[New publication] Babel: Volume 64, Issue 1, 2018
Babel: Volume 64, Issue 1, 2018
Between invisibility and over-visibility: Self-perception and user expectations of liaison interpreters in business settings
Abstract: Recent research on liaison interpreting shows that the interpreters’ role in communicative events includes language facilitator and intercultural mediator. Being empowered with more coordinating functions rather than regarded as invisible conduits, however, how do interpreters with different professional experiences perceive their own role in business settings? And what are the actual expectations on them from their clients? This paper tries to answer the questions through a questionnaire-based survey of three groups of respondents: professional interpreters, student interpreters and clients, with each group including 30 respondents. Chesterman’s (2001) four models of ethics, together with the hypothetical no ethics model, were designed as answers to the questionnaire (17 closed questions) and translation versions to two interpreting samples. The frequencies of responses to the questions and the evaluation scores of the translation versions are collected and analyzed, revealing the following findings: All three groups acknowledge the constraints translation ethics place on the freedom of action; and all three groups agree that interpreters simultaneously shoulder the tasks of translating and coordinating, with the “ethics of communication” being the most widely acknowledged one. However, there are discrepancies between and within the groups, and even attitudinal inconsistencies and contradictions in individual participants. These findings, by re-describing the interpreter’s power in interlingual and intercultural interactions, will help improve professional standards and interpreting training.
Cultural and stress-related manifestations of political controversial language in the European Parliament from the view of interpreters
Abstract: Translation and interpreting are not only linguistic activities, but also to a large extent primarily activities of cultural transfer. Transcultural communication displays complexity, diversity and readiness for conflict in communicative interaction, so the interpreter/translator, as an intercultural mediator, is assigned a special communicative role in this regard. This article examines how interpreters at the European Parliament deal with controversial language rendering evaluative components of political statements as well as whether there is a rise in stress-related disfluencies in the interpretation of such statements and whether intonation (dis)similarities between the source text and the interpretations occur in the context of cultural and lexical know-how. Seven excerpts from four sessions of the European Parliament in the last six years and their interpretations into Croatian, Slovene, English, French and German were analysed from the point of view of stress and culture. Deviations in pitch and intensity levels of both the speaker and the interpreters were calculated and statistically compared in the light of differing cultural know-how. The intonation results for these interpreting examples showed that all the interpreters followed the speaker’s pitch deviations to a certain extent. Analysis of politically-controversial statements also revealed that more than 80% of the interpretations selected contained stress-related disfluencies and almost 70% contained some form of discrepancy with the source text at a lexical level. The interpretations therefore largely contained fewer negative evaluative components of controversial language than the speakers in the European Parliament.
Benjamin and Borges: Reflections on afterlife and translation
Abstract: Borges’ works deconstruct the time lag conceived in the binaries such as the work’s production vs. its criticism, the original text vs. its translation, the source text vs. the derivative nature of the target text, and reality vs. fiction. Benjamin, as Borges’ near contemporary, echoes rather the same idea in his post-Nietzschean philosophy of translation. Focusing on the similarities between the views of Benjamin on translation and those of Borges as reflected in his stories as well as his essays, particularly in his well-received essay on translations of Thousand and One Nights and in his meta-fictional short story ‘Pierre Menard’: Author of the Quixote, this paper aims at bringing the two scholars together in the context of literary translation studies in the postmodern era, where intersemiotic and intertextual collage (in Eco’s terminology) and mimicry bear witness to the claim that translation, like other intertextual enterprises, is neither inferior to the other intertextual undertakings such as writing, nor is it detached from language as post-structurally conceived. Furthermore, another core objective of this study is to show how Borges’ ‘Menard’ heralds and truly represents the translation theories built upon the underlying assumptions of deconstructionism since the 1980s. It is concluded that as far as postmodern and poststructuralist theories are concerned, both Borges’ and Benjamin’s works had predicted the future of literary and translation theories in which the decisive role of translation and translator in the construction of culture and identities cannot be denied.
From El Gran Meaulnesto Meaulnes el Grande: A comparative study of the Spanish retranslations of a French classic
Abstract: The present contribution aims at a comparative study of the Spanish retranslations of the French classic Le Grand Meaulnes. With the objective of identifying macro and micro-structural variations among the various retranslations, a parallel corpus is compiled, the source-text and the various translations are aligned and imported into a translation memory which allows for a targeted analysis of specific linguistic elements. The results obtained from the corpus analysis show that, despite their differences the retranslations display a relative homogeneity, in so far as they are largely source-text oriented and foreignizing. Relative homogeneity notwithstanding, differences can be observed between twentieth century-translations and those carried out in the twenty-first-century. The translators of the latter take a specific approach to translating the novel, either as a literary critic or by taking a critical stance towards a more assimilative approach adopted in an earlier translation.
Translating Thartharah fawq al-Nil(“Adrift on the Nile”): A socio-linguistic approach
Abstract: Translation is an interdisciplinary activity in which translators must consider all aspects of the text being translated, including both psychology and ideology. They must also view translation as a complex process that spans linguistic, cultural, economic, and ideological factors, analysing intricate issues that usually lie at the boundaries of languages, cultures, and societies. This paper examines the challenges inherent in translating the sociolinguistic aspects of Thartharah fawq al-Nil (1966), published in English as “Adrift on the Nile” (1993) – challenges that include drug addicts’ slang and jargon, register, and figurative language. The specific objective is to identify error patterns produced by the translator and to analyse these errors quantitatively and qualitatively, assessing their negative impact on the reader and suggesting possible solutions. “Adrift on the Nile” is an important novel in an exceptional period of modern Egyptian history, and is regarded by many critics as “one of the richest essays on symbolism” (Allen 1982: 145). This paper calls for adopting a more sociolinguistic perspective when translating unique texts overloaded with cultural and socio-political meanings.
Cross-cultural literary translation strategies within a Maltese bilingual context
Abstract: The process of literary translation includes the source culture-specific elements that constitute an integral part of the source text. This paper aims to identify and analyse various translation strategic processes that could be adopted in translating cultural factors within the parameters of a Maltese bilingual, but not necessarily bicultural, context. Each of the suggested strategic procedures is presented in useful flow-chart formats, varying from source language/source culture to target language/target culture bias approach in order to keep cultural losses to a minimum whilst maximising cultural gains and, therefore, to make the transformation of the source text into the target text successful. Such flow-charts are aimed to provide the literary translator with a rapid means of achieving an adequate and satisfying suggested solution for a quality cross-cultural transposition of the cultural elements encountered within a bilingual context. In certain instances, it is also suggested that some strategies are used concurrently with others. To achieve this aim, an extended practical translation exercise by the author himself is used. This paper also helps to strengthen further both the level of research in narrative translation studies in general, and the research done in Maltese narrative literary translation from a cultural point of view.