Slovo.ru: the Baltic accent

2019 Vol. 10 № 3

Digital World Communication аnd Translation

Abstract

The introduction of digital computers, information and communication technologies (ICTs), and the Internet/Web has broadened the scope of communication globally in ways unprecedented in human history. The “digital world” implies more than the technical and instrumental aspects and usage of technology; it equally involves our tangible human social engagement and interface with the tools and technologies themselves. The relevance of digital studies to translation studies, and vice versa, is substantial. Both fields intrinsically deal with language, information, and communication and are inextricably linked to technology. After a brief introduction, the article highlights first the essential informational and communicational foundation of technology development that intertwined with histories of translation technolo­gy. The convergence of these multiple histories has led to today’s 24/7 digital infrastructure. It then considers the social and cultural facets of the digital world, presenting research areas in digital studies that can be explored in relation to translation studies. While the existing analytical and critical approaches to researching translation can arguably be extended and transposed to include elements of the contemporary digital context, there are also compelling and legitimate reasons for contextualizing translation within the broader, global communica­tion universe, positioning it wholly within the digital sphere.

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Translation and Discourse Analysis

Abstract

This paper will illustrate how discourse analysis had been incorporated in Translation Studies. Discourse Analysis originated in Applied Linguistics and refers to the investigation of language in use. Depending on whether the term ‘discourse’ is understood in a narrower or a wider sense, discourse analysis aims at examining the structure and the function of lan­guage in various contexts and/or at revealing patterns of belief and habitual action, as well as social roles and power relations (Critical Discourse Analysis). Since translation can be char­acterised as an act of communication across linguistic and cultural boundaries, with source text and target text representing language in use, concepts and methods of discourse analysis have been found useful for Translation Studies. The paper will provide some examples of such research.

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Textual, moral and psychological voices of translation

Abstract

The concept of voice has engendered a growing amount of research in translation studies in the last decades, especially regarding literary translation. Voice is typically used in studies that investigate stylistic or structural characteristics of translated texts, intertextuality and other forms of multivocality and ethical questions related to agency, ideology and power in translation and interpreting. The first part of this article defines two essential concepts related to voice in translation — voice and text — and describes the state of the art of research in this field. The second part aims to deepen the discussion on voice in translation studies by intro­ducing the notion of the voice of conscience from philosophy and political science and the no­tion of inner voices from psychology.

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Embedding imagology in Translation Studies

Abstract

Imagology, the study of national and cultural images as represented in textual discourse, is a fruitful approach for disciplines dealing with textual change, such as translation studies. Both imagology and translation studies have gradually extended their area of research, which has revealed growing commonalities. Journalistic texts have for instance been included in research that was previously almost exclusively dealing with literary discourse. Moreover interest in imagological research, sometimes related to the distribution of a promoted national or cultural self-image, has now also grown in countries outside of Europe. Future perspec­tives for findings on image spread through translation are offered through collaboration with existing research in sociology and psychology.

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How translations are willed into existence

Abstract

This paper will argue that translations are willed into existence in three conceivable ways: pull, push and shuffle. Pull is the most intuitive form. It corresponds, for example, to a publishing house that decides to translate a foreign novel. Here, the initiative to invest in a new translation project is almost entirely located on the target side. The push mode, in con­trast, can be exemplified by a company that decides to localise its website to cater for foreign markets. Here the decisions to make translation happen are mostly located on the source side. The shuffle mode corresponds to those rare cases in which the process is located neither on the source nor on the target side, but straddles the semiotic barriers or folds that make acts of translating possible or necessary in the first place. The discussion affirms the status of translators as active players, or agents, of communi­cation. If it is true that in real life translators rarely determine whether a sign will cross a semiotic fold or have much say in the process, in principle nothing prevents them from bring­ing their desires, motives, and strategies to the table. Translators can — and should — have a larger say on why, whether, and how new translated texts appear in the target environment.

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Ambiguity matters in linguistics and translation

Abstract

Ambiguity implies that there are at least two distinct senses ascribed to one sign. It is in­herent to language and speech. In this article, I reflect on the types of ambiguity, its typology, production and effect and propose an algorithm for tackling ambiguity in translation. I posit that the choice of a translation strategy and the need for disambiguation in general depend on the type of ambiguity, its sources and character, i. e. whether ambiguity is intended or not. Intended ambiguity occurs when the speaker intentionally does not follow the logic of concep­tual clues (primes) and opts for a set of communicative strategies and linguistic means, which allow him/her to offer several possible interpretations of one event or even refer to several dif­ferent events. I explore a rarely analyzed event-referential ambiguity, which requires addi­tional conceptual information for disambiguation and, consequently, may pose a problem for translation. I argue that problems in disambiguation may occur for a variety of reasons: the translator and\or the recipient may have a wrong reference, have insufficient background knowledge to resolve the ambiguity or make wrong inferences since each recipient bears a different combination of cognitive, axiological, social, professional and gender attributes.

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Translation of sociolect texts

Abstract

A moment's reflection suffices to convince one that no language is homogeneous, being represented by a set of language variants or language existential forms, reflecting the hetero­geneous character of the national culture. Notwithstanding variable nature of language, lin­guistic theorizing has been mostly based on standardized languages forms, rather than on natu­ral speech dialects. The present research addresses the fundamental issue of variability within a language and aims at studying the specific fragment of the Russian language of the XXth centu­ry — Soviet camp sociolect within the frameworks of contrastive sociolectology. Sociolect nature of the source text is viewed as one of the factors increasing the degree of text untranslatability. The author dwells on the nature of adaptation interventions, which a trans­lator needs to perform to render the specificity of the Soviet camp social dialect in English. The analysis of the ways in which translators processed the source texts under consideration reveals the twofold strategy aimed at maintaining a proper balance between replicating the sociolect text specificity and making the translation readable to the target recipients. Combin­ing explanatory translation, loose translation, occasional equivalents with loan translation translators achieve clarity of the translation, preserving at the same time apparent non-nativeness of the target text, which helps to avoid leveling the sociolect nature of the source texts.

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Translation: the puzzle of colour

Abstract

This research contributes to the study of colour terms as a cognitive phenomenon. Since colour is not a universal concept and an ordinary mind does not perceive colour separately from the object, it is possible to observe the knowledge about colour, which exists in the lan­guage but does not exist in its physical sense. We hold that the given knowledge is the cause of significant difficulties arising in the translation of various colour terms, though the nature of these terms existence should not be complex in its essence, being a basic phenomenon of the natural world. Moreover, certain ambiguity rises when reference points of colour do not coin­cide with the indirect naming of colours and shades in different languages. Different pairs of languages apparently set their individual spectrum of translation difficulties. We characterise some typical colour-related English into Russian translation difficulties which arise at the cognitive level.

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On combining translator training with foreign language teaching

Abstract

Contemporary methodological landscape in translator training (TT) is dominated by the competence-based principles whose epistemological roots are found in social constructivism asserting learners’ active participation in knowledge accrual. The paper gives a brief account of the status quo of TT and revisits the controversial issue of appropriateness of combining TT with foreign language teaching (FLT). The author maintains that FLT may, and quite often has to, be part of TT course, the share of linguistic component in TT depending on the curric­ulum design and teaching circumstances. Centred solely around the linguistic aspect of TT, the paper proposes combining training methods that serve the purposes of both TT and FLT. TT practices aimed at developing linguistic and translational competences simultaneously are subdivided into analytical and reinforcement training techniques, the latter being the focus of this paper. The author argues that exercise-type activities beneficial for both TT and FLT can be practiced in full harmony with the competence-based student-centred teaching principles.

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