Translation theory

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Translation theory

  1. 1. from one recent quotation Any scientific investigation , both statistical and diagrammatic, of what goes on in the brain during the process of translating is remote and at present, speculative. (some linguists and translation theorists make a fetish of diagrams, schemas, and models).
  2. 2. a) What happens when translators translate? b) What is the process as it is?
  3. 3.  It is essential that the balance be redressed through the systematic study of the process.  It is the process which creates the product and it is only by understanding the process that we can hope to improve skills as translators.
  4. 4. Systematic study of the process 1. Part of a theory of translation would account for the process of moving from original text to mental representation and how it differs from the original text. The need for such a shift of attention has, indeed, already been argued for and we strongly endorse the sentiment expressed:
  5. 5. >> continuation >> 2. We must adopt a descriptive rather than prescriptive approach to the investigation of the process, recognizing that the purpose of translation theory is:  To reach an understanding of the process undertaken in the act of translation and not to provide a set of norms for effecting the perfect translation.
  6. 6.  Orientation towards the objective specification of the steps and stages through which the translator works as the source text in the original language is transformed into the target text;  Focus on the process which creates the translation rather than on the translation itself.
  7. 7. - de Beaugrande “it is inappropriate to expect that a theoretical model of translation should solve all the problems a translator encounters. Instead, it should formulate a set of strategies for approaching problems and for coordinating the different aspects entailed.” Warns:
  8. 8. 1. Be re-oriented towards description, whether of process or product, and away from prescription 2. Have conventions of text-linguistics which is increasingly the most revealing way of dealing with the product
  9. 9. We need to be clear with what these mean and how they fit into the investigative process in which we are engaged.
  10. 10.  It is essential to distinguish between sensation and perception; and that  The process of sensation and perception are best explained by AGGREGATE,WHOLE, and SYSTEM
  11. 11.  phenomena studied by scientists;  fed into the mind through senses;  Have boundaries put around them by the process of perception; and  are thus converted into information-bearing data = WHOLE
  12. 12.  It is theTHEORY of the scientist which, when passed on to others, is realized as a model.
  13. 13. Phenomena Are observed and collected in the form of DATA Whose cohesive character is explained by a THEORY Which is transmitted to others in the form of aMODEL
  14. 14. -Wilss “neither psycholinguistics nor neurology can as yet provide reliable information on how linguistic data are stored in the brain, how linguistic matching procedures take place and what mental structures are active in recalling linguistic information.” Warns:
  15. 15. Theories and Models  THEORY is an explanation of a phenomenon, the perception of system and order in something observed. It exists in the mind, with no tangible manifestation; an idea which constitutes the internal representation of a phenomenon. Given that, we must be clear about what theories and models are and how they relate to each other.
  16. 16. Theories and Models  MODEL is, in contrast, an external representation of the explanation; a realization of the theory. It exists as a tangible object (a diagram, formula, or text) which ‘stands for’ the idea embodied in the theory. THEORY exists in the mind, with no tangible manifestation; an idea which constitutes the internal representation of a phenomenon.
  17. 17. 1. It must faithfully represent the theory that it stands for. 2. It must reveal significant characteristics of the phenomenon explained in the theory; it should be a ‘copy’ of the original phenomenon, focusing on the essential parts. 3. It must have heuristic function through analogy (drawing similarities).
  18. 18. A theory of translation as… 1. PROCESS – requires a study of information processing, and within that, such topics as: a) Perception b) Memory c) Encoding and decoding messages *Theory ofTranslating
  19. 19. A theory of translation as… 2. PRODUCT – requires a study of texts not merely by means of the traditional levels of linguistic analysis (syntax and semantics) but also by making use of stylistics and recent advances in text-linguistics and discourse analysis. *Theory ofTranslatedTexts
  20. 20. A theory of translation as… 2. Both PROCESS & PRODUCT – requires the integrated study of both and such a general theory is, presumably, the long-term *Theory ofTranslating andTranslation
  21. 21. (ideal) the greater the conformity, the more powerful the theory 1. EMPIRICISM – it must be testable 2. DETERMINISM – it must be predictable 3. PARSIMONY – it must be simple 4. GENERALITY – it must be comprehensive
  22. 22. It might perhaps be more feasible to think of DEVELOPING an APPROACH rather than a theory
  23. 23.  If we adopt this plan of action, we can draw upon considerable expertise in applied linguistics, from which the approach, method, technique series comes, and produce a tentative initial list of what we might expect from a theory of translation.
  24. 24.  We are in search of ‘an integrated, interdisciplinary, multi-method, and multi-level approach’ to the explanation of the phenomenon of translation and we would locate the approach within a broadly defined applied linguistics which would embrace in addition to the learning of: foreign languages, lexicology and lexicography, speech pathology, stylistics, language planning
  25. 25.  Inside or between languages, human communication equals translation.  A study of translation is a study of language.
  26. 26.  The process of translation takes place in the mind of the translator, given that, we have no direct access to it, and shall be forced back into precisely unsatisfactory kind of description of the product which we have been saying that we wish to avoid.
  27. 27. It is perfectly legitimate to build up a model on the basis of inferences drawn from an objective study of the product . The development of psychology has shown a multiple approach involving both induction and deduction which is likely to be revealing than using only one approach.
  28. 28.  What is the unit of translation?  It is the smallest segment of a source language text which can be translated as a whole in isolation from other segments.  SL: ‘as small as possible and as large as necessary’ – author
  29. 29. a) What happens when translators translate? b) What is the process as it is?

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