A Textbook of Translation by Peter Newmark [ENG]


Published on

A book

Published in: Education, Technology, Business
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

A Textbook of Translation by Peter Newmark [ENG]

  1. 1. A Textbook of Translation For my daughter Clare Peter Newmark Centre for Translation and Language Studies University of Surrey
  2. 2. X CONT ENTS 1 Words and context The translat ion of dialect You and the comput er 195 Functio n and descrip tion The translat ion of epony ms and acrony ms 198 Familia r alternat ive terms 201 When and how to improv e a text 204 Colloc ations 212 The translat ion of proper names 214 The t ranslati on of puns 217 The translat ion of weight s, measur es, quantit ies and currenc ies 217 Ambig uity 218 1 2 Intr odu cto ry not e 229 Tex t1 'Po we r nee ds cle ar eye s', Th e Ec on om ist 23
  3. 3. 1 Te xt 2 'U pp er gas tro int est ina l en do sco py' , Br itis h M edi cal Jo ur na l 23 4 Te xt 3 Br ide sh ea d Re vis ite d (W au gh) 23 8 Te xt 4 'U ne cer tai ne ide e de la Fr an ce' (D e Ga ull e) 24 2 Te xt 5 'Le Pa rti So cia list e' (S ou rce un kn ow n) 24 5 Te xt 6 Al a Re ch er ch e du Te m ps Pe rd u (Pr ous t) 24 8 Te xt 7 'Pr ese nta tio n d'u nca sde tox opl as mo se', flo rJe a« x Me dic al 25 0 Te xt 8 'Di aly seb eha ndl un g bei ak ute m Ni ere nv ers age n', De uts ch e Medizinisc he Wochensc hrift 254 Te xt 9 Al ex an de r vo n Hu mb ol dt {H em ) 25 9 Te xt 10 L' Ad or ati on (B ore l) 26 4 Te xt 11 Di e Bl as se
  4. 4. A nn a (B oll ) 26 7 Te xt 12 La So ci et e Fr an ca is e (D up eu x) 27 2 Te xt 13 'Z u m W oh lea lle r', 5C A Li 4 27 7 G bs sa ry 28 2 A bb re vi at io ns 28 6 A ut ho r's P ub lis he d P ap er s 28 7 M ed ic al te r m in ol o gy 2 8 8 Bi bl io gr a p hy 2 8 9 N a m e in de x 29 1 Su bj ec t in de x 29 2 I fh T e sp eci al ter ms I us e are ex pla ine d in the tex t an d in the gl os sar y. I I T h I x
  5. 5. Xll PREF ACE a s M u A g W r T h PA R T P ri nc ip le s 2 2 2 2 2 6 2 2 8 1 9
  6. 6. I war mly than k Paul ine Ne wm ark, Eliz abet h Ne wm ark and Mat the w Ne wm ark, who m I hav e cons ulte d so freq uent ly; Vau gha n Jam es, who has help ed so muc h at ever y stag e; Vera Nort h, who cop ed s o T he a u
  7. 7. CHAPTER 1 Introduction My purpose in this book is to offer a course in translation principles and methodology for final-year-degree and post-graduate classes as well as for autodidacts and home learners. Further, I have in mind that I am addressing non-English as well as English students, and I will provide some appropriate English texts and examples to work on. I shall assume that you, the reader, are learning to translate into your language of habitual use, since that is the only way you can translate naturally, accurately and with maximum effectiveness. In fact, however, most translators do translate out of their own language ('service' translation) and contribute greatly to many people's hilarity in the process. Further, I shall assume that you have a degree-level 'reading and comprehension' ability in one foreign language and a particular interest in one of the three main areas of translation: (a) science and technology, (b) social, economic and/or political topics and institutions, and (c) literary and philosophical works. Normally, only (a) and (b) provide a salary; (c) is free-lance work. Bear in mind, however, that knowing a foreign language and your subject is not as important as being sensitive to language and being competent to write your own language dexterously, clearly, economically and resourcefully. Experience with translationese, for example, Strauss' Opus 29 stands under the star of Bierbaum who in his lyric poems attempted to tie in the echoes of the German love poetry with the folk song and with the impressionistic changes. Opus 29 steht im Zeichen Bierbaums, der als Lyriker versuchte, Nachklange des Mirmesangs mil dent Volkslied und mil impressiontstischen Wendungen zu verkntipfen. (Record sleeve note) shows that a good writer can often avoid not only errors of usage but mistakes of fact and language simply by applying his common sense and showing sensitivity to language. Being good at writing has little to do with being good at 'essays', or at 'English' as you may have learned it at school. It means being able to use the
  8. 8. 3
  9. 9. 4 PRINC IPLES INTRODU CTION 5 a p F i A I W A text may ther efor e be pull ed in ten diff eren t dire ctio ns, as foll ows : 29 T h e i n d i v i d u a l s t y l e o r i
  10. 10. d i o l e c t o f t h e S L a u t h o r . W h e n s h o u l d i t b e ( a ) p r e s e r v e d , ( b ) n o r m a l i s e d ? 30 T h e c o n v e n t i o n a l g r a m m a t i c a l a n d i n g l e x i c a l u s a g e t h e f o r t h i s t y p e o f t e x t , d e p e n d o n t o p i c a n d t h e s i t u a t i o n . 31 C o n t e n t i t e m s r e f e r r i n g s p e c i f i c a l l y t o t h e S L , o r t h i r d l a n g u a g e ( i . e . n o t S L o r T L ) c u l t u r e s . 32 T h e t y p i c a l f o r m a t o f a t e x t i n a b o o k , p e r i o d i c a l , . , a s i n f l u e n c e d b y t r a d i t i o n a t t h e n e w s p a p e r , t i m e . 33 T h e e t c e x p
  11. 11. e c t a t i o n s o f t h e p u t a t i v e r e a d e r s h i p , b e a r i n g i n m i n d t h e i r e s t i m a t e d k n o w l e d g e o f t h e t o p i c a n d t h e o f s t y l e t h e o f l a n g u a g e t h e y u s e , e x p r e s s e d i n t e r m s l a r g e s t c o m m o n f a c t o r , s i n c e o n e s h o u l d n o t t r a n s l a t e , d o w n f o r ( , o r 3 u p ) t o t h e r e a d e r s h i p . ( 6 ) , ( 7 ) ( 8 ) A s 2 , a n d 4 r e s p e c t i v e l y , b u t r e l a t e d t o t h e T L . ( 9 ) W h a t i s b e i n g d e s c r i b e d o r r e p o r t e d , a s c e r t a i n e d o r v e r i f i e d ( t h e r e f e r e n t i a l trut h), wh ere pos sibl
  12. 12. e ind epe nde ntl y of the SL tex t and the exp ect ati ons of t hub s ject ive , or ma y be soc ial and cul tur al, inv olv ing the tra nsl ato r's 'gr ou p loy alt y fac tor' , wh ich ma y refl ect the nat ion al, pol itic al, eth nic , reli gio us, soc ial cla ss, sex , etc. ass um pti ons of the tra nsl ato r. N F i W h
  13. 13. 6 PRINC IPLES INTROD UCTION 7 s a D a T r h W ilst acc epti ng that a few goo d tran slat ors (lik ea few goo d acto rs) are '
  14. 14. n a o n l s o w r a p p e d u p i n p o i n t l e s s a r g u m e n t s a b o u t i t s f e a s i b i l i t y , t h a t i t w o u l d b e n e f i t s t u d e n t s o f t r a n s l a t i o n a n d w o u l d b e t r a n s l a t o r s t o f o l l o w a c o u r s e b a s e d o n a w i d e v a r i e t y o f t e x t s a n d e x a m p A s f o
  15. 15. T r g T h A s
  16. 16. 8 PRINC IPLES INTROD UCTION 9 d i Qu' une mal lle saut at parf ois a ce tiss u de perf ecti on auq uel Bri gitt e Pia n trav aill ait ave c une vigi lan ce de tout es les sec ond es, c'ila it dan s I'or dre el elk s'en con sola it pou rvu que cefu t san s tem oin. ( m That a stitc h sho uld som etim es brea k in that tissu e of perf ecti on at whi ch Brig itte Pian was wor king with a vigil ance to whi ch she dev oted ever y seco
  17. 17. nd, this was in orde r and she con sole d hers elf for it pro vide d it was with out witn ess. w d e : If Brig itte Pian som etim es drop ped a stitc h in the admi rable mate rial she was wor king on with such unre mitti ng vigil ance , it was in the natu ral orde r of thin gs and she foun d cons olati on for it, prov ided she had no witn esse s. A t r a n s l a t o r , p e r h a p s m o r e t h a n a n y o t h e r p r a c t i t i o n e r o f a p r o f e s s i o n , i s c o n t i n u a l l y f a c e d w i t h c h o i c e s , f o r i n s t a n c e w h e n h e h a s t o t r a n s l a t e w o r d s d e n o t i T h i t
  18. 18. n t Y o e r s e t z u n g s w i s s e n s c h a f t i n G e r m a n s p e a k i n g c o u n t r i e s , ' T r a n s l a t i o n S t u d i e s ' i n t h e N e t h e r l a n d s a n d B e l g i u m ) ; t h i s b o o k i s i n t e n d e d t o i n t r o d u c e i t t o y o u . I n a n a r r o w s e n s e , t r a n s l a t i o n t h e o r y i s c o n c e r n I e T r 35 E W 34 T I T 36 x n r
  19. 19. 10 PRINC IPLES pu ult bli to cit cal y, cul rec ate ipe the s, nu lett mb ers er , or rep the ort lan s, gu bu ag sin es ess of for tra ms nsl , ati do on cu s me on nts an , y etc lar . ge Th sca ese le. no 3 w 7 3 vas 39 8 T tly 40 h T out r I nu n mb er s bo u ok m s, , so it i is t dif fic
  20. 20. a T Y p u r p o s e s : f i r s t , t o u n d e r s t a n d w h a t i t i s a b o u t ; s e c o n d , t o a n a l y s e i t f r o m a ' t r a n s l a t o r ' s ' p o i n
  21. 21. t U n C l II
  22. 22. 12 PRINC IPLES THE ANALYSIS OF A TEXT 13 t r I A W h A g A U r a t h e r t h a n h o w t o a d a p t t h e m i n o r d e r t o p
  23. 23. e r s u a d e a g a i n , o r h e i n s t r u c t m a y a n e w T L r e a d e r s h i p A n d b e t r a n s l a t i n g a m a n u a l o f i n s t r u c t i o n s f o r a l e s s e d u c a t e d r e a d e r s h i p , s o t h a t t h e e x p l a n a t i o n i n h i s t r a n s l a t i o n m a y b e muc h larg er than the 'repr odu ctio n'. TE XTS TY LES Foll owi ng Nid a, we disti ngui sh four type s of (lite rary or nonliter ary) text: 41 N a r r a t i v e : a d y n a m i c s e q u e n c e o f e v e n t s , w h e r e t h e e m p h a s i s i 42 s D e b 43 s D i
  24. 24. 4 4 O n t h e b a s i s o f t h e v a r i e t y o f l a n g u a g e u s e d i n t h e o r i g i n a l , y o u a t t e m p t t o c h a r a c t e r i s e t h e r e ader ship of the origi nal and then of the trans latio n, and to deci de how muc h atten tion you have to pay to the TL read ers. (In the case of a poe m or any wor k writt en prim arily as selfexpr essi on the amo unt is, I sugg est, very little .) You may try to asse ss the level of educ atio n, the class , age and sex of the read ershi p if thes e are' mar ked'. T he aver age text for trans latio n
  25. 25. 14 PRINC IPLES THE ANALYSIS OF A TEXT /5 y or diffi cult y: Sim ple 'The floor of the sea is S cove red C with A rows L of E big mou S ntai ns T and Strevens. I deep Officialese pits.' Pop Official ular Formal 'The Neutral floor Informal of Colloquial the ocea ns is cove A Simi red larly, with I grea sugg t est mou the ntai follo n wing chai scale ns of and gene deep ralit tren S T Y L I S T I C
  26. 26. ches .' Neu tral (usi ng basi c voca bula ry only ) 'A grav eyar d of ani mal and plan t rem ains lies buri ed in the eart h's crust .' Edu cate d 'The lates t step in verte brate evol utio n was the toolmaki ng man. ' Tec hnic al 'Crit ical path anal ysis is an oper atio nal rese arch tech niqu e used in man agemen t.' Opa quel y tech nica l (co mpr ehen sible only to an expe rt) 'Neu rami nic acid in the form of its alkal istabl e meth oxy deriv ative was first isola ted by Klen k from gang liosi des.' (Lett er to Natu re, Nov emb er 1955 , quot ed in Quir k, 1984 .) I sugg est the follo wing scale of emot ional tone: Inte nse (prof use use of inten sifer s) ('hot' ) 'Abs olute ly won derfu l. . . ideal ly dark bass ... enor mou sly succ essfu l. . . supe rbly contr olled ' War m 'Gen tle, soft, heart war ming melo dies' F a c t u a l ( ' c o o l ' ) ' S i g n i f i c a n t , e x c e p t i o n a l l y w e l l j u d g e d , p e r s o n a b l e , p r e s e n t a b l e , c o n s i d e r a b l e ' Und erst ate men t ('col d') 'Not .. undi gnifi ed' N o t e t h a t t h e r e i s s o m e c o r r e l a t i o n b e t w e e n f o r m a l i t y a n d e m o t i o n a l t o n e , i n t h a t
  27. 27. a n o f f i c i a l s t y l e i s l i k e l y t o b e f a c t u a l , w h i l s t c o l l o q u i a l i s m s a n d s l a n g t e n d t o b e e m o t i v e . I n t r a n s l a t i n g , t h e e f f u s i v e n e s s o f I t a l i a n , t h e f o r m a l i t y a n d s t i f f n e s s o f G e r m a n a n d R u s s i an, the impe rson ality of Fren ch, the infor malit y and unde rstat ement of Engl ish have to be take n into acco unt in certa in type s of corre spon ding pass age. ATT ITU DE In pass ages mak ing eval uati ons and reco mm enda tions , you have to asse ss the stan dard s of the writ er. If he writ es 'goo d', 'fair' , 'aver age', 'com pete nt', 'ade quat e', 'satis fact ory', 'mid dlin g', 'poo r', 'exc ellen t 'S i S Y
