The challenge faced by translation teachers is to encourage re-creativity in re-expression in order to avoid literality (Bastin 2000: 234). Both full-time translators and translation teachers need to constantly improve their operative (know how) and declarative (know what) knowledge. Consequently, one of the main aims of the teacher’s job is to help the students acquire and improve both kinds of knowledge. While it often happens that full-time translators may experiment difficulty in verbalizing their declarative and operative knowledge, probably because they have become automatized, teachers, on the other hand, they should, to our view, be able to verbalize and transmit knowledge so that the students’ attitude and aptitude towards the subject can improve. Words encoding cultural information are difficult to translate since they involve cultural knowledge and a cultural background. Literal translation may not fully render the meaning of culture bound words because they do not have the same semantic range in the source and the target languages. Let us take the case of pain / bread, a transcultural word (Newmark 1991:8), i.e. a word with similar referents and different connotations in different languages. Both pain and bread describe the staple made from flour, and yet within their separate cultural context they do not signify the same. The problems found in transferring the meaning of cultural words to the target language can be summarized as follows: 1. The concept expressed by the source language (hence SL) word does not exist in the target language (hence TL). 2. The SL word is diaphasically marked. 3. The other kind of translation problems we encounter when dealing with cultural lexis are the result of the metaphorical transfer of many of the lexical units from a cultural domain. Controlled processes may be related to declarative knowledge, but may also lead to automatic processes, related to operative knowledge. At the expert level (fully practicing translators in our case), the declarative knowledge may have become so internalized that it has become difficult for the translator to verbalize what or why a solution has been applied, producing what may seem like non-reflective behavior (intuition). On the other hand, as has been mentioned, a translation teacher should be able to verbalize the declarative knowledge that led him or her to prefer a specific solution in order to present and model the issue adequately and then help the students to internalize the process. So that students can become aware of the declarative knowledge underlying the apparently intuitive and non-reflective problem-solving behaviour of successful practitioners, we would like to suggest that the curriculum should include readings, debates, activities and tasks to practise the points usually included in discussions about translation competence: what should a translator know? (González Davies forthcoming (a)): 1. Language work: constant acquisition and improvement of the source language/s and target language/s, awareness of the existence and pitfalls of interferences. 2. Encyclopedic knowledge: introduction to subject matter related to different disciplines, cultural knowledge, awareness of conventions of presentation in both the source and the target languages, and terminology management. 3. Transference skills: problem-spotting and problem-solving, creativity and self-confidence as translators, awareness and use of strategies and procedures, ability to decide on degrees of fidelity according to translation assignment and text function, learning to meet client’s expectations, ability to translate with speed, and quality, overcoming constraints, practising direct and reverse translation to meet real market demands, self and peer evaluation skills. 4. Resourcing skills: paper, electronic, and human. 5. Computer skills: familiarization with a translator’s workbench, computer-assisted translation, human assisted automatic translation, acquisition of electronic resourcing skills: databases and access to digital sources, unidirectional (e.g. Web pages) and bidirectional (e.g. e-mail) distance communication. 6. Professional skills: awareness of translator’s rights, contracts, payment, and familiarization with different editing processes and as much real life practice as possible, interrelating with the clients. Defining and sequencing translation problems, strategies, procedures and solutions to apparent untranslatability, this results from structural incompatibilities between languages, one can respond with potential translatability, with the possibility of expressing the concepts of human experience in any human language (de Pedro 1999: 547). According to many experts (discussed in Gil 2003, our highlighting), one important difference between beginner translators and experienced translators is the ability of the latter to spot a problem and to apply adequate strategies and procedures to solve it efficiently and as quickly as possible – the period between spotting the problem and solving it may go from a split second to whole days or weeks. Alongside these reflections, we consider other elements such as decision-making, coping with “uncertainty management [patterns]” (Tirkkonen-Condit 2000: 123), and accessing creativity processes (Kussmaul 1995) as valid starting points for teaching, since they imply that declarative knowledge may become operative for full-time translation practitioners, and also that there are no one-to-one solutions to translation problems, so that it is useful to know about a whole range of possibilities that are open. Consequently, we sought to explore and verify the following assumptions: – The explicit teaching of problem-spotting and solving strategies and of procedures related to cultural references develops the students’ translation competence significantly in this area. – Learning materials can be designed to develop their cultural translation competence and awareness of strategies and procedures.
