Literature on Translation - suggestions needed
Thread poster: David Wright

David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 02:23
German to English
+ ...
Oct 28, 2010

I personally do not believe in "Translation theory" (translation is practice, theory is there to make it sound academic), but I need a list of useful books on translation, particularly in the field of translation involving cultural factors. I imagine there are entires somewhere within ProZ on this point, but they aren't exactly easy to find. Does anyone out there have any suggested reading?

I'd be truly grateful for your help.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:23
Member (2008)
Italian to English
oops! Oct 28, 2010

deleted

[Edited at 2010-10-28 08:49 GMT]


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:23
Member (2008)
Italian to English
the classic work Oct 28, 2010

David Wright wrote:

I personally do not believe in "Translation theory" (translation is practice, theory is there to make it sound academic), but I need a list of useful books on translation, particularly in the field of translation involving cultural factors. I imagine there are entires somewhere within ProZ on this point, but they aren't exactly easy to find. Does anyone out there have any suggested reading?

I'd be truly grateful for your help.


the classic work is "After Babel" by George Steiner. Take a look at it, and the examples he analyses. A beautifully written and profound book that is both theoretical and practical at the same time - and a deeply rewarding vademecum for all translators.


 

Anna Hellgren Farren  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 02:23
Member (2010)
French to Swedish
+ ...
Student literature Oct 28, 2010

Hi David,

Two titles used during my studies at the University of Surrey, apart from Steiner's "After Babel" that Tom mentions, were "A textbook of Translation" by Peter Newmark and "Translation studies" by Susan Bassenet. Both touch the subject of translatability of cultural phenonema that you are after. It might be good to keep in mind, however, that they were both written over two decades ago.


 

Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:23
English to Arabic
+ ...
The Translation Studies Reader Oct 28, 2010

There's also the "Translation Studies Reader" edited by Lawrence Venuti, which compiles major works written on translation theory from ancient times until the 1990s. While I agree with you that a lot of these theories seem to be spelling the obvious (and complicating it) and repeating each other (often just inventing new terminology in order to appear to be saying something different) we have to see them in context - they often say things that at the time they were written seemed quite new but are now taken for granted.

 

Aradai Pardo Martínez  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 19:23
Swedish to Spanish
+ ...
And then, Oct 28, 2010

If you still feel like it, you could take a look at Venuti's The Translator's Invisibility: A History of Translation. Really interesting!

 

Aisha Maniar  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:23
Member (2003)
Arabic to English
+ ...
As well as ALL of the above... Oct 28, 2010

there is also a series of books written by Basil Hatim and Ian Mason, such as "The Translator as Communicator". Translation Studies is a theoretical, academic field and does focus fairly largely on the translation of literature, which is not the main focus for most translators. It does fall under various other headings such as cultural studies, linguistics, etc. and it really depends on the angle you (want to) take. Personally, I like translation studies, even if it has little bearing on the actual work I doicon_smile.gif
The kind of texts that would be relevant to you would depend on what you're looking for. If it's more the practical side of translation, for some languages (working into English) there are the "Thinking Translation" books (more like a course book) and also Douglas Robinson's rather useful "Becoming a Translator". Umberto Eco also has some interesting works on translation for what it's worth.
Good luck, Aisha


 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 02:23
German to English
some German suggestions Oct 29, 2010

Dear David,
I keep a bibliography on translation studies, but hardly ever get around to reading any of it. I would suggest focusing on the German material (or other languages, if you have them), because English texts usually suffer from either monolingual research or out-of-date updates by foreign authors writing in English:

If you are focused on the significance of cultural factors, try the bibliography and the summary of previous research in:
Reinhart, Sylvia. Kulturspezifik in der Fachübersetzung. Die Bedeutung der Kulturkompetenz bei der Translation fachsprachlicher und fachbezogener Texte. Berlin: Franke & Timme, 2009.

The classics for reader/target-text oriented translation are:
Vermeer, Hans J./Reiß, Katharina: Grundlegung einer allgemeinen Translationstheorie. Niemeyer, Tübingen 1984. ("Skopostheorie")
Holz-Mänttäri, Justa: Translatorisches Handeln. Theorie und Methode. Annales Academiae Scientarum Fennicae. Ser. B 226. Helsinki 1984. ("translatorisches Handeln": everyone seems to agree that this book is almost unreadable and if you are "resistant to theory" from the outset, I would not suggest trying to read it)
There is a third absolute classic that belongs here, but I can't recall the author or title.

Werner Koller and Wolfram Wills represent the bogey-men of this school of thought (= oriented around source text ["Äquivalenz"] instead of target text ["Funktion"]), but seem to be on the rise again. I seriously doubt that I will ever get around to reading them.

I found the following introduction concise and very readable:
Kadric, Mira, Klaus Kaindl und Michèle Kaiser-Cooke. Translatorische Methodik [= Basiswissen Translation, Band 1]. Wien 2005.

This might be a good place to start for an overview:
Stolze, Radegundis. Übersetzungstheorien. Eine Einführung [narr studienbücher]. 4. überb. Aufl. Tübingen 2005. (respected author, I enjoyed her book on technical translations [1999] although it was very dry and longer than it needed to be)

If you are interested in reading any of these books (or others) and discussing them a little, that would be great. Maybe we could start a little colloquium if others are interested.

Sincerely,
Michael


 

David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 02:23
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Oct 31, 2010

to all of you for some very useful suggestions. @ Michael - will take me some time before I get to a level where I can seriously discuss them, but the idea sounds good. (maybe there is a theory discsussion section somewhere on proZ that I haven't discovered!)

 

FinziLoew
Local time: 03:23
Italian to Hebrew
+ ...
Exploring Translation Theories - Anthony Pym Oct 31, 2010

Hello David,
If you are willing to get another suggestion - Exploring Translation Theories by Anthony Pym - is a great starting point.
It is a thin book (164 pages, published this year) with very clear and updated overview on many theories.
Shirley


 


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