages, Cultures, Cork University Press 1996) and Maria Tymoczko (Translation in a Postcolonial Context, St Jerome Publishing 1999). In this section we focus on Cronin’s more politically assertive work.
Cronin (1996: 3) takes issue with Niranjana and other writers on translation and postcolonialism because of their ‘simple opposition of Europe and the New World or Europe and the Colony’ and because of their neglect of the ‘internal colonialism’ within Europe itself. Cronin himself concentrates on the role of translation in the linguistic and political battle between the Irish and
English languages, examining how Irish translators throughout history have discussed and presented their work in prefaces, commentaries and other writings. Of particular interest is his description of this process from historical, political and cultural angles and the way translation is seen, at different times, to serve the interests of both colonizer and colonized. The role of language in the subjugation of Ireland by the English is evident in the 1537 Act for the English Order which was designed to make the Irish speak English. Cronin uses the metaphor of translation to draw a parallel with what was happening physically to the Irish:
Translation at a cultural level – the embrace of English acculturation – is paralleled by translation at a territorial level, the forcible displacement and movement of populations.
(Cronin 1996: 49)
On the other hand, writing in 1596, the English poet Edmund Spenser, a supporter of the power of the conqueror, nevertheless showed his appreciation of translations of Irish poems into English (ibid.: 49–51). This appreciation of Irish literature in translation ran counter to the stereotype of the time of the barbarian Irish.
Cronin (ibid.: 67–71) goes on to describe how, in the seventeenth century, translation into English was promoted by new forms of patronage (the education system, the landed aristocracy, the church and the large numbers of new settlers) which gave economic and political incentives for the use of English. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, translations into English were produced by Irish scholars in an attempt to oppose views of Irish history and literature that had been produced by England and in order to defend their own culture. This, as Cronin points out (ibid.: 92), ironically assisted in the strengthening of the English language in Ireland. Today, translation remains a political issue in modern postcolonial Ireland where the Irish and English languages co-exist.
Patronage for the translation into the other European languages of literature written in both Irish and English by Irish authors is now financially supported by the Translation Grant Programme of the Arts Council in Ireland. As the Council’s Laurence Cassidy makes clear, this support for Irish culture is designed in part to combat the economic power over culture that remains in London:
It is of the most crucial importance that an independent country with an independent literature in two languages takes onto itself its own representation of that literature and doesn’t leave it to London [publishing] houses who are really only promoting the authorial end and the economic end of the process and are not concerned about the Irish image.
(Cronin 1996: 174)
In this way, the political stance of Cronin’s book demonstrates that the post-colonial power relations within translation do not just operate on a globally north–south or west–east scale.
Foreignization and domestication:
Robinson, D. (2011) Translation and the Problem of Sway, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Berman, A. (2009) Toward a Translation Criticism: John Donne, translated and edited by F. Massardier-Kenney, Kent, OH: Kent State University Press.
Massardier-Kenney, F. (2010) ‘Antoine Berman’s way-making to translation as a creative and critical act’, Translation Studies 3.3: 259–71.
For publishers and translation reviews:
Bush, P. (2004) ‘Reviewing translations: Barcelona, London and Paris’, EnterText 4.3 Supplement, http://arts.brunel.ac.uk/gate/entertext/4_3/bush_s.pdf
Hale, T. (1998) ‘Publishing strategies’, in M. Baker and K. Malmkjær (eds) The Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, 1st edition, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 190–4.
Munday, J. (1998) ‘The Caribbean conquers the world? An analysis of the reception of García Márquez in translation’, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 75.1: 137–44.
Some interviews with translators:
Center for Translation Studies, University of Texas at Dallas, http://translation.utdallas.edu/resources/interviews.htm
Gregory Rabassa, Edith Grossman and Michael F. Moore in conversation, Pen Audio Archive, http://www.pen.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/2255
For sociology (Bourdieu, Latour, Luhmann…)
Chesterman, A. (2006) ‘Questions in the sociology of translation’, in J. Ferreira Duarte, A. Assis Rosa and T. Seruya (eds) Translation Studies at the Interface of Disciplines, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins, pp. 9–27.
Hermans, T. (2007) The Conference of the Tongues, Manchester: St Jerome, for Luhmann.
Inghilleri, M. (ed.) (2005) Bourdieu and the Sociology of Translation and Interpreting, Special issue of The Translator 11.2.
