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Skopos Theory

Skopos Theory

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Published by: businessdatabases on Jun 10, 2013
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The Skopos theory of translation

The Skopos theory means that translation is produced for particular recipients with specific purpose(s) in a given situation.

Theoretical background of Skopos
In 1980s, translation was increasingly conceptualized as cultural transfer rather than a linguistic operation. Vermeer (1989a) claims that translation is produced for particular recipients with specific purpose(s) in a given situation (Skopos). A translator accomplishes his/her translation assignment with such purpose(s) in mind. The translator assumes authority as an expert, who is consulted with and has right to decide what role the source text could play in his/her professional job. The target text is "functional" to fulfill the expectations and needs of target audience. Vermeer explains Skopos rule as follows: "Translate/interpret/speak/write in a way that enables your text/translation to function in the situation in which it is used and with the people who want to use it and precisely in the way they want it to function."
The goal of the translational action and the conditions under which the anticipated goal shall be attained are negotiated between the client and the translator.

The source text merely serves as one of various information sources utilized by the translator, that’s why the purpose of the translation can no longer be deduced from the source text, but depends on the expectations and needs of the target readers." All that makes us note that The Skopos theory allows the translator to have freedom to act as an expert and take responsibility for his/ her approach. In the Skopos theory, the way a target text is intended to be received basically determines which translation strategy is the most suitable one. We can mention three major kinds of purposes: (a) the general purpose as to why the translator performs this translation; (b) the communicative purpose (c) the strategic purpose aimed at in employing a particular procedure. So it’s right to say that translation is a "complex form of action, whereby someone provides information

we should consider the following points: Client: in this case Swarovski is the client. Target readership: The translation would be read by average readers who are interested in fashion and entertainment and professionals working in the areas of fashion and entertainment. but more importantly. so it’s important to note that the translated version could be carried in a Chinese newspaper or magazine. to promote a high-profile brand image of a specific company and its products. Different receivers would attribute and assign different meanings to the source text. ." The application of Skopos in the translation of soft news In order to illustrate the effective operation of Skopos. the meaning is not fixed and static in the linguistic manifestation. It depends on oppositional readings by the receivers. The "meaning" in the explanation below refers to the literal meaning except explicitly stated. the translation of a piece of soft news regarding the launch of theme collections by Swarovski (a world-renowned jewelry brand) is analyzed by comparing the writer’s translation.on a text (source language material) in a new situation and under changed functional. So the purpose of such "soft news" is not only to inform. Fashion magazines or lifestyle section of some newspapers will provide some coverage on certain brands and products such as Swarovski's jewels and accessories. cultural and linguistic conditions. Usually such "soft news" may originate from the press release of the said company." which is supposed to present fact and information of current affairs. The example: International Event in the Swarovski Crystal World Crystal—inspired by Africa In translating such a text. and corporate professionals may involve in the reporting activity. Translation presupposes a purpose (Skopos) and is guided by it." However. It has been said that "a 'text' can be as many texts as there are receivers. Moreover. Purposes: This sort of "soft news" is different from the "hard news.

positing translators as cultural workers. . which is to summarize and emphasize what the news is about. and attempt to combine and emphasize sentence together in one Chinese sentence. The first sentence shall serve as the news lead. and the brand name of Swarovski is not the first phrase to capture the reader’s attention. the translator should reverse the sequence of sentences in the original text." foregrounding the significance and implication of the "purpose" that contributes to the translation as a sort of social construction. average Chinese reader may not be familiar with the English model of the text.Some considerations in the translation process The headline International Event in the Swarovski Crystal World Crystal—inspired by Africa The headline shall capture the attention of readers immediately and highlight the story. Finally we can conclude by saying that the Skopos theory goes beyond the dichotomy of faithful vs. In our example. free translation. Therefore. The maturing of the Skopos theory results in the dethroning of the source text and the de-mystification of "equivalence.

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