Intercultural Faultlines: Research Models in Translation Studies: v. 1: Textual and Cognitive Aspects, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Intercultural Faultlines

Research Models in Translation Studies: v. 1: Textual and Cognitive Aspects, 1st Edition

By Maeve Olohan


280 pages

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Paperback: 9781900650441
pub: 2000-12-01
Hardback: 9781138437470
pub: 2017-11-20
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Intercultural Faultlines offers an exploration of research models and methods in translation studies, as implemented, discussed and critically evaluated by some of the leading researchers in the field of translation and interpreting.

While the focus throughout is on textual and cognitive aspects of translation and interpreting, the objects of study and consequently the methodological considerations are wide-ranging. The volume contains chapters focusing on research conducted in areas as diverse as corpus-based translation studies, dialogue interpreting, simultaneous interpreting, acquisition of translation competence, cognitive processes in translation, translation into the L2, creativity in translation and translation quality assessment. Some research models and methods are applied to translation for the first time, while others are more established and can be assessed in terms of their reliability and the generalizability of the results they yield. Issues of research design and methodology are addressed, and interesting questions are raised which are likely to become the focus of attention in future research, for example with regard to causal models of translation, translational ethics, collaborative research and issues of power in interpreting research.

Table of Contents

Intercultural Faultlines: Contents

Shifts, But Not As We Know Them? Research Models and Methods in Translation Studies, Maeve Olohan, pp 1-14

Using the models of translation proposed by Chesterman (1998 and this volume) - comparative, process and causal - as a means of structuring the discussion, this chapter presents an overview of the research models and methods in translation and interpreting employed by some of the leading researchers in the field. While the focus throughout is on textual and cognitive aspects of translation and interpreting, the objects of study and consequently the methodological considerations are diverse. Some models and methods are applied to translation for the first time, while others are more established and can be assessed in terms of their reliability and the generalizability of the results they yield. Issues of research design and methodology are addressed, and interesting questions are raised which are likely to become the focus of attention in future research, for example with regard to causal models of translation, translational ethics, collaborative research and issues of power in interpreting research.

A Causal Model for Translation Studies, Andrew Chesterman, pp 15-28

Three basic models of translation are used in translation research. The first is a comparative model, which aligns translations either with their source texts or with parallel (untranslated) texts and examines correlations between the two. This model is evident in contrastive studies. The second model is a process model, which maps different phases of the translation process over time. This model is represented by communication approaches, and also by some protocol approaches. The third model is a causal one, in which translations are explicitly seen both as caused by antecedent conditions and as causing effects on readers and cultures. The four standard kinds of hypotheses (interpretive, descriptive, explanatory and predictive) are outlined in this chapter and illustrated with reference to the phenomenon of retranslation. Only the causal model can accommodate all four types of hypotheses, and it is hence the most fruitful model for future development in translation studies. Descriptive hypotheses (such as statements about universals or laws) can have explanatory force, but almost all causal influences are filtered through the individual translator's mind, through particular decisions made by the translator at a given time.

Choice Network Analysis in Translation Research, Stuart Campbell, pp 29-42

Choice network analysis (CNA) is presented here as a method for constructing models of the mental processing underlying translation.[i] CNA is seen as both an alternative and a complement to other research methods, such as think-aloud protocols and word-based psychological experiments. The method operates on the principle that models of mental processes can be inferred from the analysis of translations of the same source texts by multiple subjects. Examples of networks are presented covering translation between Arabic and English and Spanish and English in such areas as lexis, complex noun phrases, ellipsis and passives. CNA is seen to be theory-free in that the analyst can use the method to test hypotheses from a variety of theoretical standpoints. The examples discussed here draw on insights from theories of working memory, language production, metaphor, syntax and cognitive style. Principles behind the construction of networks are discussed, including the issue of linearity and the possible incorporation of connectionist modelling. Some applications of CNA are proposed, such as researching text difficulty and expert-novice behaviour, and the generation of hypotheses.

