Introducing Translation Studies
Theories and applications
Chapter 1: Main issues of translation studies:
1. Jacobson’s categories of translation:
c. Intersemiotic (verbal non-verbal).
2. History of the discipline:
a. From the late 18th to the 1960s – grammar-translation method (replaced by
communicative approach in the 1960s and 1970s);
b. The USA 1960s – translation workshop concept based on Richards’s reading
workshops and practical criticism approach that began in 1920s; running
parallel to this approach was that of comparative literature;
c. The USA 1930s-1960s/70s – contrastive analysis;
d. More systematic, and mostly linguistic-oriented, approach 1950s-1960s:
i. J.-P. Vinay and J. Darbelnet (French/English);
ii. A. Malblanc (French/German);
iii. G. Mounin (linguistic issues of translation);
iv. E. Nida (based on Chomsky’s generative grammar).
v. James S. Holmes’s “The name and nature of translation studies” is
considered to be the ‘founding statement’ of a new discipline.
vi. Hermans’s ‘Manipulation School’
vii. Vieira’s Brazilian cannibalist school
viii. Postcolonial theory
ix. Venuti’s cultural-studies-oriented analysis
The Holmes/Toury ‘map’ of translation studies1:
a) Theoretical (translation theory)
(1) Medium restricted
(a) By machine: Alone/With human
(b) By humans: Written/Spoken:
(2) Area restricted (specific languages)
(3) Rank restricted (word/sentence/text)
(4) Text-type restricted (genres: literary,
business, technical translations)
(5) Time restricted (periods)
(6) Problem restricted (specific problems
b) Descriptive (DTS)
i) Product oriented (examines existing
ii) Process oriented (what happens in the mind
of a translator)
iii) Function oriented (a study of context / ’sociotranslation
studies’ / cultural-studies-oriented
a) Translator training
i) Teaching evaluation methods
ii) Testing techniques
iii) Curriculum design
b) Translation aids
i) IT applications
(1) translation software
(2) on-line databases
(3) use of internet
c) Translation criticism
i) Evaluation of translations
ii) Revision of students’ translations
iii) Reviews of published translations
1 Holmes mentions also translation policy (the translation scholar advising on the place of translation in society).
Chapter 2: Translation theory before the 20th century:
Literal Free Adaptation
Up until the
second half of
‘sterile’ debate over the
‘triad’ of ‘literal’, ‘free’
1st cent. BC Cicero1 ‘Interpreter’ !2‘Orator’
4th century St Jerome ‘Word-forword’
Ancient China ! !
750-1250 Baghdad ! !
Western society ! Heretical
burnt in 1546
Etienne Dolet Avoid !
16th century Martin Luther !everyday
meaning / truth /
John Dryden Metaphrase !Paraphrase Imitation
A.F. Tytler ‘Adopt the very
soul of the
19th century Schleiermacher
(divided texts into
!The reader toward the
foreignization – Venuti)
The writer toward the
domestication – Venuti)
F. Newman ! ! for a wide audience
M. Arnold ! for elite
Throughout the centuries debate on form vs. content occurred.
Traduttore, traditore = ‘the translator is a traitor’
2 Preferred form.
Chapter 3: Equivalence and equivalent effect:
In the 1950s and 1960s the place of circular debates around literal and free translation took
the new debate revolved around certain key linguistic issues, among them those of meaning
and equivalence, discussed by R. Jakobson in 1959. Over the following 20 years many
further attempts were made to define the nature of equivalence.
1. Meaning: the signifier=the signal of the signified (the concept).
2. There is no full equivalence between code-units of different languages.
3. So, we should substitute not words, but messages.
4. Only poetry is considered ‘untranslatable’ and requires ‘creative transposition’.
Nida’s ‘science of translating (subjective):
b. Referential (dictionary meaning);
c. Emotive (connotative).
2. Ways of determining meaning:
a. Hierarchical structuring (animal dog, cow etc);
b. Componential analysis (grandmother, mother, cousin etc);
c. Semantic structure analysis (spirit can mean demon, angel, god, ghost, ethos,
alcohol etc) meaning depending on context.
