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Translating Echoes

Challenges in the Translation of the Correspondence of a British Expatriate in Beresford’s Lisbon 1815-17

By António Lopes (University of the Algarve)

Abstract & Keywords

In 1812 the Farrer family established their wool trading business in Lisbon. Samuel Farrer and, a couple of years later, James Hutchinson remained in regular correspondence with Thomas Farrer, who owned a textile mill in the vicinity of Leeds, then centre of the wool trade in England. Their correspondence, spanning the period 1812-18, offers a vivid account of life in Lisbon and its hardships and troubles in the aftermath of the Peninsular War. Those letters mirror the turbulent politics of the time and articulate an attempt to narrate otherness and the way it kept challenging their gaze. The translation of the letters has posed some challenges, especially on a stylistic level. In order to confer a sense of historical authenticity on the target-language text and to attend to the stylistic features of the source-language text, the translator has been forced to revisit the Portuguese language of the period as it was spoken and written by the urban middle class in Lisbon. In this article I discuss some of the issues, both theoretical and practical, that have arisen in the course of the translation process.

Keywords: travel writing translation, commercial correspondence, private sphere, estrangement, displacement, double disjuncture, Peninsular Wars

©inTRAlinea & António Lopes (2013).
"Translating Echoes Challenges in the Translation of the Correspondence of a British Expatriate in Beresford’s Lisbon 1815-17"
inTRAlinea Special Issue: Translating 18th and 19th Century European Travel Writing
Edited by: Susan Pickford & Alison E. Martin
This article can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
Stable URL: http://www.intralinea.org/specials/article/1967

1. Introduction

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
Saint Augustine

During my research for the British Travellers in Portugal project – an ambitious initiative that has been carried out for almost three decades by the Anglo-Portuguese Studies group at the Centre for English, Translation and Anglo-Portuguese Studies (Lisbon and Oporto) –, I chanced upon a rather curious collection of letters housed at the National Archives in Kew.[1] Written by James Hutchinson Jr. (1796 - ?), a young Yorkshire merchant working in Lisbon, and addressed to his brother-in-law, Thomas Farrer, who headed the family’s wool business back in Farnley, Leeds, these letters span a period of approximately two and a half years (from 22 July, 1815 to 29 November, 1817), at a time when Portugal was struggling hard to stand on its feet after the scale of destruction caused by the Peninsular War.

Originally, the primary purpose of my undertaking was to contribute to an anthology of translated accounts of the city of Lisbon by British travellers. This meant that a considerable portion of the original text, most of it dwelling on private affairs or matters of commerce, would have to be excised in order to leave only those passages where explicit references were made to the Portuguese capital. However, it soon became evident that the scope of the content of these letters called for a differentiated approach and so the editor commissioned me to translate the complete set. The investment in an unabridged translation would give readers the opportunity not just to satisfy their curiosity about Lisbon, but above all to gain a sense of the complexity of the historical, social and economic issues with which the letters engaged, all the more so because translation is not about impoverishing the original, but about giving it a new lease of life: translation is not just a question of making a text accessible to another community of readers by acquiring a new linguistic and cultural dimension, but above all of allowing the letters to transcend their immediacy and the original purpose for which they were written, and inscribing them in new discursive practices.

So, instead of publishing excerpts of the letters in the anthology, both the editor and I decided to publish the complete set in two issues of the Revista de Estudos Anglo-Portugueses (CETAPS, Lisbon) (see Lopes 2010). This would allow us to preserve the integrity of the letters and, given the fact that the Revista is aimed at a scholarly readership (historians, philologists, cultural anthropologists, sociologists, and so on), to invest in a more detailed and in-depth approach, marked by philological accuracy and by a consciousness of the challenges posed by the hermeneutical inquiry. This would also give me the opportunity to set my own translation agenda, not just in terms of style and method, but also in terms of the future of this project. As a matter of fact, the files contain dozens of other letters and papers written by other members or friends of the family which, in view of their historical value, are also worth translating. I decided to amass all of them with the aim of publishing the whole collection in one single volume. That work is now underway.

Since translation is necessarily always a reflexive process (in more than one sense: on the one hand, the translator has to speculate about the meanings that the source text does not immediately disclose and about the readers’ responses to his/her choices; on the other, the target text always presents itself as a mirror image of the source text), the task of rendering this piece of nineteenth-century English prose into contemporary Portuguese prompted a series of theoretical and empirical questions which I set out to explore in the present article. The next section seeks to set the letters in their political, social and economic context. The meanings they contain are rooted in a specific historical setting, which has to be revisited so as to enable the text to function simultaneously as a piece of documentary evidence and as an instance of resistance: in the case of the former, substantiating that which historiography has already validated; in the case of the latter, defying or even rebutting historical theories. The third section (‘An Englishman in Lisbon’) touches on issues of estrangement, displacement and the quest for a sense of belonging, all of which are central to travel writing. The fourth section (‘Prying into a Gentleman’s Private Correspondence’) discusses the ethics and the challenges of translating the intimacy and confidentiality of private correspondence, and how the author’s objectivity gives the translator a foothold in the factual validation of his translation. The last full section (‘Translation as a Double Disjuncture’) focuses on issues of spatiality, temporality, representation and re-representation, as well as on some of the solutions to the problems posed by the historical dimension of the texts (modes of address; anachronisms; outdated terminology; formulaic language; and the need for historical research).

2. The Letters in Context: Portugal and her British Ally 1809-20

The Farrers were one among many of the local families whose lives revolved around the woollen and worsted manufacture and trade in Yorkshire. The success of their business went hand in hand with the economic growth and technological development of the period, a process which would leave an indelible mark on the landscape of the Midlands and the North of England. These developments led to major changes in the social structure, with a generalised phenomenon of rural-urban migration meeting the industry’s need for labour (Fletcher 1919: 77-84). The Yorkshire region soon became the chief export centre for manufactured woollen goods. In a world of cut-throat competition, those who succeeded in business were of an unrelenting entrepreneurial and ambitious spirit that often looked beyond the confines of Britain.

Industrial expansion forced traders to look further afield and open up new markets; Portugal swiftly became a key destination. Since Napoleon’s Continental Blockade, decreed in 1806, was firmly in place, the first industrial nation found itself in a worrying predicament. Portugal, where Britain’s commercial stakes ran high, was also left particularly exposed. It was only through Lisbon that it was possible to gain access to the Brazilian market, which had long become the mainstay of the intensive southern Atlantic economy, responsible for the capitalisation of the European market in the Early Modern period. Besides, the Portuguese could not afford to lose the support of the old ally, whose navy provided protection for the trade routes between the metropolis and its colonies. The French invasions of Portugal pushed it to the periphery of the very empire it had founded. If the demise of both commerce and industry had a terrible impact on the economy, the destruction the war wrought in the provinces proved no less damaging. Looting, extortion and massacres left a trail of blood, hatred and revulsion across the whole nation that was to remain unabated for generations. Wellington’s scorched earth policy – aiming to deprive the French troops of victuals and other supplies – aggravated the situation even further. Agriculture and husbandry practically ground to a halt and farmers were unable to produce the foodstuffs required to feed the urban centres. Famine set in and with it a period of demographic stagnation.

Freeing Portugal from the chains of Napoleonic imperialism was not without its costs. Unable to overcome such complete vulnerability, the nation was at the mercy of British interests. Certainly a significant part of the Portuguese economy had for a long time depended on Britain. Whether Portugal benefited from this trade relationship or not is a matter of controversy (Borges de Macedo 1963; Bethell 1984; Maxwell 2004; Pijning 1997; Pardo 1992). However, at least since the Methuen Treaty (1703) Britain had been undermining the Portuguese industry with a substantial influx of cheap manufactured goods undercutting all competition. In January 1808 the opening of the Brazilian ports to Britain represented a fatal blow. Two years later, the protective mechanism of customs duties was removed precisely when the Portuguese economy was most in need of it. The prospects for the manufacturing sector grew dimmer as British cotton and wool cloths flooded the Portuguese market.

The political power that William Carr Beresford, commander-in-chief of the Portuguese troops during the invasions, held during this crucial period in the country’s history played a decisive role in protracting this position of economic subordination. He ended up gaining considerable ascendancy over the representatives of the Prince Regent. In the post-war years he headed the military government, a position which rapidly eroded his earlier prestige as a war hero. People started protesting against the way public funds were being squandered to pay for the presence of British troops on national territory. Portuguese officers likewise harboured deep-seated resentment towards the British officers, who were now apparently being granted all sorts of privileges and promotions (see Glover 1976). Beresford’s radical intransigence in politics led to the repression of those who advocated a more liberal agenda, namely those who were suspected either of sympathising with the ideals of the French Jacobins, or of defending a constitutional monarchy. As a stern defender of Tory absolutism, his views were in line with the ones shared by two other Anglo-Irish potentates, namely Wellington and Castlereagh (Newitt 2004: 107). His absolutist values, along with his thirst for power, left him isolated in a world riven by deep-rooted hatreds. The revolutionary clamour heard in Oporto on 24 August 1820 was to put paid to Beresford’s ambitions. Paradoxically, partly thanks to the influence of the British officers, the British tradition of liberalism ended up taking root in a country lacking in ideological coordinates to define its political future.

When James Hutchinson first set foot in Lisbon, the country was going through a period of economic depression. His letters mirror the upheavals and the social unrest of the period and therefore help to shed light on historical processes, since they testify to the way in which individuals perceived reality and (re)acted accordingly. Popular reactions to the new king, news of the uprising in Pernambuco (Brazil), political persecutions, and hangings are well documented elsewhere,[2] but here we are given a view from the inside. Moreover, rather than just affirming the picture that the extensive historiographical literature on the subject has already established, the letters also disclose new facets. They prove that, despite the impressive growth of Britain’s exports in this period, British trade did not run smoothly in Portugal. Hutchinson could hardly be said to be the definitive model of the successful businessman. His efforts, nonetheless, were mostly undermined by factors that lay beyond his reach. General poverty, scarcity of money, shortages of food and other essentials, and rationing, for example, became recurrent, if not obsessive, subjects in his letters, betraying his sense of frustration and underachievement. Moreover, Hutchinson was forced to deal with fierce competition within the Portuguese market and the incompetence of the Customs officials, not to mention liabilities and bad debts, marketing obstacles and, curiously enough, an increasingly demanding clientele, all of which imposed psychological costs he found ever more difficult to cope with. And although he was not so forthcoming in discussing political issues, such as Beresford’s repression, his fears and silences about the persecutions are no less telling.

Each letter contains, as it were, the very essence of history and, through the picturesque and sometimes disconcerting episodes they feature, they help us recreate a reality long buried by time. Precisely because this is a genuine voice that has remained hidden amidst other archival material for almost two centuries, unscathed by later misappropriations or misinterpretations, we are able to salvage pristine fragments of the historical experience and to retrieve for our collective memory some of the particularities and singularities that are usually overlooked in the construction of the historical grand narratives of the nation. In a letter dated 18 October 1816, for instance, Hutchinson speaks of the funeral ceremonies of Queen Maria I and clearly enjoys recounting the peculiar causes of the accidental fire that burned down the church where those ceremonies were being held. In a later letter (22 October 1817), he provides a first-hand testimony of the horrendous hanging of the men who followed Gomes Freire de Andrade in his revolt against Lord Beresford’s roughshod rule. Elsewhere he laments the shortage of foodstuffs and the rise in prices which mercilessly strike the poor (letter dated 25 January 1817), but he cannot help relishing the story of a woman arrested for stealing bodies from the cemetery to produce black pudding to be sold to the local shops (9 August 1816). In another letter he speaks of an earthquake that threw the city ‘into the most dreadful alarm’ and the scenes of panic that ensued, while rejoicing at the fact that he remained ‘during the whole of the night in a sound slumber’ (3 February 1816).

3. An Englishman in Lisbon: Estrangement, Displacement and the Quest for Belonging

Notwithstanding the rapid decline of the Portuguese economy during and after the Peninsular War, British traders rapidly resumed their investments in the country. Samuel Farrer & Sons were amongst them. Samuel Farrer Jr. established the family’s business in Lisbon in 1812. The family’s entrepreneurial effort must have paid off somehow, for upon his death, in February 1815, they decided to keep on investing in their Portuguese venture. It would be up to young James Hutchinson Jr. to take up the business. His inexperience notwithstanding, James was not entirely at a loss. The need to account for every transaction and to keep his brother-in-law posted about how business was being conducted resulted in a correspondence of considerable length, which lasted until his departure from Lisbon at the end of 1817. The letters were permeated by the young man’s comments, remarks and anecdotes about life in the Portuguese capital. Being an outsider in customs, language and feelings, Hutchinson tried hard to accommodate himself to his new setting.

In his letters, however, the affectionate attachment he exhibits towards his sister and the other members of his family indicates that his stay in Lisbon was, emotionally speaking, hard to bear. He often complained about her silence and the fact that she now seemed to have forsaken him altogether. But then, it was not just the separation from his loved ones that threw him into a state of melancholy. His life in the Portuguese capital was infused with a sense of estrangement he was unable to overcome. He felt uprooted and disengaged.

It becomes all too apparent that his gaze is that of an outsider, of someone struggling to succeed in a strange, disturbing world, whose social and political environment contrasts in many respects with that of his native land. He soon realised it would not be easy to fit in. Despite the support that other British expatriates residing in Lisbon gave him, he complained to his family about living conditions there. Blatantly ironic, he confessed that he ‘suffer[ed] very much from the Muschetos [sic], Bugs & other filth with which this sweet City so much abounds’ (11 August 1815).

His difficulty in understanding the Portuguese is particularly visible when he is faced with the lack of patriotic fervour of the man in the street, a fervour one should expect from a nation that had been recently freed from the Napoleonic terror:

On Saturday last the King was proclaimed throughout the City and Sunday was appropriated for the acclamation.—The Troops were reviewed by Marshal Beresford, yet never did I witness their going through their manoevres [sic] in such an inanimate manner:—never was such a Viva given by the Portuguese to their Sovereign; scarcely did one Soul open his mouth, excepting the Marshal and his Staff Officers:—it was a complete ‘Buonapartean Viva’ a forced shout of applause dying away in a groan. (11 April 1817)

Since most of the time he was consumed by work, it becomes difficult for the contemporary reader to detect such feelings of estrangement in the midst of commercial jargon and ledger accounts. He sought to be meticulous in his book-keeping and reports and sensitive to changes in market conditions, especially as far as fashion, trends, tastes and purchasing power went. He struggled to prove himself worthy of the trust and respect not just of his brother-in-law, but also of other foreign merchants who had already established their names in the Portuguese market. He even got carried away by the idea of opening his own establishment in order to fend off competition and to tackle the problem of low bids, which often forced him to keep the bales in store for unusually long periods of time.

In order to perceive how displaced he felt, one has to read between the lines. When his enthusiasm waned or his health gave way, an undeclared anxiety and irritation would surface. His less than flattering comments on Portuguese customs officials and the tone of his replies to his brother-in-law whenever suspicion of laxness or mismanagement hung in the air prove the point. He became impatient when ships from Brazil, New York or Falmouth were unduly delayed. He was unnerved by the negligence of long-standing debtors, who often turned a deaf ear to his entreaties. Besides, in spite of the considerable sums of money that passed through his hands, James was far from leading an easy and comfortable life. In a sense, it was through his own body that he first measured the degree of his maladjustment. He was constantly ill, poorly dressed, and found his lodgings uncomfortable. The weather did not suit him and he feared death might creep up on him. For some time he had to resign himself to ‘a Bed Room fitted up for me in the Warehouse, without any other convenience or sitting room’ (11 April 1817). He would wear the same clothes for months on end, winter and summer alike. Disease would take hold of him and he would be confined to bed for several weeks. His neat copperplate handwriting would then degenerate to illegible scribbling. In the spring of 1817 he would confess that ‘I have suffered very materially in my health since I came here’. Convinced that he was no longer fit for the job, he would then ask Thomas to let Ambrose Pollett, a friend of the family, replace him in the firm. His physical condition would not let him endure another winter in Lisbon. In his last letter, dated 29 November, he once more complained about his health, saying that the cold weather caused him to ‘spit blood in considerable quantities from the lungs’ and that he was afraid he would never be able to return to his homeland again ‘since I fell [sic] persuaded I shall never get better of the severe illness I had in the Spring of the year 1816’. To him Lisbon, thus, ended up representing the proximity of death, that ultimate moment of displacement. His fears, however, were unfounded and he went back to England where he remained in convalescence, before returning to Portugal. But once more the climate did not agree with him. His health worsened, especially after hearing the news of his nephew’s death in December 1818, and he was compelled to leave Lisbon one last time.[3]

In the course of his stay, James was badly in need of a focal point to keep things in perspective and letter writing served such a purpose. More than anything else, it allowed him to keep his sense of belonging alive. These letters ended up being the only bridge not just to his origins, but above all to his own identity. He felt so helpless when his sister failed to reply to his letters that ‘it even grieves me to the heart when I reflect upon it’ (17 February 1816). This sentimentality towards his family is in marked contrast with his attitude as an observer. Although Hutchinson cannot entirely detach himself emotionally from what he witnesses, there is a kind of Verfremdungseffekt in his writing, a journalistic objectification of the topics he covers, whereby the distance between himself and the other is never to be entirely spanned.

4. Prying into a Gentleman’s Private Correspondence: Issues of Intimacy, Confidentiality and Objectivity in Translation

Translating something as intimate and confidential as private letters has the potential to border on voyeurism. It raises issues that concern the ethics of translation, since the translator, unlike the casual reader, is supposed to leave no stone unturned in his struggle to reach communicative effectiveness. His labour consists in unveiling all meanings, in ransacking the secrets of the author’s mind, and, if necessary, in exposing the frailties of his body. The innermost thoughts are not fenced off from the translator’s dissecting tools. In this sense, translation is to be viewed as an act of intrusion and, simultaneously, of extrusion (in other words a disclosure and a close examination of that which pertains to the private sphere). The former constitutes a form of violation, of disrupting that which belongs to the realm of the confessional and becoming, to borrow the words of St. Augustine, ‘privy to the secrets of conscience’; whereas the latter manifests itself in the form of violence, destroying the integrity of the textual body, vivisecting it and exhibiting it to the public gaze. Nevertheless, such violence is mitigated by the transmutational properties of time. Over time, these texts have acquired the status of archaeological evidence, which does not necessarily mean that in this respect the position of the translator is less delicate. After all, he was not the addressee of the letters and that fact alone poses some problems. An outsider may find it difficult to penetrate the referential fabric of the letters. Unlike travel accounts or autobiographies written for publication, these texts were not intended for a wide readership. They were personal in tone and content, and the writer knew what responses to expect from his only reader living across the English Channel. The writer did not project an ideal or fictional reader to whom he might grant full right of access to the world recreated in his prose. As a consequence, his world remains sealed off from a larger audience and the translator is forced to break into the textual space like a trespasser. Implicatures lie hidden within this corpus of letters but they can never be entirely unravelled: whatever inferences the translator may draw, he or she will always lack the necessary background knowledge to establish their validity. Such implicatures, one must not forget, are a symptom of the close relationship existing between the two correspondents. Implicit meanings result from a common experience, excluding other readers. Fortunately, the text in question is generally far more objective and factual than one would suppose, and this alone gives the translator significant leverage over the hidden aspects of the correspondence. It is in the terrain of factuality and narrativity that the translator moves free from major constraints, although it is certain that the faithfulness of the representation can never be taken for granted (see Polezzi 2004: 124).

Of course one cannot expect to find in such letters a precise and exhaustive portrait of Beresford’s Lisbon, systematically organised in such a way as to cover all possible angles. What we get instead is a myriad of disparate images that can hardly be coalesced into one single picture. The reason is obvious: the stories he tells do not follow any thematic pattern, other than the fact that all of them revolve around the city itself. Apart from the town of Sintra, a popular tourist resort in the nineteenth century, where he spent some time ‘for the benefit of my Health which, thank God I have recovered beyond my expectation’ (14 June 1816), he never set foot outside of the capital (or at least there is no archival evidence of him doing so) and therefore he apparently did not know what was going on in the rest of the country. His letters lack the ‘horror and pity’ William Warre experienced as he crossed the country chasing after the fleeing French army and encountering ‘many people and children absolutely starving and living upon nettles and herbs they gathered in the fields’ (Warre and Warre 1909: 222). Not even Sintra, that ‘glorious Eden’ with its ‘views more dazzling unto mortal ken than those whereof such things the Bard relates’, as Byron wrote in his celebrated Childe Harolds Pilgrimage (1812), succeeded in enrapturing our author, who preferred to remain faithful to whatever notable occurrences Lisbon had to offer the outsider’s gaze.

Hutchinson’s short narratives appear scattered throughout the letters in a rather random way, and it is their reading as anecdotal collages, rather than as a set of tightly-woven, interrelated stories, that allows the reader to gain a taste of the spontaneity of the narration and the ingenuousness of the narrator. Although the anecdotal episodes themselves are self-contained and refer only to fragments of both individual and collective experiences in early nineteenth-century Lisbon, they play an important part in the process of historiographical reconstruction of the past. The historiographical value of the letters lies in the fact that they contain accounts that were neither censored nor doctored: no one ever scrutinised or edited the stories, which were simply committed to paper without any concern for accuracy, trustworthiness or factuality. The ensemble of letters forms a sort of scrapbook containing clippings or mementos that were never meant to be published. Such moments, however, were bound together by a common genetic code: they all emerged out of the drive for novelty, a drive partly explained by the way the processes of cultural displacement affected the author.

However, when it comes to Hutchinson’s values and ideological assumptions, they are not readily easy to detect. He preferred to position himself as an observer rather than as a commentator, and avoided getting entangled in elaborate considerations. If the translator wants to gain a glimpse of his ideas and opinions, then he/she must proceed by engaging in a symptomatic reading of the letters, observing, for example, the way he framed and skewed the subject matter, or how he got himself more or less emotionally involved with the events he narrated, or simply how he refrained from passing judgement on what he saw. Far from highly opinionated, the letters nonetheless give us the chance of peering into his personality, albeit obliquely.

Sometimes, however, he felt compelled to take sides, such as when he dared to air his own opinion on Beresford:

...being the weaker power & finding himself defeated in all his projects, it is reported that he is about leaving [sic] the Country, which in my opinion is the wisest step he can take, else a worse fate may attend him. (11 April 1817)

Such explicitness was rare. Shortly after the rebellion in Pernambuco, Brazil, Hutchinson censured himself for letting slip his views on the political turmoil that had gripped the country and decided to not to return to the issue for fear of reprisals:

You are well aware that it is necessary to be very cautious how we treat upon political subjects in this Country, for which reason I avoid any thing of this nature, only sofar [sic] as I suppose it may be connected with the interests of Mercantile Affairs. (4 July 1817)

His fears over the consequences of political dissent were not wholly misplaced. The horrific hanging of the Conspirators he watched on 22 October 1817, shortly before his departure, left a lasting impression on him:

[C]uriosity led me to be one of the spectators of this awful scene & however disgraceful hanging may be in England I can assure you it is not less so here. The Executioner is obliged to ride astride the shoulders of every man he hangs.—It was about four O’Clock in the Afternoon when the Prisoners arrived at the foot of the Gallows & was about midnight when this melancholy scene closed.—After the Execution of all 7 out of the 11 were burnt on a Funeral Pile on the spot.

Here, his voyeurism matched his horror as he came to the full presence of death—that dark character that kept resurfacing in his writing.

5. Translation as a Double Disjuncture

As we have seen, what was once private acquires, over time, an archaeological value: the status of artefact is conferred on language as privacy metamorphoses into historical evidence. In translation, chronological distance is of the essence: one might even argue that every translation has embedded in its genes an indelible anachronism. In sharp contrast with our contemporary world, where synchronous forms of communication and instantaneous access to information seem to have taken hold of the way we communicate with each other, the art and craft of translation necessitates the slow transit of time. It is a painstaking process of problem-solving, reflection and maturation. It takes time and perseverance. And when it involves the representation of past historical phenomena, as in the present case, the temporal dimension acquires critical significance. On the one hand, the translator cannot help excogitating his own condition as a historical subject: he becomes conscious of the relativity of values, of the differentials separating lifestyles, habitus (in the Bourdieusian sense) and Weltanschauungen. On the other, the target text ends up constituting the representation of a representation and, as such, it is, as Althusser once stated of ideology, a representation of an ‘imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence’ (Althusser 1971: 162). And here, in the translation process, the time gap separating source and target texts functions not so much as a thread linking both acts of writing along a historical continuum but rather as a lens, generating several simultaneous optical effects, where light shifts in unsuspected ways and where appearance must be understood in its composite and elusive nature. The world of the (author’s) ‘present’ can never be reconstructed as such in the target text. The translator necessarily operates in the time gap between two ‘presents’ (his/her own and the author’s). That is why the translator’s labour must be that of a conscious re-representation of history. This, of course, entails much scrupulous work of detailed historical research, as well as the ability to articulate it within the translational process.

The crux of the matter lies in being able to dwell in the interstices between two languages, two cultures and two historical periods. This is the translator’s privilege and the source of many of his tribulations. To be able to lay claim to the ability to contemplate the insurmountable differences that separate not only languages but also cultures, one is required to perceive how far one’s own consciousness depends not only on λόγος and on the chains of meanings that help one make sense of the world, but also on the points of rupture of discourse, those points where signifiers and signifieds (regardless of the language) can no longer encompass those phenomena that keep resisting appropriation, including the culture of the other. In other words, one must learn to come to terms with the undecidability which undermines the certainties offered by our ingrained logocentrism.

As the translator shifts, in the course of the translation process, from one logosphere (in the Barthesian sense) to another, he realises that the movement itself does not (actually, cannot) entail the loss or gain, subtraction or addition of meanings. Meaning does not constitute some sort of universal currency (that is, manifestations of a universal language common to all human beings) that can be subjected to a process of direct exchange or transaction. Meanings cannot migrate freely from one language to another. I can only subtract meanings within the system they belong to. Languages weave their own networks of meanings and the exact value of each meaning, if it can ever be assessed, is to be determined only symptomatically by the effects generated by its presence or absence in one particular social and cultural context. To believe in the transferability of the meaning and its capacity to survive as a whole in two distinct linguistic and cultural environments (as in a process of ecesis) is not to realise something that Derrida pointed out: that even within the same language meanings not only differ (a problem of spacing), but are forever deferred (which is the condition of their temporality). One of the main problems of translation, therefore, is not just spatiality but also temporality, particularly the historical condition of the texts.