Choosing an Empirical-Experimental Model for Investigating Translation Competence: The PACTE Model, Allison Beeby, 43-56

This chapter discusses the problems involved in choosing a research model in translation studies. The choice of a model will depend on the type of problem to be observed and its relevance to translation studies as a whole, i.e. the extent to which the results of the research may be generalized. A flow chart depicting the steps to be taken in choosing a research model is introduced (Neunzig 1999). Preliminary stages in this process lead to the decision whether or not to do empirical study, and subsequent stages determine whether or not experimental research is carried out. These are followed by decisions relating to research design and data collection. The process of choosing and applying a research model in this way is illustrated by means of the empirical-experimental model for investigating translation competence as designed by the PACTE group (Procesos de Aprendizaje de la Competencia Traductora y Evaluación [Learning Processes in the Acquisition of Translation Competence and Evaluation]) at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

A Cognitive Framework for Looking at Creative Mental Processes, Paul Kussmaul, pp 57-72

The investigation of mental processes is increasingly gaining recognition as an area of research within translation studies. More specifically, there is also a growing interest in creative translation (see, for example, the papers of the 9th International Conference on Translation and Interpreting which took place in 1995 in Prague). This chapter discusses what can be termed a creative translation and then deals with some popular notions of creativity. It goes on to present some cognitive models and notions - Fillmore's scenes and frames, Langacker's figure/ground alignment and focus, and Schank's thematic organization points (TOPs) - with a view to explaining what goes on in the minds of translators when they translate creatively. Some examples of translations are given to show that these models can be used to form hypotheses about what happens in creative translators' minds. Finally some possibilities for further research are outlined.

Conventionality, Creativity and Translated Text: The Implications of Electronic Corpora in Translation, Dominic Stewart, 73-92

The aim of this chapter is to examine issues of conventionality and creativity in the area of corpus linguistics and corpus translation studies, taking as a springboard the author's experience of using the British National Corpus in the classroom as an aid to translation into the foreign language. The chapter focuses on the question of whether the use of corpora for the purposes of target language production and creative writing in general, tends to result in the reproduction of the recurring patterns that corpora themselves may be considered to reveal and highlight, or whether they provide a backdrop of recurring patterns from which we can creatively deviate. The question has particular significance in the context of translated texts, which recent research has claimed are already more conventional than original texts, and even greater significance for translation into the foreign language, where the translator has less room for manoeuvre in terms of imaginative TL usage. Focused research projects are encouraged to provide much-needed insights into the issues raised.

Lexical Hide-and-Seek: Looking for Creativity in a Parallel Corpus, Dorothy Kenny, pp 93-104

Corpus-based translation studies is still in its infancy, and methods of interrogating corpora that are specially adapted to the needs of translation scholars have yet to be devised. For the time being then, translation scholars have to rely on existing corpus-processing tools in their studies of often highly abstract features of source and target texts. This chapter reports on how two such tools - the WordList and Concord programs in WordSmith Tools - are pressed into service in a study of lexical normalization in GEPCOLT, a German-English Parallel Corpus of Literary Texts. The chapter focuses on methods used in the initial phase of the study, during which instances of lexical creativity are identified in the source texts, and explores the usefulness of various types of lists, including keyword and cluster lists, and concordances, in identifying creative hapax legomena, writer-specific forms, and unusual collocations. Finally, an attempt is made to evaluate the performance of each method in terms of its levels of precision and recall in extracting creative uses of lexis, all the while keeping in mind the tension between what the researcher wants from the software and what the software is actually capable of outputting.

Parallel Corpora in Translation Studies: Issues in Corpus Design and Analysis, Federico Zanettin, pp 105-118

This chapter deals with the design and analysis of 'translation-driven' corpora, i.e. principled collections of electronic texts compiled with the aim of studying translation products and processes, with special reference to parallel corpora. The comparison and contrast of paired translation units is, of course, not new to translation research, but the possibility of retrieving on a computer screen hundreds of similar contexts and their translations, and the relative ease of combining this with statistical analysis and data manipulation, allow hypotheses to be tested on a larger scale as well as tentative generalizations to be made. Corpus linguistics is seen as a methodology which can by applied to various facets of translation studies in the same way as it is applied to the study of textual products in linguistics. Parallel corpora, as well as other 'translation-driven' corpora, can complement other types of investigation of printed texts in translation studies. It is suggested in this chapter that issues of corpus design (which types of texts are included, what languages are involved, which criteria are used for sampling, what the research aims and applications of the projects are), and corpus encoding (how the 'translation' from printed texts to electronic corpus comes about) deserve careful consideration insofar as these issues are likely to affect findings based on corpora. It is also argued that, in order to enhance and maximize the advantage which can be derived from research based on electronic texts in translation studies, there is a need for greater standardization and interchange of corpus resources.

