Unity in Diversity Recent Trends in Translation Studies
Translation studies as a discipline has grown enormously in recent decades. Contributions to the discipline have come from a variety of fields, including machine translation, history, literature, philosophy, linguistics, terminology, signed language interpreting, screen translation, translation pedagogy, software localization and lexicography. There is evidently great diversity in translation studies, but is there much unity? Have the different branches of translation studies become so specialized that they can no longer talk to each other? Would translation studies be strengthened or weakened by the search for or the existence of unifying principles?
This volume brings together contributions from feminist theory, screen translation, terminology, interpreting, computer-assisted translation, advertising, literature, linguistics, and translation pedagogy in order to counter the tendency to partition or exclude in translation studies. Machine translation specialists and literary translators should be found between the same book covers, if only because the nomadic journeying of concepts is often the key to intellectual discovery and renewal. Celebrating our differences does not mean ignoring what we have in common. Unity in Diversity offers a valuable overview of the current state of translation studies from both theoretical and practical perspectives and makes an important contribution to debates on the future direction of translation studies.
Dis-Unity and Diversity: Feminist Approaches to Translation Studies, Luise von Flotow, pp 3-13
Feminist work in translation studies is becoming increasingly diverse. This may be ascribed to the focus on difference that has developed over the past fifteen years in feminist scholarship generally, but it is also a result of the cross-cultural work that translation studies entails. A number of current examples of disunity within feminist work in translation are discussed and located in the contextual and cultural differences that obtain between the participating scholars. The author then addresses the extent to which factors such as 'identity politics', 'positionality' and 'historicity' have had an effect on insights and value judgements in these specific cases and in other areas of feminist work in translation studies. The focus is thus on disunity, diversity and complexity, factors which appear to be leading to highly productive work. Issues of unity, on the other hand, remain problematic.
Translation, Autobiography, Bilingualism, Susan Ingram, pp 15-22
For Walter Benjamin, the situation of Franz Kafka involved encountering the fragments of one's own existence and uniting their diversity into a whole within the context of a role. How can Benjamin's analysis be applied to the process of autobiographical writing and translating? This article explores the consequences of examining the theme of 'unity in diversity' at the individual level of the bilingual author whose writing is an act of translation. The recent autobiographical writings of Alice Kaplan and Eva Hoffman are exemplary in what they convey about the construction of authorial identity between languages and in how they model the productivity of Deleuze and Guattari's minor literature.
Antigone: A Scots/Welsh Experience of Mythical and Theatrical Translation, Ian Brown and Ceri Sherlock, pp 25-37
This article discusses two aspects of translation and considers the nature of the Scots and Welsh languages. The first aspect is the nature of the process in which myth, specifically Greek myth, may be translated into another culture. The process usually called 'adaptation' is one of translation of a significant mythic structure from the premises of one cultural frame to another in a way analogous to the translation of text from one language to another. The example addressed is a version of Antigone written in Scots by Brown and translated into Welsh by Sherlock. The second aspect discussed concerns the ways in which the languages under consideration are capable of dealing with the material of the play.
'Genuine' and 'Fictitious' Translations of Science Fiction & Fantasy in Hungary, Anikó Sohár, pp 39-46
Science fiction and fantasy novels are developed and established in Hungary through translation proper as well as through a system of 'fictitious' translations, a special case of the pseudotranslation phenomenon in contemporary Hungarian society. Hungarian translators and publishers import books and translational solutions in order to establish and promote a genre while using more general patterns even to the point of creating fictitious foreign texts.
Theory and Practice: Translation in India, Paul St-Pierre, pp 47-55
This article points to the need to contextualize translation and examines translation practices in India. Translation principles and methods are a function of the context in which they are elaborated and put into practice. In a plurilingual society such as modern India, relations between languages and between communities are realized and transformed through translation. The close examination of such relations makes it possible to elucidate the locations of power within and between cultures in a concrete manner.
