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Volume 3, Issue 4, 2007

This issue looks at Translation Studies and issues of autonomy, dichotomy and legacy approaches to translation theory and practice.


Translation Studies: The Next Generation
Ali Darwish
Central Queensland University

The realization among translation writers in the past 30 years that translation is a complex system has been gaining momentum with the globalizing effect of mass communication technologies and the convergence of cultures in one global media culture. Characteristically, translation theories have tagged along the various intellectual changes and human developments elsewhere and translation theories have reflected the dominant trends of thought of the day—depending on the prevalent trend of thought at every juncture of development of human thinking; be it hermeneutics, structuralism, semiotics, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, postmodernism, and so on, a translation model or theory is developed within the limits of these frames of thought.

Despite the recent shifts in the theoretical perspectives on translation, Translation Studies continues to be largely entrenched in abstract theory and embroiled in pointless argumentation about the validity and legitimacy of approaches and models. Starting from the assumption that the source language text is perfect and that it is written by a superior writer who has managed to utilize all the linguistic skills available to him or her and communicate his or her intentions clearly and effectively to an assumed reader, Translation Studies continues to be preoccupied with the notion of translatability and whether translation is at all possible. This assumption, which has been reinforced by the notions of fidelity and adherence to the original and definitions of equivalence, has forced translation theorists and educators to look for the ideal or perfect translation for a presumed ideal or perfect original. In the process, various theoretical frameworks have centered on the dichotomy of debate about the status of translation as art or science, product or process, formal or dynamic, source-bound or target-bound, author-centered or reader-centered and so on. These dichotomies have produced a double-harness mindset, an eitherorism, which has plagued the translation debate, and as Bell observes, has been responsible for much of the stagnation in translation studies.

This issue of Translation Watch examines these legacy approaches and traces the development of the discipline by the next generation of translation researchers...

Original Text versus Translation: A Historical Love-Hate Relationship
Rosa Agost
Universitat Jaume I

Throughout the history of translation the dichotomy between what is equivalent and what is not, between good translation and poor translation, and between what is faithful and what is not, has also been discussed in relation to the considerations regarding methods of translation. This paper considers different points of view that range across a scale in both the so-called pre-theoretical period and the contemporary approaches. These include: faithful belief in equivalence as absolute identity; considering equivalence as a relationship of similarity between two texts; considering equivalence to be a relationship of communicative and functional equivalence; replacing the concept of equivalence with that of norms and, finally, rejection of the concept of equivalence in favour of that of difference.

Translation Studies: Autonomous Discipline versus Interdisciplinary
Mine Yazıcı
Istanbul University

This paper deals with sociological account of interdisciplinary relations in Turkey. It aims to prove the contribution of interdisciplinary relations in the development of a fully-fledged discipline within the framework of Turkey. Accordingly, it first explains primary relations with literature, linguistics, and sociology. Next, it discusses the notion of secondary relations in terms of Translation Studies. In the last section, the findings of a case study on dissertations between the years 1986 and 2006 are submitted and evaluated not only to disclose the evolution of Translation Studies from an interdisciplinary to an autonomous field, but to verify the information given in previous sections.

On the Dichotomy in Translation Theories
Shi Aiwei
Xinzhou Teachers University, Shanxi, China

Dichotomy, in its most technical sense, refers to a division into mutually exclusive or contradictory groups or entities. It is evident that human beings think in dichotomically, which seems to be our inherent capacity to do so. If we think this way, then our language inevitably reflects our thinking by employing binary or dichotomic concepts. This may well explain the reason why so many pairs of terms are adopted to discuss and study the world around us as well as all the fields of our intellectual endeavor. In terms of culture, the same is true in that binary concepts are introduced in the like manner to discuss cultural exchanges and how the exchanges take place in the translation process. Translation studies, one branch of the human pursuit, naturally cannot do without dichotomy in treating various domains of research. Score-plus binary terms are employed in this paper to illustrate various kinds of translation theories, and thanks to them many problems in translation studies are clarified and explained and translation phenomena described. In conclusion the paper points out that dichotomy may well continue to serve us as an indispensable tool in thinking (reasoning and classifying) and academic (theoretic) studying.

A Cognitive Approach to Translating Metaphor
Ali R. Al-Hasnawi
Ibri College/ Sultanate of Oman

Translation of ‘metaphor’ has been treated as part of the more general problem of 'untranslatability'. This trend builds on the notion that metaphors in general are associated with 'indirectness', which in turn contributes to the difficulty of translation. Different theories and approaches have been proposed with regard to metaphor translation, each of which has tackled this problem from a different point of view.

This paper favors a cognitive framework for metaphor translation which builds on Cognitive Translation Hypothesis proposed by Mandelblit (1995). Using authentic examples from English and Arabic along with their translation, this paper discusses translation of metaphor with reference to two cognitive schemes of the real world and cultural experience mapping, namely. The core of this framework builds on the hypothesis that the more two cultures conceptualize experience in a similar way, the more the first strategy of 'similar mapping conditions', applies and then the easier the task of translation.


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