And this, I think, poses an obstacle far more difficult to overcome, since it has to do with the impossibility for the translator to render two externalities compatible in one single (target) text. Just as Hutchinson was compelled, as an expatriate, to come to terms with the social and cultural reality of his host country[4] (which is, for all purposes, a question of spatiality), so the translator, like a migrant travelling through time, is forced to come to grips with an ancient world governed by laws long forsaken and now irretrievable (the question of temporality). And since both writer and translator are forever barred from a fully unmediated contact with the unconsciously lived culture of the Other, both seeing it as something external to themselves, though not necessarily negative, their attempts to assimilate cultural elements and national idiosyncrasies can only take place on the terrain of the imaginary, which enables them to crop, select, filter and reshape elements and idiosyncrasies in order to discursively tame the otherness. It is when the translator is trying to tackle texts of this nature that he feels – to allude to one of Derrida’s most quoted metaphors, borrowed from Shakespeare – that ‘time is out of joint’, namely that he is supposed to take up the writer’s voice, but without being able to adjust either to the discursive and ideological framework within which the texts once gained their coherence, or to the past ‘structure of feeling’ (to use one of Raymond Williams’s concepts of cultural analysis) that informed the emotions, thoughts and actions of the original writer (Williams 1965: 64-6).

Translators of travel writing therefore have to operate on a double disjuncture. On the one hand, they have to deal with the cultural gap that exists between the author and the people he visits (Hutchinson and the Portuguese), a gap which over-determines the perceptions, constructs, responses and projections of otherness of the British expat, but which -- since it is barely made explicit in the text -- can only be detected by means of a symptomatic reading. On the other hand, translators have to negotiate the disjunction that will always separate them from the time and the concrete conditions under which the texts saw the light of day -- a disjunction that is further amplified by the impossibility of mapping the exact location of the intersection of cultures which gives the letters their characteristic intercultural tension (see Cronin 2000: 6). Therefore, the translator is left with no choice but to try to overcome these two disjunctions, both of which constitute distinct moments of resistance to interpretation.

The translator’s path is strewn with obstacles, for the minute he or she starts translating the text that distinction is no longer clear: the two moments overlap and the barriers between them become blurred, since his or her gaze is constructed in and through the gaze of the expatriate. How can we then circumvent the limitations to translation that such a double disjuncture imposes? Of course a careful, detailed investigation into the empirical elements offered by the letters and the issues broached therein must always be conducted, but this is not enough: it can only be through a critical awareness of these tensions and resistances that translators may decentre themselves and avoid the pitfalls of identification and idealisation. It is this decentring at the core of translation that ends up being in itself a form of travelling. After all, ‘translatio’ in Latin means ‘carrying across’, ‘transporting’, ‘transferring’, and, in contrast to what we may think, it is not the source text that is ‘carried across’ to a target culture. It is rather the translator and his reader who are invited to venture across a frontier -- the frontier that sets the limits to their identities, values and representations, and that is both spatial and temporal.

In fact, the main challenges to the translation of these letters were posed by the problem of temporality, that is, by the difficulties of bridging the time gap. The first issue to be tackled was the stylistics of the Portuguese target text. It was not just a matter of finding the best equivalents and transferring contents from the source text into the target language without major semantic losses. It was also a matter of finding a style and a register that could somehow match the original ones. In order to do that, I compared the letters to similar archival and bibliographical sources in Portuguese. Two manuals of commercial correspondence proved invaluable: Arte da correspondência commercial ou modelos de cartas para toda a qualidade de operações mercantis [The Art of Commercial Letter Writing or Letter Templates for all Sorts of Trade Operations] (Anon.; 1824) and Monlon’s Arte da correspondência commercial ou escolha de cartas sobre o commercio [The Art of Commercial Letter Writing or a Selection of Business Letters] (1857), the only key style manuals of the day in this area still available for consultation in the Portuguese National Library. The analysis of the examples of letters allowed me to determine the way in which the target text was to be drafted.

One of the most complicated aspects I had to deal with was choosing the mode of address: the original letters invariably start with ‘Dear Brother’, and then the addressee is always referred to with the second person personal pronoun ‘you’. In Portuguese, this is not so linear. In the early nineteenth century, modes of address would have varied according not only to social class, age or degree of familiarity, but also to written language conventions. ‘You’ could be translated either as ‘Tu’ (too informal; the verb is conjugated in the second person singular), ‘Você’ (slightly more formal; the verb is conjugated in the third person singular), ‘Vossa Mercê’ (idem), or ‘Vós’ (more formal; verb conjugated in the second person plural), among several other possibilities. Back then, a relationship with a brother-in-law, close as it might have been, did not necessarily imply the use of the informal ‘tu’, since informality and closeness are not synonyms. The way Hutchinson closed the letters (‘Your ever Affectionate Brother’) bears witness to such emotional proximity, but it is far from being indicative of a relaxed, informal manner. The solution to the difficulty in ascertaining whether we were dealing with informality or politeness was partly given by the 1824 manual. The plural ‘Vós’ is used when addressing both singular and plural persons, but in some cases all we have is the initial ‘V—’, which could stand either for ‘Vós’, ‘Você’ or ‘Vossa Mercê’. When the ‘V—’; form occurs, the verb is conjugated in the third person singular, midway between formality and affable politeness. This was the form I resorted to throughout.

Another difficulty had to do with wording. The manuals proved useful in guiding my lexical choices. I wanted to give the translation a distinctive period flavour to represent the historical dimension of the original letters. For example, ‘company’ could be translated either as ‘sociedade’ or ‘empresa’, but these words barely appear in the 1824 manual, especially when referring to one’s own company. Instead, the commonest word is ‘caza’ [House] sometimes ‘caza de commercio’ (dated spelling), which I decided to adopt. Many more old-fashioned or outdated Portuguese words that appear in the manual were likewise retrieved: ‘embolço’ [imbursement]; ‘estimar’ [to believe; to guess];  ‘fazer-se de vella’ [to set sail]; ‘governo’ [management]; ‘sortimento’ [assortment]; ‘sortir’ [to sort; to provide]; ‘praça’ [exchange or financial centre; market]; ‘rogar’ [to beseech]. The manual was equally useful in providing formulaic language that was pretty close to some passages in Hutchinson’s letters: ‘Sacámos hoje sobre vós pelo importe da factura (…) L... a 60 dias á ordem de…’ [Today we drew on you for the sum of £… at sixty days]; ‘Vosso reverente servidor’ [Your very Obedient Servant]; ‘Por esta confirmamos a nossa circular de (…) desde a qual ainda não tivemos a satisfação de receber alguma vossa…’ [Without any of your Favors since mine of the … I have now to inform you…].

Another challenge was related to the commercial jargon both in English and in Portuguese. Nowadays commercial terminology in both languages is much more complex, but most of the neologisms that currently exist in Portuguese are English words. Back then, that influence was more tenuous. In any case, the search for the right equivalent would have always been time-consuming. ‘Bill’ alone, for instance, could be equivalent to as many things as ‘letra’, ‘letra de câmbio’, ‘saque’, ‘promissória’, ‘papel comercial’, ‘título de comércio’, ‘factura’, or ‘facturação’. If we multiply this by the wide spectrum of nomenclatures related to those areas of economic activity Hutchinson was directly or indirectly involved in, we have an idea of the complexity of the task.

To start with, there were the inner workings of the wool trade business. I had to unwind the ball of yarn of the English wool and worsted industry, including all the details concerning the different stages of the manufacturing process: recognising the provenance and differences in quality of the raw wool available in both the Portuguese and Spanish markets, the various patterns of the warp and weft, the way the cloth should be cut or dressed, specific types of woollen cloths, their designs and colours, and so on. One particular stumbling block was the enigmatic ‘37 R., 6 F., 4 S., 1 T. & 11 A.’ (letter dated 9 August 1816). It took me a while before I learnt from a magazine published in London in 1804 (Tilloch 1807: 239-42) that the initials did not stand for any English or Portuguese words, but for Spanish ones. They referred to the way Spanish wool (which also included Portuguese wool) was classified: Primera or Refina (R.), Fina (F.), Segunda (S.), Tercera (T.) and Añinos (A.).

Moreover, since conducting business ventures overseas back then was not without its risks, I had to acquaint myself with the idiom used in cargo and shipping insurance, learn about risk-assessment, shipping deadlines, storage conditions, bills of lading, types of merchant ships crossing the Atlantic, and so on. But then there are also taxes and duties, customs procedures and the requirements of port authorities, the valuation of the bales in the Cocket,[5] goods lodged at the Custom House not yet dispatched -- all of this wrapped up in a language of its own, which has to be patiently disassembled, explored, digested, and then reassembled and fine-tuned in the translation process. In order to penetrate that language I had to resort to historical research once more. I visited the ‘Torre do Tombo’ (the Portuguese National Archives) and consulted the records from the customs houses that existed in Lisbon at that time: the ‘Alfândega Grande do Açúcar’, the ‘Alfândega das Sete Casas’, the ‘Alfândega da Casa dos Cinco’ and the ‘Casa da Índia’, the first of which provided invaluable information about the duties on wools and worsted, the classification of wools and of all sorts of cloths, their quantities and provenance, and so on. In the records of the ‘Casa da Índia’, the inventory of the cargo of the French ship Le Commerciant [sic], seized in the summer of 1809, reminds us of the risks faced by merchants like Hutchinson.

I adopted a domesticating approach to a certain extent, adding explanatory footnotes whenever words, phrases or referents might challenge the modern reader’s understanding of the target text. However, since the Revista de Estudos Anglo-Portugueses is aimed at a scholarly readership, it proved unnecessary to insist on the explanation of cultural or linguistic aspects that they are supposed to be already acquainted with. Differences in style between early nineteenth-century and early twenty-first-century Portuguese are noticeable, but they do not make the text less intelligible. In any case, stylistic conventions should not pose a problem for all the scholars who are used to working with documents of that period. So I kept the footnotes to a minimum. The future publication of a book containing the complete correspondence of the Farrer family, this time aiming at a more general readership, will entail a different explanatory methodology, but not a different stylistic treatment.

6. Conclusions

Writing narratives of displacement and travel is in itself a translational act, where the author is always seeking to translate into his mother tongue the manifestations of the culture of the other.[6] The translator of travel writing, in turn, operates on a double disjuncture – the gap between the author and the visited culture, on the one hand, and the gap between the translator and the author, on the other – threefold if you include the inevitable temporal disjuncture. In the process, the translator is forced to question his identity, values and the representations of his own nation and people, especially if the original text is non-fictional and therefore stakes a claim to the immediacy and truthfulness of the experience. The translator thus has to achieve a tour-de-force in bridging all three gaps and rendering the text accessible to the contemporary reader. However, the meanings in the target text will always have but a spectral relation with the ones in the source text: they are constructed at the same time as a re-apparition of a former presence (that does not present itself as full presence) and as the apparition of a new presence –a new text in its own right. This distance between the source and target texts becomes more difficult to span when historical time – fissured as it has been, in this particular case, over these past two centuries by sudden ruptures and discontinuities – keeps eroding the paths that could render the source text recognisable to the reader: hence the importance of the translator’s historical consciousness and the necessity of articulating historical research with the translation process, since any translation of historical material that disregards the intelligibility of historical processes lacks the authority to stake claims to accuracy and credibility.

References

Althusser, Louis (1971) Lenin and Philosophy and Other Essays, trans B. Brewster, London, New Left Books.

Bethell, Leslie (1984) Colonial Brazil, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Borges de Macedo, Jorge (1963) Problemas da História da Indústria Portuguesa no Século XVIII, PhD diss, University of Lisbon, Portugal.

Casas Pardo, José (ed.) (1992) Economic effects of the European expansion, 1492-1824, Stuttgart, Steiner Verlag.

Cronin, Michael (2000) Across the Lines: Travel, Language, Translation, Cork, Cork University Press.

Fletcher, J. S. (1919) The Story of the English Town of Leeds, New York, Macmillan.

Gentzler, Edwin (1993) Contemporary Translation Theories, Clarendon, Multilingual Matters.

Glover, Michael (1976) “Beresford and His Fighting Cocks”, History Today 26, no. 4: 262-8.

Lopes, António (2009) “Cartas inéditas de um jovem burguês 1815-1817” (1.ª parte) [“Unpublished letters of a young bourgeois 1815-1817” (1st part)], Revista de Estudos Anglo Portugueses, no. 18: 93-133.

--- (2010) “Cartas inéditas de um jovem burguês 1815-1817” (2.ª parte) [‘Unpublished letters of a young bourgeois 1815-1817’ (2nd part)], Revista de Estudos Anglo Portugueses no. 19: 175-204.

Maxwell, Kenneth (2004) Conflicts and Conspiracies: Brazil and Portugal, 1750-1808, London, Routledge.

Newitt, Malyn (2004) Lord Beresford and British Intervention in Portugal, 1807-1820, Lisbon, Imprensa de Ciências Sociais.

Pijning, Ernst (1997) “Passive resistance: Portuguese diplomacy of contraband trade during King John V’s reign (1706-1750)”, Arquipélago – História 2, no. 2, 171-191.

Polezzi, Loredana (2004) “Between Gender and Genre: The Travels of Estella Canziani” in Perspectives on Travel Writing, Glenn Hooper and Tim Youngs (eds), Aldershot, Ashgate: 121-37.

Tilloch, Alexander (1807) The Philosophical Magazine: Comprehending the Various Branches of Science, the Liberal and Fine Arts, Agriculture, Manufactures and Commerce. vol. 27. London, R. Taylor.

books.google.pt/books?id=fp9JAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false (accessed 15 April 2011)

Warre William, and Edmond Warre (1909) Letters from the Peninsula, 1808-1812, London, John Murray.

Williams, Raymond (1965 [1961]) The Long Revolution, Harmondsworth, Penguin.

Notes

[1] Ref. No. E 140/34/1. Records of the Exchequer: King's Remembrancer: Exhibits: Farrer (and another) v Hutchinson (and others). Scope and content: Letters to Thomas Farrer from his brother-in-law, James Hutchinson (Jnr.), in Lisbon. Covering dates: 1815-1817.

[2] Manuel J. G. de Abreu Vidal. Análise da sentença proferida no juízo da inconfidencia em 15 de Outubro de 1817 contra o Tenente General Gomes Freire de Andrade, o Coronel Manoel Monteiro de Carvalho e outros... pelo crime de alta traição. Lisboa, Morandiana, 1820; José Dionísio da Serra. Epicedio feito, e recitado em 1822 no anniversario da sempre lamentável morte do General Gomes Freire de Andrade. Paris, 1832; Joaquim Ferreira de Freitas. Memoria sobre a conspiraçaõ [sic] de 1817: vulgarmente chamada a conspiração de Gomes Freire. London, Richard and Arthur Taylor, 1822.

[3] He outlived Thomas (who died circa 1820) and was appointed executor of his brother-in-law’s estate.

[4] A process E. Gentzler (1993: 37) calls ‘domestication’.

[5] A customs office in Britain where detailed records of exports were kept.

[6] On the relation between travel and translation see Lesa Scholl (2009) “Translating Culture: Harriet Martineau’s Eastern Travels” in Travel Writing, Form, and Empire: The Poetics and Politics of Mobility, Julia Kuehn and Paul Smethurst (eds), London, Routledge; Susan Bassnett and André Lefevere (1998) Constructing Cultures: Essays on Literary Translation, Clevedon, Multilingual Matters; and Susan Bassnett (2002) Translation Studies, London, Methuen.

 

About the author(s)

Antonio Manuel Bernardo Lopes, PhD in English Culture, MA in Anglo-Portuguese Studies (specialty in English Literature) and BA in Modern Languages and Literatures
(English and German), is Senior Lecturer (Professor-Adjunto) in English Studies with the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the School of Education
and Communication, University of Algarve, where he teaches English language, literature and culture, literary analysis and supervises ELT postgraduate projects. He is
also the director of studies of postgraduate programmes in ELT and translation. He is a researcher at the Centre for English, Translation and Anglo-Portuguese Studies
(FCHS/UNL and FLUP), working with the following research groups: Anglo-Portuguese Studies; Literature, Media and Discourse Analysis; British Culture and History. He
has also participated in several European-funded projects related to teacher training and computer-assisted language learning. He is currently the EUROCALL
representative in Portugal. His doctoral dissertation is entitled The Last Fight Let Us Face: Communist Discourse in Great Britain and the Spanish Civil War.

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Translating Holocaust Lives

By Paschalis Nikolaou (Ionian University, Greece)

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PASCHALIS NIKOLAOU was born in Alexandroupolis, northeastern Greece in 1979 and studied at the Universities of Hertfordshire and East Anglia. Articles on aspects of translation studies have appeared in academic journals and edited volumes. His poems, translations and reviews have been published in The London Magazine, MPT, Parnassus, and The Wolf, among others. With Maria-Venetia Kyritsi he co-edited Translating Selves: Experience and Identity Between Languages and Literatures (Continuum Books, 2008) and, with Richard Berengarten, the Selected Poems of Nasos Vayenas (The Perfect Order; Anvil Press Poetry, 2010) – a volume shortlisted for the Criticos Prize. His most recent publication is 12 Greek Poems after Cavafy (Shearsman Books, 2015). He currently lives in Corfu, where he is Lecturer in Literary Translation at the Ionian University.

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Interdisciplinarity and Translation Studies

By Evangelos Kourdis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

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Evangelos Kourdis is Associate Professor of Semiotics in Translation in the Department of French Language & Literature, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. He holds a University degree from the Department of French Language and Literature, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), and part of his studies were at the Department of Linguistics and Didactics and at the Institute of Experimental Phonetics at the University of Strasbourg (France). He has master’s degree in Sociolinguistics from the Interdisciplinary Program of Postgraduate Studies in Sciences and Technologies of Language and Communication of the Faculty of Philosophy at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and a master’s degree (D.E.A.) in Semiotics from the Department of Sciences of Languages at the University of Rouen (France). He also holds a PhD in the Sciences and Theories of the Language and Communication of the Faculty of Philosophy at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

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Translation as Political Act/ La traduction comme acte politique/ La traduzione come atto politico

By The Editors

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Sette poesie di Fëdor Sologub

By Linda Torresin (Università Ca' Foscari Venezia, Italy)

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Translating and Interpreting Linguistic and Cultural Differences in a Migrant Era

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Traduzione e paratesto

By Francesca Piselli (Università di Perugia)

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Translators’ Identities within Approaches to Translation Sociology:

A Comparative Study of Trainee Translators

By Farzaneh Farahzad & Hamid Varmazyari (Allameh Tabataba'i University, Iran)

Abstract & Keywords

Undoubtedly, individuals contribute to the construction of social identities and society in turn is influential in forming personal identities. This impact also holds true of translators and can be particularly substantiated within Bourdieu’s sociology and strengthened by Actor-network Theory (ANT). Bourdieu’s habitus, for instance, can associate the notions of identity and agency, which have obvious bearings on translator training. Further, ANT’s network-based conception of social phenomena defines interrelationships and power distribution, hence identity and agency, differently than Bourdieu’s and it can present a rather novel picture of the training setting through its key notions, despite the fact that the idea of constructivism in this theory has already informed translation pedagogy. Looking at the notion of trainee translators’ identities from a sociological perspective, the present study attempts to compare pertinent parameters from Bourdieu’s sociology and ANT to see their correspondence with a West-East distinction. Then, to validate our theoretical discussions regarding the social differences interpretable through sociological insight, and to illuminate how trainee translators’ personal, social, and professional identities are interrelated and how these identities are probably influenced by and influencing translation teaching practices, we carry out a comparative survey of Iranian and Italian students, the results of which indicate that the Iranian students tend to have a more socially-oriented identity, while Italians show a stronger personally-oriented identity. Moreover, with respect to their professional identity, the Italian students’ mean identity score was relatively higher and the microanalysis of three age/gender groups revealed, except for one age group of Italian students, that professional identity correlated positively with personal and social identities of both groups of students. All in all, the findings suggest that it could be fruitful to adopt translator training methods which take into consideration aspects of the student’s identity.

Keywords: identity, agency, Bourdieu, sociology, Actor-network Theory, trainee translators

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[M]y discovering my own identity doesn’t mean that I work it out in isolation,
but that I negotiate it through dialogue, partly overt, partly internal, with others
.
Charles Taylor, 1992

1. Introduction

Translation sociology has already become one of the in-vogue research interests and areas in both Translation and Interpreting Studies (TS) and Sociology, giving way to understanding and interpreting both old issues in innovative ways and new ones arising from the nature of the diverse sociopolitical and cultural world today. The interdisciplinary nature of research in this area has the potential to encourage scholars to carry out investigations into, inter alia, the interface between self, groups, and society with respect to translational issues, concerns and practices. Analyzing sociological approaches to translation can shed light on how they perceive identities, and by extension trainee translators’ identities, because within each approach translators and translatorial agents can be positioned in specific social roles, which gives them certain social functions that in turn contributes to the construction of their identities.

As the roles translators play vary based on contextual factors, translators can and do have multiple identities including personal, social, and professional identities. In addition, identity is an essential concept in education and by extension in translator training because [i]dentities are the traits and characteristics, social relations, roles, and social group memberships that define who one is’ (Oyserman, Elmore and Smith 2012: 69), a definition of the term which indicates the roles of both self and society in the formation of identities. Basically, a reciprocal interaction exists between self and society through a power and identity dynamic where ‘people contrast themselves with others’ and where they also ‘include others in their self-judgments’ (Oyserman, Elmore and Smith 2012: 83).

It goes without saying that sociology, and specifically identity, which has been mostly neglected in translator training, can provide important insights if we reflect on the myriad interfaces between training, trainers, trainees, translators and society from diverse standpoints. Clearly, the recent sociological turn in TS has encouraged both scholars and practitioners to explore the relationship between the agents involved in the translation process, product and function and to acknowledge the complexities and subtleties of these relationships, which in turn, has the potential to influence the production and reception of translations. The same applies to translator training as it includes process, product, and function and can be looked at from the viewpoint of one or more of these elements.

Chesterman (2006: 12) aptly divides the sociology of translation into three subdivisions: ‘the sociology of translations as products’, ‘the sociology of translators’ and ‘the sociology of translating, i.e., the translation process.’ The present study puts an emphasis on the second of these categories, namely, the sociology of translators with respect to the sociological views of Pierre Bourdieu, and Latour and others’ Actor-network Theory. The sociology of translators and the sociology of translating appear to be tightly interrelated since, translators, as hands-on agents with their own beliefs, interests, and individualities, play a fundamental part in the translation process, which, together with the feedback they receive from translation users, affect and shape their concept of themselves. It follows, then, that sociological and psychological aspects of translation are closely associated: the social interaction and status of translators impacts their mental make-up, their very selves, and vice versa.

Furthermore, from a Bourdiusian perspective, translators are always in a sway between their own habitus, comprising dispositions and mental structures resulting from their past experiences, and the norms and structures present in the field of translation and other fields encompassing it. This said, translators are agents and subjects within different social spheres, one of which is that of translation. Bourdieu presents a full definition of habitus as a:

System of lasting, transposable dispositions which, integrating past experiences, functions at every moment as a matrix of perceptions, appreciations, and actions and makes possible the achievement of infinitely diversified tasks, thanks to analogical transfers of schemes permitting the solution of similarly shape problems, and thanks to the unceasing corrections of the results obtained dialectically produced by those results. (Bourdieu 1977: 82-83)

Habitus can also be simply defined as the internal tendencies on the part of agents, acquired over since from childhood, ‘through the experience of social interactions by process of imitation, repetition, role-play and game participation’ (Swartz 2002: 63), that act on their actions and reactions, behaviors and attitudes. Translators’ internal/external struggles as described above draw on the crux of Bourdieu’s sociology, the dualism of agency-structure, for which Bourdieu offers a solution, i.e., dismissing the deterministic and at the same time the arbitrary nature of actions through his notion of habitus.

Thus, starting with Bourdieu’s inter-related theoretical concepts that have obvious bearings on the notion of identity, we will then see how Actor-network Theory (ANT) locates identity-related implications and how the two are different and where they possibly meet. Finally, we will present and analyze the results of a survey conducted on Iranian and Italian undergraduate trainee translators to see how different aspects of their identities are correlated. Since habitus is ‘the performative dimension of identity’ (Schneider and Lang 2014: 92), the survey results will also help to reveal the habitus of Iranian and Italian students at large. Furthermore, there are items in the questionnaire that concern participants’ dispositions, roles, capital, and acts that are all related in one way or another to Bourdieu’s sociology and/or to ANT. Bottero’s (2010) Bourdieu-based components of identity, which will be explained in 1.2, also signify some overlap and relation between this study’s theoretical ground and its empirical part. We are hopeful that the findings of this study will have implications, inter alia, for training translators because identity is a key concept in teaching and learning and in enhancing their quality.

 Hoyle et al. (1999: 47, as cited in Snel Trampus 2002: 42) hold that Westerners tend to develop self-dependent characteristics, whereas Easterners incline towards interdependence and we can see to what extent this view holds true for the identity aspects of the population of the empirical part of the present study, i.e., Iranian and Italian trainee translators. This general distinction, arising from socialization practices, between Western individualistic societies and Eastern collectivist societies has also been documented by other scholars such as Singelis (1994), Johnson (1993), Bengston et al. (2000), and Schaller (2009).

1.1 Research Questions and Hypotheses

This research project sought to find adequate answers to the following questions:

Q1: How similar/different are Bourdieu’s sociology and ANT when it comes to the issues of agency and identity?
Q2: To what extent are trainee translators’ personal and social identities related to their professional identities? And how do Iranian and Italian trainee translators differ in terms of their identity?

These questions led us to put forward the following hypotheses:

H1: There is a significant relationship between personal/social aspects of identity and those of professional identity.
H2: Iranian undergraduate trainee translators tend to have well-developed interdependent identities whereas Italian undergraduates tend to have well-developed self-dependent identities.
H3: Iranian and Italian trainee translators differ in terms of their sense of their own identity.  

1.2 Identity Definition and Types

We shall begin by defining different types of identity. Personal, individual, group, collective, gender, national, linguistic, cultural, and professional are probably the most established terms with which we refer to identity. Simply put, identity can be defined as what makes an individual/group distinct from others when looked at from a shared dimension such as personality, gender, nationality, culture, etc. Interestingly, this way of defining identity closely resembles the definition of culture, foregrounding the proximity of the two concepts. Both culture and identity find realization in what they are not (referring to); in excluding and in contrast with others.

Identity has both individual and collective manifestations. In other words, individuals have their own identity, which distinguishes them from other individuals while individuals are members of social groups which are different from other groups. Common to both manifestations is the dichotomy between ‘self’ and ‘other’. The distinction becomes more significant when we note that societies vary in the degree to which they are more individualist or collectivist. It follows that educational practices should take these differences into consideration. Camilleri and Malewska-Peyre (1997: 43) present a narrow sense of culture, ‘as the configuration of cultural elements that specify human groups and distinguish one group from the other (Brown, 1965; Bronfenbrenner, 1969; Danziger, 1970; Malewska-Peyre & Tap, 1991).’