As a result of our pedagogical approach – with possible confirmation in the experimental study – we wanted to establish whether the students – Had developed their noticing skills and could spot a cultural reference more efficiently as readers; – Had developed their decision-making skills and were able to suggest more potential solutions to translate a cultural reference applying adequate strategies and procedures; – Had developed their self-monitoring skills and were able to reach an informed justification of their final translation choice. As a result of previous research (Scott-Tennent et al. 2000, 2001; González
Davies et al. 2001), of classroom observation, and of recent literature on the subject which confirms that this is becoming a well documented area in Translation Studies, we would like to assume, for pedagogical purposes, a five-phase sequence in the problem-solving process of a translation: (1) General approach, (2) problem-spotting, (3) Brainstorming and choosing strategies, (4) Brainstorming and choosing procedures, (5) Choosing a final solution. These phases involve constant shifts between noticing, deciding and justifying skills, and can be related to Kussmaul’s interpretation of Poincaré’s four-phase model of creative processing: (1) preparation, (2) incubation, (3) illumination, and (4) evaluating (1995: 40-50). By noticing we mean noting, observing or paying special attention to a particular item, – in our context, cultural references –, generally as a prerequisite for learning. Deciding is inherent to all the process: to making macro-decisions (see below), to brainstorming and choosing strategies and procedures, and to justifying the decisions. Justifying is related mainly to final problem-solving in making an informed choice. It is highly probable that some of these phases and skills may overlap and that the students will acquire them following different routes (sequential order) and rates (speed). Macro-decisions 1. PHASE 1. General approach. The choice of specific macro- or micro-decisions will depend on different circumstances: from the decision to follow or break social, a problem-solving and student-centred approach to the translation 163
164 Meta, L, 1, 2005 political, economic norms (Toury 1978, 1980, 1995) and the translator’s subjectivity and ideology (for instance, the decision to translate a text from a feminist or foreignizing point of view), to practical issues such as the translation assignment, time, sources, equipment, fees, and the translator’s expertise and personal or emotional situation. This phase may involve all the phases of the model of creative process adapted by Kussmaul (1995: 39-40): preparation, incubation, illumination and evaluation. Micro-decisions or “explicit textual manipulation of units of translation”
(Chesterman 2000) 2. PHASE 2. Problem-spotting. A translation problem can be defined as a (verbal or nonverbal) segment that can be present either in a text segment (micro level) or in the text as a whole (macro level) and that compels the student / translator to make a conscious decision to apply a motivated translation strategy, procedure and solution from amongst a range of options (Scott-Tennent et al. 2000, 2001; González Davies et al. 2001). This is related to what Kussmaul calls “non-routine process [as] … which usually create problems and require creativity” and the preparation phase of the model of creative process during which “problems are noticed and analyzed, and relevant information and knowledge are accumulated” (1995: 39-40). 3. PHASE 3. Brainstorming and choosing strategies. At this stage, the translator accesses mental or emotional actions to solve the translation problems or SL (verbalor nonverbal) segment that – potentially – cannot be transferred automatically or routinely. On detecting a translation or interpretation problem, the mind activates certain strategies, and explores available internal or external information to solve it (mental and emotional associations, parallel or logical thinking, resourcing, classifying, selecting, drawing mind maps, playing with words, accessing semantic fields and schemata, looking at procedures lists, scanning published translations etc.) (Lörscher 1991, González Davies 1998, Scott-Tennent et al. 2000, 2001; and González Davies et al. 2001). Here, a strategy is a group of coordinated decisions that link the goals of the translation assignment with the necessary procedures (see next phase) to attain those goals in a given translational context. This phase is related to the incubation phase in the model of creative process in which, for example, physical and psychological relaxation are recommended to “unblock” thoughts (Kussmaul 1995: 39-40). 4. PHASE 4. Brainstorming and choosing procedures. Considering a range of concrete acceptable translation procedures such as explicitation, footnotes, calques, cultural adaptations, exoticizing, reformulations, substitutions, omissions, additions… to re-express the source text in a re-creative way (Bastin 2000, González Davies et al. 2001, Gil 2003). This phase can be related to the illumination phase in the model of creative process during which Kussmaul recommends, for example, the “parallel activity technique” or changing one’s activity, also to unblock the mind (1995: 43). 5. PHASE 5. Choosing a final solution. In this phase, the translation solution is
