P. 1
Aspects of Scientific Translation

Aspects of Scientific Translation

|Views: 4|Likes:
Published by NARUHODO

More info:

Published by: NARUHODO on Jun 18, 2014
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOC, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

06/18/2014

pdf

text

original

Aspects of Scientific Translation

:
English into Arabic Translation as a Case Study
By Dr. Ali R. A. Al-Hassnawi
Ph.D. in Linguistics and Translation
Ibri College of ducation
The !ultanate of "#an
Abstract
It is un$uestionable that nglish%Arabic scientific translation is increasingly beco#ing a to&ic
of #uch concern and i#&ortance today. "il on the Arab side and technology on the 'estern
side contribute to this i#&ortance. This &a&er highlights the &roble#s that are li(ely to be
encountered in nglish%Arabic scientific translation and tries to establish certain &ossible
factors which #ay finally lead to a theory of this sort of translation. It also identifies certain
differences that e)ist between scientific te)ts and literary ones. The &a&er also &ro&oses a
#odel for nglish%Arabic scientific translation in further atte#&ts dri*ing at a #ore e)tensi*e
study.
1. Introduction
As science and technology de*elo&+ new nglish words used to e)&ress new conce&ts+
techni$ues and in*entions co#e into e)istence. These words ha*e de*elo&ed #ore ra&idly
during the last decades that dictionaries can by no #eans trigger of. This de*elo&#ent has
brought to Arabic serious linguistic &roble#s of e)&ressing this e*er%e)&anding wa*e of
newly%founded conce&ts and techni$ues for which no e$ui*alents in Arabic e)ist. But while
coinage+ borrowing+ transliteration and other #eans of transfer #ade for a huge bul( of
nglish scientific ter#inology+ translating of full technical te)ts fro# nglish into Arabic still
&oses a #a,or intellectual challenge -.ida+/01234456.
It is a)io#atic that not all ideas or infor#ation are recorded in one single language. In &ure
science+ for instance+ 789 of the research inde)ed in /078 in the !cience Abstract were in
nglish and 589 were in Russian and other languages. This statistical fact clearly stresses
the &ara#ount i#&ortance of scientific translation into Arabic. 'e also notice that the need for
this ty&e of translation into Arabic is getting increasingly i#&ortant because #any Arab
countries are currently undergoing a large-scale #oderni:ation &rocess.
It is interesting to note that .ida -ibid.6 has+ in his discourse on scientific translation+ &ointed to
this challenge. He said3
If+ howe*er+ the translation of scientific te)ts fro# one language to another &artici&ating in
#odern cultural de*elo&#ent is not too difficult+ it is not sur&rising that the con*erse is true-
that translating scientific #aterial fro# a #odern Indo-uro&ean language into a language
largely outside the reach of 'estern science is e)tre#ely difficult. This is one of the really
&ressing &roble#s confronting linguists in Asia today.
!cientific translation+ thus+ beco#es a &rere$uisite not only for the ac$uisition of technology+
but to its introduction+ installation+ and o&eration as well.
2. Requireents of Scientific translator
According to London Institute of Linguistics+ to be a scientific translator one should ha*e3
/. broad (nowledge of the sub,ect-#atter of the te)t to be translated;
4. a well-de*elo&ed i#agination that enables the translator to *isuali:e the e$ui&#ent or
&rocess being described;
5. intelligence+ to be able to fill in the #issing lin(s in the original te)t;
2. a sense of discri#ination+ to be able to choose the #ost suitable e$ui*alent ter# fro# the
literature of the field or fro# dictionaries;
<. the ability to use one=s owns language with clarity+ conciseness and &recision; and
1. &ractical e)&erience in translating fro# related fields. In short+ to be technical translator one
#ust be a scientist+ or engineer+ a linguist and a writer -cf. >asagrade+ /0<23 55<-28; >iles+
/00<; Latfi&our+ /0016.
"ut of the si) re$uire#ents listed abo*e+ the first deser*es s&ecial consideration because it
bears on the early atte#&ts to found a theory of translation ad*ocating that the te)t whether
literary or scientific should be dealt with according to the way language is used in the#
-Ada#s+ /0173 ?76. This #eans that it is a theory which goes bac( to the old e&iste#ological
contro*ersy o*er the ob,ecti*e and the sub,ecti*e sides of reality+ and which #ay i#&ly+ when
e)tended to language *arieties+ a dichoto#y between science and literature. According to
Ada#s -ibid.6 @it too( #ore than a century to reorgani:e these two ter#sA &ro&erly as
illustrated in the following colu#ns3
!cience
Literature
- Denotati*e ade$uacy.
- Bnbridled connotation.
- Logical e)&ository andCor argu#entati*e &rogression.
- Lac( of argu#entati*e &rogression.
- Precision.
