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TEACHING TRANSLATION

AND INTERPRETING 3
NEW HORIZONS
PAPERS FROM THE THIRD
LANGUAGE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE
ELSINORE, DENMARK 9-11 JUNE 1995
Edited by
CAY DOLLERUP
VIBEKE APPEL

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Cay Dollerup and Vibeke Appel:
Editors' foreword ................................................................................... .....................1
Acknowledgements ................................................................................................... ..6
TEACHING, HISTORY AND SOCIETIES
Judith Woodsworth:
Teaching the history of translation ................................... ......................9 Cay Dollerup:
The emergence of the teaching of translation ........................................ .....19 Eva Hung:
Translation curricula development in Chinese communities .................................... ....31
TEACHING THEORY AND CULTURE
Christopher Larkosh:
Teaching - translation - theory: communicative horizons ..........................................47 Adolfo Gentile:
Translation theory teaching: connecting theory and practice V ................................................................. .55 Andrew Chesterman:
Teaching translation theory: the significance of memes ............................................63 Heidrun Witte:
Contrastive culture learning in translator training ....................................................73 Alexander Krouglov:
Teaching social and cultural differences ............................................................ .......81 Antonina Badan:
Ethnocultural peculiarities in translation for special purposes .................................89
Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

Vi

TEACHING AND STUDENTS


Rosemary Arrojo:
Postmodernism and the teaching of translation ....................................... .................97 frena Kovacic
Reinforcing or changing norms in subtitling ....................................................... ....105 Li Yunxing:
The sentence group: the key discoursal unit ........................................... .................111 Leong Ko:
Teaching dialogue interpreting ........................................................ ........................119 Silvana Orel:
Teaching literary translation: "The translation happens when you read it" 129 Mara Julia Sainz:
Awareness and responsibility: our students as partners ...........................................137 Riitta Oittinen:
Victory over fear: literary translation as a carnivalistic teaching tool ..
145 Martha Cheung:
Descriptive translation studies and translation teaching .......................................... 153
Stella Tagnin:
_
Students' research for translation .................................................................... ..........163 Attila Barcsk:
Teaching literary translation - a student's point of view ...........................................171 Heulwen James, Ian Roffe and
David Thorne:
Assessment and skills in screen translation ............................................... ...............177 Anne Schjoldager:
Assessment of simultaneous interpreting .......................................... .......................187 Kinga Klaudy:
Quality assessment in school vs professinal translation ....................................... ..197
STUDENTS AND PROFESSIONAL REALITY
Courtney Searls-Ridge:
A translation programme for a unique population ............................................... ....207 Alessandra Riccardi:
Language-specific strategies in simultaneous interpreting ......................................213
vii

Table of Contents

Ghelly Chernov:
Taking care of the sense in simultaneous interpreting ......................................... ....223 Deborah D. K.
Ruuskanen:
Creating the 'Other': a pragmatic translation tool ........................................... .........233 Janet Fraser:
Professional versus student behaviour ................................................ ....................243 Margherita Ulrych:
, Real-world criteria in translation pedagogy ....................................... .....................251
TEACHING AND TECHNOLOGY
Janet Ann DeCesaris:
Computerized translation managers as teaching aids .................................... ..........263 Jos Lambert:
Language and translation as general management problems ..................................271 Geoffrey Kingscott:
The impact of technology and the implications for teaching ..................................295
WORKS CITED
Works Cited ............................................................................................................. .....303
INDEX
Index ............................................................................................................................. 321

EDITORS' FOREWORD
This volume contains selected papers from the conference 'Teaching Translation and Interpreting: New Horizons'
held in June 1995. Like the two previous conferences (1991, 1993) it took place at Elsinore, Denmark, and the
presence of over one hundred participants from more than thirty countries reflects the growing awareness of the
importance of pedagogics in the academic world of Translation Studies.
Within the strict time limits of the meeting, the conference participants visited places as diverse as: the Kronborg
Castle, which is forever linked with the name of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark; the favourite cliff-top seat of the
philosopher Soren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) from which he could watch the sea merge with the distant horizon; and
the private home of one of the organisers, thus spanning Danish culture and society from the mythical past to the
present day. In the same fashion, only at the global level, the thirty-one contributions in this volume represent an
international exploration of success and defeat in the teaching of translation, interpreting and subtitling.
Rather than adopting a traditional approach, like our own in previous volumes, according to which we should
have listed translation, interpreting, and subtitling under separate headings, we have here mixed a new cocktail and
arranged contributions in an order determined by their common concerns with teaching, assessment, evaluation and
other issues in translation studies.
The first three articles illustrate the ways in which the teaching of translation is gradually establishing its own
identity in interaction with developments in societies and the ways in which societal perspectives promote
understanding of translation and its realisations in various countries. Judith Woodsworth (Canada) describes a course
in which her students concentrate on the history of translation, particularly focusing on the Western and Arab world.
Cay Dollerup (Denmark) discusses the emergence of the teaching of translation as a profession in its own right
within a European context and, in a stylised form, suggests various stages and concomitant attitudes to, for example,
teaching material, translators' tools, and teachers' views of studcntti. Eva Hung (Hong Kong) describes how, both in
the past and in the present, historical and societal developments have called for
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

systematic translator training in Chinese contexts and ways in which these needs are now met in different ways by
'Chinese communities' such as the People's Republic, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The next group of articles addresses problems concerned with culture and theory. Christopher Larkosh (USA)
argues that the present-day multiethnic and multilingual scene incorporating mass migrations means that 'minor'
language representatives are found all over the world and many students will therefore have acquired a first-hand
knowledge of translation before they enter the academic world; this fact should be taken into account in teaching and
in theory. The background of students who have had practical translation experience before they enter a formal course
and who are therefore wary of theory also looms large in the next contribution, in which Adolfo Gentile (Australia)
discusses the pros and cons of separating or integrating theory and practice. Andrew Chesterman (Finland) discusses
central issues in translation theory in terms of memes which, properly handled, may enable students to survive - or
perish - in the world of translation. Heidrun Witte (Spain) underlines the point that the cultural side is an important
factor in translation as intercultural mediation and must therefore be highlighted in teaching. Alexander Krouglov
(New Zealand) deals with problems in teaching translation at a beginner's level, where language acquisition is still
very much part of the curriculum and shows how translation can be used for demonstrating linguistic and cultural
differences. This is also the topic of Antonina Badan's (Ukraine) article which discusses such differences in the
specific context of business English.
The third group of contributions focuses on teaching and the relations between teachers and students. Rosemary
Arrojo (Brazil) argues that a postmodernist approach to teaching translation demands that teachers question their own
authority in order to more effectively foster critical thinking in their students (a view shared by many contributors to
this volume). Citing examples from subtitling, Irena Kova6~ (Slovenia), discusses whether teachers should
uncritically take over existing norms or whether they should accept that norms change with time and include this fact

in their teaching. Referring to different views on discourse analysis, Li Yunxing (P.R. China) argues that, in teaching
translation between Chinese and English, cogent and consistent approaches with a main focus on sentence groups in
discourse analysis will improve student comprehension and consequently translation of texts. Leong Ko (Australia)
details a number of scenarios, including role play, which encourage students to participate actively in inter
Cay Dollerup and Vibeke Appel, Denmark

preting classes, and presents us with the pros and cons of each procedure described. Silvana Orel (Slovenia)
describes the ways in which she uses published literary translations as a means to make students aware that there is
no 'perfect translation' and learn to balance between loyalty to source language authors and a regard for target
language readers. Students are also in focus in Marfa Julia Sainz' (Uruguay) contribution; she argues that teachers
should heighten the students' awareness of their own need to contribute actively to improved teaching, so that they
are trained for later self-instruction. Riitta Oittinen (Finland) describes the ways in which she uses Bahktin's concept
of irreverent 'carnivalism' to make her students overcome the awe with which they have been told to consider the
source text, in a continuous dialogic process of vesting and divesting texts of authority in interpretation and
translation. It is also literary translation, this time specifically from the point of view of 'Descriptive Translation
Studies', that is discussed by Martha Cheung (Hong Kong); she uses Chinese translations of Orwell's 1984 for a threestage approach to discussing features in translations at increasingly complex levels, finally to use the outcomes for
problematising literary translation. Given the fact that texts for translation often represent a blend of types and thus
demand that translators be able to obtain information on a~ multiplicity of subjects, Stella Tagnin (Brazil) proposes
that, early in their training, students should be introduced to the tools for research, such as quotation dictionaries,
reference books, specialist subjects and the like, in order to enable them to tackle textual cruxes and information
searches. Drawing on his own experience both as a student and a teacher, Attila Barsck (Hungary) discusses the
history as well as the problems of the literary translation programme at his home institution in Budapest. Heulwen
James, Ian Roffe and David Thorne (Wales) present the screen translation programme in Lampeter, the main focus of
which is the training of student subtitlers from a minority language; they discuss the skills needed for subtitling, the
factors on both the sending and the receiving side which must be tested, and the way in which success - or failure - is
assessed. Assessment, but in her case in interpreting, is similarly in focus in Anne Schjoldager's (Denmark)
contribution; she argues that it is necessary for teachers to present students with transparent criteria for assessment
and then describes the feedback form she uses in her own classes. Kinga Klaudy (Hungary) takes issue with a
number of suggestions by teachers about means for making class-work more realistic, for, she argues, no matter what
endeavours teachers make to establish real situations, e.g. by introducing specific procedures, real

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

texts, and the like, and no matter how they go about feedback to their students, the only realistic method is for the
teacher to respond as directly and critically as an editorial reviser in the target culture.
The fourth group of articles examines the relationship between teaching and professional work. Courtney
Searls-Ridge (USA) describes a brief course she set up for public health translators from minority languages; she
presents the problems and the material used, and evaluates the outcome of the programme. The next contribution,
by Alessandra Riccardi (Italy), focuses on interpreting; comparing the performance of three different groups of
interpreters, from students to experienced professionals, she demonstrates the ways in which interpreting strategies,
including anticipation, become increasingly automatised with experience. Ghelly V. Chernov (Russia) opens with a
discussion of the communication models and contexts of conference interpreting, then describes the former UN
training programme for conference interpreters in Moscow and finally lists the features which, in his experience,
should be incorporated into future training programmes in which would-be interpreters could concentrate on new
specialities. Interviews with practising translators inspired Deborah D. K. Ruuskanen (Finland) to set up the

'CATLEGS' model as a mnemotechnical acronym covering the aspects a professional translator should take into
account when (s)he is about to accept a commission, a model, which she argues, is highly relevant in teaching.
Janet Fraser (UK) questions the wisdom of using students in studies of translation strategies and instead presents
the results of her 'think-aloud' interviews with professionals; these show that professionals focus on translation as
communication, approach assignments with confidence and use dictionariAonly for refining phrasing, thus once
again demonstrating the increasing automatisation which accompanies professional experience. Margherita Ulrych
(Italy) posits that the skills demanded by students in academic training programmes should be assessed by realworld criteria so that students learn how to continue acquiring new knowledge in their professional careers;
accordingly the full translational situation, for example, as well as information about the purpose of a translation,
should form part of assignments in translation training programmes: these should also emphasise transfer of
learning and a combination of theory and practice in order to promote students' awareness of the process, and
consequently their selfconfidence.
The last articles address the challenges for translation studies brought about by rapid developments in
technology. Janet Ann DeCesaris (Spain) describes the

Cay Dollerup and Vibeke Appel, Denmark

translation memory programmes available and the problems and the advantages of their uses in general; she then
discusses the relevance of these programmes for teaching purposes and concludes with a convincing demonstration of
their usefulness for translation classes in today's world. The enormous changes in patterns of communication are
presented by Jos Lambert (Belgium), who argues that it is necessary to abandon a static approach to translation and
instead to take a global view which makes allowance for the dynamics of translation; he discusses ' the way in which
private and public discourse, and their respective directionalities, are undergoing constant change, and the way in
which multilateral discourse, exemplified in multinational firms, may be undermined unless language management is
taken into account early in planning, a feature which, once properly understood, will also affect teaching which must
then emphasise adaptability. The volume is brought to a close by Geoffrey Kingscott (UK) who, as editor-in-chief of
Language International, was one of the initiators of the Elsinore conferences, and who appropriately considers the
implications of new development in technology and communication which will create new challenges and totally
different horizons for today's students in their future careers.

TRANSLATION IN HISTORY AND SOCIETY

TEACHING THE HISTORY OF TRANSLATION

Judith Woodsworth, Concordia University, Canada

In many disciplines, training includes a good dose of history. Some knowledge of history is a requirement for
obtaining a certificate or degree in most areas of expertise. There is a history of music, history of science, history of
medicine, even a history of accounting. Academic programmes or even entire university departments have grown
out of interest in the history of a particular field. What about translator training? History of translation is on the
curriculum in some translation schools as a distinct and separate course; if not, a historical approach is often
integrated into translation studies courses.
Interest in the history of translation has grown in recent years. Since the 1980s, in particular, translation
scholars have been aware of the importance of historical research and have begun to define appropriate methods
and theoretical models for the new subdiscipline. The boundaries of history and the parameters of historical

research have shifted and evolved as the subject of history has been addressed from an ever-broader range of
perspectives.
There is now a wealth of material on translation history, along with increasing efforts to build a historiography
of translation. Yet there has been little discussion of how to introduce the findings of historical research to students
of translation who might find this immense body of knowledge complex, overwhelming, or even irrelevant. This
article seeks to address this question. The following aspects will be considered: identifying the objectives of a
history of translation course; defining history and historical research; presenting the various approaches to history
of translation; taking account of existing histories of translation in the construction of a course; and assigning work
to students.
Background
At Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, 'History of Translation' is given as part of a three-year Bachelor
of Arts programme designed to prepare students for a career as a professional translator. Students must take either
Translation Theory or History of Translation in their final year. In the winter semester of 1995, I had a class of fiftythree students, about half of whom were Anglophone and the other half Francophone. The mix of English and
French speakers

10

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

reflects the Canadian situation (officia) bilingualism) and accounts for my focus on the English- and Frenchspeaking worlds in the course content and readings.
My thoughts on teaching the history of translation stem from a series of recent experiences. I have been
involved in a large-scale history of translation project since 1990, which has resulted in the publication of
Translators through History.' Until the 1994-1995 academic year, however, I had not taught history, but rather
courses in translation theory and other subjects. Then I decided to take the plunge and try teaching history myself.
I found myself with a enormous amount of material and the challenge of organizing it in a form that would be
suitable for my students. As I set about preparing and teaching the history course, a second project emerged:
writing a textbook that could present translation history in a comprehensive yet accessible manner and 'guide'
students through the material that had already been published on the subject of history of translation.'
Objectives
The first task in any course is to identify its objectives. In this case, it was important for students to
understand why we were 'making them' study history. Although personally convinced of the value of history, as I
had previously been of studying translation theory, I realized that many students question the relevance of
theoretical courses and are critical of programmes that they consider too far removed from the so-called 'real
world'.
During the first class, I asked students to write a short statement outlining what they knew about history of
translation and what they expected to learn in the course. The results were revealing: students were unabashedly
ignorant; yet optimistic and eager to learn. Here is one typical response:
Even though I am studying to become a translator, I really do not know anything about the
history of translations. I have never even thought about it until now.
In general, students did recognize the importance of studying history, and
made a direct link between the past and present of the profession:
I hope to gain a better understanding of the past of our profession, which will help me to
adapt more easily to changes in the future.
Studying history will help to understand why this is a difficult profession but one that is
essential to communication in the world.
An occasional student expressed the desire to learn about history in general: "I hope that this course will

provide a survey of general history". Others indic


Judith Woodsworth, Canada

11

ated that they were interested in the course because they saw its relevance to what they were doing: "I like learning
about history that I can relate to myself'.
These remarks raise some questions about the place of a history course in a translator training curriculum,
which I wish to address briefly. Our students are attracted to translation because they are considered 'good in
languages'. This is often the result of their family situation, which has given them an opportunity to speak French
and English, and frequently another language of origin (Italian, Greek and so on). Generally, they have
concentrated on languages and literature in their pre-university education, without much in the way of history or
the social sciences. If they have studied history in school, it has probably been restricted to history of Quebec or
Canada. One objective of a 'History of Translation' course, therefore, would be to fill some of the gaps in general
knowledge. A second one would be to instill curiosity and teach research skills so that students can develop a
capacity for life-long learning, which is fundamental to the practice of translation.
Why study history?
Many well-known thinkers have stressed the importance of studying the past. Their writings contain useful
arguments, from which students can benefit.
The past is thought to contain 'lessons'. Some believe that what we learn from the past will help us avoid
making the same mistakes in the future. By studying the past we can understand the present and even predict the
future. Confucius said, "Study the past if you would divine the future" (as quoted in Bradley et al 1969: 543). And
in the words of Cicero,
History is the witness that testifies to the passing of time; it illuminates reality, vitalizes
memory, provides guidance in daily life, and brings us tidings of antiquity (De Oratore R,
62, as quoted in Bartlett 1968: 110).
Whether or not the study of history has any immediate or discernible practical value, it is a key to the
understanding of society and humanity in general. As Tolstoy wrote, the object of the science of history is the "selfknowledge of nations and of humanity" (as quoted in Bradley et al 1969: 363).
Why study the history of translation?
As linguistic theories of translation have been extended, supplemented or even replaced by cultural ones,
translation has come to be considered in its sociological and cultural context. This 'cultural turn' in translation
studies has opened
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

the door for histories of translation, which reveal the extent to which translation activities are linked to intellectual,
religious or ideological projects and are tied to major historical events or movements.
With the emergence of an increasingly autonomous and rigorous discipline of translation studies, scholars have
begun to turn their attention to its history. In 1984, Antoine Berman called the constitution of a history the most
pressing task of a modern theory of translation (1984: 12). More than a decade has passed and scholars continue to
call for more work on the subject. "Historians are needed more than ever before", according to Jos Lambert
(1992: 22).
If scholars of translation want to spend their time looking at the past and writing history, that is all well and
good. Why should translators-in-training, or even professional translators, who are concerned with the practical
problems of today and tomorrow, study history? Quite simply because history books exist: the past is there in all its
glory and historians are there to tell the story. Or, for those whose primary goal is professional practice, because one

ought to be familiar with the history of one's discipline in order to practice efficiently. Or, for those who intend to
teach translation, because a grounding in the past is essential for a comprehensive understanding of the discipline.
To quote Lieven D'hulst:
History is virtually the only means by which the discipline of translation studies can achieve some measure of coherence - by
showing how divergent traditions of thought and activity are in fact similar or interconnected, by linking the past to the present
(1994: 12. My translation).

Historiography of translation
Before reading what historians of translation have to say, students must understand the myriad aspects of
translation-related activities on which historians can choose to shed light. How is 'translation' defined? Does the
term include both written and oral forms, subdisciplines such as terminology or lexicography, and related activities
such as adaptation or pseudo-translation?
When we speak of history of translation, what is the object of study? Do we mean history of the practice or
history of the theory, or both? A history of the practice would focus on who translated what: who were the
translators, what texts did they translate and under what circumstances? A history focusing primarily on theory of
translation would raise the following kinds of questions: how have translators conceptualized their work; what have
they written in their prefaces and

Judith Woodsworth, Canada

13

treatises, for example; and how have translations been evaluated at different periods of history.
It is also possible to reflect on both theory and practice at once.' If so, what are the relations between the ideas
and the practice of translation? Is a translator's theoretical stance necessarily reflected in his or her actual
translations? How can the 'reliability' or 'relevance' of theoretical texts be determined?
Although history of translation appears to be a new, emerging subdiscipline, there is already a rather large body
of literature on the subject. For the purposes of my course, I provided a select bibliography of some sixty titles, many
of which were available for consultation in the university library. Students also had access to the bibliography of
Translators through History, which contains around 600 titles. Thus, it was important to 'guide' the students and to make
them aware of the various approaches taken by historians, so that they could find what they were looking for when
they set out to do their research.
History no longer means starting at the beginning and moving chronologically down through the centuries to the
present. In modern historiography, there has been a departure from straight encyclopedic narrative and an acceptance
of multiple historical models. The vast field of translation is necessarily divided into segments which are as
dissimilar in their size or configuration as they are in the perspective taken by the individual historian.
What are these dividing lines? Time and space are obvious categories that can be used in any history. 4 History
can be broken down along spacial or geographic lines (history of translation in a given country, or continent), or
along temporal ones (history of translation during a given period such as the Middle Ages). Types of translation can
be studied: Bible translation, literary translation or scientific translation. Some works of history have highlighted the
great moments of translation history: the Baghdad School, which grouped together translators of the Abbasid period
around the person of Hunayn ibn Ishq (809-875); the Toledo School, which operated in twelfth- and thirteenthcentury Spain; and the Vadstena Monastery, described as the 'cradle of translation' in medieval Scandinavia. Some
historians have chosen to emphasize translation theories, collecting them in anthologies, classifying them and
commenting on them.

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

Constructing a course

In organizing the course, I tried to reflect different ways of dividing up trans


lation history, without deluging students with too much material. The outline indicates
the topics week by week, along with the required readings (in italics)
Course Outline
1-

Introduction. The concept of 'history'. Course objectives.


A Translator's Guide to the Past: Reading the Pages of History

2-

3-

Historiography: different approaches to history of translation.

History of translation [entry for Encyclopaedia of Translation Studies]; Translators through History: Preface &
Introduction

Classical Antiquity : Greece and Rome.


Translators through History: Translators and the Invention of Alphabets

4-

The Middle Ages: Baghdad, Toledo, Great Britain and France.


Translators through History: Translators and the Development of National Languages

5-

The Renaissance, Humanism and the Reformation.


Translators through History: Translators and the Spread of Religions

6-

Bible Translation: Wycliffe, Erasmus, Luther and Tyndale. The translation of


sacred texts in other religious traditions.

7-

Mid-term exam

8-

Visiting speaker and slide show: Jean Delisle

9-

Theories of translation: 'belles infid8les' (17th century); the Enlightenment (18th


century); Romanticism (19th century).

10-

Exploration and conquest: interpreters at work in colonial contexts.


Translators through History: Interpreters and the Making of History.

11 -

Translation in Canada: interpreters under the French rgime; translation under the
British rgime.
The Canadian Tradition [J.Delisle. In: Encyclopaedia of Translation Studies]

12-

The organization of the profession in Canada since 1867: the impact of language
policy and legislation; the language industry and professional associations;
research and
teaching in translation; machine translation.
13 -

Review and conclusions.


Judith Woodsworth, Canada

15

The first two weeks were devoted to theoretical considerations, including the course
objectives and historiographical concepts presented above. Over the following three weeks I
took three approaches at the same time. I presented history ' chronologically, using the
periodization traditional in Western scholarship: classical antiquity, the Middle Ages, the
Renaissance. This enabled me to fill some of those gaps I referred to earlier; I gave dates
and characteristics for each of the periods and examined the main translation activities.
While covering the Middle Ages, I discussed some of the 'great moments' or particularly

productive periods of translation history that occurred in Baghdad, Toledo and medieval
France and England. Parallel to these lectures, the students read three chapters from Translators through History. Each chapter introduced a specific theme, or area in which translators
played a particularly significant role. While the thematic chapters of our book dealt with
material across history, each of them was particularly well suited to the period of time
discussed. For example, the invention of alphabets (Ulfila, Mesrop Mashtots, Cyril and
Methodius) was primarily a phenomenon of ancient times while the development of national
languages owed much to the great medieval translation projects mentioned above.
Following the class on the Renaissance, in which it was shown how the Reformation
was linked to the spread of humanist ideas throughout Europe, the topic of Bible
translation was taken up. This was accompanied by a discussion of translation in other
religious traditions, with which our students tend to be unfamiliar.
After a mid-term examination and a slide show presented by Jean Delisle, 5 I devoted
one lecture to the development of translation theories, with special emphasis on the
seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in France and England.
The next topic was translation and interpreting from colonization to modern times.
The focus became increasingly narrow and close to home, moving from the North
American context as a whole to translation in Canada and Quebec. A final lecture
covered developments over the past hundred years in Canada, particularly the impact of
language legislation on the growth of the translation industry, and the implications of
that growth for the development of translation research and teaching.

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

The iconography of translation


The representation of translators though history can be revealing. Many translators have been punished, even
executed (Jan Hus, William Tyndale and tienne Dolet, all burned at the stake). Translators, including those put to
death in another era, have also been amply honoured. Homage has been paid in the form of monuments, paintings,
holidays, even postage stamps. Images of translators and the various monuments to their work make useful
pedagogical materials. Today's students, after all, are very much part of a visual generation, accustomed to tele- .
vision, cinema, information provided on CD-ROM and so on. Visual images, presented in the form of slides or
illustrations, reinforce information acquired from print sources and are hence an important element in a history of
translation course.
Assignments
Students were evaluated on the basis of two tests - a relatively factual midterm examination and a final essaytype one - and two papers, which involved going beyond the compulsory readings and exploring sources
available in the library. The first assignment was quite short and focused. Students were asked to write a portrait
of a translator.' This was to include biographical information, as well as a description of the period, the
translator's view of translation if known, and the importance of his or her work. Students could choose from a list
of subjects, which included John Wycliffe, John Florio, Madame Dacier, Mary Herbert and others. They were
expected to consult materials other than books on translation. The second assignment was a research paper,
requiring more thought and more advanced research skills. The following are two examples of the subjects the
students could choose from:
Show the links between religious conversion, conquest or colonization, and the development of languages. Illustrate your
remarks with examples drawn from at least three different countries.
Cultural politics in the Canadian context, past and present.

Conclusion

The success of any course is relative and varies tremendously from one student to another. While some
students found history just as far removed from their personal concerns at the end of the thirteen weeks as they
had at the beginning, most found the experience stimulating. One student, about to graduate and enter

Judith Woodsworth, Canada

17

the workplace, even let me know that learning about the accomplishments of past translators had made her
proud of her chosen profession and had given her the confidence to go on. A few others, who had found the
research particularly interesting, were motivated to pursue further studies in translation. Some of them, it is to
be hoped, will carry on and add to the growing body of knowledge in translation history.
Notes
1. I have served as vice-chair of the Committee for the History of Translation of the Fdration Internationale des Traducteurs and
co-editor of Translators through History /Les Traducteurs dans l'histoire.
2. This textbook is entitled A Translator's Guide to the Past: Reading the Pages of History. It will be published by St. Jerome
Publishing Co.
3. The subtitle of Louis Kelly's well-known book, The True Interpreter, is "A History of Translation Theory and Practice in the West".
4. Examples of each of these categories, with authors and titles, are given in Woodsworth 1996. 5. Jean Delisle has collected over
1000 slides depicting translators from around the world. He has put together different slide shows, some giving an overview of
translation history and others presenting more specific subjects such as St. Jerome. His guest presentation in my course was much
appreciated.
6. I am indebted to Jean Delisle, who teaches a Master's seminar in 'History of Translation' at University of Ottawa, for this
suggestion.

THE EMERGENCE OF THE TEACHING OF TRANSLATION


Cay Dollerup, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Introduction
This article is a first attempt to examine the emergence of the profession of teaching translation in Europe. One
should be cautious about generalising, and the pattern may not apply to, for instance, Chinese translation history as
discussed by Eva Hung in this book (p. 31 ff). But in Europe the emergence of translation teaching is, to some
extent, based on social factors, as well as being a process in individual teachers towards increased consciousness of
their role in society. I also suggest that a discussion of these factors sheds some light on the emergence of
'translation theory'.
The founding fathers of translation studies had no classroom and essentially no students they could address: their
pronouncements are musings based on their own work, possibly developed into precepts to be followed by those
who translate texts (implicitly) of the same type. The thinking has nearly always used one major, but limited,
approach to the complex communicational system involved in the act of translation. Hence the shifting loyalties
from 'author' to 'word' or to 'taste', hence the erratic jumping from 'objectivity' to 'subjectivity', in a 'theory' which, it
is claimed, started with St Jerome and which has evolved over centuries. Rather than affecting the actual practice of
translation work by translators (most of whom were blissfully unaware of the existence of incipient theory), these
forefathers prompted critics and other translators of a philosophical ilk to agree with or gainsay them. This led only
to isolated strings of thought, rather than interchanges of ideas and a consistent development towards a collective insight. Quite different are those people, bilinguals for instance, who have always been around and have (normally
unsystematically) assessed the work of translators; thus also applying criteria of quality.
Professional translation activity did not appear out of the blue, but was the outcome of numerous developments:
the beginnings of professional translation in Europe date back to the 17th century; but I posit that the profession
became important when, in late eighteenth-century and early nineteenth-century Europe, developments made it
necessary to teach foreign languages on a large scale. The first factor was the French Revolution, the aftermath of
which was indeed equality for more people and the introduction of merit as an important factor for social

20

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

advancement. Education became a common good. Industrialisation, with massproduction and improved
infrastructures in terms of better road systems, steam ferries, and railways, made international communication and
travel easier. Accordingly, the importance of mastering foreign languages became eminently clear to the rising
middle classes. The new reading masses craved something to consume, including books for education and
entertainment, and translation from foreign languages was an obvious means of adding to home-grown products
in order to acquire such material.
A stylised picture of language acquisition vs teaching of translation
We are in no way dealing with a clear-cut picture. We are dealing with trends, strands, developments and
movements which I isolate and on which I impose some order, and a figurative, stylised one at that: yet, although
this has no oneto-one correspondence to real life, in which conditions are never the same in different institutions,
countries and cultures, there is still some underlying truth in my statements.
Thus even the hard evidence about the emergence of language professionals illustrates both the divergence and
variety of scenarios as well as the fact that some essence common to all can be distilled.
Maria Sainz (1992: 132) describes how in Uruguay, translations made by legal translators became mandatory for
legal work in the late 19th century after the authorisation of Public Translators was introduced in 1885. In Denmark,
the first professional translators were employed by the State in 1635:' they worked at Elsinore where they had to
translate into Danish the lading documents of foreign ships which paid the 'Sound Dues', at that time a major source
of revenue for the Danish Crown. The translators were few and translated indiscriminately from all languages, with
nautical terms and the words for export articles as their main ' area, thus indicating that normally word-for-word
translation served the purpose. The title 'autoriseret translator' was introduced in 1782. I suggest that this is the
general pattern in Europe: the professional translators appear when trade, legislation, bilingual administration and
the like demand that words and documents must be understood in more or less the same way in different cultures
and can be intersubjectively (and naively) referred to as 'the same' with the same implications for people speaking
different languages.
In the 19th century, then, foreign language acquisition and teaching gain ground and become important. It is a
problem in our context that foreign lan

Cay Dollerup, Denmark

21

guage teaching and foreign language acquisition tie up with the ability to translate so that it is impossible to find
evidence of any translation teaching per se. It must have been an element of foreign language teaching, although
national variations were doubtless great.
The major leap forward intellectually is the introduction of a distinction between the learning of one (or more)
foreign languages, and the teaching of translation as a separate activity between specific language pairs.
In Denmark, professional translators founded a school, 'Translat0rskolen', around 1910 which operated courses
(in translation) on a commercial basis. They attracted mostly people already employed in business, trade or law. At
this particular school, where I attended a few classes back in 1960, teaching was rigidly prescriptive and carried out
by individualists. The school ceased operating around 1970 when its functions were finally transferred to a state
institution, the Copenhagen Business School? The point to note is that the decisive factor in establishing the
teaching of translation is a recognised social need for this to be done: in this case first by the professionals, whose
motivation has also been to improve the status of the profession, and, subsequently, by society at large, i.e. the State.
So, after this brief outline, I wish to turn to some of the parameters which, in my view, are prerequisites for
discussing the teaching of translation and its dialectics with translation theory.
The ideology of teaching

Teaching has an obvious ideology: above and beyond anything else it believes fervently, ardently and intensely in
the idea of progression. Of course, we usually take a metaview of this feature and consider it as a movement from
primitive ignorance to sophisticated knowledge, although this is more often merely a movement of a few degrees
towards the desired goal.
Teaching involves a triad of pupil, teacher and subject matter. It is a dynamic and social entity, worthwhile
exploring in the context of this volume, especially as far as teachers and their own knowledge or mastery of the
field are concerned.
The four generations of teachers
As hinted, one factor crucial to translation teaching is a natural evolution of a foreign-language teaching tradition
at a national level. This evolution normally spans at least three or four generations: the pioneers must appreciate
the need to

22

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

learn the foreign language and then learn it, in order to pass on language knowledge to the next generations,
whose command becomes increasingly better. In turn, the second generation train pupils who will go to foreign
countries and learn foreign tongues to perfection. In due course, a few of their pupils will then reach the apex
where they can study in the foreign language, and only the fourth or fifth generation will go in for full-blown
research including translation studies.
A scheme illustrating this intuition and the tools teachers are most likely to use at the various stages looks as
follows:
TABLE 1
Teacher
background

Teacher attitude to
Teacher reliance on
language and translation

First generation

Uncertain

Tools (grammars, dictionaries)

Second generation

Uncertain (certain)

'Tools' (dictionaries, word-lists)

Third generation

Certain (uncertain)

'Tools' (dictionaries, LSP, native speakers)

Fourth generation

Certain

Critical use of tools

First of all, let me hasten to add that this is not meant as scathing criticism. It is merely an attempt to trace
developments which are rarely discussed, but which must be raised to the conscious level to produce meaningful
connections between individual, personal experience and professional work in societal contexts.
But then the comments: members of the first generation of foreign-language teachers will perforce sometimes
be obliged by societal circumstances to carry out translation work, even if they are aware of their own
inadequacy. They will rely on authorities for their tools, which usually means dictionaries, grammars and the
like. What is more, they will not be willing to let go of these props. This implies that they will accept only a
limited number of 'correct renditions' in the target language. Their adherence to props is evidenced by constant
reference to the mother-of-all, the source-text: I contend that teachers of the first generation tend to be
proponents of word-for-word translation.
Cay Dollerup, Denmark

23

Second generation teachers will have some of the same problems, but, thanks . to their better background and to
the fact that they have had reasonable solutions rejected by their teachers, they will accept that occasionally the

tools may not be the final word. I suggest that this would also be the generation among whom we meet most of
those practitioners who will add notes of their own to dictionaries and make their own word-lists and catalogues:
they are the first to do translation on a tolerably regular basis. Once again, the emphasis in translation proper will be
on a literal translation, but there will be more deviation from the slavish wordfor-word procedure.
The third generation will have been well trained in the foreign language and in translation and will therefore,
feel less dependent on, say, dictionary solutions and be more aware of the inadequate and weak points in relation
to actual usage in the languages involved. Translation will stress fluency, and may well be on a sentence-bysentence level.
These developments will, of course, continue, with the fourth, fifth and subsequent generations, never to a point
where the translator is independent of tools, but merely where the 'best' balance is found between dependence on
tools and possible target language options within a given text type, and where the translator can transfer units of
meaning into appropriate functions in the target language.
The outline I have sketched can be amplified: as a line of progression it may apply to the individual learner and
to various phases in the personal development of the individual teacher of translation. Personally, I believe (but I
may be wrong) that I have moved from what I term the second to the fourth generation. Starting as foreignlanguage learners, students not only move from first or second generations and have attitudes characteristic of
these 'generations', such as demands for references to authoritative dictionaries and grammars, but, in relation to
their teachers, should ultimately end up one generation ahead.
On the other hand, this movement will never reach its ultimate goal as far as translation is concerned, because
this activity involves too many factors, such as successful decoding, encoding, background knowledge, societal
changes and the, like. In relation to a non-native language, the translator will, in terms of mastery move along an
axis from 0 to perhaps 90% proficiency.
And in relation to the native language, the mastery will, in translation, be perhaps 95-97% but, once again, never
complete, because the source text will at all levels constitute a constraint, perhaps an unconscious one, but
nevertheless a limitation in terms of the realisations in the target language, in the transiator's
24

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

mind: it is part of the awareness of translation, and hence competent teaching of translation, to be fully conscious
of the impossibility of the perfect translation.
In this particular context, I merely point out but do not discuss the inevitable dialectics between the tools at the
disposal of translators and students of translation: students' and teachers' satisfaction and disaffection with tools
must be strong forces for, respectively, preserving or improving them (such as dictionaries) as well as for the
development of new tools, methods and fields. Thus, for instance, we might point to a development in
lexicography from small generalist via large generalist dictionaries to dictionaries in Languages for Special
Purposes.
Yet the increased sophistication and degree of specialisation of the tools is an indivisible part of another axis of
development, a chronological development from amateurism to professionalism, and, in the modern world,
beyond professionalism to specialisation within all fields of human intercultural and international interchange.
Specialisation calls not only for tools, but also for fora in which matters of mutual interest can be discussed
(conferences, newsletters, journals), and for discussions of the principles underlying translational activity, 'theory'
if you wish.
The 'certainty-uncertainty' axis
There is another important parameter determining teacher attitudes to teaching translation: the teachers'
conscious or unconscious knowledge of his individual mastery of the source and target languages, which may have
some relation to the objective 'mastery axis' I just mentioned, but is not identical with it. The 'certain-uncertainty
axis' is a sensitive issue, only to be approached delicately and rarely touched. 'Uncertainty' will tie up with

individual experience and knowledge of the languages concerned. It will connect with the handling of difficulties
in decoding and encoding in the translation process, especially in the handling of tools of translation. It also relates
to the assessment of 'quality', 'correctness', and 'error identification', which fact has immense repercussions on
teaching attitudes. It influences teachers' views of colleagues and of discussions of matters pedagogical.
This part of the teacher-student-subject matter triad is, in effect, one which reaches far into what the individual
teacher will focus upon in translation classes. First generation teachers will be few and far between. They must rely
on themselves and will more often than not be unwilling to admit to weaknesses in their mastery. Such weaknesses
will result in loss of social status and, inevitably, in
25

Cay Dollerup, Denmark

loss of authority. In Danish and Norwegian literary history there is a well-known episode involving foreignlanguage teaching: as a young man, the celebrated dramatist and scholar Ludvig Holberg taught French in the
Norwegian township of Kristiansstad in 1706/7. To his chagrin he found that he had a Dutch competitor. The
two men criticised one another's French, and eventually they met for a public duel of words in French, both to
realise that neither of them was very good. So, in French, they agreed to call it quits and to praise one another's
French from then on. In other words: by keeping silent, they avoided admission of personal incompetence and
consequent loss of status. But of course there was no interchange leading to an improved standard.
Another realisation of the certainty-uncertainty axis relates directly to the teacher-student-subject matter
triad: this is in terms of the explanations proffered to students concerning linguistic and cultural realisations.
First generation teachers will, mainly because they themselves are uncertain, avoid any explanations at all.
Second generation teachers will go in for explicit explanation which is often wrong. Third generation teachers
come up with explicit explanation which tends to be correct and based on thorough work. And, thanks to their
superior command of the languages, the fourth generation will most often rely on intuitive explanations which
are most often correct.' This in turn often collides with first-generation student attitudes to have things 'proved
right' by reference to external authorities.
Generations and changes in emphasis
In social terms, it requires a minimum of foreign language mastery to be willing to discuss language and
teaching problems with colleagues, and I submit that this willingness increases the more 'certain' one feels about
language and translation. It also implies that in classwork first-generation teachers will focus more on what is
indisputable and can be checked than will subsequent generations. Tentatively, we might chart the development
the way it is illustrated in Table 2 (overleaf).
In this case, I believe that variations in the focus in teaching will differ from language pair to language pair
and, as I suggest in the table, from epoch to epoch: in Russia, I notice a very strong emphasis on lexis today. It
corresponds to an approach which was on the wane when I started to learn English at Danish schools more than
forty years ago.

26

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

TABLE 2
Teacher
background

Priority

Wish to discuss

Focus in teaching

First generation

Survival

None

Lexis, syntax

Second generation

Survival

Some

Syntax, lexis

Third generation

Improvement

More

Syntax, fluency, lexis

Fourth generation

Improvement

Much

Fluency, syntax,

Overall, the main development will be towards emphasising fluency, especially as more and more teachers come to
realise that native speakers are not perfect either.
Source texts and directionality
This parameter is often, I suggest, reflected in the materials used for translation teaching: in Denmark, I have
personally witnessed changes in terms of the texts used in translation teaching the way it is shown in Table 3 (on the
opposite page)
I must stress that this is a stylised presentation of real life. On the other hand, it does have a relationship with some of
the factors I have mentioned before. The use of back-translation as a tool for teaching and assessment connects with the
'certainty-uncertainty axis': the original source text is the perfect translation which the teacher can use as a yardstick for
assessing the students' degree of success. In the choice of texts, there is a move from literary texts to all text types. The
fact that teachers tamper with texts is, in my experience, motivated by their wish to improve the texts stylistically, and
occasionally because they find something so hard to translate themselves that they do not expect students to be able to
do so either. On the one hand, this then connects with the 'certaintyuncertainty' axis; on the other, with the gradual
acceptance of their own fallibility.
The most important step forward is, in my view, the acceptance of a double directionality in translation. Firstly, it
brings the real-life fact that most translators
Cay Dollerup, Denmark

27

actually have to work in at least two directions into the reality of the classroom (McAlester 1992).
TABLE 3
Teacher
background

Number of books

Characteristics of
texts used

Source of texts

First generation

Very few

Generalist language
DK>UK

English original in Danish. translated into


Danish

Second generation

More books

Generalist language
English texts.
Often edited.
UK>DK
Generalist and spe-

Third generation

Own material

Authentic Danish Danish and English. and


All text types. DK>UK and
Authentic Danish

cialist authentic and and English texts unedited texts.


DK>UK and UK>DK
The second point is fairly complex: translators make errors, but they do not make them deliberately. So, although they
may be aware that specific translations of their own are not perfect, the concrete target text is, nevertheless, the best they
can produce in the given circumstances. When they translate into a foreign language, errors in translation may cover the
whole spectrum of lexis, grammar, and style (as long as it is not revised) without the translators' knowledge. In texts
translated into the mother tongue, errors will tend to be lexical (that is semantic), whereas stylistic infelicities are rare and
grammar errors few and far between. Single directionality makes it possible to use translation exclusively as an instrument
for foreign language acquisition, for instance as grammar drills, and not as an activity distinct from language acquisition.
Conversely, double directionality brings to light a number of factors in the translation activity which were ignored in
single-directionality classes, such as the opaqueness of source texts and the importance of fluency and style in target texts;
and, especially when the target text is the mother tongue, students are in a strong position as far as assessment of 'errors'
are concerned. Teachers will have to accept that they, too, are fallible,

28

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

and provided their command of the language is good enough, they can even (occasionally) admit this without
losing status. I suggested before in my discussion of the progression in teaching and generations of teachers that
this admission of the non-existence of perfection is inherently part of translation. In class, this admission is a
prerequisite for the introduction of unedited sourcelanguage material from all text types, and for the acceptance of
several translated versions of the same source text.
The transition I am discussing here is of immense importance to the teacherstudent-subject matter triad which, as
it were, expands. This is also where translation breaks away from foreign language acquisition, and thus paves the
way for discussion of the principles of translation, sometimes called translation theory.
From secretiveness to collectivity and theory
In the last few parameters, I have begun to make the point that there are strong elements of a movement from
secretiveness, exemplified in, for instance, individual translator word-lists to dictionaries available on CD-ROMs
or translators' queries in the 'Internet', and from the dependence on what the 'authoritative dictionary' says, to the
willingness to have one's language revised, and an openness about fallibility.
The movement is therefore towards welcoming other views. It is a movement towards being challenged, as it
were, to open combat. It is a willingness to have views tested and rejected. It is a consciousness-raising process.
This is where the development in the teaching corresponds with theory: the intellectualising which makes it
obvious that - if not a theory - at least principles open to discussion are needed for a deepening understanding of
the procedures, methods and goals of translation. This interplay is illustrated in Table 4 (overleaf).
This, then, points towards another axis, a chronological development going from individualism to collectivism,
from one secretive person who has to defend individual territory to collective bodies defending status and, one
hopes, professional standards.
And at yet another level there is the axis spanning from amateurism via professionalism to specialisation. This
axis will apply to a considerable amount of theoretical thinking about translation and where professionalism is
largely connected with Eugene Nida (1964), and specialisation (in my view) with developments in language for
special purposes translation.
Cay Dollerup, Denmark

29

TABLE 4
Teacher
Background

Attitude

Work orientation

Attitude to theory

First

Secretiveness

Practical

Anti-theory generation

Second

Little openness

Practical

Anti-theory generation

Third
Fourth

Openness
Discussion

Practical/theoretical Positivist or general generation


Classroom
Empirical

generation

practical/theoretical or specific

Concluding remarks
Teachers of translation have not invented translation theory (or, better: 'Principles for and Factors in
Translation'), but they have forced it to take a firmer stand. My point is that before there was a massive societal
need for translators, there was no need for moving beyond belletristic wanderings. It is the societal need, which
was primarily made obvious by the appearance of translation and interpreting school and their staffs, which

called for the intellectualised props that qualify as 'theory': it is no coincidence that Savory could find mutually
conflicting points on what constituted a translation in 1969, but it is a misconception to believe that any of these
conflicting views represented a theory.
At that point, things had begun to move towards other areas, for the simple reason that the existence of new
text types calling for more faceted models of understanding had become painfully obvious. Similarly, it is
becoming gradually clearer that the old translation principles and 'theories' based on binary, predominantly IndoEuropean, contrasts must be supplemented to serve as explanatory models for a more internationalised world.
The era of fora for translators had also begun, but centred mostly on matters of common interest; status and
earning money.
Of course the latter also applies to teachers who have literally to survive, but they also need to understand
what they do and why, perhaps not always for them-

30

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

selves but in order to explain better to their pupils. They are part of the intellectualisation process important for the
creation of systematic sets of principles.
As far as such a set of principles is concerned, I personally find the views of Karl Popper as applied to translation
theory by Andrew Chesterman (1994) a most satisfying approach. But here we are once more back to teacher
personality. And finally let me stress here that this overview is also part of the consciousnessraising leading to
theory: if nothing else, this article has, hopefully, contributed to a meta-understanding which makes it possible for
each of us to define our roles in relation to both our students and to our preferred theories a little better.
Notes
1. I am indebted to Flemming Koue and to a special anniversary issue of Translatoren (47 # 3 (1985)) - for
information about the appearance of 'translatorer' (Public translators) in Denmark. 2. Information from Flemming
Koue.
3. These fine observations on changes in teacher explanations were originally made by Tjasa Miklic of the
University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

TRANSLATION CURRICULA DEVELOPMENT


IN CHINESE COMMUNITIES
Eva Hung, Chinese University of Hong Kong
Like all multilingual societies throughout the world, Chinese communities have seen translation and interpreting
activities for as long as their recorded history and beyond.' Those who are not familiar with the Chinese language
may not be aware of the fact that for the majority of Chinese people, the written language, differs substantially from
their spoken tongues? The language situation is further; complicated by the recent history of these communities,
which accounts for the prominence of English in Singapore and Hong Kong, and that of Japanese in , Taiwan.3 These
and other factors play a significant part in the varying stages of, development of translation and interpreting training
as an academic discipline in, these communities.
Historical cases
Education is invariably linked to the political, economic and/or military needs of a nation or region. In looking at
the development of one particular discipline - in this case translation and interpreting - one sees how such forces
work for or, against it. It is significant that all known pre-twentieth century attempts to train translators and
interpreters in China were initiated by the central government.' in China official posts of translators (xiang) and
interpreters (she ren) were established as early as the l lth century B.C., and mention is made of the gathering of

translators from various feudal states for training in the central government at seven-year intervals (Zhou li: 401).
However, the duration and the nature of the, training is unknown.
The first extant record of systematic translator-training in China dates back to the tenth century. It occurred on
the crest of the wave of a Buddhist scripture translation movement which lasted nine centuries.' In the year 983 the
monktranslator Tianxizai petitioned the Emperor to select fifty children in the capital to be schooled in Sanskrit,
Chinese and Buddhist doctrines so that scriptural translation would not have to be so heavily dependent on foreign
monks. This is the first proposed syllabus for translator-training. The proposal was put into action, and a dozen
children were selected for the course and later initiated as monks (Ma Zuyi 1984: 72). However, it was a once-off
effort and there was no
32

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

further development. As the state's perceived need for translators was highly specific and therefore limited, the
demand for training was not kept up.
The first sustained training course for translators and interpreters in China was developed in the thirteenth
century by the Yuan (Mongol) dynasty which found that its extensive trade and military activities outside China
called for the use of Persian. In 1289 the government set up the National Academy of Persian (Huihui guozi xue).
There are no extant records of the academy's syllabus except a reference to its courses as being structured in the
same way as Chinese courses (Fu Ke 1986: 7-8).
The first multi-lingual national academy for translator and interpreter training in western languages was the
College of Languages (Tongwen guan). The aim of the college was to produce linguists for the government's
dealings with foreign countries at a time when China was threatened politically as well as territorially by
aggressive foreign powers. Established in 1862 in Peking, the College offered an eight-year curriculum which
included instruction in foreign languages (English, French and Russian, followed by German in 1888 and
Japanese in 1898), world history and geography, mathematics, international law, astronomy and economic
studies.' In 1902 the College was incorporated into the National Capital University (the forerunner of Peking
University) which offered degrees in foreign languages but no professional training. Whereas the training of
translators and interpreters was taken over by the College of Interpreters (Yixue guan) which had a five-year
curriculum modelled on that of the former College of Languages.
In the Republican era (1911-1949) the urgency of translator and interpreter training lessened for two major
reasons: 1) the number of foreign-trained or missionary school-trained students increased,' supplying a pool of
people with foreign language ability for government and commerce; and, 2) the Republican era was never
politically or militarily stable, and since the major threats to nationhood were perceived to be internal rather than
external, the priority of translator and interpreter training declined significantly.
The People's Republic of China
In 1949 the Chinese Communist Party established a Socialist government in China. For ideological reasons as
well as political, economic and military needs, the favoured foreign language was Russian, and consequently the
greatest needs for linguistic transfers were Russian-Chinese.' The Chinese government's sus
Eva Hung, Hong Kong

33

picion of the non-Communist world also meant that foreign language learning became a sensitive area. However,
the necessity to carry on with instruction in all major foreign languages continued to a greater or lesser extent (with
the exception of the ten years of the Cultural Revolution when higher education came to a standstill), for it is also
essential to know the languages of one's adversaries.
Education in the Peoples Republic, like all other aspects of life, was centrally organized until recently.
Translation courses offered in the universities follow guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Education, and each

foreign language has its own guidelines.' My discussion will be based on the situation of English, for in China it
now boasts the largest number of students and the greatest demand for translation and interpreting.
Universities in China are based on a four-year system. English-Chinese translation courses are offered in the
third and/or fourth years as part of English language acquisition. The English Teaching Guidelines list seven
learning categories: listening, speaking, reading, writing, translation, use of reference books, and cultural
knowledge. Translation, though a compulsory element, is only allocated two teaching hours per week for a
minimum of two and a maximum of four terms (i. e. 1-2 years, or 80-160 teaching hours). There are also two text
books which are commonly available, one for English-Chinese translation and the other for Chinese-English
translation. Now let us look at the actual instruction carried out in universities.10 The two weekly hours allocated to
translation include all the theoretical and practical work related to translation and interpreting, so on average
students are given weekly one-hour assignments (150-200 words). Though the Teaching Guidelines mention
interpreting (the ability to interpret daily conversation at third year level, and to interpret general statements on
political, economic and cultural subjects at fourth year level), the universities I have surveyed do not actually offer
training in interpreting. The variation between two to four terms of academic instruction depends on two factors: 1)
the language standard of the students; and 2) the availability of teachers.
Though there are two standard text books available, both from the early 1980s, and some universities (but not all)
which prescribe them, these books (Lu Ruichang 1983; Zhang Peiji 1993) are perceived to be outdated, and all the
Chinese teachers surveyed stressed that they find it necessary to compile their own teaching material, particularly
short pieces for translation exercises. This testifies to the rapid changes which have taken place in China within the
last ten years. It ' also shows the teacher's awareness of the real needs for translation and inter-

34

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

preting which their students should be trained to fulfil." In the teachers' desire to equip students with the necessary
basic skills of a translator, and to provide them with the exposure to the kind of material they will be asked to
translate in their future jobs, we see the first move towards the idea of professional training.
The basic problem of translation instruction in China lies in its subordinate status. Translation is not the favourite
subject of the foreign languages teaching staff because it involves too much homework. Most of the courses are
assigned to junior members of staff, making the job both unattractive and unprestigious. Until now China has not seen
the need for translation and interpreting courses at the postgraduate level because until the early 1990s all university
graduates were assigned jobs by the government, and those given specialist translation employment would have been
provided with on-the-job training by their work-units. Now graduates look for jobs independently, and an increasing
number are employed in international commerce and tourism-related service industries. Whatever their job description,
because of their foreign language know-how they will be called upon to assume professional duties in the field at
various levels. How should higher education deal with this situation? Though there are now some M.A. courses
specializing in translation offered by foreign languages departments, most have a decided literary slant. What are the
possible steps which can be taken to enhance the training of translators and interpreters? Our colleagues in the People's
Republic may find it useful to study how translation courses have been developing in other Chinese communities and
the problems they are faced with.
Singapore
In Singapore, English-Chinese translation has been part of the programmes offered by the Department of Chinese
at the National University of Singapore since the 1960s as an elective leading to a degree in Chinese (a 3-year
system). There is also the possibility of opting for a fourth year translation specialization which leads to an Honours
degree in English-Chinese translation, but the percentage of students who qualify for specialization has remained
small." Compared with courses in China, the structure of these Singapore translation courses is more strictly defined
in that there is a clear demarcation between theoretical and practical work, as shown in Chart 1 (on the opposite
page). However, that is only a reflection of the structural conception; actually only 2 or 3 teaching hours per week are

devoted to translation practice, but since most practical work takes the
Eva Hung, Hong Kong

35

form of home assignments, this effectively increases the students' practical work hours. We can see from the
chart that all non-practicum aspects come under the heading of translation theory, which may strike some of us
as lacking in sophistication but which, given the restriction of functioning in a language and literature
department, may be the best one can do. The additional year of optional specialization reflects the dilemma of
recognizing the need for more intensive training and not being able to provide truly professional courses.
Though the scope of courses offered at the university is limited, it has clear objectives in the training of its
students, most of whom will seek employment in relevant government departments and the mass media if they
are interested in a career in translation. Because of the language situation in Singapore, and because of its size,
demand for translation and interpreting work is not comparable to other Chinese communities. On the other
hand, professional training in translation (including conference interpreting) calls for significant investment in
terms of funding and manpower which may not be deemed cost effective by the government. Given the linguistic
advantages of a multilingual society like Singapore, the natural development would be in the direction of a multilingual translation and interpreting school or department which encompasses at least all Singapore's

36

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

official languages. Should such a department be established, it may in time be developed into a professional
training centre to fulfil South East Asia's needs for translation and interpreting. However, at the moment
translation remains overshadowed by other language and literature courses, and interpreting courses are not
offered at the undergraduate level.
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is the first among the four Chinese communities under discussion to teach translation as an
academic discipline rather than as an element of foreign language acquisition. At the moment there are five B.A.
level programmes and three M.A. courses. The language situation in Hong Kong since its cession to Britain in
1842 has been dictated by its status as a colony. Until twenty-one years ago, there had just been one official
language - English. And yet the majority of the population are native Cantonese speakers, so the necessity for
translation work has always existed. In an article entitled 'Education of the Nation', Lancelot Forster wrote in
1938:
Here in Hong Kong, the first need was for a group of people who were familiar with both the
Chinese and the English language, young men who could serve in commercial firms, govern
ment offices and in banks; hence the rise of numerous secondary schools which could furnish the necessary
supply. (Forster 1938: 39)
Almost fifty years later, except for two minor amendments which need to be made, Forster's statement still holds
true. Amendment No.1, for "young men", read "young women and a small number of young men"; amendment
No.2, for "secondary schools", read "university courses". These two minor amendments speak volumes about the
changes which have taken place in Hong Kong in the last fifty years. The changed status of women falls outside
of the scope of our discussion, so we will concentrate on university-level courses in translation and interpreting.
Translation (but not interpreting) courses started as a minor subject at the University of Hong Kong and the
Chinese University in the 1960s. It was not until the mid 1970s that an effort was made to structure it as an
academic discipline. The effort coincided with the recognition of Chinese as the second official language in Hong
Kong, which resulted in a sudden increase in translation and interpreting work within the government. Not only
were more translators needed, but because of the equal status given to Chinese and English, the quality of trans-

lators also had to be upgraded." This largely political need was magnified in the

Eva Hung, Hong Kong

37

early 1980s by an explosion in China trade as a result of China's new policies, thus creating an overwhelming
economic need for translators and interpreters. This second wave of sustained demand changed not just the
quantity but the basic conception of the training programmes in Hong Kong.
The first course with a professional orientation was the Higher Diploma in Translation and Interpretation
offered by the Hong Kong Polytechnic." Its structure is illustrated in Chart 2.
Unlike the university courses, the training was much more intensive and career-oriented. It was also the first
course of its kind in Hong Kong to make Mandarin a compulsory element. Starting from the mid 1980s Mandarin
has gained a foothold in all university-level courses. It is now a compulsory element

38

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

in most of the translation and interpreting programmes offered in Hong Kong, and its economic importance
has in turn been enhanced by the political changes in Hong Kong in the run-up to 1997.
Hong Kong university-level translation and interpreting courses of the same period, on the other hand, were
primarily academic rather than professional; this is reflected in the conception and orientation of these courses.
Let us look at these historical models in Charts 3 and 4.