  28. 28. 16 PRINC IPLES THE ANALYSIS OF A TEXT 17 T Y T h Bro F ma tran slato r's poin t of vie w this is the only theo retic al disti ncti on b
  29. 29. e t a c e s o u r c e s ( e . g . p o l y s e m y , w o r d p l a y , s o u n d e f f e c t , m e t r e , r h y m e ) e x p e n d e d o n a t e x t , t h e m o r e d iffic ult it is likel y to be to trans late, and the mor e wort hwh ile. A satis fact ory restr icted trans latio n of any poe m is alwa ys poss ible, thou gh it may wor k as an intro duct ion to and an inter pret atio n of rath er than as a recr eatio n of the origi nal. TH E LAS T RE ADI NG Fina lly, you shou ld note the cultu ral aspe ct of the SL text; you shou ld unde rline all neol ogis ms, meta phor I I I n
  30. 30. 18 PRINC IPLES i t s p r a c t i c e . A p r o f e s s i o n a l t r a n s l a t o r w o u l d n o t u s u T o
  31. 31. C H A P T E R INTRODUCTION P r o c e s s My description of translating procedure is operational. It begins with choosing a method of approach. Secondly, when we are translating, we translate with four levels more or less consciously in mind: (1) the SL text level, the level of language, where we begin and which we continually (but not continuously) go back to; (2) the referential level, the level of objects and events, real or imaginary, which we progressively have to visualise and build up, and which is an essential part, first of the comprehension, then of the reproduction process; (3) the cohesive level, which is more general, and grammatical, which traces the train of thought, the feeling tone (positive or negative) and the various presuppositions of the SL text. This level encompasses both comprehension and reproduction: it presents an overall picture, to which we may have to adjust the language level; (4) the level of naturalness, of common language appropriate to the writer or the speaker in a certain situation. Again, this is a generalised level, which constitutes a band within which the translator works, unless he is translating an authoritative text, in which case he sees the level of naturalness as a point of reference to determine the deviation - if any between the author's level he is pursuing and the natural level. This level of naturalness is concerned only with reproduction. Finally, there is the revision procedure, which may be concentrated or staggered according to the situation. This procedure constitutes at least half of the complete process. o f THE RELATION OF TRANSLATING TO TRANSLATION THEORY 3 T h e T r a n s l a t i n g The purpose of this theory of translating is to be of service to the translator. It is designed to be a continuous link between translation theory and practice; it derives irom a translation theory framework which proposes that when the main purpose of the text is to convey information and convince the reader, a method of translation must be 'natural'; if, on the other hand, the text is an expression of the peculiar innovative (or cliched) and authoritative style of an author (whether it be a lyric, a 19
  32. 32. 20 PRINC IPLES THE PROCESS OF TRANSLATING 21 T r p a T n h I s f l a practice t i A functional theor o of language n T A i s f o r d i s c u s s i o n . B o t h i n i t s r e f e
  33. 33. r e n t i a l a n d i t s p r a g m a t i c a s p e c t , i t h a s a n i n v a r i a n t f a c t o r , b u t t h i s f a c t o r c a n n o t b e p r e c i s e l y d e f i n e d s i n c e i t d e p e n d s o n t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s a n d c o n s t r a i n t s e x e r c i s e d b y o n e o r i g i n a l o n o n e t r a n s l ation. All one can do is to produ ce an argum ent with transl ation exam ples to suppo rt it. Nothi ng is purely object ive or subjec tive. There are no castiron rules. Every thing is more or less. There is an assum ption of 'norm ally' or 'usuall y' or 'com monly ' behin d each wellestabli shed princi ple; as I have stated earlier , qualificatio ns such as 'alway s', 'never' , 'must' do not exist there are no absolu tes. G iven these caveat s, I am nevert heless going to take you throug h my tentative transl ating proces s. T here a r e t w o a p p r o a c h e s t o t r a n s l a t i n g ( a n d m a n y c o m p r o m i s e s b e t w e e n t h e m ) : ( 1 ) y o u s t a r t t r a n s l a t i n g
  34. 34. s e n t e n c e b y s e n t e n c e , f o r p h o r c h a p t e r , t o g e t t h e s a y f e e l t h e a n d f i r s t t h e p a r a g r a f e e l i n g t o n e o f t h e t e x t , a n d t h e n y o u d e l i b e r a t e l y s i t b a c k , r e v i e w t h e p o s i t i o n , a n d r e a d t h e r e s t o f t h e S L t ext; (2) you read the whole text two or three times, and find the intenti on, regist er, tone, mark the diffic ult words and passa ges and start transl ating only when you have taken your bearin gs. W hich of the two metho ds you choos e may depen d on your tempe ramen t, or on wheth er you trust your intuiti on (for the first metho d) or your power s of analys is (for the secon d). Altern atively , you may think the first metho d more suitabl e for a literar y and the secon d for a techni cal or an institu tional text. The d a n g e r o f t h e f i r s t y o u w i t h t o o m u c h m e t h o d r e v i s i o n i s t o t h a t d o i t m a y l e a v e o n t h e e a r l y p a
  35. 35. r t , a n d i s t h e r e f o r e t i m e w a s t i n g . T h e s e c o n d m e t h o d ( u s u a l l y p r e f e r a b l e ) c a n b e m e c h a n i c a l ; r a n s l a t i o n a l t e x t a n a l y s i s i s u s e f u l a s a a p o i n t o f t r e f e r e n c e , b u t i t s h o u l d n o t i n h i b i t t h e f r e e p l a y of your intuiti on. Altern atively , you may prefer the first appro ach for a relativ ely easy text, the secon d for a harder one. From the point of view of the transla tor, any scienti fic investi gation, both statisti cal and diagra mmati c (some linguis ts and transla tion theoris ts make a fetish of diagra ms, schem as and model s), of what goes on in the brain (mind ? nerves ? cells?) during the proces s of transla ting is remote and at presen t specul ative. The contri bution of psych olingu istics to transla tion is limite d: the positiv e, n e
  36. 36. 22 PRINC IPLES •THE PROCESS OF TRANSLATING 23 o f W Y o Y F o r e a c h s e n t e n c e , w h e n i t i s n o t c l e a r , w h e n t h e r e i s a n a m b i g u i t y , w h e n t h e w r i t i n g
  37. 37. i s a b s t r a c t o r f i g u r a t i v e , y o u h a v e e l f : W h a t i s a c t u a l l y h a p p e n i n g F o r s e ? w h a t C a n r e a s o n , o n w h a t g r o u n d s , t o h e r e ? a s k a n d w h a t y o u r s w h y ? p u r p o f o r y o u see it in your mind? Can you visual ise it} If you canno t, you have to 'suppl ement' the lingui stic level, the text level with the refere ntial level, the factua l level with the necess ary additi onal infor matio n (no more) from this level of reality , the facts of the matter . In real life, what is the setting or scene, who are the actors or agents , what is the purpo se? This may or may not take you away tempo rarily from the words in the text. And certai nly it is all too easy to immer se yourse lf in langua g e a n d t o d e t a c h y o u r s e l f f r o m t h e r e a l i t y , r e a l o r i m a g i n a r y , t h a t i s b e i n g d e s c r i b e d . F a r m o r e
  38. 38. a c u t e l y t h a n w r i t e r s w r e s t l i n g w i t h o n l y o n e l a n g u a g e , n y o u a n d b e c o m e o b j e c t s , a w a r e o f t h e a w f u l g a p b e t w e e w o r d s s e n t e n c e s a n d a c t i o n s ( o r p r o c e s s e s ) , g r a m m a r a n d m o o d s ( o r a t t i t u d e s ) . Y o u have to gain perspe ctive (dista cco, recul) , to stand back from the langu age and have an image of the reality behin d the text, a reality for which you, and not the author (unles s it is an expres sive or an author itative text), are respo nsible and liable. T he refere ntial goes hand in hand with the textua l level. All langu ages have polyse mous words and struct ures which can be finally solved only on the refere ntial level, begin ning with a few multipurpo se, overlo aded prepo sitions and conju nctions, throug h dangli n g D o
  39. 39. 24 PRINC IPLES THE ANALYSIS OF A TEST 25 m a T h M y T H E L E V E L O F N A T U R A L N E S S W i t h a t , f o r a l l t e x t s ( e x c e p t t h e o n e s y o u a l l k n o w t h a r e
  40. 40. ' o d d ' o r b a d l y w r i t t e n b u t a u t h o r i t a t f v e , i n n o v a t o r y o r ' s p e c i a l ' , e . g . , w h e r e a w r i t e r c u l i a r w a y o f w r i t i n g w h i c h h a s t o b e a r e p r o d u c e d p e s h a s o f o r p h i l o s o p h y , H e i d e g g e r , S a r t r e , H u s s e r l ; s o f o r f icti on an y sur rea list , bar oq ue, an d cer tai n Ro ma nti c wr ite rs) for the va st ma jor ity of tex ts, yo u ha ve to en sur e: (a) tha t yo ur tra nsl ati on ma ke s se ns e; (b) tha t it rea ds nat ur all y, tha t it is wr itt en in or di na ry lan gu ag e, the co m m on gr am ma r, idi o ms an d wo r d s y o u t h a t c a n m e e t t h a t k i n d o f s i t u a t i o n . N o r m a l l y , o n l y d o t h i s b y t e m p o r a r i l y d i s e n g a g i n g
  41. 41. y o u r s e l f f r o m t h e S L t e x t , b y r e a d i n g y o u r o w n t r a n s l a t i o n a s t h o u g h n o o r i g i n a l e x i s t e d . Y o u g e t a p i e c e l i k e : U n e d o c t r i n e n e e d a n s u n e f r a c t i o n d u c l e r g i d e I ' A m e r i q u e l a t i n e q u i f o i s o n n e s o u s di ve rs es pl u me s el da ns di ve rs es ch ap ell es et qu i co nn ait de jd un de bu t d' ap pli ca tio n au tor ita ire so us la tut ell e de I' Et at. (L' Ex pr es s, Jul y 19 85 .) Th e pa ssa ge ha s va rio us mi sle adi ng co gn ate s, an d yo u ca n re du ce it to se ns e by gr ad u a l l y e l i m i n a t i n g a l l t h e p r i m a r y s e n s e s ( f r a c t i o n ,
  42. 42. n e N o A The fun nel unr avel s an eno rmo us mas s of blac k smo ke like a plai t of hor seh air bei ng un wo und . La che min ee divi de une eno rm efu me e noi re, par eill ea une tres se de cri n qu' on det ord . ( A still ne w pati ent, a thin and qui et per son , wh o had fou nd a pla ce wit h his equ ally thin and qui et fian cee at the goo d Rus sian Tabl e, prov ed, just whe n the mea l was in full swi ng, to be epil epti c, as he suff ered an extr eme atta ck of that type , with a cry who se dem onic and inhu man char acte r has ofte n bee n desc ribe d, fell hea vily on to the floo r and stru ck arou nd with his arm s and legs next to his chai r with the mos t ghas tly cont orti ons. Ein noc h neu er Pati ent, ein ma ger er und still er Me nsc h, der mit sein er e b e n f a l l s m a g e r e n u n d s t i l l e n P l a t z g e f u n d e n h a t t e , e n v i e s B r a u t s i c h , a m d a G u t e n e b e n R u s s e n t i s c h E s s e n d a s i n vol lem Ga ng war , als epil epti sch ind em er ein en kra sse n Anf all die ser Art erli tt, mit jen em Sch rei des sen da mo nis che r un d aus ser me nsc hlic her Ch ara ckt er oft ges chi lde rt wo rde n ist, zu Bo den stii rzt e un d neb en sei ne m Siu hl unt er den sch eus slic hst en Ver ren kun gen mit Ar me n un d Bei nen urn sic h sch lug . ( Y W h