Marginal Forms of Translation in Japan: Variations from the Norm, Judy Wakabayashi, pp 57-63
An examination of the boundaries between what is conventionally regarded as translation and peripheral forms of translation such as adaptations, imitations and pseudotranslations may help clarify the nature of 'prototypical' translation. Two non-prototypical methods of rendering foreign texts into a form comprehensible to Japanese readers are examined, together with the degree of acceptance in Japan of these practices as translation. The first method, kambun kundoku, uses grammatical indicators and marks to indicate word order so as to allow Japanese readers direct access to Chinese texts. The second method, common throughout Japanese literary history, involves the production of adaptations, whereby both traditional Chinese tales and European works are adapted to varying degrees, frequently by famous writers who have used adaptations as a stimulus for their own creative activities.
Choices and Constraints in Screen Translation, Eithne O'Connell, pp 65-71
The two most common forms of screen translation are dubbing and subtitling and, historically, most countries have tended to adopt one or other of these two language versioning methods to the virtual exclusion of any other. Possible explanations for past trends and likely reasons for the changing fortunes of both interlingual and intralingual subtitling within the EU are discussed. The author also evaluates the relative suitability of a variety of types of screen translation in relation to such variables as audience age, sex, education and social class as well as programme genre and linguistic, economic and political considerations.
Six Subtitlers - Six Subtitling Texts, Irena Kovačič, pp 75-82
ene subtitlers were asked to translate a passage from a television drama (Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night). Using a framework based in part on Halliday's model of functional linguistics, the following textual parameters used by the six subtitlers are compared: number and organization of subtitles; text reduction in terms of linguistic functions; language registers; dramatic and conversational structure. The objective is to determine the extent to which the subtitlers followed (either consciously or unconsciously) the same strategies and in what kinds of situation their translational solutions differed most significantly.
Parallel Texts in Translation, Christina Schäffner, pp 83-90
Creating an appropriate translation often means adapting the target text (TT) to the text-typological conventions of the target culture. Such knowledge can be gained by a comparative analysis of parallel texts, i.e. L2 and L1 texts of equal informativity which have been produced in similar communicative situations. Some problems related to (cross-cultural) text-typological conventions and the role of parallel texts for describing translation strategies are described, as well as implications for teaching translation. The discussion is supported with examples of parallel texts that are representative of various genres, such as instruction manuals, international treaties and tourist brochures.
Bilingual Reference Corpus for Translators and Translation Studies, Carol Peters, and Eugenio Picchi, pp 91-100
This paper discusses the potential of a bilingual reference corpus a a translation resource. Such a corpus consists of sets of texts from pairs of languages that treat a given domain and can be contrasted because of their common features. This type of resource is useful because it can provide translation equivalents and can allow for the identification of natural language lexical equivalents. Procedures have been developed at the Istituto di Linguistica Computazionale, Pisa, to construct and query bilingual reference corpora and to extract significant data for translation purposes and contrastive textual studies. The discussion is supported by examples of the different types of results that can be obtained.
The English Comparable Corpus: A Resource and a Methodology, Sara Laviosa, pp 101-112
A recent trend in translation studies is the use of corpora for empirical and descriptive studies. The author discusses the design and compilation of an English comparable corpus, which is a corpus made up of two sets of texts: one set that has been originally written in English, and another which has been translated into English. This corpus is then used to study the phenomenon of simplification, a feature hypothesized as being universal in translated texts. Specific features of translational vs. non-translational texts that are analyzed and discussed include: range of vocabulary, information load, and average sentence length.
Practical Experience of Computer-Aided Translation Tools in the Software Localization Industry, Sharon O'Brien, pp 115-122
Software localization involves the translation of complete software packages, including manuals, code and help systems. Newly released versions of such packages often use previous versions as a basis for improvement. Software companies expect the localization companies to come up with ways of leveraging the previously translated material into the new version of their product. Until recently, the only way of doing this was by comparing the documents and cutting and pasting. More recently, sophisticated Computer Aided Translation tools have come onto the market, which provide an alternative and more efficient way of leveraging translation. This article discusses practical experience of working with such tools in software localization and points out some of the advantages and challenges associated with them.
Translation Memories: Insights and Prospects, Matthias Heyn, pp 123-136
The use of translation memory systems in the software localization industry has received some attention, but relatively little is known about the growing body of users outside the software sector. And while the basic priniciple of translation memories is easily understood, state-of-art interfaces to such systems often belie the complexity of the technology beneath. An overview is presented of the many types of user of translation memories, linking user profiles with different functional extensions of the technology. Some of the more technical aspects of translation memories are then discussed, as well as a number of issues that are beginning to emerge with the growing use of translation memories and that affect translators and technical writers alike.
