As discussed below, the third report which should have been ready in , but was not issued until showed a clearly symptomatic change of attitude due to the emergence of alternative voices that meant a challenge to the Eurocentric canon from a multicultural perspective. Little attention was paid to literary translation in most models developed under what has been considered a systematic or scientific study of translation between the s and the first half of the s.
By analysing the strategies of transference or substitution of the signs of a source language in search of their supposed equivalents in the target language, translation was understood as an special case of Linguistics dependent on Applied Linguistics or Contrastive Linguistics and focused on the study of a series of binary relations and the analysis of the structural differences of the languages involved. The aim was to systematically establish the proceedings to establish the rules of correspondence between linguistic systems. The study of the possibilities of transference focused above all on lexical and grammatical levels and had the word or the sentence as its main subject of study.
Furthermore, the fundamental concept was equivalence, which is hardly surprising if we take into account the importance given to the word as translation unit, as it was easier to talk about equivalence when speaking at a microtextual level rather than at a macrotextual one. The notion of equivalence in itself opened the way for evaluation, in that it allowed the formulation of correction parameters.
The truth is that literature raised problems which it was necessary for them to ignore, since it implied a textual production subjected to extraordinary encoding.
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From the s, and following the development of linguistics itself, translation begins to be studied at a textual level, rather than at the level of word or sentence, which meant that language stopped being studied as an abstract system and the focus was on its use instead. In parallel, we perceive a progressive abandonment of purely linguistic approaches, which favours the subsequent attention to socio-cultural constraints that determine both the translation act and the mechanisms of reception of the translated text. This shows the need to provide Translation Studies with a social theory of language allowing the study of its role in the communicative interaction as a whole, as well as the mediating role of the translator in transferring communication between different codes.
It is known that translating means to transfer the meaning proposed by the sender of the original text to the target receiver. Both are framed in different social contexts, so the translator is influenced by his or her own social conditioning during the task. Equivalence, the central notion in linguistic approaches, goes from being considered at a microtextual level word, sentence to a macrotextual level text , as well as the supratextual level context , based on the belief that languages are not what we translate during the translation process they in themselves are not translatable but texts specific updates of uses of language in specific cases , which are an integral part of the world around us, as they are framed in a particular extra-linguistic situation and are marked by a specific socio-cultural context.
Since the late s we perceive the progressive abandonment of Applied Linguistics as an exclusive approach to focus on the social and cultural constraints that determine the translation act and reception mechanisms of the translated text.
Thus we perceive psycholinguistic, sociolinguistic, hermeneutical, anthropological or philosophical contributions among others. Indeed, also in those years, Comparative Literature started to establish a new type of relationship with translation, characterized by the features we will now describe. First, it caters exclusively to the notion of translation as a product, rather than understanding it as a process, which is in tune with the fact that it is not interested in the teaching of translation translator training , where the fundamental issue is the translation activity, with the aim of improving the skills of its practitioners.
Second, Comparative Literature aligns itself with the descriptive approach to translation instead of the prescriptive one: this perspective does not aim any longer to evaluate the quality of translation, i. On the contrary, the purpose is to study the role played by translation in the evolution of the different literary systems and thus to analyse, for example, how is translation performed in each period and culture; why are certain models imported rather than others; how much is translation practiced in a given context, and what recognition is given to this activity; what is the reception of the various works translated in relation to their originals; how can translation be used as an ideological weapon; what is its ability to subvert, renew or strengthen particular poetics; why do translations become outdated and are replaced by each other; what is the relationship between translation and other types of rewriting such as anthologisation, literary criticism, etc.
The whole list would be too long. All these issues have probably more to do with the history and evolution of literature or literature in general than with any other topic, but they are also to be located within the domain of Sylistics: the particular features of a given author are probably exacerbated, or at least become more obvious, when we perceive the way he or she translates others.
At the same time it is clear that any diachronic analysis of literary translation must be always linked to a study of translation theory, since theoretical reflections are most often the cause or effect of the different ways to translate characteristic of each culture and historical period. As mediators, translators try to defend certain interests. Their exercise is by no means a neutral and totally innocent one, since they stand as true deus ex machina in the whole process.
However, this does not necessarily mean that translators are trying to protect their own interests, as they may be subject to higher hierarchical instances for economic reasons, social status, etc. As we said above, in the s we find a number of scholars, from Comparative Literature or the literary field, becoming interested in translation. The American James S. Three small conferences were held in Leuven, Antwerp and Tel Aviv, whose proceedings were published and helped give cohesion to the group: J. S Holmes, J.
Lambert and R. New Perspectives in Literary Studies ; I.
World literature, global culture and contemporary Chinese literature in translation
Even-Zohar and G. Toury eds. Lefevere and K. Jackson eds. Besides these, the following publications also stand out: a collection of articles by James S. Holmes published in under the title Translated! Many of them were collected in Lambert Generally speaking, all these contributions are a real starting point for the descriptive paradigm in detriment of the evaluative and prescriptive one. Instead of questioning the possible un translatability or postulating beforehand what is or is not a translation, it is previous translations and how they are integrated in the reception culture what is under study.