  43. 43. 26 27 PRINCI PLES blue eyes'. Again St le regard du pasteur se promenait sur la pelouse, itait-ce pourjouir de la parfaite plenitude verte ou pour у trouver des idies (Drieu la Rochelle) is translated as something like: 'If the pastor's gaze ran over the lawn, was it to enjoy its perfect green fullness, or to find ideas', rather than 'Whenever the pastor cast a glance over the lawn it was either to enjoy its perfect green richness, or to find ideas in it'. Again, son visage etait mauve, 'his face was mauve', sein Gesicht war mauve (malvenfarben) are virtually precise translation equivalents. 'Mauve' is one of the few secondary colours without connotations (though in France it is the second colour of mourning, 'his face was deathly mauve' would be merely comic), and normally, like 'beige', associated with dress - compare a mauve woman, a violet woman ('shrinking violet'?), but a scarlet woman is different. In the 'mauve' example, a retreat from the unnatural 'mauve' to the natural 'blue' would only be justified if the SL text was both 'anonymous' and poorly written. You have to bear in mind that the level of naturalness of natural usage is grammatical as well as lexical (i.e., the most frequent syntactic structures, idioms and words that are likely to be appropriately found in that kind of stylistic context), and, through appropriate sentence connectives, may extend to the entire text. In all 'communicative translation', whether you are translating an informative text, a notice or an advert, 'naturalness' is essential. That is why you cannot translate properly if the TL is not your language of habitual usage. That is why you so often have to detach yourself mentally from the SL text; why, if there is time, you should come back to your version after an interval. You have to ask yourself (or others): Would you see this, would you ever see this, in The Times, The Economist (watch that Time-Life-Spiegel style), the British Medical Journal, as a notice, on the back of a board game, on an appliance, in a textbook, in a children's book? Is it usage, is it common usage in that kind of writing? How frequent is it? Do not ask yourself: is it English? There is more English than the patriots and the purists and the chauvinists are aware of. Naturalness is easily defined, not so easy to be concrete about. Natural usage comprises a variety of idioms or styles or registers determined primarily by the 'setting' of the text, i.e. where it is typically published or found, secondarily by the author, topic and readership, all of whom are usually dependent on the setting. It may even appear to be quite 'unnatural', e.g. take any article in Foreign Trade (Moscow): 'To put it figuratively, foreign trade has become an important artery in the blood circulation of the Soviet Union's economic organism', or any other example of Soviet bureaucratic jargon; on the whole this might occasionally be tactfully clarified but it should be translated 'straight' as the natural language of participants in that setting. Natural usage, then, must be distinguished from 'ordinary language', the plain non-technical idiom used by Oxford philosophers for (philosophical) explanation, and 'basic' language, which is somewhere between formal and informal, is easily understood, and is constructed from a language's most frequently used syntactic structures and words - basic language is the nucleus of a language produced naturally. All three varieties - natural, ordinary and basic - are
  44. 44. THE PROCESS OF TRANSLATING formed exclusively from modern language. However, unnatural translation is marked by interference, primarily from the SL text, possibly from a third language known to the translator including his own, if it is not the target language. 'Natural' translation can be contrasted with 'casual' language (Voegelin), where word order, syntactic structures, collocations and words are predictable. You have to pay special attention to: (1) Word order. In all languages, adverbs and adverbials are the most mobile components of a sentence, and their placing often indicates the degree of emphasis on what is the new information (rheme) as well as naturalness. They are the most delicate indicator of naturalness: He regularly sees me on Tuesdays. (Stress on 'regularly'.) He sees me regularly on Tuesdays. (No stress.) On Tuesdays he sees me regularly. (Stress on 'Tuesdays'.) (2) Common structures can be made unnatural by silly one-to-one translation from any language, e.g.: 45 Athanogore put his arm under that of (sous celui de) the young man: ('under the young man's'). 46 After having given his meter a satisfied glance (apres avoir lance): ('after giving'). Both these translations are by English students. (c) The packaging having (etant muni de) a sufficiently clear label, the cider vinegar consumer could not confuse it with . . . : ('as the packaging had. . .'). 47 Cognate words. Both in West and East, thousands of words are drawing nearer to each other in meaning. Many sound natural when you transfer them, and may still have the wrong meaning: 'The book is actually in print' (Le livre est actuellement sous presse). Many more sound odd when you transfer them, and are wrong - avec, sans supplement, le tome VII, 'with, without a supplement, Vol.7' ('without extra charge'). Thousands sound natural, have the same meaning, are right. 48 The appropriateness of gerunds, infinitives, verb-nouns (cf. 'the establishment of, 'establishing', 'the establishing of, 'to establish'). 49 Lexically, perhaps the most common symptom of unnaturalness is slightly old-fashioned, now rather 'refined', or 'elevated' usage of words and idioms possibly originating in bilingual dictionaries, e.g. Ilfitses necessites: 'He relieved nature.' Je m'en sipare avec beaucoup de peine: 'I'm sorry to part with it.' Er straubte sich mitHdnden undFussen: 'He defended himself tooth and nail.' Note (a) the fact that the SL expression is now old-fashioned or refined is irrelevant, since you translate into the modern target language; (b) however, if such expressions appear in dialogue, and are spoken (typically or say) by middle-aged or elderly characters, then a correspondingly 'refined' translation
  45. 45. PRINCIP LES 28 is appropriate; (c) naturalness has a solid core of agreement, but the periphery is a taste area, and the subject of violent, futile dispute among informants, who will claim that it is a subjective matter, pure intuition; but it is not so. If you are a translator, check with three informants if you can. If you are a translation teacher, welcome an SL informant to help you decide on the naturalness or currency (there is no difference), therefore degree of frequency of an SL expression. (6) Other 'obvious' areas of interference, and therefore unnaturalness, are in the use of the articles; progressive tenses; nouncompounding; collocations; the currency of idioms and metaphors; aspectual features of verbs; infinitives. How do you get a feel for naturalness, both as a foreigner and as a native speaker? The too obvious answer is to read representative texts and talk with representative TL speakers (failing which, representative TV and radio) - and to get yourself fearlessly corrected. Beware of books of idioms they rarely distinguish between what is current (e.g. 'keep my head above water') and what is dead (e.g. 'dead as a door nail'). There is a natural tendency to merge three of the senses of the word 'idiom': (a) a group of words whose meaning cannot be predicted from the meanings of their constituent words (e.g. dog in the manger; Spielverderber; I'empecheurde tourneren rond; (b) the linguistic usage that is natural to native speakers of a language; (c) the characteristic vocabulary or usage of a people. (Elle avait frappe a la bonne pone. (Ca, c'est dufrancaisl) when the original was merely Elle avait trouve la solution ('She had found the solution'), which is also perfectly good French.) The danger of this procedure is that it tends to devalue literal language at the expense of 'idiomatic' language, as though it were unnatural. If anything, the reverse is the case. Certainly, idiomatic language can, being metaphor, be more pithy and vivid than literal language, but it can also be more conventional, fluctuate with fashion, and become archaic and refined ('he was like a cat on a hot tin roof) {sur des charbons ardents; wie aufgliihenden Kohlen sitzen), and, above all, it can be a way of avoiding the (literal) truth. In translating idiomatic into idiomatic language, it is particularly difficult to match equivalence of meaning with equivalence of frequency. Check and cross-check words and expressions in an up-to-date dictionary (Longmans, Collins, COD). Note any word you are suspicious of. Remember, your mind is furnished with thousands of words and proper names that you half take for granted, that you seem to have known all your life, and that you do not properly know the meaning of. You have to start checking them. Look up proper names as frequently as words: say you get Dax, cite de petites H.L.M. - 'Dax, a small council flat estate' may sound natural, but looking up Dax will show you it is incorrect, it must be 'Dax, a town of small council flats' - always assuming that 'council flat' is good enough for the reader. Naturalness is not something you wait to acquire by instinct. You work towards it by small progressive stages, working from the most common to the less common features, like anything else rationally, even if you never quite attain it. There is no universal naturalness. Naturalness depends on the relationship
  46. 46. THE PROCESS OF TRANSLATING 29 between the writer and the readership and the topic or situation. What is natural in one situation may be unnatural in another, but everyone has a natural, 'neutral' language where spoken and informal written language more or less coincide. It is rather easy to confuse naturalness with: (a) a colloquial style; (b) a succession of cliched idioms, which some, particularly expatriate teachers, think is the heart of the language; (c) jargon; (d) formal language. I can only give indications: (avant tout) (F) 50 first of all 51 before you can say Jack Robinson 52 in the first instance 53 primarily plus ou moins (F) 54 55 56 57 more or less give or take within the parameter of an approximation approximately COMBINING THE FOUR LEVELS Kunststuck, tour deforce, 'feat of skill', dimostrazione di virtuosismo: summarising the process of translating, I am suggesting that you keep in parallel the four levels - the textual, the referential, the cohesive, the natural: they are distinct from but frequently impinge on and may be in conflict with each other. Your first and last level is the text; then you have to continually bear in mind the level of reality (which may be simulated, i.e. imagined, as well as real), but you let it filter into the text only when this is necessary to complete or secure the readership's understanding of the text, and then normally only within informative and vocative texts. As regards the level of naturalness, you translate informative and vocative texts on this level irrespective of the naturalness of the original, bearing in mind that naturalness in, say, formal texts is quite different from naturalness in colloquial texts. For expressive and authoritative texts, however, you keep to a natural level only if the original is written in ordinary language; if the original is linguistically or stylistically innovative, you should aim at a corresponding degree of innovation, representing the degree of deviation from naturalness, in your translation - ironically, even when translating these innovative texts, their natural level remains as a point of reference. For sincirite explosive, 'impassioned, enthusiastic, intense or violent, sincerity' may be natural, but sincerite explosive is what the text, a serious novel, says, so 'explosive sincerity' is what you have to write, whether you like it or not (you will get accustomed to it, on s'yfait a tout) - unless, of course, you maintain (I disagree) that the figurative sense of explosif (temperament explosif) has a wider currency than the figurative sense of 'explosive' ('an explosive temperament'), when you are justified in translating explosif by another word you claim comes within its semantic range ('fiery sincerity'?).
