the minimax strategy in the use of theory in interpreter and translator training l.
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THE MINIMAX STRATEGY IN THE USE OF THEORY IN INTERPRETER AND TRANSLATOR TRAINING
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  1. THE MINIMAX STRATEGY IN THE USE OF THEORY IN INTERPRETER AND TRANSLATOR TRAINING daniel.gile@yahoo.com www.cirinandgile.com www.est-translationstudies.org D.Gile Theory Minimax

  2. THEORY IS NECESSARY FOR TRAINING! D.Gile Theory Minimax

  3. …ALL RIGHT, BUT CAN IT BE USEFUL? D.Gile Theory Minimax

  4. IN THIS TALK - WILL ATTEMPT TO SHOW WHEN AND HOW SOME THEORY CAN BE USEFUL IN TRANSLATOR/INTERPRETER TRAINING - WILL ARGUE THAT A GOOD STRATEGY IN INTRODUCING THEORY IN T/I TRAINING IS THE MINIMAX STRATEGY, THAT IS, INTRODUCING A MINIMUM AMOUNT OF THEORY AIMING AT MAXIMUM EFFECT D.Gile Theory Minimax

  5. WHAT DO STUDENTS ENCOUNTER WHEN LEARNING T/I? THEY ENCOUNTER PROBLEMS SOME OF THEM ARE DUE TO KNOWN CAUSES: - INSUFFICIENT MASTERY OF THE WORKING LANGUAGES - INSUFFICIENT THEMATIC KNOWLEDGE - LACK OF ATTENTION TO THE TASK BUT IS THIS ALL? D.Gile Theory Minimax

  6. WONDERING STUDENTS “I AM TOLD THIS IS ALLOWED AND THAT IS NOT. WHY?” “Mr. X TELLS ME THIS IS ALLOWED AND Mr. Y TELLS ME THE OPPOSITE. WHO IS RIGHT?” “I HAVE PERFECT MASTERY OF MY A LANGUAGE, BUT FOR SOME REASON, I LOSE IT DURING INTERPRETING EXERCISES. AM I SUFFERING FROM JAS (JUVENILE ALZHEIMER SYNDROME)?” “I FEEL I AM NOT MAKING ANY PROGRESS IN SPITE OF ALL MY EFFORTS. SHOULD I JUST GIVE UP?” D.Gile Theory Minimax

  7. ANSWERS??? “DON’T ASK (FOOLISH) QUESTIONS. JUST DO AS I SAY” “I DON’T KNOW WHY Mr. X SAYS WHAT HE SAYS. WHAT I SAY IS RIGHT” “JUST KEEP WORKING. WITH PRACTICE, YOU WILL LEARN” HOW SATISFACTORY IS THIS FOR YOUNG LEARNERS? WILL SUCH ANSWERS INSPIRE CONFIDENCE IN INSTRUCTORS? WILL THEY GIVE STUDENTS CONFIDENCE IN THEMSELVES? D.Gile Theory Minimax

  8. MORE PROBLEMS AFTER SCHOOL, GRADUATES WILL ENCOUNTER MARKET PRESSURE MARKET PRESSURE WILL TEND TO PUSH THEM AWAY FROM SOME RULES LEARNED DURING TRAINING DOES THIS MEAN THAT RULES LEARNED DURING TRAINING ARE NOT GOOD? PERHAPS THEY ARE LIKELY TO IMPROVE OVERALL QUALITY – THOUGH THEY GO AGAINST MARKET PRESSURES? IF SO, HOW CAN GRADUATES RESIST THE PRESSURE? D.Gile Theory Minimax

  9. PARTIAL ANSWER: “DIDACTIC THEORY” MY DEFINITION OF DIDACTIC THEORY: A CONCEPTUAL CONSTRUCT WHICH EXPLAINS PHENOMENA RELEVANT TO LEARNERS (AND MAY PREDICT THEM PARTLY) AS OPPOSED TO THEORIES IN RESEARCH WHICH ARE REQUIRED TO EXPLAIN AND PREDICT W/O SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO LEARNERS D.Gile Theory Minimax

  10. EXPECTATIONS FROM TRAINING…and from theories proficiency time t1 t2 D.Gile Theory Minimax

  11. EXPECTATIONS FROM TRAINING FASTER LEARNING CURVE HIGHER LEARNING CURVE WHAT CAN THEORY CONTRIBUTE? - EXPLANATIONS - STRUCTURING OF KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE FOR INTERPRETATION OF PHENOMENA THESE MAY - CONVINCE STUDENTS - GUIDE THEM AND THUS ACCELERATE AND ENHANCE SKILLS ACQUISITION D.Gile Theory Minimax

