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Book Reviews 2

Book Reviews 2

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Published by: lixiaoxiu on Feb 19, 2009
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18 February 2009 
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Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: 1072954 Registered office: Mortimer House,37-41 Mortimer Street, London W1T 3JH, UK
Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information:http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/title~content=t794297831
Book Reviews
Online Publication Date: 01 August 2007
To cite this Article
(2007)'Book Reviews',Perspectives,15:3,203 — 214
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Full terms and conditions of use:http://www.informaworld.com/terms-and-conditions-of-access.pdfThis article may be used for research, teaching and private study purposes. Any substantial orsystematic reproduction, re-distribution, re-selling, loan or sub-licensing, systematic supply ordistribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden.The publisher does not give any warranty express or implied or make any representation that the contentswill be complete or accurate or up to date. The accuracy of any instructions, formulae and drug dosesshould be independently verified with primary sources. The publisher shall not be liable for any loss,actions, claims, proceedings, demand or costs or damages whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directlyor indirectly in connection with or arising out of the use of this material.
Book Reviews
Translation: The Interpretive Model
Marianne Lederer. Manchester, UK & Northampton, USA: St. Jerome Publish-ing, 2003. Pp. 239. ISBN 1-900650-61-4 (pbk):
19.00.This monograph, translated from the 1994 French original, is based on theauthor’s practice, teaching and research, thereby enabling it to serve as anenlightening interface between translation and its theorisation.The cornerstone of the interpretive model is the contention that translationis, in essence, a process of interpretation on the part of the translator, whodeverbalises the text into ‘bits of knowledge divested of their concrete shape’(p. 13) before he/she re-expresses it in the target language. Deverbalisation brings out the sense, which is distinguished from meaning. Sense comes to be grasped ‘when language knowledge and cognitive inputs fuse together’(p. 228), while meaning is what remains at the semantic level and can serveonly as potential choices in understanding the sense of a text. The sense of atext is grasped in a single mental process, instead of the two stages postulated by Sperber and Wilson (1986). A unit of sense is ‘what results from this fusionof the semanticisms of words and cognitive inputs’ (p. 18) and it varies ‘fromone addressee/reader to another’ (p. 18). This suggests that the unit of sense isonly identifiable as a product of cognitive processes and that it is idiosyncraticrather than universal.In the interpretive model, langue/language, parole and text are threesignificantly differentiated concepts: langue/language is, for the translator,‘static objects of knowledge(p. 229); parole, the application of language,‘lends itself to phrasal and trans-phrasal analysis’ (p. 94) and ‘contributes tothe appearance of sense but does not contain it’ (p. 94), while text is ‘a dynamicobject of understanding’ (p. 95) and ‘an original text can be defined as theresult of the interaction between a translator and a material graphic or oralsequence’ (p. 95). To further expound the relation between langue, parole andtext, Lederer, borrowing Coseriu’s terminology, identifies three types of competence in language use: language competence, competence in a givenlanguage and textual competence which the translator must acquire, thusthrowing into sharp relief textual competence in relation with linguisticcompetence. Text has a tendency to be reduced to a mere sequence of macro-signs when it is deprived of its ‘specific discourse parameters’ (p. 98). Theunderstanding of a language and the understanding of a text are twodistinctive types of cognitive procedures, the former is ‘to recognize rulesand words in an utterance’ while the latter is ‘the combination of cognitiveinputs with linguistic meanings’ (p. 230). Also distinguished in this theoreticalmodel are such concept pairs as understanding versus explanation, senseversus intention and equivalence versus correspondence. Understanding must be distinguished from explanation (p. 26) just as sense must not be confusedwith the author’s intentions. Intentions can be understood, but should not benecessarily transmitted in translation (p. 26). ‘Equivalence exists betweentexts, correspondences between linguistic elements(p. 45), but to seek
 D o w nl o ad ed  A t : 23 :24 18  F eb r u a r y 2009
equivalence in translation is not to preclude setting up correspondences whenthey are equivalent in sense.Synecdoche (p. 53) is a prevailing feature in the use of language. It appearswhen only a part or parts of a scene or an idea are made explicit and theimplicit parts are shared between the author and the reader.
The materialform of a text is always more an indication than a description
(p. 54).
The factthat two different languages require different synecdoches to refer to the sameconcrete or abstract objects is one of the reasons why it is impossible toproduce a translation by using only correspondences
(p. 229). The synec-dochic nature of language use explains the shifts in point of view and the useof different synecdoches in the target language to produce an equivalenttranslation.In the framework of interpretive theory,
Ambiguities are a problem of language and not of texts
(p. 22).
Experimental psychology has in fact shownthat two meanings cannot be understood simultaneously.
(p. 23) Therefore,the interpretive approach actually eliminates the possibility of ambiguousexpressions, unless the reader pauses in the process of reading to ponder overpotential meanings.In the interpretive model, foreignness is not favoured. Exoticism intranslation would not show up as glaringly as before because of the intensifiedprocess of globalisation.Some very practical translation problems are discussed in Chapter 4.Examples are given to show how sense would be distorted when there isinsufficient or no deverbalisation. Two important concepts in translationstudies are reviewed from an interpretive perspective. The translation unit,when viewed this way, is the
mixture of what is explicit and what is cognitive
(p. 121). Faithfulness in this theoretical framework means to be faithful to thesense. The issue of transferring cultural elements is also discussed, concludingthat the cultural gap is not filled only by the various strategies we may adopt, but also by the text we translate if ethnocentrism is properly guarded against.The theory distinguishes between pedagogical translation and the peda-gogy of translation, the former being a tool in language acquisition and thelatter aiming at training professional translators. The predicament thattranslation faces in language teaching is that the interpretive nature of anytranslation of text may hamper the
acquisition of a stable and objectivelinguistic system
(p. 139). Thus the two operations should be dealt withseparately at the level of both theory and practice.Because the French original of this English version was published back in1994, it is worthwhile to re-evaluate some of the ideas in the book in thecontext of more recent scholarly discourse.First, from whose side
the author
s or the reader
defined?Lederer does not give a clear answer. When she says
Sense constitutes a wholein the author
s mind as it does in the translator
s mind
(p. 17), she implies thatsense can be viewed from both sides, but when she says that
sense is the resultofdeverbalization
Translatorsconstruethesenseofasegmentoftextor speech from a synthesis of linguistic meanings and
their own relevant cognitiveinputs
(p. 228, my emphasis), she is obviously viewing sense from the reader
sside, and she does this consistently throughout the book. Hence the question
Perspectives: Studies in Translatology 
 D o w nl o ad ed  A t : 23 :24 18  F eb r u a r y 2009

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