  47. 47. 30 PRINC IPLES THE PROCESS OF TRANSLATING 31 P a T h N MB , arr ite a Per igu eux le 13 fev rier , obs erv e act uell em ent une gre ve de la far m. M B, wh o wa s arr est ed in Per igu eux on 13t h Feb rua ry, is at pre sen t obs ervi ng a hun ger stri ke.
  48. 48. Y o S i Di e Vi gn ett e hat te Th or wa lds en 18 05 in Ro m ent wo rfe n. Th e vig net te wa s des ign ed by Th or wa lds en in 18 05 in Ro me . Y L' ab ol iti on de ce qu i su bs ist mt de s tu tel le s et la re or ga ni sa ti on du co nl ro le de le ga lil i, no ta m m en t pa r la cr eat io n de s ch am br es re gi on ale s de s co mp tes , le tra nsf ert au x pr esi de nts d'a sse mb lee s del ibe ra nte s de la fo nct io n ex ec uti ve, la cr eat io n de re gi on s de ple in ex er cic e, Г ext en sio n de la ca pa cit e d'i nte rv ent io n ec on om iq ue de s col lec tiv ite s ter rit ori ale s, le tra nsf ert pa r bl oc s au x dif f e r e n t e s c a t e g o r i e s d e c o l l e c t i v i t e s d e c o m p e t e n c e s a n t e r i e u r e m e n t e x e r c e e s p a r I ' E t a t , l e t r a n s f e r t a u x m i m e s c o l l e c t i v i t e s d e s re ss ou rc es d' Et at co rr es po nd an te s, I'i nt ro du c-
  49. 49. 32 PRINC IPLES THE PROCESS OF TRANSLATING 33 lio n de par tic ula ris ms da ns la leg isl ati on, la cre ati on d'u ne fon cti on pu bli qu e ter rit ori ale , I'a da pta tio n des reg ies ant eri eur es de dec on cen tra tio n au x no uve au x rap por ts ent re Eta t el col lec tiv es loc ale s ont сгё ё un e eff erv esc enc e ins titu tio nn ell e co m me not re ad mi nis tra tio n loc ale n'e n av
  50. 50. ail pas co nn ue de pui s un sie cle . ( M Y Th e foll ow ing me asu res hav e pro fou ndl y sha ken Fre nch inst itut ion s in a wa y tha t has not bee n kn ow n in loc al go ver nm ent for a cen tur y: wh at has re ma ine d of go ver nm ent sup erv isio n has bee n abo lish ed; con trol of pro ced ura l leg alit y has bee n reo rga nis ed and reg ion al aud it offi ces esta blis hed ; exe cuti ve po wer has bee n tran sfer red to the chai rme n of deli ber ativ e asse mbl ies; regi ons wit h full po wer s hav e bee n crea ted; po wer s of eco no mic inte rve ntio n hav e bee n exte nde d to regi ona l and loca l aut hori ties; po wer s pre vio usly exe rcis ed by the Stat e hav e bee n tran sfer red in co mpl ete stag es to the vari ous typ es of aut hori ties; corr esp ond ing Stat e r e s o u r c e s h a v e b e e n t r a n s f e r r e d t o t h e s e a u t h o r i t i e s ; s p e c i f i c l o c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s h a v e b e e n i n t r o d u c e d i n t o le gisl ati on; a terr itor ial civ il ser vic e has bee n cre ate d and pre vio us dev olu tio n reg ula tio ns hav e bee n ada pte d to the ne w rel ati ons bet we en the Sta te and the loc al aut hor itie s. T B e O t H
  51. 51. D i I f W e maiso n eleme nt poire metie r Zug Pfeife M y e Ot her pos sib le sol uti ons to the 'wo rd pro ble m' are tha t the wo rd ma y ha ve an
  52. 52. 34 PRINC IPLES THE PROCESS OF TRANSLATING 35 a r B u S o A n ' O n Y B e I n
  53. 53. 36 PRINC IPLES THE PROCESS OF TRANSLATING 37 p l c I n D B u ' B M a T I t I thi nk tha t, aca de mi cal ly, tra nsl ati on ca n be reg ard ed as sch ola rsh ip if: U)
  54. 54. 38 PRINC IPLES or p hi lo s o p hi c al te xt w ri tt e n in in n o v at or y or o b sc ur e or di ff ic ul t or a n ci e nt la n g u a g e. 58 t 5 I think transla tion 'qualifi es' as researc h if: 6 61 i 62 t T
  55. 55. C Lan A c T T 63 S 64 A 65 u A u 39
  56. 56. 40 PRINC IPLES LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS, TEXTCATEGORIES AND TEXT-TYPES 41 p H Functionl o Core Writer T Author's status 'Sacred' h h T Type e sec on d fac tor is Other areas of events tha Figure t the Language se functions, tex ts textmu categories and text-st be types wri tte n in T O a n lan gu age tha t is
  57. 57. 42 PRINC IPLES LANGUAGE FUNCTIONS, TEXTCATEGORIES AND TEXT-TYPES 43 i m F e I T D e I n p M e W h I a « P ^ • | r a
  58. 58. 44 PRINC IPLES ' a N o I T T h I put it in the for m of a flat ten ed V dia gra m: S W o L i F a S e THE METHODS Word-for-word translation "is is often demonstrated as interlinear translation, with the TL immediately elow the SL words. The SL word-order is preserved and the words translated 45
  59. 59. 46 PRINC IPLES TRANSLATION METHODS 47 s i T s A C S C S e S a l n o " l T F I
  60. 60. 48 PRINC IPLES TRANSLATION METHODS 49 c a T h I • I n I n a n H o C o E I
  61. 61. 50 PRINCIP LES METHODS AND TEXT-CATEGORIES Considering the application of the two translation methods (semantic and communicative) to the three text-categories, I suggest that commonly vocative and informative texts are translated too literally, and expressive texts not literally enough. Translationese is the bane of tourist material and many public notices (toute circulation est interdite de 22 h a 6 h; jeglicher Verkehr ist verboten von 22 bis 6 Uhr, 'all sexual intercourse is forbidden between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.'). In the UK the standard of foreign language (FL) publicity and notices is now high but there are not enough of them. In 'informative' texts, translationese, bad writing and lack of confidence in the appropriate linguistic register often go hand in hand; the tendency with familiarlooking but unfamiliar collocations (station hydrominerale; 'hydromineral station' - read 'spa') is simply to reproduce them. On the other hand, the inaccuracy of translated literature has much longer roots: the attempt to see translation as an exercise in style, to get the 'flavour' or the 'spirit' of the original; the refusal to translate by any TL word that looks the least bit like the SL word, or even by the SL word's core meaning (I am talking mainly of adjectives), so that the translation becomes a sequence of synonyms (grammatical shifts, and one-word to two- or three-word translations are usually avoided), which distorts its essence. In expressive texts, the unit of translation is likely to be small, since words rather than sentences contain the finest nuances of meaning; further, there are likely to be fewer stock language units (colloquialisms, stock metaphors and collocations, etc.) than in other texts. However, any type and length of cliche must be translated by its TL counterpart, however badly it reflects on the writer. Note that I group informative and vocative texts together as suitable for communicative translation. However, further distinctions can be made. Unless informative texts are badly/inaccurately written, they are translated more closely than vocative texts. In principle (only!), as they are concerned with extra-linguistic facts, they consist of third person sentences, non-emotive style, past tenses. Narrative, a sequence of events, is likely to be neater and closer to translate than description, which requires the mental perception of adjectives and images. The translation of vocative texts immediately involves translation in the problem of the second person, the social factor which varies in its grammatical and lexical reflection from one language to another. Further, vocative texts exemplify the two poles of communicative translation. On the one hand translation bv standard terms and phrases is used mainly for notices: 'transit lounge', Transithalle, salle de transit. On the other hand, there is, in principle, the 'recreative' translation that might be considered appropriate for publicity and propaganda, since the situation is more important than the language. In fact, provided there is no cultural gap. such skilfully written persuasive language is often seen to translate almost literallv. Scanning the numerous multilingual advertising leaflets available today, I
  62. 62. TRANSLATION METHODS 5/ notice: (a) it is hardly possible to say which is the original: (b) how closely they translate each other; (c) the more emotive their language, the more they vary from each other; (d) the variants appear justified. Thus: Young, fresh and fashionable. Jung, frisch und modisch. Jeune. frais et elegant. Indeed, this is Vanessa. In der Tat, so konnen Sie Vanessa beschreiben. Tels snnt les qualificatifs de Vanessa. This model links up with the latest trends in furniture design. Dieses Model schliesst bei den letzten Trends im Mobeldesign an. Ce modile est le dernier cri dans le domame des meubles design. The programme exists out of different items. Das Programm besteht aus verschiedenen Mobeln. Son programme se compose de differents meubles. . . . which you can combine as you want . . . die Sie nach eigenem Bedurfnis zusammenstellen konnen . . . a assembler selon vos besoins . . . (The three versions reflect the more colloquial style of the English (two phrasal verbs') and the more formal German, as well as English lexical influence ('design', 'trend').) Where communicative translation of advertisements works so admirably, producing equivalent pragmatic effect, there seems no need to have recourse to 'co-writing', where two writers are given a number of basic facts about one product and instructed to write the most persuasive possible advert in their respective languages. I should mention that I have been describing methods of translation as products rather than processes, i.e., as they appear in the finished translation. TRANSLATING As for the process of translation, it is often dangerous to translate more than a sentence or two before reading the first two or three paragraphs, unless a quick glance through convinces you that the text is going to present few problems. In fact, the more difficult - linguistically, culturally, 'referentially' (i.e., in subject matter) - the text is, the more preliminary work I advise you to do before you start translating a sentence, simply on the ground that one misjudged hunch about a keyword in a text - say, humoral in le bilan humoral (a fluid balance check-up) or Laetitia in I'actrice, une nouvelle Laetitia (a Roman actress or an asteroid) - may force you to try to put a wrong construction on a whole paragraph, wasting a lot of time before (if ever) you pull up and realise you are being foolish. This is another Wav of looking at the word versus sentence conflict that is always coming up. ranslate by sentences wherever you can (and always as literally or as closely as you can) whenever you can see the wood for the trees or get the general sense, and then °iake sure you have accounted for (which is not the same as translated) each word in ne SL text. There are plenty of words, like modal particles, jargonwords or Stammatically-bound words.which for good reasons you may decide not to transate. But translate virtually by words first if they are 'technical', whether they are
  63. 63. 52 PRINC IPLES TRANSLATION METHODS 53 ' l R e la t o r, w h o w a s o u ts ta n d i n g l y m o r e a c c u r at e t h a n h is i m it at o rs .
