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USING TRANSLATION CORPORA TO EXAMINE GENRE-SPECIFIC PRACTICES :. STOPPING SHORT OF TRANSLATION UNIVERSALS AND LAWS ? Peter Flynn, University of Leuven (Campus Antwerp)/CETRA p eter.flynn@arts.kuleuven.be. Overview. Preamble (see abstract)

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  1. USING TRANSLATION CORPORA TO EXAMINE GENRE-SPECIFIC PRACTICES: STOPPING SHORT OF TRANSLATION UNIVERSALS AND LAWS? Peter Flynn, University of Leuven (Campus Antwerp)/CETRA peter.flynn@arts.kuleuven.be ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  2. Overview • Preamble (see abstract) • The tension between the search for patterns of regularity in translations and the rejection of universality as a hidden/naturalised form of dominance • Stopping Short of Laws and Universals: historicizing and contextualizing theory • Translation Corpora and Corpus Analysis • Text Types • Text types in TS Training • Genre • Defining genre: recent and older views • Genre in “situated” TS discourse: an instance • Generic evidence from parallel corpus • Genre, Habitus and Norms • Conclusions ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  3. Stopping Short of Laws and Universals • Laws and Universals in Translation Studies • Laws (mainly Toury 1995: 259ff) • An attempt to move away from prescriptive formulations and directives and ground the rationale underlying translational behaviour in “reality rather than some kind of wishful thinking” (Toury 1995:259) [DTS] • Probabilistic formulations of the type “if X then the greater/the lesser the likelihood that Y” (given certain conditions) ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  4. Stopping Short of Laws and Universals • How can we arrive at/discover such laws? • By formulating, testing and refining theory in order to gain an “increasingly better understanding of the ways translation and translators, as individuals and members of societal groups alike, manoeuver within the manifold constraints imposed on them and produce texts which look and function the way they do,” (Toury 1995:266) ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  5. Stopping Short of Laws and Universals • Toury proposes 2 exemplary laws • The Law of Growing Standardization, within which Toury posits the following, inter alia. • “In translation, textual relations obtaining in the original are often modified, sometimes to the point of being totally ignored, in favour of [more] habitual options offered by a target repertoire” (Toury 1998: 268) [Which textual relations?] • The Law of Interference • “In translation, phenomena pertaining to the make up of the source text tend to transferred to the target text” (Toury 1998:275) [Which phenomena?] • Q: So, at what depth / level of abstraction do such laws lie? • A: In translations / among translators? ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  6. Stopping Short of Laws and Universals • Universals (Baker 1996 and Laviosa 2004, inter alia): • Using corpus tools to explore translational corpora for • Simplification: the idea that translators subconsciously simplify the language or message or both [how/why subconscious?]; • Explicitation: the tendency to spell things out in translation, including, in its simplest form, the practice of adding background information [what about implicitation?]; • Normalisation or conservatism: the tendency to conform to patterns and practices which are typical of the target language, even to the point of exaggerating them [use of control corpora to test this?]; • Levelling out: the tendency of translated text to gravitate around the centre of any continuum rather than towards the fringes (Baker 1996: 176-177). [lexical variation?] • Q: So, at what depth / level of abstraction do such universals lie? • A: in translations / among translators? ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  7. Psychologizing Laws and Universals • “Where the laws or universals might lie. Our proposed unification has reached this point: Translators tend to standardize language or to channel interference because these are two main ways of reducing or transferring communicative risk”. (Pym in Pym et al. 2008:325) • While ignoring the interactional nature of translation, this view merely rephrases in another guise Toury’s assertion that translation is a norm-governed activity: (see Toury 1995:56) ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  8. Shifting the borders of Laws and Universals • “new concepts like those of metissage, transculturalism and transnationalism have …induced yet another toning down, this time of the notion of “system” … replacing it with that of “network”, less rigid, more sensitive to individual usage, more open and porous to exchanges, suggesting bi-directionality or multi-directionality… In many ways, the concept of “network” seems to be to globalization what “system” was, and continues to be, to the more traditional notion of the nation-state.(Simeoni in Pym et al 2008:339) • This assertion idealises globalization and mysteriously resolves / dissolves the nation state. • But networks predate and have always co-existed within and across nation states. • Q: are there pre- and post globalisation networks? ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  9. Laws and Universals in Systems and Networks • Whether they are located in interlocking national or cultural systems or transnational or globalized networks, the conception of and the search for laws and universals goes beyond one level of inference that seriously diminishes their relevance for translation scholars: Genre • Genres are what systems cluster around or what give networks their language substance. • Simple examples: website / software localisers, poets, legal translators, etc., all work within given genres across languages and cultures. • Their language and translational practices are largely and primarily determined by the genres they are working in. ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  10. Laws and Universals in Systems and Networks • Translators engage directly with the various elements of language and style that are typical of a given genre (legal, medical, philosophical, scientific, literary) in which they are often specialized. They also understand how these elements play out across languages and cultures. • Looking for laws and universals beyond this level is probably a waste of time as there is very little we can conclude from what we might find. • Examples: • A pharmaceutical company wouldn’t be at all happy if its instructions for use manifested the Law of Interference – imagine the legal consequences! • On the other hand, an international law firm might be happy to discover levelling out in translations of its legal contracts, especially when it comes to consistency and regularity in the use of legal terms and concepts! ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  11. Evidence of Laws and Universals: Shifts in translation • Long history of debate: [Catford, Vinay & Darbelnet, Nida, Van Leuven-Zwart and many others] • Shifts are often organised in binary categories: • Obligatory versus optional • System-driven versus arbitrary • Micro- and/or (resultant) macro-level shifts • Basic assumptions: • the language system and the “laws” of grammar and lexis are the first and most important obstacles facing any translator; • Most categorisations of shift are based on parts of speech or grammatical categories – shifts in meaning stemming from such linguistic shifts; • All the rest is merely arbitrary and optional but this is exactly what translation scholars find so interesting and study!! • No mention of generic constraints: e.g. the use of non-standard language and spelling in literary dialogue – a real translation problem? ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  12. Studying Laws and Universals: using translation corpora • Scholars studying translation corpora draw on insights and methods from or developed within corpus linguistics (viz. work by Laviosa, Kenny, Olahan, among others) • Basic assumption or outer frame of analysis: the various language systems manifest in the parallel corpus of texts • Complex tagging sets, kwic, word listers, etc., use grammatical categories and pragmatic markers to trace and arrange translation shifts • Basic units of analysis: • Words, phrases, clauses, collocations, etc. • What about the “line” or the “verse” as a unit of analysis? (in poetry, in speech patterning – see Hymes’s Ethnography of Speaking) ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  13. Studying Laws and Universals: corpora • Goals of such analyses: various but: • “In Laviosa's studies of simplification, some of the results (those concerning sentence length) differ according to whether the hypotheses are tested on a corpus of translated narrative (1998b) or of translated newspaper articles (1998a), which suggests that the norms may not be the same across different text types. But again, the emphasis is on what is pervasive across the genres and not on what is different and unexpected.” Saldanha (2005:40) • Isn’t the unexpected and different what we are in search of? ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  14. Text Types • Functional approaches to translation such as Skopos Theory build on the idea that (translated) texts fulfil certain functions in a given society/culture. • As a result, texts can be split up into various types, depending on their function, be linked to related translation types and be translated accordingly. • Building on Bühler and Jakobson’s classifications of language function, translation scholars have linked various text types to these basic functions in relation to their possible translation (Reiss in Nord 1997: 37-38): ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  15. Text Types: 3 Main sets • Informative texts – “to inform the reader about objects and phenomena in the real world. The choice of linguistic and stylistic forms is subordinate to this function.” (news article, operation manual, recipe) • Expressive texts – “the informative aspect is complemented or even overruled by the aesthetic component. The stylistic choices made by the author contribute to the meaning of the text, producing an aesthetic effect on the reader.” (novel, poem) • Operative texts – “both form and content are subordinate to the extra-linguistic effect that the text is designed to achieve.” (advert) ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  16. Text Types ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  17. Text Types (1) ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  18. Text Types • Chesterman’s triangle clearly shows that it is not always easy to place a real text squarely under a given text type!!! • Here again, we should look on these categories of text type as broad indications (points on a scale) and not as absolutes. • Underlying the functional nature of text types is the idea that certain types of text display certain features that indicate their purpose/function (e.g. an advert: “Sit back and enjoy the rich aroma of Java Coffee”). ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  19. Drawbacks • Main point: • Textual features are shared across text types and cannot be attributed specifically to a particular text type (hence the triangle) • Text types cannot be identified and reconstituted by looking at their textual features alone • This also holds true for translated text types • What then? • Genre as a way of understanding and framing language use (including text types) and translational activity involved ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  20. Various Definitions of Genre • “Language is realized in the form of concrete utterances (oral or written) by the participants in the various areas of human activity. These utterances reflect the specific conditions and goals of each such area … Each sphere in which language is used develops its own relatively stable types of these utterances. These we may call genres”. Bakhtin 1986:60 • “A genre is a staged goal-oriented, purposeful activity in which speakers engage as members of our culture”. Or • “Genres are how things get done, when language is used to accomplish them”. Martin 1984:25 & 1985:248 in Eggins 1994:26 • Genres are diverse ways of acting, of producing social life, in the semiotic mode. Examples are: everyday conversation, meetings in various types of organizations, political and other forms of interview, and book reviews”. Wetherell M., Taylor S. & Yates, S.J. 2001:235 ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  21. Various Definitions of Genre • “genres are not sets of discourse features, but "orienting frameworks, interpretive procedures, and sets of expectations” William Hanks • So: • Texts can be viewed as “precipitates” of discursive activity within a given genre • Genre is the point of departure and not text • What are the advantages of viewing things in this manner when doing research? • Does this hold for all genres? ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  22. Translation and Genre an example • What translators say (1) and do: Translation as Genre Participation • Interpreting the discourse: • “Love and a good dictionary”: • Things the translator takes with him to the text (embodied and external), • they index the creativity and formal care that should become visible in the finished work of translation. • ‘the fire and the finish’: • present in the original or source texts; • the modus operandi needed to do justice to those originals • traits that should be manifest in the target text or translation. • Hopefully appreciated by the target readership • Screen shots of corpus ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  23. Visualising Hanks’s distinctions • orienting frameworks • Points of departure, skills, tools, goals [tangible and intangible] • interpretive procedures • Understandings shared / contested by the actors involved • sets of expectations • Various stages of reception: from internal to external • (not only) sets of discourse features • identifiable traits of a (translated) text in a given genre that bare evidence of points 1 to 3 ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  24. Genre, Habitus & Norms • Hanks then ties genre to practice and to Bourdieu’s notion of habitus: • “Genres then are key parts of habitus… Rather they embody just the kinds of schemes for practice that constitute the habitus. And like it they are unequally distributed among agents in any social world. For access to certain genres involves power and legitimacy and serves as a form of sociocultural capital”. (Hanks 1996:246) • “Indeed, norms without a habitus to instantiate them make no more sense than a habitus without norms”. (Simeoni 1998: 33) ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  25. Conclusion • Translators’ discourses on the genres they work in and their translations in those genres might contain the laws and universals we’re looking for! • If so, the results shown will be tangible and much easier to contextualize • They will hence have more explanatory power. • They will have real leverage in terms of translation research and training. ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  26. References and Quotes • Baker, Mona, 1996. Corpus-based translation studies: The challenges that lie ahead. In Terminology LSP and translation: Studies in language engineering in honour of Juan C. Sager, ed. H. Somers, 175-186, Amsterdam: John Benjamins. • Baker, Mona. 2000. Towards a methodology for investigating the style of a literary translator. Target 12 (2): 241-266. • Bakhtin, M.M. 1986, Speech Genres and other Late Essays, in Emerson; Caryl; Holquist & Michael (eds.) translated by Vern W. McGee, Austin: University of Texas Press. • Burawoy, Michael (2000): Global ethnography. Forces, connections, and imaginations in a postmodern world. Berkeley: University of California Press. • Chesterman, Andrew. 1997. Memes of Translation. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins Pub. Co. • Chesterman, A. 1989. Readings in Translation Theory. Helsinki: Finn Lectura. • Laviosa, Sara. 2000. 'Simplification in the language of translation: before and after the advent of corpora', Athanor XI(3). • Laviosa, Sara. 2002. Corpus-based Translation Studies: Theory, Findings, Applications. Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi. • Medvedev, P.N. & Bakhtin, M.M. [1928] 1978, The Formal Method in Literary Scholarship A Critical Introduction to Sociological Poetics (translated by Albert J. Wehrle), Baltimore, London: John Hopkins University Press, • Nord, Christiane. 1997, Translating as a Purposeful Activity. Manchester: St. Jerome Pub.Co. • Pym, Anthony. 2008. On Toury's laws of how translators translate (311 – 328) in Toury, Gideon; Pym, Anthony; Shlesinger, Miriam; Simeoni, Daniel (2008): Beyond descriptive translation studies. Investigations in homage to Gideon Toury. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins Pub. (Benjamins translation library EST subseries, v. 75). • Reiss, Katharina. 2000. Translation Criticism – The Potentials & Limitations. Manchester: St. Jerome Pub.Co. ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

  27. References and Quotes • Reiss, K. 1977/89 'Text types and translation assessment' in A. Chesterman (ed) pp 160-71 • Reiss, K. & H.J. Vermeer 1984 Grundleging einer allgemeinen Translationstheorie, Tübingen: Niemeyer. • Saldanha, Gabriela (2005) 'Accounting for the Exception to the Norm: a Study of Split Infinitives in Translated English', in Language Matters, Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa, 35(1), Special Issue on Corpus-based Translation Studies: Research and Applications, 39-53. • Simeoni, Daniel 2008. “Norms and the state: The geopolitics of translation theory”. In Beyond Descriptive Translation Studies: Investigations in homage to Gideon Toury, Pym, Anthony, Miriam Shlesinger and Daniel Simeoni (eds.), 329–342. • Toury, Gideon (1995): Descriptive translation studies. Amsterdam [etc.]: John Benjamins (Benjamin translation library, 4). • Toury, Gideon; Pym, Anthony; Shlesinger, Miriam; Simeoni, Daniel (2008): Beyond descriptive translation studies. Investigations in homage to Gideon Toury. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins Pub. (Benjamins translation library EST subseries, v. 75). • Trosborg, Anna (ed.) 1997. Text Typology and Translation. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins ITT-2013/Vilnius/PFlynn

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