Interference and Standardisation in Trainee Translators' Renditions of Scientific Texts: Applying Toury's Descriptive-Hermeneutic Model of Translation Performance Ioannis E. Saridakis
National and Kapodistrian University of Athens
SLE 2013 18–21 September 2013, Split University
Interference as a translational cross-cultural phenomenon (cf. Itamar Even-Zohar 2005)
Major underlying tentative statements, Conceptualisation ●
Principle 1: Interference is not always visible in the recipient (TL) culture Principle 2: Cultural asymmetry of the “systemic contact” → asymmetry in the transfer of linguistic and cultural elements. Keywords: prestige, dominance. A relation that is mostly, but not a priori unilateral Principle 3: Interference does not necessarily occur on all levels of culture and/or language usage contexts; it is a stratified phenomenon Principle 5: Interference appears in systems lacking potential for transforming or generating repertoremes
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Toury, DTS: “Standardisation” Breakage of a text's texture, in favour of a more target-oriented approach to the act of translating (Toury 1995) ●
The “target-orientation” concept is hard to delineate and define. A residue of functionalism? Typical traits: (a) Limitation of a text's “variability” and “diversity”: Stylistic choices in the TL (b) Limitation of the translator's “creativity” (c) Opting for the safety of choices of the TL lexicogrammar
... Obvious overlap with Baker's obsolete (?) “features” of translation (1993 ff) … In other words: Adaptation (standardisation) vs. transfer (interference) (Vinay & Darbelnet 1958)
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Toury's Laws – probabilistic explanations “Far from being laws that have to be obeyed in order to escape punishment, these are ideas to be pursued, played with, experimented upon, and thereby extended into an open-ended beyond” (Pym 2008: 315, my emphasis). “A hermeneutic understanding may also allow probabilistic anticipation (if not precise prediction), and hence reduce surprise. Formulating a generalization, then, is one way of at least beginning to explain” (Chesterman 2008: 370). Far from being experimentally testable theories in their full potential, researching these “laws” can still provide some clues towards establishing an explanatory theory proper, in Popper's paradigm of scientific knowledge constituting an approximation of a truth on some aspect of the world surrounding us), seeking generalisation and causality (Saridakis 2010: 215; cf. Chesterman 2008).
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Risk Aversion Risk Aversion: One overarching tendency? Do translators, when exposed to uncertainty, attempt to reduce such uncertainty? “What do we really know about the agency of translators, or the way they think when they work? Very little: for the 333,000 or so “professional translators and interpreters in the world,” we can find empirical process studies on fewer than 400 subjects. Beyond that, we have a few “tendencies” abstracted from various corpora of translations, sometimes dressed up as proposed “universals of translation” or precariously synthesized into “laws of translational behavior” (Toury 1995). Without going into those studies […] all of the observed tendencies indicate that experienced translators tend to be risk-averse. Confronted by a juicy translation problem, translators tend to play it safe: they omit, generalize, explicitate, simplify, normalize, and rationalize. When they verbalize their translation processes, only very rarely do they speak with imagined people rather than with things” (Pym 2012: 107-108, my emphasis).
“Things”: Registerial norms, semantico-syntactic prevalences and habits: A critical social and cognitive sub-process of translating. 5 - SLE 2013
Risk Aversion & the Interference vs. Standardisation “Dilemma” “[Toury's] laws are far more engaging when they relate