  64. 64. I q u o te ti n y s c r a p s o f R it c h ie 's w e a k n e s s e s: L a N o tr e D a m e a v a n c a ' T h e N o tr e D a m e w o r k e d h e r w a y i n' ; L a p l u i e b r o u il l a l e s o bj et s 'T h e ra in o bs c ur e d e v er yt hi n g' ; C et te vi e se s u r p a ss er a p a r le m a rt yr e, et le m a rt yr e n e ta r d er a pl u s 'T h at lif e w as to tr a ns ce n d it se lf th ro u g h m ar ty rd o m a n d n o w m a r t y r d o m w a s n o t t o b e l o n g i n c o m i n OTHER g ' . T hes e last two con cep ts are min e, and onl y pra ctic e can sho w wh eth er the y will be use ful as ter ms of refe ren ce in tran slat ion. MET HODS As a postscr ipt to this chapter , I add further definiti ons of translat ion metho ds. 66 S e r v i c e t r a n s l a t i o n , i . e . t
  65. 65. r a n s l a t i o n f r o m o n e ' s l a n g u a g e o f h a b i t u a l u s e i n t o s e d , a n o t h e r b u t l a n g u a g e . T h e t e r m i s n o t w i d e l y u a s t h e p r a c t i c e i s n e c e s s a r y i n m o s t c 67 P l a i n p r o s e t r a n s l a t i o n . T h e p r o s e t r a n s l a t i o n
  66. 66. o f e u p o e m s f o r a n d p o e t i c d r a m a i n i t i a t e d b y P e n g u i n B o o k s . U s u a l l y s t a n z a s V . b e c o m e R i p a E . r a g r a p h s , p r o s e p u n c t u a t i o n i s i n t r o d u c e d , o r i g i n a l m e t a p h o r s a n d S L c u l t u r e r e t a i n e d , w h i l s t
  67. 67. 68 I n f o r m a t i o n t r a n s l a t i o n . T h i s c o n v e y s a l l t h e i n f o r m a t i o n i n a n o n l i t e r a r y t e x t , s o m e t i m e s r e a r r a n g e d i n a m o r e l o g i c a l f o r m , i a l l y s u m m a r i s e d , a n d n o t i n t h e s o m e t i m e s f o r m p a r t p a r a o f a
  68. 68. C4 ) C o g n i t i v e t r a n s l a t i o n . T h i s r e p r o d u c e s t h e i n f o r m a t i o n i n a S L t e x t c o n v e r t i n g t h e S L g r a m m a r t o i t s n o r m a l T L t r a n s p o s i t i o n s , n o r m a l l y r e d u c i n g a n y f i g u r a t i v e t o l i t e r a l l a n g u a g e . I d o
  69. 69. n o t k n o w t o w h a t e x t e n t t h i s i s m a i n l y a t h e o r e t i c a l o r a u s e f u l c o n c e p t , b u t a s a p r e t r a n s l a t i o n p r o c e d u r e i t i s a p p r o p r i a t e i n a d i f f i c u l t , c o m p l i c a t e d s t r e t c h o f t e x t . A p r a g m a t i c c o
  70. 70. m p o n e n t m u n i c a t i v e i s a d d e d t o p r o d u c e a s e m a n t i c o r a c o m (5) t r a n s l a t i o n . A c a d e m i c t r a n s l a t i o n . T h i s i s h t y p e u n i v e r s i t i e s , o f t r a n s l a t i o n , p r a c t i s e d i n s o m e B r i t r e d u c e s a n o r i g i n a l S L t e x t
  71. 71. t o a n ' e l e g a n t ' i d i o m a t i c e d u c a t e d T L v e r s i o n w
  72. 72. UNIT OF TRANSLATION AND DISCOURSE ANALYSIS 55 C T h e U n i t o f T r a n s l a t i o n a n d D i s c o u r s e A n a l y s i s * D
  73. 73. y and lexically and coherence which is the notional and logical unity of a text. There is at present a confusing tendency for translation theorists to regard the whole text, the basis of discourse analysis, as the unit of translation (UT), which is the opposite of Vinay's and Darbelnet's original concept. Vinay and Darbelnet define the unit of translation as 'the smallest segment of an utterance whose cohesion of signs is such that they must not be separately translated' in other words, the minimal stretch of language that has to be translated together, as one unit. The argument about the length of the UT, which has been put succinctly by W. Haas, 'as short as is possible, as long as is necessary', is a concrete reflection of the age-old conflict between free and literal translation the freer the translation, the longer the UT; the more literal the translation, the shorter the UT, the closer to the word, or, in poetry, even to the morpheme. Free translation has always favoured the sentence; literal translation the word. Now, since the rise of text linguistics, free translation h a I t i s a f u t i l e , u n p r o f i t a b l e a r g u m e n t , t h o u g h i t • F r o m R e v u e d e P h o n e u q u e A p p l i q u i e , V o
  74. 74. ls. 66-8, 1983 (Mons, Belgium). Amended. Clearly the text cannot be the UT in the 'narrow' sense defined by Vinay and Darbelnet. That would be chaos. The largest quantity of translation in a text is done at the level of the word, the lexical unit, the collocation, the group, the clause and the sentence rarely the paragraph, never the text - probably in that order. The text can rather be described as the ultimate court of appeal; every stretch at every level of the translation has to conform to the unity of the text, its integrating properties, what Delisle calls its 'textual organicity', if s u n T h l a M y
  75. 75. 'anonymous' in Delisle's sense, its expressive element (all texts have expressive elements) can be eliminated by the translator. For example: L 'avantage de ces medicaments est pourtant obere par ses inconvenient s 'The advantages of these drugs, however, are outweighed by their disadvantage s.' Expressi ve texts, which I call 'sacred' texts, are normally translated at the author's level; informative and vocative at the readership's. The other aspects of text linguistics affecting a translation are: (a) notional; (b) lexical and grammatical; (c) relating to punctuation. COHEREN CE he more cohesive, the more formalised a text, the more information it, as a unit, atiords the translator. Consider first its genre. A Greek or seventeenthcentury rench tragedy; the agenda or minutes of a wellorganised meeting; a recipe, a marriage service or a ceremony all these compel the translator to follow either SL ?£Л^ Practice as closely as possible. Similarly, if a narrative has a formulaic opening Once upon a time') and a formulaic close ('They all lived h a p p i l y e v e r a f t e r ' ) t h e f a n s l a t o r h a s t o f i n d s t a n d a r d p h r a s e s i f t h e y e x i s t . O t h e r s t e r e o t y p e s -
  76. 76. weather Ports, surveys, enquiries, official forms, medical articles may have standard ormS) a house-style. Recent work on e conversation s of all kinds, stemming from "ce s implicatures and cooperative principle, tends rather optimisticall y to 5 4
  77. 77. 56 PRINC IPLES UNIT OF TRANSLATION AND DISCOURSE ANALYSIS 57 s u F o N e I I F o C o 'I wis h you 'd co me' Ich hof fe du ko mm st 'I wis h you cou ld' Si seu lem ent tu po uva is 'I wis h you 'd sto p talk ing' Tu ne рей х
  78. 78. do ne pas te tair e? 'Wo uld you car e to' Vo ule zvou s Me n | Wo uld you min d' Ca ne te fait rie n si 'I wo nde r if you ' Je ne sai s pas si tu ^Se e if you can ' Ver suc h's vie llei cht ka nns t du '} war » you to' hh mo cht e, daf i du 'If you 'd just co me her e' Bit te ko m m her See wha t hap pen s if Du wei sst was ges chi eht wen n e a ra C'est '), and the international ism 'O.K.' 'isare' tne tags ',tnat^ere Vfly l are used t0 kee P a йа 88ш8 conversati n on going: l »', 'see', 'you know', which require a standard response.
  79. 79. 58 PRINCIPLES The translator has to bear in mind the main differences between speech and dialogue: speech has virtually no punctuation ('The sentence is virtually irrelevant in speech': Sinclair et al., 1975), is diffuse, and leaves semantic gaps filled by gesture and paralingual features. PUNCTUATION Punctuation can be potent, but is so easily overlooked that I advise translators to make a separate comparative punctuation check on their version and the original. The succession of French dashes - to indicate enumerations a, b, c, or 1, 2, 3, or dialogue inverted commas (rarer in French than in English), or parenthesis (often translated by brackets) is obvious. The use of semi-colons to indicate a number of simultaneous events or activities, not isolated or important enough to be punctuated by full stops or exclamation marks, is probably more frequent in French and Italian than in English. The translator has to make a conscious decision whether to drop or retain them. E. W. Baldick, translating L'Education sentimentale, often drops them and unnecessarily connects the sentences (in the name of good old smoothness and naturalness), which, this being a 'sacred' text, is a pity. However, perhaps this is a triviality? My question-mark here indicates irony (I do not think it is a triviality), rather than doubt, scepticism or enquiry. Again, a colon may be made more explicit and improved, being translated as 'namely' or 'which includes', and profuse exclamation marks may signal frustration, emotionalism or limited powers of self-expression. Punctuation is an essential aspect of discourse analysis, since it gives a semantic indication of the relationship between sentences and clauses, which may vary according to languages: e.g. French suspension points indicate a pause, where in English they indicate the omission of a passage; exclamation marks in German are used for drawing attention, for emotive effects and emphasis, for titles of notices (but no longer for 'Dear Mary', in letters) and may be doubled; semi-colons indicate cohesion between sentences; French tends to use commas as conjunctions. SOUND-EFFECTS Further, sound-effects, even at the level beyond the sentence, should be taken into account, not only in poetry, but in jingles, where succulent s's can sometimes be transferred, or in realistic narrative, such as All Quiet on the Western Front, where the continual repetition of sounds and syllables, zer- and ver- words and interjections has a powerful effect. Thus: Granaten, Gasschwaden und Tankflotillen -zerstampfen, zerfressen, Tod . . . Wiirgen, Verbrennen, Tod- 'Shells, gas-clouds and flotillas of tanks - shattering, corroding, death, . . . Scalding, choking, death' (trans. A. W. Wheen, 1931). Here the translator has to some extent extended the sound, as he considered this effect to be more important than the meaning of wiirgen and verbrennen. 59 UNIT OF TRANSLATION AND DISCOURSE ANALYSIS COHESION Next we consider the relations between sentences. The most common forms these take are connectives denoting addition, contradiction, contrast, result, etc. These connectives are tricky when they are polysemous, since they may have meanings contradicting each other, e.g. cependant ('in the meantime', 'nevertheless'), inverse-ment, par centre ('however', 'on the other hand'), d'autre part ('moreover', 'on the other hand'), d'ailleurs ('besides', 'however'), toujours, encore ('always', 'nevertheless'), aussi ('therefore', 'consequently', 'also'), tout en + present participle ('whilst', 'although', etc.); cf. 'still' pertanto (It.), vse (R), zhe (R), 'why' ('for what reason', 'for what purpose', 'on what ground'), 'so that', des lors, ('from then on', 'that being the case', 'consequently'), en effet. German notably uses modal connectives (rnots-charnieres) such as aber, also, derm, dock, schliesslich, eben, eigentlich, einfach, etwa, gerade, halt, ja, mal, nun, schon, vielleicht, so uberhaupt, bitte, bestimmt - all these in talk three times as often as in newspapers and six times as often as in 'literature' (Helbig). Normally, these words can only be over-translated and therefore they are often rightly and deliberately omitted in translation: their purpose is partly phatic, i.e. they are used partly to maintain the reader's or listener's interest, usually with the nuance that the accompanying information is just a reminder, they should know it already. Note here English's tendency to turn SL complex into coordinate sentences on the lines of Si tu marches, je cours, 'You can walk but I'll run.' REFERENTIAL SYNONYMS Sentences cohere through the use of referential synonyms, which may be lexical, pronominal or general. Thus referential synonyms, as in J'ai achete I'Huma: ce journal m'intiressait, may have to be clarified: 'I bought Humanite. The paper interested me.' Note also familiar alternatives as referential synonyms, such as 'The Emerald Isle', 'John Bull's Other Country', 'the land of the shamrock' or 'of St
  80. 80. Patrick' (cf. 'Hibernian', 'Milesian'), or 'Napoleon', 'the Emperor', 'Boney', 4e Petit CaporaV, 'the Bastard', 'he' in more or less consecutive sentences; SL pronouns and deictics including le premier, le second (cf. 'the former', 'the latter') are often replaced by English nouns, since the range of some English pronouns, (it, 'they', 'this one') is much wider than in languages with nouns split between fwo or three genders. An example of mistranslation of pronouns is in the Authorised Version, Isaiah 37,36: 'Then the angel of the Lord went forth and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and four score and five thousand. And when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead.' Today's English Version: An Angel of the Lord went to the Assyrian camp and killed 185,000 soldiers. At dawn the next day, there they lay, all dead.' Note tale (It.), tel (Fr.) are also used as pronoun synonyms. Lastly, words at 1 degrees of generality can be used to connect sentences, from general words Uhing', 'object', 'case', 'affair' (cf. Vetsh (Cz.) Makropoulos), machin, true,
  81. 81. 60 PRINC IPLES UNIT OF TRANSLATION AND DISCOURSE ANALYSIS 61 p h I n E L W o F i E l N o F ( W ( 3 > P u i s , U r e c u t l a p e r m i s s i o n d e p a r t i r .
