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Translation Studies. 2. Translation theory and socio- and psycholinguistics Krisztina Károly, Spring, 2006 Source: Klaudy, 2003. 2.1. Translation theory and sociolinguistics.

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Translation studies l.jpg

Translation Studies

2. Translation theory and socio- and psycholinguistics

Krisztina Károly, Spring, 2006

Source: Klaudy, 2003


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2.1. Translation theory and sociolinguistics

  • 18th-cent. Hungary social relevance of translation gained more importance than its Lic exploration (János Batsányi, Ferenc Kazinczy, György Bessenyei,Sándor Báróczy)

  • pragmatic adaptation (in modern terminology; Neubert 1968)  the adaptation of the translated work to the needs of the TL audience (e.g., András Dugonics, in 1807, placed Voltaire’s Zadig into a Hungarian context under the title Cserei, egy honvári herceg, what is more, into 10th-century Hungary, the era of Taksony vezér)

  • sociolinguistic research in the 1970’s (Labov 1970, Ferguson 1971, Fishman 1971, Giglioli 1972, Trudgill 1974)  provides an opportunity for the study of the relationship between translation and society


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Reproducing individual speech styles

  • in translating literary pieces  render the individual (social or regional) speech style of the characters (problem of the vertical and horizontal stratification of the 2 Ls

  • E.g., indicating provinciality literary Lic norm prevalent in the given century and L

  • E.g., reproducing regional words/dialects (i.e., find TL regional equivalents):


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Reproducing regional words/dialects:

Imre Makai  translating Solohov’s Silent Don

  • the Hungarian regional equivalents of the regional words and dialect used by proud, brave, and free Cossacks (to reflect the novel’s “Don-like atmosphere”) = the dialect of Hajdúság

  • sociolinguistic reason (Makai, 1981):


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Cont.: the socioLic reason (Makai 1981, p.574):

"the two ethnic communities resemble each other both in terms of their evolution and their history. Originally they were homeless peasants and outlaws who banded together and, holding one hand on the plough tail and the other on the hilt of the sword, they became soldier-peasants. The sole difference between them was that the Cossacks first fought against the Czar, and only then did they become his servants, while the Heyducks first served the Austrian Emperor and then joined the army of the Transylvanian Prince Bocskai. The important point is that their life styles were similar. This is where the similarity of their thinking, and consequently language, originates from: both the Cossacks and the Heyducks are characterised by a harsh and sharp-witted style, lacking the signs of sentimentalism or flourish, and crackling dialogues.” (emphases added)


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The reproduction of social dialects

  • abundant examples of the vertical stratification of the two languages  e.g., in the Hungarian translations of Russian classics (see the work of Ferenc Papp, 1979; e.g., in Dostoyevskiy’s novel, Crime and Punishment)


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The translation of lexis without equivalence:“realia”

= translating the names of objects characteristic of a L community (meals, clothes, dishes, dances, etc.) into another L in which these objects do not exist

The theory of L contacts treats the activity of two L communities aimed at exploring each other’s realia as a process (= exploring-denoting activity)


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The process of exploring another L community’s realia differs according to

  • geographical distance and length of the contact situation:

    e.g.,

    Hungarian and German  in permanent contact for several centuries,

    Hungarian and Russian  came into contact in the second half of the 20th century

    Hungarian and Japanese  are geographically remote from each other

  • the social-economic level of L communities:

    same level two-way process

    different level one-way process


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Translatability and untranslatability

provides an opportunity for translation scholars to express their views on the relationship between language and reality

Opposition:

  • View 1 = reality is the same for all of us; only the Lic expressions referring to the different segments of reality are different

  • View 2 = L also affects reality (Whorf 1956, Sapir 1956) (e.g., the way we perceive the external characteristics of objects is influenced by the kind of words available in our L1 to describe these characteristics)


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Cont.: Translatability/untranslatability

  • if languages segment reality differently different “world view”

  • certain phenomena of reality appear in excessive detail in one L, while there is only a collective name for them in another one: e.g.,