3. 3-stage system of translation (Chomsky’s influence: deep/surface structure of a
language): SL1 (analysis) X (transfer) Y (restructuring) TL2
a. Formal (form and content);
b. Dynamic (equivalent response of: t2 reader on t2 as t1 reader on t1) (closest
5. ‘Correspondence in meaning must have priority over correspondence in style’.
6. Reader-based orientation.
Newmark’s semantic and communicative translation:
1. Replaces Nida’s division with semantic (resembles formal equivalence) and
communicative (resembles dynamic equivalence) translation.
2. Nida’s division inoperant if the text is out of TL space and time.
3. Dynamic equivalence: are readers ‘to be handed everything on a plate’?
4. Semantic translation differs from literal in that it ‘respects context’, interprets and
explains (metaphors). Literal translation is to be the best approach in both semantic
and communicative translation. If semantic translation would result in an ‘abnormal’
TT or would not secure equivalent effect in the TL, then communicative translation
should win out.
Parameter Semantic translation (art) Communicative translation (craft)
Transmitter as an individual; should help TT
reader with connotations if they’re crucial.
Subjective, TT reader focused, oriented
towards a specific lg and culture.
Culture SL TL
Time and origin Not fixed, new translation for every generation. Rooted in its own contemporary context.
Relation to ST Inferior: ‘loss’ of meaning. May be better.
Use of form of SL ‘Loyalty’ to ST author. ‘Loyalty’ to TL forms.
Form of TL Tendency to overtranslate. Tendency to undertranslate.
Appropriateness Serious literature, autobiography, important (e.g.
Non-literary, technical, informative, publicity,
Accuracy of reproduction of the significance of
Accuracy of communication of ST message in
Koller’s Korrespondenz and Äquivalenz:
1 Source language.
2 Target language.
Field Contrastive linguistics Science of translation
Research area Correspondence phenomena
(corresponding structures and
sentences of different lgs)
Equivalence phenomena (hierarchy of
utterances and texts in different lgs
according to equivalence criterion)
Knowledge Langue parole
Competence L2 competence Translation competence
Type of equivalence What How attainable Research focus
Denotative Equivalence of the
extralinguistic content of
Analysis of correspondences
and their interaction with
Connotative Lexical choices e.g.
The most difficult Formality (poetic, slang),
social usage, geographical
origin, stylistic effect
(archaic, plain), frequency,
range (general, technical),
Text-normative Text types Functional text analysis Usage in different
Pragmatic Nida’s dynamic
First of all: particular
for different receiver groups
Formal Related to the form and
aesthetics of the text
An analogy of form un TL,
using the possibilities of it
and creating new ones
Rhyme, metaphor and other
Tertium comparationis, an invariant against which 2 text segments can be measured to
Chapter 4: The translation shift approach:
1. Vinay and Darbelnet’s taxonomy:
a. Direct (=literal) translation:
3. literal translation (word-for-word)
b. Oblique translation:
c. The 7 categories operate on 3 levels:
1. the lexicon
2. syntactic structures
3. the message 9context)
4. word order and thematic structure
5. connectors [cohesive links, discourse markers, deixis (pronouns and
demonstrative pronouns) and punctuation]
d. 2 possibilities:
1. servitude (obligatory 4 and 5)
2. option (non-obligatory)
2. Catford’s linguistic approach (shifts)
a. Distinction between: formal correspondence (a particular ST-TT pair) and
textual equivalence (a pair of lgs).