Translators’ identities can be seen as forming through their belonging to, among others, institutions, translators’ groups and training spaces as well as in the roles they play individually in their social interactions and in the cultural constructions and representations the act of translation may entail. In other words, translators’ selves are functions of their social identity and at the same time, they give identity, through their actions, decisions, and beings, to the communities to which they belong. The approaches to sociology that attempt to study the self, according to Stets and Bruke (2003), are differentiated in the social or societal contexts in which individuals’ actions give rise to social structures and concurrently individuals are provided with ‘feedback’ that has a transformative effect on them. This process is similar to seeing one’s self in the eyes of others, giving self a shared meaning combined from self-reflection and others’ observations.

Self carries various identities depending on the given situation where certain social roles are performed. A translator, for example, can be identified as professional in their community, an expert by academics, a family member at home, a man/woman of culture by authorities and so forth (Tan 2012). This implies that in social interactions, only parts of an individual's identity are involved in any given situation (Stets and Burke 2003: 8). An immediate implication of this view of translator training as a series of social situations is that trainee translators construct their identities in the educational situations they experience.

As mentioned previously, a feature that makes research into identity fascinating yet demanding is the fact that this concept lies at the interface of sociology and psychology, two huge and influential sciences. It is also a reason why teaching is such a complex endeavor. Similarly, translation is both a social and a psychological endeavor.

The three types of identities explored in this study need to be defined here. Personal identity can be explained simply as how we define ourselves. Social identity, according to Tajfel (cited in Ashmore, Jussim and Wilder 2001: 6) is ‘that part of an individual’s self-concept which derives from his knowledge of his membership in a social group (or groups) together with the value and emotional significance attached to that membership.’ Finally, professional identity in general is someone’s way of looking at themselves in terms of the values of the profession they are trained in or are members of. ‘Professional identity is often dictated by rigid professional codes of ethics’ (Rudvin 2006: 182).

Although Bourdieu himself does not seem to have explicitly defined identity, scholars have investigated this concept based on his theories. For example, Bottero (2010) argues that three components of identity, the reflexive, collective, and dispositional, can be conceived based on Bourdieu’s theory of practice, which points to the emergence of identity from three sources: ‘the interrelations between habitus and field’, ‘the intersubjective relationship between agents’ (Bottero 2010: 6), and one’s dispositions. The dispositional, collective, and reflexive components represent personal, social, and professional identities. The first two are self-explanatory but the third can be explained as the way one’s habitus is related to one’s performance in the social field – for example in the field of translator training. Similarly, as Cressman (2009) points out, the interactions between actors in networks define their identity and because actors can at the same time belong to different networks and depending on the way these interact, their identities can vary. Therefore, in both theories we can consider multiple identities for translators and trainee translators.

2. Literature Review

A group of researchers has investigated the role and the impact of a certain type of identity on translation products and translators’ performance. This group includes Qun Li (2014), who looked at the ‘influence of translators’ cultural identity on the translation of Lun Yu’, which is ‘a book of quotations which mainly records the words and deeds of Confucius and his disciples.’ This research concludes that components comprising a translator’s identity influence his/her translation. A similar study was carried out by Dionysios Kapsaskis (2011). As an example of how the professional identity of translators is influenced by industrial changes, Kapaskis (2011: 163) focuses on the way in which subtitling quality has decreased in recent years, particularly because of ‘outsourcing and the introduction of template subtitling files.’ Kapaskis reflects on how such changes should be considered in translator training. On the other hand, there are studies that have gone the other way round, namely, they have probed the influence of translation on communities, norms, and identities of different types. However, such studies are beyond the scope and the primary aims of the present article.

Among the studies carried out using either Bourdieu’s or ANT theories or both, the following are particularly relevant to the issue of identity:

The first is Simeoni’s (1998) pioneering study, considered ‘the locus classicus in translation studies for any work pertaining to translatorial habitus’ (M. Vorderobermeier 2014: 12), in which he investigated ‘the intellectual biography and norms of translators under the “who?” question, or Lefevere’s concept of patronage in revealing the social context, enabling (or discouraging) translations under the “with whose help” question’ (Tahir Gürçağlar 2013: 138). Williams (2013: 104) points out that Simeoni believes that ‘a range of social and professional norms’ influence translators’ decisions but that translators are not passively subject to norms. Contrary to Hermans’ view, Simeoni also doubts that translation can be considered a field (Williams 2013: 104). 

Moira Inghilleri (2003; 2005) has also drawn on Bourdieu’s concepts of field and habitus to ‘model the habitus of interpreters in UK asylum proceedings’, locating interpreters in ‘“zones of uncertainty” in complying with fluid translational norms’ (Pöchhacker 2013:64).  

Buzelin’s article ‘Translations “in the making”’ (2007), on the other hand, draws on ANT, and argues for a process-oriented view of translation. She merges ANT with ethnography in order to trace each stage in the translation process of a number of case-studies of literary works. One major conclusion she makes is that ‘Latour’s thinking’ can have two interpretations: a ‘strong form’ and ‘a weaker one’. This weaker interpretation can be applied to TS as ‘a research methodology’ to analyze translation as ‘a production process’ (2007: 165). Latour’s network analysis, Buzelin concludes, helps us to understand the reasons for translations as they are, where the features of translation as a product and the way it is dispersed connect with how ‘linguistic/stylistic decisions’ are studied (Buzelin 2007:165).

Chesterman (2006: 13) cites a number of other studies that have employed Bourdieu’s concepts in analyzing translation-oriented research. These include Jean-Marc Gouanvic’s (2002) application of ‘Bourdieu’s model’ to study ‘the emergence of science fiction as a new genre in France after World War II, under the influence of translation’ where he focuses on ‘economic factors, key translators and publishers, marketing practices and book clubs’ which ‘gave rise to a new literary genre in France, not on the actual translating process itself.’ Likewise, Gouanvic (2005) applies Bourdieu’s sociology to analyze the influence of judicial fields on American and French literary fields in which American literature was translated in France during the 19th and 20th centuries. Chesterman also discusses Heilbron’s (2000) study in which he analyzes ‘the international flows of translated books between core and peripheral cultures, as part of a broader globalization process’ using Bourdieu’s sociology (Chesterman 2006: 13).

In his admirable work, Willem Schinkel (2007) compares Bourdieu’s relational sociology with Latour’s relationist sociology to see how their perceptions of sociology vary. Schinkel concludes that Bourdieu and Latour should not be seen as belonging to two different paradigms of sociology; rather they are two ‘distinct positions within a discourse on the relational’:

For Bourdieu, realism takes the real to be relational. The notion of the relational is so central to Bourdieu that he preferred to speak not of his ‘theory’ but rather of a ‘system of relational concepts’ (Schinkel 2007: 712).

This relationality is, for instance, visible in the relations between the different types of capital that Bourdieu speaks of, as well as in the interconnectedness of his concepts of habitus, capital, doxa, and illusio. 

Szu-Wen Cindy Kung (2009) adopts ANT and Bourdieu’s concept of capital to explore the agency of translation actors and networks with respect to translations of contemporary Taiwanese novels in the United States after the 1980s. A major argument of her research is that

the subvention network, formed by agents who are in both the source and target cultures and who have individual social power, can be effective in translating and exporting a lesser-known literature, particularly with respect to text selection and the possibility of publication. (Kung 2009: 134)

Finally, Farahzad and Varmazyari (2017) have applied Bourdieu’s sociology, particularly his concepts of habitus and capital, to translator training. They emphasize the role of socialization in the construction of habitus, which together with the capital trainee translators can gain, are both part of, and influential in, their specialization in the field of translator training.

2.1 Bourdieu’s Sociology

Unquestionably, Pierre Bourdieu’s sociology has been applied in TS more extensively than other sociological theories. His structuralist orientation, reflected in his practice theory and related concepts of agency, field, habitus, capital, doxa and illusio, leaves little doubt of the relevance of his ideas to the sociological analysis of identity, given that, as social agents, individuals work to create social structures which construct their identity in return. It is quite similar to the relationship between the structures of any given field and the agents within that field, while the habitus of agents in the field are ‘structured structures predisposed to function as structuring structure’ (Bourdieu 1997: 72).

Habitus is structured based on one’s past experiences and it structures one’s present and future; it is structuring. Based on this structure, habitus creates beliefs, practices, and feelings and it is structured by existing conditions (Grenfell 2008: 51). Habitus, as mentioned above, operates along with other factors. For what we know as practice, Bourdieu presents an equation as follows: [(habitus) (capital)] + field = practice (Grenfell 2008: 51).

This equation conveys the interconnectedness of Bourdieu’s three key concepts. The interaction between habitus (‘one’s dispositions’), capital (which determines ‘one’s position in a field’) and the ‘current status’ of the intended ‘social arena’ (which is the field) results in ‘practice’ (Grenfell 2008: 51). Habitus helps us shape our perspective towards the social world in a rather revolutionary way. It intends to resolve essential questions of belonging to regular social practices and the feeling of freedom which contradicts our decision-making based on the prediction of others’ behavior and attitudes. This is Bourdieu’s starting point when he asked: when behavior is the product of obeying others, how can it be controlled (Bourdieu 1990: 56)? This is to ask how can there be a reconciliation between ‘social structure and individual agency’ (Grenfell 2008: 50). By the same token, Stets and Burke (2003: 9) write:

[…] examining the nature of interaction between identities means addressing both social structure and agency. We must go back and forth and understand how social structure is the accomplishment of actors, but also how actors always act within the social structure they create.

Bourdieu’s habitus, as interpreted by Grenfell (2008), employs an analogy of a ‘competitive game’, or ‘field of struggles’, resembling each social field of practice. In this game, individuals, groups and institutions compete for better positions. Social agents learn the rules of the game gradually. They are only equipped with their own points of view. The choices of actions here are, according to Bourdieu, not conscious or rational, unlike the accounts in ‘rational choice theory.’ Rather, they are made out of a ‘feel for the game’, i.e., Bourdieu’s notion of illusio. They take time to develop and they are never perfect. Their feel for the game is, in fact, their understanding the social field’s regularities (Grenfell 2008: 54).

As Grenfell (2008: 61) points out, the essential element of Habitus is relation. Unlike other approaches to sociology, Bourdieu’s habitus maintains the relation between dualisms instead of reducing them. It has other advantages over similar concepts attempting to integrate dualisms like agency-structure, for which the notion of ‘structuration’ has been proposed by Giddens. Whereas habitus allows both individual and social dimensions in the agency-structure dualism and the relation between them, structuration ‘brings together structure and agency but at the cost of their analytical integrity, disabling the capacity to capture either’ (Grenfell 2008: 61)

2.2 Actor-network Theory  

Actor-network Theory (ANT) was developed by Bruno Latour, Michel Callon and John Law in the 1980s, and has aroused considerable interest among researchers in different fields. ANT has undergone some modifications: originally it aimed at studying ‘technological innovation and scientific progress, as part of the sociology of science’ (Chesterman 2006: 21), but it has increasingly been applied to other sociological fields, including studies of identity. ANT takes a constructivist approach and in this respect, it shows some resemblance to the social constructivism in TS, initiated by Király (2000) in translator training.

The main tenet of the social constructivism paradigm is the construction of knowledge through social interactions, including those in classrooms, hence the significance of collaboration and group work. Thus, it can be argued that social constructivism, and by extension ANT, favors a collective approach to identity and its construction due to its concepts of network and translation.

Chesterman’s (2006: 22) description of ANT is the most useful, especially because he adopts the theory to translation, if only as an initial attempt:

The central notion of an actor (or agent or actant) is understood to include both human and nonhuman agents: people interact with machines, computers, books etc., and all these form part of the socio-technical network in which science is done, or in which some new engineering project is undertaken. The network has no centre, all the elements are interdependent. Important roles are played by knowledge systems and by economic factors, as well as by people and by technical aids. Causality is not unidirectional: any node in the network can affect any other node. The theory distinguishes various kinds of relation between the nodes of a network […].

This explanation highlights some of the features of ANT that distinguish it from Bourdieu’s approach: especially the fact that it is non-structuralist as there is no center that keeps the agents in place. Rather, actants covering both human and non-humans (unlike Bourdieu’s focus on human agents) interact within networks whose nodes have bidirectional relations. The interaction between agents or actants is called translation, a concept which ANT borrows from Michel Serres, as Barry (2013: 414) has pointed out. ‘“[T]ranslation” is the way social actors interact so that some can later speak “on behalf of” others (so that translation is at the core of all politics)’ (Windle and Pym 2011: 9). Latour (2005: 57-58) considers agency with a focus on mediators and intermediaries, a dichotomy ANT uses to describe actants. Intermediaries do not affect the forces and meanings they are to transfer but mediators can modify them (Latour, 2005). Thus, the identity of actants is dependent on their roles as mediator or intermediary, which can also change into each other.

2.3 Bourdieu and ANT’s Convergences and Divergences

Most theories are developed by theorists through the evaluation of previous theories and approaches. Latour is no exception for he looked critically at Bourdieu’s sociology and developed his notions of generalized symmetry and the vanishing of boundaries, both of which have influenced the conception of agency and identity within ANT. Generalized symmetry refers to an ‘equal treatment of humans vs. non-humans’ (Luck 2013: 228). In addition, the interconnected nature of networks, where no boundaries can be distinguished, is in contrast to Bourdieu’s sociology that highlights the role of boundaries including capitals, positions, etc. all denoting differentiation. Latour’s sociology reduces society to a network and replaces the agent with an actant. What Latour claims is that ‘in “modern” sociology, society is both too weak and too strong over against objects that are either too strong or too arbitrary’ (Schinkel 2007: 716). In contrast to what Latour calls modern sociology, he describes Bourdieu’s sociology as classic.

There have been other evaluations of Bourdieu’s theories, both in relation to translation and not, such as that by Kung who writes:

Bourdieusian approaches tend to reduce the agent to the translator, and only consider agency from the individualistic perspective (Buzelin 2005:215). When more mediators are included in the research, Bourdieu’s theory lacks the clear link required to connect people together, and it does not have the strength to examine an agency consisting of multiple different kinds of actor. This missing link can be supported by Latour’s Actor-Network Theory. (Kung 2009: 126)

As noted by Inghilleri (2005) and Kung (2009), ANT can play a supportive role for Bourdieu’s sociology. Kung (2009: 126) underlines the distinction between Bourdieu and Latour vis-à-vis the issue of agency of several actors mentioned above:

In ANT, the “actors” can be both people (such as the translator, the editor, the publisher) and artifacts (e.g. the source text and the translation). The existing actors “recruit” or “introduce” new actors into the network; the more powerful actors can recruit more actors.

As Schinkel (2007: 714) points out, non-human actors are always taken into consideration in Latour’s works. Thus, as in Bourdieu's theories, power relations are at work in ANT’s actors and in the notion of translation that entails the exercise of power represented in the modification that takes place. But, as we stated above, while Bourdieu’s ‘field’ denotes a center/periphery, ANT’s network has no center.

3. Method

This study aims to look at translators’ identities from a sociological perspective. Starting from a general assumption of the existence of distinctions between Western and Eastern identities, we conducted an identity survey of Iranian and Italian undergraduate trainee translators, to test our hypotheses and to see to what extent the findings would fall within Bourdieu and ANT theories. Additionally, the correlation between personal, social and professional identities among students was briefly examined.    

3.1 Participants

A total of 189 trainee translators participated in our survey: 85 Iranians and 104 Italians. The students were from four Iranian and four Italian universities: Arak University, Allameh Tabataba’i University, Imam Khomeini International University, and University of Kashan in Iran; and Forli Campus of the University of Bologna, University of Macerata, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, and University of Trento in Italy. In line with each country’s curricular program, Iranian junior and senior students and Italian second and third year students were asked to take part. The age and gender distribution of the two groups of students are given in Tables 1 and 2 below.

Age

Iranian

Italian

19 or younger

16

4

20-23

66

98

24-29

7

2

30-39

2

0

Table 1. Age distribution of participants

 

Gender

Iranian

Italian

Female

62

89

Male

23

14

Prefer not to say

0

1

Table 2. Gender distribution of participants

3.2 Questionnaire

The questionnaire developed for this study was for the most part adopted from Cheek and Briggs’ (2013) AIQ-IV. However, the items concerning students’ professional identity were chiefly developed by ourselves (see the Appendix below for a copy of the questionnaire).

AIQ-IV is a questionnaire that measures identity orientation in the four aspects of personal, relational, social and collective identities. Our abridged questionnaire comprised 28 items, plus 4 introductory items requesting students’ personal information, and was administered online. For identity items, we used a five-level Likert scale with answers ranging from “Not important to my sense of who I am” to “Extremely important to my sense of who I am.” Out of the 28 items concerning aspects of identity, 16 were aimed at assessing students’ professional identity, 7 dealt with their personal identities, while 5 were concerned with analyzing the social aspect of their identity. In the original AIQ-IV questionnaire, there are 10 special items that are not scored on scales, two of which were included in our modified questionnaire.

3.3 Data Collection and Analysis Procedure

The research population was provided with the online questionnaire with an extended time period within which to respond and the responses were recorded both separately for each respondent and in a summary of all responses. To help our analysis, the responses of Iranian and Italian students were recorded separately. The data analysis was conducted by calculating the mean identity scores (1≤score≤5) for both groups of students regarding different aspects of their identity. Then, the total mean scores were compared and interpreted. Additionally, based on the total scores of the responses to each item, items that showed marked distinctions among the two groups of students were singled out as potential indicators of a number of meaningful and enlightening contrasts.

Comparing the mean values for all items, the items whose mean scores showed a certain variation were identified and marked for this purpose. The procedure was as follows: first, in each identity aspect, the differences between the mean scores (in personal, social and professional identity aspects) and the score for each single item were calculated for both datasets, then the average score of the lowest difference and the highest difference among the whole items of each identity aspect was obtained, and finally, any item whose inter-group difference score was higher than the value of the average score was marked. The resultant criterion values were .39, .55, and .33 for personal, social, and professional identity aspects respectively. Finally, a microanalysis of identity scores based on three age groups of 19 or younger, 20-23 (male), and 24-29 years old was carried out in order to find out more about the correlation of the identity aspects. Because the majority of students in both datasets were female and belonged to the age group 20-23, it was highly likely that their identity aspects were in line with the overall identity scores, so we decided that analyzing the male students’ identities alone could prove instructive enough.

4. Results of Empirical Data and Discussion

Figure 1 compares Iranian and Italian undergraduate translator trainees in three aspects of their identities.

img1

Figure 1. A Comparison of trainee translators' three identity aspects based on mean Likert scale values

As Figure 1 shows, the Iranian and Italian students surveyed in this study, show a contrast in terms of their personal and social identities where the former tend to have a stronger social identity and the latter a more marked sense of personal identity. This implies that Italian students are more inclined towards individualism and self-dependence while Iranian students prefer interdependence; a difference that may reflect overall differences between Iranian and Italian, or Eastern and Western, societies. As for the correlation between personal and social identities with professional identity, no meaningful correlation was observed, indicating that either there are more factors that have to be taken into account or some complementary data is required.

4.1 Items with Marked Divergence

We stated above that a special analysis was carried out of those items which produced significantly different based on the overall scores between Iranians and Italians. The following items were selected for further interpretation in each aspect of identity.

4.1.1 Personal Identity

The following two items were detected as having marked distinction between the two groups:

Item 1: My personal values and moral standards
Item 7: Places where I live or where I was raised

img2

Figure 2. A comparison of personal identity marked items using mean Liker scale values

The Iranian students' score was significantly higher than their Italian counterparts in Item 1 but lower in Item 7, which might indicate that although Iranian students display a somewhat more social and less personal identity orientation, they might care more their values and morality issues. On the other hand Italian students felt more intensely and emotionally about their living environments.

4.1.2 Social Identity

Only one item was identified as marked regarding the social identity aspect:

Item 2: My popularity with other people 

img3

  Figure 3. A comparison of social identity marked items using mean Likert scale values

The results shown in Figure 3 imply that Italians are less concerned about their social popularity. Popularity, as social capital, is a way to earn symbolic capital, which in turn can be arguably converted into other types of capital, particularly cultural capital.   

4.1.3 Professional Identity

 

There were two items identified as marked with respect to professional identity, which are listed below:

Item 23: Being considered a reliable and organized co-worker
Item 24: My (future) job despite its difficulties and low income

img4

Figure 4. A comparison of professional identity marked items using mean Likert scale values

Although Italian students showed a higher propensity for individual work, they seem to value professional qualities when working with other people to a higher extent, which is indicated in Item 23; they consider it more important to be valuable co-workers through being reliable and organized. Being reliable is a highly interpersonal attribute while being organized tends to be a personal characteristic yet with palpable outcomes for the people around us. Furthermore, in reference to Item 24, Italian students seemed to consider their future job much more important than Iranian students, a result which could imply two things: first, they see their job as a main contributor to their identity; second, they would prefer to have (and probably see better prospects in) a translation-related job. Overall, in the majority of the professional identity items, the Italian students demonstrated a stronger orientation, which may indicate that they generally have a better image of their field-related abilities and prospects for developing their careers in translation.

4.2 Correlations between Identity Aspects

As a final step in this survey, we explored the correlation between personal and social identity aspects on the one hand with professional identity on the other. To this end, three age groups of trainee translators were compared in terms of their mean identity scores. Figure 5 and Figure 6 display the findings, indicating a chiefly positive correlation between the three identity aspects in the age groups analyzed – except for Italian students of 19 years or younger. Interestingly, professional identity scores were inversely proportional to the students’ age. Another finding was that because the comparison of the mean scores of personal and social identities in these three age groups did not differ significantly across the two national groups, we can conclude that the excluded age group, female students aged 20-23, had a significant influence on the overall identity variation between Iranian and Italian students. 

img5

Figure 5. Correlations between Iranian students’ identity aspects in different age groups

img6

Figure 6. Correlations between Italian students’ identity aspects in different age groups

 

5. Conclusions

The study has sought to shed light on translators’ identities from the perspective of two sociological theories: Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of practice and Actor Network Theory. We also carried out a survey in which aspects of trainee translators’ identities were explored on the basis of a comparison between Iranian and Italian students. The different items of the questionnaire, as well as the identity aspects it addressed, were related to the concepts discussed in the sociological theories.

The results of our empirical analysis point to a stronger social identity and habitus for Iranian students and a stronger personal and professional identity orientation and habitus on the part of the Italian students; a result which suggests that social activities in translator training may be particularly suitable in an Iranian context, while personal activities maybe more suitable when training translators in an Italian context. In addition, we found a predominantly positive correlation between personal and social identities with professional identity among the age groups we decided to study for the purpose of correlation analysis.

With reference to our research questions, we are now in a position to draw some conclusions:  

  1. Bourdieu’s sociology tends to be applicable, based on Chesterman's classification, to the sociology of translators and translations but ANT lends itself to be used in the sociology of translating, as it chiefly concerns the translation process. Considering the orientation to process, product, and function that are significant when looking at both translation and translator training, we may consider ANT to be essentially process-oriented, whereas Bourdieu’s concepts tend to be suitable for analyzing process, product, and function. Furthermore, the issue of power is visible and inherent in both theories: in Bourdieu, it is the capital that allows agents to move up to better positions and in ANT, powerful actors can recruit more actors whether humans or non-humans. More powerful agents, thus, have a stronger role, in determining the identity of the subordinate agents or the identity of fields and networks on a larger scale. That ANT gives agency to non-humans can reflect the significance of translation tools and teaching tools in translating and translator training respectively. Moreover, in ANT, agency results from the interactions between actancts, while Bourdieusian agency is determined by a number of factors such as position in the field as well as habitus and field structures. Bourdieusian identity thus tends to be more individual, personal and competitive whereas Latourian identity, as reflected, for instance, in its tenet of social constructivism embodied in its key concepts of network, mediator and intermediary, has a propensity for being social and cooperative. This allows us to tentatively suggest that ANT fits the Eastern interdependent sense of identity more closely, while Bourdieusian sociology tends to be more applicable to the Western independent sense of identity, despite the fact that the concepts in both theories are equally useful in analyzing social developments and phenomena. It can be inferred that when translators move from one society to another, with visible personal and interpersonal distinctions, they are likely to encounter identity problems – at least initially.   
  2. Based on the survey conducted as part of this research, our first hypothesis was partially confirmed. There was some positive correlation between the professional identity and personal and social identities of trainee translators. Our second and third hypotheses were fully confirmed: Iranian and Italian trainee translators tended to have interdependent and independent identities respectively. This confirms the view of Hoyle et al. (1999) and corresponds to Latourian and Bourdieusian sociologies. Furthermore, Italian and Iranian students differed more or less in the three personal, social, and professional aspects of identity investigated. Nonetheless, a general pattern of similarity in the two groups’ responses to the same questionnaire items was observed.

An implication of this study in translator training might be that once we understand that different societies have different conceptions of identity as well as various identities and identity construction patterns – for example, the general distinction between individualistic Western and the social Eastern identity – then our training priorities will differ, with implications for our translation curricula, pedagogies and teaching methods. Furthermore, Bourdieu’s sociology and ANT can help us to define identity parameters in the formation of trainee translators.

Additionally, the types of power distribution observed in the two theories have clear implications for the description of educational practices, including translator training. While a Bourdieusian perspective may inspire a competitive nature on the part of students’ class activities, ANT promotes completive and cooperative work. Thus, in the former, trainees’ personal identity is in focus, while the latter places attention on their social identity. Introducing the two sociologies into the classroom allows learners to experience different identity constructions, which is recommended today.

Acknowledgments

We would like to extend our deep gratitude to Prof. Marcello Soffritti and Prof. Christopher Rundle for their invaluable help with the project this study was part of. We would also like to thank Prof. Silvia Bernardini for her constructive comments on a draft of this manuscript. Our heartfelt thanks also go to all the Italian and Iranian colleagues who helped with the distribution of our survey as well as the survey participants.

Appendix

AIQ-IV Modified Questionnaire

Personal Information

1. How old are you? * Mark only one oval.

19 or younger

20-23
24-29
30-39
over 40

2. To what gender identity do you most identify? * Mark only one oval.

Female
Male
Prefer not to say
Other:

3. Where were you born/are a citizen? * Mark only one oval.

AFRICA
NORTH AMERICA
SOUTH AMERICA
ASIA EUROPE
OCEANIA

4. I study at (name of university). *

Identity Aspects

These items describe different aspects of identity. Please read each item carefully and consider how it applies to you. The full scale is:

1= Not important to my sense of who I am
2= Slightly important to my sense of who I am
3= Somewhat important to my sense of who I am 
4= Very important to my sense of who I am
5= Extremely important to my sense of who I am

Mark only one oval.