Eva Hung, Hong Kong

39

I would suggest that the literary model constituted an academic course of studies because it offered a coherent
vision which embraced elements other than practicum. It did not aim at teaching a skill, but rather at the
enhancement of perceptual and analytical powers within the parameters of the course structure. However, it was
not a professional course because it did not prepare its students for the demands of the profession. After all, few
career translators would ever be asked to translate twelfth-century poetry or second-century philosophical works.
The practical model, which is the early prototype of some of the current degree courses, offers considerably more
exposure to practical work and is closer in conception to the professional models at institutions such as Monterey
in the US. In terms of student calibre, however, the Hong Kong courses are at a considerable disadvantage. One
interesting and rather significant point is that the majority of university teachers who themselves studied
translation and interpreting as undergraduates have come from the literary branch.
This leads us to the many problems which face the development of professional translation and interpreting
courses in Hong Kong. The first concerns teachers. Many Hong Kong courses have evolved from minor and
elective programmes offered within the parameters of a traditional language and literature department. This has a
direct impact on the course structure for two reasons:
1) teachers assigned to the courses were initially all scholars of literature with
little knowledge of the practical world inhabited by professional translators and '
interpreters; in exploiting their own strengths, they inevitably pushed the
courses in a literary direction.
2) The university authorities have often failed to recognize the different needs
of a professional course of studies as opposed to literature degrees. To give a
concrete example, they would put up immense obstacles to the hiring of pro
fessionals as full-time lecturers because, however experienced the translators
or interpreters, they do not have a PhD. The impact of this bureaucratic mind
set is being increasingly felt because of the recent changes in Hong Kong's
tertiary education system: polytechnics, which in the 1970s pioneered a profes
sional approach towards translator and interpreter training, have now all been
'upgraded' to universities. As a result, they too are demanding from their
teaching staff members a PhD and a long list of publications.
The second problem concerns the language situation in Hong Kong. The majority of students are native
Cantonese speakers, and Cantonese is significantly different from standard written Chinese. Students are thus
immensely disadvan-

40

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

taged linguistically, for as soon as they attend school, they are faced with the task of learning not one, but two
foreign languages. The situation is worsened by a refusal to face up to the facts. Since English is taught from
kindergarten upwrds, there has been the claim that Hong Kong students are bilingual. That is, unfrtunately, far
from the case. The decline in language standards is a world-wide phenomenon, but its impact on what should have
been a bilingual society is doubly strong. It is perhaps time that we examine our goals of teaching translation and
interpreting at the undergraduate level and face up to the very obvious objective limitations.
The third problem concerns the admission and graduation requirements of professional courses. Ideally both
processes should be under the complete control of the course teachers and administrators, but in Hong Kong this is
not practicable at the undergraduate level. Undergraduates are admitted on the results of their A levels, a governmentadministered examination.ls Once students are enrolled, it is difficult to fail them. While a screening test was used to
establish a minimum standard in the days when translation courses were offered as a minor or elective subject, now
that it has been established as a major subject, ironically this control mechanism cannot be applied for technical
reasons. '
The dramatic expansion of university education in the last five years has led to a lowering of the average
standard of students. Hong Kong academics are keenly aware of the problems and of the fact that not everyone who

has gone through the undergraduate courses is qualified to become a translator or inter- , preter. There is a continuing
search for ways to improve the situation. Unlike its parallels in China, the Hong Kong tertiary education system
encourages individuality in programme design, and the majority of the programmes try to find their own niche. To
give an example, while B.A. programmes in Hong Kong are based on a three-year system, one translation and
interpreting programme is a four-year course with the third year being a compulsory internship designed to tackle
the problem of the professional gap. 16 Another programme offers the only combinedmajor available in Hong Kong,
allowing students cross-departmental as well as
cross-faculty options." Yet another translation and interpreting course realistically
describes its goals as producing "bilingual generalists and/or translation ex
perts",18 thus stating that not all their graduates have the necessary expertise for
professional work.
The funding and administration structure of universities in Hong Kong, and the declining average language
abilities of undergraduates are highly restrictive to the
Eva Hung, Hong Kong

41

development of truly professional courses at the undergraduate level. The way forward would be to develop
professional courses at the graduate level (current translation and interpreting M.A. degrees in Hong Kong are
again more academically than professionally oriented), perhaps along the lines of the two-tier system ' at Vienna's
School of Translation and Interpreting. There will always be the top
15-20% of Hong Kong undergraduates who will acquire enough linguistic and professional know-how to work in
translation and interpreting; then there will be
those who will benefit from further intensive professional training; finally, there will be those who will have
learned that their career lies outside of this field.
Taiwan
,
Since we are on the subject of a professional M.A. translation and interpreting degree, we must turn our
attention to Taiwan, specifically to the Graduate Institute of Translation and Interpreting Studies (GITIS) at Fujen
University." Started in 1988, this is still the only professional translation and interpreting course offered by a
university in a Chinese community. What differentiates this course from those mentioned earlier in this article
are: 1) a division between translation and interpreting streams according the practice and standards of
professional schools; 2) a tight control in the student selection process; and 3) multi-language options.
Since the programme is a post-graduate degree with a tight selection process, the need for basic knowledge
and language acquisition (as in the case of China) and for remedial measures (as in the case of Hong Kong and
Singapore) is relatively small. In terms of training facilities (particularly in conference interpreting) it is way
ahead of programmes offered by other Chinese communities.
This does not mean that the course does not face its share of problems. One major hurdle in the provision of
professional translator and interpreter training in any country is the demand for cost-effectiveness from the
authorities. The low student intake naturally leads to challenges from the university administrative bodies. In
order to ensure that admission standards will not be lowered because of pressure from number-crunchers, a
translation stream has been developed in the last two years, thus substantially increasing the annual student
intake. This of course puts pressure on the teaching staff. The course is heavily reliant on part-time staff
members, a fact which has its advantages as well as its drawbacks: the advantage being experience and contact
with the professional translation and

42

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

interpreting world, while two of the major drawbacks are difficulty in coordination as
well as the part-timers' lack of promotional prospects.
Towards a conclusion
Among the four Chinese communities under discussion, one can map out four
stages of development in university-level translation and interpreting training: 1) as part
of foreign language acquisition; 2) as a minor but independent programme in a language
and literature department; 3) as a recognized academic degree; and 4) as a fully
professional degree.
It must be pointed out that these four stages do not necessarily follow one upon
another. Significantly, Taiwan did not go through stages two and three to arrive at the
professional programme. Similarly, it is doubtful whether China needs to (it may actually
be ill-advised to) cover stages two and three.
What this reflects is the difference in the nature of the four Chinese societies: Singapore
and Hong Kong are conceived to be bilingual or multi-lingual, China and Taiwan are not.
In the former case, entry-level university students presumably have enough bilingual
linguistic ability to study translation as an independent subject; in the latter case, it is
assumed that students are in need of basic language instruction and are not capable of
handling translation and interpreting training at the undergraduate level. This basic
difference, coupled with the differing priorities and needs of the four governments, have
led to the four kinds of courses we have just looked at, all with their inherent problems. In
some cases, notably in universities in Hong Kong, the problems are compounded by the
issue of changing student and society expectations of university education. Present day
students and employers tend to demand skills-oriented translation and interpreting courses
to fulfil an immediate career need, perhaps to the detriment of the ultraskills aspects of
university education. At a time when translation and interpreting studies as an independent
discipline is gathering rapid momentum, the experience of Chinese communities may be a
useful point of reference for our colleagues in other language groups."
Notes
1. In this article, 'translation curricula' refers specifically to translation and interpreting
degree courses offered at the university, level in recognized tertiary education institutes;
the U.N. Programme in Beijing and the courses offered by commercial schools in Hong
Kong and Taiwan are not included here. The 'Chinese communities' under discussion are
four geographical/political entities: the People's Republic of China, the Republic of China
on Taiwan, Hong Kong and
Eva Hung, Hong Kong

43

Singapore. They are defined loosely as 'Chinese communities' because the majority of their
population is Chinese. However, in terms of the recent history of languages used in these

communities, they show significant differences from each other. 2. There are about eighty
Chinese dialects and minority languages in active use in China. Some of the minority
languages belong to language families different from standard Chinese; even regional
Chinese dialects can be as different from each other as the more closely-related European
languages (See Huang Changzhu 1993).
A small number of these dialects are also in active use in Taiwan, Hong Kong and
Singapore. Barring some stylistic differences and the use of simplified characters in China
and Singapore vs. traditional characters in Taiwan and Hong Kong, the written language is
the same.
3. English is one of the four official languages in Singapore and the one most commonly
used. In Hong Kong it was the only official language until 1974 when Chinese was given
official status by the government. Taiwan was under Japanese occupation from 1895 to
1945. Mandarin, the Chinese national language, was not introduced in Taiwan until after
1945. 4. One may argue that non-state-sponsored attempts would most probably have gone
unrecorded. Nevertheless, given the fact that the state controlled the only desirable career
outlet for aspiring students - a career in officialdom - it is doubtful that there could have
been any sustained nonstate effort to provide foreign language training. On at least one
occasion, the government decreed all private tuition in foreign languages to be illegal (Fu
Ke 1986: 9-10). 5. 148-1110. Some put the date of the first translation as early as A.D. 70.
6. The College of Languages' syllabus and list of teachers can be found in Xiong Yuezhi
(1994). 7. A census carried out in November 1921 records that there were 13,637 schools
(ranging from kindergarten to university) founded and run by Protestant and Catholic
missionaries in China (Fu Ke 1986: 60-61).
8. China and the USSR broke off their friendly relations in the early 1960s, after which
China went into a period of almost complete isolation. In the late 1970s and early 80s a
large number of university teachers of Russian were 'retrained' to teach English. 9. For this
paper I have used the 1990 edition of the Ministry of Education's English Language
Teaching Guidelines (Gaodeng 1990).
10. Data used here are based on methods of actual instruction carried out in the following
People's Republic of China universities: Peking University, Beijing Foreign Languages
University, Shandong University, Suzhou University, Tianjin Normal University, Shanghai
International Studies University, Shanghai Foreign Languages University and Sichuan
University. M.A. courses which have been launched recently at Chinese universities are
not covered here (For a brief introduction to their syllabus see Caminade and Pym 1995:
55; 57). 11. Teachers of translation in China have published articles detailing the problems
of translation instruction in its current form and proposing possible changes (Suiran and
Zhao Hua 1993; Mu 1993).
12. In the academic year 1994-95 no one took the specialization.
13. Up to the early 1970s the minimum education requirement for Chinese Language
Officers (the title for government translators) was A levels, and a large percentage of new
recruits were nongraduates. That has long ceased to be the case.
The government also started its own Simultaneous Interpreting training programme in the
late 1970s to supply professional interpreters for its own bilingual conference needs. 14.
This was upgraded to B.A. in 1989. The Hong Kong Polytechnic became the Hong Kong
Polytechnic University in 1995.
15. The pass rate for A-level Use of English has dropped consistently in the last few years:

85% in 1992, 76.5%'o in 1994, and 76.1% in 1995 (South China Morning Post, 24 May
1995).
44

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

Significantly, the universities are lowering their minimum entrance requirements from D to E in
response to the dwindling percentage of eligible candidates.
16. This is the B.A. offered by Baptist University since 1990. This highly successful element in the
course takes so much effort on the part of the staff that no other translation and interpreting
course offers anything similar to it.
17. At the University of Hong Kong students can combine translation with subjects in the arts, the
sciences and the social sciences. It has the largest number of translation students among Hong
Kong tertiary institutions.
18. General Information on Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Translation, Dept. of Translation, Lingnan
College, February 1995.
19. The school's original curriculum design is described in Arjona-Tseng (1993). For its first year
enrolment in 1988 (interpreting only), only three students were admitted. Since then there have
been changes, the most significant being the introduction of a translation stream.
20. In gathering information for this article I have been assisted by colleagues in various
universities in Hong Kong, China, Singapore and the US. I am especially indebted to Mr Liu Shusen,
Mr Xie Tianzheng and Dr C.Y. Lee. I am also grateful to Ms Alena Chow who helped me produce the
charts. In addition, the following sources have been used. [Hong Kong] Translation course
descriptions of Baptist University, City University, Hong Kong University, Hong Kong Polytechnic
University, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. [Taiwan] Curriculum of the Graduate Institute
of Translation and Interpreting Studies, Fujen University, Taiwan.
[Singapore] Translation course outline, Department of Chinese. National University of Singapore.
[China] Course outlines or Description for translation classes in Peking University, Beijing Foreign
Languages University, Shandong University, Suzhou University, Tianjin Normal University,
Shanghai International Studies University, Shanghai Foreign Languages University, and Sichuan
University.

TEACHING THEORY AND CULTURE

TEACHING - TRANSLATION - THEORY: COMMUNICATIVE HORIZONS FOR


CRITICAL PRACTICES 9
Christopher Larkosh,
University of California at Berkeley, US
It is impossible to fix, with any degree of certitude, a single place of theory1 in the teaching of literary
translation; there can be no doubt, however, that theo-` ries of literary translation cannot be reduced merely to
yardsticks brought in to be applied to translations of literary texts in order to judge their quality. It is rather the
translated literary text which already holds out the possibility for' theory, and in its passage from source to target
language simultaneously calls forth a reading of the act of translation as well; it offers its own theories and
possibilities for thinking about its transformation, as it continues to traverse the' already problematized boundaries
of languages and national cultures. If one proceeds from the assumption that translation studies is an "emergent"
discipline which must fight for territory with other disciplines (l efevere 1980), one might find an explanation for

the discursive strategies by which those invested in the institutionalization of Translation Studies have attempted to
establish it more firmly as a separate discipline in the university. Such thinking about translation has often also been
prefaced with impatience with the navet of non-experts in attempting to theorize about translation and with
dismay over the repetition of commonplaces (Even-Zohar 1980). The critical posture of clich seeking, however, is
perhaps in itself the commonplace par excellence of literary and translation studies; the idea I begin with, that the
limits of theory cannot be determined by a supposed applicability, could also be considered clich, but in literaryy
and translation studies, much of our work is that of returning to the well-known and in rereading to find something
there that perhaps escaped us the first time, finding the horizon of the unknown in what we presume to know best. s
It is significant that comparative literature, the study of literary relations among national language traditions, is
often seen as some sort of monolithic "quasidiscipline" which threatens the ever-emergent discipline of Translation
Studies (Lefevere and Bassnett 1990). Bassnett-McGuire (1991) goes as far as to say that "the revised view of the
translation studies-comparative literature position makes Translation Studies the principle [sic] discipline, with
comparative literature as an important branch of that discipline." But must studies on trans-' lation assume a
consolidated institutional space, or is it even possible to limit a

48

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

study of translation to any program or department dedicated solely to it? Squabbling over the legitimate boundaries
for the study of translation is a poor excuse for translation theory. If we stop to think about translation, one might
recognize that it has always been an activity which problematizes the tenuous boundaries between national
cultures and their literary traditions, institutions and disciplines, and that teaching literature in translation is and
always has been implicitly an act of theorizing on literary translation, one in which both teachers and students can
and do collaborate. One might go so far as to ask whether it is possible to theorize on translation when one comes
to the project not so much as a theorist, but first and foremost as the standard-bearing representative of an
institutional discipline, one which, like its bearer, must be either in emergence or in decline.
These debates over institutional borders seem especially insignificant when one recognizes that in many
countries the university is in a continual state of emergency across the board, regardless of discipline, one subject
to censorship, cuts in funding, etc. Yet it remains, along with commercial publishing houses, the primary 'common
place' of literary translation. The academic institution, however, has yet to be called into question by translation
theorists to the extent that it has by thinkers such as Jacques Derrida and Pierre Bourdieu (Tavor Bannet
1992). Thus one can see that fidelity, that much-discussed preoccupation of translation theory, is not only an issue
which concerns the relationship between author and translator: teachers, when they emerge as institutional officials
of translation, are nonetheless hesitant to theorize on their relationship with the common places within which they
teach and translate. Is it possible for translators to think outside of these institutional boundaries as well, indeed, to
imagine new spaces for work in translation, to say nothing of 'new horizons'?
Given the common notion of linguistic uniformity and lack of familiarity
with translation in media which, according to translators from so-called 'minor'
language countries (Gottlieb 1991), is supposed to characterize those from 'major
language' societies, how might translation in such societies begin to uncover
minor language registers? Some theorists of translation seem to favor specific
historical locales as privileged multilingual environments, as does Berman when
he asserts that "a person walking the streets of Paris or Antwerp must have heard
more languages than are heard today in New York City: His language was only
one among many, which relativized the meaning of the mother tongue" (1981).
This relativization of the mother tongue, however, is precisely what has always
characterized the relationship to language in migrant communities such as those
Christopher Larkosh, USA

49

which characterize the 20th-century metropolis, and a relationship which the teacher of translation might take a few
lessons from.
The challenge to the 'major' language speaker could also be what Deleuze describes in Dialogues:
We must be bilingual even in a single language. We must have a minor language inside our own language. We must create a minor use
of our language. Multilingualism is not merely the property of several systems, each of which would be homogeneous in itself: it is
primarily the line of flight or variation which affects each system by stopping it from being homogeneous. Not speaking ... in a language
other than one's own, but on the contrary
speaking in one's own language like a foreigner (Deleuze 1977: 4-5).

Contrary to the images in the mass media which too often form the basis for notions of a majoritarian 'American'
culture at home and models for it abroad (especially on those levels of cultural and intellectual exchange which aspire
to be 'international'), English is still incapable of establishing any sort of totalizing linguistic hegemony. Print, video
and other media are continue to operate on minor frequencies, especially as translators and other cultural workers
explore registers more resistant to hegemonic control, such as alternative presses, desktop publishing, contraband and
home videotape, and other elusive sites on the information landscape which has come to be known as cyberspace. It is
perhaps for this reason that teachers, educated in elite institutions and taught the languages of a polyglot, yet
nonetheless classical Continental curriculum, are faced with what is lacking in their own education when they witness
the arrival of children from a different and unfamiliar cultural milieu, one which is often distinctly non-Western, or
one which Lefevere might call one of "beauticians, cooks and secretaries" (198 1). This background, nonetheless, has
already trained them from an early age to interpret and translate for their parents and peers, and whose vision before
literature is not always like that of "most translators," who "prefer Shakespeare to soap operas" (Delabastita 1990). In
this future place for translation theory, common for some, uncommon for others, that the 'minor,' i. e., the
delegitimized language of the immigrant and the refugee, is already at work within the major linguistic registers of
institutional power.
The study of translation not only problematizes borders between languages, but also those of identity, especially
that which some intellectuals have staked out for themselves in institutional print culture as an established literary and
cultural vanguard, and like it or not, it is the study of translation which will ensure that translators from the old school
cannot limit themselves to the institution, but must

50

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

dare to consult with their students in any thinking of translation which points towards its horizons.
The students are already representative of the 'unheard of' within the univer
sity; they arrive with varying levels of identification with their racial or ethnolinguistic background, thereby
suggesting what many teachers of translation have perhaps chosen to ignore: that there is still much work to be
done in exploring the relationship between translation theory and other 'emergent disciplines' such as theories of
gender, race and ethnicity (Khatibi 1983; Niranjana 1992).` These students are bilingual in languages that our
institutions cannot offer further education in, and they often come to the act of translation with projects already in
mind, ones which attempt to communicate their cultural experiences as immigrants and active cultural
participants in U. S. society and its subcultures. So perhaps the Argentine pedagogue Emilia Ferreiro (1986)
would agree with me when I say that many of my students in California already possess extensive experience in
translation and interpreting when they enter the university, as their multilingual media environment, from their
immigrant parents and siblings to the subtitled foreign movies which enter their homes on television programs,
has already prepared them for further work in translation. The more compelling question, however, remains: is
the academic institution prepared to respond to the children of these immigrant families who may wish to
continue the study of those languages in which they are already proficient when they enter the university?
The continuing flow of millions of immigrants throughout the world is emblematic of the often arbitrary
nature of regimes of government, information and education, and the ways in which we are often subjected to a
number of conflicting institutional indoctrinations in a single lifetime. In a class on theories of literary
translation, it is not necessary to duplicate the lessons which students have already been taught by their native or
adopted cultural milieu, for example, that they have no choice of language beyond the one which is officialized,

and that mass media not only provides them with a full fare of cultural products foi consumption but also with
the officially correct interpretation of them (Ferreiro 1986). What is left to be taught, then, is not always
explicitly curricular, but a result of a classroom structure which has been subjected to revision by the teacher, one
which encourages intellectual inquiry and challenges what students may have already been taught about
education as they pass through its institutions.
Teaching translation theory, then, might begin with an invitation to critical reading: on the part of the
teacher, choosing a corpus of translated works of lite

Christopher Larkosh, USA

51

rature and subtitled films which thematize unique scenes of translation, and those relationships between author
and translator which are legible in the translated text. Many of the works of Jorge Luis Borges', for example, have
been read frequently as points of reference towards theories of literary translation ('Pierre Mnard, autor del
Quijote' is perhaps the most often cited example). In his other works, however, as in the rest of Argentine
literature (as what culture is not dependent upon translation to negotiate its tenuous cultural relationship with the
rest of the world?), there are many more works which allow a rethinking of translation. Much lesser known are
those of the translator and short story writer Jos Bianco; two of his novellas, Las ratas (1943) and Sombras suele
vestir (1941) provide a more extensive perspective on translation within the tenuous relationship called literary
community, especially when read with those of their other Buenos Aires contemporaries. In proposing an
introduction to authors no doubt unfamiliar to a general audience, it becomes clear that in order to demonstrate
how one might begin teaching literary translation theory, one must at some point begin reading, even though, in
this space dedicated to the teaching, I may have no alternative but to give short shrift to literary translation's
greatest teacher: literature itself. Too often on the way to teaching translation one loses sight of, reading, the sort
of shared, critical reading which is the point of departure for those epochal projects which point out and test
literary translation's horizon, yet which have become all too uncommon in teaching translation theory. One such
uncommon place for reading as a point of departure towards translation might be the chess salon of the Caf Rex
in Buenos Aires, where in 1946-47 the Polish author Witold Gombrowicz translated his novel Ferdydurke from
Polish into Spanish with the help of the Cuban writers Virgilio Piera and Humberto Rodrguez Tomeu, along
with others who frequented the caf? To teach Ferdydurke and Gombrowicz's other works in Polish in a course on
Polish literature, allows' readings which critique the ideological stances of interwar Europe and Polish literary
traditions. Translation reminds us that Gombrowicz is more than that, that he attempts to transcend facile readings
based on a nation's canonical determinism in which the work of one great national author continually teaches us
how to read his progeny. To introduce this work in Spanish translation, however, can offer a new position from
which to read, that of the literary newcomer who struggles with translation of his ideas into a new cultural and
linguistic milieu: The act of translation becomes a narrative in itself: one of immigration, the loss of national
identity, and negotiation with new and foreign cultural and literary in52

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

stitutions not unlike those he mentions in the original, such as the educational institution,
and the teaching of languages, literature and translation. Gombrowicz's classroom
presents us with two untenable positions as the students begin to translate: that of the
one who faithfully submits to the farcical limits of the curriculum, continuing to
retranslate within the limits of the Great Masters of national culture, and that of the one
who rebels, seeing nothing but the uselessness of attempting to submit to the
pedagogical project of the preceding generation. The horizon in this teaching of
translation lies beyond these two extremes: the students' intervention results from a

dialogue with the teacher, and is ultimately their first step in the attempt to negotiate
with the institution.
Perhaps it is in response to such a classroom scene of translation as the one in
Ferdydurke that I leave open a space for individual and collaborative projects in translation
in my class.' One of the projects which resulted from consultations with students was
interviewing a parent or family member on tape, and translating it into English. Not only
were the interviews a translation exercise which allowed the students to posit their own
experience as bilinguals as the starting point for work in translation, they became an oral
history which were often of publishable quality, but more importantly they had a personal
value for their translators, so that they were able to experience what it was like to
translate when more was at stake than just money or a grade. There were also many
students who translated poetry and short prose of their own choice into English, thereby
intervening in what might be viewed as the literary culture of a community of translators.
The translations were distributed anonymously, and the class was able to read and
comment upon the translations, not focusing upon comparisons with the source text, but
rather upon a reading of these texts as poems or stories in the target language; if they
read "like translations," one might even ask the class what exactly that meant, whether
"a foreign sound" was desirable for the text they were working on, and what changes
that might entail upon rewriting. Each rewriting may be a departure from the frequent
initial attempt at word-for-word 'fidelity,' but perhaps one step closer to literature, and it
is in rewriting that the main body of work in literary translation often consists. The
students can analyze through their own work in translation what their own limitations
are, where their vocabularies do not overlap, and where individual work needs to be done
in order to meet the challenge of translation on the edge of what is visible, visible for the
very reason that it is personal.
Christopher Larkosh, USA

53

But then again, when seeking 'new horizons' in the teaching of literary translation,
one might simply have begun and ended in the same place, on the horizon, by examining
it both as a continually elusive topographical commonplace and as a metaphor for
translation in a reading of other works on translation, such as Abdelkebir Khatibi's novel
Amour bilingue (1986) or Nicole Brossard's Le dsert mauve (1987). What might we learn and pass
on from this movement over seemingly endless landscapes? The sensuality of language
and bodies in contact both point to ways of theorizing on translation that are intensely
personal. Each reading of a text, its images and landscapes may suggest any number of
theories of translation, and as the task of translation is taken on, be it of oneself or of
another, by oneself or by another, new horizons are not only discovered, but continually
crossed like one more invisible border, and reinvented as our positions continue to
change.
Notes
L To this list we may wish to add sexual orientation; but we are, as translators in
dialogue, truly prepared to explore this horizon, one which examines the relationship
between our craft and our, desire, indeed, how our sexuality, like our other identities,
informs what we as translators wish to translate? Hopefully future research in translation
studies will pay greater attention to the role of sexuality in the theory and practice of
literary translation, especially given the fact that both translation studies and the also
'emergent' field of gender and sexuality studies attempt to encourage discussions of
marginal identities often at the margins of intellectural dialogue, but which in fact may
represent the very thing which we as teachers of translation claim to be searching for:
one of the new horizons of this dialogue. 2. Many of the testimonies which tell the story of

this translation are included in the book by Rita Gombrowicz. 1984. Gombrowicz en Argentine.
Paris: Denol. 3. Much of my inspiration in adopting this approach came from my
seminars in poetic translation at the University of California conducted by Florence
Verducci.
TRANSLATION THEORY TEACHING:
CONNECTING THEORY AND PRACTICE
Adolfo Gentile, Deakin University, Australia
Introduction
La Nature est un temple o de vivants piliers
Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles; L'homme y passe travers des
forts de symboles
Qui l'observent avec des regards familiers.
,.
(C. Baudelaire, Correspondances) '
The title of Baudelaire's poem and the first stanza which I have reproduced here seem to me to encapsulate some
of the issues which I am trying to present in this article. It is an allegory of the diaphanous nature of translation
theory from the point of view of practitioners; occasionally, confused mutterings emanate from it and the translator
walks through it, now and then snatching some implication for the real world of translation practice. Yet there is
some familiar feel to it, a realisation that there is a correspondance between the two. One could proceed with the
allegory and remark on the pronouncements of the pillars of translation theory and the forest of symbols which have
a life of their own etc. but I do not wish to do Baudelaire any further disservice!
In this article I would like to explore a pedagogical difficulty, or at least that which is for us a pedagogical
difficulty in Australia, namely, the relationship between the teaching of translation theory and the impact of this
teaching on the practice of translation on our students, as students, and as future professionals in the field. I do not,
however, believe that this difficulty is peculiar to the Australian situation. In order to proceed with the analysis of
this issue I need to make a number of assumptions and provide sufficient information about our teaching
programme at Deakin University.
I am firstly assuming that most courses which train translators have a component which can be regarded as
'theoretical'. Whether this component is taught in one or several particular units is immaterial and will only become
an issue for the conclusions which I wish to draw. Secondly, by referring to this curriculum element as 'translation
theory' I am not assuming that there is such a thing as translation theory, nor indeed that there is a translation theory.
I am using this rubric simply to cover those elements of the curriculum which have as aims the

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

consideration of translation as a phenomenon and an object of study, rather than translation as a product of a
particular process carried out on a particular source text.
This teaching takes place in a one year course for graduates. The course is designed to train persons, who have
a first degree in any discipline and who pass an entrance test, to become first level professional translators or
interpreters. The largest proportion of students are coordinate bilinguals, whose second language is English.
Currently the language streams offered are Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese and Spanish.
The average age of the students is approximately 30 years. The student body in general would see themselves as
'natural translators' or 'native translators'. I use the terms as defined by Harris (1977) and Toury (1980). These
terms indicate some of the attitudes with which the students are likely to approach translation theory. Since they
have often already had experience with translation work, they believe that they already know what translation is

about and therefore consider the time spent on theoretical considerations as time taken away from the actual task of
translation, an activity which they see as contributing directly to their future employment. Mercenary as it might
sound, it is not unlike Kussmaul's description of practising translators' views on linguistics and translation theory
(1986). However, this student attitude seems to manifest itself only during the course. Anecdotal evidence from
former graduates indicates that the benefit of such theoretical considerations only becomes obvious later in their
professional life.
I believe that this is an actual issue related to the development of the profession. It is still trying to define a
body of knowledge which it can call its own. The definition of the relevant body of knowledge has been the work
of academics from their own disciplines' point of view, including philosophy, literary theory, semiotics, linguistics,
psychology, neurology, etc. In my view practising translators have begun to bring their experiences to bear on the
writings about translation in the last few years. In a course of study teachers must go beyond training, to the
education of future practitioners. This cannot be done by means of descriptive and prescriptive approaches to
individual translation texts, for they only produce a series of separate experiences for students. Better students can
connect these experiences into a coherent structure; however motivating and challenging this process can be, I
believe courses must provide an overview of the phenomenon of translation and thus develop critical skills which
will then be used for

Adolfo Gentile, Australia

57

addressing translation problems. Critical thinking on translation in general will make for further research and
refining of the theoretical underpinnings of the practice of translation.
Basis of the curriculum
It is for the above reasons that we do not talk about 'translation theory' or 'a theory of translation' but
'theoretical bases of translation'.
In introducing the students to the thinking on translation we assume that there is no such thing as a 'theory
of translation' for the same reasons as Chesterman:
an adequate theory would not be content merely to describe or explain why; it would also
attempt to predict what a translator ...will do, in given circumstances.. .But because
translation is a probabilistic activity, predictions can (usually) only be probabilistic ...The
challenge is to establish principles, strategies or rules that will enable predictions to be made
with the highest
probability possible (Chesterman 1989: 5).

If the elements of explanation are at best idiosyncratic (each teacher works on his/her own on a different
text), the elements of prediction are few and far between.
One of the consequences of this approach is that, in treating the theoretical bases, greater emphasis tends to
be placed on translation as a process, whereas, the translation practice tends to concentrate on translation as a
product.
It follows that the objectives of the curriculum should be constructed with the time frame of courses and
the student intake and exit levels in mind. This affects the curriculum design in terms of selection of material,
its presentation and the degree of emphasis given to some aspects over others in order to cater for the
learning stage at which the students are thought to be at the beginning of the course; the curriculum is also
further modified to deal with the reality and pace of learning of individual classes.
The 'choice of elements in our course for would-be practitioners is in itself a statement and an attempt to
bridge the gap between theory and practice. We do not allocate time to discussions on philosophical writings
about translation by people such as Quine, Wittgenstein and others. This is, of course, important literature in
the field, but given the course objectives, the student body and the time available, it is not central to our
curriculum. In our curriculum design we have selected the elements we believe to be most appropriate and
most likely to connect with the students' actual practice, although such a connection is not made by all

students, nor is it made necessarily at the point when it is needed.


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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

The problems of transfer of training


Ideally notions treated in class should have a direct impact on and applicability to the production of a translation.
Students must recognize schemas and apply them to the micro-problems of specific expression. This ability can be
defined as the 'transfer of training'.
A large number of circumstances complicate this deceptively simple process:
Firstly, assessment requirements will relate to the students' ability to analyse and critically evaluate theoretical
elements; assessment tasks consisting of seminar presentations or written papers are reflective in nature and relate
more to the student's ability to evaluate arguments, distinguish between different theoretical perspectives, and even
discuss the applicability of specific approaches to their work as translators. Valuable as these exercises may be, they
achieve objectives different from the units of translation practice primarily aimed at the improvement of actual
translation skills. From the students' point of view the outcome for both elements should result in improved practice.
Secondly, these units are taught monolingually, usually in English, to students with three or four language
combinations. This limits the possibility of immediate exemplification, although this would be pedagogically sound.
Lecturers cannot check on the comprehension of certain concepts except by allusion rather than real examples. The
only other avenues for teachers are (a) to use examples from their own language pairs (which are understandable to
only some of the students), or (b) to ask students to find examples of their own, which implies open-ended feedback
and possibly incomplete exemplification.
Thirdly, since we have to train both interpreters and translators in this relatively brief course, we must deal with
the theoretical aspects of both interpreting and translating within the same unit. The brevity of the course means that
required reading must be limited, but on the other hand, an exposure to theoretical considerations for interpreting
and translation is justified because students have not yet decided which discipline they will specialise in.
Fourthly, given our language combinations, it is difficult to provide a comprehensive reading list which all
students should read. English is of course no problem, French and German are beyond most students, and Spanish,
Italian and other languages can be used by small minorities only. This difficulty also applies to the teachers.
Secondary sources are not always representative. There are actually not very many works on translation which have
been translated into English.
Adolfo Gentile, Australia

59

Fifthly, the practitioners who teach translation practice have a different attitude to the teachers who are in
charge of the theoretical bases. The practitioners have rarely been exposed to theoretical courses and will rarely
audit theoretical bases courses. Accordingly, the connection between theory and practice only discussed in the
theoretical bases course is seen as a shortcoming. Therefore students are unlikely to meet with a consistent and
considered approach to issues in translation.
Finally, in considering the problem of transfer of training, the issue of what ' to teach and what to omit becomes
important. Given the limits of time, we are here treading a delicate balance between practical translation work and
the stage at which theoretical considerations begin to become even vaguely interesting to students. I do not believe
we have found this point of equilibrium.
Towards some possible approaches
I wish to outline approaches which could be used to counter, if not solve, some of the problems in this state of
affairs. The first would be (a) to derive practice from theory, the second (b), to integrate theory and practice, and
the third (c) to derive practice from theory. Each approach involves some risks and, in addition, is predicated
upon certain features among staff, students and the overall time scheme of the course.

It seems that, generally speaking, it is the possibility of deriving practice from theory which we have
implicitly discussed. Thus there is no need for further discussion and the sole reason for bringing this up as an
issue is merely a symptom of my personal misgivings about the usefulness of this method.
The approach which integrates the teaching of theory with practice, does not solve the problem of identifying
elements for inclusion and exclusion. It would seem that the selection of elements would have to be agreed upon
by all staff in all language combinations. In principle this teaching could then be done individually with each
group. This might be seen as an advantage as it would provide a closer link between exemplifications and real
translation problems. Within the overall course structure, however, this would create problems with
comparability across language groups and lead to coordination difficulties. It would be a prerequisite that all
language combination groups agreed upon the theoretical approaches and standpoints which are important and
would therefore be used to present the students with a coherent picture. This approach requires, therefore, a
certain concurrence between the teachers about the concepts and viewpoints to
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

be included. This concurrence may not exist and indeed may not be useful. And, for all the coordination, students
would still be exposed to certain idiosyncratic views on translation, not necessarily as one teacher's interpretation of
the literature, but because theoretical considerations would connect intimately with particular texts; so there would
still not be any guarantee that the whole spectrum of comparative and contrastive approaches arising with different
language combinations would be covered.
In summary, the apparent benefits from an approach based on an integration of the teaching of theory and practice
may be difficult to achieve: it may be difficult to give the students a coherent picture when the analysis of translation
is based on different language combinations and may not go beyond traditional contrastive analysis.
The third approach presents real challenges as well as advantages. Deriving theory from practice is essentially a
re-creation of the phases which theorists go through in the development of hypotheses. It relies on the teachers'
ability to use examples and exercises which elicit a response which then illustrates theoretical standpoints; in a given
language combination, a series of exercises may demonstrate how the perlocutionary force of utterances is conveyed
in the two languages, leading to an analysis of the utterances in terms of the predictive value which such an analysis
would have for a translator. This means setting students on a path to utilising, not grammatical, but translationspecific comparisons between language systems. The level of abstraction and generalisation which these
observations might produce and the discussion which would lead up to them, would, in my opinion, constitute the
learning outcomes. Indeed, in many respects, this approach mirrors the development of a translator's competence,
during which a period of experience (which in our case corresponds to the observation of a sufficient number of
instances) increases the practitioner's ability to generalise and therefore approach the next task with a more acute
sense of discrimination and hence increased competence.
This approach relies on some elements-which may not be readily available. It assumes a certain competence on
the students' part and the time for such activities. The latter problem might be solved by combining it with the time
devoted to translation practice. It would also presuppose that syllabi are divided into two elements (a) the students'
familiarisation with the literature on translation and (b) the students' own exploration of the principles which are
useful to them and to their particular language combinations. This approach demands an accurate as
Adolfo Gentile, Australia

61

sessment of the student's competence at entry, thus allowing for a tailor-made curriculum for particular groups in
so far as exercises could take into account the students' level of knowledge.
A discussion of approaches like those, cannot be complete without paying attention to the issue of measuring
whether the objectives have been achieved. It seems to me that a measurement of translation performance is

really the acid test for students who are going to earn a living as translators. Accordingly, the assessment for the
latter approach should also include a test of the student's ability to generalise from observations. This processoriented aspect is missing in traditional translation assessment, which focuses on the product in correction and
comment. A balance is called for. Furthermore, a different relationship is set up between translation assessment
and translation practice since the process is augmentative.
Conclusions
The starting point of this discussion was the difficulty students have in relating what is generally taught as
'translation theory' to practice. In my experience, it seems that general descriptions of what constitutes translation
are not regarded as relevant by practitioners and students. There is, however, a great need to develop a corpus of
knowledge which would set apart translation from other fields. This development, as well as the contributions
from the past, must be communicated to students within a context of preparing them for practice. In generalised
approaches to the teaching of what is often termed 'translation theory', the students must often make a
considerable leap in order to relate many and conflicting points of view about translation to their everyday
problems in carrying out the process. This article has explored some of these issues and suggested some approaches which could help in bridging the gap. Teachers of translation must be cognisant of the fact that the
connection between general considerations about translation must be brought to life within the context of two
language systems. One way of achieving this connection might be to design a series of structured experiences
which would allow students to discover principles which are then reinforced with further practice. This involves
dividing 'theory' courses into, on the one hand, courses which introduce the thinking in the field of translation in
a broad brush fashion and, on the other hand, courses which bridge the gap between thinking on translation and
the purely practical approach. The purely pract

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ical approach also leaves the students to make the connections necessary to obtain a coherent view of 'translation'.

TEACHING TRANSLATION THEORY:


THE SIGNIFICANCE OF MEMES
Andrew Chesterman, University of Helsinki, Finland
Memes
The concept of the meme comes from genetics; it is the cultural equivalent' of a gene.
The term was introduced by Dawkins in his best-seller The Selfish Gene (1976). In one of the chapters he
discusses how cultural phenomena can be studied in the same way as genetic ones, in that both are subject to the
same Darwinian laws of natural selection. He proposes "meme" as a term to describe the evolution of cultural
phenomena. A meme is
a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation ... Examples of memes are tunes, ideas, catch-phrases, clothes, fashions,
ways of making pots or building arches. Just as genes propagate themselves in the gene pool by leaping from body to body via
sperm or eggs, so memes propagate themselves in the meme pool by leaping from brain to brain via a process which, in the broad
sense, can be called imitation. If a scientist hears, or reads about, a good idea, he passes it on to his colleagues and students. He
mentions it in his articles and lectures. If the idea catches on, it can be said to propagate itself, spreading from brain to brain
(Dawkins 1976: 206. Original emphasis).

Dawkins' term itself is a good example of a meme. Since 1976 memes have appeared all over the place in
research on cultural evolution (see Hull 1982; Plotkin 1993). Some scientists have even looked for direct
neurological correlates of memes in the brain itself, where they are seen as "constellations of activated and non-

activated synapses within neural memory networks" and as "competing for synaptic space" (Delius 1989). Others
have acknowledged the power of the concept with some discomfort. In his book on consciousness, Dennett (1991:
202) writes:
I don't know about you, but I'm not initially attracted by the idea of my brain as a sort of dung heap in which the larvae of other
people's ideas renew themselves, before sending out copies of themselves in an informational Diaspora.

Dawkins argues that organic bodies are in effect no more than survival machines for genes. Correspondingly,
we might suggest that translations are one kind of survival machine for memes - at least for memes that can be
expressed and transferred verbally.
Memes that promote the survival of their carriers (i.e., mostly, people) tend themselves to survive; being
'good' ideas, they benefit their hosts, and are known
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

as mutualist memes. 'Bad' ideas, in the long run at least, do not last, as they tend eventually to kill their hosts; they

are parasitic memes.


Now recall Popper's theory of the three Worlds: World 1 is the physical world of objects; World 2 is the
subjective mental world of personal thoughts and feelings; World 3 is that of objective knowledge, of ideas,
theories, arguments etc., that are in the public domain. Each of these worlds interacts and affects the others through
what Popper calls "plastic control" (e.g. 1972: 239). For instance, ideas affect behaviour, behaviour affects the
physical world, which in turn inspires new ideas; and so on. As forms of objective knowledge, memes exist primarily in World 3: they affect World 2 directly (what I read affects the way I think), and World 1 indirectly (what I
think affects the way I impinge on my environment).
Some memes consist of ideas about translation itself, its theory and practice (for a fuller discussion of this, see
Chesterman (forthcoming b)). These "received ideas" are passed on from generation to generation, from teacher to
trainee, from one professional to another. At any given moment in history, in a given culture, there thus exists a
meme pool of translatorial concepts of all kinds, all fighting for acceptance and survival. And it is in this pool that
the trainee translator learns to swim.
The way trainees are exposed to this translation-meme pool will affect the way they think about translation and
the way they conceive of the role of the translator, and this in turn will influence the way they themselves translate,
the kinds of physical texts they produce.
The rest of this article addresses two questions: (a) What are the main risks of drowning in the translationmeme pool? (b) What can be done about minimizing these risks? Both questions have to do with the explicit
teaching of translation theory.
Risks
First, the risks. I will select four for discussion.
(i) Atheoretical attitudes. By this I mean the belief among some translators that one "does not need" a translation
theory in order to be able to translate. This is pure self-deception: a theory is basically a view of something, a
conception. To translate with no theory would be impossible. Holders of this belief probably mean only that their
theory is common sense, or instinct, or gut feeling, and that they think nothing more is needed. Such wilful
blindness suggests a fear of

Andrew Chesterman, Finland

65

knowledge (including self-knowledge), and also intellectual arrogance: one suspects that neither of these
characteristics will be conducive to the survival of a professional translator.
A course in translation theory might do well to get rid of this fallacy right at the start, to ensure that motivation
is maintained. It might start by encouraging self-awareness of the theories that trainees bring to class from their

own previous experience (see e.g. Mossop 1994). The whole of the present article is obviously an argument
against this fallacy.
(ii) Parasitic memes. The belief in the non-necessity of a theory is a good example of a parasitic meme. It is not
hard to identity other examples in the total pool. One likely candidate for parasitic (and hence risk-increasing)
status is the idea of untranslatability, or perhaps I should say the myth of untranslatability. This idea has been
discussed at enormous length in the literature from a great many angles, and I shall not go into it here. But as a
meme, it is extremely parasitic to its hosts, since if all translators believed it there would soon be no translators.
Less absolutely, it breeds a pessimistic and defeatist attitude, a willingness to give up trying. It also affects the
professional self-image of translators: "Ah well, translations inevitably lose something, so what the hell... Poetry
can't be translated, so why bother..."
The partner parasite to this meme is that of equivalence. Texts are untranslatable because equivalence (in some
absolute sense of 'sameness') is impossible. Yet many people still talk about equivalence as the aim of translation.
No wonder trainees get frustrated with theory! True, equivalence is less in the news nowadays; it seems to be a
meme in decline, a meme that will not survive precisely because it is increasingly perceived to be parasitic.
A third example of a parasitic meme is the belief that the only decision translators have to make (or even can
make) is "free or literal?" This issue has held sway for centuries in writings about translation, and thus been a
rather long-lived meme; but I think it is parasitic because in the past it has tended to inhibit discussion of other
parameters, and because pronouncements about translating literally or freely have often been divorced from
contexts of history, culture and text type. The 'literal' end of this parameter is clearly linked to the equivalence
meme: they form a meme complex (technically, a memome).
The moral seems to be that trainees should be aware of the existence of such parasitic memes, but also be
aware of their parasitic nature.
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(iii) The converse accident fallacy. This is a well-known informal fallacy, which consists in generalizing overhastily from a non-typical particular to a general, from a special case to all cases. In other words, it is manifested in
the way some memes are taken to represent the whole picture, rather than only a part of it.
Typical instances of this fallacy occur when an idea pertaining to a particular text type (and even within a
particular culture at a particular time) is taken to apply universally to all kinds of texts. The fallacy is especially
prevalent in the way concepts in literary translation are taken more generally than is warranted. Theories of literary
translation are often implied to be theories of translation as a whole (see e.g. the collection of literary essays edited
by Schulte and Biguenet (1992) entitled Theories of translation).
Or consider the way Nida's demand of dynamic equivalence ("same effect") in biblical translation, where the
effect of the message is presumably somewhat easier to specify, has been taken as being valid for translation types
(literary translation, for example) in which "effect" is much harder to define and other criteria may well be more
relevant.
Or again, consider the long-standing idea that translations are directional, going from source to target. In one
sense, granted, they are, but this is not the whole picture, and a blind focus on this metaphor prevents us from seeing
its limitations. For translations themselves do not in fact move, they do not 'go' from somewhere to somewhere else.
They are constructed in that somewhere else. What gets transferred, if you like, is the message, the content; but even
this does not 'move' (as a train moves) in the sense that it is absent at point A when it arrives at point B. Rather, we
might think of alternative metaphors, such as that of propagation or diffusion: ideas contained in a source text are
spread, they 'multiply'; they may even evolve during the translation process. But in so doing they do not
automatically disappear from the source culture, as if they had indeed 'moved' away from it. Here again, we can
think genetically: what happens in translation is that memes are propagated, in such a way that they come to exist in
new environments and adapt themselves to these, hence enhancing their chances of survival. Translation is thus a
way of affecting the developmental history, the evolution, of memes.

(iv) Ahistoricism. Memes of translation, too, have their own developmental histories. Trainee translators are not
entering a brand new profession which is
Andrew Chesterman, Finland

67

starting from scratch. The profession itself, the memes that it has given rise to and that help to shape it, and the roles
played by its professionals, all have historical roots and have evolved over time, like other forms of human activity.
In order to be aware of their own roles as professionals in the future, trainees would do well to take a historical
perspective. Such a view may also contribute to enhancing the social status of the profession.
The risk of an ahistorical attitude is that trainees do not realize that translator roles and strategies are determined
by historical, cultural and situational context, not by random or by some god-given commandment.
Remedies
To counter these risks, the teaching of translation theory can adopt a number of strategies. I will outline four
remedies.
(i) Exploiting the growth of expertise. The growth of expertise is described by the Dreyfus brothers (1986) in
terms of five steps from novice to expert. Stage one is that of the novice, who learns to recognize relevant facts and
situational features and acquires objective rules for determining actions based on these. At stage two, the advanced
beginner begins to recognize relevant facts and situational features that have not been previously defined and
presented, by perceiving their similarity with others experienced earlier. Stage three is that of competence; this
involves the ability to develop a sense of priorities between all the relevant situational features, in order to reach a
decision-making capability, a conscious problem-solving skill. Stage four they call proficiency; intuition begins to
play more of a role here, as the learner reacts more holistically, without consciously analysing, unless the situation
turns out to be exceptional. At the last stage, that of expertise, this non-reflective involvement is dominant: intuition
becomes the driving force, but 'deliberative rationality' plays a part as a way of testing and fine-tuning intuitions when
necessary.
These steps illustrate how rules and strategies for action are first consciously recognized by the novice and
beginner; then internalized and applied consciously, analytically, at stages of competence and proficiency; and finally
used automatically, unconsciously. At the highest stage of expertise, action is shaped by intuition but is always
accessible to monitoring by deliberative rationality: strategies and principles can be recalled to consciousness if
required.
This view of the development of expertise illustrates the significance of memes rather well. Memes are, after all,
our conceptual tools of the trade. At ini68

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

tial stages of training, they can be presented and discussed overtly. Of particular relevance here are memes
concerning translation norms, and concerning the typical strategies that professionals tend to use.
Trainees should be aware of fundamental translation norms right from the start, and of the way they are
interpreted by contemporary professionals in the culture concerned. Four basic norm types (following Chesterman
1993) are: (a) expectancy norms, governing the expectations of readers about what texts of various kinds should
look like; (b) the relation norm, governing the expected relation between source and target texts of different kinds
(it is part of the translator's task to decide what this relation should be); (c) the communication norm, governing the
achievement of optimal communication between all parties concerned (client, writer, translator, publisher, readers);
and (d) the accountability norm, governing the ethical behaviour of translators (such as the duty to check terms, to
inform the writer in cases of error, sometimes to improve the style for the sake of the readers, and in general to
balance the loyalties due to the various parties concerned).

Trainees should also be aware of professional translation strategies, i.e., ways in which translation problems
tend to get solved. Sets of strategies can be presented and practised quite overtly. For instance: (a) syntactic
strategies such as shifting the word-class, changing the clause or sentence structure, adding or changing cohesion;
(b) semantic strategies such as using hyponyms or superordinates, altering the level of abstraction, redistributing the
information over more or fewer elements; (c) pragmatic strategies such as naturalizing or exoticizing, altering the
level of explicitness, adding or omitting information (These are discussed in much more detail in Chesterman
(forthcoming b).).
At later stages of training, when such memes have become familiar, they become useful as part of deliberative
rationality at various levels. For the competent or proficient translator they furnish means whereby decisions can
be justified and explained, perhaps to a suspicious client. For experts they are resources that can be recalled at will
from memory to help solve specific problems, or to fine-tune solutions initially based on intuition. For teachers,
too, they are useful, as conceptual tools in assessment and in the discussion of translation as a whole.
() Mutualist memes. Obviously, I thus take norms and strategies to be useful, mutualist memes. At a more
general level, another mutualist meme that deserves to be introduced at an early stage is the idea that all writing is
translating. This meme too has a long pedigree, emerging in many differelit contexts ranging

Andrew Chesterman, Finland

69

from semiotics (most recently in Gorlde 1994) to hermeneutics (e.g. Steiner 1975)' and the deconstructionist view of
intertextuality (discussed e.g. in Gentzler 1993).
This meme is made good use of in the suggestion by Jakobsen (1994) that' the teaching of translation should
start "from the other end", i.e., with practice in target language writing per se, rather than from a source text.
Another mutualist meme is the idea of translators as experts in their own right, not servile slaves of a sourcetext master (among many others, e.g. HolzMnttri 1984). Such a meme has an obvious effect on the image which
translators have of their professional role, hence on their own self-image, and hence (I would argue) on the quality
of their work.
(iii) A holistic view. To counteract the risk of a partial and blinkered view of translation, one should clearly aim
at a holistic view which is as wide as possible, seeking to cover the whole field from a bird's eye perspective. This
means balancing ideas from literary translators with those of technical ones, or of people working on machine
translation, for instance. Something like the integrated approach advocated by Snell-Homby (1988), or even wider,
is called for.
And this can be done precisely by introducing and discussing a whole range of memes. In so doing, one can
also show how the same memes can emerge (in different variants) in the most unlikely places. An example is the
mystical notion held by Benjamin (1923) and others of the "pure language" underlying all natural languages; on this
view, it is the task of the translator to seek contact with this language, to aim at a kind of deliberately marked hybrid
form, somewhere between and beneath the actual source and target languages and thus closer to the pure language.
This idea has been made much of by some literary scholars, but it is interesting that a very similar idea underlies the
kind of approach to machine translation that uses an 'artificial' interlanguage into which the source text is decoded
before transfer.
It has been claimed, e.g., by Steiner (1975), that the number of worthwhile theoretical ideas that have been
proposed about translation (in the West) is actually rather limited: scholars have tended to repeat the ideas of
others, and much energy has been expended re-inventing the wheel. To the extent that there is some truth in this, a
meme-based approach would seem to be most fruitful.
(iv) The evolution of translation memes. One aspect of such a holistic approach to the teaching of translation
theory is of course the historical one, drawing attention to the way memes have evolved over history, perhaps
moving in and out of fashion, submerging in one culture only to re-emerge in another.

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

An early form of the equivalence meme, for example, turns up in classical attitudes to the translation of
sacred texts; it then mostly lies latent through the Renaissance, when other ideas were dominant, but reemerges with the first attempts to apply linguistic models to translation, and the concomitant launching of the
machine translation project, in the 1940s and 50s.
Or again, consider the meme embodying the idea that the source culture is superior and the target inferior
or peripheral, so that translation is a way of building up this target culture, bringing infusions of new blood.
This attitude recurs again and again in the history of the West: the Romans importing from the Greeks,
Renaissance translations plundering the classics, and nowadays post-modernists talking about cannibalism.
The same meme, in different variants. (There is also, of course, the reverse meme, where the target is superior
and the source inferior.)
A different reason for teaching translation memes from a historical angle comes from Darwin's idea that
the development of an individual recapitulates that of the species as a whole. If this is generally true, we might
expect that individual translators, as they become increasingly proficient, in some way also trace the path
which the profession as a whole has trod, for example, from servile submission to the original to a pride in
one's own expertise and an interest in the inner workings of one's own mind.
A sketch along these lines is to be found in Chesterman (forthcoming a), in which eight stages are
distinguished in the development of translation theory in the West, and it is suggested that these stages can
also be seen in the development of an individual's translational expertise. Briefly, the stages proposed are:
Words: a concern with individual words as carriers of meaning;
The Word of God: a concern with formal structure, with a stress on literal
translation;
Rhetoric: in reaction, a concern for expanding the target language, freer
translation;
Logos: the Romantics' interest in language as a culture-creating force;
Linguistics: the focus on translating as decoding and encoding; Communication: the idea of the translator
as a mediator, as communication
expert;
Target: taking the target text and its manipulated place in the target culture
as the starting point;
Cognition: trying to see what goes in the translator's head.

