Translating Ideology What can we say about it and how can we investigate it? Ian Mason Sichuan University, October 2013
Two issues: • The ideology of translating • The translating of ideology
Ideology • not just political or religious • not deviations from a norm • all use of language reflects user’s assumptions • Users participate in communities of practice • So…
Definition of ideology • “the tacit assumptions, beliefs and value systems which are shared collectively by social groups” • Simpson (1993) • No text is ideologically neutral.
1. Ideology of translation • Lawrence Venuti • Domestication and Foreignisation • Fluency • Illusion of transparency (“invisibility”) • Foreignisation as a means of resistance to cultural hegemony.
1. Ideology of translation • Feminist and post-colonial approaches • rewriting • transculturation • representation and cultural dominance • The hegemony of English • The translator’s agency: activist translating • Translation and conflict
1. Ideology of translation • All of these studies move beyond purely Descriptive Translation Studies and • Adopt a moral/ethical stance on • abuses of translation and/or • what translators can and should do.
2. Translation of ideology • Assumptions, etc, apparent in linguistic details. • Two examples of ideological shifts: • Hans-Christian AndersenDen StandhaftigeTinsoldat (data reported by K.Malmkjaer) • Sigmund Freud: Standard Edition (data reported by B. Bettelheim)
Lexical choice in H-C Andersen • Standhaftig (physical + moral sense) • English TTs: ‘constant’, ‘staunch’, ‘steadfast’ • nydeligt (‘pretty’ + superficial) • English TTs: ‘lovely’, ‘fine’, ‘charming’, ‘enchanting’, ‘graceful’
Das Ich, das Es, das Über-Ich Besetzung (‘occupation’) Fehlleistung (‘failure to achieve’) die Seele (‘soul’) seelisch Ego, Id, Super-Ego cathexis parapraxis mind mental FREUD: ST TT
Discourse Analysis in translation studies Ji-Hae Kang (2010): Differences between Newsweek and Newsweek Hankukpan versions of an interview with President Roh of S. Korea in 2003
Background: • US President George W. Bush on the offensive against North Korea: part of “axis of evil”. • Newly-elected President Roh seeks rapprochement with North Korea.
Newsweek question: • Left-hand column =Newsweek • Right-hand column =Newsweek Hankukpan
You have demanded an equal partnership with the United States, which worries many Americans. Do you fear an anti-Korean backlash? Americans are concerned about the move in Korea towards wanting an equal relationship with the US. Won’t this situation give rise to anti-Korean sentiment in the US?
Now major US media and government officials are mentioning the possibility of attacking North Korea. It is a life-or-death issue. But I have a problem. Major US media and government officials are mentioning the possibility of attacking North Korea. Because this could immediately lead to war, Koreans cannot easily agree. In the past this kind of problem did not exist… However this is a matter of life or death.
Discourse Analysis in translation studies • Mason (2004): the discoursal shift in European Parliament translation. • Different ‘language versions’ of speeches made by Members of Parliament. • Speech by Irish MEP about depopulation of rural areas.
E All the utilities are over-utilised while in other areas we are closing down public services. Roads are under-utilised, we are withdrawing police stations and closing down little churches and schools. • F All the public services are over-used while in other regions, some public services have to be closed down. The roads are under-used, the police stations are closing their doors, as are the small churches and schools.
E If we allow this to happen, it will be like what we did in my country 50 years ago when we closed down our railways. FIf we do nothing to stop that, we shall find ourselves facing the same situation that my country experienced 50 years ago, when it was forced to close down its railway lines.
E Europe will be so much thepoorer… Britain is much the poorer for that… … we will have a Europe that will be much poorer. F Europe will lose a great wealth… It is Great Britain that bears the costs. … it is Europe which will suffer (on account of it).
Discoursal shifts • All shifts contribute to create a new discourse: • ‘These things happen; no-one is responsible’ • ‘These things have to happen’ • Does it matter? • Do the shifts make any difference to real readers?
Critical Discourse Analysis • Seeks to uncover underlying meanings in texts; • Socially conscious; • Direct relation to issues of power and control (Session 6)
Objections to CDA methods • How do we know that choice of words, grammatical patterns have any effect on readers? • Do they even notice? • What evidence is there of actual reader reception of meaning?
Pre-textuality • The previous experience, attitude, mental outlook, etc. that the reader brings to the task of reading
Relevance Theory • “Ostensive-inferential communication” • Ostension • Inference
Ostension • “behaviour which makes manifest an intention to make something manifest” (Sperber & Wilson 1986: 49) • Contextualisation cues (Gumperz 1982)
Inference • No direct evidence • Take-up • Reader response
Reader response • Book reviews • Empirical work: recall tests. • People tend to remember what they consciously notice.
Reader response • Bartlett (1932): Experiments in recall • Subjects were asked to read a folk tale and then re-write it after 30 mins, 2 hours, 2 days, etc. • Variant versions of texts: reader response
Reader response test: European Parliament speech • How would you sum up what the speaker is warning about? • According to the speaker, who is responsible for the state of affairs described: • The speaker himself? • Others? • Himself and others? • No-one is responsible: it just happens
“who is responsible for the state of affairs described?” Group A (‘we’-agency) a) The speaker himself? 0% b) Others? 10% c) Himself and others? 80% d) No-one is responsible: it just happens 10% Group B (nil agency) a) The speaker himself? 5% b) Others? 45% c) Himself and others? 25% d) No-one is responsible: it just happens 25%
“who is responsible for the state of affairs described?” Group C (balance) a) The speaker himself? 0% b) Others? 4% c) Himself and others? 79% d) No-one is responsible: it just happens 17%
“How would you sum up what the speaker is warning about?” • Group A • …we should concentrate and develop… • …we tend to live… over-use… while neglecting • …we need to protect • …people moving to cities, leaving… • Group B • … are not supported… are withdrawn • … villages being wiped out • … are not used • … being left to waste… being taken away
The translator as reader • Pre-textuality • Ambient discourses/public narratives
Conclusion • Our pre-textualities (linguists, translators, ordinary users of texts) are not the same. • Ostension can be traced in contextualisation cues. • Inference has to be sought in actual uptake. • Uptake can be investigated.