- Dagueness.
- Intellect.
- I#agination or intuition.
- Reason.
- #otion.
- Truth to &articular truth.
- Truth to the ideal and uni*ersal.
The &oints of contrast #entioned abo*e side with Ilyas -/0?03 /806 who describes the nature
of scientific te)ts as follows3
In scientific wor(s+ sub,ect-#atter ta(es &riority o*er the style of the linguistic #ediu# which
ai#s at e)&ressing facts+ e)&eri#ents+ hy&othesis+ etc. The reader of such scientific wor(s
does not read it for any sensuous &leasure which a reader of literary wor( usually see(s+ but
he is after the infor#ation it contains. All that is re$uired in fact is that of *erbal accuracy and
lucidity of e)&ression. This is a&&licable to the translator=s language as well. !cientific words
differ fro# ordinary and literary words since they do not accu#ulate e#otional associations
and i#&lications. This e)&lains why the translation of a scientific wor( is su&&osed to be #ore
direct+ freer fro# alternati*es+ and #uch less artistic than the other (inds of &rose. The
language of scientific and technical language is characteri:ed by i#&ersonal style+ si#&ler
synta)+ use of acrony#s+ and clarity.
This distinction has one significant i#&lication for the translator of scientific te)ts3 he has to
&ossess so#e (nowledge of the sub,ect-#atter of the te)t he is wor(ing on+ o*er the rest of
the &re-re$uisites which he shares with translators of other te)t ty&es.
Eurther#ore+ this distinction is useful in so far as it is con,oined to &ossible leading factors for
a theory of scientific translation because #ost of the literature on translation has gi*en
e)tensi*e consideration to literary te)ts ending with s&ecific rules and theories and
establishing rele*ant ter#inology of literary translation. The word de*iation for instance+
e)&resses one of the fre$uent conce&ts in the descri&tion of literary te)ts where de*iation
rarely occurs in scientific ones. By this we #ean the de*iation fro# the linguistic nor#s
flourishing in &oetry and &rose+ the $uality which scientific te)ts often lac(. Howe*er+ certain
rules which are a&&licable to theories of literary translation can be safely a&&lied to scientific
translation in general and to nglish-Arabic scientific translation in &articular.
In this res&ect+ we ha*e to #ention that Arabic+ des&ite its adherence to &rescri&ti*e and
con*entional rules+ can - in certain cases- &ro*ide for nglish word-for-word e$ui*alence by
different ways such as coinage+ borrowing and transliteration by forcing into its &aradig#atic
#oulds nglish words such as the substanti*e; so words li(e Ffaylasuf= for &hiloso&her;
F,iyulu,iya= for geology; Fistati(i= for staticGGetc found their way uninterru&ted into Arabic.
Beeston -/0783 //<6 says to this effect3
The need for a large new *ocabulary dealing with technological and scientific #atters is+
howe*er+ the least interesting feature of the new le)ical de*elo&#ent; #ore fascinating+
though #ore elusi*e+ is the e*olution of new words for intellectual conce&ts.
Howe*er+ a &art fro# the cultural ga&+ the &roble# of scientific translation fro# nglish into
Arabic re#ains #ostly a #atter of understanding and re&resenting the techni$ues+ the
&rocesses+ and the details which science and technology in*ol*e. In this regard+ Earghal and
!hunna$ -/00034/86 state that @the #a,or &roble# facing translators at &resent is ter#inology
standardi:ation and disse#ination in the s&here of science and technologyA. @'hen it co#es
to ArabicA+ they continue+ @scientific discourse is a translation acti*ity+ as Arabic is usually a
target language+ and creation and reasoning are done in another languageA.
The abo*e-#entioned re$uire#ents for co#&etence in scientific translation can be further
e)&anded and detailed by the following #odel of the &rocesses in*ol*ed in this ty&e of
translation3
!. A Suggested "odel for Scientific Translation
As far as nglish-Arabic scientific translation is concerned+ the &rocedures #entioned in the
suggested #odel -the #odel itself can be obtained fro# the Author % note by
TranslationDirectory.co#6 can be used to analy:e the code of nglish scientific te)ts. They
#ainly de&end on the successful handling of the linguistic ele#ents of both nglish and
Arabic including gra##ar+ le)icon+ and field-related registers. They also harbor translating
co#&etence+ which includes structuri:ation+ conte)tuali:ation+ #astery o*er &rogra#s of
e)&ression in both nglish and Arabic+ and (nowledge of the alternati*e standards of
e$ui*alence. Horeo*er+ the #odel necessitates the ability to transfer linguistic and translating
co#&etencies to areas reser*ed for co#&arison and i#agination. !ubse$uently+
corres&onding structural and le)ical ele#ents are identified and assigned functions in the
sorting &rocess within co#&ensatory strategies resulting in an al#ost &erfect #ental
re&resentation which+ when te)tuali:ed and nor#ali:ed+ ends u& in an accurately-translated
Arabic &roduct. 'e also ha*e to e#&hasi:e that in scientific te)ts there will be no #oti*e on
the translator=s side to create additional i#&ressionistic or aesthetic effects beyond that of
si#&le infor#ation trans#ission.
