Universal and cultural concepts in translation
Thread poster: thegunner88
Mar 20, 2013

Hi everybody,
First of all, I am not sure whether it is a suitable place for such topic, but I did not know where should I place it. Anyway, I am going to write a paper on linguistics classes entitled "Universal and cultural concepts in translation", and I have very poor knowledge on the theory of translation, hence I don't actually know what is this topic all about. Can anybody explain what might be reffered to as universal concepts as well as cultural concepts in translation, just some basic explenation to shed some light on this issues. What is more, I am oblidged to collect some source materials concerning the topic until next Wednesday, hence the second request- does anyone reccomend me some source texts/books which are devoted to the topic. I would be immensly grateful for your help.


 

Tomasz Chyrzyński  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 17:20
Member (2012)
Polish to English
+ ...
Literature you should start with Mar 21, 2013

Hi, first I suggest you read this article http://www.linguistics.fi/julkaisut/SKY2006_1/1FK60.1.1.CHESTERMAN.pdf It might be helpful for a start.
Then you definitely should read some of the following texts:

Jose Ortega y Gasset "The misery and the splendor of translation"
Vladimir Nabokov "Problems of translation"
Roman Jakobson "On linguistic aspects of translation"
Eugene Nida "Principles of correspondence"
George Steiner "The hermeneutic motion"
Gideon Toury "The nature and role of norms in translation"
William Frawley "Prolegomenon to a theory of translation"
Antoine Berman "Translation and the trials of the foreign"
Hans J. Vermeer "Skopos and commission in translational action"
Annie Brisset "The search for a native language: translation and cultural identity"
Ernst-August Gutt "Translation as interlingual interpretive use"
Lawrence Venuti "Translation, community, utopia"

I am not sure you can find these articles on the Internet, but try to get from library a book edited by Venuti "The Translation Studies Reader". You can buy it but as far as I know it is very expensive. Good luck!


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:20
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Interesting article Mar 21, 2013

Tomasz Chyrzyński wrote:
Hi, first I suggest you read this article http://www.linguistics.fi/julkaisut/SKY2006_1/1FK60.1.1.CHESTERMAN.pdf


Interesting read.

When the author mentioned the various ways that "translation" is called in Standard Average European, I looked for my own language in the list, but could not find it. The author's list fits nicely with his hypothesis, but only if his list is the whole list. It would seem that he had helpfully left out my language (and cognates) from his list, to support his hypothesis.

His hypothesis is that there are three ways to say "translation" in SAE, namely:

(1) Classical Greek metapherein, Latin transferre, English translate (in which the translator moves with the text to the other side)
(2) German übersetzen, Swedish översätta, Czech překladat (in which the translator pushes the text away from him, over to the other side)
(3) French traduire, Italien tradurre, Spanish traducir, Russian perevesti (in which the translator pulls the text over to towards him, on the other side)

But "translated" in my language is "vertaal", which literally means "belanguaged". Where does that fit into the scheme? The Finnish word in the article for translation means "to change", but what about languages in which translation means "to belanguage"?

Samuel


 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 00:20
Chinese to English
A warning... Mar 21, 2013

Tomasz Chyrzyński wrote:

Hi, first I suggest you read this article http://www.linguistics.fi/julkaisut/SKY2006_1/1FK60.1.1.CHESTERMAN.pdf It might be helpful for a start.
Then you definitely should read some of the following texts:

Jose Ortega y Gasset "The misery and the splendor of translation"
Vladimir Nabokov "Problems of translation"
Roman Jakobson "On linguistic aspects of translation"
Eugene Nida "Principles of correspondence"
George Steiner "The hermeneutic motion"
Gideon Toury "The nature and role of norms in translation"
William Frawley "Prolegomenon to a theory of translation"
Antoine Berman "Translation and the trials of the foreign"
Hans J. Vermeer "Skopos and commission in translational action"
Annie Brisset "The search for a native language: translation and cultural identity"
Ernst-August Gutt "Translation as interlingual interpretive use"
Lawrence Venuti "Translation, community, utopia"

I am not sure you can find these articles on the Internet, but try to get from library a book edited by Venuti "The Translation Studies Reader". You can buy it but as far as I know it is very expensive. Good luck!


That's a great list of sources. I have to warn you, though, that that Chesterman article appears to be complete tosh. He can't tell the difference between etymology and meaning. Also, he can't find good informants about languages he doesn't know:

The Mandarin Chinese word for ‘translate’ is yì or fānyi. The verb fan has the basic meaning ‘flutter’,

No, it doesn't. It means to turn over, like a page in a book. And why do you not mention the "yi"? Yi has the exciting etymological meaning of... translate. It's not a metaphor, that's what it's always meant.

Lefevere (1998) suggests that the Chinese translation tradition differs from the Western one in that the Chinese have remained closer to the notion of interpreting, explaining, rather than the notion of fideltity or equivalence. We might see a reflection of this tradition in the very word itself in Mandarin, which highlights difference rather than similarity.

Can't see how the word "highlights difference"; but even if I could, the existence of a certain institutional tradition in China can hardly be ascribed to some semantic feature of a word 2000 years ago.

This is amusing free association, but it's complete gibber as serious history or linguistic theory.

@OP dunno what your lecturer wants with these "universals" - why don't you ask him/her? Honestly, the title you've given us could mean almost anything.


 

Alexander C. Thomson  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:20
Dutch to English
+ ...
Isnʼt ‘vertalen’ a Golden Age neologism? Mar 21, 2013

Samuel Murray wrote:

[…]
But "translated" in my language is "vertaal", which literally means "belanguaged". Where does that fit into the scheme? The Finnish word in the article for translation means "to change", but what about languages in which translation means "to belanguage"?



Iʼm writing without my Dutch etymological dictionary to hand but Iʼm fairly sure vertalen was a conscious coining in the Dutch Golden Age (subsequently inherited in Afrikaans and borrowed into Frisian), possibly even by Hugo de Groot himself in his stern quest for (re)nativization of the Dutch lexical base. Up until his time, as late as the C17th (and I think later in theological usage, which accounts for the bulk of translation through the C18th), the German-cognate overzetten is still the normal word for ‘translate’ in Dutch, typically appearing on frontispieces as ouergheset synde vanuit het Engelsch or similar. And that word does fit with the (admittedly rather rough) essential three-concept structure proposed in the article.

Alex


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:20
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Steiner Mar 21, 2013

George Steiner: "After Babel" contains almost everything anyone might want to know!

Also v. important:

Walter Benjamin "The Task of the Translator" (Essay)


 


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