Consistency and Variation in Technical Translations: A Study of Translators' Attitudes, Magnus Merkel, pp137-149
When large quantities of technical texts are being translated manually, it is very difficult to produce consistent translations of recurrent stretches. Successful use of translation memory tools presupposes that source repetitions can be transferred to the target text. The study focuses on the distribution of translations of recurrent source sentences in two software manuals and uses a questionnaire to investigate how translators, project leaders in translation companies, and one customer evaluate variant translations in different contexts. The results show that translators mostly preferred consistent translations, but did not agree on which was the 'best' translation. Project leaders and the customer also had contrasting attitudes to the questions of consistency and variation.
The Problem with Machine Translation, Reinhard Schäler, pp 151-156
Recent studies and reports have shown that Machine Translation (MT) is about to by-pass the translation profession. This development is due to the translation profession's inability to resolve the tension between its traditional professional values and reference system, and the new objectives of translation technology. A change in the translator's professional mind-set has become necessary if translators do not want to exclude themselves from some of the most interesting and lucrative areas of translation activity. This can be achieved through: the integration of translation technology at all levels of translation studies courses; the establishment of translation technology centres; and the provision of better financial and political support for joint industrial and academic research projects at national and European level.
Machine Translation as a Model of Human Translation, Paul Bennett, pp 157-166
Machine translation (MT) has generally been seen as a purely engineering enterprise, with virtually no attention paid to whether it provides any kind of psycholinguistic model of human translation (HT). This article investigates whether MT systems offer any kind of parallel to HT by distinguishing three ways in which MT may simulate HT, namely in terms of input-output relations, knowledge, and processing. While the knowledge embodied in an MT system is broadly comparable to that of an expert human translator, the former is more compartmentalized, and specifically bilingual knowledge is sparser. Processing is hard to discuss without knowing more about how people translate. However, MT can play a useful role in prompting hypotheses about HT such as whether there is a human analogue of MT's complex transfer.
Unity in Diversity: The Case of Interpreting Studies, Franz Pöchhacker, pp 169-176
Research in interpreting, which dates back to the 1950s, has gained renewed momentum since the late 1980s. The article examines this 'Renaissance period' of interpreting studies under the theme of 'Unity in Diversity', discussing the conceptual and methodological common ground within this emerging (sub)discipline. Analysis of the recent literature shows that there is a broad consensus within interpreting studies as to what is to be studied. There is less agreement on how that object of study ought to be approached. One possible way of overcoming the 'battle of the paradigms' in (conference) interpreting research is suggested. Given the intrinsic diversity of its object of study, the interpreting research community should not push for greater uniformity of methodological approach but instead turn its diversity into a strength by discovering new relationships and links, thus reinforcing the community's sense of unity and internal coherence.
Language Direction and Source Text Complexity: Effects on Trainee Performance in Simultaneous Interpreting, Jorma Tommola and Marketta Helevä, pp 177-186
The general consensus among professional simultaneous interpreters and those who run training programmes is that interpretation should be into one's mother tongue or A language. Others argue that the efficiency of creating a rich semantic representation of the source text is the central aspect of interpretation and it is reasonable to suppose that the information density or conceptual complexity of the source text will have an effect on interpreter performance, irrespective of language direction. This article describes a study that measured the effects of language direction (English-Finnish or Finnish-English) and source text complexity on the performance of L2 trainee interpreters. Complexity produced a significant effect on performance. In the case of language direction, interpreting from A to B appeared in certain instances to produce a more satisfactory result. Issues relating to the dependent variable, sample size and comparison of trainees and professionals are dealt with.
User Responses to Simultaneous Interpreting, Anna-Riitta Vuorikoski, pp 187-194
This article explores the nature of user responses to simultaneous interpreting and asks whether there are unifying features in the diversity of responses to SI. The discussion is based on the findings of a survey carried out in five different seminars where the languages were English and Finnish. The participants came from different parts of Finland and represented many different occupations and educational backgrounds. The author highlights the heterogeneity of audiences and the necessity for a more exact definition of quality criteria in interpreting research. The importance of informed interpreting, clear definition of the overall communicative context, and shared information are discussed.