The abo*e descri&tion necessitates the identification of the characteristics of the scientific
register on which this #odel o&erates. These characteristics are briefly discussed in the
following section.
#. Scientific Register
>enerally s&ea(ing+ the technical use of language #anifests itself in se*eral ways. The #ost
ob*ious one is non-de*iation fro# ordinary gra##ar+ logically and argu#entati*e
&rogression. This #ay entail the adherence to ite#s that are con*entionally used. There is no
insertion+ substitution+ or &er#utation -cf. *an Di,(+ /071; Bell+/00/; >hassib+/0016. There is
no bloc(ing or sto&&ing to the auto#atic &rocessing. In contrast to their literary counter&arts+
scientific te)ts underline the infor#ation content without bothering about features that are
characteristic of &oetic te)ts+ such as rhy#e+ and connotati*e or sy#bolic #eaning. Let alone
other aesthetically features+ which !ch#idt -/07/3 <06 has defined as @&olyfunctionality.A
'e also notice that #ost of the ele#ents in scientific te)ts are not une)&ected. "ne #ight
e*en define the #eaning of these te)ts according to the actual use of ite#s to refer to things
in the real world or to the @e)tensionA as contrasted to the &otential #eaning of things as they
are &ercei*ed+ concei*ed+ or re&resented in ter#s other than their actual a&&earance andCor
function by the &ercei*ing #an+ or to the Fintention= of their &roducers -'einrich+ /0713 /26.
Eor the &ur&ose of #ore *i*id characteri:ation of these te)ts+ we shall #ention so#e #a,or
ones of these features by referring to Ba(r-!ere) -/0073 <2-763
Eirst+ this register is characteri:ed by the logical order of utterances with clear indication of
their interrelations and interde&endence.
!econd+ it flourishes the use of ter#s s&ecific to each gi*en branch of science; in #odern
science; howe*er+ there is a tendency to e)change ter#s between *arious branches of
science.
Third+ another characteristic feature of this register is the fre$uent use of s&ecific sentence-
&atterns+ usually the Postulatory+ the Argu#entati*e and the Eor#ulati*e &atterns. The
i#&ersonality of this ty&e of writing can be re*ealed in the fre$uent use of &assi*e *oice
constructions with which scientific e)&eri#ents are generally described.
Eourth+ one #ore obser*able feature of the scientific register is the use $uotations+
references+ and foot-notes in accord with the #ain re$uire#ent of this register+ i.e. the logical
coherence of the ideas e)&ressed.
Einally+ science does not ha*e its own synta) only+ but also its own ter#inology. And we ha*e
already hinted at the i#&ortance of the fa#iliarity with this ter#inology resting on a solid
foundation of &re*iously ac$uired (nowledge on behalf of the translator. Therefore+ it is not
the language itself which is s&ecial+ but certain words or their sy#bols.
Ha*ing these characteristic features of the scientific register in #ind+ we feel that we are in a
good &osition to identify the areas of contrast between scientific te)ts and other ty&es of te)ts.
$. Scientific %ersus &iterary Conte'ts
By setting off scientific against the literary translation+ their characteristics and the &roble#s
that are li(ely to be encountered in each+ beco#e #ore salient as illustrated below.
In scientific te)ts we ha*e an end in *iew and the #eans necessarily re#ains within the
general conce&tual fra#ewor( within which the end is defined. That is+ the scientific conte)t
has a content which is concerned with the hori:ontal structure of the world while the literary
conte)t has a content which is concerned with the *ertical structure of the world.
Thus+ on the one hand+ we shall ha*e a *ertical relation between height and de&th while+ on
the other hand+ we shall ha*e a hori:ontal relation between width and breadth. The first
relation testifies to the relati*e #erits of artists and &oets+ whereas the second one signifies
the #erits of scientists and technologists. The &roduct of &oets is essentially a &roduct of
height and de&th which has either been brought down or lifted u& so as to fit into the width
and breadth of life itself+ that is ac$uiring a hori:ontal di#ension; while the &roduct of
scientists lac(s the intuiti*e co#&le)ity and wealth of e)&erience characteristic of &oets. This
&roduct is therefore+ essentially concei*ed as a hori:ontal line corres&onding to a
&hotogra&hic re&resentation of the world -Blan(enburg+ /0?43 5<-276.