- Examine how ‘visible’ translation is in your own culture, looking at translation flows and rates. Do your findings tally with Venuti’s analysis of English?
- How far do you agree with Venuti’s statement (1992: 10, see chapter) that ‘any attempt to make translation visible today is necessarily a political gesture’? What kinds of ethical decisions does a translator have to make?
- What do you think of the hypothesis of Pym (2004: 200, fn7, see chapter) that ‘the sheer size of English could mean that much of the variety and new blood that other language groups seek through translation, English language cultures may be receiving through distribution without translation’.
- Look at Rabassa’s and Levine’s works and at Venuti’s descriptions of his own translations. How far do you agree with Toury that such accounts by translators are ‘unreliable’? Search for other accounts by translators of your own language pairs.
- Find reviews of other work(s) or author(s) in your TL. How do the reviewers’ comments compare to the comments analysed in the case study? Look at a range of paratexts (peritexts and epitexts) of one translated book, or an author. What is the function of these different paratexts in your examples?
- Maier (1990, see chapter) calls for the incorporation of translation theory into reviews of translation. Put together your own model for translation reviews, incorporating elements of theory (from this and previous chapters). Try writing a critique of a TT with your model. How successful is it?
- Many translation theorists speak of the need for more ‘raw material’ (Maier 2007: 2, see chapter) about translators, their history and their working practices. What kinds of ‘raw material’ are available? How might you go about researching it? What type of material seems to be lacking?
- Examine translation research that draws on Bourdieu, Latour and Luhmann (see Further Reading). Note the different terminology and features of each model. What is the main focus of each? In your opinion, which is the most appropriate for the questions you wish to investigate? If possible, speak to sociologists in your institution about these and other theorists whose ideas may be applicable to the study of the translator.
- Simeoni (1998: 31, see chapter) laments that ‘modern sociographies of single translators’ professional trajectories are sorely lacking’. He suggests using simple interviews and biographical research to fill this gap. Make such a study of a translator in your own culture and attempt to describe the habitus of the individual. Is it one of ‘subservience’? What factors seem to have been central to the formation of this habitus?
Discussion of Venuti’s work
Venuti’s analysis of the British and American publishing hegemony might seem to tie in with the power relations of the postcolonial world (see Chapter 8), but it has sparked wide debate and a backlash from some translation theorists – see, for example, the criticisms in Hermans (1999: 1–3) and Liu Yameng’s (2007) call for ‘representational justice’ for Southern source texts rather than a foreignization in translation. Pym (1996) takes issue with Venuti’s figures, noting that, although the percentages of translations published in the UK and the USA might seem low, they do in fact represent large numbers of books and that the numbers have increased as the number of published books has increased.
Despite Pym’s sarcastic stance towards Venuti, he raises a number of pertinent issues, including the following:
(1) Will translation really change if translators refuse to translate fluently (Pym 1996: 166)? Pym (ibid.: 174) notes that Venuti’s ‘call for action’, for translators to demand increased visibility, is best exemplified by Venuti himself as a translator–theorist. Although Pym questions whether other translators survive by adopting this stance, there are cases, such as Pevear and Volokhonsky’s new English translations of Dostoevksy, where a non-fluent strategy has been acclaimed (Venuti 2008: 122–4).
(2) Although Venuti concentrates on translation into English, the trend towards a translation policy of ‘fluency’ (or ‘domestication’) occurs in translations into other languages as well. Pym (1996: 170) cites Brazil, Spain and France as examples. This would seem to suggest that translation might be, at the current time, typically domesticating, irrespective of the relative power of source and target cultures.
(3) Pym (2004: 200, fn. 7) sees the English-language book market as being much bigger than other languages which gives it access to a greater variety of own-language publications, including various varieties of English (Australian, Indian, South African . . .). He hypothesizes that ‘the sheer size of English could mean that much of the variety and new blood that other language groups seek through translation, English language cultures may be receiving through distribution without translation’.