b. When the 2 concepts diverge, a translation shift occurs – a departure from
formal correspondence in the process of going from the SL to the TL. There
are 2 kinds of shift:
1. A level shift (sth is expressed by grammar in one lg and by lexis in
2. A category shift:
i. Structural shifts;
ii. Class shifts (word category);
iii. Unit/rank shifts (sentence, clause, group, word, morpheme);
iv. Intra-system shifts (systems are similar, but not always
3. van Leuven-Zwart’s microlevel/macrolever translation shifts:
a. The comparative model (a detailed comparison of ST and TT and classification
of all the microstructural shifts within sentences, clauses and phrases);
b. The descriptive model (a macrostructural model, designed for the analysis of
Chapter 5: Functional theories of translation:
K. Reiss’s text types:
Text type Informative
(e.g. reference work)
Lg function Represent objects and
Make an appeal to text
Lg dimension Logical Aesthetic Dialogic
Text focus Content-focused Form-focused Appellative-focused
TT should Transmit referential
Transmit aesthetic form Elicit desired response
‘plain prose’ ‘identifying method
(perspective of ST
words with visual
images and music)
Nord adds to 3 types of language function a fourth ‘phatic’ function, covering lg that
establishes or maintains contact between parties involved in the communication (e.g.
Holz-Manttari’s translational action model for non-literary translations with
1. its roles and players:
a. The initiator;
b. The commissioner (contacts the translator);
c. The ST producer;
d. The TT producer;
e. The TT user;
f. The TT receiver.
a. Factual information;
b. Overall communicative strategy.
b. Cohesive elements.
J. Vermeer’s skopos theory: knowing the purpose and the function of translation is crucial
(adequacy over equivalence).
Ch. Nord’s translation-oriented text analysis:
1. 2 kinds of translation:
a. Documentary translation (a reader knows that he’s reading a translation);
b. Instrumental translation (a reader doesn’t know that).
2. 3 aspects of functionalist approaches particularly useful in translator training:
a. The importance of the translation commission;
b. The role of ST analysis;
c. The functional hierarchy of translation problems.
Chapter 6: Discourse and register approaches:
Halliday’s model of language and discourse based on systemic functional grammar
(field1, tenor2, mode3)
(ideational, interpersonal, textual)
(transitivity, modality, theme-rheme/cohesion)
Thematic and information
House’s model of translation quality assessment:
1. Scheme for analyzing and comparing original and translation texts:
(subject matter and social action)
-author’s provenance and stance
-social role relationship
Individual textual function
Baker’s text and pragmatic level analysis:
1. Textual function
a. Coherence (depends on receiver’s expectations and experience of the world);
b. Presupposition (what the speaker supposes a listener should know);
c. Implicature (what the speaker implies).
Hatim and Mason’s semiotic level of context and discourse:
1. Stable (translated fairly literally);
2. Dynamic (not).
Chapter 7: Systems theories:
1 What is being written about.
2 Who is communicating and to whom.
3 The form of communication e.g. written.
Even-Zohar’s polysystem theory: a literary work as apart of a literary system in the social,
cultural, literary and historical framework. It’s important [for choosing the translation
strategy] if translated literature has a primary or secondary position in given literature.
Toury and descriptive translation studies (DTS):
1. Situate the text within the target culture system, looking at its significance or
2. Compare the ST and the TT for shifts, identifying relationships between ‘coupled
pairs’ of ST and TT segments, and attempting generalizations about the underlying
concept of translation;
3. Draw implications for decision-making in future translating.
Norms of translation behaviour can be reconstructed from:
1. The examinations of texts;
2. The explicit statement made about norms by translators, publishers, reviewers and
other participants in the translation act
1. Initial norm (general translator’s choice):
a. Subjection to source culture norms adequate translation;
b. Subjection to target culture norms acceptable translation.
2. Preliminary norms:
a. Translation policy (text selection);
b. Directness of translation (ST TT; ST t2 TT).
3. Operational norms (the presentation and linguistic matters of the TT):
a. Matricial norms (completeness of TT);
b. Textual-linguistic norms (TT linguistic material).
‘Laws’ of translation:
1. Of growing standardization (tending to TT common options);
2. Of interference (ST options transferred to TT, negatively or positively).
Chesterman’s translation norms:
1. Product or expectancy norms;
2. Process or professional norms:
a. The accountability norm (an ethical norm);
b. The communication norm (a social norm);
c. The ‘relation’ norm (a linguistic norm).
Other DTS models:
1. Manipulation School (‘a continual interplay between theoretical models and practical
2. Lambert and van Gorp – the scheme for the comparison of the ST and TT literary
systems and for the description of relations within them:
a. Preliminary data;
d. Systemic context (data compared and norms identified).