!cientists s&ea( within the fa#iliar and concrete realities of e*eryday life. If they are to #o*e+
their #o*e#ent is al#ost always towards the acco#&lish#ent of a new hori:on or new
&ers&ecti*es that always re#ain within the hori:ontal structure of the concrete+ tangible and
ob,ecti*e reality.
Another &oint intrudes itself here3 it is i#&ortant to stress that these di#ensions+ whether
*ertical or hori:ontal+ are intrinsically de&endent on the &ercei*ing #an+ that is both self-
relationshi& and world-relationshi& are unified through the sy#bolic syste# of identification
generally (nown as language. Howe*er+ this is not the sa#e as saying that these di#ensions
can be s&anned during a gi*en culture=s or indi*idual=s life-ti#e. The relation of these
di#ensions see#s as one of o&&onents while their unity see#s as a har#ony of o&&osites.
To s&an the#+ therefore+ see#s i#&ossibility that e*en a highly-so&histicated co#&uter
technology cannot bring off.
These de#arcation lines between *ertical and hori:ontal di#ensions suggest another area of
in*estigation and co#&arisons. 'e can now e)&and the &re*ious colu#ns -&.56 of differences
between science and literature so as to include #ore i#&ortant language details3
!cientific Te)ts
Literary Te)ts
- Logicality.
- Lac( of argu#entati*e &rogression.
- Precision.
- Dagueness.
- Reason.
- #otion.
- Truth to &articular reality.
- Truth to the ideal.
- >enerali:ation.
- Concretion.
- Referential #eaning.
- #oti*e #eaning.
- Denotation.
- Connotation.
- Le)ical affi)ation.
- >ra##atical affi)ation.
- Idio#atic e)&ressions are rare.
- Idio#atic e)&ressions are fre$uent.
- Bse of abbre*iation+ acrony#+ and registers.
- Dery few abbre*iations+ acrony#s+ and registers.
- !tandard e)&ressions.
- Al#ost all *arieties.
- Bse of scientific ter#inology+ s&eciali:ed ite#s+ and for#ulae.
- .o use of scientific ter#inology+ or for#ulae.
- .o use of ele#ents of figurati*e language.
- )&ensi*e use of figurati*e language.
Close e)a#ination of the ite#s included in the literary te)ts colu#n will suggest that these
ite#s are clearly descri&ti*e by Arabic+ while the ite#s contained in the o&&osite colu#n
testify to the characteristics that are rele*ant to nglish usage.
!etting off these differences against #ore linguistic differences that e)ist between nglish
and Arabic will confir# the latter=s tendency to allegory and &ro*ide guide lines for translating
nglish scientific te)ts into Arabic. !ee below3
nglish
Arabic
- 'ords are co#&osite.
- 'ords are &aradig#atic.
- "nly few gra##atical ite#s are co#&ound.
The #a,ority of gra##atical ite#s are co#&ound.
- Rigid word order.
- Ele)ible word order.
- Dery few inflections
- Highly inflectional.
- Bses abbre*iations+ acrony#s+ for#ulae+ and registers.
- Rarely uses abbre*iations+ acrony#s+ for#ulae+ and cliches.
- .arrow range of gender distinction.
- 'ide range of gender distinction.
- There is clear-cut tense-as&ect distinction.
- There is no clear-cut tense as&ect distinction.
- There is no dati*e or dual.
- Contains dati*e and dual.
- !cientific and technical ter#inology co*ers all rele*ant fields.
- !hortage of scientific and technical ter#inology that #ay co*er all fields.
- Archaic e)&ressions are al#ost obsolete.
- Archaic e)&ressions are still in use.
- Bses so #any co#&ound le)ical structures.
- Bses few co#&ound le)ical structures.
- Heta&hor and other for#s of figurati*e language are reser*ed for &oetic use of language
and certain related fields.
- Heta&hor and other for#s of figurati*e language are *ery #uch fre$uent e*en in Hodern
!tandard Arabic.
- Ad*erbs are #ostly for#ed by the affi)ation of -ly6 to ad,ecti*es.
- Ad*erbs are for#ed by &re&ositional &re#odification of nouns and ad,ecti*es; nglish
&re&ositions such as before+ after+ abo*e+ o*er+ below+ under+ behind+ and between are
ad*erbs in Arabic.
- Ca&itali:ation is so#eti#es used for se#antic i#&lication e.g. Hosaic+ .ati*ityG. etc.
- Does not use any for# of ca&itali:ation.
- Does not use *ocali:ation.
- Docali:ation has a se#antic function.
- Punctuation has a bearing on the inter&retation of te)ts.
- Punctuation has little bearing+ if any+ on the inter&retation of te)ts.
- A &art fro# such suffi)es as --ling and -ette6 there is no &aradig#atic di#inuti*e in nglish.
- Paradig#atic di#inuti*e e)ists.
- It has no diglossia.
- Diglossia e)ists.