justified or evaluated according to the translation context (Scott-Tennent et al. 2000, 2001; González Davies et al. 2001). This final phase is related to the evaluation phase in the model of creative process, closely related to the illumination phase (Kussmaul 1995: 49-50). We must assume that students have sound linguistic knowledge, both theoretical and practical, and a wide cultural bilingual background, achieved during their first years in college. The methodology, consisting of a step-by-step procedure workshop, (stages may sometimes be sequential and successive, sometimes, alternated) I think that this methodology to be successful in translation classes in terms of students’ motivation, productivity and the quality of their work. However, I do think that this methodology can be improved. 1. The teacher makes a selection of the material to be translated. Texts must be chosen according to previously defined objectives for translation practice, taking into account the degree of difficulty of the texts (semantic, cultural, stylistic, etc.), the topic or the specific knowledge area (science and technology; social, institutional, economic and/or political topics; and literary or philosophical works), the translation problems to be solved, and so on. 2. After browsing through the text (scan reading and/or skim reading), the students, assisted by their teacher, should identify the source, the norm, the type of text, the register, the style and the readership of the text selected. It is a kind of game of the imagination in which the text is real but the client and her/his needs are imaginary. 3. The students should read the whole text at least twice: The first reading will be comprehensive and general, to become acquainted with the topic and to understand the original, always bearing in mind that meaning is context-determined. 4. The second reading must be a “deep” reading, placing emphasis on items where translation problems may appear. In other words, this is what I have called “reading with translation intention,” i.e. doing pre-editing and assessing the quality of the writing (Reminder: Not all texts are well written). In my opinion, when translating into the TL, if the translator detects mistakes (usually due to misprints) in the original text, s/he should be entitled to amend them in her/his version if too obvious or else consult the client or an expert in case of doubt. When doing this “reading with translation intention,” students should first underline unknown terms and then they should mentally confront potential translation difficulties in the text with suitable translation procedures. 5. The teacher then divides the text into as many segments as students in the group. Depending on the degree of difficulty and the length of the text, these segments may be paragraphs, columns, pages or even whole chapters. Then, each student is assigned a fair portion of the text. The segment distribution order should rotate so that a different student begins a translation unit every time. 6. If the topic is already quite familiar to the students, they do a preliminary translation. As this is the first approach to the text, it will probably lack naturalness, since students tend to transfer SL units of translation to TL units of translation (“one-to-one translation,” Newmark, 1995a). This first approach can often be made orally and suggested annotations may be written in the margins. 7. If the topic is completely unknown to the students, they should consult complementary literature. In other words, before beginning the transfer process, they should resort to various documentation sources, especially parallel texts (those which are similar in nature and style) in the language of the original. This allows them to achieve a deeper understanding of the topic under study. 8. Once the “one-to-one” version is accomplished, the students do a second version of their own translation—this time a written draft—handling the most suitable translation strategies and procedures and being faithful in the transfer of ideas. 9. With the original text in front of her/him and being careful to follow the same correlative order of the SL text, each student reads out her/his own version of the translated text, making the necessary pauses between sentences. 