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The Translation Process and Translation Procedures

The Translation Process and Translation Procedures

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Published by: Joanna on Mar 11, 2010
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Nevertheless, thehopes pinned onthe use of wide-rangingdeductive meth- ods, hopes raisedinanextremeorm by Revzin / Rozencve jg (1964), remained unulilled. This was because translati.on, lie everyorm 9perormance, is asemioticphenomenonwhich cannot be fullydescribed:in theormo an abstract model and isthereore only partially accessibl~to a deductiv,e approach. Formalizedhypothesisormulationhas no doubtibeenimportant orthe developmentof the science of translation, becausef?~maliZed models areamuch sought-after statussymbolof thedignity o'~ny science, but itseems thatthescience of translation hasreached, if riot exceeded,a theoretical saturation point.Apparently,at present the prer:~quisites forthe  / developmentomore finely diferentiatedmodels of the translation process, which would capturethe wealthof concrete phenomen'a intranslation withsomemeasure of completeness, are lacking. Because tithe diiculties involved in,formulating a comprehensive theoretical fram~worortrans- lation, many a contribution to the discussion of translation theoryhas donelittle'more than replace,the terminology of earli~r formulations, withoutnotably adding to what,is,known of translation theory or urther developing explanations of the interlingual transf 'er conbept. In away, translation theory has thus confirmed what Friedrich WithelmNietzsche said "namely, thatwe should distrustclaims thatprofess towork out a well-rounded wholeby means of abstract reasoning". The slowdown of thelast ew years in the ormulation of hypotheses in the science of translationhas, of course, proved to be an advantage, sinceit has largely spared thescienceof translation a Darwinian struggle between variousmodels,but also hasplayed amajorrole in seeingthescienceof  translationrecentlyturnitsattentionto the detailed descriptiono,concrete translation procedures,Suchadescription falls within the area covered by the language-pair-oriented descriptivescience of translation.Theproblems of thisieldwillbe discussedin thefollowing threechapters. The specif ic science of translation has the task of analyzing concrete events intranslation.It sees its justification in the investigation of 
obehaviorintranslating, thus empirically examining the models of the' translation process developed by the general science of translation; its, aim is'to bringabout a successful crossover from a concept of thetranslation processrooted in the science of communication'to one whichtakes
linguistic approach. Contrary to the general science of translation, it has the f unction of s~tting uplanguage-pair-oriented paradigms of translation (Levenston
achieves this complementary target by looking into the procedural andtextual factors and regularities operating in individual processes of trans- lation.The specif ic science of translation has therefore derived a data-oriented, language-pair-specif ic program of research.This program is conductedwith the aim of formulating methodological principles for the followingthree areas of research:'
the systematic description, classification, and explanation of lan~uage- (, pair-specific translation procedures.Within this context the language,
--- .
pair-oriented science of translation is concerned primarilywiththose" syntactic,lexical, and socioculturalphenomenainagiven language
which do not have one-to-one correspondences inthe systemoanother
language and must therefore be translated by means ocompensatory, non-literal transfer procedures; 2. thedevelopmentof a text-typology relevant to the scienceof trans-- lation. Thetwo principal research areas here are,first,thedefining
of textual segments andstructures onthe microcontextual level(withi n theclause/ sentence) and the macrocontextual level(goingbeyond
the clause/sentenceran) and,second, the testing of textually adequate transer strategies, while giving consideration to text-syntactic;textJ semantic, and text-pragmatic factors;" 3. the development,of objective - or atleast intersubjective -'yardstic;l for the assessment of the degree of TE withthe specific goal of replacing
the predominantly intuitive judgement of translation quality bye~Plici~
textually based evaluations of TE..
All three areas of research are presently
in statu nasceni ,
with 1.sPghtly ahead of 2. and 3. slightly ahead of 3.