- There are about twenty configurations of *owel sounds.
- Eew *owel sounds used #ainly in *ocali:ation.
- There are no &haryngeal or glottal sounds e)ce&t in the as&irated -H6 and the collo$uial
glottal sto&.
- Pharyngeal and glottal sounds are a#ong the standard &hone#es in Arabic.
!ince scientific te)ts rarely contain idio#atic or culture-bound e)&ressions+ the ty&e of
e$ui*alence #ost co##on in their translation is the for#al e$ui*alence which focuses
attention on the #essage content itself rather than its for#. .ida -/0123 4456 highlights this
as&ect of scientific translation as follows3
This le*el of language+ e)&erientially is lifeless+ is linguistically *ery #ani&ulatable. Eor to the
e)tent that language can be se&arated fro# the uni$ue $ualities of e)&erience and can be
#ade a (ind of linguistic #athe#atics+ its units can easily be arranged and re-arranged with
little interference fro# the cultural conte)t.
It e#erges fro# the abo*e-#entioned co#&arison between nglish and Arabic+ which
drastically lac( scientific and technical ter#inology+ suffers an irre*ersible &rocess of
disintegration through diglossia+ and harbors scanty abbre*iations+ acrony#s+ for#ulae and
registers. But since science and technology create situational features which in*ol*e new
conce&ts+ techni$ues+ and &rocesses that can be i#itated and i#agined+ it is binding for Arab
translators to coin e$ui*alent ter#inology and de*elo& corres&onding &rogra#s of e)&ression
which Arabic #or&hology and fle)ible word order can &ro*ide. Howe*er+ theoretical
&ossibilities #ay in #any cases fall short of &ractical a&&lication and this is *ery #uch the
case with nglish technical translating into Hodern !tandard Arabic today.
(. Conclusions:
- It beco#es ob*ious fro# the discussion we &resented so far that the act of scientific
translation is so#eti#es guided by certain strategies. "ne of these strategies accounts for the
syste#atic differences between the two languages concerned. Another de&ends on the ty&e
of language used in any indi*idual te)t. Both these strategies are a&&licable in translating
nglish scientific te)ts into Arabic.
- Another &oint is that Arabic+ in its current situation+ does gra*ely lac( a fra#e-of-reference in
the scientific and literature+ and what is a*ailable of translated literature to this effect in Arabic
is rather scanty and harbours ga&s that are li(ely to #ulti&ly since initiati*e has not been
ta(en by the Arabs to ado&t and sustain a large-scale translating &rocess in this &articular.
- In nglish+ which e)&resses a highly so&histicated technological culture+ both hori:ontal and
*ertical di#ensions of hu#an e)&erience are dyna#ic and e)&anding. 'hereas in Arabic+
which is the e)&ression of &oetic culture+ only the *ertical di#ension of hu#an e)&erience is
une*enly e)&anding. Thus+ translating nglish scientific te)ts into Arabic will inesca&ably
in*ol*e a &rocess of transferring dyna#ic and #ultidi#ensional hu#an e)&erience into a
static and #ono-di#ensional one whose *erbal syste# can hardly &ro*ide for such a transfer.
- As the Arab culture is being &rofoundly #odified and #odern technology is being
increasingly introduced+ new technical ter#s are being ado&ted as well. But these ter#s are
&redo#inantly a #i)ture of transliterations and borrowing e.g. @ban:in(hanaA @&etrol satationA
is co#&ounded fro# the nglish word @ben:ineA and the Turco-Persian word @(hanaA
@stationA. Howe*er+ these ter#s+ regardless of their readiness to catch u& with Arabic
&aradig#atic #oulds+ can by no #eans enco#&ass the whole body of nglish technical and
scientific literature.
- Einally+ in this situation which is rather difficult if not entirely ho&eless+ it see#s i#&erati*e
for the Arabs to start a serious and large scale &rocess of Arabi:ation. Iet+ this &rocess
cannot be affected o*ernight. It necessitates an e)ce&tionally high energy+ good-will and
ob,ecti*e thin(ing on the Arabs=+ &art to s&an and assi#ilate what the west has s&anned and
assi#ilated since the Renaissance.
References
Ada#s+ Ha:ard. -/0176 The Interests of Criticis#. .ew Ior(3 Harcourt Brace and 'orld Inc.
Bar(r-!ere)+ H. -/0076 "n Language Darieties and Translation. Cairo.
Beeston+ A. E. L. -/0786 The Arabic Language Today. London3 Hutchinson Bni*ersity Library.
Bell+ R. T. -/00/6 Translation and Translating. London and .ew Ior(3 Long#an.
Blan(enburg+ D. '. -/0?46 @A Dialectical Conce&tion of Anthro&ological Pro&ortionsA+ In
Pheno#enology and Psychiatry. London3 De Jonning+ Acade#ic Press.
