Evaluating TranslationTeaching Pedagogy:Implications forTeachingMohamed Amin Mekheimer, Ph.D.College of Languages & TranslationKing Khalid University
Approaches and MethodsAn inquiry into translation methodologyliterature has revealed the existence of threedifferent translation methods; namely, thegrammatical, the text-linguistic and theinterpretive methods.The grammatical method focuses on a closetrace and track fashion of putting content andlanguage of a text in a similar mode ofstructures in the target language. The text-linguistic approach to translation views “theentire purpose of translation as achievingequivalence. The target text must match thesource text as fully as possible” (Robinson,2003, p.73). The interpretive approach totranslation views this activity as an active,interactive process of understanding a textand rewording the translators understandingsin a different language.
Translation methods in a nutshellTranslation methods can be categorised into twomain approaches to the practice of translation,i.e., form-oriented translation and content-oriented translation.In form-oriented translation, the primary processobjectives focus on maintaining the form of thesource language all along the translationlanguage. This method is sometimes labelled as„formal equivalence‟, „formal correspondence‟ or„literal‟ translation methods.In the Content-Oriented Translation, the focus isplaced on the translation language, sometimescalled the Receptor Language. The form of theSource Language is important but not nearly asimportant as the meaning. The communication ofaccurate, clear meaning is the overarchingobjective of content-oriented translation.
On the Definition of TranslationProper translation, I argue, is the processwhereby the translator seeks to conveylinguistic, paralinguistic, and metalinguisticinformation from a source language to atarget language, including other subtleprocesses of interlingual and intercultural aswell as intertextual decoding and encoding ofinformation in a highly creative way.Translation proper is tantamount to creativereproduction of the original text. I have usedthe descriptor proper here to indicate thatthere are other processes which are improper,including highly form-oriented and undulycontent-oriented translation methods.
The necessity to take liberty withtexts upon translatingLiberal translation becomes a necessity when tacklingliterary, poetic, philosophical and religious texts whenthere is much liberty available in galore to theadvantage of the translator who would understand theauthor of the original text in his/her own way, relying ona reservoir of declarative knowledge of the world. Arrojo(1992) describes this process in her book, TheTranslation Workshop, as follows:“The text, like the sign, ceases to be a „faithful‟representation of a stable object capable of existingoutside the infinite labyrinth of language and becomes amachine of potential meanings. Hence, the prototypicalimage of the „original‟ text ceases to resemble asequence of containers carrying a determinable andcompletely recoverable content.”
Types of Translation Processes Highly Form-Oriented Type.Characteristically this type reproduces the linguistic features ofthe Source Language, such as word order, syntactical relationsetc., with high consistency. The Modified Form-Oriented TypeThis approach represents an improvement over the first. moreflexibility in word sequence and concern for thought patterns inthe RL are characteristic. The Content-Oriented TypeHere the focus of attention shifts from the form of the text tothe meaning of the text. The overarching aim is thecommunication of the meaning of the SL into the RL in the RLform which is natural and clear. The Unduly Content-Oriented TypeAs the highly form-oriented type represents an unacceptablekind of translation so does this type from the other extreme.The concern here is exclusively on the message, or perhapsmore accurately, the reader/hearer of the message.
Procedures for Good Translating AnalysisThis step involves the determination of the meaning of theSource Language. TransferThis stage of the translation process largely occurs in themind of the translator as he serves as the „bridge‟ fortransferring meaning from the Source Language to theReceptor Language. RestructuringThe focus of attention at this stage is the intended audiencefor the translation. The translator must give carefulattention to the educational level, the cultural and religiousbackground of his audience.
On the Quality of TranslationDifferent Approaches to AssessingTranslation Quality Theories on the evaluation of a translation quality always ask this question: „When do we know when a translation is good? These theories are classified under three labels, “namely, the mentalist approach, the response-based approach, and the text and discourse approach.”
Different Approaches to Assessing Translation Quality Mentalist Views:Global anecdotal judgments such as “the translation doesjustice to the original ” or “the tone of the original is lost inthe translation ”. Revived in neo-hermeneutic, subjectiveinterpretations of the worth of a translation. The “functionalistic, „Skopos‟- related approach”:Here, the translator decides on the function which thetranslation should fulfill in its new environment; thus, thetranslator toils to manipulate whether and how target culturenorms are heeded in a translation. The Skopos Theory, in thissense, comprises the idea that translating and interpretingshould primarily take into account the function of both thesource and target text.
Implications for TeachingTranslation Translation learners should be exposed to intensive translation exercises, each finely tuned to highlight the major linguistic difficulties and conceptual problems that may arise in translating and how to address these difficulties. students of translation should also be taught the functioning system of both the source and target languages, as are subjected to the style, lexicon, terminology or jargon of a particular discipline of knowledge they are trained on. The most basic and preferable principle for teaching translation, however, is to train students of translation on how to generate “the closest natural equivalence” . Translation curricula should no longer be limited to the building of linguistic and encyclopaedic skills. Instead, they should focus developing ways to sharpen the cognitive skills of approaching translation texts, such as enhancing their attitudes towards and aptitudes in translation.