(4) Pym also asks if Venuti’s ‘resistancy’ is testable. He relates it to Toury’s law of tolerance of interference (see Chapter 7), with fluency (‘non-tolerance of interference’) expected to occur generally in translation. Thus, suggests Pym (1996: 171), it is not surprising that this phenomenon should occur in British and American translation. Nevertheless, Pym concedes (ibid.: 176) that Venuti ‘does enable us to talk about translators as real people in political situations, about the quantitative aspects of translation policies, and about ethical criteria that might relate translators to the societies of the future’. However, Venuti does not offer a specific methodology to apply to the analysis of translation. His numerous case studies of translation encompass a range of research methods, including discussion of translators’ prefaces and analysis of extracts of ST–TT pairs in order to assess the translation strategy prevalent in a given context and culture. Nonetheless, Venuti’s general premises about foreignizing and domesticating translation practices, and about the invisibility of the translator and the relative power of the publisher and the translator, can be investigated in a variety of ways by:
- comparing ST and TT linguistically for signs of foreignizing and domesticating practices;
- interviewing the translators about their strategies and/or researching what the translators say they are doing, their correspondence with the authors and the different drafts of a translation if available;
- interviewing the publishers, editors and agents to see what their aims are in publishing translations, how they choose which books to translate and what instructions they give to translators;
- looking at how many books are translated and sold, which ones are chosen and into which languages, and how trends vary over time;
- looking at the kind of translation contracts that are made and how ‘visible’ the translator is in the final product;
- seeing how literally ‘visible’ the fact of translation is, looking at the packaging of the text, the appearance or otherwise of the translator’s name on the title page, the copyright assignation, translators’ prefaces, correspondence, etc.;
- analysing the reviews of a translation, author or period. The aim would be to see what mentions are made of the translators (are they ‘visible’?) and by what criteria reviewers (and the literary ‘élite’) judge translations at a given time and in a given culture.
- Hermans, T. (1999) Translation in Systems: Descriptive and System-Oriented Approaches Explained, Manchester: St Jerome.
- Liu Yameng (2007) ‘Towards “representational justice” in translation practice’, in J. Munday (ed.) (2007), Translation as Intervention, pp. 54–70.
- Pym, A. (1996) ‘Venuti’s visibility’ (Review of The Translator’s Invisibility), Target 8.1: 165–77. —— (2004) The Moving Text: Localization, Translation, and Distribution, Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
- Venuti, L. (1995/2008) The Translator’s Invisibility: A History of Translation, London and New York: Routledge.
9.2 Discussion of Venuti’s work
9.3 Booth, M. (2008) ‘Translator v. Author (2007): Girls of Riyadh go to New York’, Translation Studies 1.2: 197–211.
9.5 Inghilleri, M. (2009) ‘Sociological approaches’ in M. Baker and G. Saldanha The Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies, 2nd edn, pp. 279–82.
9.7 Bielsa, E. (2013) ‘Translation and the international circulation of literature: A comparative analysis of the reception of Roberto Bolaño’s work in Spanish and English’, The Translator 19.2: 157–81.
See also the Free Reading Materials tab.
Some other well-known philosophical writings on translation are included in:
Schulte R. and J. Biguenet (eds) (1992) Theories of Translation. An Anthology of Essays from Dryden to Derrida, Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.
Ortega y Gasset, J. (1937/1992) ‘The misery and splendor of translation’, translated by E. Gamble Miller, pp. 93–112.
Paz, O. (1971/1992) ‘Translation: Literature and letters’, translated by I. del Corral, pp. 152–62.
Borges, J.-L. (1935/2004) ‘The translators of The Thousand and One Nights’, translated by E. Allen, in L. Venuti (ed.) (2004) The Translation Studies Reader, 2nd edition, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 94–108.
For a different approach to hermeneutics:
Stolze, R. (2011) The Translator’s Approach: Introduction to Translational Hermeneutics. Theory and Examples from Practice, Berlin: Frank and Timme.
For a general introduction to deconstruction and translation:
Davis, K. (2001) Deconstruction and Translation, Manchester: St Jerome.
For more on Derrida:
Derrida, J. (1972/1982) Margins of Philosophy, translated by A. Bass, London and New York: Prentice Hall.
- Analyse Steiner’s ‘hermeneutic motion’ in another ST-TT pair. Compare your findings with the case study of Heaney’s preface to Beowulf analysed in the chapter.
- Read the feminist criticisms of Steiner in Chamberlain (1988/2004, see chapter) and Simon (1996, see chapter). How far do you agree with their comments? Investigate other metaphors for translation.
- Philosophical texts contain specialized terminologies and experimental structures. Investigate what form a translation of a philosophical text might take. Look at published translations of Benjamin, Borges, Heidegger and Derrida to see what strategies have been employed. Compare translations of other texts, such as the work of Freud (see Boynton 2000 1), in your languages.