    - Eskimo: many names for the different types of snow;

    - Argentinean gauchos: the multitude of colour names for horses;

    - Arabic: the postures of camels;

    - Russian: the types of fish;

    - Italian: the types of pasta;

    - English: the objects and concepts related to navigation


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Realia and untranslatability

Problems:

  • if realia are simply translated into the TL  translation will make no sense

  • if the translator tries to find some TL realia with a similar function  the informative, culture-enriching function of translation is endangered

    Solution: research methods of socioLics(e.g., questionnaires)

  • to be able to translate them, i.e. find equivalences for them, one has to start out from the knowledge and evaluative relationship the TL society possesses about the given realia and not the SL norm


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What can socioLics offer to TS?

What the translator can do:

  • mediates not only between two Ls but between two cultures as well forms certain views about the relationship between the SLandSL society andthe TLand TL society, and implements these views in the process of translation

    Sociolinguistics:

  • provides scientifically well-founded descriptions of the relationship between the SL and SL society, and the TL and the TL society, and might thus contribute to exploring the objective rules behind the translators’ decisions ( on the basis of sociolinguistic research, particular translator decisions will be considered correct/incorrect)


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2.2. Translation theory and psycholinguistics

Focus = the process of translation (not solely based on a comparison of the SL and TL texts)  taking into account the translator and the processes in his/her mind


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Perception and production in translation

  • Perception = the comprehension of both written and spoken texts

  • Production = the creation of both written and spoken texts

  • There are differences between monolingual speakers and translators in terms of perception and production:


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Translation and bilingualism

Bilingualism: opposition

  • View 1: only the ones who speak both Ls as their L1 (Bloomfield 1935)

  • View 2: those too who have different competence in both Ls, i.e., dominance of one L (Haugen 1953)

    Translators/interpreters  bilingual speakers

  • the most dominant feature of translators and interpreters is NOT that they have NS proficiency in two Ls, but that they are professional Lic mediators, i.e., can mediate between two Ls.

  • many excellent translators cannot communicate proficiently in a FL, but can brilliantly perform the task of Lic mediation between a FL and their L1.


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Simultaneous interpreting as a psycholinguistic experiment

  • appropriate for the investigation of the mental activity of translators

  • TL performance of simultaneous interpreters is not so far from internal speech as the corrected, proof-read, post-edited written texts of translators: rough “semi-transcoded” discourse

  • Contains, e.g.,

    - seemingly unjustified insertions and omissions,

    - vague chunks alternating with well-formed ones,

    - the seemingly unjustified shifts between rapid speech, slow speech and pauses

     abundant information about the characteristic features of speech activity conducted in two Ls


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Difficulties in data collection

  • the use for research purposes of papers presented at conferences and their interpreted versions is not only a scientific but also an ethical and a legal question

  • transcribing the D produced by simultaneous interpreters raises manytechnical problems (writing down the parallel text of two pieces of D in two different Ls which cannot be separated typographically, either)

  • such an undertaking would require not only interdisciplinary but also interprofessionalco-operation between psychologists, linguists, translation scholars, and practising translators and interpreters


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The personal traits of successful interpreters (Sallai, 1985):

(1) react quickly,

(2) bear monotony,

(3) self-confident,

(4) open towards the external world,

(5) able to divide his/her attention,

(6) have a well trained memory,

  • able to work without feed-back,

    Cont.


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Cont.: Personal traits of successful interpreters

(8) stand stressful situations,

(9) possess the necessary general intelligence,

(10) be able to bear being subordinated,

(11) possess the necessary social intelligence,

(12) be able to adjust to the partners (empathy),

(13) be able to continuously control one’s own work (self-control),

(14) have some technical skills,

(15) be in a good psychical and physical condition during interpretation.


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The “internal speech” of translators

  • A translated text, checked, revised, edited and re-edited many times, masks the mental activity of the translator.

  •  the “internal speech” of translators is recorded: the process of the constant search for and acceptance of options is traced  making translators speak during translating, and making them think aloud (initiated by Krings, 1987)



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