Andrew Chesterman, Finland

71

If there are indeed parallels between the development of the individual and that of the profession (or the theory
as a whole), a historical approach may well reinforce and encourage the gradual development of trainees' own
professional self-image.
The ultimate aim of teaching translation memes can be set high. After all, our aim is not simply to train people
who can translate well: we all have ulterior motives too, perhaps quite idealistic ones. Pym (1992: 169), for instance,
proposes that, "from the perspective of translators, the ultimate aim of translation is to improve the intercultural
relations with which they are concerned." In so doing, they seek to advance the quality of human life on this planet.
This implies that the survival of translation memes is not only a matter of their immediate effectiveness: in the last
analysis, the survival criterion is an ethical one.

CONTRASTIVE CULTURE LEARNING


TRAINING

. IN TRANSLATOR

Heidrun Witte, Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain


Introduction
In accordance with modern target-function oriented translation theory (Vermeer 1983; Reiss and Vermeer 1984;
Holz-Mnttri 1984) this article considers translation and interpreting special kinds of intercultural
communication. Translators are regarded as experts in the field and their bicultural competence deemed a
necessary prerequisite for their work (Witte 1994).
Despite the increasing acceptance of bicultural competence in translation studies, there are few attempts
towards a concrete definition of the concept. However, a definition becomes indispensable when training
programs intend to incorporate bicultural competence as a key objective.
The following observations aim at a synthesis between Intercultural Communication Studies and those
approaches in translation theory that have put special emphasis on translation as cultural transfer, as we see it at
my university in Spain.
The main question arising for translation teaching is "How can we teach culture-specific behaviour
patterns?" Although this leads to the problem of how to describe culture-specificities, I cannot here discuss the
possibilities of systematically analyzing a culture and of working out a 'culture grammar'. As a preliminary step I
shall, however, in the following propose a definition of 'translationoriented bicultural competence' and present a
working model for teaching strategies.
The concept of 'translation-oriented bicultural competence'
Starting from a rather broad concept of culture (defined as the sum total of a social community's behaviour
patterns, including the 'rules' of behaviour and its - material or immaterial - 'results'; Ghring 1978 and 1980;
Vermeer 1992), translators' bicultural competence may be described as
the ability to interpret and produce behaviour in a culturally and situationally adequate way
for the (interaction) purposes and needs of (at least) two members of two different cultural communities.
As a first step towards a definition of translators' bicultural competence, we may differentiate between two
'subcategories', namely (a) General Cultural

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

Competence and (b) Specific Cultural Competence. However, as we shall see later, this distinction is purely
theoretical and will - at least in part - be overcome in actual teaching.
By General Cultural Competence I mean a general awareness of the problems of intra- and intercultural
communication. This will include notions like socialization and its influence on the individual; the culturespecific character of behaviour patterns; culture-bound perception and its effect on the interpretation and
evaluation of other cultures, etc.
The development of such a basic awareness of how people communicate within their own social community,
and of what happens when they get into contact with a foreign culture, seems a prerequisite for acquiring
Specific Cultural Competence. By this I refer to the students' knowledge of their two working cultures.
If we take the development of bicultural competence (comprising the components mentioned) as the final
objective of translation-oriented culture learning, we may distinguish between various phases leading up to that
aim (Witte 1993: 164):
(a)
The development of an awareness of culture-specific differences in behaviour and in the evaluation of
behaviour;
(b) the development of the ability to accept - in the sense of cognitive toleration of - these
differences;

(c)

the development of the ability to modify one's own ways of reception (interpretation

and evaluation) of behaviour with regard to other cultures;


the development of the ability to modify one's own active behaviour with regard to
other cultures;
(e) the development of the ability to interpret and produce behaviour for the (interaction) needs of others in order to
establish communication between members of (at least) two different cultures (one of which will
usually be the translator's own culture).
The teaching of translation-oriented cultural competence has to comprise two 'levels' of behaviour (compare
also the notions of 'competence-in- [cultures]' and
competence-between- [cultures]' in Witte 1987):
(a) an 'object-level' of behaviour: from the very beginning trainee translators acquire cultural competence with
regard to their future role as translators (this orientation clearly distinguishes translator training from
foreign language learning);
(b) as an integral part of (a): trainee translators also need to acquire knowledge on a 'metalevel', that is, they
need to have a'Imowledge-about-the-behaviour-of-0thers'. Future translators have to learn how to
anticipate or compensate the behaviour of their clients since these normally have not received any
special intercultural training and, thus, in the (direct or indirect) intercultural situation will act in
accordance with their own
(d)

Heidrun Witte, Spain

75

cultural frame of reference, which may turn out to be inadequate for the purposes of the interaction
(Mller 1991).
A contrastive approach
In the following we will concentrate on what we have called 'Specific Cultural Competence'. With regard to
teaching strategies we shall propose a contrastive approach, namely teaching based on comparisons of behaviour
patterns of two working cultures.
There are, however, two main problems to be taken into account in contrastive culture learning:
(1) Intercultural Communication Studies has convincingly claimed that the teaching of cultural traits or culture
specificities must no longer limit itself to supposedly static 'facts' or 'units'. The traditional, 'content-oriented'
approach to the teaching of culture, where cultural phenomena used to be treated as separable elements that could
easily be extracted from their cultural embedding, has proved inadequate for the development of cultural
competence. Firstly, because such an approach usually leads to a dangerous illusion on the learners' part, namely
that once they have learnt all the 'contents' there remains nothing that might hinder successful intercultural
communication. Secondly, content-orientation in culture learning is insufficient because it concentrates on
presumed 'contents', thus neglecting people's relation towards them. It does not take into account that it is not
'contents' that make intercultural communication difficult, but people's different understanding of them.
Thus, if we regard translation as intercultural communication and want students-to develop a satisfying
bicultural competence, we must not merely consider certain cultural traits independently from their surrounding
frame of reference, but have to take into account people's behaviour patterns as related to their situational
functions within an overall cultural system.
(2) The second point regards our concept of contrastive culture learning: It is not sufficient merely to substitute
situation-bound behaviour patterns (normally considered 'culture-specific') for the traditionally taught 'contents'.
This would be an erroneous conclusion from the above argument.
The obsolete 'static' approach to the teaching of culture has not much of a chance to be replaced as long as it is
postulated that certain phenomena are 'culture-specific traits', i. e., are claimed to be 'distinctive features' of a
given social community: Culture specificities do not 'exist' per se, but are attributed to a cul76

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

ture from a certain perspective. This, however, necessarily is a perspective based on comparison: The culture
specificity of a phenomenon obviously cannot be determined in relation to the phenomenon itself, but only with
regard to another phenomenon.
This is why the endeavour, claimed over and again in translation, to 'maintain the foreignness' of the original can
actually be no more than an illusion based on 'wishful exoticizing': The source culture will not be 'foreign' to itself,
will it? It becomes foreign for us when we are perceiving (interpreting/evaluating) it from our cultural viewpoint. We
ourselves are creating its foreignness through our observing it. (Similar arguments are found in Robinson 1991;
Arrojo 1993; Grosman 1994.)
This does not mean, however, that we may not try to transmit this created otherness to our target recipients. But
we should bear in mind that we are 'maintaining' something we ourselves have 'created' in our reception of the
foreign culture - not something inherent in that culture.
Comparison necessarily involves at least two points of reference. This also goes for our own culture: We can only
'see' its 'specificities' if we assume an observer's point of view, and see it from the 'outside' (Vermeer and Witte
1990).
Thus, a phenomenon may be perceived as culture-specific from viewpoint A but not from perspective B.
In pedagogical terms this means that we cannot teach culture 'as such' but only culture X with regard to or as
compared with culture Y. (This goes for paradia- and idiocultural levels.) Consequently, our contrastive approach is
not a mere juxtaposition of two working cultures but their interrelation for specifically translational purposes.
Towards a pedagogical application
Our concept of 'contrasting' or 'interrelating', then, is making conscious and purposeful use of a process which
inevitably occurs each time we get to know (parts of) a foreign culture: we compare it with our own.
In our perception we can only assimilate new phenomena when we are able to relate them to or to compare them
with something we already know. In coming into contact with a new, foreign culture we also have to orientate
ourselves by what we already know. In this process, our 'orientation instrument' usually is our own culture.
Heidrun Witte, Spain

77

Perceiving a phenomenon necessarily involves interpreting and, at the same time, evaluating it. Therefore,
whenever we perceive a foreign culture we inevitably interpret and evaluate it from our own cultural point of view,
i. e., we measure it by the yardstick of our own culture's frame of reference. (See also Berger and Luckmann 1989;
Matthes 1992.)
In translation-oriented culture teaching we do not vainly attempt to avoid such. culture-bound comparison but
make students aware of it. In this way, they will become self-aware of their own culture-boundedness and its
influence on their perception of other cultures. Only then can they learn to relativize and (at least partly) control
culture-specific interpretation and evaluation.
That is, by contrasting two cultures, students learn about the foreign culture at the same time as they begin to
develop a self-awareness of their own (intuitively known) culture. If students do not learn to contrast their working
cultures consciously they risk falling into the trap of projecting their own cultural frame of reference, including its
value schemes, onto the foreign culture and judging foreign phenomena by the standards of their own culture.
In professional translation - and thus in the training of future professional translators - subconscious projection
has to be avoided as far as possible.
In a second stage students have to be made aware of the (potential) unawareness of their future clients: As
mentioned, translators' clients will usually have received no special intercultural training. They will, nevertheless,
have formed a certain 'image' of the respective foreign culture they are dealing with. Translators have to know
about these mutual ideas of their partners in order to be able to establish successful intercultural communication
between them.

Teaching methods
It is obviously impossible to teach students each and every aspect of a given cultural community, so one must
decide what aspects to transmit and how.
If for reasons of convenience we assume that students already have a basic knowledge of language and everyday
culture, we could in a first attempt at systematizing our pedagogical material distinguish between - areas of special
translational interest/relevance (e.g. economics, law, industry); - situations of special translational interest/relevance
(e.g. negotiations, client
consulting); and

78

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

- social roles and functions of special translational interest/relevance (e.g. executive vs subordinate; client -

translator).
As far as teaching methods are concerned, Intercultural Communication Studies, especially approaches in
Intercultural Management Training (e.g. Bergemann and Sourisseaux 1992), can again serve as a useful starting
point. Academic literature usually distinguishes between
information-oriented (or as we said above 'content-oriented') training; interaction-oriented training (which
offers students the possibility of directly communicating with members of the foreign culture ['field trips']); and
cultural (self-)awareness training. (Thomas and Hagemann 1992: 185; Beneke 1992.)
As far as we can see, it is primarily the last type that can be helpful for translation-oriented culture teaching, for
this approach simultaneously creates the students' awareness of their own culture and of the foreign culture as
opposed to their own. Applying the concept of cultural (self-)awareness training to translation training we could
summarize our objectives as follows:
- to develop an awareness of culture-specific differences in behaviour and their
potential importance for intercultural situations;
- to reflect upon the students' own culture-bound conditions of perception (interpretation, evaluation);
- to reflect upon the other culture's conditions of perception (interpretation,
evaluation) as opposed to those of the students' own;
- to reflect upon the clients' conditions of perception (interpretation, evaluation).
Cultural (self-) awareness training normally focuses on the simulation of situations and on role play.
In our view, situations chosen in class may well focus on the students' own interests. On the Canary Islands, for example, tourism is
a major socio-economical field and, thus, is also a main working area for translators and interpreters. Therefore, in our classes in
Las Palmas we concentrate on negotiations between, e.g., hbtel owners and tour operators or on situations in court involving
tourists, etc.

Conclusion
We have to bear in mind, however, that the areas, situations and social roles we choose for teaching are no
more than examples. Later on, students have to apply their knowledge learnt there to other areas in accordance
with the requirements of their job.

Heidrun Witte, Spain

79

This means that in class, students have to learn first and foremost strategies and skills (including, e.g., the
gathering of background information, consultation of translation aids, research skills in general) transferable to
other situations.
And it means, in turn, that just as we cannot teach culture 'as such', we cannot teach 'bicultural competence' 'as
such' either. Translators' bicultural competence must not be considered a 'culture-neutral' ability, hovering

independently somewhere above the working cultures in question. The teaching of 'translationoriented bicultural
competence' necessarily has to draw on the trainees' own cultural background as the ultimate basis for
comparison, which serves as a starting point in any attempt to acquire knowledge about foreign cultures.
Translators' bicultural competence can be no more than a relative notion.

SOCIAL AND CULTURAL DIFFERENCES


Alexandr Krouglov, University of Otago, New Zealand
Introduction
In this article I evaluate the use of translation and interpreting in teaching a foreign language while focusing on
problems of social and cultural differences which instructors face in everyday teaching. Translation and interpreting
are taught at my university in New Zealand at the third and fourth year levels when our students have acquired
practical knowledge of grammar. During the first two years of university studies translation is mostly used for
grammar exercises and, unfortunately, this practice often leads the students to have such distorted ideas of
translation that at higher stages of language learning it is necessary to intervene with remedial retraining. This
system has often been an obstacle in teaching at advanced levels. Last year we adopted a new system of language
learning, in which translation and interpreting were gradually introduced within the framework of language
teaching.
My aim is to demonstrate that a proper approach to teaching translation and interpreting at the earliest stages of
language learning will play a valuable role in foreign language classes and develop students' communicative skills
alongside with reading, writing, speaking and understanding.
Social and cultural differences in translation teaching
Students of foreign languages face 'translation' from the very beginning of second language learning. As
mentioned translation exercises are widely used in grammar classes at secondary schools and universities and
students usually "have got the impression that translation is a kind of disguised grammar drill, and, accordingly, that
the main point is to figure out where the teacher set the traps" (Dollerup 1994: 125). Using a Danish-English
example of students' attitudes to translation, Dollerup showed that translation in language classes is practically
understood as word-by-word rendering (Dollerup 1994). This distorted approach to translation and interpreting is
found at many institutions. When students come to formal translation courses they suddenly realise that they do not
fully understand simple communicative acts and are therefore unable to create the target text which would provoke
the closest communicative response in a target language audience.

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

In teaching foreign languages it is a major problem that the notions of 'translation' and 'interpreting' are poorly
defined. An awareness (even in the most simple communicative events) that language is an integral part of
culture and society will facilitate the learning of translation and interpreting. If differences between cultures are
not taught, students may "fail to recognise some of the crucial factors which may totally distort the understanding
of a text, unless the distinctive roles of the participants in the translating process are carefully considered" (Nida
1986: 472).
In the teaching of languages, and of translation and interpreting in particular, it is important to emphasise that
languages employ a number of features to mark social and cultural differences and which may not necessarily be
universal. Social and cultural differences are not only found between language-groups, but also within one
language; translators will have to cope with them.

Students have to be taught to identify those social and cultural differences as well as various markers in order
to develop their ability to draw the appropriate meaning from the source language text and culture into natural
target language text and culture.
Teaching translation at the initial stages of language learning Communicative equivalence
At the initial stages of language learning it is fundamental that students understand differences in the function
and use of various lexical items and speech acts. As a vivid example from Russian, I can cite a description given
for 'translation' as an assignment to our first year students. It takes place in Moscow where the guide of a group of
Russian students on a tour of the city greets them:
IIoporxe cTynexTx!
[Literal translation: Dear students!]
All our students gave a word-by-word translation, but when asked if an English-speaking guide would use this
formula of address the answer was no. They agreed that the normal target language form would be "Hello!" The
advantage of a]iteral translation is often its exoticism, but this advantage may be nonexistent when it is
incongruous due to target language norms. If this is the case it should be either paraphrased or omitted. The same
point is illustrated in a telephone conversation which runs as follows:
Anno! 3TO rocnouxa IIeTpoB?
[Literal translation: Hello! Is this Mr Petrov?]
Alexandr Krouglov, New Zealand

83

CnYmaio!
[Literal translation: Listening]
[Communicative equivalent: Speaking]
In this case the literal translation "Listening" is incongruous and must be replaced by the communicative
equivalent "Speaking". My primary concern at the first year level is therefore to teach the students not to
mechanically substitute lexical items but to make them aware of the social and cultural significance of various
situations, and hence predict the responses of target audiences to the message and to the way in which source
language text must be transformed, so as to achieve the highest communicative approximation.
Sociocultural factors
At this stage I introduce sociocultural factors. They are first illustrated by examples in the native language
and gradually move into the foreign language where they may produce a result that differs from the one in the
students' native language. When one teaches French, Italian, Russian or other Indo-European languages to
English speakers (especially people with no experience in foreign language learning) it is important to make
them aware of the relative social status of collocutors and to identify verbal differences in one's addresses to
collocutors of lower, equal or higher levels. Students usually like this type of activity and readily provide
examples.
Of course translation does not depend on a simple summing up of all sociocultural factors. Students have to
develop the ability to differentiate between main and secondary factors in all situations. The choice of specific
translation variants may be influenced by one, a few or all factors.
The importance of sociocultural differences in translation and interpreting within the grammar course at the
first year level can be illustrated by an example from Ukrainian. In Ukrainian the address form "IIax/IIaxil"
[Literal translation: Mr/Mrs] may be used in combination with the first name and is usually introduced in the
language course without an adequate explanation of the way in which it can actually be interpreted. Students
may find an explanation about its use and function in the Ukrainian language course but it is next to impossible
to find an equivalent for this form of address in other languages. Accordingly my students have first to specify
the setting of the conversation, and then to analyse the collocutor's relative social status before they can arrive at
the following four ways of translating it into a target language:

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

1) First Name + additional element, for example, in the form of a polite phrase; 2) Mr/Mrs +
Last Name, if the target language situation dictates the introduction of a more formal form
of address;
3) partial exoticism: by using Mr/Mrs + First Name;
4) full exoticism: preserving the Ukrainian form in English, e.g. Pani Halya. The students
then realize that partial and full exoticisms are possible only when the target language
audience knows the exotic source culture and can easily assimilate the culturally different
form, (such as an international organisation or a city with mixed population, as is often the
case in Canada, Britain or the United States).
By means of this and other examples, the students see that the function of politeness
formulae does not fully coincide in different languages. I then call the students' attention to
the fact that Russian students of English may find it equally difficult to find an appropriate
translation of a Russian greeting formula in different variants of English. This is another
area in which different methods of translation can be explored by students at this stage.
When teaching translation it is important to subdivide the analysis of a source language
and the translation process by performing the translation exercise in two stages: (a)
analysis of the source text and (b) the translation process. The first stage consists of the
following steps:
1. reading and comprehension of the source text, that is students must fully understand
the meaning of all lexical and grammatical items;
2. sociocultural analysis of the source text. In this phase students must identify the
situation, setting, gender, age, relative social status of collocutors, geographical and
temporal
dimensions.
The second stage covers the translation process:
1. identification and examination of target language structures which would describe the
source text situation. The main concern at this stage is to show the
transposition/matching of the source text social and cultural structures in the target
text.
2. identification of a target language audience. The students are taught to analyse the
ways in which a target text may be changed according to the target language users.
This type of analysis is introduced by the end of the first year and the examples are very
simple, e.g. the students must alter an English translation of a foreign text with some
culture-bound inform
ation to the specific needs of a target language audience.
The order of these stages may vary from text to text, but gradually students
will start to understand the complexity of the translation process. The time spent on
analysis of sociocultural factors will definitely be rewarded in their future work.
Alexandr Krouglov, New Zealand

g$

Interpreting

Situational interpreting can also be introduced at this stage by means of role play. This
focuses on the active use of lexical and phraseological units and the ability to produce
grammatically correct sentences. These interpreting exercises enable students to
comprehend and identify the notions which have to be explained in the target language
due to cultural differences. In New Zealand and Australia the seasons serve as an
example of cultural notions, as they do not coincide with those in the Northern
hemisphere. A variety of topics can be practised at the first year level, e.g.:
introductions, telephone conversations, asking for directions, holidays, travelling, etc.
One must ensure that participants have roles of both different and equal social status,
educational and cultural background, age and gender, but at this stage of language

learning it is even more important to make situations interesting and humorous and to
allow students to have some freedom.
Interpreting exercises usually comprise the following stages:
I. description of a situation (e.g., cafe, library, university, etc.);
2. distribution of roles (e.g., one student is a Russian engineer, the other is a New
Zealand farmer, the third is an interpreter);
3. communicative goals (e.g., introduction, invitation, etc.); 4.
actual production of a dialogue and its rendition; 5. analysis
and discussion.
Students are taught not only to analyse grammatical and lexical information but also
to identify the applicability of foreign notions to the target language environment.
Student feedback emphasises the usefulness of introducing sociocultural aspects of
translation and interpreting at the initial stages of language teaching.
Compromise and compensation
The gradual introduction to translation tools should continue at later stages of
language learning and translation and should be incorporated into the students' ability to
differentiate social and cultural phenomena in increasingly more complex texts and text
types. Cultural transpositions from exoticism to cultural transplantation can be used in
classes involving both translation and interpreting.
Translation would be impossible without compromise and therefore compromise and
compensation must be part of translation analysis. Translation losses are due to the
expressiveness of the source text, so the comparative analysis of a source text and target
text is, on the one hand, a productive means of understanding why the losses occurred
while, on the other hand, it helps find appropri

a
g(

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

ate ways of minimising them. The first steps in a contrastive source and target text analysis must therefore
determine: the nature of the source text, its orientation and relationship to source language audiences, the purpose
of the target text, its 'putative audience', etc. (Hervey and Higgins 1992: 34). Not until they have identified all these
factors, may the students proceed to the actual analysis of translation. I can illustrate the procedure with the
following example:
Source text: Moscow, founded in the 12th century, is actually pronounced "Moskwa", thought to be after Mos and Kwa, a prince and
his girl.

Before students started the analysis they were told that the source text was an article in the Australian edition of
The Bulletin targeted at Australian readers, whereas the Russian target text is directed towards Russians. This
contextual in
formation is very important for an assessment of the following target text-. CuxTaeTCA, TITO MocxHa, ocxosaxxaA
B XII sexe, xna xasBaxa s uecTb xxR3A Moca x ero soanao6nexxoff Ksa.
[Literal translation: It is believed that Moscow, founded in the 12th century, was named after prince Mos and his beloved Kwa.]

The difference in terms of target audience results in a significant change in the information sequence. Target text
omission of the phrase "is actually pronounced Moskwa" was identified as appropriate since the Russian readers
know how to pronounce the name of their capital. Reductions, expansions and the like are widely applied in
translation of information sequences with sociocultural elements. Reduction is primarily used in order to do away
with sociocultural notions which make understanding difficult or with irrelevant explanations, whereas expansion
of the information structure is necessary when the targeted audience is not familiar with sociocultural notions or

where an explanation is needed. But again, the concept of the source text realisation may differ depending on the
target language audience, e.g. "Bonbluoil TeaTp" [Literal translation: Bolshoi Theatre] may simply be translated
as the 'Bolshoi' for an American or British audience, but as 'Bolshoi Theatre' plus the additional explanation 'the
famous Russian Opera and Ballet company' in some other countries.
Unacceptability versus acceptability of a compromise is one of the central issues in translation. By means of the
factors listed above the students learn how to avoid unacceptable compromise (which is identical with low quality
translation). In teaching translation and interpreting it is pedagogically useful to distinguish between different types
of compensation as suggested by Sandor Hervey and Ian Higgins (1992):
Alexandr Krouglov, New Zealand

$7

1. compensation in kind;
2. compensation in place;
3. compensation by merging; 4. compensation by splitting.

Yet, practical translation work and translation analysis in class sometimes show that this system of
compensation techniques needs further elaboration.
Concluding remarks
Languages represent an integral part of culture, and therefore lexical items cannot be clearly understood without
familiarity with the original cultural phenomena for which they are symbols. A deep understanding of the ways in
which social and cultural features are combined in a language is indispensable in teaching translation and
interpreting.
I firmly believe that, for this reason, teachers must introduce exercises in translation and interpreting which
illustrate to students that translation is not to be understood as word-by-word rendering but should be aimed at the
achievement of the closest communicative response of a target language speaker to the communicative intent of a
source language speaker. In so doing it is imperative that they take into account the sociocultural factors which
govern the choice of each lexical item.
In this article I have tried to illustrate how crucial it is to provide background material for the adequate
understanding of the source text and hence the adequate creation of the target text in translation and interpreting.
My teaching experience at the University of Otago has shown that some elements and methods of translation and
interpreting should be introduced at the earliest stages of language teaching and should be further developed at
intermediate and advanced levels when translation is taught as a special subject.
ETHNOCULTURAL PECULIARITIES
IN TRANSLATION FOR SPECIAL PURPOSES
Antonina Badan, Kharkov Polytechnic University, Ukraine
In this article I shall consider translation in the context of cross-cultural communication studies. Cross-cultural
communication is viewed as a self-governing system of rules which overcomes the communicative barriers set up
by national languages. This system largely involves interdisciplinary approaches, including world culture studies,
psycholinguistics, pragmatics and sociolinguistics.
According to Spolsky (1986) the efficiency of communication depends on four major spheres shared by the
two interacting cultures:
1) grammar and lexicon;
2) the pragmatic system;
3) the physical context; and
4) the shared world knowledge.

If 'communicative competence' is considered as an umbrella term for speech competence and sociocultural
competence, we have to include the domain of sociocultural aspects in teaching specific languages to students. In
order to achieve efficient communication we have to bypass the barriers of national differences in 'speech
behaviour', by which term I mean a system of speech actions and operations in a particular communication
situation.
Thus speech behaviour must be based on teaching both language competence and the shared world knowledge
which, in combination, form the communicative competence in a particular language.
A study of educational systems in foreign countries shows that the way to success in any society, and especially
in a multinational one, depends largely upon a knowledge of the culture's systems of communication. The
individuals' linguistic and general culture are fully dependent on their inner culture, education and upbringing
(choice of words and gestures, sense of appropriateness etc.).
Despite the variety of terms used for linguistic studies of communicative competence, they nevertheless all
focus on the importance of teaching extralinguistic differences. In other words, efficient communication is
impossible unless there is some shared general background knowledge between the communicants.
Hirsh (1992) stresses that cultural literacy cannot be disentangled from a language since it is based on the
language's cultural baggage. Therefore cultural li-

90

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

teracy is not part of the communicants' general background knowledge, but fits one language only. In their work,
translators and interpreters deal with at least two cultural literacies: that of the sender and that of the addressee.
So for them, the appropriate background knowledge is a prerequisite for penetrating the other culture as well as
the world at large, since no culture is separate from the world community and its material and spiritual values.
Therefore, I shall address the term 'communicative competence' which, then, comprises all the spheres of
language competence, cultural literacy and background knowledge as the necessary elements of the mental
baggage of interpreters and translators. Within this area, I shall focus on the teaching of ethnocultural peculiarities
for business communication. This calls for a clarification of the difference between teaching communicative
competence and teaching ethnocultural peculiarities in translation for special purposes.
The former is more general, the latter is relatively narrow and specific: teaching translation in general is based
on the whole system of cross-cultural activities including cultural literacy, whereas teaching ethnocultural
peculiarities for business communication might, in principle, be reduced to a set of rules for translation and
interpreting in business contexts (although communicative competence in business is also the reflection of
general communicative competence).
National languages may differ considerably in terms of norms for speech and writing. The problem is how to
match the national norms of two languages in translation; what should be disregarded and what should be
retained? This is particularly important for translators and interpreters, since they act as channels between
cultures and assume the responsibility for efficient communication.
My practical experience is based on comparative studies of business communication between Russian and
English, languages which are wide apart in terms of their traditions in business communication. There are
numerous reasons for these differences: firstly, the languages belong to different groups (namely Slavonic and
Germanic); secondly, they reflect different systems of social organization. They may therefore be viewed as
contrasts in a number of respects. This means that there are many communicative barriers which interpreters and
translators have to overcome; in addition, these barriers are, to some extent, different in translation and
interpreting.
Translators of business correspondence must be taught that English business style is different from Russian in
terms of formalities. Otherwise, the routine formulas of greetings, openings, addresses and closures may trap
translators. In a

Antonina Badan, Ukraine- ;

91

letter, the opening address is important because it sets the tone of the letter: if the addressee, one "I. Smith", is a
woman, and the translator does not make allowance for this eventuality, "I. Smith" may be offended by being
addressed as "Mr. Smith". Yet the absence of information about the marital status of a woman does not allow for
randomly addressing her either as "Miss" or "Mrs". In this clear-cut case, the sensible approach is to omit the "Mr"
or "Ms" and use the first name or initials.
However there are other situations in which neophyte interpreters might find it difficult to decide whether to
simply follow the initial source utterance or to use their background knowledge and consequently introduce an
etiquette phrase: in Russian there is no etiquette address to the chair of a meeting as opposed to English etiquette
requirements. In practice, the beginner is best served by following the example of experienced colleagues.
English and Russian also differ in presenting the complimentary closure. Some Russian business letters may not
include any kind of complimentary closure at all, while this is a must in English (Londo 1990). Once again the
question arises: should the translator disregard the difference and follow the Russian pattern? I am convinced
translators and interpreters should take the pragmatic meaning as their lead in deciding how to render it to the
addressee. But, as stylistics and pragmatics are different fields, they must also be differentiated by a translator in
order to retain both the tone and meaning of the letter.
The difference at the ethnocultural level is even more obvious in the business correspondence style of the two
languages. The lengthy totalitarian rule in the former Soviet Union has left its imprint on a categorical style in
correspondence, which is alien to the diplomatic and often courteous English. We might say that stylistic norms are
different and they still remain different, though there is now some transition to Western European norms (as the
result of the rapprochement with Western culture).
In this respect special instruction in business grammar is helpful. It eliminates categorical statements by
changing their grammatical structure. Thus the normal Russian business style statement "I think it will be useless
for you", can easily be substituted by "I don't think it will be useful for you" in English and will be appropriate in a
given situation.
Even minor peculiarities, such as word order in a person's first and last names, may be of importance in order to
avoid confusion. The Russian norm of presenting the last name first is easily explained by the Russian communitycen92

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

tred rather than individual-centred psyche. In Western culture the individual is most important. The same difference
is found in the rules of writing addresses: in English the name comes first, to be followed by place of residence. In
Russian the more general data are presented at the beginning: the name of the country followed by the name of the
city, street, house number, apartment and then, finally, the person's name.
There are even more stumbling blocks for interpreters unless they have been specifically taught these
differences. It is obvious that the closer the cultures the fewer the obstacles in translation or interpreting.
Conclusion
The substantial shift towards a notion of communicative competence noted by Brumfit (1995) has facilitated the
teaching of translation in terms of meanings which constitute cultures. Communication in this sense is defined by
the capacity of individuals in different cultures to interact. According to this view the ability to communicate
successfully depends only partially on one's knowledge of grammatical rules. The ability to integrate these rules
into an overall pragmatic competence and to use this effectively in face-to-face communication is more important.
Teaching business communication should therefore in no way overlook the necessity to bring together and
compare cultures, let alone translation of business correspondence and documentation of business, in which strict
rules govern every type of document.

Undoubtedly Russian and English can serve as examples of diametrically different languages. Consequently the
problems which translators and interpreters will have be taught to overcome are more complex than between closely
related languages. In studies of the relationship between Russian and English, there is an added complication that
nowadays English is also used as the foremost language for international communication. In other words, when we
translate from Russian into English we present and compare Russian culture not only with British and American
cultures, but with those of the rest of the world. So, teaching translation for special purposes, in my case teaching
translation for business communication, is no different from the general trend of studying a foreign culture by doing
away with the domination of textbooks and instead basing it on the learner's own experiences in everyday
situations. The role of the teacher in this

Antonina Badan, Ukraine

93

context is that of intercultural interpreter and navigator assisting the students to overcome the foreign language
barriers.

TEACHING AND STUDENTS

POSTMODERNISM AND THE TEACHING OF TRANSLATION


Rosemary Arrojo
Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil
In traditional terms, both translation and pedagogics have been understood as instances of meaning transferral.' Based
on the essentialist presupposition that meaning (or truth) could be a neutral, stable entity that is not dependent on contextual circumstances and on ideological interests, our modern tradition' has described translation in terms of an attempt
to transfer meaning from one language, and culture to another, while it has expected teachers to transfer a supposedly
ready-made body of knowledge inherited by their generation to the next. Since; such transferrals should take place under
the sign of objectivity, and allegedly universal values, both translation and teaching, and, particularly, the teaching of
translation, have been keen to devise models or methods that could systematize once and for all some practices that have
always failed to fit into the limited scope of the theories produced to explain them.
The notion of a method conceived as an attempt to systematize knowledge and applying a certain theory to a certain
practice is compatible with what we might: consider as an eminently modern world view which is based, in general
terms, on the possibility of reaching a level of objectivity that could be protected from the limits of prejudice and
ideology and acquire a universal status. From a perspective informed by the jargon and the critique of postmodernism,
we might say that a method is, in general, a form of master narrative which is presented as a definite alternative to what
is supposedly purely practical and devoid of a scientific basis. The dream of an impossible modernity expressed in the
search for models of systematization which could help the study of translation attain a scientific status is still an
important tendency in the area. It was particularly stimulated by the establishment of linguistics as the science of
language in the 1960s and the 1970s. Since then, the implicit promise of the development of a scientific method for
translation that could finally be freed from the translator's undesirable interference has attracted several scholars. Juliane
House, for example, declares that her work intends to overcome an allegedly pre-scientific stage, constituted by "prelinguistic studies," inscribed within a"long tradition" of "anecdotal reflections" on translation and on its evaluation

brought forth by, professional translators, philologists and poets. In opposition to this tradition, House intends to offer
"some light" to the area of translation assessment by deve98

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

loping an "eclectic model" that could bring objective criteria to the ways we compare and evaluate originals and
their translations (1977: 5, 2).
The rejection of what is purely practical and of any pre-scientific reflection on the translator's task is also the
rejection of difference and of any factor that might be associated with subjectivism in the production and in the
evaluation of translations. In a typically modern attitude, Theodore H. Savory, for instance, attributes the lack of
universally accepted principles for translation to a certain lack of discipline shared by translators in general:
The truth is that there are no universally accepted principles of translation, because the only people who are qualified to formulate
them have never agreed among themselves, but have so often and for so long contradicted each other that they have bequeathed to
us a volume of confused thought which must be hard to parallel in other fields of literature (1968: 49-50).

In a book that intends to help teachers find an "alternative" to the impasse of an "empiricism" that has gone
nowhere, Jean Delisle expresses his disappointment with literary translators who "never learned to use their
experience as a basis for constructing theories" and "sought to justify their personal notions of translation as an
art, instead of studying translation as a practice in order to identify theoretical hypotheses and general principles
and rules. In this sense, their approach was not scientific" (1988: 32).
The search for general laws and principles has stimulated the search for a pedagogical model that could transfer
such principles, rules and criteria to the training of professionals. If we take such an ideal of objectivity and
universalism to its extreme, we will certainly end up with surreal fiction, such as Stephen Straight's claims that to
do their job adequately translators should ideally know all there is to know, not only about "the linguistic system
and cultural context of the author of the original", but also the language and culture of "the intended audience of
the translation". In a table entitled "outline of knowledge translators must have", which is "largely based on Nida,"
Straight attempts to divide all there is to know into five categories: ecology; material culture, technology; social
organization; mythic patterns; and linguistic structures. Even a cursory glance at these categories makes one realize
the absurdity of such a classification, as well as the impossible mission devised by any essentialist project for the
translator to handle. Taking Straight's case as an extreme illustration, we might say that in the end the elaboration
of any successful method with universalizing expectations would necessarily entail the control of every fact and
every event as well as the exhaustion of all the information that there could ever be.'
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99

Postmodern thinkers have tried to point precisely, not only to the irrationalism inherent in such a search for the
strictly rational, but, most of all, to the underlying violence involved in it. Jean-Franois Lyotard, for instance,
has argued that the great master narratives about alleged human emancipation, built in the name of the search for
the rational and the universal, necessarily disregard and disfigure whatever is regional and specific. As various
trends of contemporary thought - deconstruction, poststructuralism, feminism - have attempted to show, all
essentialist projects necessarily reveal a desire that a certain brand of reason, always related to a certain group
and to certain interests, may overcome and engulf all the other 'reasons'. Any essentialist philosophy, like every
universalizing enterprise, is nothing more than a totalitarian, "white mythology" which, instead of formulating
universal truths, simply reflects its own culture: "the white man takes his own mythology, Indo-European
mythology, his own logos, that is, the mythos of his idiom, for the universal form of that he must still wish to call
Reason" (Derrida 1982: 213).
As they reveal the complex relationship that directly links power, reason, and knowledge, postmodern theories
of knowledge and the subject do not alienate difference (nor that which Derrida has called diffrance), and thus
take every practice and every experience quite seriously, at the same time that they abandon all unattainable

theoretical ideals and all the totalitarian master narratives which have always rejected the local and the different
in the name of a supposedly universal reason. The implications of these conclusions are particularly clear in
education. For the school idealized by essentialism, knowledge is basically a form of transferrable heritage which
should be ideally transmitted to the next generation without the 'subjective' interference of those who take part in
the process. This conception of knowledge could be associated with what Michel Foucault has called
"connaissance" (the process which allegedly allows for the multiplication of objects of knowledge while the
subject/researcher remains the same) and to which he opposes the notion of "savoir", i.e., the process by means
of which the subject is modified by whatever he comes to know (1991: 69-70). As they attempt to protect
canonized forms of knowledge, essentialist brands of pedagogy actually stimulate and promote the training of
conservative, passive teachers, researchers and students who remain obedient to an authority which they imagine
to be outside ideology and free from political, regional interests.
Any teaching project inspired by knowledge as "connaissance" establishes a form of disciplinary power in
order to homogenize individual differences and
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

characteristics (Jacques 1991: 344, note 16). This type of teaching does not allow learners to explore and strengthen
their own perspectives, communities and cultural roots and ends up 'teaching', in the name of allegedly universal,
objective truths, only the perspective of the group that has the power to determine what has to be taught and to
exclude "the voices, the histories and the experience" of those who happen to be "subject" to such a group
(Aronowitz and Giroux 1991: 94). In translation teaching, and in the name of what is 'objectively' correct and adequate, this kind of pedagogy ends up imposing one authoritarian reading of the text to be translated, a certain
conception of what translating is, as well as a certain 'correct' way of doing it, in an attempt to do away with all
disagreements and divergences.
The postmodern critique of essentialism is particularly useful for the deconstruction of rationalist pretensions in
traditional pedagogics because we can use the critical body on reading and writing developed by certain trends in
contemporary thought which explicitly revise the traditional relationship which has generally been established
between subjects. For the essentialist conception of reading, basically conceived as an instance of reception and
protection of meaning, the authority about what has to be recovered is concentrated in the author. In a pedagogical
context, the learner is therefore supposed to passively receive what is determined by the teacher's authority,
legitimized by the educational institution and by the system that supports it. The political implications of this
hierarchical distinction between the one who teaches and the one who learns, the one who determines what is true
and desirable and the one who is expected to follow it, are clear and far-reaching. Thus, the dominant conceptions
of reading and writing necessarily serve the goal of "silencing" students, at the same time that they attempt to
transform them into subjects that blindly obey authority. As students learn to faithfully "follow" what they think to
be the author's instructions, they also learn to follow authority and established meanings without questioning them
(Morton and Zavarzadeh 1988-89: 158).
At the same time that the reading of a text cannot be politically naive, any kind of teaching founded on
logocentrism always involves power relations that are masked in the name of an alleged neutrality which, in reality,
merely defends and canonizes certain interests. The means by which teachers use power in order to legitimize the
reading and the writing of "certain histories", which Aronowitz and Giroux call "textual authority", must be
questioned in the "partiality" of their own "histories", and understood in terms which may clarify their interests and
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101

goals in the "construction of the students' voices" and the subjective positions that they impose (1991: 103).
Instead of simply attempting to transmit and protect canonized forms of knowledge, postmodern teachers

deconstruct this knowledge by means of an examination of the political and ideological interests as well as the
compromises that inspire and conduct their own work. As they deconstruct this knowledge, that is, as they try to
establish the motivations and the power relations hidden behind such knowledge, these teachers also deconstruct
their own role, exposing the interests and the perspective that constitute the options and the readings that they are
willing 'to teach'. In their practice, such teachers also implement the subversion of the traditional distinctions
between writing and reading, between author and reader, and exercise a form of politics of "resistance" which,
for Lyotard, is the truly political task of our age (as quoted in Van Reijen and Verman 1988: 302).
For postmodern teachers, the relentless scrutiny of what they intend to teach, how and why they intend to do it,
the questioning and the political implications of the readings they propose and accept and, also, of those they
exclude, become part of their basic work, not merely before and after classes but, first and foremost, within the
limits of their own classroom. Such teachers must be constantly alert to the effects and the reach of the leadership
which they exercise and of the influence they project in the training of their students. In brief, they take the responsibility for the essentially political, social and ideological role they play as they exercise their teaching, no
longer reduced to a mere technique or to the simple application of a method. Their "textual authority" has to be
analyzed not only for the ways in which it allows "certain forms of empowerment" but also for the ways in which
it excludes "certain voices, histories and experiences" of specific groups, due to "race, class, ethnicity and gender"
(Aronowitz and Giroux 1991: 103).
Returning to my initial question, it is now possible to say that, from the perspective of a postmodern critique of
allegedly universal values and rationality, the basic goal of any teaching project is the education of individuals
who are conscious of their place, their roots and their social context, and who are able to deconstruct (and,
therefore, also to exercise) power and authority within the groups to which they belong and in which they find the
meanings they accept to be 'true'. From such a stance, what would be the role of a pedagogical model within
postmodernism? Could there be a postmodern method for teaching? As it deconstructs the notion of a universal
truth, of a single rationality for all human
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

beings and of metanarratives that propose to encompass and transcend the local and the individual, postmodernism
also deconstructs the notion of a model as a theoretical recipe for the practice of translation or for its teaching. As it
deconstructs the notion of a pedagogical model as a ready-made metanarrative that teachers simply accept and use
in their classrooms, without a critical perspective, postmodernism perhaps proposes an anti-model, a constantly
critical practice which distrusts any project of systematization with universal pretensions.
Postmodern teachers of translation practice will attempt to become conscious of their "textual authority", of their
responsibility for the interpretations they produce and of their essentially political role, not only inside the classroom
but, most importantly, in the community to which they belong. Armed with such an awareness and with their
compromise to unmask the power relations that determine the meanings and the hierarchies that constitute the 'truths'
which shape their classroom, community and, ultimately, also their own history, postmodern teachers will start their
courses by the very deconstruction of the practices and contents to be taught, as well as of the 'official' goals to be
met. They will listen to their students' interests and motivations and will try to show them how such motivations and
interests can be linked to the institutions which originated them. With their students, they will examine the
professional, financial and social position of translators and, together, they will attempt to organize strategies which
may improve working conditions and their societal context. They will not teach their students to follow 'universal',
'objective' translation rules. Instead, they will show them how 'rules' are always local and unstable, at the same time
that they will help them discover which rules they should follow and how this should be done most effectively in
order to meet professional goals. Together with their students, they will examine the translations they consider
adequate and, in particular, what makes them successful in the specific context of the classroom. In other words,
postmodern teachers will not give up their "textual authority", but will make an effort to make it as transparent as
possible, showing their students that this kind of authority, like any other, both inside and outside the school, is a

form of power that can be overcome.


Conversely, for traditional, 'modern' teachers of translation practice, in search of the definite technique or method
that will allow them to translate and to teach how to translate in an objectively 'correct' way, the main focus is
precisely such a method. Such teachers will consider their own translations as 'indisputably' correct and adequate
and, as they ignore their own relationships with the inter
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103

pretations they produce and their own "textual authority", they will be teaching their students that they should
ignore themselves as meaning producing agents and that, like their teacher, they should also ignore the essentially
political character of both translation and teaching. Since such teachers have 'indisputably' correct readings and,
consequently, a universal method to be implemented, they tend to ignore the their immediate context and their
students' backgrounds and goals. .
Finally, we could say that, while the modern teaching model is essentially totalitarian, racist and androcentric, a
postmodern anti-model for the teaching practice is opposed to any form of authoritarian homogenization, in which
the relationships between theory and practice, researcher and teacher, teacher and student, scientist and layperson,
original and translation, the University and the community, and many other similar dichotomies, are determined
by a hierarchy in which the first element exercises a certain superiority, a certain form of power over the second
which is simply taken for granted. Even though it is utopian, the transformation of this blindness into a clear
vision is, perhaps, the great revolution that every teaching project should have as a goal.
Notes
1. This paper is part of a research project sponsored by Brazil's National Council for Research (CNPq), reference number 304543/896NV.
2. The term 'modern' is probably one of the most ambiguous key words of contemporary discourse. In the context of this article, 'modem'
refers to what, for Jean-Franois Lyotard, designates "any science that legitimates itself with reference to a[totalizing] metadiscourse
making an explicit appeal to some grand narrative, such as the dialectics of Spirit, the hermeneutics of meaning, the emancipation of
the rational or working subject, or the creation of wealth" (1984: xxi).
3. For a more detailed discussion on Straight's categories and approach, see also Arrojo 1993 and 1994.
4. For a specific discussion on the interference of the subjective in the process of teaching and learning, see Arrojo 1993.

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by introducing changes? Changing norms is by definition a disruptive activity and as such normally socially
undesirable.
However, norms are not stable. They are always related to a given society at a given time. We can therefore
expect them to change, and sometimes we can anticipate, on the basis of more general trends in society and new
knowledge, the lines along which they are going to change. Toury (1995: 62) points out that it is possible to find
three types of coexisting (and competing) norms: mainstream norms, remnants of previous ones and rudiments of
new ones. He observes that adherence to one of these types of norms should not be regarded as associated with a
particular generation or age group, and that young translators, in particular,
tend to perform according to dated, but still existing norms, the more so if they receive
reinforcement from agents holding to dated norms, be they language teachers, editors, or even teachers of
translation (Toury 1995: 63).
In the case of subtitles, present-day norms very obviously reflect an attitude towards language and especially
towards language registers which ignore many findings in modern linguistics, particularly in the domain of
differences between written and spoken language or functional values of various linguistic structures. The
reasons for this are not difficult to see: subtitles are rendered in written form, and written language is by nature
more organized, more condensed than speech, and as such ideal for subtitling, in which reduction of form is one

of the basic demands. Written language is reliably standardized while spoken language is not, and in Western
societies written discourse is valued more highly than spoken discourse.
Subtitling has not managed to emancipate itself from literary translation, and (despite occasional claims to
represent the original dialogue as faithfully as possible) it gives priority to norms of the written discourse over
the original - oral - discourse, into which norms of everyday conversation have mostly found their way. Lambert
(1993: 234) raises two important issues: first, that translated texts are never based only on the original text, but
also on the competitive influences of the original and target language systems; and secondly, that preference for
written over spoken may reflect a hierarchical priority of values from the past over values of the present.
Although we can accept that subtitles, as a"support text" (Lambert 1993: 234), will never totally reject the norms
ol written language in favour of those of spoken communication, there are several reasons for trying to bring
them closer together.

Irena Kova&l; Slovenia

107

Probably the strongest argument against 'smoothed out' dialogue, characteristic of subtitles designed in
accordance with norms of written, rather than spoken discourse, is that it distorts the relative weight of the
informative (propositional) and interpersonal content of discourse. While written discourse typically foregrounds
informative content, spoken discourse contains more personal and interpersonal elements. When films, dramas or
comedies, in which personal and interpersonal components are fundamental dramatic devices, are subtitled
according to the priorities of written discourse (with the disappearance of characteristics of spontaneous speech,
such as false starts, incomplete sentences, gradual construction of conversation, corrections, explanations,
persuasive interpersonal elements, one message broken into two or more parts, etc.), the shift may have
significant consequences for the comprehension of the dramatic or comic development of the story, the
relationships between characters, and their psychological states (Cf. Mason 1989; Kovairit (forthcoming)). When
(1) Remember Brian? He's got... You know, Jenny's cousin. Well, he's got killed in
a car crash.
becomes
(2) Jenny's cousin Brian
was killed in a car accident.
the viewer (as the eavesdropper) is denied insight into the actual construction of the message: the speaker first
treats Brian as an entity familiar to the listener, but then realizes this may not be the case, so uses 'a repair
technique' and specifies Brian's identity, and only then provides info.-mation on what happened to Brian.
A frequent argument against preserving the original dialogue structure is time and space constraint. However,
a shorter text does not always mean that the viewer will need less time to read the subtitle and will be able to
focus more on
visual information. Thus, example (2) can be reduced even further to (3) Brian was killed
in a car accident.
At first sight it seems that (3), being shorter by 14 letters than (2), might demand less reading effort from the
viewer. However, if this is a passage from a series in which Brian is not a central character and has not been
mentioned at all in the current episode, the viewer will indeed need less time to recognize the word "Brian", but
he will probably spend as much or even more time decoding it, that is searching for its proper - contextualized interpretation as in (2). Even though the very next subtitle may explain who Brian was, at the time when the
actual subtitle is on the screen, the viewer needed at least as much time to

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recover the necessary information (from his memory) about the identity of the person (or to wonder about it) as it
would have taken him to decode the struc

turally more complex "Jenny's cousin Brian". A compromise like (4) Remember Brian, Jenny's
cousin? He's got killed in a car crash.

is not just information about Brian's death wrapped up in some trivial gibberish. It shows how the original
information was structured, and how it came into being. It also preserves the speaker's consideration for listeners
and the problems they might have in understanding the message: he first wants to make sure that listeners can
establish the identity of the person in question and only then, as a second stage move, does he continue to give new
information regarding Brian. However, viewers are still not told that this was not done in a straight-forward way,
that the speaker first started out differently, but then decided to change his communication strategy. If this were
relevant for the story, yet another subtitling option might be selected:
(5) Brian - you know, Jenny's cousin,
has got killed in a car crash.

Considerations like this make us aware that what may appear to deserve priority in terms of written discourse
norms, may be a poor subtitling solution in terms of the context of a specific dialogue. Another typical example of
such relative importance is a choice between so-called 'objective' or 'propositional' parts of a message and
'subjective' or 'modal' parts. Modal elements are among prime candidates for elimination in subtitling (Kova6`
1992). However, if the original dialogue of (6) is subtitled as (7),
(6) You may have noticed that he didn't recognize her
when she came in.
(7) He didn't recognize her
when she came in.

which would, according to results of empirical research, probably be most translators' first choice, this may not be
the optimal choice in terms of story development. We can very well imagine a context in which the speaker's
hesitation would turn out to be significant later on. And if reference is to a recent scene still well present in the
second character's (and, hopefully, the viewer's) mind, the subtitler might opt for (8).
(8) You may have noticed he didn't recognize her.

Irena Kovacic; Slovenia

109

This would eliminate a part of propositional meaning which is, within the picture-text complex, redundant,
while the speaker's uncertainty about the other person's perception of the situation would be preserved.
Analysis of such examples shows that teaching cannot be based exclusively on existing norms. It is probable
that, with the persistent search for ways to 'represent the original dialogue as faithfully as possible', criteria for
selecting what to eliminate or condense will also change. Therefore it is important not so much to tell the students
what we think subtitling norms should be or what they may look like in the future, but rather to equip them with
sufficient relevant knowledge about translation, language (as part of culture and as a social semiotic system),
language functions in human communication, and social attitudes towards language and language varieties.
Today's trainees may still be in the subtitling business in thirty or forty years' time, and it is impossible to
anticipate what will be regarded as dominant norms then. We do not want to restrain our students by prescribing
the "right" or "optimal" subtitling procedures. They need knowledge which will help them to reflect creatively on
subtitling, on language and on their own use of it, and not to slavishly accept norms imposed by traditional
prejudices about language hierarchies (including those we as their teachers may feel like advocating). In this way
they will be able to participate actively in the search and contribute to a gradual evolution of subtitling norms
towards a new, more independent system, which will draw more equally on both written discourse norms and
spoken discourse norms, definitely establishing subtitles as a recognizable text type in their own right.

THE SENTENCE GROUP:


THE KEY DISCOURSAL LEVEL IN TRANSLATION TEACHING
Li Yunxing, Tianjin Normal University, China

Levels of discourse
In current translation teaching in China, attention has shifted from individual words and sentences to discourse
because the translation of words and sentences is often conditioned by the discourse unit. Definitions of discourse
vary from author to author, so that for some 'discourse' has the length of a book while others consider it as short as
one sentence or even word (Huang 1988). Accordingly, in the discussion of translation practice, 'discourse' may be
anything from a book to a sentence. This confuses students. Experience of teaching in a Chinese environment
convinces us that it is reasonable and practical to divide discourse into levels, each of which is defined and studied
in its own right. This method has led to a clearer picture of and a better approach to the application of discourse
analysis in translation teaching.
The discourse in individual translation tasks is termed the text. A text in the sense of a complete entity in its
own right may vary in length, but the main idea is that a text is the overall linguistic and communicative entity
which the translator must handle as one entity. This is the top level in the discoursal hierarchy, and below it we
can identity three more levels:
The sub-text, the sentence group and the information unit.'
The 'sub-text' is a set of functionally and rhetorically related sentence groups, which may correspond to a
section of the text. The 'sentence group' is a set of coherently and cohesively arranged sentences constituting a
comparatively complete idea or image. It may be shorter than a paragraph but sometimes comprises several
paragraphs. Below the 'sentence group' is the information unit, which presents a basic proposition or an image
element and usually takes the form of either a clause or a phrase?
Although the levels of discourse are perceived according to the semantic and communicative functions of
discourse of different lengths, they can also relate to rhetorical divisions such as sections or paragraphs, and to
syntactic structures such as clauses or phrases, since both rhetorical and syntactic structures are carriers and
manifestations of communicative functions.

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

This model of discourse based on levels can serve as an easy-to-operate model in translator training courses.
The attention of the student is first directed to the top level, the text, for a brief analysis of field, tenor, mode and
style. The author and general background are also discussed. It is essential for students to have an comprehensive
view of what they are going to translate and to keep this in mind throughout the whole translation process. At the
level of the sub-text, field, tenor; mode and style are again analysed, but the teacher should make sure that these
analyses are a supplement only, since the whole is made up of the parts and there may be hybridisation within a
text (Hatim 1990). Up to this point students have been led through a macro-analysis of the discourse while the next
two levels open themselves up to micro-analysis. The sentence group level offers students perspectives of
cohesion, coherence and functional types of discourse. Furthermore, at the information unit level the teacher may
lead students through a mental process of 'breaking up' the target language message into manipulatable units: this
facilitates the transfer to the target language discourse.
The analysis of these discourse levels can draw upon findings in discourse research. But, in the context of
translation teaching, discourse analysis also has its own characteristics. First, translation involves two texts, the
source language text and the target language text. While each text can be studied separately, one goal in translation
teaching is to compare the source language text and the target language text. Such comparison can be made either
at the text, the sub-text, or at the sentence group level, each with its own focus. Comparisons of this kind heighten
students' awareness of the distance between their versions and the source language text and thus enable them to
work out revisions closer in meaning as well as in function to the source language text. Secondly, the source language text is seen as a manifestation of the author's ideology and intention while the target language text is a
dynamic representation of the source language textual functions in the light of the translator's understanding of it in

negotiation with the author. Thirdly, among the four levels of discourse, the sentence group is the mainstay because
this is the level at which sentences begin to function as selfcontained wholes and at which translation strategy (i.e.
the translator's decisions regarding the transfer of functions of the source language text) is realized in down-toearth skills and manipulation. Fourthly, the information unit level is comparable with Nida's deep structure transfer
in which basic ideas are rearranged for target language presentation (Nida 1969).