Intensif ied empirical researc'h ~,asproved necess~ryor
reasons:[1. -Extensiv~ corpor.aof v~rious types of texts~ust b~studiedrom the threePOintsof view set orthabove,if we aretolellrn towhat extent it is possibletodevelopmore complex, semiotictranslation process models,going beyondstatingmerelytheinitial co'nditionsof trans- lating.'' [theapplied.'science of translation is vitally dependenton theresults of t~elangUage-pair:,oriented descriptive science of translation (just as foreignlanguage pedagogy is dependento:ntheresL,Jltsof contrastive linguistics)if it istoprovidethenecessary preconditionsormore efficient TTwithintheframeworof university curriculadesigned or uturetranslators.:
the threeabove-mentioned areas of research,the linguisticdescription and
the unctional analysisotransfer phenomena, includingthe'tonditions constraints,regulariti.es,
ra ic (l tions 
and~he habitual el~ments of transe;
proced~res, must logically precede the other two.Transfer procedures may occurInany text to be translated~nd theyare alwaysTE-interconnected. Translation research has devoted considerableenergytotheanalysis of the transition from anSL T toa TL Tand howobservabletransferprocedures c~n beorganized in a plausible and
uc id 
way; as a result, it hascome up With a number of differerit classificationsystems whichmoreor less ex- haustively reflectthe diversityof modes of behavior in translating, Thesimplest distinction is theonemade between
non-lieral translaion
procedures. It diff ers to someextent from thedistinction familiar to us from ourstudyof thehistoryof translatidn theory, betwee~ literal(true-to-the-word)translation and
ee translat ion;
In thehistoryof  translation,totranslate literallyor totranslate freelyamountsto a basic decision onthemethodologY."of translation whichcom~its the translator either toanSL-oriented,re jrospective,or toa TL-oriented,prospective translationapproach. Nomatter which approachhechooses, it isinany caseadecision which determines the translation profilebf the entire text. The highly normative characterof the two conceptsliteral translation and free translation explains why they havenever really been ableto gain a oothold in theterminologyof modern descriptive tr,anslationresearch wherethey have beenreplaced bythe conceptual pair,literal translation and non-literaltranslation.Thesetermsdesignate contrete, linguistically analyzable transfer procedures working straight from $L surface to T L surf aceor c.hanging the SL surf ace stru.cture syntactic.al.ly ~nd / or semanti. cally accordingto TLneeds In a way whichcal! be speclf'rdIn each particu- lar case.
" I
Thls.,rough·division between literal and non-literaltranslation procedures seems at first glance to be plausible, but a closer loorevealsserious prob- lemsof definition andluctuationsin concept.Thisisespecially evident in the area oliteraltranslation,where thelack osuff icient diff erentiation withinthefieldmeans thatthereis oftennota c,learenoughconceptual distinction between literal translation
(wortliche Obesetzung,aducion lierale ,traducion directe)
word-for-word  / wor -b y-wor ranslation (or t- fij;-Wort-Oberset  zung ,traduction mot 
Thome 1975).Vinay /  Darbelnet (11958),Govaert (1971 b), and Vachon-Spilka(1968), or~xample, use thetwo concepts word-or-word translatidn andliteral tr~nslation synonymously.Theidea thatthe two are one andthe'same concept is presumablyurthered bythe fact that in the practice of translationthe borderline betweenword-or-word translation and literaltranslation - lik e the borderlinebetween literal and non-literal translation-isconstantly being crossed bythe translator: " ...the 'rough-draf t' or'word-f or-word' method...in factrarelydoesprese~n an actual word-or-word e~uivalence, but rather moves up anddown therank-scale,. 'V' translating sometimes word,sometimesgroup,occasionallya mere morphemeor
a whole clause at time" (Ure etal.
Taking up thetraditional distinction between literaland free translation, Hockett and Chao have the following to say: "The terms 'literal'and'free'thus do not really form a clear binarY contrast.
word-by-wordrendering is literalascompared with a loose translationof a whole sentence. butreeas comparedwithamorpheme-by-morpheme rendering.I·t may beproposed that.or any given passage,there are as many degrees oliteralness and freedom o translation astherearelevels of hierarchical structures inthepassage"
(19,54, 3131.
common distinctionisoften madebetween literal orword-or-wordtranslation andidiomatic or free translation.Bu~ there are more thanjust twodegrees onthe scaleof literalness andidiomaticity.If wego below thelevel of the word, there can also be morpheme-by-morphemetranslation,while if one'tries to translate proverb by proverb, thereis oten nocorresponding internal structureatall"
,).Vachon-Spilaindsthat "Literaltranslation is theeasiest and simplestorm of translation, it occurs whenever word-by-wordreplacement ispossible withoutbreakingrules in the target language; this,however,Is quiterare unlessthetwolanguagesare veryclosely related"
Equatingthe concept of;v'ord-or-word translation withthat oliteral translation
anill-chosen solution rom the standpointof methodology, primarily.because thereis adifference between th¢twotranslationproce- dures whichisessentially irresolvable:word-f or-wordtranslation,which( must alsoinclude theinterlinear version familiar romthe MiddleAges (see chapter I
I), ollows the syntactic structures of the SL, while preserving
semantic TE between the SL and TL ~egmel1ts; literal'trans;ation, on the other hand, followsthesystem of syntactic rules' '(on the level of system andnorm)foundin the Tl, whileagain preserving semantic TE between SlandTLtextual segments(Thome
(1)Ihaveread the book. (2) Ichhabe dasSuch gelesen.