1. My personal values and moral standards *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

2. My popularity with other people *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

3. My dreams and imagination *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

4. The ways in which other people react to what I say and do *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

5. My personal goals and hopes for the future *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

6. My emotions and feelings *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

7. Places where I live or where I was raised *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

8. My thoughts and ideas * Mark only one oval.
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

9. The ways I deal with my fears and anxieties *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

10. My social behavior, such as the way I act when meeting people *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

11. My feeling of being a unique person, being distinct from others *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

12. My self-knowledge, my ideas about what kind of person I really am *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

13. My personal self-evaluation, the private opinion I have of myself *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

14. My academic ability and performance, such as the grades I earn and comments I get
from teachers *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

15. My role of being a student in college *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

16. My being/becoming a professional translator *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

17. My being/becoming a professional interpreter *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

18. My being/becoming a professional audiovisual translator *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

19. My collaboration with co-workers or my team activity *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

20. My ability to continue my academic studies in translation-related fields *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

21. My employment opportunities as an in-house translator/interpreter *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

22. My professional prospects and progress *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

23. Being considered a reliable and organized co-worker *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

24. My (future) job despite its difficulties and low income *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

25. Being recognized as a well-known specialist *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

26. Working under others’ supervision *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

27. Caring about ethical and moral issues in my job *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

28. Reflecting on my professional translating/interpreting practice
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

29. Thinking of myself as a life-long learner *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

30. My academic achievements *
Not important to my sense of who I am 1 2 3 4 5 Extremely important to my sense of who I am

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About the author(s)

Farzaneh Farahzad is Professor in Translation Studies at the Department of English Translation Studies of Allameh Tabataba’i University, Iran.

Hamid Varmazyari is a PhD candidate of Translation Studies at the Department of English Translation Studies of Allameh Tabataba’i University, Iran. After completing his MA in Translation Studies at Shahid Beheshti University, he started his translator training career in 2009 and has ever since taught undergraduate translation courses mainly at Arak University, where he got his BA in English Translation in 2005. He attended the University of Bologna once as a PhD student in 2013, and another time as a doctoral visiting student in 2016.

Email: [please login or register to view author's email address]

©inTRAlinea & Farzaneh Farahzad & Hamid Varmazyari (2018).
"Translators’ Identities within Approaches to Translation Sociology: A Comparative Study of Trainee Translators"
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Kulturspezifik in Recht und Technik und Konsequenzen für die Übersetzung

By Eva Wiesmann (University of Bologna, Italy)

Abstract & Keywords

English:

Starting from the definitions of culture, law, technology as well as legal and technical culture respectively, the aim of this paper is to point out the different degrees of cultural specificity in law and technology and in legal and technical language and texts. The paper will also show to what extend the differences within the various dimensions of cultural specificity lead to differences in methods and procedures of translation.

German:

Ausgehend von den Definitionen von Kultur, Recht und Technik einerseits sowie von Rechts- und Technikkultur andererseits wird in diesem Beitrag der unterschiedliche Grad von Kulturspezifik in Recht und Technik und in ihren sprachlich-textuellen Manifestationen herausgearbeitet. Darüber hinaus wird aufgezeigt, inwieweit die Unterschiede in den verschiedenen Dimensionen der Kulturspezifik unterschiedliche Übersetzungsmethoden und -verfahren erforderlich machen.

Keywords: Kulturspezifik, Rechtssprache, technische Sprache, cultural specificity, legal language, technical language

©inTRAlinea & Eva Wiesmann (2018).
"Kulturspezifik in Recht und Technik und Konsequenzen für die Übersetzung"
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1. Gegenstand und Zielsetzung

Der Beitrag setzt sich mit den Unterschieden auseinander, die hinsichtlich der Kulturspezifik zwischen Recht und Technik bestehen, und fragt danach, inwieweit sich daraus Konsequenzen für die Übersetzung der betreffenden Texte ergeben. Dies erfordert zunächst einmal eine differenziertere Betrachtung der Begriffe ,Kultur‘, ,Recht‘ und ,Technik‘ sowie einen Vergleich der Begriffe ,Rechtskultur‘ und ,Technikkultur‘, in denen sich die kulturspezifischen Unterschiede bereits andeuten. Ziel des Beitrags ist es zum einen, den unterschiedlichen Grad der Kulturspezifik in Recht und Technik und ihren sprachlich-textuellen Manifestationen herauszuarbeiten. Zum anderen sollen ausgehend von den Unterschieden in den verschiedenen Dimensionen der Kulturspezifik die Differenzen im Umgang mit Kulturspezifik bei der Übersetzung und in Bezug auf die Übersetzungsmethoden und -verfahren aufgezeigt werden.

2. Begriffsklärung und Begriffsvergleich

2.1. Kultur

Der Begriff ,Kultur‘ wird heute in beinahe allen Bereichen verwendet, in denen der Mensch tätig ist oder in die er eingreift. Davon zeugt die geradezu inflationäre Verwendung von Komposita mit ,Kultur‘, wie z.B. Esskultur, Genderkultur, Subkultur, Kulturlandschaft, Kulturpessimismus und eben auch Rechts- und Technikkultur.

Ebenso vielfältig wie die Verwendungsweisen sind die wissenschaftlichen Definitionen des Kulturbegriffs (Nünning 2009). Nicht nur in den unterschiedlichen Disziplinen, sondern auch innerhalb einzelner Disziplinen und in unterschiedlichen Gesellschaften und sozialen Gruppen kann das Verständnis von Kultur ein anderes sein, wie  die Begriffsbestimmungen und die begrifflichen Unterscheidungen in der Enzyklopädie vielsprachiger Kulturwissenschaften (Institut zur Erforschung und Förderung österreichischer und internationaler Literaturprozesse 2000) eindrücklich belegen.

,Kultur‘ im weitesten Sinne meint

die vom Menschen durch die Bearbeitung der Natur mithilfe von planmäßigen Techniken selbst geschaffene Welt der geistigen Güter, materiellen Kunstprodukte und sozialen Einrichtungen. Dieser weite Begriff der Kultur umfasst die Gesamtheit der vom Menschen selbst hervorgebrachten und im Zuge der Sozialisation erworbenen Voraussetzungen sozialen Handelns, d.h. die typischen Arbeits- und Lebensformen, Denk- und Handlungsweisen, Wertvorstellungen und geistigen Lebensäußerungen einer Gemeinschaft. (Nünning 2009)

Für die Übersetzung relevant ist, dass Texte Manifestationen von Kultur sind und als solche kulturspezifische Merkmale als Ausprägungen ihrer „Kulturalität“ (Kalverkämper 2004: 39) enthalten, die unterschiedliche sprachliche und textuelle Aspekte betreffen können und je nach Zugehörigkeit des Texts zu Textsorten, aber auch zu Fächern unterschiedlich ausgeprägt sind. Kultur kann dabei „auf recht unterschiedlichen Abstraktionsebenen angesiedelt sein“ (Göhring 1999: 112) und sich sowohl auf als auch ober- bzw. unterhalb der nationalen Ebene bewegen.

2.2. Recht und Kultur

Für den Begriff des Rechts gilt Ähnliches wie für den Begriff der Kultur. Es ist „so vielschichtig und umfassend, daß er sich nicht mehr einheitlich bestimmen lässt, vielmehr jede Bestimmung nur einen einzelnen Aspekt erfassen kann.“ (Tilch und Arloth 2001: 3445)

Zu unterscheiden ist insbesondere zwischen dem objektiven und dem subjektiven, dem positiven und dem überpositiven, dem inländischen und dem ausländischen Recht sowie dem Gemeinschaftsrecht einer Staatengemeinschaft. Im Territorialstaat der Gegenwart gilt objektives Recht als vom Menschen geschaffener „Komplex von Einzelregeln von normativem Geltungsanspruch“ (Tilch und Arloth 2001: 3445) grundsätzlich in einem abgegrenzten geographischen Bereich. Dem auf die Bundesrepublik Deutschland bezogenen bundesdeutschen Recht beispielsweise steht das auf die Republik Österreich bezogene österreichische gegenüber, während das europäische Gemeinschaftsrecht für alle Staaten der Staatengemeinschaft Europäische Union und somit für Deutschland und Österreich gleichermaßen gilt.

Als vom Menschen geschaffener Regelkomplex ist Recht ein Teil der Kultur und steht gleichzeitig – wie alle gesellschaftlichen Phänomene – zu ihr insofern in einem dialektischen Verhältnis, als es sie beeinflusst und von ihr beeinflusst wird (Marschelke 2012: 73). Rechtliche Regeln werden, wie von Marschelke (2012: 76–7) herausgestellt und an Beispielen verdeutlicht wird, aus gesellschaftlichen Gründen geschaffen und auch wieder abgeschafft, die andernorts nicht wahrgenommen oder nicht für ausschlaggebend gehalten werden. In Deutschland beispielsweise wurde die bis weit in die zweite Hälfte des 20. Jahrhunderts bestehende Strafbarkeit von Ehebruch und Homosexualität infolge des sich wandelnden Werteverständnisses zunehmend nicht mehr konsequent durchgesetzt. Es gab also gültige Gesetze, daran hielten sich aber zunehmend weniger Bürger auf der einen und Richter und Staatsanwälte auf der anderen Seite. Sie befanden diese Regeln – im Einklang mit einem wachsenden Teil der Gesellschaft – für inhaltlich nicht akzeptabel und für moralisch falsch, weshalb die gültigen Normen zuerst de facto unwirksam und schließlich de jure abgeschafft wurden.

Recht ändert sich, genauso wie Kultur sich ändert, und es divergiert, genauso wie Kultur divergiert (Marschelke 2012: 82). Es gibt unterschiedliche Rechtsordnungen oder Rechtssysteme, die meist auf Staaten (Deutschland, Österreich, usw.) bezogen sind, aber auch auf Staatengemeinschaften (wie die Europäische Union) bezogen sein können.

2.3. Technik und Kultur

So wie sich verschiedene Rechtsverständnisse unterscheiden lassen, können auch verschiedene Technikverständnisse unterschieden werden, nämlich, wie von Banse und Hauser (2010: 19–21) herausgearbeitet wird, das gegenständliche Technikkonzept, das Konzept des Mensch-Maschine-Systems, das Konzept des sozio-technischen Systems und ein Technikkonzept, das man als kulturdeterminiertes bezeichnen könnte.

Während das gegenständliche Technikkonzept das Arte-Faktische von Technik in den Mittelpunkt rückt und sich v.a. im Rahmen des „Naturgesetzlich-Mögliche[n], ergänzt durch das Technologisch-Realisierbare und das Ökonomisch-Machbare“ bewegt, wird mit dem Konzept des Mensch-Maschine-Systems nach den „Verwendungs- bzw. Nutzungszusammenhängen auf der Ebene des Individuums“ (Banse und Hauser 2010: 20) gefragt, das zu eben dieser Verwendung bzw. Nutzung einerseits bestimmte Voraussetzungen mitbringen muss, dessen Erfordernissen aber andererseits auch bei der Gestaltung der Technik Rechnung zu tragen ist. Beim Konzept des sozio-technischen Systems werden darüber hinaus „soziale (vor allem sozio-ökonomische) Zusammenhänge sowohl der Entstehung wie der Verwendung bzw. Nutzung technischer Sachsysteme einbezogen“ (Banse und Hauser 2010: 20); es bewegt sich im Rahmen des „Gesellschaftlich-Wünschenswerte[n] bzw. -Durchsetzbare[n] (,Akzeptable[n]‘), […] Ökologisch-Sinnvolle[n] sowie […] Human-Vertretbare[n]“ (Banse und Hauser 2010: 21). Das kulturdeterminierte Technikkonzept schließlich betrachtet Technik als Kulturprodukt in dem Sinne, dass es „einerseits die ,alltägliche Technik‘ (,Technik des Alltags‘ […]), d.h. nicht nur die Produktionstechnik, andererseits kulturelle Zusammenhänge sowohl hinsichtlich der Hervorbringung wie der Verwendung technischer Sachsysteme berücksichtigt“, wobei die „Kultur über die sie ,tragenden‘ Menschen die Implementierung und Diffusion technischer Lösungen erheblich beeinflusst […].“(Banse und Hauser 2010: 21)

Als vom Menschen ,Gemachtes‘, ,Hervorgebrachtes‘, ,Erzeugtes‘, in menschliche Handlungsvollzüge Eingebundenes, in sozialen, v.a. sozio-ökonomischen, Zusammenhängen Entstehendes und Verwendetes und in ihrem Einsatz und alltäglichen Gebrauch kollektiven Interpretationen und Deutungen Unterliegendes ist auch die Technik ein Teil der Kultur; und wie das Recht steht sie zur Kultur in einem dialektischen Verhältnis: Von jeher haben „die technischen Hervorbringungen […] die Kultur und die kulturellen Muster und Praxen […] die Technik beeinflusst, deren Hervorbringung, Veränderung, Verbreitung wie Verwendung“ (Banse und Hauser 2010: 17), und in jüngerer Zeit bedingen Globalisierungstendenzen, wie z.B. der Techniktransfer, einen Gesellschafts- und Kulturwandel (Banse und Hauser 2010: 18).

Trotz dieser Gemeinsamkeit im Verhältnis zur Kultur bestehen zwischen Recht und Technik doch erhebliche Unterschiede im Grad der Kulturspezifik, die sich in den charakteristischen Merkmalen der Rechts- im Vergleich zur Technikkultur bereits andeuten.

2.4. Rechtskultur vs. Technikkultur

Während der Begriff ,Rechtskultur‘ als der „empirisch erforschbare […] Inbegriff der in einer Gesellschaft bestehenden, auf das Recht bezogenen Wertvorstellungen, Normen, Institutionen, Verfahrensregeln und Verhaltensweisen“ (Raiser 2009: 328) definiert wird, lehnt sich der Begriff ,Technikkultur‘ „an den Begriff ,Kultur als Totalität der menschlichen Hervorbringungen‘ innerhalb eines bestimmten Raumes und in einer bestimmten Zeit an.“ (König 2010: 82) Anders als Technikkultur, die „auf regionale und – in hochindustrialisierten Ländern mit ihrem nivellierten technischen Niveau – auf nationale oder sogar übernationale Charakteristika [zielt]“ (König 2010: 82), ist Rechtskultur primär eine nationale, bei Staatengemeinschaften auch eine supranationale Kultur. Nur wenn, wie bei dem Begriff ,civil law-Kultur‘, die Gemeinsamkeiten nationaler Rechtskulturen herausgestellt oder, wie bei dem Begriff ,römische Rechtskultur‘, der gemeinsame Ursprung betont werden soll, rückt der nationale oder supranationale Charakter in den Hintergrund.

Recht und die damit verbundene Kultur sind m.a.W. meist auf einen mit einem Nationalstaat zusammenfallenden geographischen Raum beschränkt. Technik dagegen ist zwar soziokulturell eingebunden, aber nur bedingt an Nationen geknüpft und bei der Technikkultur kommt es offensichtlich stärker auf den Entwicklungsstand der Technik an, der, wie von König (2010: 84) herausgestellt wird, im Zeitalter der Globalisierung eine schnellere Angleichung erfährt.

Dies bestätigt auch ein kleines, automatisch mit BootCat zusammengestelltes Korpus von knapp 100 Webseiten (Types: 16.635, Tokens: 74.247) zu den Begriffen ,Rechtskultur‘ und ,Technikkultur‘. Die rein quantitative Analyse der beiden Termini ergibt zunächst, dass letzterer zwar 15-mal im Singular, nicht aber im Plural belegt ist, ersterer dagegen 110-mal im Plural und 97-mal im Singular vorkommt. Bei qualitativer Betrachtung stellt sich dann heraus, dass Technikkultur im Korpus nur mit den Termini Stiftung und Verein verbunden ist. Rechtskultur dagegen wird dort im Singular überwiegend mit Adjektiven oder Substantiven kombiniert, die auf einen geographischen Raum verweisen (britische, chinesische, deutsche, europäische, italienische, österreichische Rechtskultur; Rechtskultur des Common Law, Deutschlands, Europas, Österreichs, Russlands, Spaniens), die Prägung oder Ausrichtung der Rechtskultur herausstellen (byzantinisch-orthodoxe, demokratische, okzidental-lateinische, patriarchalische, Scharia-Rechtskultur) oder sie zeitlich verankern (Rechtskultur des 19. Jhs.). Bei der Verwendung im Plural kommt die Betonung der Unterschiede (andere, fremde, unterschiedliche, verschiedene Rechtskulturen; Dissonanzen, Konflikte, Gräben, Unterschiede zwischen den Rechtskulturen) und der Wichtigkeit des Vergleichs sowie der Vermittlung und Begegnung hinzu, die angesichts dessen erforderlich sind. Darüber wird die Bedeutung der Rechtskulturen für die Gesellschaft herausgestellt, wenn beispielsweise von den Errungenschaften der Rechtskulturen der Moderne die Rede ist.

Dies alles lässt eine Reihe von kulturspezifischen Unterschieden zwischen Recht und Technik und ihren sprachlich-textuellen Manifestationen erwarten, die im Folgenden ausgehend von zwei Fragen herausgearbeitet werden sollen: 1. Welche kulturspezifischen Unterschiede bestehen zwischen Recht und Technik auf der sprachlichen und der textuellen Ebene? 2. Welche Unterschiede zwischen Recht und Technik wirken sich in besonderer Weise auf die kulturspezifischen Unterschiede aus?

3. Kulturspezifische Unterschiede zwischen Recht und Technik auf der sprachlichen und der textuellen Ebene

Die kulturspezifisch relevanten Unterschiede zwischen Recht und Technik sind zum einen durch die Bindung der Rechtssprache (insbesondere, aber nicht nur der Begriffe) an meist nationale Rechtsordnungen und zum anderen durch die grundlegende Sprachlichkeit des Rechts bedingt, denen in der Technik die starke materielle Gegenständlichkeit und sprachlich v.a. die tendenzielle Internationalität der Begriffe gegenübersteht. Dies hat – auch unabhängig von der in 4. zu behandelnden Frage der Übersetzung – eine ganze Reihe von Implikationen, zunächst einmal die, dass die Sprache des Rechts, anders als die der Technik, unter den Fachsprachen gewissermaßen eine Sonderstellung einnimmt, was auf der lexikalisch-terminologischen und der begrifflichen wie auf der textuellen Ebene zu Unterschieden führt.

3.1. Fachsprache des Rechts vs. Fachsprache der Technik

Mit Hoffmann (1987: 53) wird Fachsprache als „die Gesamtheit aller sprachlichen Mittel“ verstanden, „die in einem fachlich begrenzbaren Kommunikationsbereich verwendet werden, um die Verständigung zwischen den in diesem Bereich tätigen Menschen zu gewährleisten“. Was auf die Fachsprache der Technik zutrifft, bedarf jedoch in Bezug auf die Rechtssprache einer Reihe von Präzisierungen:

  1. Der fachlich begrenzbare Kommunikationsbereich ist bei der Rechtssprache nicht primär das Recht als Fach, sondern das Recht als institutioneller Rahmen.
  2. Die Verständigung und damit die Kommunikation betrifft nicht primär ein Sprechen über das Recht als Fach, sondern ein Sprechen, das gleichzeitig ein rechtlich-fachliches Handeln ist.
  3. Verständigung zwischen Fachleuten gewährleisten und damit Kommunikation ermöglichen heißt in Bezug auf die Rechtssprache primär, rechtliches Handeln der Juristen möglich machen. (Wiesmann 2004: 14)

Rechtssprache ist in erster Linie eine Institutionensprache (Busse 1999: 1382–4). Ihre Besonderheiten ergeben sich aus den Besonderheiten des institutionellen, stets an eine Rechtsordnung gebundenen rechtlich-sprachlichen Handelns der Juristen, für das die Anwendung von Rechtsvorschriften auf Lebenssachverhalte zentral ist. Diese erfordert eine doppelte rechtlich-sprachliche Abstraktion. A priori müssen rechtliche Tatbestände in den Rechtsvorschriften abstrakt versprachlicht werden, damit diese auf eine unbestimmte Vielzahl potentieller Lebenssachverhalte angewendet werden können und die gleichfalls in den Rechtsvorschriften vorgesehenen Rechtsfolgen zum Tragen kommen. Im konkreten Anwendungsfall müssen aber auch die jeweiligen Lebenssachverhalte rechtlich strukturiert versprachlicht werden, damit die konkreten mit den abstrakten Tatbeständen im Rahmen der rechtlichen Bewertung in Einklang gebracht werden können.

Auf der lexikalisch-terminologischen Ebene zeichnet sich die Rechtssprache dabei durch eine begrifflich eng an die jeweilige Rechtsordnung gebundene, nahe an der jeweiligen Gemeinsprache stehende Lexik mit einer besonderen, das rechtlich-sprachliche Handeln der Juristen ermöglichenden Semantik aus. Dadurch dass die Rechtssprache grundsätzlich die „auf den ersten Blick widersprüchlichen Ziele der konkreten Offenhaltung von (Be)deutungsspielräumen bei gleichzeitiger grundsätzlicher Festlegung innerhalb bestimmter Grenzen zugleich [verwirklicht]“ (Busse 1999: 1384), macht sie die Weiterentwicklung des Rechts und seine Anpassung an die sich in Gesellschaft, Wirtschaft, Politik, Wissenschaft und natürlich auch Technik vollziehenden Veränderungen möglich. Auf der Textebene dagegen liegen ihre Besonderheiten in der tief in der Tradition der Rechtsordnungen wurzelnden formalen Prägung, der besonderen Auswahl aus den lexikalischen und morphosyntaktischen Mitteln der Gemeinsprache, den sich aus der Institutionalität des juristischen Handlungsbereichs ergebenden Konventionen der Vertextung und den rechtsordnungsspezifischen Textsorten.

Gemeinsamkeiten mit der Sprache der Technik ergeben sich insbesondere im Rückgriff auf die lexikalischen Mittel der Gemeinsprache und in der besonderen Auswahl aus deren morphosyntaktischen Mitteln sowie in der Tatsache, dass auch die Texte der Technik Vertextungskonventionen unterliegen und sich die Inhaltsbestandteile bzw. ihre Anordnung sowie die Textgestaltungsgepflogenheiten von Kultur zu Kultur unterscheiden können. Die Unterschiede liegen, wie noch zu sehen sein wird, im Grad der Kulturspezifik, der in der Rechtssprache um ein Vielfaches höher als in der Sprache der Technik ist.

3.2. Begriffliche Unterschiede vs. begriffliche Gemeinsamkeiten

Aus der Tatsache, dass Rechtssprachen immer an meist nationale Rechtsordnungen gebunden sind, ergeben sich mehr oder weniger große Unterschiede zwischen den Rechtssprachen verschiedener Rechtordnungen, die bei der Zugehörigkeit zu unterschiedlichen Rechtskreisen (Beisp.: Civil Law- vs. Common Law-Rechtsordnungen) besonders ausgeprägt sind, aber auch mit den Rechtsgebieten zusammenhängen, die mehr oder weniger stark national geprägt sein können (Beisp.: Prozessrecht vs. Handelsrecht).

Nur in mehrsprachigen nationalen Rechtsordnungen (Beisp.: Schweizer Recht) und in supranationalen Rechtsordnungen (Beisp.: europäisches Gemeinschaftsrecht) wird ein und derselbe Begriff durch verschiedensprachige Benennungen zum Ausdruck gebracht (Beisp.: ,Verordnung‘ = ,regulation‘ = ,regolamento‘ = ,règlement‘ = usw. im europäischen Gemeinschaftsrecht), ansonsten unterscheiden sich nicht nur die Benennungen, sondern auch die Begriffe und bei gleicher Gemeinsprache als Nationalsprache kann ein und dieselbe Benennung auch auf unterschiedliche Begriffe verweisen (Beisp.: ,Besitz‘ in Deutschland ± ,Besitz‘ in Österreich).

In der Technik dagegen sind es tendenziell ein und dieselben Begriffe, die durch unterschiedliche Benennungen zum Ausdruck gebracht werden. Eine ,Tischsäge‘ beispielsweise wird im Englischen ,table saw‘ genannt und eine ,Motorhacke‘ auf Italienisch ,motozappa‘. Allerdings können sich (Schmitt 2016: 26–32) die prototypischen Vertreter des materiellen (oder auch immateriellen) Gegenstands unterscheiden, wie die Beispiele ,Hammer‘, ,Netzstecker‘ und ,Fahrzyklus‘ zeigen. So entspricht der deutsche Begriff ,Hammer‘ zwar dem englischen Begriff ,hammer‘, aber der prototypische deutsche Hammer ist der Schlosserhammer, der prototypische englische Hammer dagegen der Klauenhammer. Ähnlich verhält es sich mit den Begriffen ,Netzstecker‘ und ,power plug‘. Während Deutsche beim ,Netzstecker‘ an den IEC-Steckertyp F, den sog. Schukostecker, denken, ist ,power plug‘ für die Briten der IEC-Steckertyp G, d.h. der dreipolige Stecker mit eckigen Kontaktstiften, für die Amerikaner dagegen der IEC-Steckertyp A oder B, d.h. der zwei- bzw. dreipolige Stecker (vgl. http://www.iec.ch/worldplugs/). Und der ,Fahrzyklus‘ entspricht zwar begrifflich dem ,driving cycle‘, aber die Fahrzyklusvarianten und Messmethoden sind kulturspezifisch verschieden.

Angesichts dessen verwundert es nicht, dass Begriffssystemen, die bekanntlich mit dem Anspruch der vollständigen Wissensordnung auftreten, im Recht insofern größere Grenzen als in der Technik gesetzt sind, als das Recht in seiner Funktionsweise komplexer ist und Kompromisse zwischen a) Vollständigkeit, b) Übersichtlichkeit und c) (mit der sprachlichen Verdeutlichung der Begriffsrelationen zusammenhängender) Verständlichkeit erfordert: je vollständiger, desto unübersichtlicher, je weniger sprachlich verdeutlicht, desto weniger verständlich.

Bei der Entwicklung der technischen Terminologien gibt es jedoch, wie von Arntz (2001: 87) herausgestellt wird, nicht nur das Phänomen der Konvergenz, sondern auch das der Divergenz. „Auf der einen Seite“, so schreibt er

führt die internationale Kooperation, bei der vielfach eine Sprachgemeinschaft eine dominierende Rolle spielt, dazu, dass in großer Zahl Entlehnungen und Lehnübersetzungen in viele Sprachen Eingang finden, wobei vielfach zugleich die gesamte begriffliche Systematik der Ausgangssprache übernommen wird. Auf der anderen Seite entwickeln sich die einzelnen Sprachen – auch die technischen Fachsprachen – in nicht unerheblichem Maße weiterhin spontan nach ihren eigenen Gesetzen, was nicht nur Unterschiede auf der Benennungsebene, sondern – was viel problematischer ist – auch auf der Begriffsebene zur Folge hat.