Li Yunxing, China

113

The sentence group is, in our view, the key level in this discoursal hierarchy. The following are the major
aspects we dwell upon in translation classes:
,
Types of sentence groups
Many scholars have pointed out that one would find a mixture of functions in , most texts (e.g. Beaugrande and
Dressler 1981). The hybrid nature of discourse (Hatim 1990) renders it less practical and rewarding to discuss
types of discourse at the level of the text for the purpose of translation teaching. However, the degree of
hybridisation decreases as we move into the lower levels in the discourse hierarchy, and at the sentence group it
dwindles to a minimum, offering the teacher the best opportunities to analyse discourse types related to translation
strategies. Roughly, four types of discourse emerge from the samples we collect- ' ed for teaching. (a) narrativedominant, (b) descriptive-dominant, (c) expository, and (d) instructional ones.
The narrative-dominant group conveys dynamic images, actions and movements; the descriptive-dominant
sentence group presents static images, appearances and shapes. (The word 'dominant' is used to highlight the fact
that narration and description are often fused even within a sentence group.)
Temporal order is an important frame of reference in the arrangement of dynamic images while spatial order is
essential to an orderly presentation of static ' images. In English-Chinese translation, both languages use time and
space relations to set up order. However, showing a stronger tendency towards iconicity, Chinese usually follows
the real-life time order more closely than English does.
The function of the expository sentence group is to present concepts, ideas and logical relationships. In order
to ensure faithful transmission of the source language functions, students must develop the ability to identify
concepts and relationships and to recognize them in accordance with the norms of different linguistic structures.
The information units in an expository sentence group are the constituent elements of a concept or an idea, and
may be equated with a clause, a phrase or a single word.
The argumentative function is a much-discussed type of discourse, but we do not perceive such a function as
distinct at the sentence group level, at which argumentation breaks down into concepts just as exposition does. It
is only at the higher levels, the sub-text or the text, that argumentation is clearly distinct from exposition.
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

The function of the instructional sentence group is to tell the reader what to do. It has a more direct
perlocutionary force than the other types of sentence groups. Samples of instructional sentence groups abound
in operation manuals and consumer advice, and are also found in expository texts. The information units in
instructional sentence groups have values related to steps in a procedure and they are usually clauses or phrases.
In handling such sentence groups, students must have a heightened awareness of the steps or stages in
progression and make sure that the desired perlocutionary force is effected on the target language reader.
Cohesion in the sentence group
Cohesion is one of the major concerns of discourse analysts. In fact it is a feature which can best be studied at
the sentence group level, because cohesion is in essence a micro-structural phenomenon. Major cohesive
devices often include reference, substitution, ellipsis, repetition, synonymy and collocation (Halliday 1985). A

translation course must help students develop two abilities: first, they should be able to identify cohesion as a
phenomenon in the source language sentence group; secondly, they should be able to establish functionallyequivalent cohesion in the target language sentence group: in English-Chinese translation, this is often achieved
through cohesive devices different from those in the source language sentence group.
Here is one of the sentence groups once used in our class:
Unlike U.S. carriers with fixed-wing, high-performance jets that are catapulted into the air and require about 600 feet of deck to
land, the Brezhnev will be just a bigger version of the Kiev [aircraft carrier]. Its jump jets take off by racing up its uptilted nose.
They land almost vertically.

In this sentence group there are two cohesive bonds: "the Brezhnev...its...its" and "jump jets ...they." In both
bonds pronouns are used to refer back to corresponding nouns, a device which is termed reference. A student's
Chinese version reads:
.
...wl qlkl*)4 ft*Nf~
I0
AAA i,+. >Z 0A -tAt4iAr'-7Pf.1
.
The cohesive bond in the Chinese sentence group is: *_Akl~ik

---$--- (#JApfj,~v

jump jets --- their --- [jump jets]

It is clear that the cohesion in the target language sentence group is so confusing that it may give a reader the
erroneous impression that a jet plane has an
Li Yunxing, China

115

uptilted nose and that this nose plays a key role in taking off. Teacher-directed discussion among the students led to
the following revised version: ...
*ilk -k, 0 -1 r0A11 0).
This translation has two cohesive bonds:
4_1)

the

Brezhnev --- ship's --- nose

and
4Ak*B ~t, --- t.} Ak Pf lpn.) jump jets --- [jump jets]

Obviously, these two bonds are different from the English ones in that they employ synonymy and ellipsis
instead of reference. However, they fulfill the same function as their English counterparts.
Discussions of such samples make students realize that cohesion is an indispensable parameter for translation
equivalence. In order to guarantee equivalent cohesion in the target language sentence group, the teacher must
familiarize his students with the similarity and differences between the source language and the target language in
the use of cohesive devices. In the case of English-Chinese translation it is widely assumed that both languages
share more or less the same cohesive devices although they are distributed differently. Preliminary contrastive
studies have shown that Chinese uses more repetition and ellipsis whereas reference and substitution are more
common in English (Zuo 1994).
Coherence in the sentence group
If cohesion is concerned with the lexical and grammatical aspect of texture, coherence calls attention to the
logical arrangements of structural elements in the creation of texture. In English, logical arrangements are made by
means of conjunctions ('therefore' ,'but', 'as a result', etc.), by syntactical coordination and by subordination which
indicates such relationships as reason, result, condition, supposition, purpose, restriction, etc.' In general, Chinese
employs both means to maintain coherence. In English-Chinese translation, conjunctions are usually translated
literally with only occasional inversion in the logical sequence, but the re-establishment of syntactic relationships
often leads to changes along the following lines: 1. hypotactical structures are replaced by paratactical structures
and

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

2. logical relationships are altered to meet the Chinese norms of logical sequence. The following is a sample
used in class:
Under Eisenhower, the United States enjoyed a virtual monopoly on nuclear weapons largely because of its superior delivery
system, the B-52 bomber still in use. As a consequence, U.S. nuclear doctrine was based on the threat of "massive retaliation" to
punish Russian adventurism in areas deemed vital to the West.

The logical sequence in this sentence group can be shown as follows:


- because of - - - as a consequence - - - to punish - - - deemed - - [result]

[reason]

[result]

[restriction]

[restriction]

A published translation of the above sentence group reads:

"Fho, A A-%-1 I h.

A k&O mke$~9111_. ES .JALUAA, tslj~l A2 4~ 0 -A A 2.


The logical sequence in the translation can be formulated as:
,

Eft --- fij ----- kfk--Because [reason] [result] as a consequence [result] if [supposition]

A
[consequence]

A glance at the two logical-sequences will reveal that the first three relationships are largely kept with only a
linear inversion of the first two, but the last two relationships, which are syntactically expressed, have gone
through substantial changes. A new logical sequence 'supposition ... consequence' has been created in the
Chinese sentence group.
Samples of this kind have been proved to be most conducive to students' competence in maintaining
coherence in target language sentence groups. Strategies such as the inversion of logical sequence and the
creation of new logical relationships must be practiced in class and examples of erroneous or awkward representation of logical relationships should also be discussed to heighten vigilance against possible pitfalls.
Concluding remarks
The application of discourse analysis in translation teaching discussed so far has followed three basic
principles. First, discourse should be regarded as a hierarchical scale. The teacher directs his students from the
top to the bottom, making the necessary analysis of relevant aspects at each level, and concludes by making the
students work with the sentence groups. Secondly, discourse should be regarded as one entity and an integrated
whole. Each level interacts with the level above or below in the same way as entities at the same level interact
with
Li Yunxing, China 117 one another. So, although students concentrate mostly on the

sentence group, this does not mean they can neglect the other levels. They must make sure that all the
messages at the bottom level are transferred faithfully and they must refer to higher levels to ensure overall
functional equivalence. Thirdly, in the context of translation teaching, discourse analysis involves comparative
studies of levels in the source language and the target language texts. In the process of translation students frequently
compare their translations with the source language text at every level, especially at that of the sentence group, in
order to introduce whatever revisions they deem necessary to bring their translation as close as possible to the source
language text in both content and style.

Notes
1. Throughout this article, 'discourse' is used as a general and abstract term. When discourse of specific lengths is discussed, 'text', 'subtext', etc. are used. 2. The information unit should not be confused with the unit of translation. The latter is concerned with the structural
match between the target language discourse and the source language discourse whereas the former refers to the basic constituent element
of an idea or image which the translator considers the most appropriate to use.
3. Coherence is usually regarded as the conceptual and logical continuity underlying cohesion (Hatim 1990) and conjunctions serve as a
cohesive device (Halliday 1976). In this article adaptations are made for translation teaching.

TEACHING DIALOGUE INTERPRETING


Leong Ko, Deakin University, Australia

Dialogue interpreting is a popular and sophisticated form of interpreting which requires not only linguistic
competence but also paralinguistic skills. However, it is often taken to be the easiest form of interpreting by
students and some teachers. Therefore, students often neglect the essential prerequisites and fail to achieve a
well-balanced performance. However, dialogue interpreting is important and is worth examining in terms of
teaching methods that fully develop students' potential ability in interpreting and improve their interpreting
skills.
The course that I am teaching at Deakin University, Australia, is the Graduate Diploma in Interpreting and
Translating.` The majority of students are of Chinese speaking background: English is their second language.
There are 12 to 18 students in each class.
In teaching dialogue interpreting, it is impossible to put students in real work situations throughout the
course, so practice in the classroom environment is an important component of their training. There are
several ways of arranging classroom practice. For instance, students can interpret by listening to pre-recorded
dialogues; two teachers can have a conversation in front of the class and have one student interpret their
dialogue; a teacher and a student may have a discussion, which is interpreted by another student. All these
arrangements, however, do not make all students participate. I believe that, in the teaching of dialogue
interpreting, we should involve as many students as possible in practice, either as actors or as interpreters,
because an improvement in their oral delivery will complement their interpreting skills. This conviction is the
principle behind the studies I shall discuss.
The exercise begins with the setting up of groups, each comprising three students: one student acting as an
English speaker, the second as a Chinese speaker and the third as an interpreter. This allows for four modes of
practice:
Mode 1. Students are given a topic for discussion, and the 'interpreter' interprets the conversation between
the two 'actors.'
Mode 2. The two 'actors' are given a scenario outline (but the 'interpreter' is not). The 'actors' follow the
scenario and the 'interpreter' interprets their conversation.

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

Mode 3. All three students are given a brief outline which will form the basis of a future discussion. They are
also given relevant materials and asked to do some research in the area.
Mode 4. All students in a group are given the same topic which will be discussed at a future meeting. The two
'actors' - but not the 'interpreter' - are given some additional materials. The 'interpreter' is asked to research the topic.
I shall here describe the four modes and analyse their advantages and disadvantages. This is done in order to
organise interpreting practice in classroom environments effectively, to stimulate students' interest, to encourage
their voluntary participation, to develop their potential, to expose them to complicated and demanding interpreting
situations, and to improve their interpreting skills. It is also my intention to identify an appropriate level of teacher
involvement in the teaching practice. In addition to the observation and analysis from a teaching perspective, the
study also draws on students' feedback during and after their participation in this course.
The requirement for all classroom sessions is that students should act and interpret as in a real situation; if the
'interpreters' come across anything that they do not understand, they should seek clarification from the 'senders'
directly rather than start a discussion; during the process of communication, the 'recipients' should respond to the
messages conveyed by the 'interpreters', rather than directly to those of the 'senders'. All problems arising from the
process of interpreting are to be discussed at the end. Each role play lasts for 15 to 20 minutes. Then the students

swap roles and start a different scenario so that all of them will have a chance to interpret. Students spend two to
three months practising in only one mode.
Case studies and analyses
Mode 1: only the topic is given
EXAMPLE
Topic:
The establishment of a sister city relationship
Participants: a. The mayor of a city in China
b. The mayor of a city in Australia
c. An interpreter
Venue:
The meeting room of a city council in Australia
Teacher's instruction .
The teacher introduces the topic and either conducts a brainstorm about the issues that may be discussed at the
meeting, or allow the students a few minutes to prepare their talk.

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121

Findings concerning the 'actors':


Some 'actors' can talk freely and the dialogue flows smoothly.
More than half of the 'actors' run out of ideas, the dialogue breaks down and lasts less than
10 minutes.
If an 'actor' cracks a joke, all will burst out laughing right away, before the 'interpreter' starts
interpreting.
If the 'interpreter' does not know a word, one of the 'actors' will often step in and provide
what is missing in the target language; or all will start a discussion.
Both 'actors' respond to the 'interpreter' instead of directly to each other.
There are a good body language and eye contact with the 'interpreter' and between the
'actors'.
Findings concerning the 'interpreters':
The interpreting is accurate.
The 'interpreter' is confident, at ease and rarely asks for clarification or repetition.
There are a good body language and eye contact.
The 'interpreter' takes few notes, if any.
Analysis
More than half of the 'actors' find it hard to perform because of a shortage of ideas on any given topic. For this
reason deliveries are often short and simple in terms of language. The 'interpreters' therefore find it easy to
interpret. Their interpreting skills improve slowly over 2 to 3 months of practice. They also demonstrate a good
body language and eye contact.
This is a handy interpreting exercise, calling only for a good topic. But the , result is not satisfactory due to the
'actors" poor performance. The briefing before the exercise needs to be structured and comprehensive. In addition,
it is important that the teacher also participates as an actor in order to serve as a good model for the students, e.g.
suggesting ways to explore the topic.
Topics must be general and argumentative so that the ' actors' can use their contextual knowledge and have
balanced dialogues. Interviews are usually not suitable, as they tend to make for one-sided speeches.
Mode 2: written scenarios are given to the 'actors', but not to the 'interpreter' EXAMPLE
Topic:
Negotiating a housing loan
Participants: a. The Loans Officer of a bank

Venue:

b. A couple
c. An interpreter
The meeting room of a bank

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

The written scenario


A couple have an appointment with a Loans Officer at the bank to discuss whether they qualify for a housing loan. They have heard
that banks these days are all willing to lend people money.
The officer explains that, yes, it is a lot easier nowadays to negotiate loans, especially personal ones, because many women have
entered the workforce and are in a better position to contribute towards a mortgage repayment.
The clients are particularly interested in a housing loan. The couple have been married for about four years and have no children; they
have been saving to buy a house. They have a joint account at this bank and so far they have saved about 15,000 dollars.
The officer explains that in order to qualify for a housing loan, one needs to have savings amounting to at least 10% of the value of the
house. So with 15,000 dollars> they should be looking for a property worth about 150,000 dollars. However, conveyancing and lawyer's
fees and stamp duty must also be taken into account. So if they need to borrow money for those as well, they should look for a house
which is worth less than 150,000 dollars.
The couple ask about interest rates and repayments.
This bank will lend about 120,000 dollars at the current rate of 8.75% for a housing loan and the rest of the money can be borrowed at
a higher interest rate as a personal loan. Repayments are calculated on the husband's gross monthly salary and are to be repaid over a 25
year period.
What else do they have to do to apply for a loan?
The bank needs their income details. The couple work for the husband's brother who has a wholesale fruit and vegetable business. He
is doing well and will act as a guarantor for them. They earn about 50,000 dollars a year jointly.
Do they have any other assets and any other debts?
They own all their furniture and a 2-year-old Datsun, on which they still owe about 4,000 dollars. But the couple stress that their
credit rating is excellent and that they have paid off the loan on their furniture before the expiry date.
The Loans Officer will prepare a report and will issue an official statement to the couple about the maximum amount they can borrow.
They can use the bank statement as tentative financial approval to bid at an auction or to make an offer if a property they like becomes
available.
Teacher's instruction
The 'actors' are given a few minutes to read the scenario but are told to use it as a guideline rather than reading it.

Findings concerning the 'actors':

The scenario restricts the 'actors', who become passive, and the dialogue does not flow smoothly.

The 'actors' respond directly to each other, especially when the 'interpreter' makes a mistake

If the 'interpreter' does not know a word, one of the 'actors' will often give the missing word in the target language, or they will start a

discussion.
The 'actors' can employ appropriate terminology.
They have poor body language and eye contact with the 'interpreter' and with one another.

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123

Findings concerning the 'interpreter':


* The interpreting is accurate.
The 'interpreter' is confident but has some terminology problems.
There is a good body language and eye contact.
The 'interpreter' takes only a few notes but more than in Mode 1.

Analysis
This mode is frequently used by teachers as a classroom exercise. The written scenario helps the 'actors'. It is
expected that the 'actors' will have a structured dialogue. However, this purpose is defeated if the 'actors' are not
familiar with the scenario or are reading it while acting. For this very reason, many 'interpreters' find it easy to
work in this situation. But their interpreting skills improve only slowly.
In this mode, the teacher's participation is also important for showing how to use the scenario. The 'actors'
must be given enough time to comprehend the scenario so that they can talk freely and the 'interpreters' must

handle a great variety of ideas as well as terminologies.


The 'actors' can be given the scenario a few days in advance. In this case, the teacher has to set up the group
and, furthermore, ensure that the 'interpreter' does not see the scenario since the purpose of the preparation will
otherwise be compromised.
The design of a scenario also influences the 'actors" performance. A description is harder to act out than a
script which includes key words or a detailed outline.
The findings in Modes 1 and 2 reveal many good points, e.g. accurate interpreting, the 'interpreter' being
confident and working with ease, little clarification being needed, good body language and eye contact, the
'interpreter' taking very few notes, etc. However, these points should not lead us to assume that these are the
most appropriate forms of practice for the students.
During a simulated examination in the recording studio, where two teachers used a written scenario as a
guideline; I had all the students' performances recorded. When I played these tapes, a different picture emerged.
Most students took too many notes, had poor body language and eye contact, poor control of the situation and
were not at all confident. When I asked them why they performed so differently in the studio, they told me that
classroom practice was easier while the studio environment was stressful and that, as 'actors', other students only
spoke one or two sentences at a time and could help them if they
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

did not understand a word or could not find its equivalent in the target language. I observed that in the classroom
the students were too relaxed. They cracked jokes and discussed problems in both languages during the sessions.
They did not establish a professional attitude towards interpreting. Classroom practice is already artificial, but this
artificiality was compounded by their casual attitude. In a simulated real situation, they therefore became nervous
and their performance was unsatisfactory.
In these modes (1 and 2), the 'interpreters' are not adequately challenged, due to the 'actors" poor performance.
This holds back progress in interpreting skills. Accordingly, the 'interpreters' may gain the erroneous impression
that dialogue interpreting is simple and does not require much skill. The teacher must therefore take measures to
improve the 'actors" performance in order to achieve more satisfactory results.
Mode 3: all students in the group are given the same topic and materials one week in advance and are asked to do
some research in the area EXAMPLE
Topic: Joint venture brewery
Briefing:
Fosters Australia has made a preliminary agreement to set up a joint venture brewery in Shandong Province, China, which will use
barley from New South Wales (Australia). Chinese technical staff are coming to Australia to investigate malting and brewing technology.
You are to interpret the proceedings. The issues that will be discussed include malting and brewing pro cesses and, if time allows,
training of Chinese brewers as well as technical support after the joint venture has started operating.
For background information, the students are given several chapters from a manual issued by the New South Wales Grains Board.
They are also told that they must do further research on the topic.
Teacher's instruction
Nil (the teacher's participation is optional).

Findings concerning the 'actors':


The 'actors' are prepared, the dialogue flows smoothly and the in-depth discussion comprises much technical terminology.
The 'actors' are generally serious and do not crack jokes.
The 'actors' can intentionally create both linguistic and paralinguistic difficulties for the 'interpreter'.
The 'actors' are in control of the situation.
Both 'actors' respond to the 'interpreter' instead of directly to each other.

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125

If an 'actor' uses a word which the 'interpreter' does not understand, the other 'actor' rarely,

helps him by supplying the equivalent language, nor will the group start a discussion.
They have reasonably good body language and eye contact with the 'interpreter', but better
with each other.

Findings concerning the 'interpreter':

The 'interpreter' is prepared and confident

The
The
The
The

interpreting is accurate, with appropriate terminology being used in the target language.
'interpreter' is keen on seeking clarification when needed.
'interpreter' uses good body language and eye contact.
'interpreter' takes only a few notes.

Analysis
The objective of this mode is to enable the students to have an in-depth discussion of the topic. If the 'actors' and
the 'interpreter' are prepared, they are able to talk extensively. The 'actors' can concentrate on delivery and paralinguistic aspects rather than on looking for ideas. Both 'actors' and 'interpreter' feel that they have learnt a lot from their
research and that they can use the relevant materials. They can therefore evaluate their own progress. In two to three
months of training, especially after the first month, the students' interpreting skills have improved significantly.
However, the problem with this mode of practice is that if one student in a group does not prepare adequately,
the conversation will become stifled. In addition, after a few sessions, the students may become lazy and their
performance becomes less satisfactory. For this reason their interpreting skills improve most significantly during the
first month.
Mode 4: all students are given the same topic with a brief outline (usually one week in advance). The two 'actors'
are given additional materials and the 'interpreter' is asked to research the topic EXAMPLE:
The scenario is the same as in Mode 3. The 'interpreter' receives 'briefings' only.
Teacher's instruction
Nil (the teacher's participation is optional).

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"

Findings concerning the 'actors':


The 'actors' are prepared and the discussion can go into depth with much specialist terminology, but the exchanges often come to a

standstill when the 'actors' need to give explanations to the 'interpreter'.


The 'actors' are generally serious and do not crack jokes.

The 'actors' can intentionally create both linguistic and paralinguistic difficulties for the 'interpreter'.
The 'actors' are in control of the situation.
Both 'actors' respond to the 'interpreter' instead of directly to each other.

If an 'actor' says a word which the 'interpreter' does not know, the other 'actor' rarely intervenes to help, nor do they start a discussion.
They have good body language and eye contact with the 'interpreter'.

Findings concerning the 'interpreter':

The 'interpreter' is prepared but not very confident.

The 'interpreter' is keen on seeking clarification whenever in doubt, but some technical words are not correctly interpreted.
Body language and eye contact ranges from poor to reasonable.

The 'interpreter' takes many notes.

Analysis
Exercises in Mode 4 are more difficult and demanding for the 'interpreters' than in Mode 3. They have to
prepare much more, but not all of their preparation is actually called into use by the 'actors' in the conversation. A
debriefing is essential to help the 'interpreters' solve problems that arise from the practice session. The students'
interpreting skills improve fairly quickly, especially in the first month. It is also a very good exercise for helping
students develop research abilities which are valuable in their future professional work.

The 'interpreters', however, complain that it is exhausting. As their load of assignments from other units
increases, they feel that they cannot spend so much time on research. The conversation thus becomes superficial
and the interpreting performance less satisfactory.
Both Modes 3 and 4 are excellent exercises. They not only help students develop research abilities, but also
enable them to assess their progress so that they can gain confidence. The key factor in successful practice is the
students' preparation rather than the teachers' arrangements. The teacher must therefore ensure that all students do
their homework.
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Feedback from students and graduates


Feedback from the students consists of two parts: feedback from the 'actors' and feedback from the
'interpreters'. As 'actors', most students prefer Mode 2, because there is not much work involved, and they would
like to receive the written scenario a couple of days before the practice session. They do not like taking part in
Modes 3 and 4 too frequently because the preparation takes too much time. Mode 1 is acceptable, provided they
are familiar with the topic.
As 'interpreters', students prefer Mode 3, because they find they can quickly improve their interpreting skills.
Their next preferences are Modes 2 and 1, provided the 'actors' have sufficient ideas to talk about. They do not
mind having some practice in Mode 4, but not too much.
Former graduates who are currently working as interpreters feel that practice sessions offered in Mode 3, and
particularly in Mode 4, are useful. They have found that most of the work they do in Australia is of the nature of
Modes 1 and 2. They have only encountered a few jobs in Modes 3 and 4. However, these jobs are often more
difficult and require higher skills. They would have felt lost if they had not known the strategies of preparation
and research.
Conclusion
In sum, it is hard to say which mode is preferable to the others for classroom interpreting practice. Each mode
has its advantages and disadvantages and requires different strategies in its usage in order to achieve a satisfactory
result.
It should be kept in mind that although the objective of an interpreting course is to train interpreters, the
importance of the 'actors' cannot be overlooked. Their performance has a great impact on the performance of
'interpreters' and consequently on the improvement of interpreting skills. We should try to make the 'interpreters'
work at a level which is a little higher than the one they feel comfortable with, or else they will not be adequately
challenged and their interpreting skills will fail to show a significant and sustained improvement.
Notes
1. Deakin University offers interpreting and translating courses in a variety of languages at both Bachelor and Graduate Diploma
levels: the former is a three-year course and the latter a one-year course. The courses are designed to train interpreters and translators
in diplomatic, business, legal, tourism and community areas rather than for conferences.

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TEACHING LITERARY TRANSLATION:


"THE TRANSLATION HAPPENS WHEN YOU READ IT"
Silvana Orel, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Introduction
This article discusses ways in which one can highlight to students of translation the fact that translations
depend on particular readings and interpretations of specific texts. It is based on my experience of using literary
texts in my introductory translation classes for third-year students of English at the University of Ljubljana who
have not yet received any formal translation instruction. I focus on the importance of text interpretation in
translation and on the students' role in the translational process: their self-awareness and responsibility for their
translational decisions. The article also presents two techniques aimed at helping university students of
translation to develop their sense of self-awareness and responsibility. This is achieved by means of students'
empathy with both the target text reader and the source text author and the needs of both. By shaking their naive
belief in the myths of the perfect translation and the notion of equivalence; I hope to make students aware that
the source text can be observed from various points of view, and that the translator creates one concrete version
out of numerous possibilities.
The focus: Newtonian apples gravitate towards the translator's mind
The world's phenomena and mental ideas are processed by using the progression principle from the known to
the unknown and from concrete objects to the abstract. The shift from solid or definite entities towards floating
or indefinite notions is present in a number of research fields: for example in the shift from Newtonian classical
physics to quantum physics in the natural sciences, or from traditional realism to post-modernism and
deconstruction in literature. People's understanding of reality does not depend on the mere presence of objects,
but on their attitudes towards the objects and on the relationships between the people themselves.
The same general idea of progression can be observed in the development of translation studies (Stolze 1994:
230): from fairly static studies of language systems (grammar, contrastive analysis), via texts (text analysis), to
dynamic human factors and their relationships in translational communicative situations (Skopos theory), that is,
the roles of the initiator, the recipient, and, particularly

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in the hermeneutic approach, of the translator. A similar shift in the focus from non-human to human factors in
translation has happened in translation teaching: Cay Dollerup (p. 19 et seq. above) discusses the role of the
teacher of translation, Marfa Julia Sainz (p. 137 et seq. below) the relationship between the teacher of translation
and her students, while in the present article I concentrate on students of translation and their transladonal
competence.
"Give me somewhere to stand, and I will move the Earth" (Archimedes)
University students' translational competence comprises their proficiency in both languages and cultures.
Translational competence is the students' reference point for their translational performance; students need a
firm referential basis in order to be able to translate a text in a satisfactory way.
Before they start practising actual translation, students now learn about different approaches to translation,
text types, writing skills, etc. This article does not deal with the acquisition of a particular translational skill, but
rather the development of students' attitudes towards other translations and, accordingly, to their own translations
as well. The attitude involves students' self-awareness and responsibility for their translational actions. Christiane
Nord (1991: 29) speaks' about responsibility to both the source target text and its sender, as well as the target text
and its recipient. She terms this responsibility "loyalty", that is, a "moral principle indispensable in the
relationship between human beings". Here, the translator's responsibility is associated not so much with the
translator's loyalty towards the author and the reader, as with loyalty towards himself. It is about the translator's
responsibility for his concrete actions: his translational decisions. Translation is seen in terms of Sartrian
existentialism, in which the individual person is considered as the reference point for all his actions.

Notwithstanding the constraints of the sender's intention, the subject matter or the recipientcentred translation
purpose, the translator has to take full responsibility for his self-created and freely-accepted translational actions.
In introductory translation classes aimed at developing students' translational self-awareness and
responsibility, I use existing translations of literary works for several reasons: initially, students have hazy ideas
and feel bombarded by new translation-related knowledge. Bearing in mind the progression from the known to
the unknown, teachers can help their students a great deal by activating their existing knowledge. In awarenessraising exercises one can choose texts that the majority of the students know from their own reading. This will
stimulate lively

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discussions as well as empathy with the reader. Elements demanding the translator's greatest responsibility in making
decisions are those associated with culture-bound and individual-specific notions, that is, those that present new or
different reality interpretations to the reader. In this respect, literary texts offer a multitude of possibilities for discussion.
"Reality happens when we look at it" (Danah Zohar)
Many students who are only just starting translation believe that translators are imitators or passive observers of the
source text and, as such, impersonal channels for the production of the target text: they aspire towards an objective
interpretation of the source text which is to be reflected in the target text. However, an interpretation is a particular way
of understanding something, and as such it introduces differences. I believe it is this notion of difference that students of
translation find particularly hard to accept.
There are several types of interpretational difference:
1. Interpretational differences in translation appear as linguistic or factual mistakes when the hermeneutic circle has
not yet reached its final point. An interpretation is formed when we think we have reached the most relevant reference
point at which the studied subject can be monitored in its entirety. A misinterpretation occurs when we or others realize
that the reference point from which the subject has been observed has shifted and enabled a more accurate understanding. When such a difference is analysed, it proves to be linguistically and factually wrong.
Interpretations at this level apply to generally accepted notions in the form of facts: for example, grammatical forms
and so-called universal truths. Their 'wrong' developmental phases lend themselves to both criticism and correction,
because they appear as small, identifiable parts of a greater textual whole. This type of interpretational difference is
usually dealt with in error analysis and relates to students' inability to function properly within a particular system of
interpretation.
2. Interpretational differences in translation also appear as alternative ways of understanding something. The reader
becomes aware of the fact that the observed system of interpretation differs from his own. Other people's interpretations
will be perceived as either a misunderstanding of the subject matter or a particular interpretation chosen out of a number
of probable interpretations.

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In translation, this is the level at which the impossibility of the quest for a single and perfect translation is discussed.
Such interpretational differences arise from different sets of values, needs and expectations. The translator has to decide,
for example, whether to retain the source-target cultural elements or to transform them into those of the target culture.
Interpretational differences of this kind are fairly easy to detect, but they usually affect greater parts of the textual whole
than the first type of difference. The translator's decisions cannot be criticized without taking into consideration the role of
either the general or the ideal intended reader.
3. Interpretational differences which reach almost transcendental dimensions are connected with the translator's wish

to recreate the source author's style in the target text. We are dealing here with the impossibility of the quest for equivalence. Whichever translational decision is taken, it does not seem to be commensurable with the original interpretation
of the author's style. The translator may move towards a satisfactory rendition, but he can never reach a fully identical
interpretation. Interpretational differences of this kind are not easy to pinpoint, because they mostly involve the
translator's or the reader's comprehensive perception of the author's work as an indivisible whole.
Responsibility: the apple of knowledge in the student's mind
The interpretational differences of the second and third types are used in the discussion of existing translations in
introductory translation classes. The aim of such discussions is to develop the translator's attitude towards the target text
reader and the source text author. In trying to understand the needs of the ideal intended reader and the source text author,
the translator enters a chain of intersubjective relationships based on a sense of responsibility and empathy. .
I would like to discuss this in terms of prospective seeing (prospection) and retrospective seeing (retrospection). By
taking into account the target-text reader's needs, the translator uses prospective seeing, while by reconstructing the
author's style and the text's intention, retrospective seeing is activated. These techniques teach students to assess the
elements of difference in translation: in the case of translation from a foreign language into the mother tongue the difference usually concerns those elements that have been added to the original by a particular interpretation produced by
the translator's understanding of the original and his wish to comply with the needs of the recipient. In the case of trans-

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lation from their own language into a foreign language, students learn to accept the elements that have been taken
away from the original.
Prospection: the myth of a perfect translation
In order to make them emphathise with the ideal target text reader, I ask students to discuss the existing
translation(s) of a literary text. It is important that these translations have been carried out a foreign language into
their native tongue, since students' (extra)linguistic sensitivity is highest in their first language. As they are better and
more confident judges of their own language and the needs of the reader in their own culture, they can respond more
empathically. In prospection, students are asked to act as the intended reader and to compare the original with the
translation(s). They establish differences between the expected interpretation of the intended reader and the one they
themselves have as actual readers. This multitude of subjective interpretations of the source text causes a feeling of
dispersal with respect to the oneness of the original which, however, harbours a number of potential readings.
We must bear in mind that there will always be a discrepancy between the intended reader and the actual reader
because of the simple fact that individuals have different intellectual, social and cultural backgrounds, and hence
different needs and expectations. A child's understanding of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll differs from that
of a psychoanalyst. Would we there say that one of them misunderstands, that is, misinterprets the book?
Translations of well-known children's books, for example those (frequently discussed) of Alice in Wonderland,
are effective in classroom discussion. Most of the students have already been acquainted with the work as children.
In addition, ten or fifteen years after the first experience, they find it interesting to discuss the 'same' work at another
level of understanding. If a children's book is translated according to communicative principles, the unintended
reader (an adult or a person familiar with the original text) will have to empathise with the ideal target text reader:
the child.
It is important that students are given texts which they (can) understand. It would be a waste of energy to start the
discussion of a translator's responsibility using a comparison of a literary text which they do not understand and its
translation. However, the discussion of such a text may prove useful if the teacher wishes to call the students'
attention to the contrast between the impact of a

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familiar text about which the students have already formed an interpretation, and that of an unprocessed text.
Retrospection: the myth of equivalence
The second technique has students focus on the source text author, preferably a well-known author writing
in their own language. The aim is to acquaint the students with the myth of equivalence, especially in terms of
style. It tries to make them aware of the impossibility of 'complete equivalence' of the source and target texts.
In retrospection, students project themselves into the role of the author. The impact of this technique
depends on the extent to which students are familiar with the author's personality and style of writing. Students
are first given a translated passage and asked to identify the writer. If they cannot decide who the author is,
they are told and subsequently given the original text. They will often find it impossible to accept the style in
the translation: they experience a painful estrangement from something familiar. Instead of equivalence, they
are faced with alienation, a Verfremdungseffekt. This feeling of distress is increased if they discuss the
translation of passages which they know almost by heart.
Familiarity with a text means that students understand the text according to a particular interpretation. If it is
a literary work which constitutes a part of the cultural heritage, this interpretation is usually based on the
commonly accepted interpretation. Accordingly, this makes students respond to the text in quite a unitary way.
Knowing the style of the author, they do not translate the text semantically when they are asked to backtranslate it, but they rather try to recreate it in the source language so that it meets the needs of the author. In
classroom translation, students will often make comments such as, "Now, what would the author say here?"
This shows that the students use their awareness of the author's personality and see him as the ideal 'recipient'
of their translation: this awareness is based on memorised sections of the author's work and their conscious
endeavour to recreate the style that they feel is characteristic of him.
Conclusion
We have come to that familiar question in translation, "Who is this translation meant for?", or rather, "Who
needs my translation?" Are children's books translated for children or adults? The source book hardly exists for
a child who cannot speak the foreign language. Children rely on what they read in their own lan-

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guage: so let them derive as much literary pleasure by reading the translation. Students of English literature, on
the other hand, should derive their literary pleasure by reading works in the original language, especially if they
discuss them in English and refer to secondary sources based on the source text readings. In the case of children,
a translation functions as a bridge, in the second, it is often perceived as a stumbling block.
The importance of translation thus depends on the reader's bilingualism and biculturalism. The less bilingual
and bicultural the recipient is, the more important the role of translation. And similarly, the more bilingual and
bicultural the recipient is, the more important the source text, so that, taken to the extreme, there is no need for
him to read a translation at all. In other words, the more readers are aware of the existence and identity of the
source text, the more difficult it is to produce a satisfactory translation for them.
The above procedures serve as a shock therapy to students. They destroy the students' facile beliefs in a
perfect translation and equivalence and make them aware of the extreme difficulties in translation. The two
techniques do not make translation easier for students. On the contrary, students feel even more responsible in
the early days of their translation instruction. However, their awareness of responsibility to the author and the
reader forces them think more about their translational decisions and thus to translate at a more conscious level
from the very beginning of their careers as translators.

AWARENESS AND RESPONSIBILITY: OUR STUDENTS AS PARTNERS


Mara Julia Sainz, University of the Republic of Uruguay
The road towards autonomous learning is paved with difficulties. As students start to move away from the more
conventional, teacher-centred classroom, they find obstacles in their way which can make "arrival" at their
destination seem a distant (perhaps unobtainable) aim. Progress is slow.
One of the obstacles that may be encountered is the background culture of ~ both students and teachers and their
deep-rooted habits. The western world may see matters in a completely different light from countries in other parts.
As well as this, all students are individuals with their own ways of learning and processing knowledge. However, I
believe there is always an opportunity for change, particularly if such change is to bring about an improvement of
some sort.
I shall place this article within the framework of my own small university in Montevideo, Uruguay. In doing
so, I hope I can also touch upon reality as some of you see it, too.
Some terms need to be defined from the beginning in order for us to agree about their meaning.
Awareness is a word much used in the terminology of language teaching at present. According to Webster's
New Collegiate Dictionary, aware means "Having or showing realization, perception or knowledge; having
knowledge of something and especially of something not generally known or apparent". What 'knowledge' do our
students have or show which would suggest they are aware? And in what way would that knowledge be 'something
not generally known'?
Another term that should be defined before we continue is responsibility. The same dictionary tells us that
responsible means "Liable to be called on to answer; able to answer for one's conduct or obligations; able to
choose for oneself between right or wrong". Again some questions come to mind as we read through these
definitions: what is right and what is wrong? What are our students' liabilities and what do they have to answer to?
The first question refers to what students have to know. A possible answer may be that they have to know they
are students, they have to know they have a certain role to play as students which makes them different from their
teachers and from other members of the community where they live. As simple as it may seem, this knowledge is
not shared by many students; they are "unaware" of the
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true dimension of such a role. They cannot tell right from wrong, they are not 'liable to be called on to answer' to
their duties and therefore, they cannot be held 'responsible' for something they do not know.
When requesting responsibility from their students, teachers sometimes encounter blank faces, since the
students' obvious answer is that their teachers have not told them what they expect from them. They have not told
them about their duties, obligations and, for that matter, their rights. Teachers have failed to be clear about what it
means to be a student.
When something goes wrong in class, teachers are to blame. It is the teachers' role to teach students their role.
This sounds like a bad pun or at least a vicious circle. In fact, teachers should show and lead the way. Teachers
should be able to raise students' awareness of the active nature of learning and acquiring knowledge. It is not just
a simple matter of passive fact-absorption, but a constant give and take, with the "energy" flowing in both
directions.
Having all this clear from the outset will certainly make the learning process much easier and smoother,
paving the way for further learning. The time has come to consider that every individual in a class is an active
subject and that the responsibility for the learning process lies not exclusively with teachers but is shared by both
teachers and students, as well as by students among themselves.

This is not an easy task for teachers, perhaps because they are used to taking for granted that students
understand their role as students, perhaps because there is a syllabus to comply with, and time is always too
short, and anyway, why waste time raising issues as abstract as awareness or as obvious as responsibility?
It seems to me that a change in attitude and methodology is absolutely vital if teachers are to bring both
sides of the teacher-student equation into play for the benefit of students. If this can be achieved the result should
be greater student motivation, which could help lead to the skills of self-instruction and self-assessment that are
necessary if real autonomy is to be attained.
Talking about English for Special Purpose courses, Hutchinson and Waters (1987) stated that "What
distinguishes an ESP course from a General English course is not the existence of a need as such but rather an
awareness of the need". If the term ESP course is replaced by "translation" the sentence can be applied to our
courses. Translation students at the university have to be made aware of what their specific needs are and how to
cater for them.
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139

To illustrate what can be done to raise awareness in a class, I would like to refer to my own translation class. I
teach translation (English-Spanish) to a group of first-year students who are mainly Uruguayans with Spanish as
their mother tongue, a very homogenous cultural group. They have an average of only 4 contact hours a week in any
translation course. Although they have written assignments for their class, at the beginning of the year they did not
seem to be doing much more than this on their own. They did not seem to understand or compre
hend the scope of their task as students, so they behaved as if limited exclusively by the work they had to carry out for
their translation class.
In previous articles I have discussed activities students can carry out autonomously thereby cutting the life-line
to their teachers (Sainz, 1991 and 1993). These include back-translation, comparison of their own translations with a
published translation, translation done in pairs, peer discussion and analysis of translation, etc. As students start
controlling their own learning, they become aware of the many resources that the university and their environment
can offer them and thereby make the most of them.
As this process of cutting the life-line continues, the students' awareness of the scope of their task will grow:
they will start to recognise their needs as students and future professional translators, and simultaneously start to
satisfy those requirements better, thanks to their new appreciation of the available resources.
This is where learning-training plays an important role, so that students can derive the maximum benefit from
their position as students in order to cater for their own needs. These needs are not only those they have as students.
Analysis should show a deeper view into the needs students will have when they become professional translators.
Teachers' expertise in both fields can prove very useful in guiding students towards autonomous learning. I agree
with those who think that the most adequate and competent teachers at university are those who, apart from their
teaching position, are also practising professionals in the subject they are teaching.
The learning process involves both students and teachers. However, the relationship between both should be
such that it tends towards a pari passu situation in which both actors have an active role to play. This is where the idea
of partners rowing in the same boat comes to mind.
,
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What about setting this process in motion by listening to what students think their role is? This could be the first question to ask in a
questionnaire devised for

such a purpose.
The more questions students are asked, the more the questionnaire can help
teachers to process the information it contains. This questionnaire can be the starting point of teacher-student negotiations.
QUESTIONNAIRE
1. What do you think is your role as a student in this translation class? (Explain what you mean by role).
2. What are your studying strategies for this class? (Explain what you mean by strategies). 3. What do you think of your past learning
experiences? Did you enjoy/benefit from them? 4. How could you improve your performance?
5. Have you put any of these ideas into practice? If not, why? If yes, how successful were they?
6. How do you monitor your work in the course? (Only through the monthly tests? On a daily basis? etc.).

7. Which items would you like to see included in the course? What changes would you make? Now ask yourseff the following questions:
I. Have you ever been asked to assess your own work? Have you ever done any selfassessment?
2. What is your opinion about self-assessment? How useful do you think it is?
3. Think how your work has been assessed so far. (Teacher correcting your mistakes in red; writing the correct answer in between lines,
marking in the margin, etc.). How useful do you find these assessment methods?
4. How did your teacher arrive at the marks she gave you? (Subjectively - looking at your work as a whole? Objectively - considering the
number and type of mistakes?)
5. How far do your own ideas about your performance match your teacher's idea? In other words, do you agree with the marks given?

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141

If both terms of the equation are to have the same weight and standing, another thought-provoking questionnaire that may throw
light as to what students think their and the teachers' role is, can be devised as follows, using sentences for students to mark 'True' or
'False':
1. Teachers are the core of the class.
2. Teachers should have a clear understanding of all the strengths and weaknesses of all their
students on the translation course.
3. When in doubt about a translation, ask the teacher first.
4. Teachers should always plan their lessons carefully and never improvise. 5. If teachers make a mistake, they should
admit it.

An alternative to the above True or False form is to ask students to work individually making a list of what they think should be
their teachers' role. Later they can draw a final list working in pairs or in small groups and finally they can present their conclusions to the
whole class.
However, it is not enough to ask students to fill in questionnaires, answer questions and state what they think their teachers' role
should be, if such , feedback is not processed.
In order to analyze and then use this type of feedback, it is necessary that teachers accept their students' conclusions and try to
implement their ideas, as far as possible and to a reasonable extent, so as to cater for the expectations of that particular group.
Feedback from students is one of the elements that may be used to enhance the quality of the teaching-learning process. If both
teachers and students are rowing in the same boat towards the same destination, they should agree on the fact that it is through a clear
understanding of their roles and an 'obsession' for improving the quality of their roles and tasks that the burden of rowing will become
more effective, making the "arrival" safer.
The concept of quality and quality service should therefore be analyzed more in depth. It may be difficult for teachers to think in
terms of customers and suppliers because those words belong to marketing terminology. There seems to be no room for them in the pure,

immaculate and certainly non-profit world of teaching.

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However, a customer can be defined as anyone who receives a service from a supplier (and it is a well-known
fact that no organization can be so blind as to think that it will succeed if its customers are dissatisfied). If teachers
start thinking along those lines when they deal with their students, they may be on the right track.
Experts in quality state that 80% of an enterprise's success lies in its attitude and only 20lo in its skills.
Attitude is a posture in life. If teachers abandon their students to their luck, if they do not take into account the
quality of their teaching nor the emotional side of it, they may soon witness the collapse of their business. Attitude
cannot be taught or learnt, it spreads by osmosis generating a culture of service. Students will behave like sea
sponges, learning by osmosis. When dealing with a group, a warm and easy-going atmosphere has to be generated
and the teacher is responsible for creating this.
The supplier-customer relationship does not always have one same supplier and one same customer. Sometimes
it is reversed. Most of the time the teacher is the student's supplier but when students have to hand in an assignment,
for example, they become their teacher's supplier and their teacher turns into their customer. Thus, this becomes a
two-way road. That is why the concept of quality also has to be well understood by students because they are also
suppliers, depending on the role they play in a particular class situation.
Both teachers and students have to be aware of their attitude and even more so of their service attitude. They
should try to satisfy their negotiated needs and expectations to the maximum possible, trying to do things well the
first time, and all the time, involving themselves as teachers or students with the tasks to be carried out and
identifying themselves with the objectives in an on-going upgrading attitude.
What can be done to improve the quality of service then? Taken for granted that the product sold by teachers
(teaching translation here) is good, that it is the "core value", teachers should try and maximize the "value added
dimension", the halo surrounding the core value.
Such a dimension may be built up of various ingredients. Communication should certainly add value to the core.
It can be broken down into three components. Body language (any non-verbal message) and tone of voice account
for most of this total and only a fraction for the words chosen. It is possible to lie with words; it is far more difficult
to lie with the body or the voice. Therefore, teachers have to know how to manipulate their body language and tone
of voice first so that the message can get across well.
Maria Julia Sainz, Uruguay

143

When teaching languages, and even more so when teaching translation, teachers have an invaluable tool in
their hands because, apart from the core value (teaching languages/teaching translation), teachers can teach how to
think, how to compare, how to enrich another person; teachers should teach certain values, a teaching-learning
pedagogics. Lastly, they teach their subject (translation).
The generation of language has to do with the generation of thinking, a culture of thinking. Human interaction
is an opportunity to generate learning. By giving the correct stimuli, teachers can make their students aware of the
tool they have at hand.
Teachers are extremely powerful individuals who frequently ignore their power and what exactly they can do
with it. Students trust their teachers when the quality of the product they receive deserves respect. Of course, they
do not come out of a class saying:
"What a good quality product I have just received! My supplier is a first class facilitator whose service is
tuned up to my perception system!"
However, it is the teachers' role, obligation and responsibility to know the above, to know that the rapport
established in a class depends to a large extent on the group but it also depends on the power teachers have in order
to use that rapport to encourage and motivate the students. It is also the students' responsibility to understand that

the 'captain' of the boat needs the help of the crew to steer the boat because they share the same objective.
Therefore, shifting the weight of the responsibility for the teaching-learning process and making students
participate in and voice their opinion about what they think and expect from their course, from the teacher and
above all from themselves, is also a way of arriving at a satisfactory quality level.
Conclusion
Feedback is not only given through questionnaires or the like. By mutually interpreting the attitude, body
language and tone of voice, for instance, by hearing, accepting and understanding what students say, both teachers
and students can discover tell-tale signs of how the teaching-learning process is developing. This process will
certainly translate into better quality work done by the potential professionals teachers are dealing with in their
classes.
The feedback given by students every single day in class is an element to be carefully considered. As much as
teachers monitor their students to see any progress, students will closely follow any changes that their feedback
may cause in the teaching process. After all, what is the purpose of making students aware of
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their role and of their teachers' role if nothing they do or say will be taken into account?
Quality management is the antithesis of authoritarian rule. If there is only one ruler to do the thinking and
there are fifty who obey and do not think, the whole business collapses. The scope of the value-added dimension
given to the core value of what is taught has a ripple effect. It expands beyond the four walls of the classroom,
raising awareness and creating higher responsibility for the task that each traveller on the road of autonomous
learning has to accomplish.
However, the fact of knowing that they are not alone in carrying the burden on their shoulders should give
teachers even more energy to either start or continue implementing any changes that will certainly arise along the
way.

VICTORY OVER FEAR:


, LITERARY
TRANSLATION AS A CARNIVALISTIC TEACHING TOOL
Rtta Oittinen, University of Tampere, Finland
The theoretical basis of this article is the Russian philosopher Mikhail Bakhtin's dialogism and carnivalism,
and the concepts of situation and manipulation in translation. I address the fundamental assumptions in literary
translation, in which a translator always translates whole situations, words and pictures, as well as their different
readers, writers, and users in a specific time, place, and culture. I discuss the teaching of literary translation,
dialogics and reading and, last but not least, carnivalism. Finally, I show how my students defeat their fear of the
original text through carnivalistic laughter.
Teaching literary translation
Throughout my teaching career I have taken a great interest in literary translation as such. The problems of
literary translation are not so far from those concerning "other" kinds of translation. All translation involves issues
like situation and function, reading and interpretation, part and whole, culture and individual viewpoints.
Therefore it is important for all students of translation to have experience in literary translation: literary translation
can be an important teaching tool.

Literary translation adds to the students' sensitivity to language. When students translate texts within a literary
context they learn about the processes of interpretation in a profound way, as they take very deep dives into
themselves as individual readers of source-language texts. As writers of target-language literary texts, they learn
how to polish texts and give them the finishing touch. Through writing translator's prefaces and reviews of
translations they gain valuable knowledge about themselves as individual translators, as well as learning about the
process of translation on a more general level. Extensive originals also confront students with the problem of
keeping a text together, of creating a living and credible target-language entity in which parts support the whole.
In addition, literary texts deal with different aspects and areas of life, from history, architecture and geography to
psychology, philosophy and religion, to mention only a few.
It is also interesting to compare different text types and find similarities. Through comparison, students learn
how to detect and identify different factors in different situations. In all cases we have the receiver, the sender, the
function,
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To give life to texts, translators need to approach them closely; to approach them closely, translators need to be
fearless. This is where carnivalism enters into the picture. Through carnival and laughter, the translator loses the
"fear, mystic, terror and guilt" she/he may have felt toward the original (Morson and Emerson 1990: 453).
Carnivalism
Mikhail Bakhtin describes carnivalism as a classical and medieval culture of laughter that ridicules everything
that is official, immovable, finished, pompous, ready-made, abstract. Carnivalism has ritual, even rude features. It is
universal,: free, bodily, grotesque and undeniably idealistic.
Carnivalistic speech is not authoritarian, but is an internally persuasive, dialogic discourse, in which every word
consists of the "I" and the "you."As I see it, dialogue and carnival always go together: carnivalism complements
dialogism.2 Carnivalism is a culture of laughter outside the establishment and is described by Bakhtin in his book
Rabelais and His World. It is a historical phenomenon: it originated in Antiquity and had its golden age in the folk
cultures of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It is also a philosophical issue: it is ambivalent, grotesque, and
triumphant laughter, in which everyone can join (Bakhtin 1984: 7). Carnivalism is "the lowering of all that is high,
spiritual, ideal, abstract." It is a continuous process of re-creation and metamorphosis (Bakhtin 1984: 19-20, 2425).
In literature, carnivalism and laughter belong "to the low genres, showing the life of private individuals and the
inferior social level." (Bakhtin 1987: 67).3 It deviates from ordinary language (1984: 320). Our relationship with our
language is dialogic. This relationship is unique and private: a work written is not the same as the work rewritten.
Similarly, in a new language, in a new culture, with new readers, a text is given a new life and new meanings
(Bakhtin 1987: 49). But where does this combination of carnivalism, translation, and teaching take us? I believe that
it gives us a new outlook on the teaching of translation, literary translation in particular. This unofficial culture - we
could also call it a strategy - encourages us to acknowledge the value of the other, the value of Bakhtin's "surplus of
vision." It is a duplicating of understanding, a"'live entering' or a 'living into' another," an interaction of
perspectives, in which one both uses and surrenders one's own "surplus." We need the surplus of the others, and the
others need our surplus. We give and take as human beings.
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The combination of translation and carnivalistic laughter is essentially victory over fear. In addition to breaking
absolute and unchanging norms, carnivalism includes love of the grotesque and ridicule of that which creates fear.
Rabelais' devils are funny and hell is a comical place. In the Middle Ages, anything frightening was made
grotesque and ridiculous. "The people play with terror and laugh at it; the awesome becomes a'comic

monster'...Victory over fear is not its abstract elimination; it is simultaneous uncrowning and renewal, a gay
transformation." (Bakhtin 1984: 91)
Carnivalism is radical: through victory over fear it reveals the mysteries of power. Laughter is directed against
hypocrisy and adulation, and it liberates a human being from any internal censorship: "[I]t liberates from the fear
that developed in man over thousands of years: fear of the sacred, of prohibitions, of the past, of power." (Bakhtin
1984: 94) Carnivalistic laughter is also philosophical and has a"true open seriousness." The translator laughs, not
just at the original, but also at her/himself (Morson and Emerson 1990: 454, 436). Carnivalism functions "in
fundamentally positive and value-generating ways" (Morson and Emerson 1990: 452).
In a very positive sense, carnivalism is bodily, since it is universal and dialogic. Like carnivalism, translating is
also physical: every reader and writer, every translator, has a'gut' connection, a'gut' response to words (Robinson
1991: 3-64.). The primal response to words is something we most strongly experience in our own mother tongue. It
follows that every word has an emotional charge, that every word is unique. Every text, every translation, is
different and reflects not only the original text, but also each translator's own personality, epoch, place, culture, and
the norms within the culture.
In my opinion, translation is a carnivalistic action. It is a continuous fight against fear of the original. It is also a
benevolent action: we need to take a positive stand toward what we translate, we need to respect the original. This
is close to the ideas of cannibalistic translation presented by the Brazilian de Campos brothers: the translator shows
respect by devouring the original. As Augusto de Campos once pointed out, his way of loving original texts is
translating, that is, devouring them (Vieira 1994: 67). There are many ways of showing respect.
Victory over fear
Like carnival, translation represents continuous, never-ending change. So does the teaching of it. It involves and
requires many abilities on many levels: reading,

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writing, visualization, imagination, even courage and honesty. All this makes teaching literary translation both
fascinating and difficult.
I believe that the main problem in teaching literary translation to new students is their tendency to take the
word of the original as authoritarian. They stick to the literal meaning and dare not understand actively. The
students are usually careful, conscientious readers, a quality that is good in itself. Yet, in writing their own
interpretations of the original, they find it very difficult to turn away and start rewriting. The original is an
authority beyond dispute. The students do not know of any other way of showing their respect and loyalty for the
original than to keep close to the original. In my book Kntjn karnevaali [= The Translator's Carnival], I
deal with this issue and suggest the remedy: carnivalism, which invariably accompanies dialogism.
To learn to translate well, students must draw near to the original and understand it actively. This nearness
presupposes lack of fear. In my classes students are learning to be fearless, or at least to have less fear. They try
out different ways of combining careful reading, diving into the original, and, finally, moving away from it.
The first stage is the easier part: as I said above, the students tend to be careful readers, since they have a
natural fear of the original. But during subsequent stages they encounter difficulties and frustration when they try
to reproduce the original in the target language and find this impossible. When this happens I encourage my
students to profanize the original and thus fully to show their love and respect toward it. Gradually they learn to
adopt "a free and familiar attitude" that "spreads over everything: over all values, thoughts, phenomena, and
things," as Bakhtin describes carnival (1987: 123).
The students' attitudes change through discussion, dialogics, and through exercises. They try out different
strategies, they create different versions and adaptations. They have different kinds of assignments, in which they
either produce or review all sorts of adaptations and vrsions in the form of a book, picture book, play, short
story, poem, song, and so on. Through imagining their prospective future readers they also adopt a new kind of

responsibility.
Carnivalism entails freedom and victory over fear. Carnival is ephemeral, for as Bakhtin points out, carnival
includes "the mock crowning and subsequent decrowning of the carnival king" or queen. It is a dualistic act, in
which a carnival queen or king is crowned and given the "symbols of authority." It symbolizes

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the joyful relativity of all structure and order." Yet, "from the very beginning, a decrowning glimmers through the
crowning." (Bakhtin 1987: 124-125)
This is how I see literary translation: today the author is the queen or king, tomorrow she/he is decrowned and
the translator seizes the crown; the day after tomorrow the translator loses her/his crown and the target-language
reader receives "the symbols of authority." The ritual of decrowning always completes the crowning in a neverending process; interpretation is unfinalizable and fearless
(Bakhtin 1987: 124-125).
My students learn to crown and to decrown, to contribute in full measure to a dialogue. As translators they
must recognize and synthesize the components in each translation situation. They must be able to hold all the
strings in their hands and weave the strings together into a text which can be well received and actively understood
by target-language readers.
That is the reason why I fiad literary translation a useful tool in helping students to find out what translation
really entails and who they really are. They have to invest themselves in the process as human beings.
Notes
L We are translating all kinds of literature. In 1995, we finished the Finnish translation of Susan
Bassnett's Translation Studies.
2. See, for example, "socratic dialogue" and "the Menippei" in Bakhtin 1987: 106-122 and Morson and Emerson
1990: 452.
3. During the 1980s in the universities in Finland, there was, and still is, a growing interest in and awareness of
'non-appreciated' literature, such as children's literature, popular literature, and books written by women authors.
4. In his book The Translator's Invisibility, Lawrence Venuti describes the translator's benevolence as simpatico, in other
words, "possessing an underlying sympathy." (Venuti 1995: 273).