Chapter 8: Varieties of cultural studies:
Dziura: brak 2 stron!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (p.126-127)
Chapter 8 “Varieties of cultural studies” examines Lefevere (1992), who treats translation as “rewriting” and identifies
ideological pressures on translated texts. This chapter also looks at the writing of Simon (1996) on gender in translation, and
at postcolonial translation theories which stress the part that translation has played in the colonization process and the image
of the colonized (cf. Bassnett and Trivedi 1999).
Lefevere (1992) treats translation as “rewriting” and identifies ideological and poetological
pressures on translated texts. Translation functions are controlled by the following factors:
1. Professionals within the literary system;
2. Patronage outside the literary system:
a. The ideological component;
b. The economic component;
c. The status component.
d. If a-c come from the same source – patronage is undifferentiated; if not –
3. The dominant poetics:
a. Literary devices;
b. The concept of the role of literature.
Simon compares the status of translation throughout the centuries to that of women’s and
presents pro-feminist methods in translation.
Postcolonial translation theories:
1. Spivak: ‘translationese’ eliminates the identity of politically less powerful individuals
2. Spivak: compares the status of translation throughout the centuries to that of colonies.
3. P ower relations : translation as the colonizer’s device used against the colonized.
4. S. Bassnett and H. Trivedi’s translational linked to transnational
Brazilian cannibalism: the colonizers and their lg are devoured, their life force invigorating
the devourers, who transform it according to their needs.
The Irish context: postcolonialism in Europe.
Chapter 9: Translating the foreign: the (in)visibility of translation:
A. Berman’s ‘negative analytic’ of translation that prevents the foreign coming through.
5. Qualitative impoverishment;
6. Quantitative impoverishment;
7. The destruction of rhythms;
8. The destruction of underlying networks of signification;
9. The destruction of linguistic patternings;
10. The destruction of vernacular1 networks or their exoticization;
11. The destruction of expressions and idioms;
12. The effacement of the superimposition of languages.
‘Positive analytic’ = literal translation.
1. The invisibility of the translator in contemporary Anglo-American culture.
2. Domestication (dominant in connection with the translator’s invisibility) – ‘the author
towards the reader’.
3. Foreignization – ‘the reader towards the writer’ – resistancy – minoritizing (desirable).
4. ‘Call for action’ – ‘visibility’ + ‘foreignization’.
Chapter 10: Philosophical theories of translation:
Steiner’s hermeneutic1 approach to translation as ‘the act of elicitation and appropriate
transfer of meaning’. The parts of the hermeneutic motion:
1. Initiative trust;
2. Aggression (penetration);
3. Incorporation (embodiment);
4. Compensation (restitution)
Ezra Pound’s energy of language: translation as a tool in the cultural struggle, and the
revitalization of the past.
W. Benjamin’s task of the translator: translation gives the original ‘continued life’; pure
language = coexistence of SL and TL; literal rendering of the syntax.
J. Derrida’s deconstruction: capturing the meaning? No stability in the signified-signifier
(meaning-sign) relationship; the opposition between SL and TL.
Chapter 11: Translation studies as an interdiscipline:
M. Snell-Hornby’s integrated approach.
Harvey’s combination of linguistic analysis and critical theory.
1 Hermeneutyka – w filozofii, nauka, sztuka, umiejętność interpretacji tekstów literackich i źródeł
historycznych, a w szerszym znaczeniu, także wszelkich treści symbolicznych. Wraz z poetyką i retoryką
tworzy swoisty kanon filologiczny. Tak bowiem jak retoryka chce służyć sztuce mówienia, a poetyka sztuce
poetyckiej i jej ocenie, tak też hermeneutyka służy sztuce rozumienia i interpretacji wytworów kulturowych,
jak język, tekst, słowo. Ujęta w związku z teorią poznania (epistemologia) i metodyką nauk
humanistycznych (metodologia), hermeneutyka u Heideggera i Gadamera stała się ogniwem łączącym
filozofię z rozumieniem egzystencji, głównym składnikiem ontologicznej struktury rozumienia jako takiego.
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