Bei der Übersetzung führt dies, wie in 4. zu sehen sein wird, dann zu ähnlichen Problemen wie sie sich bei den Rechtsterminologien stellen, nur dass diese Probleme im Recht die Regel, in der Technik dagegen die Ausnahme sind.

Zur Benennungsseite ist hinzuzufügen, dass die Veränderungen, die sich in der Technik, aber auch im Recht vollziehen, zu einer Benennungsvielfalt führen, der durch Festsetzung Einhalt geboten werden kann. Im Recht ist dafür in erster Linie der Gesetzgeber zuständig. In der Technik sind es neben dem Gesetzgeber die Normungsinstitutionen oder andere Organisationen, die branchenspezifische Standards festlegen, wobei manche terminologische Festsetzungen durch Verbindlicherklärung der entsprechenden Normen Gesetzeskraft erlangen können. Von den Benennungen ,personenbezogene Daten‘, ,personenbezogene Informationen‘, ,Individualdaten‘, ,Individualinformationen‘, ,persönliche Daten‘ und ,private Daten‘ beispielsweise wurde im Gesetz der Benennung ,personenbezogene Daten‘ der Vorzug gegeben (Arntz, Picht und Mayer 2009: 128). Die vielfältigen Benennungen der Keil- und Federarten dagegen wurden durch Normung reduziert, wie Wüster (1931) in seiner Übersicht über die Benennungen einiger Keil- und Federarten zeigt (Tabelle 1).

Nach der Normung

Vor der Normung

Treibkeil

Keil

Einlegekeil

Federkeil

Nutenkeil

Achskeil

Versenkter Keil

Paßfeder

Keil

Einlegekeil

Federkeil

Flachkeil

Feder

Einlegfeder

Gleitfeder

Keil

 

Federkeil

Flachkeil

Feder

Führungskeil

Flachkeil

 

 

 

Flachkeil

 

Flächenkeil

Tabelle 1. Reduzierung der Benennungsvielfalt durch Normung in der Technik.

Dennoch gibt es auch in der Technik Bereiche, in denen die Terminologie nicht systematisch genormt ist, so die Kfz-Technik (Arntz 2001: 177). Als Gründe für die Vielzahl der Synonyme nennen Le-Hong und Schmitt (1998: 1160) u.a. die Verwendung herstellerspezifischer Ausdrucksvarianten und sprachökonomischer Simplizia und Komposita.

3.3. Sprachlichkeit vs. materielle Gegenständlichkeit

Während sich die Technik durch einen großen Anteil an materiellen Gegenständen auszeichnet, auf die sprachlich – oder auch mit nonverbalen Mitteln – Bezug genommen wird und zu denen es Begriffe gibt (Beisp.: ,Hammer‘ als Gegenstand, als Benennung und als Begriff), sind für das Recht die immateriellen Gegenstände der rechtlichen Wirklichkeit prägend, auf die gleichfalls sprachlich Bezug genommen wird, die aber, wie alle immateriellen Gegenstände, kaum von den Begriffen zu trennen sind (Tabelle 2; Wiesmann 2004: 202).

Tab02

Tabelle 2. Ideelle Trennung von Sprache, Denken
und außersprachlicher Wirklichkeit bei immateriellen Gegenständen.

Was im deutschen Recht beispielsweise ,Besitz‘ im Vergleich zu ,Eigentum‘ rechtlich gesehen ist, kann immer nur sprachlich vermittelt werden, es ist in Bezug auf die Definition eine menschliche Leistung, die insbesondere durch das Erfordernis der Rechtsanwendung bedingt ist, und es lässt sich insofern immer nur gedanklich fassen und sprachlich zum Ausdruck bringen, als es nicht materiell gegeben, sondern ein Produkt der geistigen Tätigkeit des Menschen ist. Von den immateriellen Gegenständen der rechtlichen Wirklichkeit (abstrakte Tatbestände), sind die immateriellen oder materiellen Gegenstände der tatsächlichen Wirklichkeit (konkrete Tatbestände) zu unterscheiden, auf die im Rahmen der Rechtsanwendung Rechtsvorschriften angewendet werden.

3.4. Begriffs- bzw. Real- vs. Nominaldefinitionen

Abgesehen davon, dass sich immaterielle Gegenstände und die damit verbundenen Begriffe nur über Definitionen fassen und verständlich machen lassen, materielle Gegenstände dagegen auch über Bilder und andere nonverbale Mittel, die die mit den Gegenständen verbundenen Begriffe veranschaulichen, lassen sich zwischen Recht und Technik auch Unterschiede in der Definierbarkeit und in der Art der Definition feststellen.

Zu den Grenzen der Definition und der Definierbarkeit lässt sich sagen, dass es im Recht Termini gibt, die funktionsbedingt unbestimmt bleiben müssen und folglich gar nicht grundsätzlich und a priori definiert werden dürfen. Und es gibt Rechtstermini, bei denen die Definierbarkeit auf subjektive oder objektive Grenzen stößt. Erstere ergeben sich für den Rechtsanwender und den Rechtswissenschaftler aus dem Vorrang der gesetzgeberischen Definition und aus der eingeschränkten Definitionsmacht, die ihnen im Falle des Fehlens einer gesetzgeberischen Definition zusteht. Letztere sind durch den Zweck der Definition bedingt, wenn sie nur in Bezug auf eine bestimmte Regelung oder in Bezug auf einen bestimmten Einzelfall erfolgt, sie werden jedoch auch durch das Definiendum selbst gesetzt und resultieren insbesondere aus der Komplexität des Referenten, was v.a. in der Rechtswissenschaft unterschiedliche Definitionen nach sich ziehen kann (Wiesmann 2004: 39–40).

In der Technik sind Definitionen grundsätzlich Begriffsdefinitionen, in Bezug auf die insbesondere zwischen Inhalts-, Umfangs- und Bestandsdefinitionen differenziert wird. Bei der Inhaltsdefinition setzt sich das Definiens aus dem Oberbegriff und den einschränkenden Merkmalen zusammen, bei der Umfangsdefinition werden alle Unterbegriffe auf derselben Unterscheidungsstufe aufgezählt und bei der Bestandsdefinition werden alle individuellen Gegenstände genannt. Weitere terminologisch relevante Definitionsarten, die in der Technik vorkommen, sind die genetische Definition, mit der Vorgänge oder Ergebnisse von Vorgängen definiert werden, und die partitive Definition, in der die Bestandteile eines Ganzen aufgeführt sind (Arntz, Picht und Mayer 2009: 60–6).

Begriffsdefinitionen treten jedoch, ebenso wie Realdefinitionen mit dem Anspruch auf, das Wesentliche über den Gegenstand bzw. den Begriff auszusagen. Wenn aber einerseits die Komplexität des Gegenstands die Voraussetzung für dessen Definierbarkeit ist, weil sich grundlegende Eigenschaften nicht definieren lassen (Pozzi 2001: 274), so nimmt der Grad der Definierbarkeit doch offensichtlich andererseits in dem Maße ab, in dem der Grad der Komplexität des Gegenstands zunimmt, und es liegt auf der Hand, dass die Schwierigkeiten der Definition bei immateriellen Gegenständen größer als bei materiellen sind. In juristischen Auseinandersetzungen über Definitionen im Recht wird daher vielfach von einer besseren Eignung von Nominaldefinitionen ausgegangen, die einerseits Vereinbarungs- und andererseits lexikalische Definitionen sein können, Definitionen also, die den Sprachgebrauch entweder festsetzen oder aber feststellen (Wiesmann 2004: 42–7).

Definitionen sind dabei nicht nur ein Recht-, sondern auch ein Technik-Thema, was anhand der nationalen und internationalen Normung sichtbar wird (z.B. DIN 2342, ÖNORM A 2704:2015, ISO 15188:2001). Auch gibt es zahlreiche Terminologieportale mit genormter Technik-Terminologie (z.B. DIN-TERM, DKE-IEV, Termium Plus)[1], was ebenfalls die Bedeutung der Definition technischer Begriffe herausstreicht.

3.5. Unterschiede in der Kulturspezifik von Texten, Inhaltsbausteinen, Textgestaltungsgepflogenheiten und Textsortenkonventionen

Im Recht ist es, v.a. in den stark national geprägten Rechtsgebieten, keine Seltenheit, dass Texte in einer Rechtskultur vorhanden sind, in der anderen dagegen nicht. So gibt es beispielsweise von den das Ermittlungs- und das Zwischenverfahren des italienischen Strafprozesses kennzeichnenden neun Textsorten nur drei, die eine Entsprechung in den vergleichbaren Abschnitten des deutschen Strafprozesses haben:

1) la richiesta di rinvio a giudizio che ha il suo ,corrispondente’ nell’Anklageschrift; 2) il decreto penale di condanna, il cui ,omologo‘ tedesco è lo Strafbefehl; 3) la citazione di testi, cui corrisponde la Ladung von Zeugen. (Vecchione 2011: 85; Hervorhebung im Original)

Im italienischen Zivilprozess entspricht der ,atto di citazione‘ zwar in wesentlichen Teilen der deutschen ,Klageschrift‘, enthält aber auch die ,Ladung‘, die im deutschen Recht eine eigene Textsorte darstellt (Wiesmann 1999).

Darüber hinaus kann es im Recht – in weitaus geringerem Maße aber auch in der Technik – Unterschiede in den Inhaltsbestandteilen bzw. in ihrer Anordnung geben, die sprachliche Unterschiede zur Folge haben können. In deutschen und in österreichischen höchstrichterlichen Urteilen steht der Urteilsspruch vor der Begründung, in italienischen verhält es sich genau umgekehrt (Burchini 2014: 60), was für die Begründung bedeutet, dass sie in Deutschland und Österreich durch kausale Relationen, in Italien durch konsekutive Relationen geprägt ist. Die Unterschiede zwischen amerikanischen und deutschen Bedienungsanleitungen bestehen demgegenüber darin, dass in ersteren aufgrund der vergleichsweise stärkeren Verbreitung von Automatikgetrieben die Anweisungen dazu an erster Stelle stehen, in letzteren dagegen die zum Schaltgetriebe (Schmitt 1999: 255).

Neben der sprachlichen können sich auch die graphische Gestaltung von Texten und in der Technik darüber hinaus der Einsatz von nonverbalen Mitteln unterscheiden.[2] Dies gilt einerseits z.B. für die – im Deutschen weniger übliche – Verwendung von Versalien in englischen Sicherheitshinweisen (Reinart 2009: 84) und die in Europa und den USA unterschiedlichen Projektionsarten von technischen Zeichnungen (Reinart 2009: 110–1), andererseits z.B. für die Gliederungskonventionen in deutschen im Vergleich zu italienischen Gesetzestexten (Tabelle 3).

Deutsche Gesetzestexte

Italienische Gesetzestexte[3]

Buch

Libro (Buch)

Abschnitt

titolo (Titel)

Titel

capo (Abschnitt)

ggf. Untertitel

ggf. sezione (Teil)

ggf. Kapitel

ggf. § (§)

§

articolo (Artikel)

Tabelle 3. Gliederungskonventionen in deutschen und italienischen Gesetzestexten.

Die Unterschiede in den Textsortenkonventionen sind im Recht infolge der bereits genannten textuellen Unterschiede wesentlich deutlicher ausgeprägt als in der Technik (Beisp.: ,atto di citazione‘ vs. ,Klageschrift‘ und ,Ladung‘), aber auch dort zu finden. Als Beispiel kann die Formulierung von Handlungsanweisungen in englischen, deutschen und russischen Werkstatthandbüchern dienen:

Während dem Imperativ im Englischen die zentrale Rolle bei der Formulierung von Anweisungen zukommt, wird er im Deutschen und Russischen überhaupt nicht verwendet. An seine Stelle treten meist Infinitivkonstruktionen im Deutschen und deontische Hinweise, also Äußerungsformen, die Notwendigkeiten oder für den Adressaten bestehende Verpflichtungen zum Ausdruck bringen (Hindelang 1978: 157) im Russischen. Die Präferenzen für bestimmte sprachliche Muster sind im Russischen allerdings weit weniger deutlich als im Englischen und Deutschen. (Reinart 2009: 219)

Anders als in Werkstatthandbüchern verhält es sich im Deutschen in Bedienungsanleitungen, wo Handlungsanweisungen entweder durch Infinitivkonstruktionen oder aber durch den Imperativ zum Ausdruck gebracht werden.

Insgesamt betrachtet ist der Grad der Kulturspezifik in Rechtstexten wesentlich höher als in technischen Texten. Am deutlichsten manifestiert sich dies darin, dass Textsorten einer Rechtskultur in der anderen völlig fehlen können und dass in stark national geprägten Rechtsgebieten wie dem Prozessrecht nur sehr partielle Übereinstimmungen zwischen den Textsorten zweier unterschiedlicher Rechtskulturen bestehen. Bei den technischen Texten können sich zwar kulturspezifische Unterschiede in den Inhaltsbestandteilen bzw. ihrer Anordnung ergeben, davon abgesehen betrifft die Kulturspezifik jedoch eher die Ebene der Gestaltung und der Textsortenkonventionen.

4. Kulturspezifik und Übersetzung

Jede Übersetzung ist durch die jeweilige Übersetzungssituation determiniert, d.h. durch die Gesamtheit der Faktoren, die auf sie im konkreten Fall einen Einfluss haben. Zu den für jede Übersetzung, und so auch für die Übersetzung von technischen Texten, maßgeblichen Faktoren Text, Autor, Empfänger und Zweck kommen bei der Rechtsübersetzung noch die involvierten Rechtsordnungen, das anwendbare Recht und der rechtliche Status der Übersetzung (Abbildung 1; Wiesmann 2004: 83). Zu beachten ist dabei, dass Rechtstexte auch Teil technischer Texte sein können, man denke hier nur an Passagen über Gewährleistung und Garantie.

Img1

Abbildung 1. Einflussfaktoren der Rechtsübersetzung.

Maßgeblich kommt es bei der Rechtsübersetzung v.a. darauf an, ob die Übersetzung für einen Empfänger aus derselben nationalen (Beisp.: Schweizer Recht) oder supranationalen Rechtsordnung (Beisp.: europäisches Gemeinschaftsrecht) oder aber (wie beispielsweise bei der Übersetzung eines an die italienische Rechtsordnung gebundenen Textes für einen bundesdeutschen Juristen) für einen Empfänger aus einer anderen Rechtsordnung anzufertigen ist. Ist nur eine (nationale oder supranationale) Rechtsordnung involviert, wird die Übersetzung dadurch erleichtert, dass es für ein und denselben Begriff verschiedensprachige Benennungen gibt (vgl. 3.2.) und dass auch Entsprechungen auf der textuellen Ebene bestehen. Sind die involvierten Rechtsordnungen hingegen zwei, stellt sich bei den Begriffen das Problem der bestenfalls approximativen Äquivalenz (de Groot 1999: 206), während die Texte, ihre Inhaltsbausteine, ihre Gestaltung sowie die Textsortenkonventionen (vgl. 3.5.) einen hohen Grad an Kulturspezifik aufweisen.

Bei der Involvierung zweier Rechtsordnungen sind begriffliche Unterschiede im Recht die Regel (Abbildung 2; Arntz 1995: 140–1).

Img02

Abbildung 2. Unterschiede in der Definition von ,Verbrechen‘ und ,Vergehen‘ im Vergleich zu ,delitto‘ und ,contravvenzione‘ bei scheinbar deckungsgleicher Unterteilung von ,Straftat‘ und ,reato‘.

Im Fall von unterschiedlichen Einteilungen der Welt (Abbildung 3; Arntz 2010: 84) oder der anderen Entwicklung in einer Kultur im Vergleich zu einer anderen (terminologische Lücke) können begriffliche Unterschiede aber auch in der Technik gegeben sein.

Img03

Abbildung 3. ,Souder‘ und seine deutschen und englischen Entsprechungen.

,Schweißen‘ unterscheidet sich von ,löten‘ im Wesentlichen dadurch, dass die Verbindung metallischer Werkstoffe beim Löten immer mithilfe eines geschmolzenen Zusatzmetalls erfolgt, beim Schweißen dagegen Wärme und/oder Kraft mit oder ohne Schweißzusatz angewendet werden. Während das Französische genau diese Unterscheidung nicht trifft, wird im Englischen beim Löten noch weiter zwischen ,brazing‘ (Hartlöten) und ,soldering‘ (Weichlöten) unterschieden, wohingegen ,welding‘ weitgehend dem Schweißen entspricht (Arntz 2010: 84).

Bei der Übersetzung können diese begrifflichen Unterschiede entweder durch die Ermittlung des Gemeinten überwunden werden oder aber den Einsatz besonderer verfremdender Übersetzungsverfahren erfordern, insbesondere die der Entlehnung, der Umschreibung und der Neologismusbildung.

Während aber beispielsweise ,souder‘ immer dann mit ,schweißen‘ übersetzt werden kann, wenn Letzteres und nicht ,löten‘ oder beides gemeint ist, muss bei der Übersetzung von ,delitto‘ mit ,Verbrechen‘ auch danach gefragt werden, ob die konkret gemeinten Straftatbestände in der Ausgangs- und der Zielrechtsordnung in ihrer Einordnung zu einer gegebenen Zeit vergleichbar sind. Bis zu seiner Abschaffung im Januar 2016 war beispielsweise ,ingiuria‘ ein Straftatbestand, der in Italien als ,delitto‘ galt. Sein deutsches Pendant, die ,Beleidigung‘, dagegen, ist nach wie vor ein Straftatbestand, fällt aber unter ,Vergehen‘ und nicht unter ,Verbrechen‘. Wenn also in einem vor Januar 2016 entstandenen italienischen Text von dem ,delitto dell’ingiuria‘ die Rede war, konnten die betreffenden Termini nicht so ohne Weiteres mit ,Verbrechen der Beleidung‘ ins Deutsche übersetzt werden und Gleiches ist sowohl vor als auch nach Januar 2016 für die Übersetzung von ,Vergehen der Beleidigung‘ mit ,contravvenzione dell’ingiuria‘ ins Italienische der Fall. Zumindest war bzw. ist bei Gleichsetzung in der Übersetzung eine Erklärung der rechtlichen Unterschiede erforderlich.

Die Erklärung kann ansonsten auch zusätzlich zu den Verfahren der Entlehnung und der Neologismusbildung angebracht sein, die im Recht, neben dem eine Erklärung implizierenden Verfahren der Umschreibung, v.a. dann die Regel sind, wenn einem Begriff der Ausgangskultur in der Zielkultur kein oder ein mit ihm begrifflich nicht ausreichend übereinstimmender Begriff gegenübersteht und die Übersetzungsmethode aufgrund der spezifischen Übersetzungssituation tendenziell die der Verfremdung ist. Bei der Involvierung zweier Rechtsordnungen ist Letzteres fast immer der Fall, da hier ein inländischer Text, der rechtlich der einzig maßgebliche ist und bleibt, einem ausländischen Empfänger durch die Übersetzung in Inhalt, Form, Intention und Wirkung vermittelt werden soll. Eine Ausnahme bildet lediglich der seltene Fall der Anwendung ziel- statt ausgangskulturellen Rechts bei der Übersetzung von Verträgen, der eine tendenziell einbürgernde Übersetzung erfordert (Wiesmann 2012: 204–7).

Ein Beispiel für die Entlehnung ist die Beibehaltung des italienischen Terminus ,Decreto Legislativo‘ im deutschen Text, ein Beispiel für die Umschreibung die Wiedergabe mit ,aufgrund einer parlamentarischen Ermächtigungsnorm ergangener Rechtsakt der Regierung‘, ein Beispiel für die Neologismusbildung schließlich die Übersetzung mit ,Gesetzesverordnung‘. Welches Verfahren bei Nicht- oder nicht ausreichender Teiläquivalenz zu wählen ist, hängt insbesondere von Faktoren wie Wissensvoraussetzungen des Empfängers, Ko- und Kontext ab. Ob eine ausreichende Teiläquivalenz oder sogar eine approximative Äquivalenz vorliegt, muss nach Šarčević (1997: 242–7) anhand von drei Kriterien überprüft werden, nämlich begriffliche Einordnung (structure/classification), Anwendungsbereich (scope of application) und Rechtsfolgen (legal effects). Eine wichtige Rolle spielen in diesem Zusammenhang Definitionen (vgl. 3.4.). Diese sind allerdings einerseits nicht zu jedem Terminus oder Begriff vorhanden. Andererseits sind sie nicht immer so verfasst, dass sie – man denke hier an die Einträge zu unbestimmten Rechtsbegriffen in Rechtsenzyklopädien – nicht nur rechtlichen, sondern auch übersetzerischen Anforderungen genügen. Ist der Zugang zu rechtlichen Begriffen schon dadurch erschwert, dass sie aufgrund des immateriellen Charakters der meisten Gegenstände des Rechts (vgl. 3.3.) nur ausnahmsweise durch eigene Anschauung oder Bilder erfasst werden können, so kommt als zusätzliches Erschwernis das Fehlen von Definitionen oder das Vorhandensein von für die Übersetzung nicht ausreichenden Definitionen hinzu.

Nicht nur begriffliche Unterschiede, sondern auch begriffliche Gemeinsamkeiten, die in der Technik die Regel sind, können bei der Übersetzung eine Herausforderung darstellen, nämlich dann, wenn sich die Kulturspezifik in der Benennungsbildung manifestiert. Dies ist, wie von Reinart (2009: 128–37) herausgearbeitet wird, in der Technik bei metaphorischen Bildungen wie ,Lagerstern‘ im Vergleich zu ,bearing spider‘ sowie bei onymischen Wortbestandteilen und Bildungsdurchsichtigkeit wie ,Argand diagram‘ im Vergleich zu ,Gaußsche Zahlenebene‘ und ,Allen screw‘ im Vergleich zu ,Innensechskantschraube‘ der Fall.

Wie der Umgang mit der Kulturspezifik von Begriffen, so hängt auch der Umgang mit der Kulturspezifik von Texten von der jeweiligen Übersetzungssituation und der sich daraus ergebenden Übersetzungsmethode ab. Bei der Einbürgerung, die in der Technik die Regel und im Recht bei Involvierung zweier Rechtsordnungen zumindest als vorrangige Übersetzungsmethode die Ausnahme ist, findet im Zuge der Übersetzung eine zielkulturelle Anpassung statt. Diese kann in der Technik auch die Inhaltsbestandteile bzw. ihre Anordnung betreffen. Ausgehend davon, dass in den USA Automatikgetriebe üblicher sind als in Deutschland, empfiehlt sich bei der Übersetzung von Bedienungsanleitungen beispielsweise eine kulturspezifische Umstellung der Anweisungen betreffend die Betätigung der entsprechenden Hebel (Schmitt 1999: 255):

Apply the parking brake firmly. Shift the automatic transaxle to Park (or manual transaxle to Neutral).

Handbremse fest anziehen. Schalthebel in Leerlaufstellung bringen (bei Automatikgetriebe Wählhebel in Stellung P bringen).

Im Recht ist es dagegen undenkbar, die Reihenfolge von Urteilsspruch und Urteilsbegründung in deutschen bzw. österreichischen höchstrichterlichen Urteilen bei der Übersetzung ins Italienische zwecks zielkultureller Anpassung zu vertauschen. Die Übersetzungsmethode ist bei der Involvierung zweier Rechtsordnungen vorrangig die Verfremdung, d.h. zielkulturelle Anpassungen betreffen allenfalls die Mikro- und nicht die Makroebene. Nur wenn die Übersetzung zwischen den Sprachen einer einzigen Rechtsordnung erfolgt, können sich stärker voneinander abweichende zweisprachige Textmuster, wie Wiesmann (2004: 126) unter Bezugnahme auf Mayer (1999: 68) mit Blick auf Südtiroler zivilprozessrechtliche Formularbuchtexte feststellt, konventionell verfestigen. Da Ausgangs- und Zielkultur hier allerdings zusammenfallen, kann allenfalls von einer Anpassung an Sprachtraditionen die Rede sein.

Die Involvierung einer einzigen Rechtsordnung stellt bei der Übersetzung von Rechtstexten aber nicht nur eine Erleichterung dar. Haben die verschiedenen Rechtssprachen einer Rechtsordnung, wie beispielsweise in der Schweiz, denselben sprachlichen Rang und die in diesen Sprachen verfassten Texte denselben rechtlichen Status, so ergibt sich bei Texten mit normativer Regelungsfunktion das Erfordernis, dass die Rechtstexte aller beteiligten Sprachen eine einheitliche Auslegung und Anwendung ermöglichen sollen. In Bezug auf die mehrsprachigen normativen Texte des europäischen Gemeinschaftsrechts und deren Auslegung durch den Europäischen Gerichtshof ergeben sich daraus Probleme, die erstmals von Braselmann (1992) auf den Punkt gebracht wurden.

Die sich hier manifestierenden Besonderheiten der Rechtssprache als Fachsprache (vgl. 3.1.) führen wieder zum höheren Grad der Kulturspezifik des Rechts, seiner Sprache und seiner Texte im Vergleich zur Technik, ihrer Sprache und ihrer Texte zurück. Dieser ergibt sich insbesondere daraus, dass Recht und seine Kultur meist auf mit Nationalstaaten zusammenfallende geographische Räume beschränkt sind, während Technik bei aller soziokulturellen Einbindung nur bedingt an Nationen gebunden ist und Technikkultur im Zeitalter der Globalisierung eine schnellere Angleichung erfährt.

5. Schlussbemerkung

Die unterschiedliche Kulturspezifik von Recht und Technik manifestiert sich in den zu übersetzenden Texten nicht nur auf der Ebene der lexikalischen Einheiten, der makrostrukturellen und der semiotischen Konventionen (Kalverkämper 2004: 56), in der die Kulturalität im Allgemeinen zum Ausdruck kommt. Sie zeigt sich vielmehr auch darin, dass sich die Kommunikation im Recht im Vergleich zur Kommunikation in der Technik aufgrund der Spezifik des Kommunikationsrahmens kulturabhängig so unterschiedlich konkretisieren kann, dass Textsorten als konventionalisierte Ausdrucksformen dieser Kommunikation in einer Kultur vorhanden sind, in der anderen dagegen fehlen. Während der Umgang mit der Kulturspezifik maßgeblich von der Übersetzungssituation abhängt, hilft das Wissen um die in Recht und Technik je anderen Kommunikationsformen, hinter denen spezifische fachliche Denkmuster und Handlungsformen stehen, dem Übersetzer, die Texte in ihrer kulturellen Prägung und ihrer kulturellen Verschiedenheit zu begreifen und damit die Grundlage für eine der Übersetzungssituation angemessene Übersetzung zu schaffen.