  82. 82. w e m a y p e r h a p s a s s u m e t h a t : c o g n i t i v e l y , 1 c o m e s c l o s e s t t o t h e E n g l i s h ; У ' s t i c a l l y , 2 c o m e s c l o s e s t; f u n c ti o n a ll y , 3 c o m e s c l o s e s t, w h il s t 4 i s a p o s s i b l e
  83. 83. 63 62 PRINCIPLES compromise. The translator therefore has to establish his priorities, which he can do only by considering the text as a whole. Both French and German have a tendency to put adverbials (prepositional phrases) in the first position even when they are rhematic: En silence Us longerent encore deux pates de maisons - They walked the next two blocks in silence - Schweigend gingen sie an den nachsten Blocks entlang. DerrUre ses lunettes, son visage rond itait encore enfantin - Her round face was still childish behind her glasses - Hinter ihrer Brille war ihr rundes Gesicht noch kindisch (adapted from Guillemin-Flescher, 1981). (Cf. In diesen Gebieten nimtnt das Saarland eine besondere Stellung - The Saarland occupies a special position in these areas (adapted from Wilss, 1982).) German has a tendency to start complex sentences with thematic subordinate clauses, which are finally completed by a brief rhematic main clause; English; reverses this sequence for the sake of clarity and because, unlike German, it is not: used to waiting so long for the main verb: Alles, was er ihr erzdhlte daruber . . . war ihr schon bekannt 'She already knew . . . everything he told her about this.' Thus in considering the functional, semantic and syntactic aspects of a] sentence, the translator may have to weigh the writer's functional purposes against the particular language's word-order tendencies (not rules). One of Firbas's most important perceptions is to point out that the nominal-isation of the verb has gone further in English than it has in other languages. (I believe this is a general trend due to reification, materialism, emphasis on objects rather than activities, etc.) In particular, when a SL verb appears as rheme it is likely to be translated in English as empty verb + verbal noun: elle rit- 'she gave a laugh'; elle les entrevit - 'she caught a glimpse of them' to mark what Nida (1975) calls a particularised event. However the tendency to use verb-nouns as jargon, illustrated in Kenneth Hudson's 'The conversion operation is of limited duration', i.e. 'It doesn't take long to convert the equipment' (Hudson, 1979), which has gone far in English and German, has to be resisted by the translator of any informative text, unless it is an authoritative text where the form has to be reproduced (i.e. a 'sacred' text). For this reason, there is a tension between actualisation (verb), emphasis and jargon in the translation of, say, the sentence La cuisine francaise apprecie depuis longtemps la saveur delicate de I'ecrevisse (from Guillemin-Flescher, 1981): 69 'The delicate flavour of crayfish has long been appreciated in French cooking.' (Actualisation.) 70 'With its delicate flavour, the crayfish has long found favour in French cuisine.' (Emphasis on French cuisine.) (Emphasis on 'favour' can be increased by putting 'In French cuisine' at the head of the sentence.) 71 'With its delicate flavour, the crayfish has long found appreciation in French cooking.' (Jargon.)
  84. 84. UNIT OF TRANSLATION AND DISCOURSE ANALYSIS Further aspects of FSP which are of interest to a translator are the various devices for heightening or frustrating expectation, which may differ in two languages. Thus in the sentence: 'There was an uproar in the next room. A girl broke a vase' (Palkova and Palek; Dressier, 1981) the translator may want to show whether the second event is the explanation or the consequence of the first one. Longacre (Dressier, 1981) has pointed out that climax or 'peak' may be attained through tense shifts (e.g. from past to historical present), which is more common in French than in English, or from transition from indirect to direct speech (probably common in many languages). The presence of an 'expectancy chain' ('He killed, cooked and . . . it'; 'he was hoping to succeed but he . . .') is more helpful to the interpreter than to the translator, unless the gap is filled by a neologism, which can then more easily be deciphered. CONTRASTS Climax or focus can also be marked by a negative-positive sequence, where the negative is likely to introduce an opposite or a heightened meaning. Again, this may be useful in assessing neologisms, or unfindable words (I define these as words whose meaning, for any reason whatsoever, escapes you): thus, 'not so much self-confidence as triumphalism'; pas un bikini mais un tanga; 'it wasn't conviction, it was mere tokenism'. Less frequently, the contrast is from positive to negative, the latter being signalled as exceptional: Lesous-marin a une formeparfaitement hydrodynamique; seul le gouvernail fait saillie. The contrast here is between 'smooth' and 'uneven' (Delisle, 1981). Contrasts or oppositions are one of the most powerful cohesive factors in discourse. When they introduce clauses (d'une part. . . d'autre part, etc.) there is no problem, except to bear in mind that in non-literary texts, si (F) or se (It.) usually translate as 'whilst', 'whereas', or 'although' rather than 'if. However, contrasts between objects or actions are just as common. Take De Gaulle's La diplomatic, sous des conventions de forme, ne connait que les realites, where the main contrast between forme and les realites may well be strengthened: 'Diplomacy, behind some conventions of form (purely formal conventions), recognises only realities.' Or later: tant que nous etions depourvus, nous pouvions emouvoir les hommes; nous touchions peu les services. The oppositions between (a) emouvoir and touchions peu and (b) les hommes and les services indicate their meanings: 'As long as we were destitute, we could stir men's emotions but we had no effect on government departments.' Again, Mais aujourd'hui, Vunite franqaise renaissante, cela pese et cela compte. Here there is balance rather than contrast, and as above the shift from SL Verb to English empty verb plus verbal noun strengthens the balance: 'But today, as French unity is reviving, that counts and carries weight'. (Note again that
  85. 85. 64 PRINC IPLES UNIT OF TRANSLATION AND DISCOURSE ANALYSIS 65 ' c O t R h N o S e G e T h T I T h 72 W 7 3 7 4 W e m e x n e ° > w o
  86. 86. 66 PRINC IPLES UNIT OF TRANSLATION AND DISCOURSE ANALYSIS 67 c o T h CONC LUSIO N I h a v e t r i e d t o s h o w t h a t a l l l e n g t h s o a c
  87. 87. f l a n g u a g e c a n , a t d i f f e r e n t m o m e n t s a n d a l s o s i m u l t a n e o u s l y , b e u s e d a s u n i t s o f t r a n s l a t i o n i n t h e c o u r s e o f t h e t r a n s l a t i o n
  88. 88. LITERAL TRANSLATIO N 69 C L T o n
  89. 89. ed in an y pl ac e by ap pe ali ng to th e te xt as an ov err idi ng au th ori ty. Th e pr ev ail in g ort ho do xy is lea di ng to th e rej ect io n of lit er al tra nsl ati on as a le git im ate tra nsl ati on pr oc ed ur e. Th us Ne ub ert (1 98 3) sta tes th at on e w or d of an SL te xt an da TL w o r I n Le s aut res pa ys ont au gm ent s leu rs de pe ns es pu bli qu es rel ati ves a I'e ns eig ne me nt su pe rie ur plu s qu e la Gr an deBr eta gn e pe nd ant les an nie s 19 68 19 70. (L e tau x mo ye n d'a ccr ois seme nt an nu el de s de pe ns es rel ati ves a I'e ns eig ne me nt su pe rie ur est 24, 71 en Fr an ce, 18, 07 au Ja po n, 28,
  90. 90. 0 9 e n S u e d e, m a ts s e u le m e n t 8, 1 2 e n G r a n d e B r et a g n e. ) M a is n o ir e p o u r c e n t a g e d u P N B c o n s a c r e a u x d e p e n s e s d a n s I' e n s ei g n e m e n t s u p e ri e u r e st q u a n d mi me plu s gr an d qu e cel ui de pre sq ue tou s no s voi sm s. Th e oth er cou ntri es hav e inc rea sed thei r pu blic exp end itur e rela tive to hig her edu catio n mo re tha n Gre at Bri tain in the yea rs 196 870. (Th e ave rag e ann ual inc rea se in exp end itur e rela tive to hig her edu cati on is 24. 71 in Fra nce , 18. 07 in Jap an, 28. 09 in Sw ede n, but onl y
  91. 91. 8. 1 2 in G re at B rit ai n. ) B ut o ur pe rc en ta ge of G N P de v ot ed to ex pe n di tu re o n hi g he r ed uc at io n is ne ve rt he le ss gr ea te r th an th at of al m os t al l o ur ne ig h b o ur s. I d o no t thi nk th e Fr en ch tra nsl ati on co ul d be im pr ov ed on , alt ho ug h y
  92. 92. al tra nsl ati on is co rre ct an d m us t no t be av oi de d, if it se cu re s ref er en tia l an d pr ag m ati c eq ui va le nc e to th e ori gi na l. he m e a T b e
  93. 93. ter of th e pa ss ag e. Th us in de rri er e lui un ga rq on di str ib ua it po mt ne s ris so le es et pe tit s po is, th e ve rb di str ib ua it is m or e lik el y to be 'w as gi vi ng ou t' (fr ie d po tat oe s an d pe as) th an 'w as dis tri bu tin g' w hi ch so un ds, ex ce pt in so m e idi o l r ,
  94. 94. at ot he r co llo cat io ns als o off er alt er na tiv es: for vi vr es, 'di str ib ut e' or 'sh ar e ou t'; co ur tie r, 'de liv er' or 'ha nd ou t'; or dr es, 'gi ve' or 'de al ou t'; ca rte s, 'de al' or 'de al ou t'; ar ge nt, 'di str ib ut e' or 'ha nd ro un d'; ro le, 'as sig n' or 'gi ve ou t'. W hil st th e se co nd alt e r t h I
  95. 95. m ma r an d wo rd or der , as we ll as the pri ma ry me ani ng s of all the SL wo rds , int o the tra nsl ati on, an d it is no rm all y eff ect ive onl y for bri ef si mp le ne utr al se nte nc es: 'H e wo rks in the ho us e no w', i/ tra va ill e da ns la m ais on m ai nt en an t. In on etoon e tra nsl L i t
  96. 96. ral tra nsl ati on ra ng es fro m on e wo rd to on e wo rd ('h all' , Sa al, sa lle , sa la, га Г ) thr ou gh gr ou p to gr ou p (u n be au jar di n, 'a be aut ifu l ga rd en' , ei n sc ho ne r G ar te n), col loc ati on to col loc ati on (' ma ke a sp ee ch' , / air e un di sc ou rs) , cla us e to cla us 68
  97. 97. 70 PRINCIPLES out' (but apre son depart, 'after his departure'), since it can be flexible with grammar whilst it keeps the same 'extra-contextual' lexis. Thus, 'literally', arbre is 'tree' not 'shaft', but words like aufheben, einstellen, Anlage have no literal translation. Here, as in many other cases, my definitions are 'operational' to suit translation discussion (rather than theory), not 'rigorous' or 'exhaustive' (and so on) to suit linguistics. I believe literal translation to be the basic translation procedure, both in communicative and semantic translation, in that translation starts from there. However, above the word level, literal translation becomes increasingly difficult. When there is any kind of translation problem, literal translation is normally (not always) out of the question. It is what one is trying to get away from, yet one sometimes comes back to it with a sigh; partly because one has got used to the sound of what at first seemed so strange and unnatural; beware of this. Une tentation cuisante: can you get nearer than a 'painful' or an 'intense' temptation? 'Burning temptation' is the nearest, it is still not literal. Literal translation above the word level is the only correct procedure if the SL and TL meaning correspond, or correspond more closely than any alternative; that means that the referent and the pragmatic effect are equivalent, i.e. that the words not only refer to the same 'thing' but have similar associations (Mama, 'mum'; le prof, 'the prof) and appear to be equally frequent in this type of text; further, that the meaning of the SL unit is not affected by its context in such a way that the meaning of the TL unit does not correspond to it. Normally, the more specific or technical a word, the less it is likely to be affected by context. Further, a common object will usually have a one-to-one literal translation if there is cultural overlap, though most languages have strange lexical gaps (e.g. 'fingers', 'waist', 'knuckles', 'shins'). A term for a common object sometimes has other common senses ('bank', 'peace') - so that language, particularly in English with its monosyllables, appears inefficient. THE TRANSLATION OF POETRY The translation of poetry is the field where most emphasis is normally put on the creation of a new independent poem, and where literal translation is usually condemned. Thus Rose Marilyn Gaddis, in her stimulating paper on Walter Benjamin (1982) demonstrating Stefan George's superiority over Benjamin as a translator of Baudelaire's Recueillement, states that 'Benjamin's German translation goes into literal English more easily than George's, and is not far removed seman-tically from a literal plain prose English translation of the original' and 'Whereas Benjamin is working with the word, George works with a larger prosodic unit.' I agree that George is the better translator - in my experience, the greatest of all translators of poetry - but what I want to demonstrate is that he is more literal in his translation of the words as well as the structures. Compare George's title Sammlung with Benjamin's Vorbereitung: Benjamin's is way out, George's is materially and figuratively close. Compare the two opening lines:
  98. 98. LITERAL TRANSLATION / 7 Sois sage О ma douleur, et tiens-toi plus tranquille (Baudelaire) Set ruhig, О mein kid, und klage schwdcher (George) Gemach mein Schmerz und rege du dich minder (Benjamin) Tu reclamais le Soir; il descend; le void: (Baudelaire) Du riefst den abend nieder, sieh er kam! (George) Der Abend den du anriefst sinkt und gliickt (Benjamin) Both lexically and grammatically, George's openings are nearer to Baudelaire than Benjamin's: even ruhig is closer to sage than is gemach. Again compare George's: Dem einen bringt er run, dem anderen gram (Aux uns portant la paix, aux autres le souci) with Benjamin's: Die jenen friedlich macht und den bedruckt George's: Mein leid, gib mir die hand von ihnen fem (Ma Douleur donne-moi la main; viens par id) with Benjamin's: Gib mir die Hand mein Schmerz lass uns entriickt and finally George's: Horch, leure! horch! die nacht die leise schrdtet! (Entends, ma chere, entends la douce Nuit qui marche) with Benjamin's: Vernimm vernimm sie doch die siisse Nacht die schrdtet. The word- and clause-order correspondence in George and Baudelaire is striking. Purely lexically, George has der sterblichen for des Mortels (Benjamin: der Menschenkinder); gemeiner for vile (taub); toten for defuntes (alten); verblichenen for surannees (no word); Reue for Regret (Verzicht!); wassern for eaux (Flut!); sterben for moribund (nothing); langes for long (nothing). Reading George's translations, I am constantly impressed by his attempts at "teralness, the fact that he abandons literalness only when he has to. Similarly, Leyris's Hopkins is a miracle of literal translation; the strength of Michael Hamburger's translation of Celan's Corona is in its closeness, and he has it easier Slnce he is not constrained by rhyme or metre. Inevitably, when I look more closely
  99. 99. 72 PRINCIPLES at a good translation of poetry, I find many points of divergence, and what appeared to me a literal translation and attractive for that reason (the truth, not the cosmetic) is not one. For me, a translation can be inaccurate, it can never be too literal. (The reason why destine a is not normally translated as 'destined for' is not that the latter is too literal, but because destine a is: (a) current; (b) a loose connective; and 'destined for' is: (a) heavy; (b) fateful; (c) not common.) If translation is to be regarded - if only partially - as 'scientific', it has to: (a) reduce its options to the taste area; (b) in claiming accuracy and economy as its main aims, reject both the open choices and the random paraphrasing of free translation; (c) eliminate the universal negative connotations of and prejudices against literal translation. Ordinary or conversational language however must always be translated by ordinary or conversational language, and this is rarely literal translation. Quand il penetra dans Г Hotel Mdtignon, il dit: 'Avec nous, c'est le peuple qui entre ici.' ('When he entered the Hotel Matignon, he said: "With us, it's the people taking over here.'") FAITHFUL AND FALSE FRIENDS However, my main point is that we must not be afraid of literal translation, or, in particular, of using a TL word which looks the same or nearly the same as the SL word. At school and university I was told I must never do this, but 'theatre' is theatre is Theater is teatro is teatr; only in Czech is it divadlo (the same applies to 'music', where the Czech is hudba). The translation of objects and movements is usually more literal than that of qualities and ways of moving. Many common adjectives of feeling cut up meaning in their own way, so that we cannot trust a transparent translation of 'sincere', 'loyal', 'trivial', 'important', 'truculent', 'brutal'; only one or two like 'excellent' and 'marvellous' are usually transparent. And again, the more general and abstract words ('phenomenon', 'element', 'affair') may or may not be translated transparently; there is often a shift at that abstract level {qualiti as 'property') but the translation is still usually one-to-one. In general, there are more faithful friends than faux amis, and we must not hesitate to use them, since any other translation is usually wrong. This presupposes that, in context, the readership of О and T have similar interest and language levels. Otherwise the translation may well be different. Many theorists believe that translation is more a process of explanation, interpretation and reformulation of ideas than a transformation of words; that the role of language is secondary, it is merely a vector or carrier of thoughts. Consequently, everything is translatable, and linguistic difficulties do not exist. This attitude, which slightly caricatures the Seleskovitch School (ESIT, Paris), is the opposite of the one stating that translation is impossible because all or most words have different meanings in different languages, i.e. all words are culture-specific and, to boot, each language has its peculiar grammar. My position is that
  100. 100. LITERAL TRANSLATION 73 everything is translatable up to a point, but that there are often enormous difficulties. WORDS IN THEIR CONTEXT All the same, we do translate words, because there is nothing else to translate; there are only the words on the page; there is nothing else there. We do not translate isolated words, we translate words all more or less (and sometimes less rather than more, but never not at all) bound by their syntactic, collocational, situational, cultural and individual idiolectal contexts. That is one way of looking at translation, which suggests it is basically lexical. This is not so. The basic thought-carrying element of language is its grammar. But since the grammar is expressed only in words, we have to get the words right. The words must stretch and give only if the thought is threatened. I am not making any plea for literal or one-to-one translation, since, if it is translationese (and there is far too much translationese published), it is wrong. But the re-creative part of translation is often exaggerated, and the literal part underestimated, particularly in literary translation, but also in other types of texts which have nothing linguistically wrong with them, which are competently written. Take the following extracts from an advertisement by Bendicks Ltd, where we might expect the widest divergences: (1A) 'B are a unique confection, often copied, never equalled.' (IB) В sont de confection unique, souvent imites mais jamais igalis, (1С) / cioccolatini В sono un prodotto senza eguale spesso imitato, mai eguagliato. (ID) Bistein einzigartigerKonfekt, deroftnachgeahmtabernienachgemachtworden ist. (2A) 'Blended together they provide a very distinctive and widely appreciated example of the chocolatier's art.' (2B) Ce melange est I'exemple tris distingue el largement apprecie de I'art du chocolatier. (2C) La lorofusione e un perfetto esempio dell'arte distintiva e vastamente apprezzata del cioccolatiere. (2D) - ein ausgezeichnetes und weithin geschatztes Beispielfachlichen Konnens. One notices first how close these translations are; and they could even be closer, being in some cases elegant (and unnecessary) variations on the original, which is presumably English (e.g., maw in IB; senza eguale in 1С, which is blurred by mai eguagliato). Secondly, syntactical changes in the translation appear to be Precipitated by the lack of a suitable word for 'blend'. Again, as German cannot risk chocolatier (a pity), it has recourse to the more generic fachlich ('professional'), ^erman also introduces an effective word-play (nachgeahmt, nachgemacht) which alters and improves the sense of the English. (Nachmachen means both 'to make up'
  101. 101. 74 PRINC IPLES LITERAL TRANSLATIO N 75 a E L i Be ndi cks of Ma yfa ir hav e est abl ish ed a rep uta tio n res pec ted thr ou gh out the wo rld for the ma nuf act ure of cho col ate con fec tio ner y of the hig hes t qua lity . 'Be ndi cks of Ma yfa ir' ont eta bli le w rep uta tio n, rec on nu e da ns le mo nd e ent ier, po ur la co nfe cti on de ch oc ola ts de la plu s ha
  102. 102. ute qu alit e. a T I f ' O T N o H S
  103. 103. 76 PRINCIPLES LITERAL TRANSLATIO N 77 w o N o A L I n e Qu e ce soit vot re pre mie re ou voi re cin qu ant iem e visi te en Gr an deBre tag ne, par ion s que , ava nt la fin de laj ou me e, vou s n'a ure z pas ma nq ue de re ma
  104. 104. rquer mille curiosites nouvelles, typiques du pays el de ses habitants. Ob Du Grofibritannien гит ersten oder sum funfzigsten Mai besuchst, wetten wir, dafi Du jeden Tag immer noch neue Besonderheiten bei Land und Leuten entdeckst. LITERARY TRANSLATION It is ironical that modern literary translators, reacting against a stiff and literary style, a 'periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion', as T. S. Eliot put it in East Coker, should neglect 'the intolerable wrestle with words and meanings', should continually pursue what is to them more natural, more colloquial, more easy, more relaxed, than the original, which was not particularly relaxed anyway, for example, translating ilfaisait chaud as 'it was a blazing hot afternoon'; le soleil incendie les maisons trop seches, 'the sun bakes the houses bonedry'; d'aspect tranquille as 'a smug and placid air'; un lieu neutre as 'a negative place'. What is the reason for this? Certainly not the translators' deficient knowledge of French (ignorance of German is more common); they are often bilingual, perhaps anxious to transfer their own colloquial, easy, non-academic, non-bogus French to their English translation. One reason, then, is their relish for racy, earthy, idiomatic English, which is in flagrant contrast with a neutral original. THE SUB-TEXT Another reason may be the search for the 'hidden agenda', the pursuit of the sub-text, the awareness that when, for instance, the Mayor in Ibsen's An Enemy of the People says: 'We have our splendid new Baths. Mark my words! The prosperity of the town will come to depend more and more on the Baths. No doubt about it', he is expressing his belief in progress and the established order, which he will support even when he learns that it is corrupt, rather than just praising the new baths. Michael Meyer (1974) has made much of the concept of the 'sub-text', what is «nplied but not said, the meaning behind the meaning. 'Ibsen', he writes, 'is a supreme master of the sub-text; almost all his main characters are deeply inhibited People, and at certain crises they are brought to bay with what they fear, and talk evasively, saying one thing but meaning another. To an intelligent reader, the true leaning behind the meaning is cl ea r, an d th e tra ns lat or m us t w or d th e se nt en ce in su ch a w ay th at th e su bte xt is eq ua lly cl ea r in En gli sh. ' th ^C a ^ ove stat eme nt is m fact a Pl e a fo r a c c ur a c y, a n d th e i m pl ic at io n is th at Пе tr a n sl at or s h o ul d n ot g o b