is a literaltranslation, sincethetranslator, while retainingthe Sl clause construction,has changed the sequence of theindividualJwordsof the sentenceinaccordance with the TL syntactic rules. Thetranslation
3)Icabeg el sendasBuch ,
on theother hand, would beaword-for-wordtranslation,!eachwordin theTlbeingthe exaxt replica of the corresponding word in;the SLclause. Theollowingremarks by Catfordshould also be seen inthis light:
"The popu!arterms
literal, ana
qrd for'word 
,translation, though loosely used, partly correlate with thedistinctio'ns dealt with here. A free tran*lation is always
unbounded .
equivalences shunt up and down the rank-scale,buttendto be at the higher rank -sometimes between largerunitsthanthe sentence:
ord-far -w 
translation generally means·whatitsays: I.e.
[s c! 
ran bo
at word- rank (butmayinclude some morpheme-morpheme equivalences).
Lit ra 
translation liesbetweenthese extremes;it maystart,asit were, fromaword-for-wordtrans- lation, butmake changesin conformity with TL grammar...; this may makeita group-group orclause-clausetranslation"(1965, 25),
The structural difference.between th~ English sentence
a$d the German sentence(2) canbe illustrated in the following way:
I ha e read 
Ich habe gelesen
he bo .
das Buch.
sentence, Aux
auxiliaryverb, NP
noun phrase, P2
2ndparticiple. VP
o f ,.
Incidentally, (3)isan utterancerepresenting a syhtactic sttucture which Germannativespeakers canof tenhear,when an Englishnativespeaker ex. presses himself in German.The Englishnative speaker is so us'ed tobuilding the sentences on the subject-predicate-object(SPO)model (see chapter III) _ in other words, he has internalized the SPO sentence-building conceptto suchan extent - that he automatically transfers this modelinto foreign- language communication,thus producing a syntactic interference rom his ownlanguage in speak ing German: the native-tongue syntacticstructure is superimposed onto the foreign-language syntactic structure_ Now itis interesting to see, that a German native speaker,inhearirgan utterance such as (3), perfectly understands this clausedespite its deviation from German syntactic rules. It follows from this that utterance under- standing is not so much dependent on grammati~al'correctness but on othereatures. What features are here being referredto can be made clear by presenting another couple of sentences introduced byChomsky:who has set himself the task of finding out the linguistic factorscontrolling sentence production and sentence perception:
(4) Colorless green ideassleep furiOUSly. (5) Healthy young babies sleep soundly.
Both sentences are orgaflized along the same syntactic principle,each sentencecontaining a subject phrase, a predicate phrase and an adverbial phrase.Yet, againstthe background of ourlanguage competence and our experience in producing and receiving sentences,it is obviousthat only (5) makes sense,whereas one would probably hesitate to recognize (4) as a semantically acce'ptable sentence, because one does not see how onecan sensibly combine "colorless" and "grElen", "colorless"and "green" onthe one side and "ideas"
the other, and"sleep" and "uriously". Thisis so because the semanticrelations between the individualwords in (4)are logicallynot coherent or plausible.Thesituation regarding (5) is entirelydif erent.Herethe language user is,metaphorically speak ing, on home ground.This is a clause.which isin line with his experience, which maes sense,because he knows rom his world knowledgethatyoung babies normally do sleep soundly. Exceptions conf irmthe rule.,Thus, although both sentences are syntacticallyacceptable, (4) is rejectedor its lack of semantic verifiabil ity. Both sentences could betranslated literally into German:
(6) Farblose grune Ideenschlafenwild. (7) Gesundekleine Kinder schlafen tief.
logically speaking, itis the same situation here:(6)or a German native speakersounds just as strange ast~e English equivalent fortheEnglish nativespeaker; on the other hand, a German native speakerhas no diff i- cultyidentifying the meaning of (7) and to accept itas a sentencewhich may occuranytime in every-day communication.Theresult of translating (4) and (5)into(6)and (7) respectivelyshows that the English and the

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