Dank

Für die Durchsicht des Manuskripts, die Nennung einschlägiger Quellen und die wertvollen Hinweise auf Aspekte der technikbezogenen Kulturspezifik auf der terminologischen, der definitorischen und der textuellen Ebene bedanke ich mich bei Herrn FH-Prof. Mag. Dr. Georg Löckinger, Professor im Bachelorstudiengang Produktdesign und Technische Kommunikation an der Fachhochschule Oberösterreich. Der Beitrag basiert auf einem Vortrag, den ich dort am 11.05.2016 im Rahmen des Erasmus-Austauschprogramms mit dem Masterstudiengang Specialised Translation an der Universität Bologna gehalten habe.

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Hoffmann, Lothar (1987) Kommunikationsmittel Fachsprache. Eine Einführung, Berlin, Akademie-Verlag.

Institut zur Erforschung und Förderung österreichischer und internationaler Literaturprozesse (Hrsg.) (2000) Enzyklopädie vielsprachiger Kulturwissenschaften, Stichwort: Kultur, URL: http://www.inst.at/ausstellung/enzy/kultur/kultur.htm (Zugriff 03.05.2017).

Italienisches Zivilgesetzbuch. Codice Civile (2010), Zweisprachige Ausgabe, Übersetzer Max W. Bauer, Bernhard Eccher, Bernhard König, Josef Kreuzer und Heinz Zanon, Bern, Stämpfli.

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Fußnoten

[1] Eine Übersicht über die verschiedenen Datenbanken bietet die Webseite Terminologiedatenbanken des Bachelorstudiengangs Produktdesign und Technische Kommunikation der Fachhochschule Oberösterreich (goo.gl/yzWcY0).

[2] Während nonverbale Mittel (v.a. Bilder und audiovisuelle Materialien) in der Technik generell eine wichtige Rolle spielen (Arntz 2001: 78–9), erlangen sie im Recht in dem Maße Bedeutung, in dem der Gegenstand der rechtlichen Regelung ein technischer ist (vgl. z.B. die österreichische Verordnung zur Sicherheits- und Gesundheitsschutzkennzeichnung; goo.gl/Zg3CYU).

[3] Die deutschen Übersetzungen in Klammern, die in der für den Gebrauch in Deutschland bestimmten Übersetzung von Patti (2011) übernommen wurden, stammen aus der für den Gebrauch in Südtirol bestimmten Übersetzung von Bauer et al. (Italienisches Zivilgesetzbuch. Codice Civile 2010).

About the author(s)

Eva Wiesmann is Associate professor in specialised translation from Italian into German at the Dept of Interpreting and Translation of the university of Bologna (Forlì campus). She holds a PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures (Italian) from the University of Mainz, Faculty for Translation Studies, Linguistics and Cultural Studies. Her doctoral dissertation (entitled Rechtsübersetzung und Hilfsmittel zur Translation. Wissenschaftliche Grundlagen und computergestützte Umsetzung eines lexikographischen Konzepts) was published by Narr in 2004 and focused on legal translation and resources of legal translators. Her other research areas include legal language, notably notarial language, didactics of specialised translation, terminography and lexicography. Eva Wiesmann also works als a freelance legal translator and lexicographer.

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"Kulturspezifik in Recht und Technik und Konsequenzen für die Übersetzung"
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Modeling van Dijk’s Ideological Square in Translation Studies:

Investigating Manipulation in Political Discourse Translation

By Ali Jalalian Daghigh, Mohammad Saleh Sanatifar, Rokiah Awang (Universiti Sains Malaysia, Malaysia)

Abstract & Keywords

Political opinion articles as an ideologically-loaded type of political discourse are largely produced to serve the society to which they belong. When translated, they could be manipulated to meet the socio-political needs of the target society. Translation Studies scholars have adopted a variety of critical approaches and methodologies to account for such manipulations, inspired by the principles of Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) and under the critical translation movement. Though van Dijk’s sociocognitive notion of CDA is widely employed, his ideological square has rarely been looked into as an analytical framework. The present paper aims to investigate how van Dijk’s ideological square can be used to explain manipulation, and accordingly, be proposed as a model. To achieve this objective, a collection of 31 English opinion articles, along with their corresponding Persian translations, are analyzed. The analysis of the articles confirms the adequacy of van Dijk’s ideological square to account for manipulation in (political) discourse translation at a sociocognitive level. At the textual level, however, some modifications are suggested.

Keywords: Critical Discourse Analysis, CDA, ideological square, manipulation, news translation, political discourse, opinion articles

©inTRAlinea & Ali Jalalian Daghigh, Mohammad Saleh Sanatifar, Rokiah Awang (2018).
"Modeling van Dijk’s Ideological Square in Translation Studies: Investigating Manipulation in Political Discourse Translation"
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This article can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
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1 Introduction

The influence of political factors and, more specifically, ideology, has widely attracted the attention of scholars researching (news) translation in situations of conflict (among them Ku and Nakamura 2005; Orengo 2005; Holland 2006; Darwish 2006; Baker 2006; 2010a; b; Kang 2007; Valdeón 2007; 2008; Munday 2007; Chen 2009; Loupaki 2010; Gumul 2010; Alhejin 2012). Regardless of their methodology, all the scholars have unanimously agreed that the political context in which the target text (TT) is produced leads the trans-editor(s)[1] to manipulate the TT.

Manipulation is a term originally concerned with literary translation and was first used by the scholars of the Manipulation School (e.g., Hermans 1985 and Lefevere 1992).

Generally, there are two views on manipulation in journalistic/political translation. Some scholars consider it as translation acts by means of which linguistic and cultural barriers are transcended and communication is facilitated (e.g., Schäffner 2005; Bassnett 2005; Bielsa and Bassnett 2009). However, in the political context of translation, manipulation is generally perceived as political/ideological manipulation, because political translation implies a degree of manipulation of the source text (ST) for a certain purpose, to bring the target text in line with a model and a notion of correctness, and in so doing, ensures socio-political acceptance. Therefore, manipulation has also been considered a filter through which a specific representation of ST is promoted (e.g., Orengo 2005; Tsai 2005; Kuo and Nakamura 2005; Holland 2006; Darwish 2006; Kang 2007; Valdeón 2007; Gumul 2010; Loupaki 2010). The current study considers manipulation from the latter perspective.

The question is, which analytical framework can serve to investigate manipulation in translation from this perspective? We believe that Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) can be the answer. However, very few studies (for example, Kwong Leung 2006; Ietcu-Fairclough 2008; Schäffner 2004, 2012; Alhejin 2012) have made an attempt to link translation studies and CDA either theoretically or methodologically. This could be the reason why Schäffner (2004; 2012) refers to the lack of, and necessity for, a ‘critical translation analysis’ subfield within Translation Studies.

In this article, van Dijk’s ideological square, as a component of his sociocognitive approach to CDA, is employed as the analytical framework to investigate manipulation in the translation of political news opinion articles. First, the appropriateness of the framework will be argued. Then, we will show how the framework links with Translation Studies and serves as a model for investigating manipulation in political discourse translation through the analysis of 31 Persian translations of English opinion articles. 

2 CDA and political discourse translation

Since the ideological turn in Translation Studies, ideological and political factors have drawn the attention of translation scholars to the study of translation context. Schäffner (2004; 2010a; 2012), Kwong Leung (2006) and Ietcu-Fairclough (2008) argue that translation is no longer concerned with the traditional notion of equivalence, but has turned towards the socio-cultural and political context of the translation in which the translators work. They call on researchers to use the concepts of CDA in their studies, as CDA and TS have a common ground. That is, CDA and TS share the idea that textual features should not be interpreted without considering the ideological context of text production and reception. Ietcu-Fairclough (2008) points out that translators work under certain socio-political conventions and restrictions which serve the wider values and ideologies of power holders in society. Thus, the strategies employed by translators are aimed at the production of a text in line with set values. This is even more significant when it comes to political discourse translation, in general, and opinion articles, in particular.  Political opinion articles, as opposed to hard news articles, are believed to be significantly loaded with ideologies (Bell 1991; van Dijk 1995). As van Dijk (1995: 15) argues, opinion articles are ‘rather institutional than personal, shared among several editors and other social groups they belong to’. That is, they are consistent with the beliefs and values of the dominant socio-political frameworks of the institutions themselves and the wider society to which they belong (Hodge and Kress, 1993).  Schäffner (2012) argues that the translational activities which mediate such discursive events, as editorials of newspapers and news websites, are much more complex than translation proper. The discursive events are recontextualized and mediated by translators or, in her words, ‘agents’ or ‘political actors’ (Schäffner 2012: 104), in accordance with the constraints and conventions of the news agency. Likewise, Vuorinen (1995) and Darwish (2010) maintain that translation in news agencies is influenced by institutional policies and ideologies to justify and control actions and their outcomes. Therefore, translators are not the only people who decide on the translation; their work is edited by others such as senior translators, editors and the chief editor (Hursti 2001; Bielsa 2010).

Over the past few years, translation scholars have attempted to apply CDA in their studies to look at the influence of such conditions on (news) translation (e.g., Júnior 2004; Kuo and Nakamura 2005; Tsai 2005; Orengo 2005; Holland 2006; Munday 2007; Kang 2007; Valdeón 2007; 2008; Chen 2009; Al-Hejin 2012). It should be noted that these studies are flawed for two reasons. First, studies such as Júnior (2004), Tsai (2005), Darwish (2006), Chen (2009) are limited to the investigation of manipulation on a lexical level.  Second, others are case studies which analyse a single article (e.g., Darwish 2006; Holland 2006; Munday 2007; Alhejin 2012; Jalalian Daghigh and Awang 2014); thus, they do not lead to broader conclusions about, and a better understanding of, ideological manipulation in political discourse translation due to the limited breadth of their data. Therefore, there is a need for a study with a broader set of data which goes beyond mere lexical analysis.

The portrayal of the conflicts between Iran and the Western world have also been among the points of interest in investigating the influence of ideology on the news language.  Khanjan et al. (2013) draw on van Dijk’s sociocognitive approach to investigate certain ideological aspects of news headlining in an English-Persian transla­tion context. They sug­gest that the polarization of Us and Them is influenced by the target news producers’ (dis)approval of the ideological content of the source headlines and is represented through preserving, manipulating or excluding original head­lines in the target news stories. They argue that the translation strategies used are realized through the purposeful application of linguistic expressions (both at lexical and grammatical level) or non-linguistic elements (such as images, photos, and graphic drawings). Jalalian Daghigh (2015), drawing on van Dijk’s approach to CDA, studies the manipulation procedures involved in news translation. Sanatifar and Jalalian Daghigh (2018), investigate, from a socionarrative perspective, how the Iranian media, through translation, directed the public perception of the social and political realities about its nuclear program through reframing as it was already framed in the Western media. Unlike Khanjan et al. (2013), Jalalian (2015), and Sanatifar and Jalalian Daghigh (2018), other researchers have conducted monolingual studies by comparing the news texts produced by different English language presses. For example, Atai and Mozaheb (2013) study the portrayal of Iran’s nuclear program in some British news media by focusing on editorials in the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph, the Times, the Independent and BBC. Shojaei, Youssefi, and Hosseini (2013) examine the portrayal of three conflicting points between Iran, the West, and the USA by looking at some British and American newspapers such as Independent, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. Drawing on van Dijk’s ideological square, they conclude that the Western media were biased, as they had attempted to represent Iran and its allies negatively, and the West positively.

Other studies have compared Western news texts in English with Iranian-Persian texts covering the same topic. Applying Fairclough’s CDA model and guided by van Dijk’s ideological square, Behnam and Moshtaghi Zenous (2008) compare the coverage of the Iranian nuclear program in two Iranian newspapers, i.e., Iran Daily and Kayhan, as well as in two British newspapers, i.e., The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian. The results of their study show that the British media delegitimized the Iranian nuclear program, whereas the Iranian media portrayed it positively. Their study highlights a few points. First, they have gone beyond mere analysis of lexical choices by taking transitivity procedures, namely nominalization, and passivization, into account. Second, by looking at the domestic media, which support government policies, and by comparing it with the Western media, they shed light on socio-political factors, which based on CDA, explain different uses of language by the media. Nevertheless, without denying the merit of these studies, it is noticeable that by merely looking at parallel texts produced in two different contexts, it is not possible to uncover manipulations carried out by news trans-editors.

3 Method

3.1 van Dijk’s CDA and ideological square

Van Dijk’s (1993a; 2001; 2005) sociocognitive approach to CDA consists of three components: society, cognition, and discourse. At the macro level is the society which is concerned with power relationships at the level of local interlocutors and global societal structures. In his approach, social power is understood as a means of controlling the mind and action of groups and people. At the micro level is discourse, which refers to various discourse structures (language) encapsulating ideologies. The main point that makes van Dijk’s framework different from Wodak’s historical (2001) and Fairclough’s socio-cultural notions of CDA (2001) is the mediating layer of cognition (ideology), which, as illustrated in Figure 1, lies between society and discourse. Van Dijk (1998) points out that the meaning of the text is embedded in the discourse by language producers, and as such, it exists and is represented in their minds. Therefore, the cognitive properties of participants’ discourse, as part of the contextual analysis, is emphasized in his framework. Accordingly, van Dijk (1993b; 2002) conceptualizes ‘ideological square’ as a framework through which discourse comprehension and production can be analyzed and linked to the context (society).  

img1

Figure 1 The researchers’ illustration of van Dijk’s (1998) model

In the current study, van Dijk’s (1998) ideological square (cognition) is employed as the main analytical framework. He characterizes it as a polarization of Us and Them through which the positive and negative features of in-group (Us) and out-group (Them) are (de)emphasized by applying 24 discourse structures. That is, the polarization between Us and Them is manifested via all linguistic dimensions of a text, which are interpreted as one of the following overall strategies:

a) Positive-Self Representation: representing the in-groups’ members (Us) positively, via discourse, by de-emphasizing their negative and emphasizing their positive features;
b) Negative-Other Representation: representing the out-groups’ members (Them) negatively, via discourse, by de-emphasizing their positive and emphasizing their negative features.

Besides the 24 discourse structures identified by van Dijk (1998), ideology may be represented in the text via syntactic features of language as well. Since van Dijk has not included these features in his framework, the linguistic toolkits which are set forth by Hodge and Kress (1993), and Fowler (1991) and Fairclough (1991), i.e., passivation, nominalization, modality, and theme/rheme change, are employed in this study as well. In the following, a background of Iranian media policies and what forms the ideological Us and Them in the country is provided.

3.2 Us and Them in Iran

In 1979, with the Islamic revolution in Iran, a referendum was held and the Islamic Republic of Iran as the socio-political system of the country was officially recognized. Accordingly, in the same year, a new constitution was ratified to adjust the rules and norms to the newly-established system.  Since then, the foreign policy of Iran has been influenced by its conflicts with the USA, the UK, and Israel. As for the USA, the American government has set a long-term policy to change the regime of Iran (Laker 2008). In addition, having the support of the European powers, specifically the UK, the USA has attempted to stop the country from being a nuclear power in the region (Hastedt 2017). Between 2013 to 2014, the conflict between Iran and the "EU 3 + 3"[2] over Iran’s nuclear program increased to its highest level. Concerning Israel, it is argued by the Iranian government that the Israeli occupation of Palestine must end as it has imposed a heavy humanitarian burden on the Palestinian people (Mearsheimer & Walt 2006). The foreign policy of Iran is also reflected in its constitution. On the one hand, Article 56 of Chapter 8 of the Iranian constitution categorizes a number of countries, mainly the U.S.A and Israel, as hostile governments. On the other hand, countries such as Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, due to the political interest they share with Iran, fall within the scope of ‘ally governments’. In Article 56, the role of the media towards the first category has been stated as ‘[…] to disclose the hostile nature and position of these governments; the hegemonic policies, and the economic and military polarizations which contribute to these policies […]’ (our translation).  These points have also been stressed in Iranian media law. Chapter 4 of the law bans several cases, among which are those that noticeably

1) promote ideas that negatively affect the Islamic Republic of Iran;
2) insult the officials of the country, specifically the Supreme Leader; and
3) violate political, social, economic, and cultural policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Chapter 2 of the law states the missions of the media. Among the missions described in this chapter are those that

1) promote the goals stated in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran;
2)disclose the hostile nature and position of the Western governments, including their hegemonic policies; and
3) promote the policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran worldwide.

3.3 The corpus and procedure

The data collection began by looking at the target text published on the Iranian news website Diplomacy-e-Irani (Iranian Diplomacy). A total of 31 Persian news opinion articles, which were all translated from English into Persian, were obtained from the archive of the news website within a period of 3 months, dated from April 1, 2013, to June 30, 2013. All the articles discuss the controversies between Iran and the West over Iran’s nuclear program. This period was preferred for data collection because the researchers believe that conflicts and tensions between the Iranian government and the Western powers over Iran’s nuclear activities had reached its highest level up to that time. In fact, more and more ideologically-loaded articles were then being published. Then, their corresponding English source texts were obtained from 18 news agencies and websites including Reuters, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The New York Times, Aljazeera, Los Angeles Times, The Telegraph, Foreign Policy, Haaretz, The National Interest, The Christian Science Monitor, Project Syndicate, The Diplomat, Inter Press Service, Bloomberg View, Policy.Mic, Executive Magazine, and The Atlantic.

To carry out the analysis, initially, the English opinion articles (ST) are analyzed based on van Dijk’s (1998) ideological square framework. After identifying the ideological significance of the source texts (see Figure 2), through comparing the source (ST) and target text (TT), the ideological mismatches are described, categorized and evaluated.

 4 Data Analysis

Analysis of the source text per se suggests that the ST representations can be categorized into four major patterns as follows:

  1. the language of the ST represents Iran and its allies (in-group) negatively; hereafter called undesirable negative representation (UNR)
  2. the language of the ST represents Iran and its allies (in-group) positively; hereafter called desirable positive representation (DPR)
  3. the language of the ST represents mainly Westerns countries and Israel (out-groups) negatively; hereafter called desirable negative representation (DNR)
  4. the language of the ST represents mainly Westerns countries and Israel (out-groups) positively; hereafter called undesirable positive representation (UPR)

In the following section, the results obtained from comparing the ST and the TT are presented. The given examples reflect the manipulation patterns in Persian translation of the opinion articles which are based on various procedures. Since the inclusion of all procedures falls beyond the scope of the study, the complete list of the procedures is separately provided in Appendix A (Jalalian 2015)

a) Manipulation of UNR in TT

ST1: […] the P5+1 must demonstrate the same type of steadfastness that guardians of the Islamic Republic have shown. The best means of disarming Iran is to insist on a simple and basic redline […] (Takeyh, 2013.)  

TT1 (Eftekhari 2013a):  

گروه 1+5 برای مذاکره با ایران باید همان میزان پایمردی را از خود نشان دهد که ایرانی ها در این سالها در
مواجهه با غرب خرج کردند. بهترین راه برای متوقف کردن برنامه های هسته ای ایران تعیین یک خط قرمز مشخص است.

TRL:goruhe 5+1 barāye mozākere bā irān bāyad hamānmizān pāymardi rā azxodneŝāndahad ke irāniha dar in sālhā dar movājehe bā qarb xarj kardand behtarin rāh barāye motevaqef kardan barnāmehāye hastei irān taeine yek xate qermez mosŝaxas ast

BT (of TT1): the group 5+1 to negotiate with Iran should demonstrate the same fortitude that Iranians within these years have spent in facing the West. The best way to stop Iran’s nuclear program is to determine a red line.

The above statement is taken from an opinion article in which the author criticizes Iran’s nuclear program while proposing what should be done (norm expression) to make a deal with Iran. The expressions ‘guardians of the Islamic Republic’ and ‘disarming Iran’ in the ST show the negative opinion of the author toward Iran and its nuclear program.  Comparison of the ST and the TT shows some mismatches, which could be explained in terms of ideological manipulations. First, ‘guardians of the Islamic Republic’ refer to the officials of the political system who look after the benefits of the regime (Persian-English Dictionary of Politics and Journalism, 2005). This is translated into ایرانی ها irāniha [Iranians].  In fact, by categorizing a particular group who favor the Islamic Republic (the political regime), the ST author refers to a minority who supports the nuclear program, but this is generalized to Iranians, as a case of creating populism in the TT. Thus, a TT reader may interpret that a big population is on the side of Iran’s nuclear program. Secondly, ‘disarming Iran’ is translated into متوقف کردن برنامه های هسته ا ی motevaqef kardan barrnāme hāyehastei. [to stop Iran’s nuclear program] while, according to Progressive Aryanpour Dictionary (2010) and Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (2015), the word ‘disarming’ refers to taking away someone’s weapons. This is a change of perspective which not only filters a negative depiction of Iran, but also, may represent the West negatively; thus, a target reader may interpret this as stopping a program which could be the right of a nation.  Therefore, in all the cases discussed above, there is an attempt by the trans-editor (s) to block the negative representations of the in-group (US) in the TT. The procedures of blocking are listed and explained in Appendix A.  

ST2: It would have to agree to completely open all Iranian nuclear facilities to regular inspections by the IAEA (which has thus far refused to do so) (Purzycki, 2013).

TT2 (Taslimi 2013a):

نخست ایران باید مجوز ورود بازرسان به تمامی سایت های هسته ای اش را بدهد.

TRL: noxost irān bāyad mojavez vorud bāzresān be tamāmi sāythāye hasteiaŝ rā bedahad

BT (of TT2): First Iran would give permission to the inspectors to enter all its nuclear sites.

Some information may remain implicit, as it may be shared knowledge with the recipients and inferred from context. However, there are other reasons for implicitation. For example, for cultural purposes such as politeness, an unacceptable expression might become implicit. In addition, political motivations may lead an author to leave an expression implicit (van Dijk, 2005). While negative features of an in-group may remain implicit or mitigated through euphemism, the negative features of an out-group may be explicated (van Dijk, 2005). The ST clearly states that Iran has so far refused to allow the IAEA inspectors to inspect its nuclear facilities. However, this is omitted in the TT. As such, implicitation is used to demote the negative representation of the in-group in the TT. The procedures of ‘demotion’ are explained in Appendix A.

b) Manipulation of UPR in the TT

ST3: At the last round of talks, in February in Kazakhstan, the United States and five otherworld powers offered Tehran modest concessions, including softening limits on trade using gold and other precious metals, and easing some restrictions on petrochemicalexports, if the Iranians agreed to halt production of medium-enriched uranium. The Iranians did not accept the offer (Ritcher 2013). 

TT3: (Taslimi 2013b): Edited out

Disclaimer is a combination of positive self-representation and negative other-representation and saves face by emphasizing the positive features of an in-group and representing an out-group negatively by focusing on their negative features. In the above example, both positive representations of the out-group and negative representation of the in-group are expressed via disclaimer. In fact, the ST depicts the out-group positively by stating that a good offer from the United States is turned down by the in-group. However, it is blocked from entering the TT by complete omission. In fact, the negative representation of the in-group, as well as the positive representation of the out-group are both manipulated in the TT.

ST4: […] we believe we have put forward a good, comprehensive, fair, and balanced approach; a confidence building measure that we think is a good start (Peterson, 2013).  

TT4: (Hooshmand 2013a):

گروه 1+5 می گویدآنها بسته پیشنهادی خوبی را به ایران ارائه داده […]

TRL:  goruhe 5 + 1 miguyad baste pisnahādi xubi be irān erāe dāde

BT (of TT4):  5+1 group says they have offered a good proposal package to Iran

Groups and individuals might be addressed by neutral terms. However, ideologically and politically motivated discourses are influenced by power holders’ attitudes towards certain people or groups. Thus, a polarized term used to refer to an in-group (positively) and an out-group (negatively) is a marker of the ideology of a group towards its in-groups and out-groups (van Dijk, 2005). In the above example, the author quotes what Ashton, the leader of the Western powers in negotiations, states on the proposal which has been given by the West. As can be seen in the ST, this part of the text is a positive representation of the West and their proposal. Besides that, the use of the first-person pronoun ‘we’ in three cases shows Ashton has polarized the Western powers in a positive way. However, comparison of the ST and the TT shows that ‘we’ is translated into آنها dey [they], which alludes to the third person plural pronoun. This reveals that the trans-editors consider themselves to be members of the target society. As a result, they have attempted to change the perspective by stating that “they say […]”, rather than expressing it from the ST point of view. In addition, except for the word ‘good’, which is translated correctly into خوب xub [good], the other positive features are omitted in the TT. As such, the positive representation of the Westerners is demoted by omitting some information. The procedures of ‘demoting’ are explained in Appendix A. 

c) Manipulation of DPR in the TT

ST5: Based on my personal experience, Rowhani is a polite and open character (Fischer 2013).

TT5: (Asgari 2013):

تجربه شخصی من نشان می دهد که روحانی مردی مودب و با شخصیتی است

TRL: tajrobeye ŝaxsiye man neŝān midahad ke rowhāni mardi moadab va bā ŝaxsiati bāz ast

BT (of TT5): Based on my personal experience, Rowhani is a polite man with open character.

In discourse, an actor can be described as a manifestation of a group ideology towards what they consider as in-group and out-group. The above source text reflects the author’s positive stand on the election of the new president of Iran (Rowhani), who brought positive changes to the nuclear standoff between Iran and the world powers. The author’s positive attitude is encapsulated through the words ‘politeگ and ‘open character’ in the ST. The reference to the aforementioned words is made by مودب moadab [polite] and شخصیت باز ŝaxsiati bāz [open character] (Hezareh Persian-English           Dictionary, 2010), in the TT. Comparison of the ST and the TT shows no ideological manipulation. As a result, the positive representation of the in-group is preserved in the TT. 

ST6: Unlike outgoing president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he surrounds himself with very skilful and experienced diplomats (Fischer 2013).

TT6 (Asgari 2013):

برخلاف محمود احمدی نزاد رئیس جمهور کنونی ایران که تا یک ماه دیگر ساختمان ریاست جمهوری رهترک می کند روحانی اطراف خود را با دیپلمات های ماهر و کار آزموده و با تجربه پر کرده است. همچنین
سیاستهای متعادل گرانه ایشان در پست های گذشته اش نشانگر این است که مرد فرهیخته ای  است.