- There is a strong ethical element to philosophical approaches to translation (compare also the ethical perspective in Chapters 8 and 9). Identify where these ethical points are in the theorists considered in this chapter. Look also at a selection of prefaces written by literary translators. How many seem to consider their work in an ethical or philosophical way?
1 R. Boynton (2010) ‘Adam Phillips and the new Freud’, an online review from the New York Times,10 June 2000, at http://www.robertboynton.com/articleDisplay.php?article_id=64
See also the Free Reading Materials tab.
Derrida’s article on relevance, and discussion of Venuti’s translation
Derrida addresses the issue of translation most openly in his lecture ‘Qu’est-ce qu’une traduction relevante?’, translated by Lawrence Venuti as ‘What is a relevant translation?’ (Derrida 2001/2004). Delivered before an audience of translators, the title of the paper involves a play on words as Derrida discusses his own translation of a line from Portia in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, ‘when mercy seasons justice’. Derrida renders the verb seasons as relève (‘seasons/spices up’ as well as ‘relieves’ and many other meanings) to produce the translation ‘quand le merci relève la justice’. His analysis is particularly interesting because it draws on age-old terms such as word-for-word and sense-for-sense translation and the related notion of letter and spirit which we examined in Chapter 2. While it can be argued that Derrida’s knowledge of translation theory was restricted, his cultural and religious critique of the text adds a depth and currency that enhance the description of the translation process. He does this by linking these translation strategies to the culture and the religious ideologies depicted in the play. Thus, the ‘letter’ is associated with Judaism and ‘spirit’ with Christianity, expressed through their different scriptural traditions. Christianity, for example, was built on the reader-oriented translation of the divine message (see Chapters 2 and 3). Likewise, Portia’s interpretation or ‘relevant’ translation of Shylock’s words shows the ‘mercy’ of dominant Christian discourse assimilating the ‘justice’ of Judaism. Derrida’s own translation strategy is not ‘relevant’ but instead seeks to uncover this assimilation. The choice of relève is all the more pertinent because it contains an intertextual reference: it had been used by Derrida in 1967 to translate the supposedly ‘untranslatable’ Hegelian term Aufhebung, which in German has the double meaning of ‘elevation’ and ‘replacement’. At that time, Derrida had been attempting to reveal the contradiction within Hegelian dialectics; in the relevance paper, he uncovers and deconstructs the dominant discourse of power.
Of course, the term ‘relevance’ is primarily used in a different way in translation theory by Gutt (1991/2000, see ITS4, section 4.4). Although Derrida does not directly mention Gutt’s work, he does implicitly challenge the concept of relevance. This is because, in Derrida’s view (2001/2004: 425), a relevant translation, in Gutt’s sense, relies on the supposed stability of the signified–signifier relationship. It aims at total transparency through the use of explicitation and the provision of communicative cues to ease the processing demands placed on the receiver.
In addition to the importance of this essay, where Derrida tackles issues of translation theory, there is the interesting question of the methods used to translate it into English. Here there is collaboration between Derrida and a translation scholar, Venuti. Venuti’s translation often resorts to the use of italics and to the retention of technical terms from the French original, between parentheses: especially the term (relève). Furthermore, Venuti adds an introductory commentary to his translation. The paratext is another step of ‘rewriting’ (to use Lefevere’s term, see Chapter 8) or ‘supplementing’ (as Lewis would call it, see below) in which Venuti describes his own translating strategy:
In translating Derrida’s lecture I sought to implement his reflections on translation, as well as the concepts and practices that those reflections have inspired in the work of other theorists and translators. This meant adhering as closely as possible to his French, trying to reproduce his syntax, lexicon, and typography by inventing comparable effects – even when they threaten to twist the English into strange new forms.
(Venuti in Derrida 2001: 174–200)
Derrida, J. (2001/2004) ‘What is a “relevant” translation?’, translated by Lawrence Venuti, Critical Inquiry 27: 174–200, reprinted in Lawrence Venuti (ed.) (2004), The Translation Studies Reader, 2nd edition, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 423–47
For more on audiovisual translation:
Adab, B. and C. Valdés (eds) (2004) Key Debates in the Translation of Advertising Material, Special issue of The Translator 10.2.