Strange Strings in Translated Language: A Study on Corpora, Anna Mauranen, pp 119-142

This chapter compares translated language with original texts in the same language by means of investigating multi-word strings which carry text-reflexive (metatextual) meanings. Text-reflexive expressions are separable from the propositional content of the text, and fulfil the functions of organizing the text and guiding the reader's interpretation. They are particularly typical of academic texts, and more common in English than in Finnish. Corpus analysis supported the hypotheses that there would be more reflexivity in academic texts than in popular texts, and more in translated texts independent of the source language. Moreover, the multi-word patterning in translated texts was found to be less clear and stable than in original texts, and the strings tended to be different. This suggests that translations may not observe the same co-selectional restrictions as comparable original texts. The different behaviour of near-synonymous lexical combinations in translations and originals supported this observation In addition, there was evidence to suggest that highly TL specific items tend to be underrepresented in translations. Popular non-fiction texts appeared to deviate more from the TL norm than academic texts, implying that cultural prestige may be less important than other determinants of translation.

The Text-organizing Function of Lexical Repetition in Translation, Kinga Klaudy and Krisztina Károly, pp 143-160

A textual approach to translation may be justified by the notion of global textual meaning, since, as Neubert and Shreve (1992) point out, it is the global meaning of translation, recontextualized as an L2 text, that must be adjusted to the original global meaning of the source text. This study will show that Károly's (1998) theory-based analytical tool, a partly revised version of Hoey's (1991) repetition model, may be capable of providing information about the global meaning of texts on the basis of particular linguistic elements identifiable on the textual surface. More precisely, it is hypothesized that this analytical tool, which focuses on a number of issues related to repetition, may distinguish between the text-building strategies of professional and trainee translators. The texts submitted to analysis can be divided into three groups: (1) an English newspaper article, (2) ten Hungarian translations written by professionals, and (3) ten Hungarian translations by trainees. Findings of the analysis indicate that the analytical tool distinguishes between professionals' and trainees' translations on two levels. First, it shows differences regarding the use of lexical repetition as a cohesive device; secondly, it indicates differences in the discourse strategies applied by professional and novice translators.

Issues of Translation Research in the Inferential Paradigm of Communication, Ernst-August Gutt, pp 161-180

For the greater part of the 20th century, the dominant model of communication has been the 'code model'. Whether adopted consciously or subconsciously, it has exerted a strong influence on contemporary notions of translation and the research devoted to it. In the 1980s a major shift toward a new, inferential paradigm of communication began. This chapter attempts to highlight some of the major challenges to the direction and methodology of translation research which this paradigm shift presents. These challenges include a shift from structure-based to interpretation-based research as well as the need to investigate cognitive processes that go far deeper than simple introspection and think-aloud protocols. The chapter suggests that the primary task of translation research is not to define and describe a particular mode of text production but to account for and gain a better understanding of the astounding ability of humans to communicate via 'cross-language quotations'.

On Cooperation, Anthony Pym, pp 181-192

The deontological aim of translators may be to promote long-term cooperation between cultures. However, translational and linguistic approaches to cooperation (Holz-Mänttäri, Grice, Sperber and Wilson) remain conceptually weak in that they fail to elaborate clear models of non-cooperation and thus cannot say what kind of relations translators should try to hinder. The game-theoretic model of the prisoner's dilemma, on the other hand, incorporates an active mode of non-cooperation that might be of more interest to a translatorial ethics. That model may be used critically to claim that (1) cooperation concerns what happens in intercultural space (overlaps of cultures) rather than the comparison of intentions, languages or cultures; (2) the mutual benefits to be sought are social as well as economic; (3) translators are responsible for promoting mutually beneficial outcomes but not necessarily for the outcomes themselves (translators are not negotiators); (4) the attainment of cooperation often requires procedures other than translation, and (5) translation, as a relatively expensive procedure, becomes non-cooperative when its costs exceed the value of the mutual benefits likely to result. These points have implications for the future of translation, translator training, and translation research, all of which need to adopt a wider field.