TRL: bar xalāfe mahmud ahmadinejād ra’ise jomhure konuni irān ke ta yek māhe digar sāxtemāne riyāsat jomhuri rā tark mikonad rowhāni atrāfe xod rā bā diplomāthāye māher va kārāzmude va bā tajrobe porkarde ast. Hamcenin siāsāthāye moteādelgārāneye yeeshān dar gozasteash neshān in ast ke marde farhijtei ast

BT (of TT6): unlike Mahmud Ahmadinejad, the current president of Iran who will leave the presidential building one month from now, Rowhani has surrounded himself with very skilful and experienced diplomats.  His ongoing balanced policies in past posts indicate that he is a sophisticated person

This example, also, reflects the ST’s author positive point of view on the election of the new president of Iran. In the ST, Rowhani is compared with the former president, Ahmadinejad, and described positively through the words ‘skilful’ and ‘experienced’. The trans-editor(s) has rendered the above words to کارآزموده kārāzmude [skilled] and باتجربه bātajrobe [experienced] (Hezareh Persian-English Dictionary, 2010), respectively. These translations are both in line with the meaning of the ST words. However, the addition of some positive representation in the TT, which does not exist in the ST, intensifies the already positive representation of Rowhani in the ST. Like the previous examples, this example represents the way DPR is manipulated. By applying certain procedures, the ST positive representation of the in-group is promoted in the TT. The procedures of promotion are explained in Appendix A. 

d) Manipulation of DNR in TT

ST7: if Washington recognized Iran’s right to enrich, a nuclear deal with Tehran could be reached in matter of weeks (Leverett & Man Leverett 2013).    

TT7: (Hooshamand 2013b):

اگر واشنگتن حق غنی سازی ایران را به رسمیت بشناسد امکان دستیابی به توافق بر سر پرونده هسته ای ظرف چند هفته ممکن خواهد شد.

TRL: agar wāŝington haqe qanisāziye irān rā berasmiyat beŝnāsad emkān dastyabi barsare parvande hasteei zarfe ĉand hafte emkānpazir xāhad bud

BT (of TT7): If Washington recognizes Iran’s right to enrich, the possibility of achieving an agreement on the nuclear issue would be possible within a few weeks.

The discourse of counterfactuals warns about something that would happen as the result of the problem created by another group. The ST’s author assumes a positive outcome leading to a nuclear agreement, if ‘Washington recognized Iran’s right with regards to its nuclear programme’. In other words, the author represents the USA negatively by criticizing the policy of the American government as well as the Western powers toward Iran’s nuclear program. Comparison of the ST and the TT suggests that the negative representation of the out-group is transferred from the ST to the TT without any manipulation. Therefore, the negative representation of the out-group is preserved in the TT.  

ST8: And Obama’s decision last week to send small arms to the rebels in Syria is hardly a step likely to make Iran feel better about Washington’s regional objectives (M. Walt 2013).

TT8: (Eftekhari 2013b): 

برای مثال تصمیم هفته گذشته اوباما به منظور ارسال سلاح برای معترضان سوری قطعا بدبینی  بیشتری را در نگاه ایران نسبت به اهداف منطقه ای واشنگتن حاکم کند.

TRL: barāye mesāl tasmime hafteye gozaŝte obāmā be manzure ersāle selāh barāye motarezāne suri mitavānad badbini biŝtari ra dar negāhe irān nesbatbe ahdāfe mantaqeei wāŝington hakem konad

BT (of TT8): for example, the last week decision by Obama to send arms for Syria rebels absolutely sheds more pessimism on Iran’s view toward Washington’s regional objectives. 

In the above example, the author blames Obama for sending arms to Syria for the problem it may cause in the path toward a probable deal between Iran and the USA. Comparison between the ST and the TT suggests that this depiction is transferred to the TT. However, it is worth mentioning the few ideological manipulations. Firstly, the adjective ‘small’ in the ST phrase ‘small arms’ shows that the author has specified the type of arms to be sent. This is translated into سلاح selāh [arm] (Progressive Aryanpour Dictionary, 2010). The omission of this adjective (generalization) may alter the TT reader’s interpretation of the act of the out-group. That is, the reader may imagine that the USA has sent heavy arms rather than small arms.  Moreover, the modals ‘hardly’ and ‘likely’ show that the author’s degree of certainty toward the obstacle that may be brought by this issue is not necessarily high. These two modals are replaced by قطعا [absolutely] in the TT. In this view, a higher degree of assurance is represented toward the expressed burden being caused by Obama’s decision. Finally, the replacement of ‘to make Iran feel better’ in the ST withحاکم کند  بدبینی بیشتری را درنگاه ایران badbini biŝtari ra dar negāhe irān hakem konad [dominates more pessimism in Iran’s view] in the TT expresses a stronger sense of negativity of the out-group act and the negative impact it may have on a probable deal. As such, the negative representation of Obama and his policies are promoted in the TT.  

5 Results

As stated earlier, the ST analysis suggests four patterns of representation. Table 1 displays the percentage of the four UNR, UPR, DPR, and DNR patterns.

ST Representation Patterns

UNR

UPR

DPR

DNR

Frequency

300

51

12

65

Percentage

70

12

3

15

Table 1. The percentage of the four identified ST representation patterns

As the table displays, UNR is the most frequent (about 70%) and DPR is the least frequent pattern (about 3%) of the representations as observed in the ST. This suggests that the ST is heavily loaded with negative representations of Iran and its allies (UNR). Moreover, the ST also includes undesirable positive representations of the other groups (UPR).  In total, 82 percent of the ST representations are in conflict with the cases which are stipulated in the Iranian media law. As a result, it is far from expectation that the translators simply transfer the undesired representations to the TT intact.  Table 2 summarizes the ST representations as manipulated in the TT. As the table displays, the undesired representations have been treated differently from the desired representations.

Strategies

Preserving

Blocking

Demoting

Promoting

 

Freq.

%

Freq.

%

Freq.

%

Freq.

%

UNR

10

3

160

53

130

44

0

0

UPR

7

14

29

57

15

29

0

0

DNR

32

49

0

0

0

0

33

51

DPR

5

41

0

0

0

0

7

59

Table2. The four identified strategies of manipulation and their percentages in translations

The first category is the undesired negative representation of the in-group. In total, 97% of this category’s representations have gone through manipulations, out of which 53% of the cases are blocked and 44 % are demoted. The second category is an undesirable positive representation of the out-group. In total, 86% of all the ST representations are manipulated, out of which 57 % of the cases are blocked and 29% are demoted.

The third category is a desirable negative representation of the out-group. Overall, 51 % of all the ST representations are promoted. Besides, by an intact transfer of the discourse to the TT, without applying any manipulative procedures, the remaining ST representations are preserved in the TT, which includes 49% of the cases. The last category is a desirable positive representation of the in-group. Totally, 59% of all the ST representations have gone through promotion. Furthermore, by rendering the ST discourse to the TT without applying any manipulative procedures, the ST representations are preserved in the TT, which includes 41% of the cases. As the table reveals, while preserving does not exist in the first two groups, it is dominantly used in the last two groups (DNR and DPR). This suggests that the trans-editors have preserved the positive representations of the in-groups and negative representations of the out-groups. One may argue that preserving may not be a manipulative pattern. However, by comparing its use among the four categories of the ST representations, it can be concluded that preserving has been applied deliberately to highlight the desired representations.

6 The proposed model, conclusion and implications

This paper was an attempt to exploit common ground between manipulation in political discourse translation and van Dijk’s sociocognitive approach to CDA. As stated earlier, translation is an act of recontextualization. When a text is recontextualized, it is influenced by the contextual factors of the target society. Even though some transformations are unavoidable in the process of translation due to linguistic and cultural factors, the ones which are evident in this study cannot be interpreted as a result of constraints imposed by such related aspects. In fact, the data analysis suggests that the political discourse translators working at Iranian Diplomacy seem to have been restricted, among many, by the ideological factors governing the institution they work for. The institution per se is part of the society in which certain values are shared. The state ideology of the Iranian government is a good example of such conditions. The Islamic revolution has resulted in forming a polarized categorization which has been reflected in both the constitution and the media law. This leads the trans-editors to appeal to manipulations which can be explained in light of van Dijk’s sociocognitive approach to CDA.

According to van Dijk’s (1998; 2005) monolingual notion of CDA, to sustain power, the power holders of society share their values and beliefs with the members to shape their mind. This takes place through text producers who shape the discourse to meet the expectations of the institution they work for. As stated earlier, cognition, or the ideological square as the mediating layer, plays the key role in van Dijk’s notion of CDA. In fact, text producers, being aware of the commission they have and guided by the factors underlying ideological square, produce a text which reflects the ideology of the powerholders through their discursive practices. By adapting van Dijk’s ideological square to the analysis of translated political discourse, the proposed model explains the political context which leads the trans-editor(s) to manipulate the TT as unanimously agreed upon by the TS scholars, though with some modifications.

Analysis of the data shows that the ST consists of representations which conflict with the stance of the Iranian government toward the in-group (Us) and the out group (Them). Through the manipulative procedures, the undesired and desired representations are formed into representations which recreate a new discourse for the target text audience. The purpose of this appears to ensure that the target text is in accordance with the values and ideology of the target society. Figure 2 illustrates the application of van Dijk’s ideological square to illustrate these manipulations.

img2

Figure 2. The proposed CDA-based model for the analysis of manipulation in political discourse translation

The model which is developed through modifications to the originally monolingual CDA of van Dijk tends to focus on the ideological square in the context of the target society. The ideology of the target society power holders, which has roots in their stance toward the conflicts with foreign countries, is reflected in the TT discourse through manipulation strategies. It appears that the square can accommodate manipulation in the bilingual context of political discourse translation. According to van Dijk, discourse understood/produced in a society is, in fact, a representation of what goes on in the minds of the members. However, applying this to translation needs some modification. While in van Dijk’s model, discourse is a representation of what goes on the mind of the society members, the authors and the audience, in translation the author is the translator. In this study, therefore, the trans-editors’ decisions seem to have been influenced by the target society’s ideological square as reflected in the polarization of Us and Them. As such, it is concluded that the trans-editors tend to manipulate the ST representations based on Figure 3 illustration.

img3

Figure 3.  Illustration of the four identified strategies to investigate manipulation in political discourse translation

Figure 3 illustrates van Dijk’s ideological square as applied to translation. As the figure reveals, trans-editors tend to positively represent their own group (Us) and negatively represent the other group (Them). However, as it is shown in the Figure, ‘de-emphasizing’ and ‘emphasizing’ the representations of the square need to be complemented by including the subcategories of ‘preserving’, ‘blocking’, ‘demoting’, and ‘promoting’. Therefore, the study proposes four strategies to investigate manipulation in political discourse translation in light of van Dijk’s ideological square. The strategies, except for preserving, are implemented through applying some manipulative procedures which are explained in Appendix A. The linguistic toolkits provided by van Dijk and the ones provided and shared among other CDA models, including Fairclough, Hodge and Kress, and Fowler, seem to be not enough in explaining all the manipulation procedures, most probably due to their monolingual nature of analysis. Therefore, by taking a descriptive-explanatory approach, the study has attempted to investigate the ones which are not explained by CDA (see Appendix A).

The proposed model conceptualizes the important topic of manipulation in mediation of ideology as performed by political discourse translators. By being aware of the proposed model, translation critiques would be better able to make informed criticism of manipulation in translation. It would also help translation teachers and material developers to better explain and illustrate manipulations to their translator trainees, specifically in courses which deal with journalistic and political text translation. In addition, it facilitates the path of future researchers as it provides them with an analytical framework to uncover the manipulated discourses in translation. The current study investigated manipulation in translation by focusing on 31 opinion articles translated form English to Persian.  Further studies on other genres of political discourse in other societies with different language pairs could be enlightening in developing the proposed model.

Appendix A: Ideological Manipulation Procedures

Blocking Undesired Representations of ST in TT

Manipulation Techniques

Explanations

Complete Omission

To completely remove an undesired representation of ST in TT

Change of Perspective

To represent an undesired representation of ST from a different perspective in TT so that the trace of the ST representation is removed

Neutralization

To replace an undesired negative representation of ST with an item in TT which nullifies the representation

Creating Ambiguity

To nullify an undesired negative representation of ST with a vague expression in TT, by not providing the details of the ST representation in TT, which leads to nullifying the representation.

Creating Populism

To minimize an undesired negative representation of ST by attributing the interests of a person or a specific group (high ranking officials) to many (people). 

Euphemism

To replace an undesired negative representation of ST with a positively-loaded item in TT so as to censor the representation.

 

Demoting Undesired Representations of ST in TT

 

Manipulation Techniques

Explanations

Partial Omission

To partially remove an undesired representation of ST in TT so that the degree of representation is minimized.

Nominalization

To lower the loading of an undesired representation of ST in TT by nominalizing, by which the details of subject and object are removed.

Implicitation

To lower an undesired negative/positive representation of ST in TT by implying the meaning.

Change of Modality

To lower an undesired representation of ST in TT by replacing the probability/obligation of an event/action by using a modal, which expresses a lower possibility/probability.

Particularization

To particularize an undesired negative representation of ST in TT as opposed to the generality of a ST representation so as to lower the load of negativity.

Passivization

To omit the subject of an undesired negative representation of ST in TT as opposed to an active structure so as to remove the responsibility of the actor(s).

 

Promoting Desired Representation of ST in TT

Manipulation Techniques

Explanations

Addition 

To add an item which intensifies a desired positive representation of ST in TT

Explicitation

To make a desired positive/negative representation of TT more explicit as opposed to that of ST.

Generalization

To generalize desired positive/negative representations of ST in TT as opposed to the specificity of the ST representation. 

Change of Modality

To intensify a desired positive/negative representation of ST in TT by replacing the probability/obligation of something by using a modal which expresses a higher possibility.

Activization

To add subject to a desired positive/negative representation of ST in TT to intensify the representation.

Lexicalization

To intensify a desired negative representation of ST by either replacing it with a more negatively-loaded item or adding an extra negatively-loaded item.

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Notes

[1] The term trans-editor is preferred and used by some scholars researching news translation (for example, Hursti 2001; Bielsa 2010). This is because in the context of news translation, the translator is not the only person who decides on translation, but his/her work is edited by other people such as the senior translators, editors and the chief editor to meet the policies of the news institutions.

[2] "EU 3 + 3" refers to a grouping which includes the EU-3, three European countries including France, the United Kingdom, and Germany as well as three other non-European permanent members of the United Nations Security Council  including China, Russia, and the United States. In the United States and Russia, it is more commonly known as P5+1, which refers to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.

 

About the author(s)

Ali Jalalian Daghigh has a doctoral degree in Applied Linguistics/Translation Studies from Universiti Sains Malaysia. He has a number of publications and has presented in several international conferences. His main research areas are (Critical) Discourse Studies, Journalistic/News Translation, Cross-cultural studies and Language Pedagogy. 

Mohammad Saleh Sanatifar has a doctoral degree in Translation Studies from Universiti Sains Malaysia. The author has published numerous articles in specialized journals and has presented widely in international conferences. His main research interests are: translation theory, pragmatic aspects of translation as well as critical discourse translations.

Rokiah Awang is a senior lecturer in Translation Studies at Universiti Sains Malaysia. She is the author and co-author of a number of journal papers and has presented in several international conferences.  Her main research areas are Translation, journalism, News discourse and editing.

Email: [please login or register to view author's email address]

©inTRAlinea & Ali Jalalian Daghigh, Mohammad Saleh Sanatifar, Rokiah Awang (2018).
"Modeling van Dijk’s Ideological Square in Translation Studies: Investigating Manipulation in Political Discourse Translation"
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Trainee Translators’ Positioning in Discussing Translation Decisions

A Diachronic Case Study

By Nermeen Al Nafra (University of Birmingham, UK)

Abstract & Keywords

Taking into consideration the calls for different translation training approaches in order to equip translators with the theoretical knowledge necessary to empower them in their role as cultural mediators, this study will investigate how following a training programme at postgraduate level affects trainee translators’ social competence. This study examines the effect of following a translation training programme at postgraduate level on the way trainee translators justify the strategies applied to solve translation problems, in particular, the positions they adopt while discussing their translation decisions. The Translation Studies programme at the University of Birmingham is used as a case study. The trainee translators completed a translation task which involved commenting on translation problems and translation strategies according to a pre-prepared form while translating a text. This task, preceded by a questionnaire, was repeated at three stages throughout the academic year (2012-13). This paper reports on a part of the findings resulting from the data analysis. It suggests that trainee translators become more assertive in the justification of their solutions to translation problems as a consequence of following a translation training programme. This study also indicates that the students seem to be less willing to engage with alternative viewpoints by the end of the programme.

Keywords: translator training, translation problems, translation strategies, decision-making in translation, justification

©inTRAlinea & Nermeen Al Nafra (2018).
"Trainee Translators’ Positioning in Discussing Translation Decisions A Diachronic Case Study"
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1. Introduction

Many approaches to translator training, such as the Social Constructivist (Kiraly 2000), Holistic (Robinson 2003) and Task-Based (González Davies 2004) approaches, emphasise the importance of developing the trainee translator’s social competence, including the ‘ability to work with other professionals involved in translation processes’ (Kelly 2007: 134), and the degree to which student involvement in the teaching/learning process can help to prepare autonomous and lifelong learners. These approaches tend to emphasize the translator’s social active role and also stress the importance of combining theoretical knowledge with vocational training in order to develop the trainee translators’ social competence. Rico argues that, at European universities,

[the] new pedagogical trend runs parallel to recent developments in translator training, such as social constructivism (Kiraly 2000) or task-based learning (González Davies 2004), which also revolve around the student as the centre of the learning process. (Rico 2010: 89)

In his view, this was due to the new development in translation training programmes after the Bologna process which started in 1999 and aimed at establishing a common system of learning and teaching in universities across Europe and which is based on student-centred pedagogical principles and student-teacher interaction (Rico 2010: 89). Since translator training at university level is still considered a recent phenomenon and insufficiently researched in Translation Studies (Pym 2009: 1), this study will provide empirical evidence concerning the effect of following an academic translator training programme on the trainee translators’ social competence, in particular, the degree of assertiveness with which trainee translators justify their translation decisions while following a programme that combines both theory and practice. This article starts with providing a description of the general design of the study and the research methods employed. This is followed by an overview of the procedures used to analyse the data. The findings of the study are then presented.

2. The Case Study

It was decided to use a case study because this research method allows us to investigate the ‘phenomenon in depth and within its real-life context’ (Yin 2009: 18) and also ‘make contributions to knowledge beyond the particular’ (Saldanha & O’Brien 2013: 209). Therefore, the case study focused exclusively on the one-year Master’s degree in Translation Studies at the University of Birmingham in order to obtain information regarding formal translation training at an academic level. It should be noted that the author/researcher is completing her studies at the same university. Although this may raise concerns about a possible bias, being familiar with the programme can also be seen as an advantage when it comes to interpreting the results of the study. Even though it is difficult to generalize on the basis of one case study, hopefully this research offers data which will be of interest to the wider translation training community.

Universities in the UK offer different types of degrees in Translation Studies at different levels: Diploma, MSc, MA, and PhD. Concerning masters-level programmes, universities either focus on translation alongside other types of studies (comparative literature, interpreting, subtitling, TESOL, linguistics and intercultural communication), such as the MA in Translation and Linguistics at the University of Westminster, or offer programmes in specific language pairs (MA in Chinese – English Translation at The University of Bristol) or contexts (MA in Translation in a European Context at Aston University). Training in MA-Translation Studies programmes, such as the MA in Translation Studies at the Universities of Aston, Birmingham and Durham in the UK are based on a combination of practice and theory. Although these generalist programmes may differ in terms of the way the modules are organized throughout the academic year and their focus, they share many characteristics. Employing the MA in Translation Studies at the University of Birmingham as a case study can be particularly useful for translation training programmes sharing the same characteristics or aspects of this programme. For example, these programmes follow the UK higher education system; include national, European and overseas students; allow students to work with a variety of languages; and give the students the opportunity to work on research and translation projects to complete the programme. Lecturers in such programmes are of different nationalities and have professional translation experience. These programmes also offer students core and optional modules which aim at developing a range of translation-oriented skills, such as linguistic, intercultural, instrumental and social skills.

3. Research Methods

A variety of research methods were employed in the present study. A questionnaire was initially used in order to collect background information about the trainee translators attending the Translation Studies programme at the University of Birmingham, to define the context of the study and the variables affecting translator training. A set of open and closed questions were employed to gather background information concerning the participants’ age, gender, linguistic, educational and professional experience which was used to construct the participants’ profiles.

This preliminary approach was then followed by a translation task. The students were required to perform a translation task which included translating a text and simultaneously commenting on the translation according to a pre-prepared form. The source text was an excerpt from a tourist information brochure. The choice of a tourist brochure was meant to address the respondents’ cultural diversity through texts that are interesting, and which contain some cultural specific references that tend to present problems in translation while having limited syntactic complexity since they are meant to be read by a general audience, including speakers of English as a second language. The text was also short to encourage students to participate in the study as the task can be time consuming. The text was written in contemporary English, since English is one of the trainee translators’ working languages in this programme (either the trainees’ first, second or third language). Students were required to translate the text into another language as they speak different native languages. They were asked to assume that the target audience was similar to that of the source text. Students were informed that they were free to use dictionaries or reference material and discuss their translation with whoever they wish and no time frame was given.

The trainees were asked to complete a form whilst translating. This provided them with a systematic way of recording all information related to their decision-making processes whilst completing the task. The form included six sections which allowed the participants to record: the translation problems identified, the types of these problems, the information sources used, the solutions, the strategies applied and justification for these strategies. Literature on translation problems indicates that there is no agreement on a clear definition of what a translation problem is (see Toury 2012: 38-46). Therefore, no specific definition of translation problems was given to the students in order to examine the way they perceive these problems. They were not provided with any specific classification of translation problems, information sources or strategies to avoid offering a list of predefined categories that would force them either to select a category, which may not reflect their actual response, or skip filling in sections of the form because they could not find an appropriate answer. However, in order to direct the respondents to what they were expected to do, as it was essential that they understood the concepts used in the study in the same way as the researcher, the participants were provided with definitions of the terms ‘information resources’ and ‘translation strategies’. The information resources were defined as hard copy documents (such as dictionaries), electronic sources or human sources (for example, a fellow student) (Gile 2009: 131). Since the focus of the present study is on how trainee translators justify the translation strategies used in the formulation of a translated text, and the forms were designed with this purpose in mind, Chesterman’s (2000: 87-116) definition of strategies was adopted because he focuses on textual strategies, rather than on the cognitive procedures occurring in the human mind while encountering translation problems (see Molina & Hurtado Albir 2002). Thus, the definition of strategies was: ‘the way you manipulate the linguistic material in the text in order to produce an appropriate target text, such as literal translation, paraphrase or information change, etc.’

The data for this case study was collected at three stages during the academic year (in the Autumn, Spring and Summer terms) and the analysis involved a comparison of data between the three periods. During the three stages of the data collection process, the participants were provided with texts of a similar genre (tourist texts) and length to translate (no more than 200 words). The purpose of replicating the data collection process was to examine and explain the trainee translators’ progress throughout the programme. This longitudinal type of research is useful to ‘describe patterns of change, and to explain causal relationships’ (Dörnyei 2007: 79) and can be used to examine dynamic processes in human learning or development in relation to different types of variables (Menard 2002: 2).

4. Data Analysis  

The data produced by the study was analysed using the appraisal system developed by Martin and White (2005), within the framework of Functional Grammar (Halliday and Matthiessen 2004), for exploring interpersonal meanings by explaining and describing the way language users evaluate arguments, adopt textual stances and negotiate positioning and relationships (White 2002). It served to examine the language employed by the students in discussing their translation decisions in order to investigate the way they positioned themselves in their arguments.

According to Martin and White (2005: 35), the appraisal system consists of three interacting domains:

  1. Attitude indicates the way feelings and emotional reactions are expressed, behaviours are judged and phenomena are evaluated.
  2. Engagement deals with ‘the linguistic resources by which speakers/ writers adopt a stance towards to the value positions being referenced by the text and with respect to those they address.’ (Martin and White 2005: 92)
  3. Graduation values ‘construe greater or lesser degrees of positivity or negativity’ and ‘scale for the degree of the speaker/writer’s intensity, or the degree of their investment in the utterance.’ (Martin and White 2005: 135-136)

Since the focus in the present study is on the stance adopted by trainee translators while discussing their translation decisions, the data provided by the students was analysed and discussed according to the Engagement domain of the appraisal system.

4.1 Engagement in the Appraisal Theory

According to the system of engagement, utterances can be classified into:

  1. Monoglossic or ‘bare assertions’ when speakers/writers make no reference to other voices and viewpoints (for example, the banks have been greedy). In this example, the writer/speaker excludes other opinions by producing the proposition as a statement with a positive finite.
  2. Heteroglossic when they allow for alternative viewpoints and responses (for example, you do not need to give up potatoes to lose weight). In this example, the writer/speaker refers to other possible opinions while challenging them through the use of negation which allowed her/him to limit the scope of the argument and refuse alternative viewpoints. Martin and White explain the case presented in clause 1, as opposed to clause 2, as follows:

Bare assertions obviously contrast with these heteroglossic options in not overtly referencing other voices or recognising alternative positions. As a consequence, the communicative context is construed as single voiced ... By this, the speaker/writer presents the current proposition as one which has no dialogistic alternatives which need to be recognised, or engaged with, in the current communicative context – as dialogistically inert and hence capable of being declared categorically. (Martin and White 2005: 99)

Examining the system of engagement as used by the students will allow us to investigate the way they positioned their voices in respect to other voices in the communicative context construed while discussing their translation decisions. According to the system of engagement, heteroglossic clauses can be divided into: a) dialogic contractive or b) dialogic expansive, depending on the degree to which an utterance makes allowances for alternative positions and voices. In dialogic contractive, speakers or writers can either:

  1. Proclaim or limit the scope of dialogistic alternatives by endorsing, pronouncing or concurring different opinions. Speakers and writers can endorse and construe that alternative authorial voice as correct and valid by using verbs, such as ‘show’ and ‘prove’. Pronouncement involves authorial emphases and authorial interventions which can be realized through the use of locutions, such as ‘I contend’ and ‘the facts of the matter are’. Speakers and writers can also concur and agree with the alternative voice by using locutions, such as ‘naturally’ and ‘of course’.
  2. Or disclaim and reject contrary positions by either using counter expectancy conjunctions or connectives (for example, although, yet, and still) or denial (negation).

In dialogic expansion, speakers/writers allow for alternative viewpoints. They indicate that their proposition is one of a wide range of possible positions by either:

  1. Attributing their propositions to other resources showing where the authorial voice stands with respect to the proposition by either acknowledging other stands (for example, X believes) or distancing their voices from the attributable propositions (for example, X claimed).
  2. Or entertaining and invoking other opinions by indicating the subjectivity of other opinions (for example, the report suggests). They can also entertain other opinions through the use of expressions of modality (for example, may and probable), discussed by Halliday and Matthiessen (2004).      

Thus, in the present study, monoglossia or ‘bare assertions’ will be interpreted as indicating assertiveness, and heteroglossia will be considered as signalling tentativeness.