Instead of emphasizing the cross-lingual relations, the focus is on the intertextual ones, placing the text within the norm framework of the receiving community, studying the relationship between literature and other forms of social manifestation. The polysystemic approach is useful to understand literature as a dynamic and complex system, in an attempt to carry out a study in terms of functions, connections and interrelationships, as well as to relate translated literature with other subsystems in the receiving literary system.
It is clearly oriented towards the target pole thus the name of the journal Target , founded in , seems to be symptomatic and is functionalist in its nature, involving an attempt to change the traditional hierarchy that always conditioned translation to the original, now giving its legitimate importance to the receivers and the reception context.
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Finally, it expresses an interest in the norms of collective behaviour from a diachronic perspective, in an attempt to broaden the context of study and achieve historical projection. Thus a new paradigm is established focusing on literary translation, as opposed to the traditional approach to translation there is no longer a search for the formulation of rules, norms or standards of behaviour leading to the evaluation of translation exercises or to didactic implementation in the training of translators , but the main interest lies in the study of translation as an actual fact, both in the present and in the past, and its integration into cultural history, focusing therefore on empirical facts.
For an overview on the development of the descriptive paradigm in Translation Studies, with particular attention to the polysystemic contribution, see Hermans In line with B. Lepinette , we suggest that the study of translation can be done from two complementary perspectives -sociological and comparative- even though she actually speaks of three perspectives —sociological-cultural, descriptive-comparative and descriptive-contrastive—I have chosen to bring the last two together into one.
From the first perspective, the social and cultural context of translation at the time of its production and its reception are studied, which involves making a textual description of textual migration through its effects on the history of the receiving national culture, whether speaking of literary texts or not. The focus of research is the determination of cause and effect relationships, always with the receiving pole as the centre of interest.
I follow here the traditional scheme used by the French comparatists for searching presences and influences, like F. Balderspenger, Paul van Tieghem and J. Guyard, C. Pichois and A. Rousseau or P. For example, we can study the history of translations of English literature conducted in Spain throughout history or we can focus on Pedro Salinas as a translator of the first act of Romeo and Juliet, by Shakespeare. From the descriptive-comparative perspective, we focus on the translation choices made by translators in a given target text or a series of target texts corresponding to the same original text.
When we adopt a diachronic perspective, we reach a historical projection, which allows us to study the different norms followed in the translation of a particular author or work over time. Bassnett and A. Lefevere was decisive.
Children’s Literature in/and Translation: The Oeuvre as Corpus
There is a change towards a broader consideration of the cultural and political contexts in which translations and other kinds of rewriting take place. In this cultural turn we can place several clearly politicised tendencies, which entered suddenly into Translation Studies and which, at least in the first two cases, were fostered by the incorporation of Post-structuralist or Deconstructivist assumptions.
Cavafy 5. Karen Emmerich's focus on the shaping effect translation has on originals is not only unique but compelling, and she writes in a lively, accessible, and everywhere intelligent style that makes every line a pleasure to read. To treat editing as an interpretive act that constructs texts for further use redefines basic concepts like the source text, authorship, even translation itself. This book promises to direct the field into productive new directions. These include the fact that source texts in the original language are unstable and have often been revised or damaged in republication; the fact that translations, just like originals, are subject to contingencies of publication; and, most important, the fact that while the translation is supposed to be the same work as the original, it is always in fact one hundred percent different from the original.
A translation is both the same and different from He or she might also not know that our festivals revolve round the sighting of moon, according to the Islamic lunar calendar. And the reader might also be unfamiliar with the idea that a salaam is a salutation to something excellent, or a peerless person. But it is still worth trying to convey these associations. What I would do in such a case is to study older poets of the English language and familiarise myself with their style and diction. This often helps.
I have translated a lot of Sufi poetry lately and found that carefully studying the diction of John Donne and William Blake was inspiring for me. It allows you to get an idea of how a similar concept or feeling was expressed in the other language, even if it was a hundred years ago. You need to bring yourself in complete agreement with the poet, to keep muttering their words in the other language.
At the end of the day, translation is creative work and no one can be sure if it could not have been improved or done differently. This, to me, sounds like a command, and wailing seems an absurd act. I think, maybe that this translation gets at what Mawlana Rumi meant:. View the discussion thread. Skip to main content. What makes a good literary translator?
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Can a translation add something to the original? What linguistic qualities are the hardest to translate? Is it a good time to be a literary translator? Fahmida Riaz, what are the particular joys and challenges of translating Urdu? How is Urdu different from other languages spoken in Pakistan? Does the Urdu alphabet present any translation challenges? Is translating poetry different from prose? Could you give an example of literature in translation?
This is the song of helplessly desiring What has been torn away from you In every recital where the reed sings We listen to it, holding our breath Its notes exploring the depths of the heart A long forgotten wound comes alive, disclosing Your mystery, your secret that no friend ever fathomed It was always within your easy access Alas, your senses are not trained to find it. Unveil your essence to your life-form, O man!
Related Literature as Translation, Translation as Literature
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