DESCRIPTIVE TRANSLATION STUDIES


AND THE TEACHING OF LITERARY TRANSLATION
Cheung Pui Yiu Martha,
Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
A major development in translation as an academic discipline in the last few decades has certainly been the
growth of the descriptive branch of this discipline, commonly known as 'Descriptive Translation Studies'. Scholars
in this field have carried out illuminating studies on the historical, social, political, ideological and cultural factors
influencing the translational activities of various cultures at different periods of their evolution. These studies have,
in turn, led to important theoretical discussions about translation. The result is that traditional assertions about what
translation is and what a translator should do and should aim to achieve (faithfulness, for example, or felicity, or
equivalence, formal or dynamic), have been historicized and contextualized. That is to say, they are seen as historical notions subject to change, as some assertions amongst the plethora of as- ' sertions prevailing in the
polysystem of a country's culture. Rather than a priori, static, normative and prescriptive assertions, they are treated
as hypothetical constructs the usefulness of which must be vigorously tested. In so doing, theoretical discussions on
translation have become substantially enriched, thus opening up new possibilities of development in Translation
Studies.

These, of course, have great implications for the teaching of translation.


In the following sections, I shall describe the attempt I have made to incorporate a descriptive approach into the
teaching of literary translation to MA students at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
The course
The course I was responsible for was called 'Selected Reading in Translated Works'. It involved critical
comparisons of Chinese translations of English writings and English translations of Chinese writings, covering
literary works of different genres and from different periods. We met once a week for two hours. The first term was
devoted to English to Chinese translations and the second term to Chinese to English translations. Students were
asked to give one presentation each term (i.e. an oral commentary on the translations of a literary text of their own
choice) and to submit a paper on their presentation.

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The students
Students who select this course usually come with certain expectations. They want to know ways in which to
handle perennial translation problems like puns, word play, jokes and allusions, as well as concepts, forms and
genres that have no equivalents in the target culture. They want to explore questions like 'untranslatability' and how
to deal with elements of 'untranslatability' in a text. Above all, they want to know how works of translation are to
be assessed. They are particularly concerned with the question of evaluation because they are either practising
translators, whose works have to be corrected and assessed by their superiors and clients, or they are teachers of
translation whose, job is to correct and assess the work of their own students.
My approach
Experience has taught me that when students are given a number of translated texts for comparison with the
source text and are asked to comment critically on them, they almost invariably focus on negative aspects, such as
mistranslations, misinterpretations, undertranslation, overtranslation, failure to retain stylistic features of the
original, failure to attain equivalence, etc. The descriptive approach can, I believe, help them break away from this
mode of operation. However, the MA programme does not allow the teacher to assume any prior knowledge of
translation theory on the part of the students. Nor is there time for the introduction of particular theories to the
students. Moreover, the descriptive approach is not concerned with evaluation, and would therefore almost
certainly be treated with suspicion by students for whom the question of evaluation is of prime importance. Given
these pedagogic constraints, how can one incorporate the descriptive approach into the teaching of literary
translation?
The method of incorporation I eventually opted for was covert rather than overt, selective rather than
comprehensive, performance-oriented rather than system-oriented, and always directed towards the needs of the
students. That is to say, I made no mention of any theoretical works in my opening lectures, but instead offered the
students a working model that was designed in accordance with some of the postulates made by Gideon Toury, and
which I accept as theoretically sound. These are:
(1) Since modern translation theorists have generally agreed that the concept of translation must necessarily
rest upon the existence of "some relationship between the two messages (or texts) involved, the source (ST) and the
translation

155
>
(TIP)", and since "this relationship is now usually designated 'equivalence' " (Toury 1980: 89), it follows that "the
basic question to be asked while comparing ST and TT should not be whether the texts ...are equivalent to other texts
Martha Cheung, Hong Kong

in another language/textual tradition", but "in what manner this equivalence manifests itself" (90), and "what type
and/or degree of equivalence do the texts compared show" (113. Italics original).
(2) If the source text is a literary text, then it is "structured on the basis of two codes: a primary, linguistic one,
and a secondary code, which could be termed 'textual' or 'literary' [and which is] pertinent to the requirements of
some literary system" (Toury 1980: 114). It follows, then, that the "basic units for an actual TT-ST comparison will
be textemes (that is, linguistic units of any type and level, participating in textual relationships and, as a result,
carrying textual functions in the text in question)" (108).
(3) In comparing a source text and a target text, "ST's status with regard to TT is 'primary', both chronologically
...and logically (independent vs. dependent, original vs. derived texts)" (Toury 1980: 113), therefore, the textemes
selected for comparison should be source text based.
As for procedures, my working model was derived from the three-stage operation method proposed by Gideon
Toury for "the comparison of one TT with its ST" (Toury 1980: 117). Toury's three-stage operation involves: (1) "a
textemic analysis of ST, leading to...the identification of ST textemes"; (2) "comparing TT units corresponding to
these ST textemes and noting their shifts (deviations) from the latter";
(3) "making generalizations about the distance between target text-source text equivalence and adequate translation,'
on the basis of many (partial) comparisons of separate textemes balancing each other" (117-118).
Working model devised for the students
Since most of my students have received little formal training in literary criticism, they could not simply be
instructed to conduct a textemic analysis of the source text without specific guidance. The working model addresses
this problem. Moreover, it can be used not only for analysis of the source text and for comparison of the source text
with its translations, but as a means of tackling the question of evaluation.' Translations provided with a preface,
however, require a set of evaluative criteria different from those adopted in this working model, a point stated clearly
to the students at the very beginning.'
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The working model involves a three-stage operation:


1. A cursory reading of the translations to gain a general appreciation of the way the target language is used,
that is, whether the translations read well as texts written in the target language or whether they are convoluted in
syntax and characterized by heavy translationese.
2. A detailed analysis of specific points in the source text and comparison of the treatment of these points in the
target texts. The source text chosen for analysis was Animal Farm. The target texts were four translations published
within the last fifty years.s The specific points analyzed include:
The title
The students' attention was drawn to the significance of the title in a literary text, that is, its fulfilling not simply
a linguistic referential function but also a major function in conveying the message of the text (a 'theme' in literary
critical jargon) and in directing the reader's attention to a particular character or a particular aspect of the novel. The
significance of "Animal Farm" as a title and its functions in the source text were then analyzed. This was followed by
a discussion of how effectively the translated titles performed the functions already specified, and what type andlor
degree of equivalence with the source text title they had.
Crucial word(s) and phrase(s)
To sharpen the students' awareness that words in a literary text are not equally important but fit into a
hierarchical order of importance, the concept of "crucial word(s) and phrase(s)" was introduced, along with a

working definition: "Crucial word(s) and phrase(s) in a literary text are words and phrases which the source text
writer uses repeatedly, for the purpose of highlighting a particular personality trait in the character(s), or for plot
development, or for revelation and/or development of theme." As an illustration, the textual functions of the word
"rebellion" in Animal Farm were analyzed. The reasons for its selection were also explained: in addition to having a
high frequency occurrence in the text (some thirty times), this word appears, intriguingly, in two different forms - as
"Rebellion", and as "rebellion". A reading was then provided to show that the word takes on different ideological
connotations when it appears in different

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forms ("Rebellion" is positive and "rebellion" negative), and that a character's shift from the use of
"Rebellion" to "rebellion" actually indicates a shift of attitude towards this type of political action, thus
resulting in the use of irony against this character. This, in turn, was followed by a discussion of the ways in
which this word was rendered in the target texts. The critical questions were the same as those raised in the
discussion of the translated title.
Crucial junctures in the thematic development of the novel
Again, a preliminary question will have to be addressed. How can we identify the theme of the novel?
While stressing that answers to this question will always vary, I nevertheless offered the students a starting
point for consideration. I posited that most novels deal with 'change': change in a person's character (from
good to bad, for example, or from bad to good, or from good to bad to good again or vice versa), in human
fortunes, in attitudes, in vision of life, etc. The surface realizations of 'change' may be infinite, but within the
deep structure of the novel, 'change' remains the invariant. And, invariably, 'change' is revealed by the
technique of contrast, that is, the description of "before" and "after". By paying attention to the writer's use
of the technique of contrast, the decisive moments of change can be identified and their significance in the
thematic development of the novel can be assessed.
With reference to Animal Farm, the example selected for discussion was "The Seven Commandments"
(in particular, the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh Commandments) as they were first inscribed on the wall
and after they had been tactfully amended by the pigs, tactfully because all that the pigs did was to inscribe a
few more words at the end of each of these Commandments, so that no trace was left of these
Commandments having been tampered with. We then discussed ways in which these amended
Commandments were rendered in the Chinese texts in order to ascertain the position each Commandment
occupied along the maximal-minimal scale of equivalence.
The genre of novel in the source text and the writer's style
The students were reminded that with writers well-known for their distinctive style of writing (for
example, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, or Virginia Woolf), the specific elements of style of that
writer can be identified and an analysis can be made of the ways in which these stylistic features are
rendered in the translation(s). However, since the tendency of many writers is to adapt style to

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substance, the two topics could well be discussed together. It was also pointed out that different genres of novel
have different writing conventions, and a writer's style can usually be described as typical of that convention,
excelling within that convention, or, conversely, as innovative or experimental.
An analysis was then carried out on Animal Farm as a political fable and on Orwell's style as being typical of a

fable. Two distinctive stylistic features received special attention for their textual functions. One was irony, the
other the names of the characters - for example, "Boxer" and "Squealer", which vividly describe their respective
personalities. This was followed by a contrastive comparison.
Translational problems due to differences between source and target culture
Being practising translators themselves, most of my students were alert to these problems. Examples from the
text could, therefore, be discussed right away, followed by comparison and evaluation.
Overall treatment of the source text by the translators
Students were urged to pay attention to the following questions. Are there additions or omissions in the
translated texts? How frequently do they occur? On what scale? Did the translators rewrite any part of the source
text and for what purpose? How substantial is the rewriting?
The 1972 translation by Geng Yu, published in Taiwan, illustrates the importance of these questions
particularly well. In this translation, a number of details have been inserted and crucial incidents are commented
on for their moral significance. What is more, the translator has added several paragraphs to the end of the novel.
In these paragraphs, readers of the translated text learn that the oppressed animals rise in rebellion again; the
rebellion is put down almost at once but their leader, though fatally wounded, still asserts that truth will prevail
and reiterates his belief that for as long as there are animals, there will be rebellion against oppression. There is
no preface or afterword to explain these changes. However, the overall pattern shows that they are there for two
easily-identified purposes: details are inserted to enhance the vividness of the narrative while comments and
incidents are added for a moralistic and didactic purpose.
The students' attention was then drawn to the question of evaluation posed by such translation. When it is
obvious that the additions are not haphazard, or that they are necessitated by the essential differences between the
two languages,

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English and Chinese, there is little point in saying that such translation is not effective in conveying the source
text message, although the traditional source text oriented method of evaluation, with its emphasis on adequacy
and maximum equivalence, might lead us to this conclusion. The critic would first have to deal with theoretical
questions, like the relationship between translation and literature, and the role and function of literary
translation in the society of the target culture at that time: there must have been historical, political, ideological,
literary and social reasons for the translator to have translated the way he/she did.' In a situation like this,
therefore, evaluation should be deferred until further research has been carried out. The students were also
reminded that if, due to time constraint - a very real consideration - such research could not be carried out, they
should still point out where the target text deviates from the source text and bracket off the deviations as
translational phenomena that await further study, instead of dismissing them outright. Furthermore, to make the
discussion relevant to the students' experience as translators, the additional point was made that translation of a
literary text should be accompanied by a preface or an afterword, unless circumstances dictate otherwise.
3. Making an overall conclusion
Students were reminded that the many partial conclusions reached at stage two should be compared to the
preliminary impression of the target texts they obtained at stage one before an overall conclusion can be drawn.
If the conclusions at stage two match the impression obtained at stage one, evaluation should not, be a problem.
If they do not, differences will have to be identified and reasons sought so that finer evaluative distinctions can
be made between the different translations. Furthermore, if the reasons discovered suggest that evaluation
should be delayed until after research has been carried out on the historical context for the production of the

translated text(s) - as exemplified by Geng Yu's translation - the point should be stated in the conclusion.
Discussion
The working model I devised for my students is only a basic model and the textemes identified for
analysis in stage two will have to be selectively replaced and additional ones included when other genres of
literary texts like poetry and drama are analyzed. The model functions well as an introduction to Descriptive
Translation Studies and it reinforces a major emphasis of this discipline: the need
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for comprehensive research.' However, regarding the claim made at the beginning of this article, that the model can go
some way towards tackling the question of evaluation, the criticism can be made that for translations with a preface and
for those characterized by deliberate deviations from the source text, the model does not deal conclusively with the
question of evaluation but simply defers it.
This is the limitation, and perhaps also the strength, of my model. It does not offer the students a yardstick by which
they can assess all works of translation. Instead, it problematizes the question of evaluation. If, after careful and critical
deliberation, the students conclude that standards of evaluation are relative rather than absolute, that the existence of
ahistorical, universally applicable criteria for evaluation is only a myth, and that it is important to take into account the
translational norms of the time in the evaluation of a translation, then I consider this working model to have served its
purpose.
Of course, several important theoretical questions still remain. Would the use of different sets of evaluative criteria
lead to an infinite variety of criteria, thus rendering evaluation impossible, or irrelevant? How, for instance, can one rank
four translations of a single text using four different sets of criteria? There is an even more basic question. Is the job of
evaluation really compatible with the job of historical contextualization, that is, the construction or reconstruction of
translational norms?' Would it not be better to dispense with, or displace, the work of evaluation and concentrate on
research into translational norms instead? However, even if my students were to arrive at such a conclusion (and they did
not, as described below), I would still consider my effort, which was to find a way of incorporating the descriptive
approach into the teaching of literary translation, to have been worthwhile. At the very least, I would have convinced the
students that the research activities of the scholars of the descriptive school are necessary and important, not activities
carried out in the splendid isolation of an academic ivory tower.
Student feedback
Students found that the usefulness of the working model varied according to the different genres they analyzed in
their presentation. They also said that I could have explained the theoretical premises of the working model at the beginning of term rather than during their presentations, when theoretical questions arose. I think they were right. But they all
admitted that the model influenced very considerably their selection of translated texts for their presentations. They
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became open to translations which they normally would have dismissed, on the grounds that they were not 'serious'
translations. One interesting text they, selected for discussion was a translation of "Jiang Jin Jiu", a poem by the famous
poet, Li Po (A.D. 701-762), which a student chanced upon on the first page of a menu in a hotel restaurant. Another
was a translation of Xixiang Ji, one of the most famous dramatic scripts of the Yuan dynasty (A.D. 1279 - 1368), which
was meant for leisure and holiday reading. A third was the translation of a chapter from Wenxin Diaolong by Liu Xie, a
canonical work of Chinese classical literary criticism. The translation is used as an appendix in a work giving a translation and a study of Lu Chi's 'Wen Fu' (literally "The Art of letters", which was written in A.D. 302, some two
centuries earlier than Wenxin Diaolong) and the purpose is to enable Western readers ignorant of Chinese belles-lttres
to gain a better appreciation of the style of this particular tradition of writing .9 Clearly, the students had become more

appreciative of the translator's pursuit of an acceptable, rather than adequate, translation.


Moreover, all students showed a greater awareness of the need to pay critical attention to the preface whenever
there was one, and to the translational norms when comparison of the target text(s) with the source text showed that the
translator's concern was not with the pursuit of an adequate translation. In addition, they were more ready to base their
evaluation on the extent to which the translation had succeeded in achieving the aims set out in the preface rather than
subjecting the translation to one rigid set of criteria for evaluation. They could identify the points at which they
disagreed with those aims, explain why, and set forth their personal views on the way in which the source text should be
treated. This seems to me a highly satisfactory way of dealing with the thorny question raised at the end of the last
section: whether the use of different evaluative criteria for different translations would not render the work of evaluation
impossible, or irrelevant. What prefaces reveal are the translators' intentions, that is, their priorities and values. What the
translational norms of a time reveal are also priorities and values: of a certain group of people, a certain society, or a
certain culture. It is possible to accept these priorities and values as legitimate without identifying with them. One could,
therefore, incorporate these factors into one's' evaluative scheme, make an evaluation based on it, and still declare one's
own preferences. In other words, ranking is still possible; evaluation will not be rendered irrelevant, although 'relevance'
is now seen in terms of ways in which attempts at evaluation will help the students acquire a sharper awareness of their

162

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3'

own priorities and values, which are also historically located and ideologically motivated.10
The crucial thing is not to pass off something that is personal, subjective, and therefore
relative, i.e. one's own preferences, as objective, absolute, and non-negotiable. From the
performance of my students, I could see they were developing a finer sense of
discrimination in their perception of what is involved in the job of evaluation.
But the most heart-lifting response from the students is that they all agreed that they
must reconsider the entire nature of translation. This, I believe, is also the aim of
Descriptive Translation Studies.
Notes
1. Adequate translation here is to be understood as a theoretical or ideal notion - as
denoting the maximal equivalence which in theory is obtainable between target text and
source text on a textemic level. (See Toury 1980: 116J
2. This is the major difference between Toury's model and mine. Toury's is intended for the
formulation of hypotheses about the norms regulating or even governing the production of
translations, mine can facilitate that too, but it is intended also to help the students think
critically about the question of evaluation.
3. Students were reminded that translation preface, or, for that matter, publicity or critical
material about the translated text, should be treated with a measure of healthy skepticism
and that the job of evaluation lies in deciding whether the translation actually measures
up to the claims made in such extra-textual material.
4. Readers interested in the actual analysis are referred to Cheung Pui Yiu Martha
(1996). 5. See Geng (1972), Kong (1977), Li (1956), and Orwell (1968). 6. These are
the 'translational norms', a major focus in Descriptive Translation Studies. 7. This is the
comment made by Jos Lambert. I think it is a fair assessment. 8. I owe this very
provocative question to Larry Rosenwald.
9. I am grateful to Gloria Lau, Patricia Chan and S.W. Shing for providing me with these
three interesting examples.
10. The question of the relevance (or otherwise) of evaluation seems to me to deserve
more attention (from both the pedagogical and the theoretical angle) than what it has so
far been accorded.

STUDENTS' RESEARCH FOR TRANSLATION

Stella E. O. Tagnin, University of Silo Paulo, Brazil

Although most curricula in translation courses seem to concentrate on the translation of one
specialized text at a time, in subjects like Scientific Translation, -i Technical Translation,
Literary Translation, Legal Translation and so on, I will argue that it is more productive to offer
students, before they move on to those more specialized areas, a subject which, as it were,
integrates them all.`
I have found that a text can rarely be classified simply as technical or literary. Most texts
combine different genres and styles, though one usually prevails. This combination will then
pose problems for the translators, as they will have to switch back and forth between
different types. Also, each part may require a certain type of knowledge and information.
A scientific text may be written in highly technical language if it is meant for peer
presentation, or in very colloquial language if it is aimed at a lay public. A literary text may
use creative language throughout, but may also contain such mundane topics as a baseball
game, as is the case in one of the crucial chapters of Philip Roth's autobiographical novel
Patrimony (1991). In fact, that particular novel requires specialized knowledge not only of
baseball but also of aspects of American and Jewish cultures. Where can translators find such
information if they are not members of these cultures?
And what about Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities (1988), in which terms related to architecture
and interior decoration, the stock market, legal language and courtroom procedures
abound? Besides it portrays characters that speak various dialects and have different
accents (Black, Hispanic, Jewish). Again, where should a translator turn for the information
needed?
Translation beginners usually do not know where to find this type of information, that is,
they are rarely aware of a11 the research involved in the act of translating. In actual fact,
this is not surprising, as many people lack this same awareness. I am sure most of us have
had the experience of a friend or colleague asking us to "translate just this little thing. You
know English" - or whatever language they are interested in -"you can do it easily! It won't
take you long." But when we take a look at the text, it is not that easy and will certainly take
longer than expected. And that is my point!
It seems then that one of the first steps in the right direction is to make the translators
themselves aware of it, so why not start with first year translation stu164

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

dents? Rather than giving students a quantity of information, the syllabus should impart the awareness referred to
above, in terms of I. diversity of genres,

IIL research involved, and


III. translator's decision-making process.

The overall goal then is to overturn the fallacy that, in order to translate you "just sit down and do it."
In line with my discussion up to this point, the focus of this subject should be on the research involved in our
profession and the reference sources available: thus it may be named 'Research for Translation'.
First, texts should be graded according to the level of research required. Students would then work on texts
requiring research that ranged from basic reference sources, like mono- and bilingual dictionaries, through
specialized sources, like glossaries, manuals, parallel texts, up to the indispensable native and specialized
informants.
A journalistic text on a general topic is usually a good starting point, as its problems will lie mostly on a lexical
level. This genre, as a rule, employs colloquial language interspersed with some idiomatic and slang expressions.

The usual mono- and bilingual dictionaries should solve most problems, although bilingual idiomatic and slang
dictionaries are hard to come by. In that case students will have to look up the meaning of such expressions in
monolingual dictionaries and then resort to their knowledge of idioms and slang words in their native language.
A problem that may arise immediately is the students' ignorance of or lack of dictionaries. It might be a good
idea to have them carry out a survey in the institution library to make them acquainted with the bibliographical
resources at their immediate disposal.
The next text could deal with a specific topic, for instance, religion. An argumentative religious text would
present a great number of references to religious works as well as quotations, but most of these would have to be
rendered as accepted translations in the target language. However, to locate the quotation, students would have to
resort to Bible dictionaries, concordances or even quotation dictionaries and then look for the equivalent in a Bible
in the target language. There would also be many conventional religious expressions, which might have different
translations according to the religious denominations using them. A class of students with different religious
backgrounds might produce a variety of
Stella Tagnin, Brazil

165

reference sources. However, if the expressions are not to be found in these sources, students will have to resort to an
informant, for, as opposed to technical glossaries, there are usually no written sources for conventionalized
expressions in the humanities.
Sharing the information obtained will soon turn classes into workshops and students will feel free to bring up their
options for group discussion instead of expecting a'correct' answer from the teacher.
Still on the level of linguistic knowledge, literature may serve with texts portraying different geographical or social
dialects. Black English is a case in point. Although there are Negroes in many countries, most of them have not
developed a dialect of their own, unlike Afro-Americans in the United States. So when students have to translate
American Black language there is probably no equivalent in the target language. A survey of translated texts
portraying Black characters might help to establish whether there are rules for rendering Black English as a marked
dialect. A convenient step would be to study the dialect as a system in order to depict its peculiarities and then to
'create' some linguistic marks to identify characters by their speech, which must be consistent throughout the
translation.
Social dialects or jargon also pose linguistic problems, especially with taboo terms. Students may find it useful to
resort to parallel texts in the target language, e.g., literary pieces involving similar characters (bums, prostitutes, politicians, etc.). Dictionaries of slang, jargon, taboo and vulgar language will certainly be a major source of reference.
For the introduction of technical areas, informative texts are a good choice. Articles from encyclopedias provide a
good starting point. Similar articles in target-language encyclopedias will obviously prove helpful but might not
solve all problems. Students have to become acquainted with the subject they are translating by means of other texts
on the topic. In the case of a text on wine, for instance, further information may have to be sought in libraries of
liquor producers, or in brochures distributed by these companies. A few sources may even include short glossaries.
This exercise will show students that the more acquainted they are with a subject, the easier it will be to translate
texts dealing with it.
An article from a specialized publication, such as an Art or Architecture magazine, raises other technical problems.
Reference to a certain technique or style will make students read specialized manuals, as well as consult artists and
architects. In case professionals are mentioned, students may have to resort to second166

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

ary texts such as biographies, catalogues of exhibitions, etc. Different students will certainly resort to different
sources, thus giving them all a good opportunity to exchange information on reference sources available.

At this point students should be ready to move into more specialized areas like finances or computer science.
Newspapers and weekly magazines provide good texts because they refer to current news.
Computer texts will certainly raise the problem of standardization of terminology. As computing is still a rather
new field, some professionals prefer to use the terms in English and some in the target language. But even then
terms may be rendered in two forms: as actual translations (such as gravar for save, and imprimir for print in
Portuguese); or as borrowings, that is, the original English term with a target-language 'coating' (e.g. salvar for
save or deletar for delete, even though there would be an acceptable translation). This terminological confusionn
demands not only that the translator take sides, but that he or she also checks for reliable sources, be they
informants or glossaries put out by terminological associations.
Sports represent another technical field which may pose very specific problems, particularly if a certain
modality is not well known by the receiving public. Baseball, for example, is little known and practiced outside the
United States. Therefore, reference sources are usually quite scarce. Students will have to consult encyclopedias,
specific sports books, and manuals to acquire an overall knowledge of the game but may still have to fall back on a
local baseball association, if there is any, for specific details. It might be a good idea to invite a coach or an officer
from the association to give a talk on the game and the terminology used. This will give students a chance to
resolve their doubts and discuss all their translation problems with an expert in the area, though the same
terminological confusion may reign there too, some terms being used in English (infielder, balk, bunt), some in
their translated forms (e.g. in Portuguese batedor, taco) and some in both versions side by side (pitcher and
arremessador, dead ball and bola morta). Again, the translator must take sides.
The last stage should present texts in which the translation problems are cultural rather than technical and lexical.
An interesting source of such problems is provided by real estate ads in which abbreviations abound. First because,
with very few exceptions, like LR for living-room or LIB for library, they are not easy to guess, and, second,
because quite often the set-up of a home in the foreign
Stella Tagnin, Brazil ',- 167

culture is unknown to the target public, like EIK for eat-in-kitchen or 2.5 baths. For this kind of problem there are
no written reference sources whatsoever. Another handicap might be the translator's lack of knowledge of the
legal procedures involved in buying or renting real estate in the foreign country, which might make it difficult to
understand what is meant by "A steal at $460K" or "CC. $669, RET. $460." One would expect a native speaker to
qualify as an informant to solve such cultural problems but apparently in this case it is not enough. An essential
requirement is familiarity with such ads and acquaintance with the legal procedures.
Another type of cultural problem has to do with aspects of everyday life. American brand-names, concepts and
institutions, such as Heinz baked beans, Jell-O, Popsicle, Phi Beta Kappa, day camp, CD, Eddie Cantor, and twoand-ahalf family houses are cases in point. Aspects of Judaism and of Jews in New York City, for instance, are
other such cases. These may include linguistic aspects ranging from vocabulary (Yiddish expressions like alte
kockers, zaftig) to peculiar syntax, which Leo Rosten calls Yinglish, as in "It's like in my mouth a radio is
playing", as well as customs and religious observances (Shabbes, yeshiva, matzoh).2
There are certainly many other types of reference sources, like Fact-Finders, maps, or picture dictionaries,
among others. Each text will require certain sources, depending on its genre and on its subject. But once the
students have worked their way through a selection like the one described in this article, they will know enough
to venture into finding other sources of information.
To ensure registration of the information collected, students should be encouraged to prepare their own
glossaries, drawing up lists of technical and problematic words and their translations for each one of the texts
they work on.
To conclude their work students could be asked, for their final paper, to
IV. choose one of the texts to submit as a 'final' translation: what they probably have at this point are translations with several solutions
to the problems raised;
V. translate it in full, commenting on decisions made;

VI. a) retrace the sources consulted to solve comprehension/translation problems, and


b) increase the original glossary to up to 50 items, depending on the topic, with terms extracted from related texts, mentioning
the sources;
VII. state, in a short paragraph, the ways in which the course has affected their translation practice. This should provide all-important
student feedback to allow the teacher to evaluate whether the course's goals have been attained.

168

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

In line with the collective work students have been developing, it might be advantageous to suggest that they exchange
their enlarged glossaries so all could have a good collection on which to build.
As has been pointed out, a class composed of students with different backgrounds will enable many of them to function as
informants in areas they are well versed in. This, together with sharing the information all will be collecting, will bring out the
richness of their collective work. They should also be made aware that, if they review their work at some time in the future,
they may well feel like redoing everything.
The proposal outlined above has been put into practice and the students' feedback confirmed the adequacy of the initial
proposition in that they claimed that the course had helped them to:
I. become aware of the complexity of translating;
, II. realize that translating
cannot be carried out by "just sitting down and doing it"; IIL perceive how much research is involved in the activity;
IV. learn where to look for the information needed;
V. become acquainted with various reference sources;
VI. be aware of the decision-making process present throughout; VII, realize how important it is
to 'sleep on' the text;
VIII.understand that responsibility and translating go hand-in-hand.
As stated at the beginning,.such a course is aimed at 'forming' rather than 'in
forming' students, at giving them the tools and raw material needed for their profession rather than a finished product, at
showing them the way rather than giving them a solution. Students will not become experts in any one type of translation nor
specialists in any field of knowledge, but they will acquire some of the building blocks of a reliable translator. Let us hope
they use them to build a fruitful career.
Notes
1. Presentation of this paper at the Elsinore Conference was made possible by travel grant no. 95/0718-9 from FAPESP (Sao
Paulo, Brazil), for which I am greatly indebted. 2. Excellent reference sources for these problems are Stuart Berg Flexner's I
Hear America Talking and Listening to America, both illustrated histories of American words and phrases. For sayings and catch
phrases, Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Catch Phrases is a must.

Stella Tagnin, Brazil

169 APPENDIX: Some reference

sources which I have found useful:


BARTLETT, JOHN. 1992 (16th ed. [orig. 1855]]. Familiar Quotations. Boston: Little, Brown and Co.
BOYD, JAMES P. 1958: Bible Dictionary. New York: Ottenheimer Publishers.
Computer Dictionary, 1991. Redmond, Wash.: Microsoft Press.
COWIE, A.P., R. MACKIN & LR. MCCAIG. 1983. Oxford Dictionary of Current Idiomatic English, volume 2: Phrase, Clause &
Sentence Idioms. Oxford: Oxford University Press. FLEXNER, STUART BERG. 1979. 1 Hear America Talking. New York:
Simon and Schuster. FLEXNER, STUART BERG. 1982. Listening to America. New York: Simon and Schuster. GREEN,
JONATHAN. 1987. Dictionary of Jargon. London & New York: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
LASS, ARAHAM H. et al. 1989. The Dictionary of Classical, Biblical & Literary Allusions. New York: Fawcett Gold Mead.
Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, The. 1979 [3rd ed orig. 1941]]. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
PARTRIDGE, ERIC. 1985 [2nd ed. [orig. 1977]]. A Dictionary of Catch Phrases: British and American from the Sixteenth Century
to the Present Day. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. ROSTEN, LEO. 1982. Hooray for Yiddish. New York: Simon and
Schuster. ROSTEN, LEO. 1979. The Joys of Yiddish. New York: Pocket Books.
SPEARS, RICHARD A. 1988. NTC's American Idioms Dictionary. Lincolnwood, Illinois: National Textbook Company.
SPEARS, RICHARD A. 1991. Forbidden American English. Lincolnwood, Illinois: NTC Publishing Group.

SPEARS, RICHARD A. 1989. M'C's Dictionary ofAmerican Slang and Colloquial Expressions. Lincolnwood, Illinois: National
Textbook Company.

TEACHING LITERARY TRANSLATION - A STUDENT'S POINT OF VIEW


Attila Barcsk, Etvos Lorand University, Budapest, Hungary
Background information
The formal teaching of literary translation has a very short history at my university: only in 1991 was the
'Literary Translation Independent Programme' formed under the supervision of the Department of Comparative
Literary Studies. The very fact that our programme is so recent means that, by applying the double perspective
of a (former) student and a teacher, I can call attention to features in the establishment which are interesting in a
broader context.
There had been a small number of literary translation classes at ELTE University before 1991, but these
were not coordinated and lacked a general concept. The name 'Literary Translation Independent Programme'
indicates that we deal only with literary texts, and at the same time makes clear that it comprises more than just
a single course.
The programme was brought into being by popular demand from both students and teachers and was
established founded by instructors who initially faced institutional as well as financial problems. Whereas the
former have been solved the latter remain.
The programme today
At all events, the programme has enjoyed increasing popularity with students, as shown in Table
1(overleaf).
The figures demonstrate that although the course is popular with students and has trebled in intake, there is
no corresponding -increase in the number of teachers. This is due to financial constraints, for since the directors
of the Programme try to ensure the quality of the instruction many of the instructors are renowned practicing
literary translators who naturally demand fairly high wages which the Department of Comparative Literary
Studies finds it difficult to pay. Consequently there are many classes with more than thirty students. This leads
to disaffection among students as well as teachers, and teaching also suffers since it is almost impossible to
thoroughly evaluate translations, let alone practice translating, in these oversized classes.

172

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

TABLE 1
Number of students

Number of teachers

1991
Spring 1993

73
153

9
11

Autumn 1994

232

13

The educational framework


Nearly all students major in the foreign language they study at the 'Literary Translation Programme'. In all
four semesters there are four forty-five minute lessons per week. Half of these deal with translation practice and
the other half with either translation criticism or translation theory. There are also special seminars, for example,
on translation of Hungarian literature into English and seminars that deal exclusively with the translation of
poetry, etc. There is no final examination at the end of the course, but the students are given a certificate of

attendance. Most students are satisfied with this framework but some instructors are not.
The languages
At the moment six languages are offered: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian and Russian. This
selection is not likely to widen although there would probably be an interest in other languages, too (e.g. the
Scandinavian languages, Dutch, Portuguese, etc.). The figures are shown in Table 2 on the opposite page.
The reason for these great differences is not that Germanic languages are easier to learn for Hungarians than
Latin or Slavonic ones. It will be remembered that, as a member of the Finno-Ugric language family, Hungarian is
equally different from all Indo-European languages. Accordingly, the leading position of English only indicates
that, no matter whether we like it or not, English is the most important and influential language in the world today.
The prominent position of German is most probably due to the fact that during the last seven hundred years
Hungary has been a 'cultural province' or even a part of certain German-speaking countries (the Holy Roman
Empire and Austria). The impact of French culture has also been felt in Hungary but considerably less so than in

173

Attila Barcsdk, Hungary

TABLE 2
Language
English

Number of students autumn 94


69

German

51

French

27

Spanish

12

Italian

Russian

Russia, for instance. The unpopularity of Russian is easy to understand if we consider that for nearly forty years
(i.e. until 1989) Russian was compulsory in Hungary from primary school to university, whereas other foreign
languages were optionals at best. If a language is imposed on a society (as Russian was in Hungary) it is not very
likely to become popular.
Teaching methods
The selection of literature for translation and translations for discussion is wide; although in most of our
classes the teacher chooses the texts, the students also have a say, so in this respect the programme is generally
fairly liberal. For example, as a student, I translated drama, short fiction, poems and aphorisms. Students have to
translate the same text for specific classses, however. I personally believe that a more individualised assignment
system would be more appropriate as well as more popular among students.
I also feel that there is still room for improvement in the teaching methods: in class we go through the preassigned texts sentence by sentence and everybody is free to contribute to the discussion. The instructor usually
only directs the debate. Many students believe that there are better ways of dealing with translated texts and that
alternative ways of translation criticism should be used as well.
As I have already mentioned, many of the instructors are practicing translators. They often complain that
they find the teaching of translation very boring and exhausting. In addition they usually have no experience in
teaching translation. This naturally raises a crucial question: is it enough to be a good translator

174

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

to teach translating efficiently and professionally? The example of our Programme indicates that it is not. It seems
that teachers must also be trained in teaching translation. However, as yet such training does not exist in Hungary.
Theory vs practice
There is an ongoing debate about the need for a theoretical approach. It connects with the fact that a great
number of our instructors are practitioners who doubt the importance of translation theory. Their argument is that
only individual talent and plenty of practice can make a good translator. Conversely, other teachers do not deny the
importance of these obvious factors but believe that translation theory is equally important. At the moment two out
of the eight classes deal with the theory of translation and include writings by the most eminent authorities in this
relatively new field.
I have carried out a study of student attitudes which indicates that most students recognize the importance of
translation theory. Therefore I believe that in the long run theory will prevail, for no applied or descriptive
discipline can continue to be taken seriously without a theoretical background. This also applies to our programme
although it deals only with literary translation, a very small and specialized element of the field of translation
studies.
Future plans
Our dearest and most daring plan for the future is to enhance the 'Literary Translation Independent
Programme' and set up an independent department, in which the main focus of attention would remain literary
translation. In this future department we would at the same time like to establish a certain synthesis of applied,
descriptive and theoretical translation studies and to give each of these fields as much attention as they demand
and deserve.

ASSESSMENT AND SKILLS IN SCREEN TRANSLATION


Heulwen James, Ian Roffe and David Thorne, University of Wales, Lampeter
At first sight a perspective on teaching screen translation gained from a minority language on the periphery of
Western Europe might appear irrelevant in the context of a volume concerned with translation and interpreting
globally. But it is germane. It is relevant because in moving towards greater European unification, the regions of
Europe are expressing their unique cultures and languages with growing certainty. In support of this cause, screen
translation is playing a practical and influential role in revitalising the use of the minority Welsh language. It is also
illuminating because the standard of translation is tied to the standard of teaching. In this article three key
contemporary influences on a learning programme for screen translation are examined: the European situation,
assessment methods and skills.
New European horizons
The moves toward European integration are creating economic, political and cultural change. The steady
transfer of power in Europe to new, powerful regional authorities has started to generate a phenomenon described
by Harvie (1994) as intra-European integration. In this context the regions of Europe are expressing their
distinctive cultures with growing self-confidence. Indeed, culture is perceived as a central resource in the
construction of a more democratic and united Europe with greater social and territorial cohesion.
Television originating from the regions has the potential to contribute to the cultural diversity of Europe. It can

compensate for the trend towards uniformity encouraged by both the trans-nationalization of broadcasts by major
television networks and the internationalization of programmes by production studios. In this respect, the role of
the European audio-visual industry creating original productions in the lesser-used, as well as better-known,
languages of Europe is crucial. It has been perceived to make an irreplaceable contribution to cultural and
linguistic identity, especially for communities with less-widely-used languages.
Subtitling is becoming an increasingly cost-effective way of communicating across linguistic barriers due to
the impact of technology on TV receivers, broadcasting techniques and caption-making equipment. As such it is
particularly suited to cable and satellite television and digital broadcasting. As television channels have
proliferated, so have the applications of subtitles. In particular,
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

pivot subtitling is proving to be a financially attractive method of subtitling for Europe's multilingual satellite
channels.
An impact of this growth in subtitling is likely to be new language transfer opportunities in the future. For
teachers of translation, this is likely to mean new forms of opportunity for student career placement in the audiovisual industry. By way of illustration of this trend, Channel 33 in Catalonia will broadcast a week's selection of
Channel 4 Wales's Welsh-language television programmes, with subtitles in Catalan. The subtitles will be created in
the Catalan language directly from the original Welsh, without transfer via a pivot language.
With such unusual language requirements emerging, it is a logical step for teachers and institutions with
distinctive skills and expertise to collaborate together in meeting commercial needs. In essence, this is part of the
wider need for lifelong learning in this field in which we share experience and knowledge with one another.
A European dimension to teaching screen translation
One facet of this European co-operation has been the promotion of the teaching of screen translation in lesserused European languages. Regional TV broadcasts are often produced in lesser-used languages and consequently
receive small audiences. Nonetheless the content is often an important source of information on culture, language,
customs, life-styles etc. Such attributes are worthy of sharing with wider audiences through subtitles. In this context
a three-year pilot project initiated by the University of Wales, Lampeter to promote the teaching of screen translation
in lesser-used languages is about to begin. This will involve the development, in association with Channel 4 Wales,
of new screen translation course material for adaptation into other language combinations.
Another development in co-operation has been the formation of the European Association for Studies in Screen
Translation.
This association aims to: (a) promote higher education training and professional standards in the subject, (b)
explore the potential of a core European training programme and other forms of curriculum development such as
open and distance learning, and (c) develop a dialogue between teachers and practitioners and stimulate new
research in the field.
The study and teaching of screen translation is still a relatively uncommon academic pursuit, but interest is
growing rapidly. To assist in this growth an information network to exchange knowledge between teachers,
researchers and stu
Heulwen James, Ian Roffe and David Thorne, Wales

179

dents and stimulate joint academic ventures and projects has been initiated. A Screen Translation Bulletin
Board on the World Wide Web to facilitate and stimulate information exchange is now hosted at University of
Wales, Lampeter.
A further step in European co-operation is a university network created for the exchange of students in

Translation Studies and Languages for Business. The academic world is becoming increasingly mobile, with
students being able to carry out part of their studies at another university in another European member state. The
inclusion of student exchanges in screen, as well as written, translation is thus a natural extension to this
network, and will naturally have implications for teaching methods and assessment.
The benefit of a study period abroad for students of screen translation is that it enables them to diversify
their knowledge. It also obliges teachers to look critically at all aspects of the course programme, from course
content and teaching methods to assessment procedures and examination techniques. Moreover, since subtitling
is a hands-on experience, the prospect of student exchanges in the subject will compel universities to consider
the implications of different subtitling equipment and software, numerous subtitling regulations and a variety of
national standards.
In terms of assessment, increasing importance is attached by universities to credit transfer systems in
Europe. The recognition of studies at a partner institution in the European Community as corresponding to
studies at home, is considered to be an important element of student mobility arrangements. Thus a European
credit transfer system is emerging and with it an accreditation framework for screen translation changes from
being desirable into a necessity. The Association intends to facilitate an open discussion on the implications of
study abroad in the field of screen translation, credit transfer and the potential of a core European training
programme.
There have been collaborative and curriculum developments within Wales which have European
implications. In 1995 a university-enterprise partnership was created in the form of an all-Wales professional
Screen Translation Forum for an exchange of information and experience between Channel 4 Wales and other
commissioning bodies, subtitling agencies, media production companies, and teachers and students of
subtitling in Wales. The aims of the Forum are to exchange information on developments in screen translation
in Wales; to exchange experience relating to difficulties which confront teachers and students of subtitling as
well as practitioners in Wales; and to inform members of European
180

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

activities and of developments taking place in screen translation in other countries and regions of Europe. This
Forum may prove to be an interesting model for other universities, regions and countries.
In terms of curriculum development, the Screen Translation Course in Lampeter is now firmly established and
attracting increasing numbers of students. This has provided the platform for a Screen Translation module within a
new postgraduate degree: an "MA in Bilingual Studies: a European Dimension". This new one-year postgraduate
course by a consortium of European universities has created the opportunity to explore the theoretical bases of
translation in general, and of screen translation in particular. This progression is important in _the contemporary
Welsh context because there is no designated school of translation studies within the University of Wales. Thus
this new postgraduate course complements the practical training with the possibility of studying the language of
the media as well as the theoretical foundations of the subject.
Assessment developments
The University of Wales, Lampeter, Certificate in Screen Translation is externally examined by the Head of
Teletext and Subtitling at Channel 4 Wales. It is recognised to be of a professional commercial standard by screen
translation agencies for the media industry in Britain and further afield. The course is of a highly practical nature,
and by the end of the course students are required to have completed up to 120 hours of subtitling tasks. The
University reviews the course in association with Channel 4 Wales with regard to course content and methods of
assessment so that professional standards are maintained. In a recent review the assessment procedure was
revised. The new parameters which we now apply are presented here with a view to possibly offering a model for
a wider context, generating discussion and constructive comment and -criticism.
The table on the opposite page presents an overview of the assignments. Students can obtain a maximum of

ten marks for each of the assignments indicated.


The final assessment examines both linguistic and technical skills: both skills are equally weighted. Fifty per
cent of the final mark is based on an Assessment Portfolio comprising a fifteen-minute tape of four pieces from
different programme genres, each of up to four minutes' duration, to be subtitled and timecoded and submitted for
moderation within six weeks of receipt of the tasks. The other fifty per cent is based on a three-hour Examination
comprising a six-minute tape of two pieces from different programme genres, each of three minutes' dur
Heulwen James, Ian Roffe and David Thorne, Wales

181

ation: these must be subtitled and time-coded within the allotted period of three hours. The time constraint
imposed on the examinee is intended to reflect the pressure under which professional subtitlers are required
to work in Wales. A minimum mark of sixty per cent must be achieved to be awarded the University of Wales
Certificate in Screen Translation.
Assessment procedure
LINGUISTIC SKILLS

TECHNICAL SKILLS

Portrayal * Time-coding
Language quality * Synchronisation
* Grammar
* Positioning
Spelling * Colour
Punctuation * Breaks between subtitles

Linguistic skills
The initial purpose of the course was to meet the increasing demand in Wales for a pool of skilled and
competent subtitlers. This is why our students are required to generate subtitles for up to ten television
programmes across a wide range of programme genres - soap opera, drama, documentaries, plays, films,
children's programmes, satire, current affairs, comedy, etc.
Successful portrayal implies that the student has produced an authentic subtitled portrayal of the
programme genre. In addition to delivering an accurate and coherent interpretation of what is said in the
source language, the message must be conveyed in an effective and natural manner in the target language.
Different characters and elements in particular programme genre can legitimately demand a different
linguistic style and analytical approach. In Plant y Stryd, a documentary on Mexico's street children, some
sections of the programme were scripted while others were not. The students who scored well in the portrayal
test were sensitive to the delicacy of register and style necessary to present effective subtitled portrayals of
the four different speakers who figured in the programme: the Welsh-speaking narrator journalist; a Mexicobased Welsh-speaking social worker; a Welsh-language broadcaster, poet and novelist who had herself
researched and written on the subject of Mexican street children; and a Spanish-speaking Mexican peasant
farmer. To assist students to complete their tasks successfully, they are encouraged to adopt the role of the
speaker (as opposed to the role of
182

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

programme director). An effective portrayal of the narrator-journalist involved adopting a journalistic style so that
the subtitles appeared to be presenting facts, bullet-fashion, as in 1 - 3 below:
,.f
1.
2.
3.

Genaro's education is progressing.


Food parcels are always a joy!
The scheme helps the whole family.

Students do not work from a script and the course requires that they gain experience of creating subtitles
directly on screen on the basis of the sound-track alone, as is normal for professional subtitlers in Wales. The
absence of a script means that students have to cope with dialectal variation, accents, localisms, lexical
interference, etc. Non-scripted speech as opposed to scripted speech adds to the challenge since the structure and
contents of a non-scripted source is invariably more complex and may appear to be less coherent in comparison to
an original which has been carefully scripted and edited. Students are given credit not only for fully
comprehending and interpreting the original meaning but also for producing an imaginative or creative solution to
a problem demanding delicate translation.
The interview with the Welsh-speaking social worker in Mexico was problematic. Her Welsh-language base
had eroded: person-number concord, for example, was absent from her on-screen oral contribution noted in 4a, 5a.
It has been restored (by us) in 4b, 5b:
4a.

Mae'n bwysig iawn iddyn ni i ddatblygu

4b.

(Mae'n bwysig iawn i ni ddatblygu)


[literally: It is very important for us to develop]

5a.

Mae'r plentyn yma...Mae angen aruthrol o hunan barch arnyn nhw

5b.

(Mae'r plant yma...Mae angen mawr iddyn nhw ddathlygu hunan barch) [literally: These children...There is a great need
for them to develop self-respect]

On screen, however, the social worker's presence, manner and tone of voice projected self-assurance, and
confidence. Her actual responses on screen in Welsh, however, failed to convey this image. The student who had
the perception to idealise her language for the purpose of the subtitle was rewarded.
The Mexican farmer responded in Spanish. Welsh subtitles were already on screen; credit was given for
effective positioning of the additional tier of subtitles in the revised target language.
The fourth contributor was obviously reading a previously prepared script behind camera: she did so in a
highly formal literary register. It was necessary to reflect this abrupt change of register in the subtitles
When the Welsh film Hedd Wyn was subtitled for an Oscar nomination, local

Heutwen James, Ian Ro,/je and David Thorne, Wales

183

Welsh place names, present in the source text, were omitted. They did not contribute to the target viewer's
understanding and appreciation of the story. But when Welsh-language television programmes are subtitled for
an Anglo-Welsh audience, the issue is not only whether the place name in question is retained or not, but in
which form will it appear in the subtitle. In an extract from a documentary series on country pursuits, Gwlad
Moc, most students preferred to retain Pen Lln, the Welsh name of the region which was visited, rather than
selecting the English form, 'Lleyn Peninsula'. In complete contrast, most students chose to translate the name of
Ynys Enlli, the small, venerated holy island off the coast of the Lleyn Peninsula. It appeared subtitled on screen
as 'Bardsey Island'.
We will note one example where it would be clearly inappropriate to include a place name in the target
language, although it was an essential element in the source text and is a common expression in varieties of north
Wales Welsh:
6.

Watchia di dy hun neu mi gei di dy yrru i Ddimbach! [literally: 'You watch out or, you'll be
sent to Denbigh']

By including the place name in the target text, however, the whole thrust of the threat is annulled since the
name of the town in Welsh (but not in English) is inexorably and unambiguously linked to the psychiatric hospital
located there. The accurate English rendering would be: 'You watch out, or they'll put you in the madhouse!'
Forms and concepts which do not have equivalents in the target language are always problematic. The Welsh
phrase YPethe [a pE6e]literally: 'The Things'], denotes the amalgam of values and interests which make up
traditional Welsh culture. The literal translation would have failed to transfer this source language concept.
The inability to interpret a juncture boundary (*) in the oral source text will nullify the screen translation.
One example from the Welsh-language drama series Pengelli will suffice:
Source text:

7. [i fart' il

ei phart hi
[literally: 'her part' (in a supportive sense)]

Student interpretation:
8.

[i farti * i]

ei pharti hi 'her party'

Students who have digressed from the original in an attempt to camouflage carelessness or incompetence are
penalised.

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

Sound grammar is essential to ensure easy reading of subtitles. Correct syntax in the target language is a
fundamental requirement. However, there are occasions when an unusual or non-standard syntactical construction
can be allowed in order to preserve dialectal integrity. For example, the syntax of one sub-set of emphatic clauses
in Welsh may be stated,
Verb noun + Complement (Adverbial) + Auxiliary Verb + Subject (Adverbial)
9.

Palu'r ardd yr oedd ef pan elwais i.

'Digging the garden he was, when I called'.


10.

Eistedd yn y ffenestr y bydd hi ar brynhawn Sul.

'Sitting in the window she will on Sunday afternoons'.


11.

Mynd i Gaerdydd a wnaeth hi.

'Go to Cardiff she did'.


12.

Aros gartref a wnaf i.

'Stay at home I will'.


This type of clause has been taken over into the English of Wales, and is a common characteristic of the
syntax of Welsh English.
Spelling mistakes cannot be excused. The subtitler must also ensure that reduction does not adversely affect
the morphology and syntax of the subtitle.
Subtitlers are responsible for creating subtitles which the viewer can assimilate as easily and as rapidly as
technological and psychological constraints allow. This obliges the subtitler to adopt a style of punctuation that
enables the viewer to absorb the message as effortlessly as possible and ensure total comprehension.
Inadequate punctuation, the way it is found in, for instance,
13.
Go on Mart.
14.
You're much too nice, friend this, friend that.
adversely affects the viewer's reading speed and may even cause loss of meaning. Frequently, failure to note the
intonation or stress pattern of the oral source text results in the absence of punctuation or in unhelpful /
unsatisfactory punctuation.
Technical skills
Credit is given to students who persevere and attempt to solve the intricacies of successful time-coding.
Students must ensure that each subtitle remains on screen for an adequate time to enable the viewer to
accommodate it comfortably. Difficulties frequently arise as a result of a conflict of priorities between accurate
and effective subtitles, the constraints of time-coding and viewers' expectations. The minimum on-screen time for
a short one-line subtitle is two seconds and a
Heutwen James, Ian Roffe and David Thorne, Wales

185

maximum of six seconds on screen is recommended for a long two-line subtitle. This is considered normal
practice, but flexibility to deal with difficult situations is often necessary and the student who achieves a successful

compromise is rewarded.
With regard to synchronisation, the appearance of subtitles on screen and disappearance from screen normally
coincides with the presence or absence of voice on the soundtrack. Difficult situations can arise, such as when a
producer has completed the take with an unkind cut, namely so that the cut occurs before the speaker has finished
speaking. Students are penalised if they have not succeeded in creating a balance between the time-in code and the
time-out code of a subtitle which exceptionally crosses a cut between two takes. It is recommended that the subtitle
should appear on the screen for a minimum of one second before and one second following the cut. Readability,
however, is never sacrificed for the sake of synchronisation, and credit is given for subtitles which do not disappear
from the screen too soon, as this practice inevitably leaves the viewer with a sense of frustration.
Channel 4 Wales's subtitling service is accessed through Teletext and serves the needs of the deaf and hard of
hearing, learners of Welsh and non-Welsh speakers. The correct use of colour and the positioning of the subtitle are
two criteria which aid the former's appreciation of the translation on screen. Credit is given for choice of colour.
White and yellow appear brighter against the standard black background and are often allocated to characters who
do most of the talking; cyan and green are allocated to those who play a lesser role within any one particular scene.
Students are expected to faithfully change the colour of a subtitle with each change of a character. Credit is given
for use of colour for special purposes, for example, a change of colour for emphasis; different colour for the
orthographic representation of a programme title. Although other colours are available on the palette, namely, red,
magenta and dark blue, these colours are not regarded as user-friendly but can be used creatively, for instance, to
produce, if desired, special effects in a rock music programme.
In addition to the effective use of colour, correct positioning of the subtitle, e.g. left, centre or right, also adds to
the deaf and hard of hearing's appreciation of the programme. Likewise, the use of chevrons to signify that the
speaker is off-screen. Wherever possible, subtitles should be positioned to correspond with the position of the
character on the screen. Ensuring left justification of all subtitles (in accord with Teletext procedures) including
subtitles which form part of
186

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

add-ons, increases the student's credit, as does careful positioning of a line break within a subtitle. In 16 below the
subtitler has managed to avoided the line-break by creating a one-line subtitle and gained credit as its overall
presentation makes for ease of reading:
15.

Have you seen the newspaper today?

16.

Have you seen today's paper?