10. The students and the teacher follow the reading of each text attentively. As a monitoring activity, everybody should feel free to stop the reading at the end of a given sentence and have the reading of the segment repeated, when the situation warrants comments, suggestions, questions, contributions, etc. The students have to “defend” their work against criticism. 11. During this procedure, the students and the teacher need to set up all necessary conventions with regard to the homogeneity of the terms and the coherence and cohesion of the final version. 12. As Newmark states, “translation is for discussion” (Newmark, 1995b). Students should then be encouraged to take notes and discuss the (in) convenience of the contributions and comments arising from this analytical reading of each one of the different versions proposed. 13. As a metacognitive activity, the students, assisted by the teacher, analyze the translation strategies and procedures used, and discuss the reasons taken into account in the choice of each analyzed criterion: “The ability to discuss translations in an objective way is central to a translator’s competence”, (Kussmaul, 1995). 14. The students hand in the final version of their revised and post-edited segments, which have already been amended in the light of the whole text. The work must be typed, double-spaced and paged according to the original. 15. The teacher makes a final revision (second post-edit), gives formative evaluation and makes comments, emphasizes findings, “happy” solutions and creative acts, on the one hand, and analyzes failures and weaknesses in the process, on the other. Profile of the Students • Sound linguistic training in the two languages • Knowledge covering a wide cultural spectrum • High reading comprehension competence and permanent interest in reading • Adequate use of translation procedures and strategies • Adequate management of documentation sources • Improvement capacity and constant interest in learning • Initiative, creativity, honesty and perseverance • Accuracy, truthfulness, patience and dedication • Capacity for analysis and self-criticism • Ability to maintain constructive interpersonal relationships • Capacity to develop team work • Efficient data processing training at user’s level (an introductory course is NOT enough) • Acquaintance with translation software for MT and MT edition
In sum, translators must understand the original text, for which they must have wide general knowledge, handle the vocabulary of the topic in the SL as well as in the TL and, last but not least, write their own language well (Orellana, 1994). Profile of the Educator • Sound knowledge of the SL and the TL, translation theory, transfer procedures, cognition and methodology • Comprehension of what translation is and how it occurs (Bell, 1994) • Permanent interest in reading various kinds of texts • Ability to communicate ideas clearly, empathically and openly • Ability to work out synthesis and interrelationship of ideas • Capacity to create, foster and maintain a warm work environment, “an atmosphere of sympathetic encouragement” (Kussmaul, 1995) • Capacity to foster search and research • Accuracy and truthfulness; critical, self-critical and analytical capacity • Clear assessment criteria Evaluation As suggested by Kussmaul (1995), it is a good practice to classify the kinds of errors/difficulties. The most frequent types of difficulties arising from translation that I propose to assess in any translation are the following: • Comprehension, sense and ideas • Lexico-semantic level • Morphosyntactic level • Writing style and register • Spelling and punctuation • Creative solutions to translation problems • Transfer and re-wording (use of translation procedures) • Cohesion and coherence • Assessment of the result and post-edition • Format
Favouring learner autonomy and group interaction
It is now fairly well known and researched that positive motivation favours the learning process and that the acquisition of adequate skills is improved in an anxiety-free environment (Gardner and Lambert 1972, Gardner 1985, Arnold 1999). The lucid aspect in training also favors the exploration of creativity, self-confidence, and risk taking, all of which are part and parcel of a translator’s competence. As Cronin (in Tennent (ed.) forthcoming) observes: Strangely absent in the theoretical speculation on translation teaching have been theories of play and game in language. This is all the more surprising in that any attempt to theorize intuition in thought and creativity in language must surely take into account the enormous cognitive contribution of play in human development. Howard Gardner’s enlightening studies on multiple intelligences (1996, 1999) have introduced a whole new perception of classroom dynamics. Activities, tasks and projects can be designed to cater to the main types in the group so as to bring out on their strong points and improve the students’ competence, autonomy and interaction. Finally, socioconstructivist