>asagrade+ K. -/0<26 @The nds of TranslationA+ International Kournal of A#erican
LinguisticsA+ Dol. 48+ &&. 55<-28.
>hassib+H. -/0016 @The I#&ortance of !ynta)3 A Loo( at Prose in Translation of !cientific
Te)ts.A In the Proceeding of The Thirteenth International Conference on Language+
Linguistics+ Literature and Translation. Kordan3 Iar#ou( Bni*ersity.
>iles+ D. -/00<6 Basic Conce&ts and Hodels for Inter&reter and Translator Training.
A#sterda#3 Kohn Ben,a#ins Publishing.
Earghal+ H. and !hunna$+ A. -/0006 Translation with Reference to nglish and Arabic. Irbid3
Dar Al-Hilal for Translation.
Ilyas+ A -/0?06Theories of Translation3 Theoretical Issues and Practical I#&lications. Hosul3
Bni*ersity of Hosul.
Lotfi&our-!aedi+ J. -/0016 @Translation Princi&les *s. Translator !trategiesA. Heta+ 2/- 5+&&.
5?0-504.
.ida+ . A.-/0126 Towards a !cience of Translating. Leiden3 . K. Brill.
!ch#idt+ !. K. -/07/6 @/st FEi(tionalitat= eine Linguistische oder eine te)t theoretische
JaategorieLA In Culich and Raible -eds.6+ &&. <0-7/.
*an Di,(+ T. A. -/0716 @Hacro-!tructures and CongitionA+ Pa&er Contributed to the /4th Annual
Carnegie !y#&osiu# on Cognition+ Pittsburg+ Hay /4-/2+ /071+ Bni*ersity of A#sterda#.
'einrich+ H. -/0716 @Jo##un I(ation+ Instru(tion+ Te)tA+ In 'einrich -ed.6+ &&. //-48.
Translation and Culture
By Ale,andra Patricia Jara#anian -
a Certified !worn nglishC!&anishCnglish Translator
s&eciali:ed in legal+ business and international #atters
and a ErenchC!&anish Translator.
The ter# McultureM addresses three salient categories of hu#an acti*ity3 the M&ersonal+M
whereby we as indi*iduals thin( and function as such; the Mcollecti*e+M whereby we function in
a social conte)t; and the Me)&ressi*e+M whereby society e)&resses itself.
Language is the only social institution without which no other social institution can function; it
therefore under&ins the three &illars u&on which culture is built.
Translation+ in*ol*ing the trans&osition of thoughts e)&ressed in one language by one social
grou& into the a&&ro&riate e)&ression of another grou&+ entails a &rocess of cultural de-
coding+ re-coding and en-coding. As cultures are increasingly brought into greater contact
with one another+ #ulticultural considerations are brought to bear to an e*er-increasing
degree. .ow+ how do all these changes influence us when we are trying to co#&rehend a te)t
before finally translating itL 'e are not ,ust dealing with words written in a certain ti#e+ s&ace
and socio&olitical situation; #ost i#&ortantly it is the NculturalN as&ect of the te)t that we
should ta(e into account. The &rocess of transfer+ i.e.+ re-coding across cultures+ should
conse$uently allocate corres&onding attributes *is-a-*is the target culture to ensure credibility
in the eyes of the target reader.
Hulticulturalis#+ which is a &resent-day &heno#enon+ &lays a role here+ because it has had
an i#&act on al#ost all &eo&les worldwide as well as on the international relations e#erging
fro# the current new world order. Horeo*er+ as technology de*elo&s and grows at a hectic
&ace+ nations and their cultures ha*e+ as a result+ started a #erging &rocess whose end--
&ointL6 is difficult to &redict. 'e are at the threshold of a new international &aradig#.
Boundaries are disa&&earing and distinctions are being lost. The shar& outlines that were
once distincti*e now fade and beco#e blurred.
As translators we are faced with an alien culture that re$uires that its #essage be con*eyed
in anything but an alien way. That culture e)&resses its idiosyncrasies in a way that is Mculture-
boundM3 cultural words+ &ro*erbs and of course idio#atic e)&ressions+ whose origin and use
are intrinsically and uni$uely bound to the culture concerned. !o we are called u&on to do a
cross-cultural translation whose success will de&end on our understanding of the culture we
are wor(ing with.
Is it our tas( to focus &ri#arily on the source culture or the target cultureL The answer is not
clear-cut. .e*ertheless+ the do#inant criterion is the co##unicati*e function of the target
te)t.
Let us ta(e business corres&ondence as an e)a#&le3 here we follow the co##ercial
corres&ondence &rotocol co##only obser*ed in the target language. !o Nsti#adoN will
beco#e NDearN in nglish and NHonsieurN in Erench+ and a Nsaludo a Bd. atenta#enteN will
beco#e N!incerely yoursN in nglish and NDeuille: agreer Honsieur+ #es senti#ents les &lus
distinguesN in Erench.