Finally, credit is given for allowing adequate breaks between the appearance of subtitles on screen and their
disappearance from screen. Students are required to leave a minimum of seven frames (according to the DOS-based
Softel subtitling units which we currently operate) between each subtitle but flexibility is important here because in
this area, theory and practice are frequently in conflict.
Although some students may gain more marks initially on technical ability rather than on their linguistic
expertise, the structure of the course does not allow a student to succeed in the final examination on technical ability
alone as the time constraints imposed by the examination exercise will not allow it. So even if a student has
achieved a high standard of technical competence, this alone does not produce the professional standard required if
the subtitled target texts are invalid.
Conclusion
The assessment model presented in this article was created and tested in a Welsh source -> English target
language situation. The experience of providing intensive training courses for teachers of screen translation in other
lesser-used languages, within a pilot project designed to promote the teaching of subtitling in Europe's lesser-used
languages under the auspices of the European Commission, will encourage us to refine the model further.
The only meaningful yardstick of success in the field of subtitling is the ingenuity to completely satisfy the target
viewer's appetite for subtitled programmes. In partnership with students, practitioners and the broadcasting authority

we have sought to devise a code which fosters good practice. We offer it to our partners and colleagues in the hope
that they may also find it useful. We hope that by continuing the discussion, a European, possibly a global code, of
good practice in the field of interlingual subtitling will soon become a reality. These assessment procedures
developed at The University of Wales, Lampeter are offered as a tentative step in that direction.

ASSESSMENT OF SIMULTANEOUS INTERPRETING Anne Schjoldager, the Aarhus


School of Business, Denmark

Introduction
Though a detailed explication of assessment criteria seems to be a prerequisite for teaching, I know of no such
explication in the field of interpreting. In this article, I shall therefore discuss some explicit criteria which I use for
the teaching of simultaneous interpreting. They are particularly relevant for simultaneous conference interpreting,
but I assume that some elements may also be relevant for other types of interpreting.
When my students repeatedly asked me about the nature of the criteria used at the final exam in interpreting, I
decided to explicate my own criteria on a hand-out, which I discussed in class: what was a 'good' performance? As
I found this explication was insufficient, I added a supplementary series of specific questions for further
discussion. These questions are now contained in the feedback sheet which I present in this article.'
The students
I teach interpreting at the Aarhus School of Business. The programme is a master's programme which mainly
offers translation-relevant courses, but also includes a two-term compulsory interpreting course. The techniques
taught during this course are (1) dialogue interpreting (mainly court interviews), (2) long consecutive, and (3)
simultaneous interpreting. The setting of the two latter are simulated conferences. This relatively short course
does not turn students into fullyfledged interpreters overnight, but after graduation some may work as free-lance
interpreters, for instance in Danish courts, and others may acquire additional training, for instance at European
Union institutions (See Heynold 1994).
The objectives of the feedback sheet
The main objective of the feedback sheet is to function as a diagnostic tool. There are at least four situations in
which this is relevant. (1) In class, the sheet functions as a starting point for criticism of individual student
performances. However, as the class situation is potentially face-threatening to the individual, it is only the
general outline of the feedback sheet which is used and only salient points which are discussed in detail. (2) After
class, when I listen to tape record188

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

ings of student performances, the sheet is used for thorough analysis of strengths and weaknesses, and the student
is given individual advice accordingly, although this is a very time-consuming way of giving feedback.
Furthermore, this critique is a welcome opportunity for me to warn students that they may not pass the exam
unless they improve. (3) When students listen to a recording of their own performances, they use the feedback
sheet for self-criticism, following the same procedure, and concentrating on assessing areas previously diagnosed
as weak. (4) Students may listen to peer performances, either to offer constructive criticism or to gain insight into
the nature of interpreting.
Another objective of the feedback sheet is to facilitate constructive criticism, as it is a well-known fact that to
be helpful, criticism should be constructive rather than destructive. According to Nicholson (1993: 61),

constructive criticism is best if combined with an egalitarian, interactive principle, in which, rather than acting as
authoritative judge, the teacher encourages class participation. My feedback sheet is intended to facilitate this in
at least two ways. Firstly, the sheet gives equal emphasis to strengths and weaknesses, which means that students
can be praised as well as obliged to concentrate on improving specific points. Without the feedback sheet,
critique might tend to concentrate on negative points. Secondly, as the sheet provides an important tool, students
become confident and more skilled at offering and receiving criticism. Without the sheet, students would be more
inclined to let the teacher act as the unquestioned authority.
A third objective of the feedback sheet is to explicate the assessment criteria used in class and at the final
exam. I am convinced that an explication of assessment criteria is an important aid in the learning process.
Firstly, explicit criteria are more easily understood and internalized than criteria which learners have to find out
on their own. Secondly, an explication encourages a critical attitude towards assessment in general, and enables
students, teachers, and external examiners to suggest emendations. Thirdly, an explication ensures some
consistency in class assessments and exam evaluations. Fourthly, it enables students and teachers to concentrate
on the assessment of one skill at a time.
Assessment criteria
Gile emphasizes that professional translation/interpreting is a "service activity with a communication
function" (1995: 21). So, whereas school translations may be carried out in order to test the translator's
knowledge of a language, profes

Anne Schjoldager, Denmark

189

sional translation and interpreting are always carried out to aid communication. On the basis of this, I conclude
that, at least in interpreter training, a performance should be assessed according to the trainee's skill in
communicating the speaker's message in an appropriate way. There are various ways of assessing whether an
interpreter has acquired this skill, and assessors may disagree on the importance of the criteria. Bhler's (1986)
and Kurz's (1993) findings show, respectively, that interpreters (Bhler's informants),2 seem to rate linguistic
criteria, such as native accent, pleasant voice, and correct usage of language, much higher than users do (Kurz's
informants).
For the purpose of this article, I assess quality from the user's perspective: the speaker's and the listener's.3
The speaker emphasizes the interpreter's loyalty to him/her. The listener emphasizes the interpreter's skills as
speaker, though s/he, too, is interested in receiving a true rendition of the message.
The speaker's perspective
Quality from the speaker's perspective is often discussed under headings such as 'interpreting ethics' or
'professional conduct'. In court and police interpreting, a code of ethics is often given an official status. In
Denmark, for instance, a document, entitled "Instructions for interpreters" (Instruks for tolke) and issued by the
National Commissioner of the Danish Police (Rigspolitichefen), was recently sent to all registered court
interpreters.4 This document spells out the fact that Danish court and police interpreters are obliged impartially
to interpret everything as said. Other countries have similar codes of ethics, for instance Sweden (e.g., Wadensj
1992: 51) and the US and Canada (e.g. Nicholson 1994).
To my knowledge, there are no comparable guidelines for conference interpreters. The closest equivalent is
probably AIIC's "Code of professional ethics", ; which specifies that one must "never add [one's] own comments
or alter the em- ' phasis of what is said" (AIIC 1990: 7). Scholars seem to take a similar view. Harris, for
instance, refers to the norm of the honest spokesperson (1990: 118). According to this, interpreters should: "reexpress the original speakers' ideas and the manner of expressing them as accurately as possible and without
significant omission, and not mix them up with their own ideas and expressions". I therefore assume that the

basic code of ethics for professional interpreting can be formulated as follows: an interpreter should be loyal to
the speaker and should endeav-

190

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

our not to delete information, not to change information, and not to add information. In the
feedback sheet, this code of ethics is referred to as loyalty.
The listener's perspective

From a listener's perspective, quality is not codified in the same way. However, there is
a general agreement that an interpreting performance should be comprehensible,
pleasant to listen to, linguistically and terminologically acceptable, as well as coherent
and plausible. AIIC (1990: 2) even warns its members to pay particular attention to voice
and delivery, because: "Less able, less accurate colleagues have been preferred because
of a pleasant voice and reassuring delivery". In the feedback sheet, quality criteria from
the listener's perspective are mentioned before criteria from the speaker's, simply
because it is much more obvious to listeners than to the speaker that a given
interpreting performance is poor.
The feedback sheet
In the feedback sheet, I assume that the ideal interpreter is successful in at least four
ways. (1) The listener can understand what the interpreter is saying and can bear to
listen to the interpreter. (2) The interpreter's language is adequate. (3) The interpreter's
rendition is coherent and plausible s(4) The interpreter is a loyal communicator of the
speaker's message. The first three criteria are seen from the listener's perspective. The
fourth criterion is seen from the speaker's, though poor quality in this respect may also
be obvious to the listeners (points 4.1 and 4.2). Though all four criteria are equally
important in the end, the basic idea is that the fulfilment of the fourth criterion is useless
if the three others are not met.
In the feedback sheet, the left-hand column gives the four criteria and, as subgroups,
specific questions. If something is assessed as acceptable, the answer to these questions
is 'no', if unacceptable 'yes'. In the latter case, the assessor must assume that
communication is seriously flawed: this explains why all questions contain rather strong
wordings (e.g. "irritating"
, "exaggerated", "strange", exces
sive", "significant", "unjustified"). The right-hand column gives arguments (in bold print)
and typical examples. Figures in parentheses refer to sentences in the source speech
discussed below.
Anne Schjoldager, Denmark

191

Assessment of simultaneous interpreting


ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
Arguments/Examples
1. Comprehensibility and delivery
If a listener cannot understand or
bear to listen to an interpreter, the
interpreter's other qualities are

irrelevant.
1.1 Is anything incomprehensible? the interpreter does not talk into the
1.2 Is the articulation bad?

microphone
"KBB" instead of "KGB" (2.)

1.3 Are there irritating outbursts?

ah!, gv!, nej!, shit!

1.4 Are there exaggerated fillers?

ermmmmm grmmmm

1.5 Are there strange noises?

coughing, sighing, rustling, clicking

1.6 Is the intonation unnatural?

upwards in declarative sentences

1.7 Are there excessive repairs?


seems to think aloud
1.8 Are there irritating unfinished sentences?"He's accusing them of .." (4.)
1.9 Is the voice unpleasant?

squeaky, hoarse, weepy

1.10 Is the voice unconvincing?

gives the interpreter's doubts away

2. Language

If an interpreter's choice of language is inadequate, the listener gets


irritated and the interpreter's other
qualities become less relevant.

2.1 Are there irritating mispronunciations?


2.2 Are there irritating grammatical mistakes?
2.3 Is there interference?

the interpreter incorrectly uses the


syntactic structure or lexical choice of

2.4 Is the language unidiomatic?

the source speech


"The power apparatus is recontrolled

by the conservative powers" (1.)


2.5 Does it sound odd in the context? uses inappropriate register

192

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

Arguments/Examples

3. Coherence and plausibility

If an interpreter's performance
lacks coherence, the listener loses
interest in the message.

3.1 Are there abrupt beginnings?

the listener feels that a premise is left


out

3.2 Are there abrupt endings?

the listener feels that a concluding


point is left out

3.3 Is the performance incoherent?

the message does not make sense

3.4 Is the message implausible?

the message is illogical

4. Loyalty

A disloyal interpreter is unpro


fessional.

4.1 Does the interpreter mock the speaker?

laughs in inappropriate places; shows

~,

contempt
4.2 Does the interpreter mock the message?

laughs in inappropriate places; shows


contempt

4.3 Are there significant omissions?


4.4 Are there unjustified changes?
4.5 Are there unjustified additions?
__________________________.
Procedure for individual assessment after class
As mentioned, the feedback sheet may be used as a diagnostic tool. For the assessment after class, I write comments to
all questions for individual discussion. My strategies vary according to the acceptability of a given performance. If
generally unacceptable, I do not hand over the written assessment but merely summarize some typical examples. Students
are then advised to concentrate on improving comprehensibility and delivery, the first criterion, and then work their way
downwards in the feedback sheet, for, as mentioned, there is no use in pointing out grammatical mistakes, incoherence,
and translational mismatches, if the listener has difficulty in understanding what the interpreter is saying. If a performance is assessed as unacceptable in some areas only, I start by praising what is good and then proceed to give advice
about the unacceptable parts. As most
Anne Schjoldager, Denmark

193

points in the feedback sheet are relevant in these cases, I hand over the written assessment. Finally, if a performance is
generally acceptable, I tell the student why I think so and briefly discuss a few of the mistakes.
Exemplification
In order to illustrate how the feedback sheet works in practice, I shall analyze an extract from a simultaneous
interpreting performance by a student. In the source speech, the speaker, a Danish lady journalist, discusses the situation in
the Soviet Union, a topical issue in January 1991. The extract is from the last part of the speech. After each sentence, there
is a close translation in italics and brackets. Sentences are numbered, pauses are indicated by two dots, and almostinaudible syllables are marked by parentheses.
Source-speech extract
1. Magtens apparat kontrolleres nu igen af de konservative kra;fter i samfundet. ..
[The apparatus of power is now again controlled by the conservative powers in society. ..] 2. KGB-chefen Vladimir Krutjkov ..

genopliver nu verdensbillede(t) fra den kolde krig. ..


[The head of the KGB Vladimir Kryuchkev .. is now reviving (the) world view from the cold war. ..]

3. Han raser mod amerikanske radiostationer. ..


[He is raging against American radio stations. ..]

4. Han anklager emigrantorganisationer i vesten for at ville undergrave Sovjetunios Sovjetunionen [sic]. ..
[He is accusing emigrant organizations in the west of wanting to undermine the Soviet Unios Soviet Union. .. ]

The interpreter is a student at the Aarhus School of Business, where she has nearly completed her interpreting course. It
should be noted that students of English interpret from English into Danish and vice versa.'
Extract of simultaneous interpreting by a student
1. The power apparatus is (1.7)controlled (2.4)recontrolled by the conservative forces in society
1.4.err err
2. The leader of the (1.2)KBB Mr Vladimir Kruchev .. is (' ) erm .. returning to the image of the
cold war. 3. (.')..

4. He (")he (``)challenges (I `)erm the (`') ca.a>institutions of the west saying that they want to (1')ring (44)ruin (`S)what's
happened in the USSR.
Superscribed figures in parentheses correspond to relevant questions in the
feedback sheet. Certain features marked in the extract (1.2, 1.7, and 4.5) are not
194,

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

considered significant in the overall assessment. Intonation (1.6) and voice (1.9 and 1.10) are significant, but are
not marked in the transcript.
Although I only cite an extract, the performance was assessed as a whole: everything is understandable (1.1) and
articulation is generally acceptable (1.2). There are no irritating outbursts (1.3), no strange noises (1.5), few
excessive repairs (1.7), and no irritating unfinished sentences (1.8). There are no irritating mispronunciations (2.1),
few irritating grammatical mistakes (2.2), little interference (2.3), and the performance is generally coherent and
plausible (3.). The interpreter is never overtly disloyal (4.1 and 4.2), and she makes few unjustified additions (4.5).
However, there are excessive fillers (1.4), the intonation is sometimes unnatural (1.6), and the voice sounds
nervous and strained (1.9) and accordingly does not carry conviction (1.10). Furthermore, the language is
sometimes unidiomatic (2.4), the register is sometimes inappropriate (2.5) and, most alarmingly, there are many
significant omissions (4.3) and unjustified changes (4.4). These findings made me conclude that the performance
was partially acceptable. The student needed to work on making her voice sound more convincing, on suppressing
her urge to supply fillers, and, especially, on improving source-speech accuracy.
Concluding remarks
I hope this article has demonstrated that an explication of assessment criteria may be both useful and
enlightening to teachers and students alike. I would like to emphasize that the feedback sheet is intended as a
teaching tool only and may not necessarily reflect relevant assessment criteria in the world of professional interpreting. My intention is merely to offer an explicit, systematic alternative to intuitive assessment procedures,
whose criteria are not only implicit but also, I feel, arbitrary. Only explicit assessment criteria can be useful to
learners.
Notes
1. The basic idea behind this sheet resembles that of Dollerup's feedback form for written translation (Dollerup 1994).
2. Bhler's (1986) informants were experienced interpreters who functioned as assessors in the screening system set up by the Association
of International Conference Interpreters (AIIC). 3. According to Gile (e.g. 1995: 31), quality may also be assessed from the client's point
of view. However, since this is a difficult parameter in a teaching situation, quality from the client's point of view is left out of the present
analysis.
4. Cf. Nicholson and Martinsen (manuscript).
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5. Gile points out that the interpreter is only "instrumental" in the process (1995: 32). Of course, lack of perceived coherence may be due to
factors other than the interpreter, for instance lack of source-speech coherence and the listeners' lack of background knowledge. However,
though this is a valid point, I do not take it into account and simply assume that the source speech is coherent and that the listener is
reasonably well-informed about the subject matter. 6. This performance was also used in an exploratory study of translational norms in
simultaneous interpreting (See Schjoldager 1995).

QUALITY ASSESSMENT IN SCHOOL VS PROFESSIONAL TRANSLATION


Kinga Klaudy, University of Budapest, Hungary

To the vital question of how to connect academic training and the requirements of the market, I will suggest in
this article yet one more solution, perhaps controversial in many aspects, but certainly successful in my own
practice at the Training Center for Translators and Interpreters at the Faculty of Humanities, Etvs Lornd
University, Budapest, where I have been teaching translation theory and practice for twenty years.
Our school was established in 1973 as an independent teaching center. We offer one year postgraduate courses
in translation and interpreting with the objective of training professional translators and consecutive interpreters.
Applicants are required to hold a university degree or college diploma - not necessarily in language teaching - and
a Certificate of Proficiency in their first foreign language. Like other high level trainees, our students are
supposed to have the required thematic knowledge and linguistic skills at admission and our one year
postgraduate training concentrates only on the development of their translation and interpreting skills.
I teach translation from a foreign language into the mother tongue, for which reason my training practice
clearly differs from both that of language teaching institutions, where translation is one method of foreign
language acquisition, and equally differs from undergraduate translator training institutions, where translation is
taught parallel to and in combination with the foreign language. Nevertheless the question remains: should we
teach (a) school translation or (b) a subclass of professional translation at our institutions? Where does
professional translation begin? How should we classify the translation practiced in postgraduate training schools
for translators? Is it school translation or professional translation?
The traditional definition of the difference between school and professional translation is that in school
translation the translator's objective is to inform the receiver (teacher) about his/her knowledge of the foreign
language, whereas the translator's aim in professional translation is to inform the receiver (the reader) about the
contents of the original.
We therefore have to admit that, independent of the academic level, it is not justifiable to speak about
professional translation when the translation chain begins and ends with the teacher. What we teach may be at a
very high level, but
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because of the presence of the teacher it is still necessarily a pedagogical exercise rather than an activity resembling
real life situations.
How can translation teaching be brought closer to real-life situations? This subject has been widely discussed in
previous volumes of this series and elsewhere. Authors provide different suggestions about ways in which this could
be done.
Claim for real situations, real texts and real readers
Jean Vienne has argued for a pedagogy of 'translation in situation'(Vienne 1994). It is his tenet that we should
replace the teacher by a 'requester', and the student by a trainee translator. A translation begins with the analysis of
the translational situation. The texts presented to the students have all been translated by the teacher in an actual
translational situation, which means that the teacher has already carried out a real-life situational analysis and is
therefore able to provide proper answers to the trainee translators when they 'negotiate with the requester' (whose
role is acted out by the teacher). In Jean Vienne's article we find a detailed list of questions to be asked by the
translators and answered by the requesters, such as: "Who wrote the source text?", "Who are the target group?",
"What is the context of use?", "Has the source text been translated into other languages?", "What is the status of
these translations?" etc., and Vienne also proposes actions and strategies arising from the answers (Vienne 1994: 55).
Another method of making training more pragmatic would be a more realistic selection of the texts to be
translated. According to this view, the teacher would give students only real-life texts for translation, which means
that texts should not be adapted or shortened, and should fulfil a realistic communicative task. As Dollerup describes
his own practice: "All texts are authentic and unedited texts, selected because they present real-life translation

problems" (Dollerup 1994: 124).


Another suggestion for bringing classroom work closer to real life has been made by Adriana Pagano (1994). She
criticizes teacher-centered practice. She sees ineffectivity of classroom practice as the outcome of the fact that the
teacher is the only reader of the students' translations. "...the mere fact that the teacher was the one who would read
and judge their translations led students to dismiss any consideration of normal readers and to concentrate
exclusively on equivalence rendition" (1994: 215). The teacher-centered practice, writes Pagano, "reinforces the
traditional emphasis on the adequacy between the target text and the source text, and disregards the 'acceptability'
which a translated text is required to have in the new context of reception" (1994: 214). She describes an experi
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ment in which the role of reader was transferred to students. The class was divided into two groups, all students
handed their translation over to a member of the other group, and they were asked to behave as a casual
readers, and to disregard the existence of an original text.
Translation teacher vs editorial reviser
In my opinion, neither real-life situational analysis, nor real-life text choice, nor occasional replacement of
the teacher by the students can change the fact that, if the end user of the translation is the teacher, we cannot
speak of professional translation in teaching: that is, unless the teacher plays the role of an editor or an editorial
reviser. Unlike the teacher, the reviser has a natural place in the reallife translation chain: at the final stage
before the end user. The main difference between a teacher and a reviser springs from the different aims of their
errorcorrection strategies.
- the aim of the teacher's error-correction strategies is to develop the translation
skills of would-be translators,
- the aim of the reviser's error-correction strategies is to facilitate the under
standing between the source language writer and the target language audience.
Consequently, the reviser has no other choice but to correct all the translation errors. Conversely the teacher
has a wide range of choices. He or she can invent an entirely new philosophy of quality assessment and error
correction in order to reach the desired pedagogical goal. While revisers should be inevitably productoriented,
teachers have a right to choose between the product-oriented and process-oriented approaches, and we may
consider more closely a few which are actually used and described in scholarly publications.
Process and product-oriented approaches
The "process-oriented approach", for example, radically denies the importance of error corrections in
translation teaching. Thus Daniel Gile (1994) compares traditional translation training, "based on translation
assignments which are corrected in class, with teachers criticizing or approving the students' choices and
presenting their own solution" (1994: 107), with the process-oriented system, in which "Trainees are
considered as students of translation methods rather than as producers of finished products", "target language
texts essentially serve as a looking glass revealing their methods", and teachers "put questions to the students
whenever possible rather than criticize them" (1994: 108).

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The "product-oriented approach" does not deny the importance of error corrections, so quality assessment and
error correction are widely discussed in articles on translation training. There are three basic principles to be
traced throughout this discussion: (1) the principle of systematic feedback, (2) the principle of student-centered
corrections, and (3) the principle of a humanistic approach to students errors.

One of the common characteristics of these articles is that all the authors would like to give a more systematic
feedback on student's translations. In an article Cay Dollerup (1994) gives a detailed description of his feedback.
It consists of three components: 1. " corrections in the translations which the students have handed in", 2. "oral
discussion in the class covering adequate as well as inadequate renditions" 3. "feedback form assessing strengths
and weaknesses with each student" (1994: 125).
In Dollerup's article we also find illustrations: two student translations with correction marks, excerpts of a
model translation, and the feedback form with 42 problem areas to be filled in by the teacher. Along the same
lines as Dollerup's feedback form, Marfa Julia Sainz proposes to use a 'Correction Card' divided into four
columns: 'Mistakes', 'Possible Correction', 'Source', 'Type of mistake', to be filled in by the students (Sainz 1994:
139). The effort to make the feedback more systematic is also reflected in other articles, which list possible errors
and mistakes and propose to attach these lists to corrected translations.
The central idea in the student-centered approach, developed by Mara Julia Sainz, is that students "learn best
when they are involved in developing learning objectives for themselves which are congruent with their current
and idealized self-concept" (1994: 135). The student-centered approach to translation teaching means two things.
First, a human-rights based approach to correction of translations. Students have the right to know the evaluation
system used to evaluate their translation, they have the right to know who is judging their work etc. Second, it
entails, as the author puts it, "a non-aggressive way of giving students feedback on their errors" (1994: 138).
According to Sainz "The traditional method of re-writing the correct version on the student's sheet is...very
disruptive, frustrating and stressful for students..." (1994: 138). Instead, she suggests that the 'Correction Card' be
filled in by the students for self-assessment.
The humanistic approach to the study of translation errors is described by Candace Sdguinot (1989). Sguinot
does not consider errors as violations of translational or language norms but as "surface manifestation of
phenomena

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which are the object of study" (1989: 74). Errors "can give interesting insights into the normal processes of
translation, and make possible better predictions about what kind of errors are likely to occur in translation"
(1989: 74). There are errors which arise because the translator does not understand the source language or
cannot manipulate the target language well enough, while other errors "are a normal by-product of the
translation process" and are "normal in learning to translate" (1989: 80).
Teachers' strategies vs revisers' strategies
After this short overview of different error-correction principles, I would like to return to my previous
statement that, unlike teachers, revisers have no other choice but to concentrate on the end product and correct
all errors made by translators. My suggestion for bringing school closer to life is therefore that we apply real-life
error-correction strategies in professional translator training. This implies that a number of traditional correction
practices are obviously inapplicable to professional translator training. These practices are found in advice to the
effect that:
(1) The teacher should not use red ink, because it can frustrate the students and give rise to a negative
atmosphere in the classroom.
(2) The teacher should not correct the text itself, but only make remarks in the margin.
(3) The teacher should indicate his or her remarks about the translation on a separate sheet.
(4) The teacher should make a list of common errors and mistakes in translation, attach a copy of this list to
the translation and tick the appropriate types.
(5) The teacher should not correct the mistakes, errors etc., but rather give points for the good solutions, and
no points for the bad ones. (6) The teacher should not write in a correct solution, because then the students
believe it is the correct solution, and in translation there is never one single correct solution.

In my view these methods should not be applied in professional training. The


reason is that translation students who have been treated so tactfully, whose
errors and mistakes have only been regarded as a good starting point for an inter
esting discussion in the classroom, will be shocked to see their revised translation
corrected by a professional, as illustrated by the genuine sample shown on the
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opposite page.
It is my conviction that in professional training teacher's work should emulate the real-life circumstances of a
translation bureau or of a publishing house as closely as it is possible. What follows from this?
(1) The teacher's work should be similar to the work of an editorial reviser. (2) The trainer-trainee relationship
should be different from the traditional teacher-student relationship and should be similar to the relationship
between
an experienced translator and a neophyte professional translator.
(3) Text revision for classroom purposes should be similar to revision for editorial purposes.
(4) Teachers of translation should have experience in editorial work.
(5) The school correction should look like real life correction, because trainees should be aware of the degree
of work a reviser has to do make a translation ready for print.
(6) All errors and mistakes should be corrected, not only pedagogically interesting ones.
(7) The correct solutions should be written into the text.
(8) Corrections should be made, not only at sentence level, but also at the text level, as they have to result in a
coherent text submittable to the publisher. (9) Corrections need not follow a pattern but may differ from each
other if necessary from translation to translation, and their aim should be to make each translation perfect in
itself.
Conclusions and suggestions for further research
This professional approach to error-correction also offers a clue to the quality assessment of translations. In my
view, the only correct criterion for quality assessment of students' translations is the amount of time required to
transform them into print-ready texts. If the revision takes more time than the translation itself, the translation is
bad.
But there are, inevitably, also disadvantages in this method:
(1) It is very time consuming to prepare a submittable or print-ready text for each translation assignment,
(2) The method cannot be applied in classes with more than 8 to 10 translation trainees.
(3) It is very difficult to find trainers who are teachers and revisers at the same time or have experience both
with teaching and editorial work.

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A professional approach to error-corrections may also reveal new fields for translation research. A corpus
consisting of revised versions of students' translations may provide good material for empirical research. The daily
routine of editorial revisers is an interesting bilingual activity never systematically investigated so far.
Within this framework it can be very useful:
(1) To compare the editing strategies of different editorial revisers,
(2) To compare correction strategies of teachers and editing strategies of editorial revisers.

STUDENTS AND PROFESSIONAL REALITY


A TRANSLATION PROGRAM FOR A UNIQUE POPULATION
Courtney Searls-Ridge, Washington Academy of Languages,
Seattle, USA
Introduction
There are 85 languages spoken in the greater Seattle area. One local university hospital
logs up to 1700 hours of interpreting for patients a month. Until recently, the only
translator or interpreter training courses available in the Seattle area were an orientation
class for medical interpreters, random workshops offered by local volunteer translator
and interpreter organizations, and court interpreter certification training in a few
languages. The Translation and Interpreting Institute at the Washington Academy of
Languages was founded in 1994 to meet the need for training.
I shall discuss a pilot program developed by this Institute for translators already
working for public health services in Seattle. The translators are responsible for
translating health education materials from English into Amharic, Cambodian, Chinese,
Korean, Laotian, Russian, Spanish, Tigrinya, and Vietnamese. The pilot course was funded
by a grant.` Classes met for ten three-hour sessions in the evenings and on weekends.
Thirty students registered, and they were divided into two sections based on their
language pairs and schedules. Five students dropped out or did not attend regularly.
The objective of the course was to teach the basic process of translation. Classroom
materials consisted primarily of low-literacy health education documents being
translated by the Department of Public Health and disseminated in the community.
Reading material and handouts included articles from translation journals and style
books about various aspects of translation, editing, and proofreading.
By the end of the course, participants were expected to understand the steps
necessary to produce an adequate translation:
1) How to analyze a source text from the perspective of a translator (predicting
problems) 2) Basic research techniques;
3) The importance of glossary management;
4) The importance of editing for content, accuracy and style; 5)
Proofreading techniques;
6) The importance of presentation;
7) The importance of meeting deadlines; and
8) How to ask for and utilize feedback from the translation user or client.

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Upon completion of the course students were expected to apply this knowledge and the
skills they had learned in order to improve their performance in the workplace.
The course was graded as pass or fail. Students whose written English was weak were
given an opportunity to test orally. The instructor prepared a short written evaluation of
each student. Students who completed the course received a letter of participation.

The student population


The students varied from full-time interpreters to those contracted as interpreters and
translators on a project basis. Several had been hired because they said they were
multilingual (Cambodian, Laotian, Thai), and a few had been chosen because they had
experience in the medical field. As far as I have been able to determine, nobody had ever
tested their written or oral language skills in the source language (English) or their target
languages. Even those who were experienced interpreters had had no formal training as
translators or interpreters.
The students had begun working in teams a few months before taking the course. Some
students took the course because they were pressured by their employers to do so. Others
hoped that the course would improve their marketability as freelance translators.

Entry evaluation
No minimum educational requirements were set for participation, so the educational
levels ranged from high school graduate in the native country to master's degree in the
USA. All but one were non-native English speakers.
Although I was not able to screen students out of the program, the Institute did test their
English skills to ensure that they would be able to follow instructions in English and thus
understand the materials they were asked to translate at work. This evaluation enabled me
to plan course content and pedagogies.
The English skills evaluation consisted of:
1. Grammar (by means of a multiple choice test);
2. Reading comprehension (a Department of Public Health brochure about lead
poisoning); 3. Listening comprehension (a taped Public Radio interview about a child
with cancer); and
4. A personal interview
The evaluation showed that six students did not have adequate English skills, but they
were nevertheless allowed to participate. The other 24 students tested
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very high in listening and reading comprehension whereas their written English skills
varied.
Evaluation of writing skills in the dominant language
At the start of the course, students were asked to submit a one-page translation sample
into their dominant language. They were also required to submit a translation sample as a
final project. These translations were to be evaluated for accuracy, grammar, and
acceptability by a professional translator. A checklist was developed to facilitate this
process. Unfortunately, qualified evaluators in all language pairs were not available for

this part of the pilot project.


Obviously, students should have excellent writing skills in their target languages and
near-native listening and reading comprehension in the source language (English) if they
aspire to careers as professional translators. In this case, the Institute was not able to
evaluate the target language skills of all participants.
The challenges
The wide range of English comprehension skills
Skills in English ranged from "very poor abilities in all areas; should not be in class" to
the other extreme, "very fluent; writing could use fine tuning." I decided to teach to the
highest skill level, and I did not adapt my materials to accommodate the lower level
students. However, I consciously used more repetition and paraphrasing than I would have
otherwise. In an effort to compensate for the low reading comprehension scores of several
students, I discussed important handouts in class rather than assigning them as required
reading. This turned out to be beneficial to other students as well, because several students
who had tested very high in reading comprehension found the reading materials quite
difficult.
Many language pairs in one classroom - one bilingual instructor
The classes were structured so that each class had at least two students with each
language pair for group work and peer evaluation. However, when work: schedules and
family obligations threatened to keep students away from class, I allowed them to attend
class on another day thereby effectively undermining substantial work with language pairs.
I also diverged from the lesson plan several times to work with materials students were
translating (under tight deadlines) for
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their employers. In their final evaluations, students expressed disappointment that we had not had more small group work.
One exercise borrowed from Baker, which was successful in the first few weeks, was to have students bring lists of words
that they found difficult to translate on a word level (Baker 1992:43). In class they broke up into language groups, shared
their difficult words, and helped each other work out solutions. These exercises demonstrated the efficiency of teamwork
and brainstorming. They also helped students to overcome the fear of peers finding out that there was something they did not
know.
Complex, culturally-loaded material for translation exercises
I spent much more time on source text analysis in these classes than in other basic translation skills classes. This was time
well-spent since many students did not recognize their limitations and were not aware that they did not fully understand the
source text until it was discussed in detail.
The source texts had been written by public health educators who are not necessarily skilled writers. Although these
materials are supposed to be written for low-literacy readers, this is not always the case. Students learned to read very
carefully in order to understand the nuances.
The subject matter was often 'culturally loaded'. For example: One student was insistent in wanting to tone down the

urgency expressed in a brochure about Hepatitis B because, she said, hepatitis B is "not a big deal" in Ethiopia. All three
Ethiopians in the class agreed that hepatitis B is common in Ethiopia, and that people do not take it seriously since there is
a folk remedy that cures it 100%. They had also misunderstood the source text, thinking it said that hepatitis B is incurable
whereas it actually said that it causes incurable liver diseases. They felt that the brochure would needlessly frighten
Ethiopians in the community. The students agreed that one appropriate solution would be to call the employer's attention to
this in a cover note. Reluctantly, they agreed that they could not change the tone of the text without consulting the authors.
Similar issues were raised, of course, by source texts about sexually transmitted diseases and the use of condoms. Some
material was so offensive to the students that they felt people in their communities would not read the brochures if they
were translated faithfully.
I found it difficult to convey the balance between fidelity to the source text and the necessary effectiveness in translation.
The reason is that many of the stu
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dents had been working as medical interpreters for years although they had never been trained in the role of the
interpreter. Therefore many were accustomed to filtering bad news and material they deemed "culturally inappropriate".
I believe that they were carrying this misconception of the interpreter's role over into translation. It is not easy to undo
bad habits.
On the other hand, the students had a valid point because a 'faithful' rendering of the register of this type of material
is not always appropriate for getting the message across. There is no one right answer. I found though that students
tended to stray too far from the content of the source text and actually really wanted to rewrite the message.
Many class exercises analyzing source text and seeking solutions to the problems as the students perceived them were
intended to develop the analytical skills and the judgment necessary to be a good translator.
Fostering teamwork in the classroom and in the workplace
At first, several students were resistant to working in teams. Eventually, they cooperated in the classroom, but I do
not know whether this continued in the professional arena.
Instilling a sense of professionalism
At the beginning of the course, no one (translator, editor, proofreader, translation coordinator) felt responsible for the
finished translation. By the end of the course students understood that, even though their work would usually be edited
and proofread by someone else, it is the responsibly of translators to deliver near-finished products to their editors,
proofreaders, or clients, and that translators are obliged to edit and proofread each translation as though they were the
final person in the chain.
By the end of the course most students also understood the difference between proofreading and editing for style and
content.
Students found it difficult to pose questions to the client regarding terminology and meaning. They seemed to benefit
greatly from analyzing texts at home and coming up with a list of questions which were than used to role-play dialogues
between the client and the translator. This was fun and also built confidence. The final test indicated marked
improvement in this area.
Another tool for building up a sense of professionalism was a five-page selfevaluation questionnaire called "Becoming
a more professional independent

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translator and interpreter". The questions included, for example, "What would I say to politely refuse a request for a
job with an unreasonable deadline or fee?" and "Am I aware of my limitations?", "Do I refuse projects which I
cannot do well?" These questions set the stage for discussion about issues these beginning translators had never

thought about.
Conclusion
It could be argued that we should not be training groups such as this one to be translators until their source and
target language skills are greatly improved. However, in this particular case, Seattle public health services was
already using and will continue to use these translators no matter whether they are trained or not.
After the course, all but the few who had tested low in the initial evaluation showed a much better
understanding of the translation process than before. Several expressed interest in other courses to continue to
improve their skills.
Obviously, a 30-hour course cannot solve all translation problems. I believe, however, that as a direct result of
this course, the translations distributed by Seattle public health services are more effective than previously. My goal
as a translator trainer in this unique setting - with this wonderfully unique student population - was to provide my
students with the necessary tools and skills for them to produce better translations. I believe I accomplished this.
Notes
1. Health Education Low Literacy and Language Project (HELLLP).

LANGUAGE-SPECIFIC STRATEGIES IN SIMULTANEOUS INTERPRETING


Alessandra Riccardi, University of Trieste, Italy
Simultaneous interpreting is achieved through the concurrent application of cognitive and linguistic skills which
are so closely intertwined that it is difficult to state whether and when one prevails over the other. Conference
interpreting in general and simultaneous interpreting in particular have been investigated by different disciplines and
various models have been elaborated and applied to describe the processes involved (Gerver 1976; Massaro 1978;
Moser 1978).
From the point of view of cognitive sciences, simultaneous interpreting involves the decoding, storage, retrieval,
transformation and re-encoding of verbal information. Particular attention has been devoted to the role of memory
(shortand long-term memory) and to attention and its distribution to the different components of simultaneous
interpreting.
In the Translationstheorie (Holz-Mnttri 1984) and the Skopostheorie of Rei and Vermeer (1984), translation
and interpreting have been treated as if they were one and the same. It is true that in both activities, a sourcelanguage text must be translated into a target-language text. There is, however, one important, macroscopic
difference and this is the spatio-temporal unity within which the text or speech is delivered and the simultaneous
interpreting performed, compared to a written translation which is always carried out after a temporal delay and in a
different environment from the one which produced the source-text. Even though the two tasks are comparable in
their objectives, the information-processing load is greater and the possibility of corrections reduced in the
simultaneous mode. Furthermore, the unitary spatio-temporal setting allows direct reference to the situation and the
event, a greater use of deictic elements and often the clarification of otherwise confusing text elements. The
strategies used in translation and interpreting will thus differ in this specific respect.
Syntactic restructuring from source-text to target-text is one of the processes that places extremely heavy stress on
short-term memory. Personal experience has led me to the conviction that interpreting from English into Italian is far
less fatiguing than from German into Italian because the syntactic structures of German differ more than those of
English from Italian. To overcome the specific syntactic difficulties of simultaneous interpreting from German into
Italian inter-

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preters with this language combination have to apply anticipation strategies to a greater extent than with other
language-pairs.'
Wilss (1978) points out that the interpreter has various cues for syntactic and/or semantic anticipation at his
disposal. "It is clear that syntactic anticipation normally is something quite different from blind textual
hypothesizing. It is rather the result of intelligent textual prediction triggered by linguistic units (morphemes,
lexemes or lexeme combinations) which, within the framework of specific communication situations, serve as
important cues for the achievement of high-quality SI performance" (Wilss 1978: 349). Cues may be intralingual,
providing important contextual information on the further semantic development of the text. They may be
extralinguistic and situational or linguistically and situationally standardized phrases, such as thanking and
welcoming. Wilss concludes that "the development of a subtle syntactic and semantic anticipatory ability is a useful
goal for the linguistically and psychologically based teaching of SI" (1978: 350). When Wilss wrote his article there
were no data and studies on which such systematized teaching could be based. Specific language-pair studies of
simultaneous interpreting are few and investigations of anticipation strategies, semantic and/or synctactic, are
mostly very general.
To evaluate strategies and difficulties in simultaneous interpreting from German into Italian, I carried out a
comparative analysis in which the interpreting performance of three groups, namely (a) students, (b) graduates and
(c) experienced interpreters was compared and contrasted.
Description of the study
The first and most general aim of the study was to verify whether certain elements labelled as difficulties rendering of disturbed signal, overcoming lexical and morpho-semantic difficulties, rendition of verb-final
constructions and generally of structures with different word order, integration of encyclopedic knowledge, storing
of long chunks in short-term memory - were really obstacles to interpreting performance, and if so, whether this
was true for all participants in the study or whether some elements (and which ones) represented a greater problem
for students than for interpreters or vice-versa. The second and specific aim of the investigation was the
recognition of anticipation strategies applied, triggered by top-down and/or bottom-up factors, that is by
intratextual linguistic elements and/or extratextual, knowledge-bound information. Experienced interpreters might
be expected to rely more on top-down strategies which make use
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215

of their encyclopedic knowledge and work experience, whereas students might be expected to resort more often to
linguistic cues in order to extract as much information as possible from the text. Lastly, the comparison between
the performance of students and interpreters would show differences in strategies and examples of successful
anticipation so as to indicate what skills students need for a good interpreting performance.
The participants in the study were 12 interpreting students at the end of their university course in interpreting
training.2 The second group comprised 6 interpreters who had recently passed their final examination in
interpreting.' The third group consisted of 6 professional interpreters with at least 12 or more years interpreting
experience.
The participants had to interpret two speeches by the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl from German into
Italian. The first speech was delivered in Berlin on the 9 November 1992 to the Reichstag when the Chancellor
was awarded the freedom of the city of Berlin. He is addressing Members of the Bundestag, of the Berliner
Abgeordnetenhaus and distinguished German and foreign guests. In his speech he thanks the city representatives
and stresses the importance of Berlin as the capital of a reunified Germany. He then goes on to thank foreign
countries and their representatives for their interest in and assistance to Berlin. Finally, he addresses all Germans,
asking them to work even harder to overcome the problems that still exist between the East and the West of

Germany. The speech lasts 9'57" and is introduced briefly by the Mayor of Berlin. This part (1'40") has not been
translated and was used for adjusting the volume and setting the context.
The second text (6'S0"), translated immediately afterwards, was the recorded speech of Kohl's message to the
nation on 31 December 1994. The German Chancellor is talking to his fellow citizens and briefly summarizes the
accomplishments of the previous year in the field of the economy and employment. He then goes on to list what
is still to be done in the economy as well as in the fields of security, research, technology and family policy. 1995
will mark 50 years of peace since the end of the Second World War. The conflict in former Yugoslavia indicates
that many problems remain unresolved in Europe and that (besides Germany's engagement) there is a need for
the European Union to grow stronger together in order to overcome possible conflict situations. In 1995 Kohl
will direct his efforts in two directions: towards the further development of Germany's internal unity and towards
a closer European integration.

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Both speeches were written for very formal occasions but conceived for oral delivery. They are the kind of
text interpreters working with politicians often have to translate and which students often use for practice. They
differ from impromptu speeches in presenting less hesitation, fewer repetitions or false starts and a higher lexical
density. The speaker does not develop a train of thought while he is speaking. The text is fixed and therefore the
pace is different from an impromptu speech and not too fast (105 and 130 words per minute respectively).
It is superfluous to add that the interpreting conditions were artificial compared to the normal setting of such
an event, but in fact there are few opportunities for using real working conditions in a comparative study. In any
case, the conditions were identical for all three groups, who were informed in advance of the theme of the
speeches, the situation and the type of text.
In the following sections, some portions of the text have been chosen to highlight the differences in the
interpreting performances of the students and of the interpreters as regards standardized expressions, verb
anticipation, short-term memory overload, influences of top-down and bottom-up procedures, sentence restructuring and rendition of adjectives without one-to-one correspondence.
Standard expression - verb-final structure
Ich freue mich, da ich heute hier die Ehrenbrgerwrde Berlins, der Hauptstadt des wiedervereinigten Deutschland,
entgegennehmen darf.

[It is a pleasure for me to receive here today the freedom of the city of Berlin, the capital of reunified
Germany.]
This sentence presents two elements to be tested, namely a standardized expression at the beginning and the
verb in the end position. As to the first, with only one exception all graduates and experienced interpreters used a
highly standardized Italian expression (sono lieto di, sono molto lieto di) for Ich freue mich. Students (9 out of
12) produced a variety of different expressions ranging from un onore per me [it is an honour] through vorrei
esprimere la mia gioia [I would like to express my joy] to esprimo le mie felicitazioni [I express my congratulations] and mi rallegro di [I am delighted]. It is therefore apparent that at this stage of their training
students have not yet automatized the interpreting of standard expressions and therefore direct too much effort
into what should be routine interpreting.
7 students had problems with the verb entgegennehmen [to receive] which they could either not anticipate or
which they rendered in the past tense, thus distort
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217

ing the given temporal-spatial factor. With the exception of one of the graduates, both graduates and experienced
interpreters translated the verb correctly.

The results show that students could not anticipate the right verb even though they had been informed about
the event. They could not activate their specific knowledge and even after hearing the word Ehrenbrgerwrde
they could not work out the correct verb and, in their confusion about the situation, used the wrong tense. Two
students added to their first sentence [to be here today] the verbal phrase [and to receive...]. The delayed
addition of another verb to complete the neutral one used when it cannot be exactly anticipated is a good
strategy to prevent short-term memory overload. This strategy has been developed during lessons and has
proved useful as an intermediate step towards a better anticipatory capacity.
Short-term memory overload - verb-final structure
Gerade am heutigen Tag, nach manchem was gesagt und berichtet wird, mchte ich in dieser Stunde den Berlinerinnen und
Berlinern meine ganz besonders herzliche Zuneigung und Sympathie versichern.

[On this very day, after what has been said and reported, at this moment I wish to assure the '
people of Berlin of all my affection and regard.]
This sentence contains an embedded clause (nach manchem was gesagt und berichtet wird) and the verb
comes at the end. 9 students, 2 graduates and 2 experienced interpreters did not translate the embedded clause.
This is probably
the consequence of short-term memory overload, owing to the position of the verb and to the consequent dislocation
of the clause. The verb versichern was
translated as esprimere or assicurare [express, make sure] by all junior and experienced interpreters, thus
implying a certain degree of anticipation. 5 of the students used this translation as well. The remaining 7 students
used general verbs such as dire, rivolgere, trasmettere, [say, address, transmit] but 4 of them then completed the
sentence with the verb esprimere. Again the use of a neutral verb, 'saying', was noted as a way of avoiding a
wrong translation, followed then by the translation of the correct verb once it had been heard. Graduates and experienced interpreters showed a greater capacity both of verb anticipation and of coping with short-term memory
overload.

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

Encyclopedic knowledge
Und wir sahen gerade das Bild als am 12. Juni 1987 Ronald Reagan hier in der Nachbarschaft vor dem Brandenburger Tor seine
Rede hielt und der damals Michail Gorbatschow aufforderte, das Tor zu ffnen und die Mauer niederzureien.

[We have just seen the image as Ronald Reagan on the 12th July 1987 gave a speech here in
the neighbourhood before the Brandenburg Gate and urged Gorbachev to throw open the gate and to pull down
the wall.]
This is a typical case of the significance of encyclopedic knowledge. It must also be noted that the recording
was rather poor at this point and that Kohl pronounced 'Ronald Reagan' with a strong German accent. Only 3
students attributed the speech to Kohl, 6 believed it was Gorbachev, one that it was the Mayor of Berlin who had
made the speech and, not knowing whom Reagan was urging, 2 hesitated and avoided giving any name.
Conversely, among the interpreters only one of the graduates was wrong, while one experienced interpreter said
that it was Gorbachev who made the speech, but also transformed the meaning in such a way that this was
plausible. 2 of the graduates did not pronounce Gorbachev's name, while the others rendered it correctly. The
results indicate clearly that the students were relying heavily on bottom-up cues. In this case, as even the
phonological level was disturbed, they failed to interpret correctly because of insufficient world knowledge to
enable them to understand the unlikely nature of their own interpretations. Experienced interpreters relied on their
top-down knowledge and overcame the difficulties in spite of the auditory problems. They did not expose
themselves to a risky or illogical interpretation.
Different word order of the phrases

Die Welt hat sich nach dem Fall der Berliner Mauer vor fnf Jahren und seit Vollendung der deutschen Einheit dramatisch

verndert.

(The world has changed dramatically since the fall of the Wall five years ago and since the reunification of
Germany.]
This sentence requires a different word order in the Italian rendition. As it is awkward to begin with the noun
phrase (die Welt) thus having to wait so long for the finite verb, a better solution would be to begin with the
prepositional phrase.
7 students kept the German phrasal order in Italian. 5 waited, beginning with nach dem Fall der Berliner
Mauer [after the fall, with the fall of the Wall] which meant a heavier load on short-term memory but a better
performance. 4 of the graduates and all experienced interpreters chose the second solution, so that it

Alessandra Riccardi, Italy

219

may be concluded that this strategy (which means a finer capacity to reformulate the sentence in the targetlanguage) develops with experience.
Lexical and morpho-semantic aspects
1. Junge Familien brauchen bezahlbaren Wohnraum.
2. Wir werden hier sprbar helfen.
3. Es geht nicht an, da wohnungssuchende junge Familien abgewiesen werden, weil Kinder da sind.

[Young families need living space that they can afford to pay for.] [We will grant
considerable support in this sense.]
[We can't possibly allow that young families looking for accommodation be turned away because they have
children.]
These three contiguous sentences contain three adjectives which are not easy to translate, or rather, which cannot
be translated with a one-to-one equivalent as may often be the case with adjectives. In the first sentence bezahlbar
and pagabile [payable] have a different semantic-pragmatic value and therefore the adjective must be changed in the
Italian version either into a general substitute, adeguato, [suitable], or into a phrase, a prezzi accessibili, [at
affordable prices], che possono essere pagati, [which may be paid]. It seems that, as interpreting this sentence
required greater concentration, the next sentence was often not translated. One student skipped the first sentence, 8
failed to translate it correctly, 2 were correct and 1 incompletely so. Only 6 translated bezahlbar. Of these only 2
were correct, 3 were wrong and one incompletely correct, agevolazioni abitative [accommodation subsidies]. 4 of
the graduates produced a correct translation of bezahlbar while 2 omitted the sentence. One experienced interpreter
left it out, 5 got it right and 3 translated the adjective.
Sprbar in the second sentence [perceptible] has no one-to-one correspondence in Italian either. So sentence 2
was not translated by 7 students, 2 gave wrong translations, one an incomplete translation and only 2 a correct
rendition. 4 of the graduates omitted the sentence and the remaining 2 gave a partially incorrect translation. 5 of the
experienced interpreters translated sentence 2 and one left it out. 4 of them gave a correct interpretation without
sprbar, which was rendered only by 2 experienced interpreters, once as per migliorare ci che lo stato pu fare
per le famiglie con dei bambini [to improve what the state may do for families with children], but in this case the
interpreter had omitted the previous sentence, while the other interpreter tackled both sentences and translated sentence 2 with noi faremo sentire il nostro aiuto, [we will make our help felt].

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

Sentence 3 presented another 'problem' adjective, wohnungssuchend [in search of accommodation]. The
difficulty is amply illustrated by the fact that 5 students omitted the sentence, 4 translated it wrongly and only 3
rendered it adequately. 3 succeeded in giving a correct translation of the lexical item wohnungssuchend and 4
transformed the sentence into something like che le giovani famiglie non trovino alloggio perch hanno dei figli
[that young families do not find housing because they have children], che tante famiglie non trovino abitazioni,

[that many families don't find housing] and the like. The latter is interesting because it fuses two concepts, a
strategy adopted by all the experienced interpreters. Graduates had 3 correct and 3 incorrect translations. They
interpreted wohnungssuchend correctly in 2 cases, in one case with a transposition, possano trovare un alloggio
[may find accommodation], and one incorrectly. Experienced interpreters had 3 correct translations, one wrong and
2 omissions, but all opted for the transformation of the adjective into a more complex phrase.
These three sentences proved difficult to students and interpreters alike. It is not easy to understand why, as they
seemed neither lexically nor syntactically more difficult than the other segments of the text. Interestingly, some of
the translations followed a very peculiar logic. Students: non si deve negare alle famiglie uno spazio abitativo, n
posti negli asili [you can't refuse families either housing or places in kindergardens], le nuove famiglie hanno
bisogno di sussidi e quindi delle famiglie in cerca di una casa non possono non ricevere dei sussidi e non trovare
delle case [new families need subsidies and therefore families looking for a house cannot but receive subsidies and
find houses]. Graduates: non possiamo impedire che queste persone possano trovare un alloggio [we can't prevent
people from finding accommodation], dobbiamo aiutare le famiglie a ricercare gli appartamenti [we must help
families to look for a flat]. Although they had an intrinsic personal logic the translations of the experienced
interpreters were very peculiar in two cases: le famiglie giovani hanno bisogno di spazio e dobbiamo aiutarle, se ci
sono dei bambini devono esserci case per le famiglie [young families need room and we must help them, if there
are children there must be houses for the families], queste famiglie hanno bisogno di alloggi, non possibile che la
ricerca di alloggi per le nuove famiglie sia cosi difficile, di conseguenza le famiglie non possono pi avere figli
[these families need flats, it is not possible that looking for housing be so difficult, therefore families have no more
children].

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221

Concluding remarks
The results of the study have indicated some lines along which research may progress. The study has identified
certain problems and tentatively suggested solutions to overcome them. It corroborated the hypothesis that, in
interpreting from German into Italian, verb anticipation is a greater problem for students than for professional
interpreters, who use context and their feeling for the language to anticipate correctly. Students' results showed,
however, that for verb anticipation. they resorted to a strategy they had learnt, i.e., before hearing the verb at the end
of the sentence, to introduce a more generic verb before completing it with the correct one if the meaning was
different.
Cognitive processes are employed by experienced interpreters in order to better enable them to translate greater
portions of the text. They also have greater lexical flexibility, which results in a better output. Students are subject
to short-term memory overload which blocks a correct interpreting performance or leads to omission of parts of the
source-text.
Sentence restructuring is one of the strategies interpreters use in order to better adapt the source-text to the
target-language.
Standardized expressions are largely assimilated by interpreters, while students need to achieve automatic
reactions in this respect.
Encyclopedic knowledge and world knowledge are of great advantage and both graduates and experienced
interpreters are able to resort to it more readily than students are.
Exercises conceived for activating top-down and bottom-up strategies may help students to recognize more
effectively the role played by linguistic cues and encyclopedic knowledge. Thus, the right interplay of the two
strategies, essential for a good interpreting performance, may be achieved by a conscious introduction of the two in
teaching.
There are language specific difficulties which may still be a problem for interpreters too, such as adjectives that
have no one-to-one translation.
The study has highlighted some of the differences between the interpreting performances of students and

interpreters based on cognitive and language specific elements. It shows some of the strategies that students must
develop in order to cope with specific difficulties. To this end, problem-oriented training should be given greater
importance, as it helps interpreters to recognize, separate and focus on single difficulties thus facilitating and
fostering a conscious development of diverstfied simultaneous interpreting strategies.
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Notes
1. The same may also be true for interpreting from German into English, French and Spanish. 2. Most had already succeeded in their
first-year interpreting examination and had to undergo their second-year interpreting examination (after which, upon completion of all
examinations envisaged by the course, they are admitted to the final examination).
3. 3 or 6 months previously and therefore had not much working experience.
4. In this and subsequent examples the English translation of the German and Italian parts is very literal so as to illustrate more
clearly the topics under discussion.

TAKING CARE OF THE SENSE


IN SIMULTANEOUS INTERPRETING
Ghelly V. Chernov,
Moscow International School of Translation and Interpreting, Russia
The essence of the psycholinguistic mechanism of simultaneous interpreting is aptly described by Lewis
Carroll's Duchess in her adage "take care of the sense and the sounds will take care of themselves". However the
Duchess failed to explain what she meant by sense.
It can be demonstrated that understanding (comprehension), or getting the sense of the message, may be defined
as drawing inferences about the actual meaning of what is being said. I do not claim to be original in that
statement, since the idea underlies the speech act theory. Suffice it to recall that John Searle (Searle 1979: 30-35)
differentiates between the speaker's utterance meaning and the sentence meaning: "In indirect speech acts the
speaker communicates to the hearer more than he actually says by way of relying on their mutually shared
background information, both linguistic and nonlinguistic, together with the general powers of rationality and
inference on the part of the hearer." I claim that Searle's ideas have a direct bearing on the theory of translation and
have been largely overlooked in translation theory.
What happens when we translate? At first glance, we receive a message, B, in a language from the sender and
we produce a certain message, D, in another language for the recipient. If D corresponds to B, or may be regarded
as a substitute for it, the translation is successful.
But, in order for this to be the case, certain conditions must be met: the explicit plicit message B can only make
sense if the speaker has certain presuppositions in mind: humans (and human interpreters) receive a message, B,
which makes sense provided the speaker has implied A, while the recipients of the message B take in the literal
meaning of B plus whatever they infer as C (which combination constitutes the subjective sense of the message for
the recipient, or, in our case, the interpreter). This can be reduced to a simple logic formula: if (A), then B; if B,
then (C), where the explicit B is a consequent of the implicit (A), while the inference of (C) is a consequent of the
explicit B. Now, on the basis of our understanding, (C), we produce an explicit message of D in the target language
from which the recipient makes an inference of (E). This is basically the whole process of translation, whether
written or oral.