  12. DIDACTIC THEORY SHOULD BE SIMPLE SO AS TO REQUIRE - LITTLE TIME INVESTMENT FROM STUDENTS - LITTLE EFFORT FOR COMPREHENSION AND APPLICATION IT IS AN ANCILLARY TOOL IN A CONTEXT WITH - LIMITED TIME - LITTLE MOTIVATION AS OPPOSED TO A TOOL AND OBJECTIVE (IN TRANSIT) IN RESEARCH D.Gile Theory Minimax

  13. MINIMAX HOW MUCH THEORY IS NECESSARY TO ACHIEVE EXPLANATORY AND GUIDING OBJECTIVES? HOW PROFITABLE IS FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF THE THEORIES IN TERMS OF DIDACTIC EFFICIENCY? - EXPLANATION OF RELEVANT PHENOMENA - CONFIDENCE BUILDING - CLARIFICATION FOR DECISION-MAKING SEEK BEST BALANCE BETWEEN INVESTMENT AND RETURN IN MINIMAX STRATEGY (‘RELEVANCE’) D.Gile Theory Minimax

  14. HURDLE WHEN LEARNING TRANSLATION: FIDELITY AND SHIFTS (1) “I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN TAUGHT LANGUAGE EQUIVALENCE. HOW CAN I BE FAITHFUL TO SOURCE TEXT IF I CHOOSE WORDS AND STRUCTURES OTHER THAN THE AUTHOR’S?” “THEORETICAL” IDEAS: - TRANSLATION DONE AT REQUEST OF CLIENT TO SERVE THE INTERESTS OF SB (ASSUME AUTHOR) - AUTHOR WANTS TO INFORM, EXPLAIN, CONVINCE… - IF YOU WANT TO SERVE HIS/HER INTERESTS: INFORM, EXPLAIN, CONVINCE… D.Gile Theory Minimax

  15. HURDLE WHEN LEARNING TRANSLATION: FIDELITY AND SHIFTS (2) “THEORETICAL” PROPOSITION: WHEN TRYING TO INFORM, CONVINCE, EXPLAIN, AUTHORS - DO NOT NECESSARILY CHOOSE WORDS AND STRUCTURES - DO NOT NECESSARILY LIKE DETAILS OF THE TEXT THEY HAVE PRODUCED THEREFORE, MAKING SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT CHOICES DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN BEING UNFAITHFUL IF THE TARGET TEXT INFORMS, EXPLAINS, CONVINCES… D.Gile Theory Minimax

  16. HURDLE: FIDELITY AND SHIFTS (3) “PROOF” THROUGH CLASSROOM EXPERIMENT*: - SIMPLE IDEAS ARE EXPRESSED DIFFERENTLY BY DIFFERENT PEOPLE UNDER SAME CONDITIONS • PEOPLE TEND TO EXPRESS THE SAME IDEA DIFFERENTLY UNDER SAME CONDITIONS • PEOPLE DO NOT NECESSARILY LIKE OR REMEMBER EXACTLY WHAT THEY WROTE • SOME DIFFERENCES HAVE TO DO WITH THE INTENDED RECEIVER • SOME HAVE TO DO WITH LANGUAGE/CULTURE-RELATED CONSTRAINTS • Described in Gile. 1995, 2005. See references at end of presentation. D.Gile Theory Minimax

  17. HURDLE: FIDELITY AND SHIFTS (4) THREE COMPONENTS IN THEORETICAL MODULE: - A THESIS WHICH SAYS PEOPLE DO NOT CONTROL FULLY THEIR UTTERANCES - A MODEL OF THE INFORMATIONAL COMPOSITION OF INFORMATIVE TEXTS INF = MSG + (FI+LII+PI) - A REASONED PRIORITIZATION OF INFORMATION RESTITUTION IN THE TARGET TEXT HOW DOES IT HELP? BY EXPLAINING THE CLAIM THAT SOME SHIFTS FROM THE ST ARE LEGITIMATE IS IT NOT BETTER THAN JUST CLAIMING IT IS ALL RIGHT TO DEVIATE FROM THE ST WITHOUT EXPLANATIONS? D.Gile Theory Minimax

  18. FREQUENT PROBLEMS IN TRANSLATION BY STUDENTS - CLUMSY TT - NONSENSICAL TT ANALYSIS SHOWS THIS IS DUE TO: - INSUFFICIENT ANALYSIS OF ST - LANGUAGE INTERFERENCE BETWEEN SL AND TL - LACK OF AWARENESS THAT TT SHOULD BE ABLE TO FUNCTION AS AN AUTHONOMOUS TEXT WHAT CAN ONE DO ABOUT IT? ONE ANSWER IS A MODEL (“THEORY”) D.Gile Theory Minimax