Einally+ attention is drawn to the fact that a#ong the *ariety of translation a&&roaches+ the
MIntegrated A&&roachM see#s to be the #ost a&&ro&riate. This a&&roach follows the global
&aradig# in which ha*ing a global *ision of the te)t at hand has a &ri#ary i#&ortance. !uch
an a&&roach focuses fro# the #acro to the #icro le*el in accordance with the >estalt-
&rinci&le+ which states that an analysis of &arts cannot &ro*ide an understanding of the whole;
thus translation studies are essentially concerned with a web of relationshi&s+ the i#&ortance
of indi*idual ite#s being decided by their rele*ance within the larger conte)t3 te)t+ situation
and culture.
In conclusion+ it can be &ointed out that the transcoding -de-coding+ re-coding and en-codingL
Othe ter# MtranscodingM a&&ears here for the first ti#e6 &rocess should be focused not #erely
on language transfer but alsoOand #ost i#&ortantlyOon cultural trans&osition. As an
ine*itable conse$uence -corollaryL6 of the &re*ious state#ent+ translators #ust be both
bilingual and bicultural+ if not indeed #ulticultural.
Is it our tas( to focus &ri#arily on the source culture or the target cultureL The answer is not
clear-cut. .e*ertheless+ the do#inant criterion is the co##unicati*e function of the target
te)t.
Let us ta(e business corres&ondence as an e)a#&le3 here what we do is to follow the
language co##ercial corres&ondence &rotocol co##only obser*ed in the target language.
!o Nsti#adoN will beco#e NDearN in nglish and NHonsieurN in Erench+ and a Nsaludo a Bd.
atenta#enteN will beco#e N!incerely yoursN in nglish and NDeuille: agreer Honsieur+ #es
senti#ents les &lus distinguesN in Erench.
Einally+ attention is drawn to the fact that a#ong the *ariety of translation a&&roaches+ the L
Integrated A&roachL see#s to be the #ost a&&ro&riate. This a&&roach follows the global
&aradig# in which ha*ing a global *ision of the te)t at hand has a &ri#ary i#&ortance. !uch
an a&&roach focuses fro# the #acro to the #icro le*el in accordance with the >estalt-
&rinci&le which lays down that an analysis of &arts cannot &ro*ide an understanding of the
whole and thus translation studies are essencially concerned with a web of relationshi&s+ the
i#&ortance of indi*idual ite#s+ being decided by their rele*ance in the larger conte)t3 te)t+
situation and culture.
In conclusion+ it can be &ointed out that the transcoding &rocess should be focused not
#erely on language transfer but alsoOand #ost i#&ortantlyOon cultural trans&osition. As an
ine*itable conse$uence of the &re*ious state#ent+ translators #ust be both bilingual and
bicultural if not #ulticultural.
An &A)* proposal to collect data on "usli counities sounds ore li+e the old
departent than the ne, one.
.o*e#ber /5+ 4887
The Los Angeles Police De&art#ent wants to be trusted. It &ro&oses to #a& the city
and &in&oint Husli# co##unities that N#ay be susce&tible to *iolent+ ideologically
based e)tre#is#+N but it also doesnMt want anyone to worry that it will &ic( on
indi*iduals or stereoty&e grou&s based on their religion or national origin. Rather+ the
de&art#ent insists that it will Nta(e a dee&er loo( at the history+ de#ogra&hics+
language+ culture+ ethnic brea(down+ socioecono#ic status and social interactionsN
that define L.A.
'e recogni:e that todayMs LAPD is a far cry fro# the one that turned its NRed !$uadN
against liberals in the early decades of the 48th century+ that allowed soldiers to beat
young Latino #en in the /028s during the so-called Poot !uit Riots+ that s&ied on
&olitical o&&onents through the /018s and /078s -- including such fringe figures as
the #ayor. It has e*ol*ed fro# the LAPD that antagoni:ed blac(s and Latinos
through the /0?8s with e)cessi*e force+ gang swee&s and aggressi*e car sto&s+
including the routine N&roning outN of young #en on the &a*e#ent. "ne *icti# of that
&ractice was none other than Kohnnie L. Cochran Kr.+ who would go on to #a(e the
LAPD wish it had treated hi# better.
'e a&&reciate that todayMs LAPD is #ore di*erse and generally #ore restrained than
it was in the generations that ga*e it a re&utation for *iolence and racial ani#us --
hel&ing to &lunge the city into the riots of /004+ only to suddenly go li#& and let the
riots s&read. TodayMs LAPD is better at (ee&ing &ublic order+ #ore effecti*e at
&olicing and #ore sensiti*e to the #any co##unities it &rotects and ser*es. !till+ ,ust
si) #onths ago in HacArthur Par(+ it elected to broadcast dis&ersal orders in nglish
only -- this+ at an i##igration rally -- then unleashed nonlethal &ro,ectiles and batons
against a crowd that #ysteriously refused to obey.