principles – i.e. constructing knowledge in a social environment, in our case, the classroom – can be easily integrated in translation training and help to improve the students’ competence (Kiraly 2000). According to our approach to socioconstructivism in translation training: – Knowledge is not put across only by the teacher, but is also constructed and reconstructed by the students according to their previous knowledge, (transformation vs. transmission); – The students build their knowledge not only through self-study, but also through social interaction; – The teacher presents, models and disappears, becoming, first, a guide and then the coordinator of task chains and translation projects that mirror real life assignments as far as possible or are actual real life translation projects; – The students assume the ultimate responsibility for their translations; they are helped by practicing self and peer evaluation; In line with this approach, the “read and translate” directive, still common in many translation classes, has no place. Rather, the most relevant activities and task chains (see below) are designed to be: – Challenging, building on the students’ previous knowledge; – Well-sequenced, that is, graded, however loosely, to help the students evolve and improve their skills gradually; – Related to the group’s interests, with clear objectives set at the start; – Inclusive of individual, pair and group work to advance self-study, learner autonomy, social interaction and group binding; – Favorable to the development and exploration of most types of intelligence so that they can be reinforced or improved upon, depending on each student’s weak and strong points; – Creativity-oriented, challenging the students’ problem spotting and solving skills; – Open-ended, favouring the students’ reflection on different solutions to translation problems and accepting all those that can be justified; – Decision-making oriented, favouring an awareness of the range of translation techniques used by professional translators and a reflection on the most adequate solution according to the assignment in hand. Conclusion As a final reflection, we would like to suggest that a full time translator who has been trained in a formal educational environment will probably end up with at least three inventories of strategies and procedures: A. the institutional: these will have been acquired at the educational institutions (universities and so on), especially if strategies and procedures are taught explicitly; B. the academic: once the formal training period is over, a translator should be constantly updated on findings in the field, like any other professional. This can be done through refresher courses and reading the most recent publications on the subject; C. the personal: the previous, plus those they go on acquiring throughout their professional lives. Translators—like all “professional professionals”—must undergo permanent training. Their productive capacity, however, should not always be measured or weighed in terms of pages, words or hours done, but rather taking into account the quality of the output or finished work—work that consumes lots of neurons (although it stimulates many others). It often shocks me to hear some people in my country say that MT has come to solve their translation problems… Undoubtedly, those of us who are acquainted with translation software know the enormous output difference between a machine-translated text and a human-translated text. In order to solve translation problems, a human translator must make use of his/her cleverness, creativity, curiosity, intuition, ingenuity, reflection, resourcefulness, and much more; a machine, however, no matter how well-fed it is, is unable to discriminate or discern. Hence, the importance of translator training. References Bell, Roger T. 1994. Translation and Translating. Longman Group UK Ltd. Delisle, Jean. 1980. L’Anayse du discours comme métode de traduction. Cahiers de traductologie, 2, Université d’Ottawa. Delisle, Jean. 1981. L’Enseignement de l’interprétation et de la traduction. Editions de l’Université d’Ottawa. Kussmaul, Paul. 1995. Training the Translator. John Benjamins Publishing Co. Newmark, Peter. 1995. Manual de Traducción. Prentice Hall International (UK) Ltd. Ediciones Cátedra, S.A. Newmark, Peter. 1995. A Textbook of Translation. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data. Nida, E. y Taber Ch. 1974. The Theory and Practice of Translating. Brill, Leiden. Orellana, Marina. 1994. La Traducción del Inglés al Castellano. Guía para el Traductor. Editorial Universitaria. Tricás, Mercedes. 1995. Manual de traducción francés-castellano. Gedisa S.A. Varela, Francisco J. 1990. Conocer. Gedisa Editorial.
MA in TRANSLATION, Great Translation Theoretician,Mazandaran province ,Ghaemshar city,IRAN
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