  19. Meaning Hypothesis A DIDACTIC TRANSLATION MODEL Plausible ? TL Wording Knowledge acquisition Knowledge Base Acceptable ? Faithful ? Acceptable ? Faithful ? D.Gile Theory Minimax

  20. SOME POINTS HIGHLIGHTED BY THE MODEL Two phases in translation: comprehension, translation - To foster analysis before reformulation and prevent meaning errors - To prevent linguistic interference Decisions – The Translator’s responsibility - On comprehension, to foster analysis and prevent meaning errors - On reformulation, to help optimize D.Gile Theory Minimax

  21. Student weaknesses pinpointed in the model Weaknesses • In knowledge: linguistic/extralinguistic knowledge. In comprehension phase and reformulation phase • In translation methodology: failure to implement tests, to take decisions • In attitude/motivation: failure to implement tests, to acquire required knowledge, to go through the reformulation loop (TL wording and acceptability/fidelity tests) until a good result is achieved. D.Gile Theory Minimax

  22. Using the sequential model for explanations and guidance Pinpoint the areas where the student’s weaknesses lie and tell him/her more specifically where to focus his/her efforts • Point out that a professional attitude means willingness to do proper ad hoc knowledge acquisition • Point out that a professional attitude means willingness to go through the reformulation loop until all problems are solved satisfactorily. • Point out that word Processing allows multiple iterations of the reformulation loop whereas dictation does not. • Discuss directionality using the concept of the reformulation loop • Discuss specialization in terms of less lengthy ad hoc information acquisition D.Gile Theory Minimax

  23. Is the sequential model a good model for research? Does it account well for actual translation? No… - In real life, translation is far less linear - And parallel processing may occur - Model is not specific enough to account for all phenomena - Architecture not optimized for further development BUT IT IS USEFUL NEVERTHELESS (?) MINIMAX D.Gile Theory Minimax

  24. IN CONFERENCE INTERPRETING - APPARENT LOSS OF CONTROL IN LANGUAGE SKILLS DURING INTERPRETING EXERCISES - LISTENING PROBLEMS WHEN TAKING NOTES IN CONSECUTIVE - DIFFICUTLY OF SIMULTANEOUS STUDENTS DESTABILIZED WORRIED THEORETICAL EXPLANATIONS HELP UNDERSTAND THAT PHENOMENA ARE ‘NORMAL’ AND WILL GRADUALLY BECOME LESS PROBLEMATIC EFFORT MODELS (Gile 1995) D.Gile Theory Minimax

  25. WHEN THINKING ABOUT GENERAL ISSUES APTITUDES FOR TRANSLATION VS. INTERPRETING DIRECTIONALITY TRANSLATION/INTERPRETING QUALITY QUALITY PERCEPTION … SOME THEORY CAN BE USEFUL IN PROVIDING CONCEPTS AND STRUCTURES FOR REFERENCE TO DISCUSS THESE ISSUES D.Gile Theory Minimax

  26. GOING DEEPER INTO THEORIES? (1) TEXT LINGUISTICS? COGNITIVE LINGUISTICS? PRAGMATICS? COGNITIVE PSYCHOLOGY? SCHEME THEORY? MENTAL MODELS THEORY? PHILOSOPHY? LITERARY THEORY? SOCIOLOGICAL THEORIES? D.Gile Theory Minimax

  27. GOING DEEPER INTO THEORIES? (2) SUCH THEORIES ARE INTERESTING OFFER FOOD FOR THOUGHT CAN BE QUITE STIMULATING But… REQUIRE SIGNIFICANT INVESTMENT FROM STUDENTS IF STUDENTS ARE INTERESTED – FINE IF ACADEMIC REQUIREMENTS INCLUDE THEORY – OK OTHERWISE, SEEK OPTIMUM BALANCE BETWEEN INVESTMENT AND EXPECTED CONTRIBUTION MINIMAX D.Gile Theory Minimax

  28. DOES THIS APPROACH WORK? FEEDBACK FROM STUDENTS AND FELLOW INSTRUCTORS OVER THE YEARS IN PARTICULAR FROM STUDENTS AND INSTRUCTORS WHO WERE RELUCTANT TO USE THEORY SUGGESTS IT DOES But… THE PROOF WILL BE IN YOUR OWN PUDDING TRY OUT MODULES DESCRIBED IN REFERENCES IN NEXT SLIDE EACH WILL ONLY TAKE ABOUT ONE HOUR TO 90 MINUTES OF YOUR AND THE STUDENTS’ TIME GOOD LUCK! D.Gile Theory Minimax

  29. REFERENCES Gile, Daniel. 1995. Basic Concepts and Models for Interpreter and Translator Training. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Gile, Daniel. 2005. La traduction. La comprendre, l’apprendre. Paris: PUF. D.Gile Theory Minimax