!o &ardon us if we are unco#fortable with the idea of the &olice de&art#ent
co#&iling #a&s of those it sees as susce&tible to *iolence. That starts fro# the
&re#ise that race or nationality or religion defines susce&tibility -- a &rescri&tion for
&rofiling if e*er weM*e heard one. And it &uts ,udg#ents about race and religion in the
hands of an agency that has hardly e*idenced subtle thin(ing about those to&ics.
The LAPD under 'illia# K. Bratton+ and Bernard C. Par(s before hi#+ has #ade
great strides toward erasing a long and troubled history and toward restoring &ublic
confidence in this cityMs &olice. But #a&&ing Husli# L.A. s#ac(s of the old LAPD+ the
one weMre ha&&ily lea*ing behind as we learn to trust the #odern de&art#ent
نم اهتهج ترشن ةفيحص سول سولجنأ زميات ةيييحاتتفإ مويييلا ييحت !اويي"#
%يي&'( ةيي)ير* +رتيي,م -نيمليي.ملل /0ا1إ ة2رييشلا سوييل3 سوييلجنأ %ييمج3
تاناي4لا 5وييح تايييلاجلا ةمليي.ملا '6يي4ي ر7يي8أ اه4يي9 +رتيي,م3 :(;3ايي< =يييح
ت10'أ +رت,م /0ا1إ ة2ر9 سول سوييلجنأ %يي&و3 ةيي)ير* ةيي"ي6ملل 6ييي6حت'
;2ا"ملا >تلا 6جوت اه3 تا?مجت ةيم@<إ 6A( B4تشي >ف اهCوجل Dلإ E"?لا 'أ
اهAا"ت#ا تايجولوي6يFا :(ةفر)تملا ةفيGم !H3 IلJ Kيييل Lايي"?م Mا6هتيي<ا
1ارفFا 'أ تا#امج ة"ي?م Dل# سا<أ نم ني6لا 'أ Hش"ملا N3 O>"2ولا رييPت
/0ا1Qا Dل# اهنأ >#ارت<( Nماو# Rي0اتلا !اS.لا' ةTللا' ةفا,7لا' Uريي?لا'
ز8رملا' >#امتجQا V1اPتAQا' ت@#افتلا' ةي#امتجQا W6ل نيي?ت N7م LXييY
فلت' O;2ا"ملا ةفيحPلا Dييلإ !أ اXييY +رتيي,ملا EييلتZي Nيي8 M@ت*[ا نيي#
+رتيي,ملا م6يي,ملا >ييف NييCا'أ !ريي,لا نيرييش?لا 5وييحت' Dييلإ Uرييف( توييملا
6يي& (\ارييمحلا :نييلار4يييللا V6يي?ت' ]ا4يي& ة2رييشلا Dييل# تايييلAFا >ييف
:تاي"ي?30Fا K.جتلا' Dل# موPZلا نيي<اي.لا >ف تا"يت.لا Oتا"ي?4.لا'
;ل?ت' ةفيحPلا ةيSيرمFا Dل# IلJ ^ار#Qا3 نيي# م6يي# اييهحايت0ا /رييSفل !أ
مو,ت /0ا1إ ة2ر9 %&و3 _Cار* \[`هل نيXلا B4تشت >ف aه20وت >ف :E"?لا
!F IلJ مو,ي Dل# ةي&رف !أ رP"?لا 'أ Hش"ملا >"2ولا 'أ ني6يلا >يY >تيلا
16حت 5ا4Aإ \رملا Dل# bاهتنا E"?لا نم :Bم6# وY' اييم %ييGي ة)ليي< 0ا6ييصإ
ماSحFا 5وح رP"?لا ني6لا' VH3 cاهج نم /زهجأ ةل'6لا [ 6هيشي Bيل Rيي0اتلا
_A ن.ح3 MرPتلا \اcإ N7م LXY aتتZت' O%ي&اوملا ةفيحص سول سولجنأ
زميات اهتيحاتتفإ مويلا 6ي8Hتلا3 Dل# /0'ر& /1ا?ت<ا ة,d ةييما?لا >ييف ة2ريي9
LXY :ة"ي6ملا ةفيGم !أ eيPZت تاييلاجلا ةملي.ملا _يCارZ3 زييمت aY6ي&
Dل# سا<أ رP"?لا 'أ Hش"ملا >"2ولا 'أ ني6لا [ م6Zي >ييف IييلJ VHيي3 5اييح
نم O5اوحFا
اما0ونا3 \اd@7لا - fghffhijjk

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->