Cronin, M. (2009) Translation Goes to the Movies, Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
Romero-Fresco, P. (2011) Subtitling through Speech Recognition: Respeaking, Manchester: St Jerome.
Torresi, I. (2010) Translating Advertising and Promotional Texts, Manchester: St Jerome.
Neves, J. (2008) ‘10 fallacies about subtitling for the d/Deaf and the hard of hearing’ Journal of Specialised Translation
Specialised Translationno. 10, http://www.jostrans.org/issue10/art_neves.php
For localization and globalization:
Austermühl, F. (2001) Electronic Tools for Translators, Manchester: St Jerome.
Jiménez-Crespo, M. A. (2011) ‘To adapt or not to adapt in web localization: A contrastive genre-based study of original and localised legal sections in corporate websites’, Journal of Specialised Translation no. 15, www.jostrans.org/issue15/art_jimenez.pdf
Pym, A. (2010) Exploring Translation Theories, Abingdon and New York: Routledge, ch. 7.
For more on corpus-based translation studies:
Biber, D., S. Conrad and R. Reppen (1998) Corpus Linguistics: Investigating Language Structure and Use, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kruger, A., K. Wallmach and J. Munday (eds) (2011) Corpus-based Translation Studies: Research and Applications, London and New York: Continuum.
Laviosa, S. (2002) Corpus-based Translation Studies: Theory, Findings, Applications, Amsterdam: Rodopi.
- Where possible, compare the DVD subtitles and dubbed versions of an extract of the same film. List and categorize the different translation procedures using one of the models presented in this or earlier chapters. How do the two modes of translation differ? Compare also with fansubs of the same or similar text, where they exist.
- Find examples of audiovisual translation that contain dialects or sociolects. Is there a pattern to the way they are translated? What does this indicate about the norms involved in the translation process? Compare with dialogue translation in other genres, such as novels and plays.
- ‘From a translational viewpoint, the most difficult situation […] arises when a linguistic sign, a phrase, refers metaphorically to an iconographic sign or image that the source and target culture do not share’ (Díaz-Cintas and Remael 2007: 46, see chapter). Find examples of occurrences of this in audiovisual translation. Examine the question particularly from the perspective of advertising (see Further Reading).
- Examine forms of localization present in your languages. These may be product information sheets (e.g. for medicines), instruction manuals, multilingual websites, adverts, etc. What are the linguistic and cultural constraints that affect these products?
- Read up on the corpus studies noted in the chapter, especially Laviosa (1998b), Olohan (2004), and Kruger, Wallmach and Munday (2011). Design a study to investigate the dictionary translations of a problematic term between English and your languages. For instance, investigate the use of the near-synonyms attached, fond and devoted, and their equivalents in another language.
11.1 Pérez-González, L. (2014) Excerpts taken from pages 15-26 in Audiovisual Translation: Theories, Methods and Issues, Abingdon and New York: Routledge.
11.2 Pedersen, J. (2005) ‘How is culture rendered in subtitles?’, MUTRA 2005.
11.3 Taylor, C. (2003) ‘Multimodal transcription in the analysis, translation and subtitling of Italian films’, The Translator 9.2: 191–205.
11.4 Chaume, F. (2004) ‘Film studies and translation studies: Two disciplines at stake in audiovisual translation’, Meta 49.1: 12–24.
Chaume, F. (2012) Audiovisual Translation: Dubbing, Manchester: St Jerome.
11.6 Jiménez-Crespo, M. (2011) ‘To adapt or not to adapt in web localization’, JosTrans 15.
11.7 Zanettin, F. (2013) ‘Corpus methods for descriptive translation studies’, Procedia 95: 20–32.
Discussion point 2, page 301
Borodo, M. (2015) ‘Multimodality, translation and comics’, Perspectives 23.1: 22–41.
See also the Free Reading Materials tab.
Mason, I. (ed.) (2009) Training for Doctoral Research, Special issue of The Interpreter and Translator Trainer 3.1.
12.1 Look at the websites of IATIS, EST and other associations for details of their most recent conferences. What seem to be the major trends in the latest research? In which ways do these suggest a broadening of the scope of translation studies? Check this page on the ITS companion website for suggested revisions to the map.
Start by looking at http://bcom.au.dk/research/conferencesandlectures/est-congress-2016/panels/ for the list of panels at the EST conference, Aarhus, Denmark, 2016.
See also the Free Reading Materials tab.