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Poll: Do you intentionally apply translation theories when you are working?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 20:56
SITE STAFF
Apr 17, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you intentionally apply translation theories when you are working?".

This poll was originally submitted by Andrew Nimmo. View the poll results »



 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Of course not Apr 17, 2015

I just turn out an accurate translation suited to the target readership as quickly as I can. End of.

I have always despaired at attempts by academics to theorise about translation. Get a life, FFS.


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 12:56
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Ditto Apr 17, 2015

I just do my best to give my clients what they want and, hopefully, something that will exceed their expectations.

Small edit

[Edited at 2015-04-17 09:51 GMT]


 

Sophie Dzhygir  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 05:56
Member (2007)
German to French
+ ...
No Apr 17, 2015

We all apply translation theories when working, but of course I don't do that intentionally.

 

DianeGM  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:56
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
No ... Apr 17, 2015

Just like the preceding gentlemen - I just translate the text to suit the target audience.

 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:56
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Not sure what this poll means Apr 17, 2015

I'm not sure what the asker means by "translation theories". Please could he explain?

 

Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 04:56
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
Of course! Apr 17, 2015

I've been told that a good translation reconstructs the cultural/historical context of the original.
Therefore, I always start by meditating about the cultural reflections in national accounting standards and the historic events preceding their amendments.


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
:-) Apr 17, 2015

dianaft wrote:

I've been told that a good translation reconstructs the cultural/historical context of the original.
Therefore, I always start by meditating about the cultural reflections in national accounting standards and the historic events preceding their amendments.


So it's not just me


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
An example Apr 17, 2015

Jenny Forbes wrote:

I'm not sure what the asker means by "translation theories". Please could he explain?


There is a gentleman in the Swe>Eng KudoZ forum who consistently offers totally literal translations of compound nouns (and gets really narky when challenged).

So, while most would translate "husdjur" as "pet", he would no doubt opt for "house animal". Probably supplemented with a translator's note.

Now, if I remember rightly from the few lectures by the late great Professor Newmark that I attended before being banned for screaming out loud and running naked around the lecture hall tearing both my and other people's hair out, this is essentially what translation theory is about. Whether to translate freely or literally. Whether to help the reader or just waste everybody's time.

I'm sure there is a rich vein of pointless academic research to be mined there if you are that way inclined. I'm not.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 05:56
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Apr 17, 2015

Glad to see it's not just me. Basically, I agree with what Chris said, as well as the other comments posted so far. Theory schmeory.

 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 12:56
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
The truth is Apr 17, 2015

Clients care even less about 'theory' than we do.

In the 30+ years I've been translating, I've never been asked once by a client what theory I'm applying or going to apply to my translations. The bottom line is that they want to get their money's worth!


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:56
English to Spanish
+ ...
Translation theories Apr 17, 2015

Being familiar with a couple of translation theories (the Skopos theory comes to mind), allow me to share what I think.

First, in science, a theory is not what your everyday ordinary man on the street would consider a theory. In popular parlance, that kind of street theory is nothing more than conjecture.

In the sciences, both soft and hard, a theory is a coherent, cohesive and testable model that explains something. By testable I mean that the theory at hand can be independently tested and verified. In short, a theory is a working explanation for something observed in the natural world.

An old translation theory would be that of absolute fidelity to the source text. Another one, practiced in the Middle Ages, was free translation: the translator would paraphrase and enrich the resulting text. I'm not looking at a Wikipedia article here; I'm just evoking things from my own memory and experience.

Topics such as authorship, foreignization vs. domestication, functional equivalence and translation as a process to take decisions are the object of these theories.

So, what good are translation theories for us writers who want to please the customer? I think we can get at least familiar with the basics of those theories, then pick and choose and build our own. Remember, these theories emerged to address different texts and combinations of texts. I also suspect they emerged because the old literary translation theories had little application in today's technology- and science-driven world.

So, as we Americans like to say, don't knock it until you try it.


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:56
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
All the time Apr 17, 2015

I am constantly aware of discourse structure when I work. I taught translation theory for 17 years at Georgetown University and it was the subject of my doctoral thesis.

 

Anton Konashenok  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 05:56
English to Russian
+ ...
Translation theory DOES have a practical application Apr 17, 2015

this is essentially what translation theory is about. Whether to translate freely or literally. Whether to help the reader or just waste everybody's time.


Chris, I beg to differ. It's not whether, it's how. There are certain methods, most of them applicable to most languages in the world, for conveying the meaning of the source text properly when a literal translation won't do, and knowing these methods is a must for a professional translator. They are, however, not immediately obvious to the uninitiated, and definitely merit a dedicated lecture course. Unfortunately, I often notice ignorance of these methods when editing other people's translations.


 

brg (X)
Netherlands
No / I don't know what they are Apr 17, 2015

Mario Chavez wrote:

Topics such as authorship, foreignization vs. domestication, functional equivalence and translation as a process to take decisions are the object of these theories.


Never heard about this.
And I have a full master's degree in translation. (and besides, a diploma which authorizes me to teach a foreign language in high school).
I would have disconnected if such abstract things would have been part of the cursus.

In my uni, we were taught translation techniques.


 
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