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

The picture is more complicated since the speaker usually relies on the mutually shared background

information, both linguistic and nonlinguistic of the addressee (the listener) and himself.
Any act of communication may be schematically described in the following way: the Speaker produces a
message for the benefit of the Listener (the Hearer or Recipient):
S1>H2
Accordingly, a bilingual act of communication via the interpreter may be described as follows:
S1>H2<=>S2>H3,
where 2 is both the Recipient and the Speaker at the same time. The condition of mutually shared background
information /(A) and (C)/ as a success condition is available for S 1 to H 2 and for S 2 to H 3, but not for the
linguistic part of S 1 and H 3. As evidenced in international bi- and multilingual conferencing, this communicative
act is complicated further by the fact that the Primary Speaker is usually not aware of the necessity of shared
background information in order to obtain communicative success. Primary Speakers tend to take the addressees
for their equals in all respects, assuming that their audience is of the quality of a fictive H 4 (with the same
language and cultural origin as themselves (S 1)) in specific situations:
S 1 > H 2 <=> S 2 > H 3,
while S 1 intends the message for an imaginary addressee (H 4) (who is not the actual Recipient, or even a
participant in the communicative act). S 1 > .... H 4.
Usually there is no shared background information in bilingual communication, at least none in terms of
language and normally not enough in terms of the extralinguistic (cultural) field. Although the utterance is intended
for a target-language addressee, the speaker has erroneous assumptions about the degree of information shared
with the addressee. The addressee and the recipient are, in fact, two different persons. The speaker has the
interpreter as the actual recipient, but disregards him/her as an addressee. Thus the act of communication is really
two different communicative acts, and the entire general power of rationality and the ability of inferencing are all
vested with the interpreter, although he was not meant to be the addressee.
The two steps in an act of bilingual communication can be schematized as follows:

Ghelly V. Chernov, Russia

225

Step I in Interlingual Communication:


Source to Interpreter
if (A) (implicit), then B (explicit)
(A) > B ...
if B (explicit), then (C) (implicit)
... B > (C) ...
Step II in Interlingual Communication
Interpreter to Recipient
if (C) (implicit), then D (explicit) ... (C) > D ...
if D (explicit), then (E) (implicit sense for target recipient) ... D > (E)
Inferences depend on the hearer's (I) knowledge of the language spoken, (II) world knowledge, (III)
acquaintance with the extralinguistic situation, and (IV)
knowledge of the speaker. There are different types of inference, namely: I - linguistic inference
II - cognitive inference
III - situational inference, comprising
a) extralinguistic context of the communication, and
b) the material situation described (frame or script); and
IV - pragmatic inference
Factors III and IV are beyond the control of those who train interpreters. Fac
tors I and II can be taught at school. When used systematically as a part of an interpreters' training course this can
produce quite remarkable results.
The underlying philosophy of the model for the psycholinguistic mechanism of simultaneous interpreting
which I have proposed (Chernov 1987; 1994) supplies the theoretical basis for the practical training course that

we used to give in Moscow. Methods of training and the results obtained may be illustrated by means of my
experience with teaching at the UN Language Training Course in Moscow (1961-91) and the Simultaneous
Interpreters' Refresher Course at the Moscow International School of Translation and Interpreting (1992-93).
The UN Language Training Course in Moscow
First, I shall briefly deal with the UN Language Training Course in Moscow, which was conducted for about 30
years and trained conference interpreters for the United Nations. This ten-month course produced about 250
interpreters for the Russian booth of the United Nations Secretariat, all of whom subsequently underwent two or
three year terms of interpreting service either in New York or Geneva.-In my view the most remarkable feature was
the low failure rate of
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

about 10 per cent (meaning that only one out of ten candidates did not succeed in passing the UN examination).
Debates taped at the UN meetings in the General Assembly, the Security Council and in the General Assembly
Committees of the United Nations were used for training.
One specific feature of the course was that, in addition to purely linguistic requirements (with a heavy emphasis
on specific UN terminology), the course stressed extralinguistic background knowledge for ensuring "the mutually
shared background information" of a typical UN speaker and the interpreter. The following list illustrates briefly
those extralinguistic subjects studied during the course.
- The UN Charter and the history of the United Nations - Elements of
international law of treaties
- World economic geography and economic problems of the developing countries - The main problems
discussed in committees, and - UN procedural rules
Let me illustrate the importance of a seemingly obvious piece of background knowledge: that of the procedural
standard rules. The United Nations use a wellknown and logical Anglo-Saxon way of adopting a resolution: an
amendment of the order farthest removed from the draft is the first to be put to the vote, i.e. an amendment to an
amendment to the draft resolution. Unfortunately the old Soviet rules were retained in the Perestroika era's new
Congress of Deputies, in the Supreme Soviet of the U.S.S.R., and in the Russian Federation. It is radically different:
when a resolution is adopted, one of the drafts is chosen "as a basis" for further discussion, and not until then are the
amendments discussed (thus giving the chair ample opportunities for manipulation). Thus even a simple procedural
rule must be properly appreciated in order to be correctly translated.
Intercultural differences were also evident in matters of protocol, where examples of intercultural lacunae
resulted in serious translation errors (Chemov 1991: 27-34).
Another problem concerns the awareness of present-day international relations, as distinct from proposals, plans
and projects for the future. In the semantic structure of communication, among other components (Chernov 1987:
71-78), the propositional content should be clearly separated from its modal framework, or factivity (Lyons 1977:
793-796), i. e. the relation of proposition to reality: whether whatever the speaker says is a fact, or something to be
expected in the
Ghelly V. Chernov, Russia

227

future as desirable, or undesirable, or a necessity, or an utter impossibility, is important in order to grasp whether
something mentioned is a fact, or merely meant as a proposal for the future. I have witnessed cases when,
unaware of the situation described, interpreters erroneously rendered facts as if they were proposals for the future
and vice versa. Hence the course in Moscow paid attention to the most typical international situations at the

United Nations. The very fact that the Moscow interpreters were being trained specifically for the UN Secretariat
al. lowed us to take this fully into account.
Discussion
It may be more difficult to predict topics which the student of to-day will have to deal with in professional
work. We have found that this can be dealt with by a more generalised structure in the curriculum for conference
interpreting so that it comprises more than a command of language and terminology.
The wider the range of topics the interpreters-to-be are trained for, the broader the knowledge that is required
of interpreters. I suggest that the nature of thesauri depends neither on specific language combinations of
trainees, nor on whether they interpret from or into their mother tongue. Unable to become experts in all fields
of knowledge, or keepers of all possible information in the world of to-day,
interpreters should be trained 1) in the fundamentals of sciences, and 2) in me
thods needed to prepare for a conference. Even when these conditions are met,
students should be aware that they are incapable of interpreting at all kinds of
conference. I believe that it is necessary to have a stricter thematic specialization
for interpreters than exists today. I suggest that at least three specialities be
established:
1) a socio-political and socio-economic speciality focused on business and financial matters, 2) a speciality
based on the natural sciences, engineering and technological subjects, and
3) one concentrating on all areas broadly covered by life sciences (biology, agriculture, etc.). Sometimes the
areas of knowledge would be combined as in chemistry: interpreter-biologists should know enough of
chemistry to be able to understand the ideas of macromolecular chemistry. Similarly agriculture may be linked
with agronomy and mechanical engineering, etc.
Interpreter-trainees specializing in socio-political and socio-economic areas would need a thorough historical
and linguistic background, fundamentals of law and economics, and a broad understanding of those problems
arising from interdisciplinary developments which pose new problems, as well as the dialectics of societM and
scientific developments in general. They should be able to compre228

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

hend the significance of ecological problems for economic development and the economic role and potential of
new technologies, and have a thorough grasp of the political, social and economic problems discussed.
Otherwise even well-educated persons will fail to understand the problem being discussed, let alone the
speaker's underlying motives. In this case the rendition will, in the words of Pearl (1995), supply only "the 'raw
material' to the listener". I also agree with Pearl that it is better to do this than "to deliver neither the 'finished
product" nor the 'raw material"'. Yet it is infinitely better to teach interpreters to deliver the finished product
while they are still trainees.
There is no doubt that it is extremely difficult to choose subjects to be taught at a general purpose school (I
favor, as a matter of principle, conference interpreter training at the post-graduate level), yet experience shows
that it is not impossible.
Our knowledge of the future areas of employment for our candidates will enable us to set up a curriculum to
cover these needs.
The following list specifies elements in cognition which future interpreters must be familiar with (not as
experts but at a generalized level, as persons with a broad liberal education).
'FACTS OF LIFE'
(with reference to the countrylies of the passive (active) language(s))
1) Political (Administrative) System
2) Socioeconomic Situation 3) Legal System 4) Geography
5) History (Names of historical personalities, names of events: those facts that may be referred

to as 'Historical Labels')
6) Facts of everyday life
7) Popular allusions

I would like to give several examples of the importance of familiarity with some of these elements (inbuilt
interpreter's thesaurus): Historical facts.
The Official Presidential Interpreter of President Clinton's speech at the Fiftieth Victory Day Celebration of the Second World
War in Moscow committed the following blunder: among other things, President Clinton referred to the Battles of Stalingrad and
of Berlin. In connection with the latter be mentioned Russian losses of 300,000 men, which the interpreter, however, associated
with the Battle of Stalingrad. This understandably baffled Russians: at the Battle of Stalingrad losses were significantly higher,
whereas the Berlin losses were particularly tragic since they happened only a few days before the end of the war.

Ghelly V. Chernov, Russia

229

Historical labels.
There was another example of mistranslation in the same speech: President Clinton spoke about the Second World War, using the
official Russian label, "The Great Patriotic War", as a friendly gesture to the Russians, in particular to the hundreds of war veterans
attending the celebration. This the interpreter rendered as "the Second World War". The blunder turned out to be significant later on
the same day where President Yeltsin used the "Second World War" label in his address as a similar gesture to foreign guests attending
the official reception.

Legal System.
"Capital punishment"/capital offence, defined as an offence for which the criminal is dtie to receive capital punishment, has no
direct equivalent in Russian, only a descriptive one. Thus a term has to be invented, just as lawyers have already invented legal terms
that do not exist' in the Russian law, such as "#noxxx" ('fe LO ni ya') and "~,txcnHMxxop" ('mis di MI nor') (for "felony" and
"misdemeanor"). Similarly, a Russian allusion to "Article 58" (an article of the Criminal Code meaning "high treason" (in most cases a
trumped-up charge)) would not signify anything for an interpreter unaware of the Russian legal system in the 1930s (the peak' of
Stalinist terror in Russia), although the mere mentioning of that article would have once' made any Russian shudder, because it meant a
bullet in one's head or life-long incarceration ; in a concentration camp on the Kolyma River (a fact of both Russian History and
Geography).

The refresher course for conference interpreters at MISTI


The above considerations were put to use in the MISTI refresher course, which?h lasted 2 to 6 weeks and
comprised linguistic and extralinguistic problems discussed in class using videotapes of debates at the Congress of
Deputies and the',, Supreme Soviet of Russia (1992-1993) and of the Economic Geography Map of Russia and
Highlights of Russian History.
Two of our graduates have successfully passed a Russian-into-English test at the European Community, others
have fared well as free-lance interpreters. Unfortunately fortunately the course has now been discontinued for
financial and management reasons, but the results so far convince me of the validity of my main thesis: any course
on simultaneous interpreting should be based on a thoroughly planned curriculum containing a balanced proportion
of linguistic and professional training plus education in selected extralinguistic subjects. On the basis of the model
above and my experience in training simultaneous interpreters, I suggest that the emphasis in training conference
interpreters be laid on the aspects of language training illustrated in the chart 'Proposed Contents of a Syllabus'
which is given overleaf.
The interpreters should be taught to be always attentive to linguo-cultural developments in the leading countries
of their language combination.
Let me cite but one example. "White collar" and "blue collar" workers are

Ghelly V. Chernov, Russia

231

multiplying, so that today we come across "pink collar" workers. The latest and the newest formation, "new
collars", is taken to mean different things by different people. Some people believe that "new collars" signify
those who are employed in the service sector. Others use the expression of "people employed in the computer
industry" (a possible reference to the founding father of the IBM Corporation, who demanded that all employees
should wear ties). And there is also a third definition of a "new collar worker", namely, "a person ...belonging to
a supposed socioeconomic group made up of white-collar workers who are more affluent and better educated
than their parents" (Tulloch 1991). Interpreters should be in a position to see in which sense speakers use the
expression.
Concluding remarks
A wise man once said that the difference between a modern scientist and a layman is that the scientist learns
as much as possible about a narrower and narrower field until he ends up with knowing almost everything about
nothing, while a layman learns a little about everything until he ends up with knowing almost nothing about

everything.
As the balancing mediator in intepational communication the interpreter should find a place somewhere in
between.

CREATING THE 'OTHER': A PRAGMATIC TRANSLATION TOOL


Deborah D.K. Ruuskanen, University of Vaasa, Finland
Discussions of the ways in which equivalence is constructed in translation inspired me to begin work on the
questionnaire and interview study that resulted in the creation of the model presented here (Ruuskanen 1995).'
The purpose of the model is to construct the ideal reader to whom the translation is addressed, after which a
variable definition of equivalence can be constructed for that particular text which is being translated. The
present article only presents the model and its application for teaching translation, as the work of constructing
the model will be presented elsewhere (Ruuskanen 1995).
The model represents a condensation of several hundred man-and-woman years of professional translating
experience, that of the author and of the dozens of translators who contributed descriptions of their daily
working practice (Ruuskanen 1995). The model presented here is based on that experience, and as such has been
proven reliable under real working conditions. When first asked directly if they addressed their translations to an
imagined reader or audience, most professional translators replied in the negative. When questioned more closely about their working practices, however, it became apparent that they did in fact construct such an audience.
Finally, when this was pointed out to them, they were often surprised to realise that they had evidently been
doing this all of their working lives. Many of them remarked that, if this practice had earlier been made
available to their conscious processes, rather than remaining unconscious, it would have made their work as
translators easier. It is in this light that the model is presented for use by teachers of translation to pass on to
their students.
As a teaching aide, the model can be very useful in pointing out to students that translations do not exist in a
vacuum. What the model does best is help students create a context for a translation; it also shows them why
different translations of the same lexical item in the original text will be chosen in different contexts, and helps
them make the choice. Furthermore, the model helps create a hierarchy for judging which level is most
important for this translation: depending on the answers to the questions in the model, the most important
criteria for evaluating the translation could be the overall aim of the text (e.g. advertising), the grammar (e.g.
rhetorical speeches), the vocabulary (e.g. literature), or perhaps the printed style (e.g. various journals). The
model is also useful for showing students why the purpose of the translation may not be the purpose of the ori234

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

ginal, and what effects this change of purpose has on the choices made in translation. Ultimately, the best
translation is thus that which meets the needs of the party judged most important in a particular translation
situation: the client, the translator, the author, the original audience, or the implied readers of the translation; and
the model helps in making this judgement.
A pragmatic tool for translation
The model presented here is pragmatic in both senses of the word: it is pragmatic in that it is based on extralinguistic and extra-textual factors; and it is pragmatic in that it is based on the actual work of professional
translators and has been found to function well under daily working conditions. As a pragmatic tool it ultimately

derives from the work of Bolinger (1981/1968) who saw language as existing in many aspects simultaneously, not
all of them textual or linguistic. Similarly, translation involves many aspects simultaneously, not all of them to do
directly with the actual printed words of the text being translated.
By asking translators what questions they put to commissioners of texts before they accepted the commission,
it was possible to arrive at those factors which the translators then used in constructing their 'ideal reader'. All of
these factors had an influence on the definition of equivalence to be used in translating the actual text. In addition,
the two related, very pragmatic factors of time and money had a profound influence on equivalence in the text.
Evidently very little has been written in translation studies regarding these two factors, possibly because
academics do not work completely in the world of professional translation and are not so much affected by the
pressures of translation deadlines and office rents and overheads.
In the presentation of the model that follows, the questions are listed in more or less the order in which the
translator puts them to the client. In an agency, it will be the secretary who asks the actual questions, but the
information thus obtained is then passed on to the translator who does the actual translation. In some cases the
translator is not allowed to liaise directly with the client, but all the translators asked were unanimous in their
opinion that if they did not have access to the information discussed below, they were unable to do their best
(Ruuskanen 1995). The model being presented here would explain this in terms of some factors being missing
from the model, with the result that the 'ideal reader' created would be deficient, concomitantly producing a
deficient translation.
235

Deborah D. K. Ruuskanen, Finland

The model
In what follows, the questions that form the basis of the model are presented first, then each is discussed in detail
along with its implications for the creation of the ideal reader and the establishment of the definition of equivalence
for that particular text. These questions have been compiled from those actually asked potential clients by
professional translators. In Section 3, use of the answers to construct the 'Other', and possible applications of the
model to teaching and computer translation will be discussed.
The questions that are asked by the translator before accepting the commission are listed below:
Table 1. Questions asked by translators before accepting a commission
1. Who is commissioning the text? Who is the author of the text?
2. Who is the text for?
3. When is the text due and where is it to be delivered? Deadline?
4. What is the subject and exact field of the text?
5. What is the purpose of the text?
~
6. In what form and where will the text appear?
7. Will you accept my rates?

Client
Audience
Time
Lexicon/Register
Genre
Style
The Failsafe

The Client: Who is commissioning the translation? Who is the author of the text?
Since ultimately the fate of a professional translator depends on satisfying clients, the first question asked relates
to the commissioner of the translation: who are you and who is going to pay the bill? It is in the best interests of both
parties if the necessary contact information is obtained first. Following this, the translator enquires if the author of
the text is the same as the commissioner and if not requests the contact data for the author(s). In some cases, the
commissioner acts as liaison between the translator and the author(s).
In addition to obtaining the information needed for billing, the question of the identity of the client is important to
the translator in order to set up a good client-translator relationship. It is at this stage that the translator makes the
first steps toward determining her primary responsibility, i.e. is it to the client, to the text, to the reader of the text, or
to herself as a translator? If it is to more than one of these, she can also place herself along the continuum between
them. Should the client be a repeat customer with whom the translator has had a long professional relationship, she
will know at once how much 'liberty' she can take

236

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

with the text, and how diplomatic she has to be if she feels the source text should be rewritten.
The Audience: Who is the text for?
The question of 'who is the text for?' is the most obvious one related to the creation of the audience. The
information elicited by answers to this question should provide the translator not only with the language variant to
be used, but also with the first indications of the culture and subculture of the audience. It is extremely important
that the text be set within the frame of a culture before translation is begun, in order to assure that it will be well
received by that culture (See also Snell-Hornby 1985). Some examples of answers to this question are: a group of
lawyers at an international convention, a committee within the European Community, consumers in the United
States, and so on.
The client may also provide unsolicited information regarding the subject of the text at this point, without being
prompted by the questions listed below. For example, the reply may be, "It's an advertisement for freezers to go in
British magazines." In this case, the translator may dispense with the relevant question below, since the information
has already been obtained.
It is at this point that the languages into which the translation is to be made should be discussed. If the text is to
be put into several target languages, the translator may wish to be aware of this and to work in collaboration with
the other translators if the client allows. It may also be possible for the translator to arrange for multi-cultural
translations through sub-contracts or through a translators' cooperative. Collaboration with other translators on
terminology in particular usually results in a more accurate translation.
Time: How long is the text, when is it due, and where is it to be delivered?
The question of the amount of time the translator has to do the translation is of considerable significance in the
definition of translation. If the translator is not given sufficient time to check all the terminology or special syntax of
a given text, then the closest equivalent term available will be used, regardless of whether it is the best or not. Of
course, if the text is too long to fit into the translator's schedule, she may not even accept the commission.
It should always be remembered that a commission is not completed until the text is delivered. The amount of
time needed to deliver the text should always

Deborah D. K. Ruuskanen, Finland

237

be taken into consideration when calculating the amount of time available to do the translation, especially in cases
where the client demands a hardcopy delivered personally. Fortunately, with the advent of telefaxes built into desktop
PCs, translations can also be delivered as soon as the final draft is checked and corrected.
Mention of PCs raises the issue of what constitutes a page in these days of word processors replacing typewriters.
In Finland, the standard page of 26 typewritten lines of 60 spaces each has had to be replaced with a page that consists
of c. 1600 characters, i.e. the total number of characters is divided by 1600 to arrive at the number of pages. Most
translators still charge by the line or page, and time is calculated by number of pages per hour that a translator can
complete. In calculating time, it is often wise to ask to see the text to be translated before accepting the commission.
The number of pages the client estimates may be considerably smaller than the actual number of pages, and the
difficulty of the text greater than the client could know. When setting deadlines, experienced translators prefer to
overestimate the tinfe) they will need, rather than accepting a text that will have to be processed in a great hurry.
Lexicon/Register: What is the subject and exact field of the text?
After having established whether there is enough time for her to do the text and having tentatively decided to
accept the commission, the next question the translator asks is purely linguistic. In combination with the last two

questions, the question of lexicon and register provides the fine tuning to bring the 'Other' into focus. Establishing the
subject will also allow the translator to decide whether she has the requisite expertise for the translation. Although in
one study, it was found that more than half of the clients questioned were of the opinion that the translator did not
need any expertise in the subject being translated, the professional translators themselves felt that such expertise
would be of great benefit, if not absolutely necessary (Ruuskanen 1994). This was confirmed by the translators who
provided the questions that make up the present model (Ruuskanen 1995). Some of these translators even felt that it
was an ethical question, and refused to accept translations in subjects of which they had no previous knowledge, even
if provided with background material. The reason they gave was that they would not be able to produce an accurate
translation, and might even make considerable errors in understanding the original source text.
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

Genre: What is the purpose of the text?


By the time the translator has asked all of the above questions, the question of the purpose and genre of the text
may have already been answered. Some examples of answers to this question are: advertisement, scientific article,
speech, letter of intent, annual report, certificate, etc. It should be remembered that the original purpose of the
source text may not be the same purpose as that envisioned for the target text. A section of a source language report
may be intended for inclusion in a target language press release or advertisement. Particularly in the case of
'literature' the purpose may affect the translation: if the aim is to introduce the author to a reader in another culture
who otherwise has no access to the work, the responsibility of the translator will be to the author of the original, and
to the source text. If the aim of the translation is to sell as many copies of the novel as possible, the responsibility of
the translator will be to the publisher and the translation will be made as attractive as possible to potential readers in
the target language.
Style: In what form and where will the text appear?
The answer to this question establishes the exact style of the translation in its final form. Whenever possible,
style sheets or instructions to authors should be provided by the client. For research articles, if possible, an article
previously published by the author in the same journal should be supplied as both background and as providing an
example of style. At this point, such matters as whether the client requires the text on disk, and in what software
program, are also discussed. The question of form also affects the question of delivery. Levels of formality are also
decided here. It should be fairly obvious that this factor will have a significant effect on the definition of
equivalence for the translation in question.
Final Acceptance: Do we agree on the rates?
All of the professional translators were unanimous in their opinion that this question must be settled before the
commission is accepted. All negotiations of rates, questions of written contracts, definitions of what constitutes a
page, schedules and deadlines come under this question. It should not be forgotten that many clients evidently
cannot multiply: simply giving the per page rate is not enough, the estimated total cost should be mentioned in
order to avoid unpleasant shocks when the bill arrives. Most of these negotiations can be carried out over the
telephone at the initial contact, but in the case of large projects the text n must
Deborah D. K. Russinnen, Finland

239

be seen by the translator and evaluated before agreement is reached. Once the translator has the actual text, she
can confirm her original picture of the reader of the target text, or adjust it in accordance with the text she now has
in hand.

Creating the 'Other' and applications of the model


The 'Other' who is created in translation is the 'Other' in both Bakhtin's
(1981) sense and that of Cixous (1976). For Bakhtin, all language is 'dialogic' in use, requiring an 'Other' to
whom we speak, even if the 'Other' is ourself. Bakhtin also allows a multiplicity of voices, alternative voices,
alternative 'Others', if you will. The 'Other' for Cixous is the silence of the 'unconscious' which comes before
speech; before an attempt at communication, the 'Other' stands outside and may interrupt or ~top the 'rational'
(conscious) order of speech. Cixous presents us with a 'possible' language, rather than an already existing one: we
create the language in which we speak to the 'Other' precisely because it is 'possible' but does not exist until we
create it. But before we can begin, we as translators must also create the 'Other' with whom we speak.
Unlike the interpreter, who has the 'Other' (without whom, in fact, interpreting is impossible) present at the
time of interpreting (Wadensj 1992), it is only in rare cases that the translator has a definite 'Other' present from
the very beginning. For example, the 'Other' is clearly defined from the outset as a particular pharmaceutical
company, if the translation is of a letter requesting damages from a pharmaceutical company for loss of fertility
caused by an inter-uterine device. In most cases, the 'Other' is constructed by the translator, often unconsciously,
through the answers to the questions in the model outlined above. This 'Other' then becomes Iser's (1976) 'implied
reader' for whom we translators create our text. Even in the case of the immediately present pharmaceutical
company given above, however, the nuances and fine tuning of our focus of the 'Other' depend on the answers to
the questions in the model. It is in defining the aim and purpose of the text, in this case a letter requesting
damages, that the particular parts of the 'Other' which we wish to affect are brought into clear focus.
How are students to remember all of these questions? In fact, how do the professional translators remember
them? Some translators keep a check list by the telephone, some even have forms with versions of the questions
printed on them, with blank spaces for the answers. But one way is to employ a simple mnemonic device as an
aide memoir. Referring to Table 1(p. 235), it can be seen that the first letters of the main points covered by each
question form an acronym: Client,
240

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

Audience, Time, LExicon, Genre, Style = CATLEGS. For this reason, the model will hereafter be referred to as the
CATLEGS Model.
Any translator who has worked professionally for several years becomes aware that equivalence is a variable
thing in translation. In her cross-cultural studies of translation, Snell-Hornby (1988) was already speaking of the
"illusion of equivalence" nearly a decade ago. Recent variable approaches to translation (see, for example, Hewson
and Martin 1991) have also emphasized that translation is not fixed, either in time or in language. This opens the
way to a definition of equivalence in translation that would require that equivalence vary from text to text,
depending on the answers to the questions in the CATLEGS Model.
The CATLEGS Model can be used very successfully in the classroom to explain why, inter alia, we need new
translations of the Bible, or new English translations of such 'classic' writers as Proust. In addition, it can easily be
shown that, by changing the answer to only one of the questions in the model, all of the other questions (factors)
are affected, resulting in a completely different translation. The model can thus also be used to explain at least in
part why translations of the same text by different translators can be so different: the 'Other' created by each
translator is different. This can be illustrated using children's stories (see, for example, Oittinen 1993): the
translation is completely different if it is done for the child who is listening to the story, rather than for the parent
who is reading it to the child (or for a teacher who is marking it as a translation exercise).
The strategies for translation of allusions, metaphors, puns, idioms, and other culture-bound items can also be
chosen using the requirements of the 'Other' as created by the CATLEGS Model before beginning the translation.
The use of the model makes it clearer to students why one strategy is preferred over another. Indeed, the model
may even be used to predict which strategy will be preferred.
Finally, by setting limits to the variables within each factor, the CATLEGS Model can even be applied to

computer translation. Cognitive linguistics allows for us to move the limits of meaning along a sliding scale from
one semantic pole to another. However, it was Tabakwska (1993) who pointed out that there are limits beyond
which we may not go if we are to be understood. It is precisely the overlap of my meaning with your meaning that
allows us to understand each other. It follows then that the more I as translator am able to create 'Others' with
whom I can empathise, the better I will communicate with these 'Others' when they come to read my translated
texts. It is this final act of communication that can enable us to evaluate the translation as good or bad, first by
comparison with
Deborah D. K. Ruuskanen, Finland

241

other texts of the same genre and style written for the same purpose in the target language, and then by asking
the 'Other' if we have achieved our communicative aims. It is in these areas in particular that the CATLEGS
Model could be used in further studies of translation.
In the classroom, the CATLEGS Model can be used for exercises in which the teacher gives students the
answers to the questions in the model in advance. One such exercise is carried out by giving different groups of
students different answers, so that the ideal readers created are distinctly different, and then asking the groups to
compare the resulting translations and find explanations for the differences. Another exercise is to have students
themselves write texts on a given subject (e.g. "The definition of translatior~") and have another student
translate the text; then have the students work in pairs to see if the translator was able to "recreate" the author,
the other student, who is also by definition the reader of the translation. This requires a good deal of preparatory
work on the part of the teacher, but is very successful in showing the usefulness of the model, as well as in
raising the consciousness of the students as to what is actually involved in the process of translation.
Note
1. Before a translator can even begin a translation, she (the pronoun reflects the predominant gender of translators in Finland) must
construct a reader, the 'Other' who is outside the source text and to whom she addresses the translation. This contention grows out of
a philosophical discussion initiated by Malmkja;r (1993) and from reader-based theories of literary analysis (e.g. Iser 1978; Jauss
1982); it is primarily based on theories of discourse analysis of the Birmingham School (Sinclair and Coulthard 1975; Sinclair 1983;
Coulthard 1985; 1994) and the work of Hoey (e.g. 1988) in creating Isei s implied reader. It has been profoundly influenced by the
work of Snell-Hornby (e.g. 1988) on cross-cultural problems and the illusion of equivalence in translation,, and by the cognitive
poetics of translation as presented by Tabakowska (1993).

PROFESSIONAL VERSUS STUDENT BEHAVIOUR


Janet Fraser, University of Westminster, London, UK
Scholars, linguists and translation theorists have long been calling for better understanding of the processes
involved in translation: Steiner argues, for example, that
we know next to nothing of the generic process which has gone into the translator's practice, of the prescriptive or purely empirical
principles, devices and routines which have controlled his [sic] choice of this equivalent rather than that (1975: 273).

Similar calls continue to echo through both the discipline of translation theory and the practice of translation
tearching, yet the relatively new field of 'Translation Process Analysis' has so far been only partially successful in
answering them. There are several reasons for this (see Fraser (forthcoming)), but in this article, I shall focus on
the way in which research into professional translators' behaviour can highlight differences between professional
and student behaviour that illustrate the processes involved and, in turn, can be used to inform translation
teaching.
The majority of the translation process studies carried out so far have focused solely on students of translation;
a few have taken a mixed sample of students and professionals; and fewer still have focused solely on
professional translators, although more are under way. Moreover, 'students' include both those studying
translation as a discipline and those for whom translation is only one languagelearning exercise among others.

The studies have, therefore, been based on very heterogeneous samples.


Professionals versus students as research informants
The reasons for focusing more on students than on professional translators are largely methodological. For
researchers in an academic setting, access to a student sample is easy, and student informants are more plentiful
(and, arguably, much easier to 'persuade' to co-operate) than busy professional translators. Moreover, there is a
body of psychological literature that suggests that the research method used - the 'think-aloud protocol', in which
informants give a commentary on a task they are carrying out and thereby provide access to the mental processes
involved in it - reveals only those processes of which the informant is conscious. Many highly-practised processes
operate automatically, it is argued, and no account can be given of a process which has become 'automatised' and
is therefore incapable of verbalisation. For many translation process
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

researchers, this has been sufficient reason to focus on learners.


Finally, there is the superficially logical argument that if we are to teach learners effectively, we need to know
what strategies learners, not professionals, use.
Such a focus has, however, not been successful in producing insight into the translation process per se, as
opposed to language-learning processes. Lrscher (1993) found, typically, that while professional translators
assessed their translations on a number of criteria, including their stylistic acceptability in the target language,
language learners assessed only their solutions to problems in the source language, usually of vocabulary or syntax;
their translations did not reflect target-language text-production norms and standards and were therefore often
"deficient and unacceptable" (1993:210).
In fact, in such studies, students have consistently been found to focus on lexical choice, grammatical
restructuring or specific (unfamiliar) idioms at the expense of real insight into the way in which, more generally, they
approach a translation task. The question then arises of how - if at all - access can be gained to broader, more macrolevel processes and whether it need always be the case that experienced professionals cannot account for their
performance.
Gaining access to mental processes
The rest of this article will describe two studies I have made of a total of 33 professional translators who produced
'think-aloud protocols' on their translation strategies. The experiments were specifically designed to provide more
data, in a more systematic way, on the processes in which professional translators engage than had previously been
elicited, by ensuring that the tasks set contained sufficient challenges to bring otherwise 'automatised' strategies into
conscious operation and thereby give rise to comment on them.
The first study (described in more detail in Fraser (1993a)) involved 12 community translators who were asked to
translate a public information leaflet on local taxation from English into a total of seven ethnic minority community
languages widely spoken in the UK. No specific brief was given, but the material was of the sort most of the
translators dealt with frequently and therefore presented a realistic challenge to them. The second study (Fraser
(1994)) involved 21 commercial translators who were asked to translate into English a French newspaper article on
recent changes in higher education. Their (explicit) brief was to translate the article for publication in the Times
Higher Education
Janet Fraser, United Kingdom

245

Supplement.
As I shall describe below, the perceived and specific assignment respectively of a brief in these two studies
proved to open up greater access to at least some of the strategies used by professional translators than is

suggested as possible by the literature on 'think-aloud protocols'. More specifically, such briefs prompted
comment on aspects of the translation process which moved beyond individual lexical or grammatical features
and shifted the focus instead on to text-level features - such as meeting the ne~ds of a target-language readership,
the handling in translations of cultural concepts, and the translators' engagement with their task - which provided
the framework for resolving lower-level difficulties.
Fraser (1993a) gives an account of the community translators' very specific view of their role in relation to the
minority community for which they were translating, but here, I shall comment on the protocols of both groups
together, and highlight features of their behaviour that more generally constitute 'professional' as distinct from
'student' behaviour. Comments should therefore be taken as referring to both groups, unless otherwise specified.
'Communication' versus 'translation'
One of the most striking features of the protocols produced was the way the translators perceived the nature of
their task. Many observers have commented on the singular nature of 'academic' translation. I have commented,
for example, that
[students] see the texts we [teachers] set as purely academic exercises, each containing a series
of discrete linguistic difficulties to be overcome, rather than as integral pieces of authentic
language with real-life functions and target audiences (Fraser (1993b: 24)),
while Ladmiral (1979) elaborates on this gulf between academic and 'real' translation:
[in L2 to L1 translation] the source language ... is seen merely as a code... [and] errors
made ...[are] essentially decoding errors (My translation);
[la langue-source [en version] ...n'est conue que comme un simple code ...les erreurs qui sont faites ...[sont] essentiellement des
erreurs de dcodage (56-57);J
LI to L2 and L2 to L1 translation are very distinct types of translation: translation as a pedagogical exercise ...
which should be distinguished f.om what might be called real-life translation...which is its own end-purpose (My

translation. Original emphasis.);


[le thme et la version dfinissent un type tout fait particulier de traduction: la traduction comme exercice
pdagogique ...on devra mme opposer cette opration pdagogique ce qu'on pourrait appeler la traduction
proprement dite ...[qui] est elle-mme sa propre fm (40-41. Original emphasis)].
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

If, in teaching translation, we do indeed view the exercise as a test of decoding performance, then the finding
that students focus on individual difficulties rather than higher-level textual considerations should hardly come as
a surprise. The professional translators in my studies, however, took a radically different approach: individual
difficulties were commented on, but were put in the broader context of producing a target-language text which
fulfilled its purpose.
The commercial translators laid great emphasis on matching the journalistic register and style and on
amplifying cultural concepts unique to the French university system; the community translators, on the other
hand, laid their emphasis on amplifying concepts central to British institutional systems but also, and more explicitly, used a lot of source-language (here, English) terms and sometimes also transliterated them into or
glossed them in the target-language, so that their translations became not only a vehicle for information but also a
means of making the minority community more autonomous in British society.
Both groups, then, engaged in translation primarily as a communication exercise; the principles they followed
were pragmatic task- and reader-oriented ones rather than theoretical ones, and it was the (perceived or actual)
brief and knowledge of the readership that dictated the ways in which specific translation difficulties or issues
were resolved. Tirkkonen-Condit (1978:161) sums it up thus: "Translation is communication, and empathy with
the addressee is important. The translation has to ring a bell".
This suggests the need for translation exercises in an academic setting to always be contextualised. This would
involve giving a brief for all translation assignments and building into class exercises systematic preparatory
work on both source-language and target-language text-types, register and lexis. Students need to learn how to
analyse a source-language text for its salient stylistic features, for example, and to compare them with those of

appropriate target-language model texts, with a view to matching the model target-language text style and
register to the brief given. Lexical 'brainstorming' in the target language can provide valuable preparation for
recognising and translating accurately, especially when more specialised source-language vocabulary is involved.
Moreover, students need to be exposed to as wide a range as possible of translation material and text-types;
this broadens their stylistic repertoire in both languages and helps break the resistance to experimenting with
differing styles in their target-language translations.
Janet Fraser, United Kingdom

247

The use of dictionaries and translators' self-confidence


The "empathy with the addressee" described by Tirkkonen-Condit is, however, not only a criterion for
determining the most appropriate translation of a specific source-language text but also - as Tirkkonen-Condit
points out in the same article - a crucial factor in resolving the ambiguity contained in all texts: "a translator has to
live with ambiguity. Language is not logic, and all texts are ambiguous". (1978:160). L
There is, however, a substantial difference between professionals and learners in the way they tolerate and deal
with such ambiguity, a difference that is reflected in their use of dictionaries and that underlines the role of selfconfidence ~, in successful translation.
As teachers, we all know how rapidly students become paralysed when faced with an unfamiliar word or
phrase and rely largely - perhaps excessively - on bilingual (source- to target-language) dictionaries. This is in
marked contrast to the behaviour of the professional translators in my studies who, instead of using dictionaries to
establish meaning, used them to refine the meaning of source-language terms and/or to stimulate the search for
target-language equivalents. This involved a high level of tolerance of ambiguity and uncertainty, and these translators were strikingly willing to let meaning emerge from the whole text rather than needing to ascertain meaning
and find a translation before moving on. Moreover, it was the development of the text, rather than the limited
dictionary entry, that prompted the most appropriate rendering.
Jskelinen (1989) comments that, in her study too,
the most significant, and the most interesting differences [between beginners and more advanced translators]
are not in the quantity but in the quality of dictionary use (187);
the first-year students.. were clearly solving their comprehension problems with the help of a bilingual
dictionary [but] ...the fifth-year students never used the bilingual dictionary to solve
a comprehension problem (188-189. My italics.).
I have argued (1993b: 26) that students need to suspend their disbelief in "the
universal appropriateness of the translations offered by a bilingual dictionary", and as teachers, we need to
develop a range of exercises which moves students' focus away from using (only) bilingual dictionaries and helps
them to develop other strategies for assessing meaning and selecting an appropriate rendering of a sourcelanguage term.
For example, making use of only monolingual (source- and target-language) dictionaries in class exercises
demonstrates to students the value of these sources
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

compared with bilingual dictionaries and will encourage them to expend the extra effort needed to use them in their
private study. Summarising a text as a preparatory exercise to ultimate translation of it can help wean students off
the 'security
'- blanket' of needing to know the precise meaning of every word before they can make progress with a translation
exercise. Finally, as indicated above, lexical 'brainstorming' in the target language is a valuable exercise in terms of
increasing passive recognition of source-language terms, especially in more specialised translations.
Above all, however, we need to help our students to build their self-confidence, since that is what gives
professionals their ability to tolerate ambiguity and not hold up the process of translation. Confidence comes from

some of the factors already described - exposure to a wide range of source-language text-types, contextualisation
and structured use of dictionaries - but also, however, has to do with a less easily quantifiable and teachable aspect
of translation, that of the translator's personality.
Translators' personality and involvement in their task
It is a long-standing stereotype that translators are a personality 'type' and that 'type' differs radically from the
interpreter 'type'. I believe that is less true than the less determinist hypothesis that successful translators will
demonstrate certain personality traits, and this has been borne out both in my process studies and other similar work
and in research carried out on personality and the language professions (Henderson 1987).
Both groups of translators in my studies expressed a high level of personal engagement with their task. Many of
the commercial translators voiced satisfaction with their work in emotional terms or referred to the pleasure they
gained from insight into new areas or success in bridging the cultural and linguistic gaps between source- and targetlanguage readerships. This was, perhaps, best summed up by the translator who commented that, for him, extensive
subject research
"[was] the right thing to do; to understand something and then to be able to explain it clearly gives me as much pleasure in life as
almost anything".

The community translators, on the other hand, were strongly motivated by issues of equality for and
empowerment of a potentially disadvantaged minority language community. Their engagement with their task had
as much to do with
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249

identifying with and meeting that community's needs as with linguistic or stylistic criteria. Their involvement
might be summed up in one comment made: "What matters to me is that people understand. Simple as that." A
high degree of empathy with their translation users therefore typified both groups.
Jskelinen (forthcoming) comments that "affective factors may be a relevant parameter in accounting for
translational behaviour" but qualifies the pedagogical implications this has by arguing that, consequently,
"different kinds of personality traits are desirable for different kinds of [translation] jobs". She further echoes my
own findings when she argues that
since confidence and positive attitudes seem to go together with high quality in at least some translating situations, it would be of
the utmost importance to enhance translators' [for which read students'] self-esteem.

This poses a number of issues for the training of students in translation. Their selection, for example, needs to
be geared towards broader criteria than just a high level of linguistic proficiency; in-depth interviewing and
carefully-designed entrance testing of candidates could help point to those who are more likely to succeed. Then
in the course of their studies, students need to be exposed to a wide range of translation tasks so that they may be
steered towards areas in tune with their own inclinations and personalities; not all translators are equally happy
doing all kinds of translations, and it makes sense to maximise quality by enabling students to flourish in the areas
in which they feel most confident, possibly by greater differentiation in teaching programmes between different
types of specialised translation.
Finally, as teachers, we need to consider ways of foregrounding those personality traits we know to contribute
to successful translation. What, however, are those traits? My studies pinpointed curiosity about other people's
worlds, a genuine pleasure in aiding communication and a desire for equal access, whether to information or
rights. Henderson's study highlighted that
while differences [between translators and interpreters] are less great and fewer than anticipated ... translators are significantly more
reserved and highly significantly [sic] more intelligent than interpreters...are more affected by feelings, and tend to be more practical
(1987: 124).

The translators and interpreters surveyed agreed, moreover, on a general summary of translation as "associated
with application and a painstaking approach" (49). My view is that while we clearly cannot teach 'personality', we
can aim to identify it at selection, foreground and consolidate it through careful syllabus design, and build
awareness of it into our research.

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Teaching Transtation and Interpreting 3

Conclusions
The studies described here demonstrate that 'automatisation' of processes in professional translators need not
exclude such translators from translation process analysis, provided that experiments are carefully designed and
the aims of research involving professionals are tailored to the kind of data produced - that is, macro-level
features of translation activity rather than strategies for dealing with micro-level difficulties. The strategies used
by professionals are, almost by definition, those which have proved effective in practical use and it is, therefore,
only logical to seek to gain access to them and to attempt to apply them to the teaching of translation.
The translation process studies currently available have, however, so far only scratched the surface of a host of
interesting and relevant issues in translator training. More work and greater collaboration are needed in an area
which is now opening up exciting 'new horizons' in translation teaching.

REAL-WORLD CRITERIA IN TRANSLATION PEDAGOGY


Margherita Ulrych, University of Trieste, Italy
A training programme for translators will ideally aim to develop a series of skills and competences that are
relevant to both their future profession and educational status. Transla3ors should be proficient linguists, or rather
textlinguists, in two or more languages including their mother tongue, as well as cultural mediators, competent
writers and editors. They will therefore need not only language and content knowledge but also courses specifically
designed to enhance their socio-cultural awareness and encyclopaedic knowledge. They also require the cognitive
and metacognitive skills that will enable them to evaluate their expanding competence and to monitor their
performance in relation to a broad range of texttypes and fields of discourse. Practical hands-on experience with
currently available technological aids has, besides, become an essential component of translation pedagogy today.
All these skills and competences will, however, remain purely academic if they are not related to real-world
criteria. A professionally and educationally cogent training programme for translators should, therefore, present
translating as an activity which takes place within a social context and should be based on a careful and up-to-date
assessment of their multifaceted future profession. It should, moreover, cater for client-related skills since a
significant part of translators' future professional lives, whether they opt for in-house or freelance translating, will
be spent in establishing sound interpersonal relations with authors, publishers and requesters.
Let us now consider these skills and competences in more detail with a view to identifying new pathways in
translation pedagogy that reflect long-term professional and educational goals and are relevant to student
translators' future work.
The status of translation pedagogy today
Despite Gile's assertion that "the scientific investigation of the nature and components of translation expertise is
only beginning, and understandably training methods are empirical and require optimization" (1995: xi), there is
already a great deal of interesting research in translation pedagogy. One area that translation theorists, teachers and
professional translators are looking into concerns the kinds of knowledge and qualifications trainee translators
should be expected to have acquired in the course of their studies.
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

The main issue is whether translators should be trained or educated: whether, that is, they should receive an
exclusively vocational training or whether vocational elements should be included within a more general liberal

education. In modern language faculties the emphasis is on all-round education and translation is seen as just one of
the activities designed to develop language competence. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule: some
university teachers are aware of their language and literature students' future prospects as "editors, authors, scholars
and professional translators" (Dollerup 1994: 121-2) and therefore set up courses in which translation is taught in its
own right. On the whole, however, any vocationally-oriented approach is discouraged. The situation in translation
and interpreting schools is rather more complex. On the one hand, they are generally university-level institutions
and therefore presumably have a vested interest in providing a general education; on the other hand, since
translation is taught as an end in itself rather than as a means of achieving language proficiency, the prime objective
is often to provide graduates with vocational training. Nevertheless, it is within translation and interpreting
institutions that the balance between training and education should be addressed and the quality and structure of the
courses seriously examined.
Trends in translation pedagogy are increasingly in favour of interfacing vocational and educational components,
based on the premise that "serious training is never divorced from long-term educational commitments" (Cortese
1990: 144). Vocational training, that is, the transmission and perpetuation of knowledge, casts too narrow a light on
translation pedagogics and is in need of a broader, more formative perspective aimed at engaging students actively
in discovering and producing knowledge. These two aspects of a translator's instruction can be concurrent or
sequential, as Gaddis Rose suggests, with professional training coming "after preparatory training and educative
experiettces" (1989: 29).
Translating is, nevertheless, an ongoing process of continuing education since
~, translators never stop learning. An important component of translation courses is, therefore, the acquisition and
development of the metacognitive skills that will enable prospective translators to go on developing their
competence and monitoring ing their performance when they get out into the real world.
Real-world criteria
I The importance of incorporating real-world criteria within a curriculum for `'translator training and education
cannot be underestimated. Trainee translators
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253

need to be prepared for the conditions they will find in the working world and should always bear in mind that
translation is essentially a communicative activity that takes place within a socio-cultural context. As Neubert has
pointed out, "the study of translation`and, in particular, the academic institutions where the practice of translation is
taught do not exist in an intellectual ivory tower. They serve social needs" (1989: 5).
In order to deal appropriately with a text, translators need to know all the characteristics of the text they are
translating (its linguistic and extralinguistic context, its function both in the source language and target language, the
genre, and so on) as well as its status in the source culture and the intended audience in the target culture. Translation
does not occur in a vacuum. Student translators who are assigned a translation with no idea either of its original
context or skopos or why they have been asked to translate it cannot produce a version that is acceptable able for
anything but academic purposes. Translators in real life "work with genuine events at the level of discourse, rather
than with neat abstractions" (Baker and Kaplan 1994: 3). In a curriculum which envisages real-world criteria as an
essential component, information on the circumstances that initiated the translation process and all the relevant sociocultural parameters should therefore be given as an integral part of the assignment. This kind of practice will encourage student translators never to tackle a text until they have asked themselves questions such as: who wrote the
text? for whom? in what circumstances? with what intentions? what sort of readership was it intended for? what
adjustments ! are required to produce a text that is acceptable to the target text readership?,~ (Keith 1990: 173).
An additional factor that ensures real-world conditions, albeit within the relatively sheltered environment of an
institutional training programme, concerns the selection of texts to be translated and the assignment of an authentic
task. There should be a genuine need to have the text translated and the full context of the original, as well as the

information regarding all the above parameters, should be made explicit. The degree of difficulty will, moreover,
depend not only on the text itself but also on the type of task assigned: students may be required to summarise the
content for a target language audience, or reformulate it in a spoken medium from a written source. This approach is
in line with real-world criteria since "texts are translated for many different purposes ranging from in-house read and
discard memo-type translations to camera-ready work for immediate publication" (Rommel 1987: 12).
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

Translation quality and the time allotted for students to complete an assignment should also reflect real-life
conditions. Texts that will be short-lived, like agendas for meetings and memos, will obviously not demand the high
quality rendering of documents destined for long-term consultation like books and reports. The different uses that
will be made of translated texts, and therefore the difference in readers' expectations, could be reflected in teacher
evaluation and in expected speed of execution. Teacher evaluation could, for instance, take account of the criteria
adopted by professional editorial revisors as suggested by Klaudy (above, p. 197 et seq.), while the "deadline"
formula might be usefully invoked at examinations to confer a real-world rationale on the time restrictions that are
generally academic and functional in nature, and would, therefore, at least in part "reflect the realities of future
professional needs" (Snell-Homby 1992: 19).
A text's mode of presentation will also have a bearing on the translation process: the target text may be written to
be read (e.g. documents, articles, brochures), or it may be written to be spoken or heard (e.g. lectures,
announcements and, at least in the addressee's mind, all forms of advertising). This calls into play the importance of
editing skills in a real-life approach to translation teaching (Ulrych 1992: 290-293). A translation will be judged as a
text in its own right and must therefore conform to all the conventions of a finished product in the target culture:
this includes an appropriate typographical layout or, if destined to be spoken, an appropriately readable form. The
definitive target language version will not be achieved at the first attempt; re-encoding the message of the source
text in the target text involves writing, rewriting and revising processes. Texts are the outcome of a motivated
choice on the part of the source language author and require the same kind of care and attention on the part of the
translator, especially when preparing the final draft. Furthermore, trainee translators should be aware that they will
be expected to edit not only their own texts but also texts written in English by non-native speakers and machinedrafted translations. They will therefore need to know how to pre- and post-edit texts efficiently and costeffectively
as well as being acquainted with the most widely-used word-processing programs.
Enabling and transferable skills
The task of a training programme is not, consequently, to shape a finished product but to provide graduate
translators with the enabling (Fawcett 1987: 37)
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255

and transferable skills that will place them in a position to deal confidently with any text, on any subject within
any situation at any time and to be able to uphold and discuss their choices if necessary. As Viaggio has pointed
out, "besides providing a communicadvely(competent text" the translator should be in a position to "deverbalise
the rationale for it, that is explain the theory behind it" (1994: 104). Translators cannot restrict themselves to
possessing procedural knowledge of the practical operational kind by which they know how to translate. If translators are to raise their profession from the status of practioners to that of qualified specialists on a par with
physicians, lawyers, achitects, then they will also need factual or declarative knowledge that "can be probed,
shared and discussed" (Bell 1991: 17). Although declarative knowledge has been termed static as opposed to the
dynamic or strategic nature of procedural knowledge (Wills 1994: 133), it is, nonetheless, essential to fostering
the metacognitive and metatextual tools that enable translators to discuss their performance with fellow
translators, supervisors and clients. It is what shapes and models translators' procedural activity and what sets their

language competence, encyclopaedic knowledge and crosscultural awareness within a systematic framework.
Moreover, declarative and procedural knowledge together enable translators to tackle the multifarious fields of
discourse that come their way without necessarily having specific content-based knowledge. According to a 1983
survey carried out within the European Community, the areas that required translation were distributed as follows:
commercial 35.4%, industrial 21%, scientific 20%, legislative 9.3%, press and current affairs 3.5%, audio-visual
2.1%, educational 1.5%, literary 0.3%, miscellaneous 6.9% (Van Slype et al 1983: 49-50). Venuti effectively
confirms this trend in current translation practice and identifies two main areas: literary translation, "mainly
poetry and fiction but also including biography, history and philosophy, among the genres and disciplines in the
human sciences", and technical translation which covers "scientific, legal, diplomatic, commercial" texts.
Although Venuti does not cite exact figures, he points out that "in sheer volume and financial worth technical
translation far exceeds the translation of literary texts" (1995: 41). An important component of translation
pedagogics is, therefore, to provide students with the metacognitive skills that will enable them to assess what
translation strategies and aids they will need to call upon to carry out their task over and above the metatextual
knowledge regarding the salient features that characterize different fields of discourse in both the source and
target cultures.
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

As mediators of culture and language, translators must be aware of, and be able to control, the power that is in
their hands. They cannot confine themselves to executing a translation mechanically but have to be conscious of all
the ideological, political and socio-cultural implications. The combination of declarative and procedural knowledge
will enable them to undertake the problem-predicting and problem-solving processes that constitute their day-to-day
practice with greater self-knowledge and responsibility.
Theory and practice
Declarative and procedural knowledge are closely connected with another hotly-debated issue in translation
pedagogy: should translation theory be an integral part of translator training? If so what kind of theory is to be
presented, and how much? A useful distinction has made between a theory of translation or product knowledge,
which covers the body of ideas concerning the subject as a whole, and a theory of translating or process knowledge,
which deals with the way the translator should proceed in dealing with translation problems and which is thus "of
service to the translator" (Newmark 1987: 2). Holmes also sees the need to break with the monolithic view of
Translation Theory in favour of a more flexible notion of translation theories:
"We need a theory of the translation process, that is, the theory of what happens when people decide to translate
something. We need a theory of the translation product, that is to say, what is specific to the translated text as text; in
what ways is it similar to and in what ways is it different from other kinds of texts, literary or other. We need a
theory of the translation function, that is how the translation works in the recipient society. And we need a theory of
translation
didactics. (1988: 95)

Some sort of grounding in translation theory in the traditional sense of product is essential for translators and will
become more and more so as they claim greater acknowledgement for their profession. Members of all professions
have a historical and theoretical component to their expertise. It is only against a theoretical background of
translation that effective decision-making and production can take place and the information and strategies acquired
by working on particular texts be generalized. The problem arises, therefore, of how to integrate a course on
translation theory within the curriculum. A drawback of placing it within language-specific classes is that there will
inevitably be a certain amount of repetition and overlapping, on the one hand, as translation theory cannot be neatly
categorised within national boundaries, and seeming contradictions, on the other (Nida 1991). At my institution, the
School of Modern Languages for Inter

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preters and Translators (Trieste), we have been piloting a Translation Theory Module common to all languages
and which students follow in their first and third years of the degree course: the first part covers basic principles
of translation theory through the ages, while the second deals more specifically with theories concerning genrerelated issues and specialised texts, including literary ones. The format is multi-teacher, each tackling the
theories he/she is particularly familiar with within the language area taught. Students thus get an overview of
translation theory and practice in a comparative and contrastive perspective. Moreover, the common
components of the Translation Theory Module can be drawn upon by individual teachers in their translation
classes and applied to a theory of translating and to day to day practice. In this way theory and practice go hand
in hand and lead to heightened self-awareness of the translation process, since, in Neubert's words "theory
without practice is empty" in just the same way as "practice without theory is blind" (1989: 11).
Activating student translators' knowledge
A proposal for activating and monitoring the knowledge and competences outlined above within a framework
of real-life criteria is that of encouraging students to write dossiers. My third and-4)urth year students are asked
to hand in a personally-prepared dossier before they sit for the end-of-year exam, as part of their continuous
assessment schedule. The assignment consists in selecting a text for translation from English into Italian and in
motivating their choice in writing with reference to the socio-cultural contexts of the source and target
languages and market needs. The dossier must contain the selected source text with its surrounding co-text and
the accompanying commentary. This is followed by their translations along with detailed annotations and
explanations on the solutions opted for.
A detailed description of the research methods employed is an important element of the dossier. These
include the use of translation aids, such as monolingual and bilingual reference works, dictionaries and
glossaries; model texts or parallel texts; consultations with the author, commissioner and subject and/or language expert. The aim of the exercise is, of course, to check whether they are able to access pertinent
information effectively. In the fourth year, students are also asked to make up their own glossaries for future use
in an easily retrievable form, in accordance with the intertextual nature of the translation process: name-

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ly, that each translation follows on from one already done and leads :on to a future one.
The dossiers are evaluated globally according to process- and product-oriented criteria and students are then
invited to discuss the allocated mark. This is an integral part of the assignment and those students who are able to
justify their translation options on the basis of a "coherent, systematised, weighted conceptual framework"
(Viaggio 1994: 98) will have their mark reassessed. It also provides an opportunity to appraise students'
proficiency in their Italian mother-tongue since the commentaries and descriptions of the translation processes are
in Italian. It is important not to neglect native-language skills in a translation course; a major criticism of new
recruits to the European Commission is that they are not conversant with their mother tongue (McCluskey 1987 : 17) .
Conclusions
The feedback on dossier assignments and on the application of real-world criteria from students in the form of
anonymous questionnaires and group discussions has been extremely encouraging. The dossier assignment was
deemed a valuable and significant component of their future careers and continuing education. Students found it
enhanced their self-awareness and offered a useful means of assessing their own competence by monitoring their
performance. They also responded positively to the opportunity and motivating force the compiling of dossiers
gave them to contact authors and experts in the outside world. This was a particularly gratifying result as novice
translators are sometimes reluctant to establish such contact. Liaising with clients is a key feature of the trainee
translators' future profession since they are the ones who can provide essential information on the purpose of the

translation commissioned and can often help translators with content-related problems. Explicit guidelines and
advice on how best to handle the relationship with clients should, I feel, be given at some point of any course of
study in translation.
From a teacher's point of view the use of dossiers in translation pedagogics offers an effective means of
monitoring students' progress in relation to realworld criteria. It offers insights into students' individual
performance and sheds light on various stages of the translation process. More importantly, it provides teachers
with a tangible means of boosting students' confidence in relation to their future profession since it places students
in a position, not only of working under real-life conditions but also of producing texts that will meet market

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requirements. The integration of real-world criteria within a translator training programme therefore opens up new
horizons for translation pedagogy. The criteria outlined here will, however, soon be supplemented, if they have not
been already, by the use of computer technology, and curriculum design will have to come to terms with the everincreasing assortment of software and machine-aided translation tools available on the market.