Mediating Castles in the Air: Epistemological Issues in Interpreting Studies, Claudia Monacelli, pp 193-214

This chapter suggests a fundamentally constructivist perspective for research in interpreting studies. Varieties of constructivism underpin a constructivist epistemology for research involving collaboration between the analyst and subjects in all phases. Collaborative inquiry comprising three phases is proposed: (i) a briefing session prior to experimentation to gather qualitative data; (ii) experimentation or the abstraction of ST and TT from professional contexts in field work; (iii) a debriefing session where both subject and analyst corroborate findings. Data from a pilot study carried out to test the methodology are presented. The value of a three-phase research model is discussed with reference to strengthening the foundation on which to construct observer-mediated 'castles in the air' in interpreting studies.

Models and Methods in Dialogue Interpreting Research, Ian Mason, pp 215-232

The point of departure of this chapter is the assumption that research in dialogue interpreting - defined as interpreter-mediated communication in spontaneous face-to-face interaction - constitutes an identifiable field of study within interpreting research. That is, there is much to be gained by distinguishing it from conference interpreting, the area which has so far attracted more attention from researchers. This is not to suggest that all fields of dialogue interpreting are identical or even similar: the brief of the courtroom interpreter, for example, is radically different from that of the interpreter in a medical consultation or a business negotiation. Nevertheless, a number of shared contextual constraints (the immediacy of the face-to-face encounter, the often sensitive nature of the topics discussed, the interpreter's role as gate-keeper, etc.) are bound to exert a considerable influence on the unfolding of the exchange. Thus, the object of study is a three-party interaction in which turn management, role conflict, discourse, power, distance, politeness and other pragmatic issues become prominent. The chapter makes a plea for studies which focus on such issues as these in preference to concern with the measurement of 'interpreter error', 'correctness', 'equivalence', source-to-target text comparison, etc. It also discusses a number of methodological issues facing the dialogue interpreting researcher, including the availability and representativeness of data, the observer's paradox and the inherent difficulty of accounting for particular participant moves.

Co-constructing Yeltsin - Explorations of an Interpreter-Mediated Political Interview, Cecilia Wadensjö, pp 233-252

This chapter explores the interpreter's performance in an interpreter-mediated political interview. Taking the case of an interview with Boris Yeltsin broadcast live on Swedish radio, the study examines the apparent difference between Yeltsin in the original Russian and the interpreter's Swedish version of him. The analysis explores a variety of divergences which can be seen in the discourse. It suggests that the interpreter's performance is affected first and foremost by the nature of the assignment and the communicative genre; by the conventions of 'news interview talk', by the journalist's way of asking questions and by conditions connected specifically to broadcast talk, which is characterized by being designed to be 'talk for absent overhears' (see Heritage 1985, Hutchby 1995 for examples). The chapter demonstrates some analytical possibilities offered by an interactionistic approach to interpreter-mediated encounters, seeing the interpreter's efforts as related to a twofold task - that of translating and coordinating the other's talk in interaction (Wadensjö 1992 and 1998). The investigation involves a detailed transcription of the radio interview and an examination of this text from the point of view of linguistic features and the sequential organization of interaction.

Issues of Power and Method in Interpreting Research, Graham H. Turner and Frank Harrington, pp 253-265

In recent times, interpreting researchers have begun increasingly to work with naturally-occurring interactional data and analyses of sign language interpretation have featured in this development. This chapter, adopting a framework deriving from spoken language research, offers some reflections upon the insights which experiences in the study of sign language interpretation may be able to offer to the field in general. In particular, the target of creating the circumstances in which research may truly be described as 'empowering' - i.e. conducted with the active participation of all stakeholders, including those more traditionally seen as the subjects of expert researchers' attentions - is identified and discussed. Such an approach brings questions of power and control under the spotlight and entails the use of interactive or dialogic research methods which attach appropriate significance to informants' own agendas and to the sharing of research-driven 'knowledge'.

Notes on Contributors

Name and Subject Index

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General