  105. 105. PRINCIP LES 78 sub-text to the status of the text. Meyer complains of a previous version of Little Eyolf that the translator 'had repeatedly got the literal meaning and missed the real point, translated the text but missed the sub-text'; however, it suggests to i me that this translator, like the legendary William Archer, had gone wrong not so much in being too literal (unless he had misunderstood metaphors, idioms, colloquial language, phaticisms, cultural references) as in translating Norwegian 'ordinary' language by cumbersome, outdated, bookish language (slightly outdated language is usually comic anyway). Certainly Meyer's own merit as a translator is in his economy rather than his accuracy. (These are to my mind the main purposes of a translation, but accuracy should come first.) One small example: Archer: 'Yes, you remember. Won't you be good enough to give him a friendly talking to and perhaps you can make some impression on him.' Meyer: 'You remember? Perhaps you'd give him a friendly talking to - that might have some effect.' Thus the tautness of dialogue. The dramatist can say in five lines what the novelist needs a page for, as Terence Rattigan said to Meyer. The concept of the sub-text is a useful variant term for the function or the intention of a text, the thin thread which the translator has to pursue throughout his work. But the concept is dangerous and misleading if the sub-text starts to obtrude on the text; put differently, if the description, or the surface text, is partially or wholly replaced by the function, the deep structure of the text, the symbol by its meaning, and so on. You cannot normally translate 'When his father died his mother couldn't afford to send him to Eton any more' by Als sein Vater starb, konnte seine Mutter es sich nicht mehr leisten, ihn aufeine der teuren Privatschulen zu schicken (Honig and Kussmaul, 1982). Now, I am not suggesting that a literal translation - transferring Eton without stating its function - is adequate for an average German readership, though for an educated one it should be enough. But Eton is an essential element of the translation, and Eton's function (the most prestigious school in the UK) is inadequately stated. Thus subtext as a reason for embroidering on the original will not stand. If someone says one thing while he means another, that is a psychological feature that has to be cleanly translated; it must be equally inhibited or concealed in the translation; it may or may not be culturally induced, but, linguistically, the translation is not affected, must not be tampered with. THE NOTION OF THE NO-EQUIVALENT' WORD The difficulties of literal translation are often highlighted not so much by linguistic or referential context as by the context of a cultural tradition. Bagehot wrote about 130 years ago that 'Language is the tradition of nations . . . people repeat phrases inculcated by their fathers, true in the time of their fathers but now no longer true. If you consider Faust's famous struggle to translate the word logos, a word that is virtually context-free, and therefore has to be translated for itselt
  106. 106. LITERAL TRANSLATION /У (Weinrich's notorious slogan 'Words are untranslatable, texts can always be translated' - see his brilliant book Linguistik der Luge - is salutary but sometimes the reverse of the truth), how Faust moves hesitantly and subjectively from Wort ('word'), Sinn ('sense', 'meaning', 'thought'), Kraft ('strength', 'power', 'force') to finally Tat ('deed', 'fact', 'action', 'activity') and making his own comments quite independently of the Greek or the referential truth ('I can't possibly rate the Word as highly as that -1 must translate it differently, if only my mind will make it clear to me, so I'll write "sense", "meaning" and I have to think carefully, I'll have to think that line out again, not be over-hasty, can it be "sense" which makes and produces everything, I'll write "force" ("strength", "power") but as I write that, something is warning me I can't stay with that, so I can safely write "deed", "act", "action"') - all this illustrates a painful struggle with four key words, one of which, Kraft according to Gadamer (1976), is conditioned, not by its context in the play or the New Testament, but by its past - its connection with Newtonian physics and its development (integration) in the German public consciousness by Ottinger and Herder: 'the concept of force was made comprehensible on the basis of the living experience of force. As this integration occurred, the technical concept grew into the German language and was individualized to the point of becoming untranslatable.' To write off as 'untranslatable' a word whose meaning cannot be rendered literally and precisely by another word is absurd, particularly when it could at least be better delineated by componential analysis into four or five words, though as a footnote, not in the text of the play. Looking at translation in an ideal sense, Gadamer has pointed out that 'no translation can replace the original . . . the translator's task is never to copy what is said, but to place himself in the direction of what is said (i.e. in its meaning) in order to carry over what is to be said into the direction of his own saying'. Again, this reliance on the vouloirdire and the significance of what the SL text deliberately left unsaid can be dangerous, and applies only to the most difficult texts, where some kind of interpretation and hermeneutics are essential if the translator is to be active, to 'become again the one saying the text'. Here the moment of period and time, as well as the translator's personality, the judgments he has made in the course of his emotional and intellectual development, the pre-judgments (Vorurteile) and preconceptions with which he meets a particular problem (after a year, he will translate the same text in a different way: is this chance or personal change?) - all this is important when one considers translating texts that appear to be on the borders of language and thought, and the struggle is with grammar as well as words, the nuances of mood (modals), and time (tense) and duration (aspect). But in the vast majority of cases, Gadamer is not going to help the translator at all. His statement 'No translation is as understandable as the original' is mis-eading. Many translations have been and are a good, simple introduction, a lead-in nto the original - particularly translations of languages such as German with an artificial word-order inflicted on them by their scribes, their clercs, i.e. the in fact °n-SVO (subject-verb-object) languages, which postpone the lexical elements of
  107. 107. 80 PRINC IPLES t h M A t r a n s l a t o r w i t h h i s e y e o n h i s r e a d e r s h i p i s l i k e l y t o u n d e r t r a n s l a t e , t o u s e m o r e g e n
  108. 108. A H a l f t h e m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g a b o u t t r a n s l a t i o n i n B r i t a i n i s d u e t o t h e f a c t t h a t s o m a n y t e a c h e r s a n S L t e l l w o r d t h e i r b y p u p i l s t o a v o i d t r a n s l a t i n g a s i m i l a r l o o k i n g T L w o r d w h e n
  109. 109. e v e r p o s s i b l e . T h u s t h e p u p i l s e x p a n d t h e i r T L v o c a b u l a r y a n d d i s t o r t t h e i r t r a n s l a t i o n s . T h e O t h e r T r a n s l a t i o n P r o c e d u r e s T 81
  111. 111. 84 PRINC IPLES THE OTHER TRANSLATION PROCEDURES 85 ' k I A T I nnter I nati onal orga nisat ions are ofte n kno wn by their acro nym s, whi ch may r e F ( g
  112. 112. u a ) ; T r e r i a l a r e a p t t o p u l l u l a t e w i t h i n c o r r e c t t h r o u g h t r a n s l a t i o n s : ' h i g h e s t f l o u r i s h i n g ' , ' p r o g r a m m e building' , etc, which are evidence of translatio nese. Nor mally, throughtranslati ons should be used only when they are already recognis ed terms. SHIFTS OR TRANS POSITI ONS A 'shift' (Catford' s term) or 'transpos ition' (Vinay and Darbelne t) is a translatio n procedur e involvin g a change in the grammar from SL to TL. One type, the change from singular to plural, e.g. 'furniture '; des meubles; 'applause ', des applaudi ssements; 'advice', des conseils; or in the position of the adjective : la maison blanche, 'the white house' is automati c and offers the translato r no choice. A second type of shift is required when an SL grammat ical structure does not exist in the TL. H e I
  113. 113. 86 PRINC IPLES THE OTHER TRANSLATION PROCEDURES 87 T h T h I n 7 7 6 7 7 8 7 9 8 0 H F 81 S 82 S 8 84 3 S 85 L S 8 87 6 S 88 L S V uarry wei c S L e e ready' b T C A A gro up of typi cal tran spo siti ons cen tre on a Ro ma nce lan gua ge sub ject : >
  114. 114. 88 PRINC IPLES THE OTHER TRANSLATION PROCEDURES 89 89 С е 9 0 T r V A s 77 n'a pas hes ite 'He acte d at onc e' II n'es t pas lac he 'He is extr eme ly bra ve' Y I n c a V i T h O f Y o } m s У о a s e r ( ^ e . e o r s s P '
  116. 116. a matter of cultural equivalence, such as 'Dear Sir' translated as Monsieur, 'Yours ever' as Amities. Both the above illuminate what sometimes happens in the process of translating, but they are not usable procedures. As I see it, there are about fourteen procedures within a certain range of probability which are useful to the translator. translations! You will note my reluctance to list 'paraphrase' as a translation procedure, since the word is often used to describe free translation. If it is used in the sense of the minimal recasting of an ambiguous or obscure sentence, in order to clarify it', I accept it. COUPLETS Lastly, here are some suggestions about 'Notes' (when and when not to use them) or supplying additional information in a translation. The additional information a translator may have to add to his version is normally cultural (accounting for difference between SL and TL culture), technical (relating to the topic) or linguistic (explaining wayward use of words), and is ePendent on the requirement of his, as opposed to the original, readership. In e*Pressive texts, such information can normally only be given outside the version, a though brief 'concessions' for minor cultural details can be made to the reader, ^•8- perhaps by translating Hemingway's 'at Handley's' by dans le bar Handley, in erHandleyBar, etc. In vocative texts, TL information tends to replace rather than suPplement SL Couplets, triplets, quadruplets combine two, three or four of the abovementioned procedures respectively for dealing with a single problem. They are particularly common for cultural words, if transference is combined with a functional or a cultural equivalent. You can describe them as two or more bites at one cherry. Quadruplets are only used for metalingual words: thus, if you translate the sentence: 'The nominal-tng clause, a participial clause, occurs in the subject position', apart from a more or less literal translation of 'nominal-tng clause', you might also: (a) transfer it; (b) explain, in an adjectival clause, that the present participle is used as a kind of gerund in English; (c) produce a translation label; (d) give an example, with TL literal and functional NOTES, ADDITIONS, GLOSSES informat ion. Thus if you translate 'you can pay for ceramic tiles
  117. 117. 92 PRINC IPLES THE OTHER TRANSLATION PROCEDURES 93 u nd A diti ona l inf or ma tio n in the tra nsl ati on ma y tak e var iou s for ms: ( 93 A s a n a lt e r n a ti v e t o t h e tr a n sl a t e d w o r d : e . g ., l a g a b e ll e b e c o m e s 't h e g a b e ll e , o r s a lt t
  118. 118. a x '. 94 A s a n a d j e c ti v a l c l a u s e : e . g ., l a t a il l e b e c o m e s 'l a t a il l e , w h i c h w a s t h e o l d l e v y r a is e d i n f e u d a l ti m e s fr o m t h e c i v il i a n p o p ul at io n' . 9 5 A s a n o u n in a p p o si ti o n: e. g. , le s tr a it e s b e c o m es 't h e tr a it e s, c u st o m s d u es 96 A s a p ar ti ci pi al gr o u p: e. g. , I' o ct r oi b e c o m es 'V o ct r oi , ta x es i m p os ed on fo od stu ffs an d wi ne en ter in g th e to w n'. 97 In br ac ke ts, oft en for a lit er al tra nsl ati on of a tra ns fer re d w or d: e.g . da s K o m bi na t be co me s 'th e ko m bi na t (a "c o m bi ne " or "tr ust ")'. 98 In pa re nt he se s, th e lo ng est for m of ad dit io n: e.g ., a i d e s b e c o m e s ' a i d e s -t h e s e a r e e x c is e d u e s o n s u c h t h i n g s a s d ri n k s, t o b a c c o , ir o n , p r e c i o u s m e t a ls a n d l e a t h e r w e r e i m p
  119. 119. o s e d i n t h e e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y '. 9 9 C l a s si fi e r: e . g ., S p e y e r, 't h e c it y o f S p e y e r, i n W e st G e r m a n y' . R oun d brac kets shou ld incl ude mate rial that is part of the trans latio n. Use squar e brac kets to make corre ction s of mate rial or mora l fact wher e appr opria te withi n the text. W here possi ble, the addit ional infor mati on shou ld be inser ted withi n the text, since this does not interr upt the reade r's flow of atten tion trans lator s tend to negle ct this meth od too often . How ever, its disad vanta ge is that it blurs the disti nctio n betw een the text and the trans lator' s contr ibuti on, and it ca nn ot be us ed fo r le ng th y ad dit io ns. 100 N otes at bottom of page. 101 N otes at end of chapter. 102 N otes or glossary at end of book. The remainin g methods (2-4) are placed in order of preferenc e, but notes at the bottom of the page become a nuisance when they are too lengthy and numerou s; notes at the back of the book should be reference d with the book page numbers at the top too often I find myself reading a note belongin g to the wrong chapter. Notes at the end of the chapter are often irritating if the chapters are long since they take too long to find. Nor mally, any informati on you find in a reference book should n o s
  120. 120. I f w h
  121. 121. TRANSLATION AND CULTURE 95 C T I f r