TEACHING AND TECHNOLOGY

COMPUTERIZED TRANSLATION MANAGERS AS TEACHING AIDS


Janet Ann DeCesaris, Universitat Pompeu Fabra,
Barcelona, Spain
This article discusses the application of newly available technology, based on translation memories, to the
teaching of translation in a university class setting. Although this type of software is not designed to be used for
pedagogical purposes, it is suggested that it can be successfully used in the classroom to improve student
performance over the short term.
Teachers of translation must tackle several tasks simultaneously, and, in addition, are working with information
and skills that are acquired over the long term whereas they deal with students over a relatively short term. In my
experience, the traditional university dynamics of weekly graded assignments over the course of a quarter or
semester rarely leads to what I believe to be the main goal of the translation class: namely, helping the students to
acquire enough knowledge of language and translation to internalize strategies and apply them to other contexts. In
other words, the objective is to enable students to produce a grammatically correct, stylistically acceptable
translation when faced with texts of a similar type. My dissatisfaction with the regular weekly assignment scenario
led me to reconsider computer aids and brought me to a relatively new type of software, the computerized
translation manager.
There are currently on the market several software packages (e.g. Translator's Workbenp~ by TRADOS,
Translation Manager by IBM) for professional translation management. Although the specific workings of the
programs obviously differ, for the purpose of this discussion they are based on the same principle: the translation
memory.' Basically, a text is stored in the program along with its aligned translation. When a new text is translated,
users can ask the program to look for similar text in the memory. If a similar text is found, the program shows it to
the user along with the translation. The translation memory grows with use: the more translations carried out by
means of the program, the larger the memory and the more likely an affirmative response when a query is made. In

addition, translation memory software of this type is used in conjunction with multilingual terminology databases.
Users can consult the terminology database without having to exit the text they are working on, so that queries are
quick and easy.
Clearly, from the professional translator's point of view the usefulness of this type of software is a direct
function of the size and nature of the translation me-

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mory and of the way in which it undertakes text recognition? The user sets a fuzzy match parameter as a percentage,
so that the program knows how close a match is needed for the software to recognize a portion of text and make the
text (and its translation) available on the screen. It follows that the higher the match value, the fewer pieces of text
identified. If the memory is very large, the user can also set a maximum number of matches to be accessed, so that
time is not spent providing numerous translation matches when one or two will suffice.
This type of program can be adapted for use in a classroom setting, because translation memories can be used as
a self-learning resource to provide students with immediate access to models that they know are correct. However,
the parameter settings and the contents of the memory will be significantly different from those used in a
professional setting, precisely because the needs of students acquiring translation skills are not those of professional
translators. As stated above, professionals will only be interested in employing high percentage matches, but a low
fuzzy match setting that brings up many texts on the screen may provide students with the variety of points that
teachers want them to take into account.
In many university programs, including mine at Pompeu Fabra University, students can (and sometimes must)
enroll in classes which require them to translate into a foreign language. In an academic setting students take these
classes to improve their knowledge of the foreign language and to prepare themselves for jobs in which they may
be asked to actively use it. In these classes even very advanced students do not always find it possible to provide
answers to the grammatical or stylistic questions that arise. Despite the very good dictionaries and usage manuals
that are widely available for English, it is often difficult to locate the examples that clarify questions of
prepositions, whether a particular element is a candidate for extraposition or not (e.g. he called up a bunch of
friends from Boston vs. he called a bunch of friends from Boston up), or whether it is better to use a genitive or a
noun modifier (e.g. the university's chancellor, the chancellor of the university, or the university chancellor).
Immediate access to a controlled model which students can relate to their translation can help them to avoid mistakes. Access to such information may even assist native speakers unfamiliar with the terminology in specific
fields. The key is to design translation tasks that make students query the translation memory so that they access
the translation model that the teacher wants them to emulate.
Janet Ann DeCesaris, Spain

265

The idea of providing students with models to follow is not new, so we might ask what differentiates the use of
computer software from models provided in a more traditional format. Students are often given a single model for
specific translations: this has been justly criticized for furthering the view that there is only one correct translation
for a given text. The very nature of fuzzy matches in a translation memory allows teachers to provide more than
one good model for each translation. Teachers can choose: when they want to provide only one reference
translation, they make sure that only one translation has enough matches to be called up (this could be the case, for
example, with a legal contract, in which the format and language allow little flexibility); if, on the other hand,
teachers want students to see two or three good, suitable translations, they must have stored the corresponding texts
in the memory prior to giving students the assignment.
From a teacher's standpoint, there are three points about use of a translation management program as a
pedagogical device on the university level that I wish to highlight: the hardware and software requirements for the

university, the type of texts that can be used, and the implications for the teacher and the type of assignment given
to students.
<~~~~
Translation memories need a lot of YZAM and a powerful processor. Although manufacturer specifications
differ, this inevitably means a significant investment on the part of the university for a program to be used in an
institutional setting. Typically the software needs at least 12, if not 16 megabytes and at least a 486 processor. The
cost of software involves more than the program itself; for example, TRADOS' Translator Workbench works with
WORD for WINDOWS, which means the university has to purchase both WINDOWS and WORD for
WINDOWS. Universities can be bureaucratic, so even when funds are available it may take a while before
everything is in place for teachers and students. Problems with infrastructure may not always be an issue for the
professional translator, but they cannot be underestimated in the university setting because of the time it takes
teachers to prepare the translation memories.
The number of text types teachers can use is constrained by the nature of translation memories. Since the
memory works on the basis of lexical match, the assignments given must have a considerable degree of lexical
overlap with texts in the memory. In practical terms this means that until the translation memory is reasonably
large, all translation assignments will deal with the same subject. Of course, this is not necessarily a disadvantage
in technical translation classes
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in specialist fields. Regardless of whether the translation is into a native or nonnative language, assignments will
have to be technical rather than literary because lexical matches can hardly be used to improve literary translation.
However, information-based discourse such as that found in textbooks or instruction manuals is a good source for
assignments.
Texts must be available in a computerized format. Obviously, the aligned texts stored in the translation memory
are already in the computer. This means that model texts and translations of them have been entered in the translation
memory. In traditional translation classes students do not receive texts on computer disks or via a centralized
directory on a network, but use of a translation memory means that everything - input as well as output - is on a
computer. Software is available to align texts, and, for translations carried out on other word processors, conversion
to the word processor compatible with the translation memory program is usually a neglible problem. However, it is
a time-consuming process to create a translation memory from scratch. Many texts that teachers want to use are not
on a computer; entering the data manually takes a long time; scanners can be used, but the results must still be
checked carefully. The advantage is that once a translation memory has been created, it can only continue to grow.
The enormous investment of time required at the beginning declines as the memory comes to contain more text, and
several translation tasks can be designed for use with the same texts stored in- the memory.
We can therefore assume that most of the translation assignments students are given will be teachers' adaptations
of real texts. The translations stored in the memory can - and in most cases should comprise - authentic texts, but
the memory would have to be large to contain enough information for lexical matches with other authentic texts.
This is different from professional settings, in which a translator often deals with many extremely repetitive texts:
this is usually not the case in a pedagogical context because teachers typically have to cover many text types within
a short time span.
Finally, students must be willing to work with sophisticated software. Given the background of today's students,
this is not a major issue; what is important is for them to have acquired proficiency in using the specific word
processor package used by the translation management software before starting to work
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267

with translation memories, because otherwise they would be faced with the daunting challenge of learning how to
use several programs at the same time (the word processor, a terminology database, the translation memory

program, and WINDOWS).


Example
To show how this might be put into practice, let us look at an example of an assignment that could be used in a
Catalan to English translation class and in which the program only provides the student with one match.
a) Original Catalan (authentic text)
La dcada dels vuitanta tamb ha estat testimoni de significatives millores de productivitat. En els anys recessius, aquestes
millores es fonamentaren en reduccions de l'ocupaci. En l'expansib de finals dels vuitanta, la recuperaci de la inversib ha
estat la protagonista dels guanys de productivitat.
L'evoluci positiva de la productivitat ha perms una millora en el cost laboral unitari de prcticament tots els sectors de la
indstria catalana Que aquests guanys no hagin significat millores en la competitivitat en preus de la indstria catalana
obeeix, essencialmenG a la fortalesa de la pess,ta d'en de l'entrada d'Espanya en el Sistema Monetari Europeu.

(b) Translation in memory


The 1980s also witnessed significant improvement in productivity. During the recession years these improvements were
primarily based on staff reductions. During the economic expansion at the end of the 1980s, however, investment regained its
leading position for earnings derived from productivity.
The positive evolution of productivity has resulted in improvement of the labor cost per unit in practically all Catalan
industries. The fact that these improvements have not translated into significant differences in terms of competitive prices is
essentially due to the strength of the peseta from the time Spain joined the European Monetary System.

(c) Translation task given to students (the differences with respect to the original stored in memory are italicized)
La dcada dels vuitanta tamb ha estat testimoni de significatives millores de productivitat. En els anys de recessi econmica,
aquestes millores es van fonamentar en reduccions de personal. En l'expansi de finals dels vuitanta, la inversi ha tornat a
recuperar el seu paper protagonista per als guanys de productivitat.
L'evoluci positiva dels processos productius ha perms una millora en el cost laboral unitari de prccament tots els sectors
de la indstria a Catalunya. El fet que aquests guanys no hagin resultat en millores en la competitivitat en preus de la
indstria catalana obeeix, bsicament, a la fortalesa de la pesseta d'en de l'entrada d'Espanya en el Sistema Monetari
Europeu.

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Discussion
The assignment focuses on the following grammatical points, which represent potential problems for native
speakers of Catalan when they write in English:
the use of the simple past in the first clause
-

types of subject: the verb witness can take an inanimate subject


countable vs. uncountable: improvement can be used as an uncountable
the use of the preposition in in the phrase improvement in
transitive vs. intransitive verbs
punctuation

These points are characteristic of the type of grammatical issues I believe can be addressed by use of translation
memories. Of course, this exercise concentrates on specific points that are a function of the differences between
Catalan and English. I do not suggest that students can be taught specific translation strategies by consulting a
translation memory; rather, the memory is to remind them of structures and strategies they should already know
but may not remember at a given point.
Concluding comments
Pedagogical use of a computerized translation management program has some very positive side effects. The
translator's professional workplace increasingly depends on powerful technological devices. The pedagogical
exercise I have discussed is highly technical and provides students with valuable preparation for what they will
face in the future. Today's university students are basically computer literate before they enroll in classes, and, on
the whole, are much less likely to be confounded by complex software than their older, less computer literate
translation teachers. Students typically respond favorably to being taught how to use the most sophisticated
technology. Teaching technical translation with this type of software forces students to consult computerized
terminology programs: this again is good preparation for their future careers. In order to train professionals for the

modem workplace, a university program should at least introduce students to the tools available for tackling real
world problems. Incorporating sophisticated computer technology into our academic curricula can only help us in
this endeavor.
Notes
1. For example, the TRADOS program is for a WINDOWS environment, whereas the IBM program is available for either OS/2 or
WINDOWS.

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269

2. My comments on the workings of translation memories are based on the use of a beta release of Translator's Workbench for
WINDOWS by TRADOS, as this is the program available at my university. The discussion is applicable to the other programs on the
market as well, based on the commercial descriptions available.

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("what should be done"). It may be that the teachers' task is to indicate (a) what the possible options are under given
circumstances, and (b) the probable consequences of specific options. One of the main tasks of high-level education
in our era is probably to adapt instruction to new situations, in particular, to teach intellectuals to adapt, not to one
given new situation, but to several successive new situations, possibly even to situations that are systematically new.
What is needed, then, is a method as well as a view on approaches rather than simple pragmatics, and this requires
research. In the vocabulary of pedagogues and business-oriented trainers this has led into the 'Learning Society'
concept. Nowadays societies have to learn and to adapt quickly to changes: only training in adaptation to new
situations offers a way to ultimate stability. This may become one of the leading principles of universities. The
academic world tends to watch societies and events from a distance, the more so since the media age has led it into
trouble ("Let's see what will happen, before we say anything!"). It will probably be an interesting test for
universities to respond immediately to the future frame of communication and its implications for language,
discourse, translation and society. Are our approaches to language and to translation flexible enough to account for
systematic and rapid changes?
Let us focus on translation. Is our traditional schematic representation of translation as equivalence still valid?
Issues beyond translation are at stake and there are few indications that scholars are aware of this.
Translation and communication: basic changes
Since the end of the 1950s translation theorists have tried to chart the parameters involved in translational
activities. They have often used schemes, e.g. the "equivalence scheme", in order to demonstrate the way in which
actual translations function.4 It is striking that the trend has been (a) to multiply the number of parameters needed
and (b) to borrow the overall scheme from communication, that is from the scheme that we inevitably - but
erroneously - connect with Roman Jakobson.
There has been fluctuation in the parameters selected, but not in the tendency to multiply their number.
Translation was for a time reduced to a question of language systems (L1/ L2), whereas the langue/ parole
dichotomy has been adopted in order to account for the particular use of language systems and of texts. Hence the
necessity of also taking into consideration the intended audiences, their traditions and horizons of
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expectations, their linguistic and social norms, etc. From among the most extensive schemes that have been
proposed for the representation of translated communication, I would like to analyse my own Descriptive
Translation Studies program from 1985 (Lambert and Van Gorp 1985), simply because, as one of the authors of

the program, I am entitled to indicate where and why it should be completed and revised. When even this
sophisticated scheme - if I may term it so - should be revised, there must be even stronger reasons for revising
more stereotyped
As mentioned (in Lambert and van Gorp 1985) the first shortcoming of this scheme is that it claims to reflect
the dynamics of translation whereas all schemes that offer a visual and written representation of an activity, are,
by definition, inevitably static. Conversely, it has not been pointed out that,5 however complex it makes the
various moments and aspects of the translational process, the equivalence scheme isolates the translation process
from society (for example from decision processes, from the channels used, and from the real user, as well as
from the flow of communication (e.g. from its interaction with private or pub274

Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

lic discourse, and from its interaction with previous translations). Theorists who discuss equivalence do so as if
translation were an autonomous and isolated phenomenon, which it is not, since it is an element of discourse as such'
and since all translations contain non-translated elements.'
My main thesis will be that, to the extent that translation is seen as communication, all equivalence discussions in
Translation Studies are too narrow, because they overlook the basic shifts in the overall frame of contemporary communication, precisely because they take it for granted that translation is an autonomous process.
Instead of beginning by assuming that translation is a specific kind of discourse, I shall start from a general point
and analyse the way in which communication and discourse work and the way in which they continually change in
contemporary societies. The question why translation may occupy a specific position will make more sense when
placed within this general framework.
This reference to the communication frame is a much-needed reaction against the tendency to isolate translation
from real-life situations, which (strangely enough) is a rather common practice among translation scholars. I shall
demonstrate ways in which our views on translation are outdated and where our models for theory, research and
teaching need to be updated.
My general thesis is that we focus on translation in an isolated, static-technical way - instead of approaching it from a
global and functional perspective! This static-universalistic view systematically overlooks the dynamics of translation.
I have a first argument ex absurdo in favour of my thesis: if we assume that the general principles of
communication are changing quite fundamentally in our media age, it would be strange if the crucial field of
translation were not submitted to basic changes as well.
Below I shall make use of publications about the communication process and translation, although there will be
much hypothesis. Investigations have addressed most aspects of communication (e.g. mass communication vs
traditional public communication; written vs oral; audio-visual vs written), but have rarely considered their
combination and interaction (e.g. oral communication in primitive and modern societies vs written vs mass
communication). It was not until 1994 that specialists in communication and translation realized how little the verbal
component and the language component had been studied in media communication.' Established research has failed
to cover the whole range of communication areas, since most scholars tend to focus on specific topics rather than on
the pos
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sible interactions and distinctions between traditional and modem societies. Traditional scholarship thus tends to
overlook new developments in the oral use of language caused by a boom in the audio-visual media. Both in
language teaching and in research, universities use only the written language." This is one of my starting points: in
our contemporary world we need new models for observation, analysis, action - and teaching.
The moment we accept that translation presupposes speakers and receivers, we have to recognize that it is an

element of private and public discourse. The rules of discourse have undergone many important shifts, so that
distinctions between public and private or individual and collective have partly lost their relevancea except in
reference to the survival of (very) traditional discourse (e.g. Ong 1990; McLuhan 1964)." Let us~ook at some of the
cases in which private discourse is matched or replaced by public discourse, by mass communication, business
communication, media communication and by the so-called Information Society.
I am well aware of the complex socio-cultural environment of these types of communication: private and public
discourse have always existed; this may also apply to mass communication but the Information Society as well as
some particular types of media communication are new. In the age of media communication, private discourse
functions within a new environment."
We can begin by focusing on private discourse, which is normally oral, and which, when it is carried out by
means of special technology (such as telephone, fax, e-mail), cannot be disconnected from mass communication.
In private discourse different speakers/writers address their interlocutors in one-to-one situations, and usually
see their partners. Private discourse is not always closed, but it tends to be so: the conversation may stop as soon
as new partners want to participate, and new partners may even be excluded. According to theorists of (mass)
communication, public (mass) communication is in principle open (Fauconnier 1990: 21-37). One of the new
features of private discourse is that, regardless of the partners' actual location they can be heard (and perhaps
even seen). The exchange used to be local, which meant that a particular private discussion did not interfere with
other (neighbouring) private discussions. The main problem for private discourse is indeed the relationship with
neighbours. The more intimate private discourse becomes, the more it desires protection against interference. In
the age of telecommunication, possible interference from neighbours is not necessarily local any more. Whether
local or distant, whether 'telecommunicated' or not, private conversations always take place at the

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same moment and in the same environment as other private conversations: they are not protected. However, they require
minimal rules. They are not unorganized, since two (or more) individuals in conversation tend to speak in turn, but when
many people are speaking together at once - for instance at a cocktail party - they tend to split up and to behave as several
groups who ignore one another. When A addresses B, (s)he does not try to avoid disturbing D addressing F. Anyway the
delicate point is the organization and the relationships with partners and neighbours. In our media age some basic constraints
have been overcome, i.e. space and time: our private conversational partners are not necessarily living next door.
Figure 2: Private discourse
Lines indicate relations; the arrows indicate the dynamics of the relationships and do not exclude feedback from the
partners, nor anticipation of the expectations of the recipients. Messages are exchanged simultaneously, in an arbitrary
order; two or several partners may switch roles and partners (two-/multiple-way communication). There is no strict
order nor agenda. Although there is an apparent ("democratic") openness in terms of roles and rules, power
relationships are part of the game (as power relationships within discourse and power relationships behind discourse
(cf. Fairclough 1989: 43-76)).
However the knowledge of partners and relationships with them are largely individual and interaction is real (not preplanned).
Public discourse involves a higher degree of organization. It implies that certain people and institutions have been
given organizational power, according to

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rules that are more or less (officially) established by a given society. Nations in Europe have played an active role in the
organization of public discourse ever since new technologies for communication were introduced, e.g. printing, broadcasting, telephone, television (Ong 1990). On the one hand systems of control have been worked out every time new

technologies (such as printing) and strategies (such as subscription) have invaded communication between citizens." On
the other hand networks that were under official control were protected against competition with other networks that
looked less safe: hence the establishment of legal protection and official monopolies in favour of governmental and
private networks (e.g. records, books, broadcasting, television).

Figure 3: Public discourse


Explanation of the main features of public discourse in comparison with private discourse:
It hardly ever represents one-to-one exchanges, but one-to-many relations and - dominantly/in most cases - one-way
relations.
The sender/production center dominates the receiving unit, but interaction and anticipation are not excluded; pre-planned
communication on the basis of an ideal partner, marketing strategies are not utopian at all, but they cannot be
differentiated; it uses previously known and established channels and technology; there is previous knowledge of rules
and agendas. The power relations function as in all kinds of discourse but they are combined or interfere with institutional
power.
There is competition with other types of discourses; there are protection measures against interference and competition
thanks to monopoly or legislation.
In translation, target-orientedness is virtually excluded, due to the parallel treatment of different partners.
Public communication calls for rules to make communication efficient and, in particular, to avoid problems with
neighbours and partners. As soon as we move into public discourse, priorities must be respected. Not all partners
involved have

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the same rights (Fairclough 1989: 49); not all members of the society involved can speak and write at the same
time. Experts tend to make clear distinctions between (a) the so-called one-way communication in public (mass)
discourse, and (b) the two-way communication in private discourse (Fauconnier 1973: 21-23; Fauconnier 1990).
However, they may underestimate the anticipation process in mass communication of the traditional kind, in
which interaction with large audiences is not excluded. On the other hand, one of the revolutions in the new
generation of communication technology is precisely the growing interaction between partners (as in the
'Internet'). Generally interaction is limited and strictly rule-governed in public dialogues; changes in the rules will
always be suggested and worked out by those who own or govern the networks. Public discourse can never be
democratic because those who organize and produce communication are also those who establish the rules and
open and close the exchange of messages. The official principle of public discourse is openness, but membership
is not unlimited.
The dominance of unidirectional communication is an obvious characteristic of public discourse. Interaction
with the addressees may be required explicitly, but only along the lines indicated by the organizer(s). People and
institutions that organize public discourse always hope to increase the number of addressees, and it is true that
changes in quantitative relationships have had enormous consequences for the power relationships between the
partners involved. Networks with many members are probably stronger than networks with few members; the

greater the number of addressees in relation to the number of speakers, the weaker their own impact.
Technological progress has influenced these relationships, since it has systematically increased the number of
partners in communication, and technological progress will presumably strengthen the position of the speaker
(writer/producer) at the cost of the recipient. Writing has allowed man to overcome distance in terms of space and
time; microphones overcome space and noise barriers. But while the resources of the speakers and writers have
been strengthened, the organizing network has weakened the opportunities for symmetric interaction. Institutions
that take the initiative in organizing communication are strong compared to those that wait for the initiatives: they
can establish or change rules. Thus new communication formulas imply that new institutions (instances) are
established and that they change the rules of the game. The organizational power of European nations in public
discourse means that they have always standardized language and education, as well as organized communication
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(press, broadcasting, telephone, television, etc.). However, they are now losing control of television and
telecommunication, although they are doing their best to reduce their loss of power. Public discourse in the
media age has indeed been submitted to yet new changes.
The concept of mass communication indicates an awareness of the increase in the target audience. 'Mass
communication' is also associated with new media technology. The technology at our disposal, as well as its
impact on the relationship between the sender(s) and the receiver(s), is typical of our society (McLuhan 1989).
Mass communication is not new in the history of mankind and does not presuppose modern
telecommunication, such as broadcasting, television, or video: many cultures have used book production. In
fact public discourse of the mass communication type simply makes the contrast more explicit between the
number of people on the sender (production) side and those on the receiver side, compared to previous
networks: although initiatives are, in principle, open to everybody, budgets, technology and power are needed
in order to create new networks. As soon as networks are available, communication becomes a product and a
market. Expanding the market has become a constraint, thus implying that networks need to be as global as
possible and that they are no longer directly linked with a country or a language. The individual components
are not under customs control (Negroponte 1995: 11-13), but they even penetrate countries without a market
economy and influence both the communication and the economic system.
The idea that mass communication and media communication have developed slowly over several
generations makes sense. Without stressing too strongly historical and socio-cultural factors, I would like to
mention the parameters which have influenced the conditions governing the communication framework.
The following parameters have undergone spectacular changes:
- the number of people involved;
- the distance aspect: remote people all over the globe are within receiving
range;
- the time aspect: the remote target audience can be reached simultaneously
with receivers near the center of production. This means that space and time
are combined in new ways; recording and reproduction have also made it
possible for contemporary individuals to have at their disposal impressive
libraries devoted to cultures remote in space and time (books, diskettes, CD
ROM collections, etc.);
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- societies and borders: messages not only reach people worldwide, but also cross linguistic and other socio-

cultural borders at the same time that they use various techniques and strategic solutions and create new
partnerships between people who did not previously know of one another's existence (Negroponte 1995);

- deterritorialization: thanks to the development of new technologies privileged people have become almost as
mobile as communication. This means that homogeneity of territory in terms of population, language and sociocultural norms is relative. In migrating populations there is probably an elite in a power position; mobility can
be a feature of poverty, but at the same time it also furthers power, albeit not among the same social groups; the monetary aspect (see below): the shift from one-to-one communication to one-to-many communication also
implies new one-to-money relationships. This means that it has become hard to distinguish between individual
and collective discourse, between public discourse, media communication and business communication: even
governmental initiatives have to cope with the explicit acknowledgment of private channels and monopolies.
Advertising in public broadcast thus challenges the borderline of what is 'public' in modern communication.
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Explanation of the main features of media age public discourse compared to traditional public discourse:
The main rules of public discourse remain relevant, but additional resources and constraints enter the picture:
Specialized technology, large scale distribution, large scale organizations, and development of networks are put to use.
There is prestige and a new type of power (new combinations of verbal and audio-visual discourse; commercial power, etc.).
There is competition and a struggle for official recognition or protection (both nationally and internationally); competition with more
traditional networks; market struggle. It goes beyond national, cultural and linguistic borders, hence a struggle for international status. It
introduces new (international) language policies. It leads to development of interaction patterns.

From one-to-one to one-to-some to one-to-many


One-to-one communication is (still) a characteristic of private discourse; it has become rare in the public
discourse of the media age, not only because the space and time constraints have partly been overcome, but also
because multi-point (multilateral) communication and satellite communication (that is dispatching centres) have
become the standard; bilateral relationships have become oldfashioned, even between groups. Business organization
as well as the media world and political institutions systematically prefer large-scale multilateral networks; these
networks as well as multilateral distribution are colonial but their, size and their systematicity have developed in
impressive ways.
One of the most fundamental shifts in the systematical and industrial use of multi-point communication is the
(implicit) substitution of a multilateral and centralized relationship to a differentiated communication system (as
those of private discourse and traditional bilateral relationships). Contemporary mass communication has selected
one of two extreme options:
(1) a target-oriented/differentiated one which takes into consideration the position of the target pole or partner (based on what
marketeers would call "market segmentation"), or (2) a source-oriented or centralized one in which standardization and corporate
identity prevail.

It is difficult to unite these two extremes, and the fact that it has rarely been done, except in Translation Studies, is
symptomatic. How can a (political or private) society stress its corporate identity and its Total Quality at the same
time that it is engaging in differentiated vs target- specific enterprises? A few multinationals are investigating the
development of new organizational models, but governments and most international organizations seem not to be
aware of the dilemma.
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It is a key task for Translation Studies to establish the way in which translation will work in global multilateral
relationships, where target-orientedness is not excluded but where the dominance of the network principle is
obvious.
Whatever the answers, colonialism illustrates the implications of networks in the past.
Recent media communication, i. e. of the Information Society (such as the 'Internet', Digital television and
several forms of distance learning), or the telecommunications world of the 'Virtual Society', ignores the limitations
of the traditional world, as it is establishing a new world order in which the traditional organizational rules are
systematically revised.

Figure 5: Public discourse in the virtual society


Explanation of the main rules of communication compared to more traditional communication: Mobility, global
organization beyond nation, space (and time), and new rules for prestige and power;
Multi-point communication from an organizing center which changes location, and sophisticated patterns of
interaction;
Sophisticated technology, large budgets, and explicit agendas;
A struggle for (legal) recognition and market power; and
Reformulation of the communication rules themselves (hypertext, copyright, interaction, etc.), including language
policy.
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283

It is not possible to predict accurately all the consequences of shifts in the communicational and the socio-cultural
frame. However some of these are already obvious:
The concept of peaceful coexistence between different types of public discourse is utopian. This is clear from the
competition between traditional public discourse (in, for instance, newspapers, books) and telecommunications
supported public discourse (magazines, advertising, television, etc.); the idea that the newest models will gain the
upper hand is probably naive since traditional models ar often supported by strong opposition to the
internationalization which is an integral feature of the new models.
Given the need for technology and large budgets, there is also competition between government-controlled public
discourse and privatized public discourse; there are obvious links between the most recent types on the one hand and
'privatized' public communication on the other hand (which, for strategic reasons, often avoids looking too 'public').
We find reshuffling of the links between territory (nation) and language by means of a systematic hybridization, to
the point where the language is redefined in two ways:
(a) standardization of (verbal) communication is sliding out of the control of
national and governmental institutions;
(b) written language is imperilled by the prestigious multi-media world.
Accordingly, there is competition both between natural languages and between verbal and non-verbal
communication.
One of the most fundamental consequences is that language is dealt with as a problem of, rather than as a means for,
worldwide communication. For those who want to promote and offer worldwide communication it is an obstacle in the
production and the organization of networks that people do not use the same language and that there are so many
languages. Language differentiation is considered oldfashioned and narrow-minded. Those who oppose global
communication will use traditional language and language policy in favour of their arguments. I hope to demonstrate
that both positions are far too naive and that radically different options remain open as long as those who use
(tele)communications are willing to come to the right inferences concerning their own patterns and positions.
It is obvious that a worldwide reshuffling of power is taking place, at least if we assume that language is power, that
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nization is power (See sociolinguistics; Bourdieu; Fairclough 1989; Boyd-Barret and Braham 1987). It is not just
the principle of intellectual property (as in the GATT discussions) or cultural identity, but the basic principles of
society which are at stake.
This is not the first time that some of these arguments are formulated. However they are rarely analyzed in their
interrelations and never from the point of view of their implications for languages and translation.
Translation and language in business communication

I have concentrated on the contemporary frame of public discourse in terms of models and hypotheses. They
derive from various traditions for redefining language and translation, an aspect that has been overlooked so far, at
least by scholars. 14 Research on media translation is still very primitive, and its prospects are not bright, partly
because academic research is ill at ease with the media phenomenon, and partly because the industrial world of the
media prefers profitoriented (applied) research to fundamental research. For this reason the role of independent
research is doubtful. This situation is well-known to those who started 'Descriptive Translation Studies' in the midseventies: the idea that research is needed and the conviction that the efficient production of translations requires
more than the mere transfer from (a good) theory into practice has penetrated the professional world of translation
only step by step. But it is analogous to the ways in which medicine, engineering and economics have been
gradually transformed into something more than pragmatics of therapy, etc.
Nevertheless some research has already been carried out and the models and schemes I describe here are being
used in projects for descriptive research (Lambert 1989b; Lambert and Delabastita (forthcoming)).
I shall not embark on a discussion of the ways in which we and others have used and tested our models. Instead
I intend to report on a small, local research project that has turned out to be relevant for the international general
communications frame.
In the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium we have set up a research project about a new economic phenomenon,
namely the translation market (Jansen 1994; Hermans and Simoens 1992. The number of companies and people
involved was small, at least at the beginning, and so was the economic area. There were few questions and
hypotheses and this has not changed. However, the scope widened enormously when it appeared that, not only
translation, but rather language and
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285

verbal communication in general were the main issues, and when it became clear that our conclusions were not
limited to the Belgian market, but applied to much international business communication. For this reason the
project is useful for discussing ways in which we should deal with translation in this age of
(tele)communications.
The report was published in Dutch (Jansen 1994). This book offers a detailed description of the problems, the
research in progress, the interviews, the analyses and bibliographical data including manuals and educational
programs.
The book tells of conflicts between translators, translation agencies and the 'initiators' who hire them, either
for a given company (in-house translators) or as free lance translators. Thanks to the representative selection of
the people contacted, we have been able to test our hypotheses about this conflict. The hypotheses were implicit
at the beginning; they have developed by means of tests and counter-tests, first during the project itself, and
afterwards in other areas (in other countries, with other partners, handbooks, teaching programs, statements by
translators and their employers, etc.). Since there is no reason to believe that the Belgian business and translation
markets rely on handbooks, principles or models made for exclusive Belgian use, the study came to investigate
international patterns as a matter of course. Observations of the international framework were not followed up
with new interviews.
The first observations were predictable, at least to experts in translation. Job dissatisfaction was a problem for
most people involved in business translation, both among employers and employees. Many initiators and
employers simply wondered: "Why (the devil) do we need all these translations? And why are they so
expensive?" The reply by the translators and their partners was different: "Why don't our companies understand
us better?" It was, indeed, possible to observe correlations between the partners' positive and negative feelings.
The key problem appeared to be the question of exactly why the market functions well in some cases and poorly
in others.
Some metaphors used by partners were quite revealing. Translators complaining of being treated "as a fax
machine" led the investigator to study some symptomatic and widespread views of language in the international

business world.
Several features in the attitude to translation in business contacts indicate that translation (and language
services in general) is considered as 'a service'. This implies that it is not part of an important principle of
communication in business society, i.e. Total Quality Control, which implies feedback or interaction. Inter-

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action between all partners in the production and communication process is an accepted part of company
organisation, outside translation and language services.
Figure 6 illustrates how, in most cases the decision to translate (or not to translate) is taken at a late stage,
and not at the beginning. It is not part of a general strategy, even within large multinationals, as is illustrated
by the fact that advertising and promotion campaigns are rarely tested out in several languages. Translation is
a matter of (low-rank) execution. Feedback is not impossible, but it is not planned and seldom used.

Figure 6: The communication chain in the case of translation


The interaction takes place between (2) the translator/translation agency, (3) the revisor, and (4) the editor
(within a company), but during the process there are hardly any further instructions to (1) the PR manager (or
secretary); there are few briefings with him and even fewer between him and his staff. Once an order has been
given, no more instructions are forwarded to the manager(s), except (sometimes) to low-ranking partners.
Verbal communication in business is often also worked out in a mechanical and multilateral way, although
the idea of market differentiation and segmentation is not unknown. With some noteworthy exceptions (Jansen
1994: 41-42; 4446), the principles underlying the use of translators and translation services are obvious: it is
the general language component, not only the translation component, in business communication that is not
integrated into the corporate identity. In fact many companies try to communicate multilaterally while their
planning is monolingual.
These general conclusions have been confirmed by many tests in business situations, by analysis of
specialist literature, including handbooks, and by the treatment of intercultural business communication. So
the conclusions of our research project, which began within a limited area of business life in a West-European
tradition, goes for may well be representative of the average treatment of verbal communication (and language
management) in international business communication. There is a crucial conflict between the question of
languages and the ques

Jos Lambert, Belgium

287

tion of intercultural communication. It can be inferred from new research on social organization that this conflict
poses a danger to societies (Janssens and Steyaert (forthcoming); Herrlitz (forthcoming)). It is strange that private
enter

Figure 7: Mechanical multilateral communication


There is internal and external feedback (within the company) between various centres, and with target groups in
various countries (e.g. thanks to marketing research), but the external feedback
does not involve language.

prise appears not to use language as a resource, but views it as an obstacle, and that it excludes language questions
from its marketing and communications policies.
Our analyses make us conclude that management itself is imperilled, and this applies to political, cultural,
military as well as economic management. We have no grounds for claiming that all situations resemble the
language policy described here, but nevertheless we believe that it calls for changes in the basic principles used in
theory, in handbooks and in training. Even politicians, who stress the importance of language as an aspect of
identity, do not know how to integrate the language question into their overall policy strategies. The same applies
to managers in international businesses, who not only disregard the language question, and feel no need for
language competence, but leave it to their secretaries and other low-ranking personnel to solve the problem,
preferably after the event. The
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

implicit rules of language policy in international relations are not unlike the wellknown Freudian slogan: "Things
not spoken of' ["Worber man nicht spricht"].
The shift from bilateral international communication to multilateral international communication has obviously
promoted autocentric behaviour in certain companies: the idea that partners may be different and that market
differentiation has important implications for the organization of communication (and for organization in general)
is widely accepted, but the link with language policy is virtually nonexistent. Multilateral communication is,
generally speaking, dealt with in a mechanical rather than dynamic way: for example, when a new partner is introduced into a given network the implications for the other partners, in particular the language policy, are normally
not taken into account. In theory, this may happen even when a new partner takes on leadership, but in practice
some companies may revise their language policy as soon as there is a shift in the position of the partners, as
illustrated in Figures 8a (below) and 8b (on the opposite page).
To a certain extent mechanical multilateral communication is similar to colonialism: multi-point
communication is planned and organized from one central position for several target groups, often geographically
distant and subordinated to one common central partner who makes many decisions, often without consultation,
and frequently presents the decisions as universally valid (Lambert (forthcoming c)).

Figure 8b: Shifts in the positions within network 8a.


There is no basis for any general normative rules, except that changes in the position may have
an impact on the position of the languages involved and there are excellent reasons for the manager to investigate
the matter.
It is indeed doubtful whether other options deserve to be preferred to the traditional (mechanical) one. So far I
have analysed a contemporary situation without suggesting any kind of solution. Is any other solution possible at
all? Are there different solutions? The first answer should be: all a priori answers are wrong, since independent
investigation may offer the most solid basis.
The researchers and business partners dealing with the Belgian translation market have easily found the most
efficient solution to the problems discussed. Their identity and their location is part of the solution: they happen to
represent specific economic fields and countries. The conflict situation described is not general. In which cases can
it be avoided, and how?
The answer has already been suggested, though in an abstract way: it is sufficient to extend the feedback
principle to and make it include language services and translation. The moment these are accepted as an element of
business organization they automatically become part of the general management. This can be illustrated as
follows (Figure 9, overleaf)

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

Figure 9 (revision of Figure 6)


1 = PR manager (or secretary).
2 = the translator/translation agency. 3 = the revisor.
4 = the editor (within company, or within 2 or 3) This case shows
continuous and double feedback.15
When business societies include language in their general planning they increase flexibility, they can
anticipate problems, and they are even able to use language not only in negative terms, that is, as an
obstacle, but as a strategic tool.
It is obvious that such an integration of language into management is not a simple solution: models and
research are needed.
There will be resistance as long as the necessity for enormous efforts has not been proved. There are,
furthermore, situations which do not require effort and new strategies. Even experts in translation will not
argue that translation should always be made. Thus translation is not necessarily the best solution to multilingualism. When all partners in a given society agree to use one common language there is no reason for
creating a language problem. However, as a factor in differentiation, identity and conflict, the language
component is becoming stronger all over the world, whatever the success of our contemporary global lingua
franca may suggest. When market and cultural differentiation is accepted, there is no way back: the question
of languages must be faced and may become a matter of priorities. This consideration has formed the basis of
new options in research into social organization (Janssens and Steyaert (forthcoming)). Large-scale research
along these lines will soon be needed. There are indeed strong indications that in our global world and

'Virtual Societies', language differentiation is being taken much more seriously than before. Rather than being
an obstacle, the use of languages may be a key instrument in avoiding and reducing conflicts.

Jos Lambert, Belgium

291

Consequences for the discipline and for interdisciplinarity


Language and translation will become a key issue as the new communications frame becomes an important
pattern in society and reduces the impact of (more) traditional communication. In itself, this is a naive pseudoprediction since it describes a situation which already applies all over the world.
Within this new framework, translators are becoming less and less individual and autonomous. They have to
rely on partners, and they offer and receive feedback as they are integrated into (worldwide) communication.
Customers and employers use their 'services' as part of large packages. In order to meet the basic requirements
that determine their efficiency (often called "quality", an inappropriate term, because the quality requirements
are established by the various partners, often implicitly), all partners need to be fully aware of each other's
roles, responsibilities and capabilities. In a world of tough competition, the very moment one partner ignores
his partners' commitments, the entire enterprise may be endangered.
The difficulty is that translators and language experts are nowadays being used by managers and customers
who view language very naively. My conclusion is that in addition to competent translators, experts will have
to train their environment, their employers and customers. In the new communications frame only
interdisciplinary competence can lead to relevant programs. Given continuous shifts in the general world
frame, the only training that has any chance to survive will need to be thoroughly interdisciplinary and, hence,
research-based. The bureaucratic protection offered by the institutionalization of diplomas, curricula and
institutes will not survive the globalization and the worldwide competition process unless it will be open to
continuous revision, adaptation, tests, research and discussion. In fact there is nothing new in such a futureoriented definition of training and research, except the necessity to stress it at this moment in history. It is not
clear what types of institutes or universities will be able to fulfill the expectations of international companies
and societies: in the academic world interdisciplinarity is boycotted rather than promoted. Accordingly
predictions may be simple: either there will be new combinations of universities and ad hoc insti.; tutes, or
academia itself will not survive in good shape. This double prediction may again be a pseudo-prediction since
this situation already applies today.
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

1. Descriptive research on translation has been conceptualized since the mid-1970s by James S. Holmes, Itamar Even-Zohar and
(primarily) by Gideon Toury, then by scholars (some in the socalled Low Countries group (the Manipulation School), and some at the
Gttingen Sonderforschungsbereich "Die literarische bersetzung"). The journal Target (1989- ) represents the most prominent attempt to
establish Translation Studies as a research discipline with a strong descriptive branch. Toury (1980) may be considered as the
programmatic basis of Descriptive Translation Studies, and Toury (1995) as an institutionalization, with important paragraphs on the
history of descriptive research since Holmes.
2. The question "Is there really such a thing like 'one' discipline dealing with translation?" is discussed in Lambert 1991.
3. It is interesting to note how different the treatment of training and pedagogics is in the various representations of the discipline(s), and
the way in which it links with "Translation Theory" (see Newmark 1981), "Translatology" or "Translation Studies": whereas Translation
Studies considers research to be the first task of the discipline, Translatology (and groups within the "Translationswissenschaft") tend to
focus mainly on practice and teaching, though this does not exclude research. One of the consequences of this is that "criticism" is in an
ambiguous position lying somewhere between research and evaluation (Snell-Hornby 1995).
4. The distinction between "actual translations" and simply "translation" is heavily indebted to Toury's revision of normative theories, in
which translation is discussed on the basis of "ideal" representations rather than of historical-empirical evidence. The key argument is that
definitions and assumptions worked out a priori by sophisticated twentieth century scholars established in particular cultural
circumstances are not necessarily relevant for translational phenomena from distant ages and countries.
5. Except perhaps within the Skopos theory and the so-called Polysystems approach (Lambert. (forthcoming b)).
6. Is translation "discourse", or is it merely "text", communication, activity ("Handlung", in Justa Holz-Mnttri's terms)? I discuss this
issue in Lambert (forthcoming b). 7. The moment we stop trusting tradition as a sufficient basis for our concepts, we have no justification

for reducing translation to autonomous and clearly identified texts that are considered translations. Hence we have to accept the evidence
that translation can be part of everyday discourse and that, on the other hand, non-translation (zero translation) is part of translated
texts. This implies that, besides our translation concept, the distribution of translational phenomena has to be reexamined before it is
possible to set up a general translation theory. This is the key thesis of a discussion available only in Dutch (Lambert 1995a).
8. See my discussion of functional approaches in Lambert (forthcoming b).
9. See in particular the special issue of the European Union magazine Cordis Focus, Supplement 2, 15 July 1994: Europe and the Global
Information Society. It is notable that political reactions to languages in global communication are very systematic, although they are not
in any way supported by research into the language component in international (verbal) communication (e.g. Lambert 1989 b; Jansen
1994).
10. It suffices to call attention to curricula in Philology and in Communication (Media) Studies which are systematically kept apart, and to
the way in which handbooks for media/ language ignore the interaction between oral and written language/communication as part of
communication. 11. I am heavily indebted to Patrick Cattrysse for information regarding these key topics in research on communication.
.
12. Hence Walter Ong's distinction between oral language of the primary type (in societies where written language is unknown) and oral
language of the secondary type (in societies where written language is dominant).

Jos Lambert, Belgium

293

13.The most obvious start of such a policy was the establishment of the (French) "dpt lgal", the origin of copyright, in the sixteenth
century.
14. But not at all in political terms, as our newspapers inform us. See also the special issue of the European Community magazine
Cordis Focus, Supplement 2, 15 July 1994: Europe and the Global Information Society.
15. I am indebted to Peter Florentsen for drawing the charts according to my sketches.

THE IMPACT OF TECHNOLOGY


AND THE IMPLICATIONS FOR TEACHING
Geoffrey Kingscott, United Kingdom

As the title of this volume is New Horizons, it is appropriate to look at the direction in which translation may be
heading. After all, the average student on a university translation course today can expect to spend seven-eighths of
his or her career in the 21st century. The pace of change is accelerating in almost every domain, and is certainly
doing so in translation, so it is reasonable to assume that the practice of translation in the 21st century may be very
different from the practice today.
Of course, I do realise that university courses should not simply be practice-oriented. It is the role of universities
to open up students' minds, not to tunnel them in a particular direction. I also understand that quite a number of
students who go through translation courses, subsequently follow careers other than that of translator. Nevertheless
there is a real danger that the university teaching of translation may become so remote from practice that it becomes
marginalised, that it will be widely perceived as irrelevant to the translation task.
I confine my paper to technical and business translation, partly because that is what I know most about, and partly
because that type of translation accounts for by far the biggest proportion of translation work in the world today. One
problem is that many contemporary translation courses were started from within university language departments,
and all too many reflect the somewhat literary bias of traditional university language teaching.
This brings me to the first point that I should like to make, that technical and business translation increasingly cuts
across a number of disciplines. It could be said that business and technical translation is really one aspect of
technical communication, and should be taught as such. It is not enough to bolt a few technical elements on to an
essentially linguistic course. Technical translation involves a lot more than introducing a Language for Special
Purposes element.
In traditional translation teaching there tends to be great stress on the correct rendering of the source message. In
technical communication there is much more emphasis on the target message, and the source message must, if
necessary, be reworked to suit the particular application. 'Reader-oriented writing', they call it in technical
communication. Not all source-language technical texts are produced by professional technical writers, and some fail
to be as reader-oriented as they

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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

should be. However, it is the responsibility of the technical translator, who is a professional, to write as a targetlanguage technical writer would, taking into consideration the likely reading ability of the user of the manual,
the technical writing culture of the target-language country, the emphasis to be given to different aspects
(warning notices, task sequences, etc.) and so on.
If taught properly this can become quite exciting. Teaching the technical translator of the future could really
open up New Horizons. The translator becomes proactive rather than reactive, with greater freedom to shape and
create text so as to convey the intended message in the clearest way possible.
The watchwords in technical writing are clarity and readability, and these priorities must be carried over into
technical translation. It is essential that students be taught how to write clearly in their own mother tongue.
However, even today the greatest complaint from employers of translators, particularly of those coming out of
university translation courses, is not, as one might expect, the lack of domain-specific technical knowledge, but
the inability of the students to write their own language well.
In technical communication it is simply not good enough to put words on a page. What counts is whether the
message gets across. This requires not only the ability to write clearly, but also an understanding of how people
react to written information. There has been quite a lot of work on this subject, particularly in the United States,
by writers such as Flesch and Gunning, and more recently by people like William Horton (in the USA) or John
Kirkman (in the UK), or Louis Timbal (in France).
Actually there is a general trend in what might be termed the applied language professions - translation and
interpreting - towards a more multi-dimensional approach anyway. In the comparatively new discipline of
public service interpreting (sometimes called community interpreting), which is ssentially interpreting for
members of ethnic minority communities, there are two predominating areas of activity. One is medical
interpreting, which is usually carried out in hospitals, the other is in the courts and associated areas.
In medical interpreting it is necessary to provide training and testing, not just in language competence, but
also in medical ethics, techniques of diagnosis, and, above all, in how to handle differences in medico-cultural
concepts. There is an astonishing difference in concepts of illness and treatment in Britain and France, as
anyone who has ever been treated in both countries can confirm, and this dif

Geoffrey Kingscott, United Kingdom

297

ference is exacerbated when European and Asian medical cultures come into contact.
In legal interpreting it is important to provide training in legal rights concerning police interrogation, in court
procedures and rules of evidence, and in techniques of cross-examination.
In the same way translation courses in the future must be multi-dimensional, not purely linguistic. They must
marry the traditional cross-language skills (comprehension of the source language and ability to render its
message into the target language) with communication skills (ability to produce a text appropriate to the
application), and then add domain-specific linguistic knowledge, and the ability to operate within the nonlinguistic constraints of the domain. This is not translation any more: it is multilingual technical communication.
In fact in the practical world the term translation is going out of favour, for the very reason that it fails to
communicate the range of skills currently necessary. The information technology industry has come up with the
term localisation, which is now widely used. Other multinational companies, particularly in engineering, talk of
multilingual documentation. The term globalisation refers to the overall strategy for operating in world markets,
including any necessary localisation of both product and documentation.
And then, of course, we have to consider the likely impact of language technology (also now called language
engineering). This can cover everything from fully-automatic translation to paste-in terminology aids.
I have detected a certain complacency among some teachers of translation. Because they have seen that

despite 50 years of research and development the impact of automatic translation is still very small, they think
that translation will continue, by and large, to be practised in traditional ways for a long time yet.
Although over the last 25 years I have seen many forecasts and estimates about automatic translation prove
wildly optimistic, and although I have always taken a somewhat cautious, not to say cynical, approach myself to
automation of the translation process, I am now convinced that the pace of change is going to accelerate. The
reason for this is that development will now become needsdriven, rather than research-driven as in the past.
The needs-driven impetus is based on two major trends in world industry. The first is globalisation, the
second is the information revolution.
Although talked about for many years, it is only now that the global market is becoming a reality. Industrial
companies, most of them with a strong national
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

base, used to think in terms of a home market and an export market. Today multinational companies are becoming
the norm, and they are all now planning their strategy on global sales. We are surely coming to the end of the era
of the nation state, which has so dominated our thinking and history these last 500 years. Political leaders such as
Chancellor Kohl and President Chirac are less important than media tycoons such as Rupert Murdoch or
information technology figures such as Bill Gates.
At one time there was a fear that globalisation would mean that the juggernaut of the English language would
crush every other language in its path. That may still happen in the long run, but at present the multinationals are
finding that product sales go up if products and documentation are localised. At the ITALICS 95 conference on
global business communication in Rotterdam in May 1995 it was stated that Microsoft had discovered that sales
tended to go up by as much as three times after localisation into the local language, and, more surprisingly, that
this appeared to be true even in countries such as Denmark where there appears to be an almost universal good
command of English. So globalisation needs are likely to drive translation forward.
But with these multinational companies, the greatest preoccupation is with "time-to-market". No time must be
lost in this highly competitive age. Where there is a need for documentation in a local language, the localisation
process must be carried out speedily and efficiently. Every assistance which computerisation can give will
therefore be harnessed to this localisation process, especially as a lot of documentation carries a large proportion
of previous documentation. This is why translation-memory systems, unheard of ten years ago and discussed in
this volume, are already having a major impact on translation production.
In the past translation was concentrated on a few languages; in England it was French-Italian-German-Spanish.
These languages were often used as working languages by residents of neighbouring countries. The new primacy
of English has had one unforeseen side-effect, that speakers of non-major languages, if they do not use English for
international communications, prefer to use their own language - Czech, Catalan, Danish - rather than resort to a
neighbour language. This means that there is a demand for translation into a far wider spread of languages than
has ever been the case before. I am not sure that university translation courses have adjusted to this.
The information revolution is also just getting under way. Much is written of the impact of the information
superhighway (Internet), but so far that impact has
Geoffrey Kingscott, United Kingdom '

299

been comparatively small. But the rate of expansion is phenomenal, and so is the potential. Already there is
available on this superhighway a huge mass of information, and it is available at the clicking of a mouse.
Expectations will now develop that all information should be available almost immediately, and this will extend to
translation. Those of us who work in translation have been accustomed for many years to the idea that everything
is wanted yesterday, but in fact we have often had days, or weeks for big jobs, in which to complete the task. This

is fortunate, because we have done translation in a labour-intensive way, translating every word of the source text
into target text, everything having to pass through our thought processes as well as whatever output device we
use.
Translators of the future will be processors of text. They will not be expected to translate again anything they
have translated before, whether it be term, sentence, paragraph or page; the machine will do that for them. The
machine will do any necessary 'new-term' dictionary search, and will do it on-line, checking against text corpora
where necessary.
Automatic translation, the term I prefer to the more usual machine translation, does not work particularly well
with natural language, but can be made to be really effective if the source text is written in a 'controlled language'.
I would expect every translation student from now on to be taught the basics of 'controlled language', which will
become increasingly important in 21st century communication.
The current clear distinction between written work and spoken work will disappear, as speech-to-text and textto-speech (and even speech-to-text-to-speech) devices become commonplace. Commercial systems are now
available, and are in use by at least one translator. Video conferencing will become more important, and
interpreting training will have to take account of it (Singapore courts are already using video to access
interpreters who work from a central location).
Probably the most important long-term effect of the information revolution will be changes in what specialist
writers call the icon/alphabet ratio. This is difficult to explain, particularly to an audience of people who, like me,
are, by upbringing and instinct, part of a text-bound culture. Future generations will see this as ridiculously
limiting. You just have to compare a video product, as I have, produced by people of my generation, which
moves from text sequence to next logical text sequence, to one produced by the new generation, where graphics
explode all over the screen, and the message is punched home pictorially. Operating manuals, hitherto the great
standby of the technical translator, will move to video
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Teaching Translation and Interpreting 3

or CD-Rom, and will convey the message in a multi-media way. Multi-media represent the future, and translation
will never be the same again.

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Editors' notes
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