5. Procedures of Data Analysis  

The unit of analysis in functional terms is the clause complex: a combination of two or more clauses into a larger unit (Thompson 2004: 48). Thus, in order to carry out an interpersonal analysis of the students’ answers in the forms, the data provided by the students was divided into clauses. One of the problems with applying appraisal theory to the language used by the students is that many clauses included more than one token of evaluation which posed difficulty in classifying these clauses, as was the case in example 1:

  • Example 1: You cannot just say “fire fountain” in German because it is figurative (clause 1). But it does not have this figurative equivalence in German (clause 2).

In example 1, the student described the problem encountered with translating into German the phrase ‘which is fired every day during the main season’ in the following sentence:

but in 1937 a fire broke out, and today it is a beautiful ruin, set in spectacular gardens, with an amazing and fully restored Perseus and Andromeda fountain which is fired every day during the main season.

The student used ‘cannot’ to challenge other points of views and the connective ‘just’ to counter alternative expectations. In the second clause, the student used a counter expectancy connective ‘but’ and negation ‘not’ in the same clause which was coded as an instance of both counter-expectancy and denial. Therefore, although in Functional Grammar the unit of analysis is the clause complex, it was more effective in the present study to consider both the clause complex and tokens of evaluation as units of analysis, and discuss the data accordingly. Based on this, in example 1, we have two attitudinal clauses and four attitudinal tokens in the two clauses, each including instances of both denial and counter-expectancy.

Because this was a small-scale study, data provided in the questionnaire was analysed manually. Raw frequencies and percentages were used to quantify the data. Percentage difference across the three stages was calculated using an online calculator[1] in order to examine whether there was a difference in the percentages of the raw frequencies in the data collected. In the analysis, we focused on the most prominent patterns which reflected a change in the data collected throughout the academic year. A test of statistical significance was also performed in order to test whether there was a significant difference in the data provided by the students across the three stages. It has to be acknowledged that this methodology, coupled with the small sample size and the fact that a number of participants opted to leave the study before it was concluded, creates the possibility of several types of bias: specifically, attrition bias on the part of subjects and detection bias on the part of the researcher. In order for the conclusions made in this study to validated, the observations would need to be repeated with a new group and a clear hypothesis established before the start of data collection. However, using this test helped us to determine how high or low the probability that the decrease or increase in the data throughout the three stages was due to chance. We used the chi-square test[2] since it is more sensitive than other tests, such as t-test and Wilcoxon’s rank sum test, and does not assume that the data is normally distributed which is not a feature of linguistic data (McEnery and Wilson 2001: 70). The chi-square test ‘allows an estimation of whether the frequencies in a table differ significantly from each other. It allows the comparison of frequencies found experimentally with those expected on the basis of some theoretical model’ (Oakes 1998: 24). The chi-square test compares the values of the data proportionally where probability values (P) of 0.05 or less are assumed to be significant whereas those greater than 0.05 are not. Thus, the null hypothesis (H0) in the present study is that any difference between the data presented by the students at each stage is due to chance, and therefore not significant. If the calculated value of the chi-square is less than or equal to the probability value of 0.05 and the difference is significant, the alternative hypothesis (H1) is supported, which indicates that there is some reason other than chance behind the difference, which in the case of this study is most probably the training followed by the students in the Translation Studies programme at the University of Birmingham.

6. The Students’ Profiles

There was a drop-off of 37.5 per cent from the first to the second stage and one of 62.5 per cent from the first to the third stage. The data of the students who dropped out of the study was removed and therefore only the data of the twelve students (four males and eight females) who took part in all three stages of the study was included. It seems that the participants had many common characteristics: they had little/no translation experience, were of approximately the same age (21-29 years), and were educated to BA level. On the other hand, these participants came from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. The respondents who took part in all the three stages of the study were given codes according to their gender (M for male and F for female), in addition to a numeric value added to each of these codes. The two letter code system of languages (ISO 639-1) was also used to indicate the language of the target text. Most of the participants translated the text from English into their first language (Chinese: ZH, Spanish: ES, Greek: EL, Arabic: AR and German: DE) as English was their second language. Only three of the students were native English speakers and therefore translated the text into their second language (French: FR, Portuguese: PT and Spanish: ES).  The decision to use English as the source language in this study may have affected the translators' levels of confidence, as students translating into their native language might present different levels of self-assertion than students translating into their second language. However, this was alleviated by choosing a text with a certain level of syntactical difficulty that is meant to pose the same level of difficulty for both native English speakers and speakers of English as a second language, as previously mentioned. In addition, the interest in this study was in the way the translators perceived translation problems and justified their decisions rather than in how they approached these specific texts.

7. Engagement in the Language Used by the Trainee Translators 

Clauses used by the students in the forms were categorised as monoglossic when they did not include any tokens of engagement, and heteroglossic when they did. Thus they were classified according to whether the students negotiated their decisions by making a reference to alternative voices and viewpoints or presented their justifications objectively, as is clear in example 2:

  • Example 2: F8FR: It is the name of the institute (clause 1). So a direct translation would not be appropriate (clause 2). Explanation provides additional information.

In this example, student F8FR justified including an explanation of her translation of the title of the text into French, using monoglossic and heteroglossic clauses. Clauses 1 and 3 are monoglossic since student F8FR excludes other opinions by using a positive finite ‘is/provides’. However, clause 2 is heteroglossic since student F8FR makes reference to other opinions by challenging them through the use of negation ‘not’. 

In some cases, an elliptical subject and finite were assumed. Since these cases are less clear cut than those where the subject and finite are explicit, and they involve an extra layer of interpretation on the part of the researcher, these clauses were considered separately from the explicit ones, so as to offer a more transparent view of the analysis. Table 1 gives an overview of results.

 

1st stage

2nd stage

3rd stage

Engagement

RF

Percentage

RF

Percentage

RF

Percentage

Total number of monoglossic clauses

159

67.37%

230

69.48%

217

71.14%

Total number of monoglossic clauses with assumed subject and verb

137

58.05%

196

59.21%

191

62.62%

Total number of explicit monoglossic clauses

22

9.32%

34

10.27%

26

8.52%

Total number of heteroglossic clauses

77

32.62%

101

30.51%

88

28.85%

Total number of clauses

236

331

305

Total number of heteroglossic tokens

RF

Percentage

RF

Percentage

RF

Percentage

91

6.57%

129

5.65%

114

3.96%

Total number of words

1,385

2,281

2,874

Table 1: The FR and Percentage of the Monoglossic and Heteroglossic Clauses Used by the Students

By looking at Table 1, we can notice that the students used more monoglossic clauses than heteroglossic clauses while discussing translation problems, which is expected. A diachronic comparison shows that the number of monoglossic clauses increased by 2.11 percentage points (3.13 per cent) during the second stage when compared with the beginning of the programme. This number further increased by 1.66 percentage points (2.38 per cent) during the third stage in comparison with the second stage, leading to a decrease in the number of heteroglossic clauses. However, the chi-square test indicates that this development is not statistically significant {x2 = 0.89, df = 2, P = 0.6408}, which means that the H1 cannot be supported, and as a result this distribution could be attributed to chance. This suggests that students showed a stable preference towards monoglossic clauses throughout the programme.

Concerning the number of heteroglossic tokens, the comparison of the three stages of data analysis indicates that the number of heteroglossic tokens used in the language offered by the students decreased by 0.92 percentage points (14 per cent) in the middle of the year, only to further decrease by 1.69 percentage point (29.91 per cent) by the end of the year in comparison with the second stage. The chi-square test indicates that the change in the number of the heteroglossic tokens used by the students across the three stages is statistically significant {x2 = 15.25, df = 2, P = 0.0005}. This supports the H1, and suggests that the decrease in the number of heteroglossic tokens by the end of the year is not due to chance. As explained above, monoglossia is typical of more assertive positions, where the speaker/writer does not feel the need to refer to alternative viewpoints and opinions, and heteroglossia suggests an awareness of multiple viewpoints and a less categorical attitude. Thus, despite the fact that no significant changes were observed in the number of heteroglossic clauses, the decrease in the number of heteroglossic tokens towards the end of the year is significant and the changes in the percentages of heteroglossic clauses and tokens are parallel and consistent with one another, as Figure 1 shows. This could allow us to tentatively hypothesise that trainee translators become more assertive after following a translation training programme.

img1

Figure 1: Heteroglossic tokens and clauses in the language used by the students

7.1 The Types of Heteroglossic Tokens Used by the Trainee Translators 

The heteroglossic tokens provided by the students in the forms were classified into contractive and expansive tokens. This classification was based on whether the students included or excluded alternative viewpoints while discussing their translation decisions. When students included alternative viewpoints, they used expansive tokens of the type employed in example 3:

  • Example 3: M3ZH: In Chinese, meaning of words tend to be more concrete (clause 1). Literal translation may sound strange here (clause 2).

Here student M3ZH (example 3, clause 1) uses an expansive clause by employing the verb ‘tend to’ to hedge and tone down his description of the problem he encountered while translating the sentence ‘there is so much to see and do’ into Chinese. Similarly, he uses the modal finite of probability ‘may’ in his description of the problem (example 3, clause 2) to signal that his proposition is open for negotiation.

When students excluded alternative viewpoints, they used contractive tokens, similar to the one employed by student M2DE in example 4 below. In example 4, student M2DE justifies explaining the title ‘Cadbury World’ into German, rejecting other textual opinions by negating clause 1 in order to counter the expectations of alternative voices through the use of the token ‘however’ in clause 2.

  • Example 4: M2DE: In German, the name of the brand/firm remains untranslated (clause 1). However, there was a need of translation in regards to the next sentence describing this world (clause 2).

Both contractive and expansive tokens were employed by the trainee translators in their discussion of translation decisions. Comparing the number of contractive and expansive tokens out of the total number of heteroglossic tokens indicates that most of the tokens used by the students were contractive (see example 4 above), challenging other textual voices, rather than expansive, through which they allowed alternative opinions to take part in the argument during the three stages, as in example 3 (see Figure 2).  

img2

Figure 2: The percentage for the contractive and expansive tokens used by the students

 

1st stage

2nd stage

3rd stage

Tokens of Engagement

RF

Percentage

RF

Percentage

RF

Percentage

Total number of contractive tokens

72

5.19%

86

3.77%

89

3.09%

Total number of expansive tokens

19

1.37%

43

1.88%

25

0.86%

Total number of Words

1,385

2,281

2,874

Table 2: The RF and Percentage of the Contractive and Expansive Tokens Used by the Students

The comparison of the percentages of expansive tokens across the three stages indicates that they remained stable, as Table 2 shows. Concerning the trainees’ development in relation to contractive tokens, comparing the percentages of contractive tokens out of the total number of words across the three stages indicates that they decreased by 12.46 percentage points (27.36 per cent) during the second stage, only to remain stable towards the end of the year in comparison with the second stage. Despite the minimal change in the percentages, the chi-square test indicates that the difference in the number of contractive tokens used by the students out of the total number of words across the three stages is statistically significant {x2 = 11.36, df = 2, P = 0.0034}, supporting the H1. This indicates that the change in the number of contractive tokens is not due to chance. This suggests that translation training affects the way students present their discussion of translation problems, making them less concerned about excluding alternative opinions and viewpoints while following a translation training programme.

7.2 Types of Expansive and Contractive Tokens Used by the Trainee Translators

The expansive tokens used by the students in the forms were of an entertaining type, where the students showed their subjectivity while opening their arguments for discussion, as is evident in example 5 below. In this example, student M3ZH uses the grammatical interpersonal metaphor ‘I think’ adjusted to the main clause to frame his justification of explaining certain names (for example, Reredo, Pulpit, pew) in Chinese. The use of this interpersonal metaphor indicates the subjectivity of student M3ZH’s opinion, and that he can be persuaded otherwise:

  • Example 5: M3ZH: I think the translation is clear

Concerning the types of contractive token used, the students first proclaimed and limited the scope of their arguments by either pronouncing or concurring with different opinions, as is evident in examples 6 and 7:

  • Example 6: F8FR: The literal translation leads to an awkward phrase (clause 1). “Open to public” is much more common (clause 2).
  • Example 7: F4EL: Indeed I used the word “έπαυλη” (mansion) for the word court.

In example 6, student F8FR uses a monoglossic clause (clause 1), followed by a heteroglossic clause (clause 2), in which she uses ‘much more’ to emphasise the popularity of the strategy she used, that is changing the phrase ‘shop open to non-visitors’ into ‘open to public’ in French. In example 7, student F4EL employs the locution ‘indeed’ to limit the scope of her argument while showing agreement with alternative viewpoints when describing the solution used to solve the problem encountered in translating the title ‘Whitley Court’ into Greek.

The students also disclaimed and rejected contrary positions by either using counter expectancy conjunctions or negation, as is clear in example 8. In this example, student F9ES explains why she translated the two verbs ‘discover’ and ‘uncover’ into one word in Portuguese by negating her proposition (clause 1) to challenge other viewpoints which might indicate that Portuguese had two separate words for these two verbs. Student F9ES also limits the scope of her argument by using the connective ‘just’ to counter the expectancy of any alternative textual voices in clause 2.

  • Example 8: F9ES: They do not have a separate word for these two (clause 1). They just use the same word just one (clause 2).

By classifying the contractive tokens employed by the students into disclaim and proclaim, we will examine whether the students excluded alternative opinions and closed down their arguments by challenging alternative textual voices, using tokens of disclaim, or by endorsing different opinions through the employment of tokens of proclaim. This will help us investigate in more depth the changes in the manner in which trainee translators justified their decisions while following the translation training programme. The comparison of the percentages of disclaim and proclaim tokens used by the students out of the total number of contractive tokens indicates the overall prominence of disclaim tokens throughout the three stages, as Figure 3 shows.

img3

Figure 3: The percentage for the types of contractive tokens used by the students

 

1st stage

2nd stage

3rd stage

Contractive tokens

RF

Percentage

RF

Percentage

RF

Percentage

Disclaim

Counter

8

0.57%

21

1.05%

10

0.34%

Denial

43

3.1%

35

1.53%

58

2.01%

Total

51

3.68%

56

2.45%

68

2.36%

Proclaim

Pronounce

21

1.51%

28

1.22%

20

0.69%

Concur

0

0

2

0.08%

1

0.03%

Total

21

1.51%

30

1.31%

21

0.73%

Total number of Words

1,385

2,281

2,874

Table 3: The RF and Percentage of the Types of Contractive Tokens Used by the Students

Table 3 indicates that the percentages of tokens of proclaim remained stable across the three stages. By comparing the percentages of contractive tokens of disclaim out of the total number of words, we find that the number of tokens where the students disclaimed alternative opinions decreased by 1.23 percentage points (33.42 per cent) during the second stage in comparison with the first stage, only to remain stable during the third stage in comparison with the second stage. The chi-square test indicates that this development across the three stages out of the total number of words is statistically significant {x2 = 6.87, df = 2, P = 0.0322}. This result supports the H1 and suggests that this is not due to chance and could be related to translation training. The decrease in the number of tokens of disclaim reflects the decrease in the total number of contractive tokens. This also suggests that the students become less willing to engage with alternative viewpoints after following a translation training programme.

8. Conclusion

Through the presentation of these findings, the purpose of this paper was to examine the language employed by the students in order to investigate the effect of following a translation training programme at postgraduate level on trainee translators’ social competence; in particular, the way they negotiate their positions and adopt stances while discussing their translation decisions, using the appraisal system developed by Martin and White (2005). Despite the small sample size and the small number of frequencies, it is possible to draw some tentative conclusions concerning the students’ manner in which they describe translation problems and justify their decisions when solving translation problems.

This study of the engagement system in the data provided by the students indicates a decrease in the number of heteroglossic tokens by the end of the academic year in comparison with the beginning of the year. This finding may indicate that trainee translators adopt a more assertive positioning in their discussion of translation problems after following a translation training programme. This assertiveness was reflected in the decrease in the number of contractive tokens, more specifically tokens of disclaim, towards the end of the year. This suggests that this assertive positioning on the part of trainee translators is signalled by fewer cases of heteroglossia used to challenge alternative opinions. Thus the students seemed to be less willing to engage with alternative viewpoints, which could be interpreted as an increased confidence in their own judgement. This could show that following a translation training programme at academic level can enhance trainee translators’ confidence and eventually their self-esteem, and consequently raise their professional standards. However, it also suggests that trainee translators become less considerate of alternative viewpoints and opinions and thus, arguably, become less critical. This might necessitate a reconsideration of translation training approaches followed in such translation training programmes. It might also become important to reconsider priorities in translation training programmes in a way that helps the trainee translators to increase their ability to justify their decisions and claim their rights as active participants in the translation process.

These findings make future research in this area necessary in order to investigate the effect of translation training programmes at academic level on developing the trainee translators’ social skills. In this respect, the context of this study can be extended to include more than one translation training programme. It is advisable to use a more homogenous sample of trainees within specific language pairs which would allow the researcher to also analyze the translated texts and examine the effect of following the translating training programme on their skills in translation. It could also include a comparison between the effects of different theories in translation on the trainee translators’ decisions whilst translating to define the type of theories that tend to inform their translation decisions more and the way they discuss them. Furthermore, future research could also involve a study of the attitude and graduation domains of the appraisal theory in relation to the students’ discussion of translation decisions while following a translation training programme.

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Robinson, Douglas (2003) Becoming a Translator. An Accelerated Course, London, Routledge.

Saldanha, Gabriela, and Sharon O’Brien (2013) Research Methodologies in Translation Studies, New York, Routledge.

Thompson, Geoff (2004) Introducing Functional Grammar, London, Routledge.

Toury, Gideon (2012) Descriptive Translation Studies and Beyond, Amsterdam, John Benjamins.

White, Peter R. R. (2002) “Appraisal – the language of evaluation and stance” in The Handbook of Pragmatics, Jef Verschueren, Jan-Ola Östman, Jan Blommaert, and Chris Bulcaen (eds), Amsterdam, John Benjamins: 1–27.

Yin, Robert K. (2009) Case Study Research: Design and Methods, London, Sage.

Notes

[1] The percentage difference calculator is available at: http://www.calculatorsoup.com/calculators/algebra/percent-change-calculator.php (last accessed on 13/4/2015)

[2] The chi-square test is available online at: http://vassarstats.net/newcs.html (last accessed on 20/4/2015)

 

About the author(s)

I hold a PhD in Translation Studies from the University of Birmingham and an MA in Translation Studies from the same university. I am currently a tutor and a second marker for the specialized translation projects at the University of Birmingham. My research interests are translation training and translation of news.

Email: [please login or register to view author's email address]

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Impostazione e struttura di un corso intensivo avanzato di tecnologie per la traduzione

By Adrià Martín-Mor (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain)

Abstract & Keywords

English:

Technologies are used in all phases of any translation process, from the reception of the source texts until the delivery of the translated texts. The use of translation technologies has been steadily increasing since their appearance in the field of professional translation, resulting in the birth of a wide variety of tools and resources. Ever since, the very same technologies have generated the need to translate a range of formats that can only be translated using digital tools (websites, smart-phone apps, TV apps, ecc.). This, in recent years, has sparked debate in educational institutions about which contents related to technologies should be included in translators’ training programmes. The main purpose of this paper is to present a training course in translation technologies based on the author’s experience as a Visiting Professor at the University of Cagliari. This course is based on the following premises: the course must provide an overview of translation technologies, it must be concentrated in a few hours and must be carried out at no cost (without any investment in software and hardware). After a look at the translators’ training programmes in the universities of the Italian and the Spanish States and a brief literature review on the educational use of translation technologies, the contents, the materials and the teaching methodology of the course will be described. Finally, we present some proposals to complete and further expand its contents.

Italian:

Ciascuna delle fasi di un qualsiasi processo di traduzione, dalla ricezione dei testi sorgente fino alla consegna della traduzione, prevede l’uso delle tecnologie. L’incremento dell’uso delle tecnologie per la traduzione, grazie anche alla loro comparsa nell’ambito della traduzione professionale, ha dato luogo alla nascita di un’ampia varietà di nuovi strumenti e risorse. Lo stesso sviluppo delle tecnologie ha creato la necessità di tradurre tutta una gamma di formati che possono essere tradotti soltanto tramite strumenti digitali (siti web, applicazioni per smartphone, tv, ecc.). Negli ultimi anni, nelle istituzioni formative, si sono accesi numerosi dibattiti a proposito di quali contenuti relativi alla tecnologia devono essere inclusi nella formazione dei tra­duttori. L’obiettivo dell’articolo è quello di presentare un’ipotesi di percorso formativo sulle tecnologie per la traduzione in base a un’esperienza dell’autore come Visiting Professor presso l’Università degli Studi di Cagliari. Quest’ipotesi è fondata sulle seguenti premesse: il corso verte su una panoramica delle tecnologie per la traduzione, è concentrato in un numero ridotto di ore e non prevede investimenti per l’acquisto di software e hardware. Dopo una panoramica della formazione in tecnologie per la traduzione negli stati italiano e spagnolo e una breve ricognizione bibliografica sulla didattica delle tecnologie per la traduzione, si descrivono i contenuti, i materiali e la metodologia didattica di un corso realizzato ad-hoc. Infine si presentano delle proposte che completano e ampliano ulteriormente il corso.

Keywords: tecnologie per la traduzione, informatica applicata alla traduzione, formazione traduttori, traduzione assistita, localizzazione, cat tools, translation technologies, informatics applied to translation, translator training, computer-assisted translation

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‘In an ideal world, fully completed empirical research should tell us what we need to teach,
and then we start teaching. In the real world, we have to teach right now.’ Pym (2012)

 

Introduzione

Le tecnologie per la traduzione sono, ogni giorno di più, parte integrante dei programmi di formazione dei traduttori. A causa della loro natura mutevole, però, non è facile stabilire quali contenuti debbano essere inclusi nel piano di studi dei traduttori e, ancor meno, stabilirne una classifica in base al livello formativo degli studenti. Ovviamente, il numero di ore a disposizione è determinante nell’elaborazione di una proposta. Questo articolo propone un percorso formativo che fornisce una panoramica sulle tecnologie per la traduzione in poche sessioni e senza necessità di alcun investimento economico per l’acquisizione di hardware o software.

La sezione 1 descrive in che modo, attualmente, le materie relative alle tecnologie per la traduzione vengono incluse all’interno dei percorsi formativi di traduzione degli stati italiano e spagnolo. La sezione 2 include una breve ricognizione bibliografica delle ricerche sulla didattica delle tecnologie per la traduzione e sulle competenze strumentali. L’impostazione del corso proposto viene descritta in dettaglio nella sezione 3, partendo dagli obiettivi e dalla metodologia fino alla programmazione delle sessioni e ai materiali di docenza. La sezione 4, infine, raccoglie le considerazioni conclusive e cerca di suggerire un possibile schema di contenuti basato sul corso proposto che lo completi e lo amplii.

1. La formazione in tecnologie per la traduzione nei curriculum acca­demici degli Stati italiano e spagnolo

La formazione in traduzione è inclusa in varie lauree magistrali italiane: programmi universitari di secondo livello a cui si accede dopo una laurea triennale, solitamente in lingue o discipline affini. Nello Stato spagnolo, la formazione in traduzione è offerta all’interno di percorsi sia di laurea[1] sia di master. Secondo lo studio di Colominas e Piqué (2013), 22 università offrono programmi di traduzione a livello di laurea. Gli autori dello studio si propongono di individuare quali sono le caratteristiche dei corsi di tecnologie per la traduzione all’interno di queste università, intesi come corsi in cui si propongono ‘conoscenze e abilità dell’informatica applicate alla traduzione, la documentazione e la terminologia’ (2013: 299).[2] Sempre secondo gli stessi autori, nei corsi di traduzione delle università dello Stato spagnolo, alle materie di tecnologie per la traduzione sono dedicati una media di 11 crediti[3] (su 240), e la maggior parte delle università (il 75% circa) offre un minimo di due corsi all’interno del percorso di laurea.

Da una ricerca effettuata sul web risulta che i programmi di formazione in traduzione in Italia sono 18,[4] di cui quasi la totalità è nei curricula di lauree magistrali. Per quanto riguarda la formazione specialistica in traduzione, va sottolineato che non tutti i corsi di laurea a cui si riferiscono le informazioni riportate includono corsi di tecnologie per la traduzione. La media dei crediti dedicati a queste materie nelle lauree magistrali è di 9,65.[5]

2.I contenuti dei corsi in tecnologie per la traduzione

Vari ricercatori si sono occupati di quali debbano essere i contenuti dei corsi di tecnologie per la traduzione. Certamente, come premesso, la natura mutevole dell’oggetto d’insegnamento (le tecnologie) non facilita l’elaborazione di tali proposte. Jiménez-Crespo (2014: 176), ad esempio, suddivide le competenze strumentali/tecnologiche in due gruppi principali, le subcompetenze tecnologiche (in cui rientrano da abilità basilari, quali la gestione di file, fino ad abilità più complesse come la postedizione) e le abilità di ricerca e documentazione (‘research-documentation skills’), collegate alla ricerca di informazioni in opere di riferimento (dizionari, testi paralleli, ecc.). La proposta di Pym (2012), invece, tratta aspetti metodologici della docenza della traduzione e usa il concetto di insieme di abilità (‘skill sets’) per far riferimento a ‘cose che vanno imparate in un certo momento lungo il processo’ —tra cui include imparare a imparare, imparare a distinguere dati attendibili da quelli non attendibili, e imparare a fare revisioni delle traduzioni in quanto testi— in relazione alla didattica delle tecnologie. Sottolineiamo che, secondo Pym, in qualsiasi proposta pedagogica ‘le tecnologie vanno usate ovunque’, e non solo in corsi specifici di tecnologia, in degli spazi docenti appropriati e a stretto contatto con esperti. Si noti che Pym (2012: 9) considera fondamentale, come parte dell’imparare a imparare, motivare l’autonomia dello studente nell’imparare contenuti legati alla tecnologia:

[Gli studenti] devono essere lasciati a se stessi […] in modo che possano sperimentare e diventino abili nell’imparare nuovi strumenti velocemente, affidandosi alla propria intuizione, all’appoggio dei compagni, a gruppi di supporto in linea, tutoriali, manuali d’istruzioni e occasionalmente a un formatore umano che li tenga per mano qualora entrino nel panico.[6]

A livello di master, gli esperti dello European Master’s in Translation Board (EMT Board 2017) ritengono che la padronanza degli strumenti (la competenza tecnologica) corrisponda ai seguenti aspetti:

  • Usare le applicazioni tecnologiche più rilevanti, compresa l’intera gamma di software di produttività personale, e sapersi adattare velocemente a nuovi strumenti e risorse tecnologiche.
  • Usare in maniera efficace motori di ricerca, strumenti basati su corpora, strumenti per l’analisi dei testi e strumenti CAT.
  • Pre-processare, processare e gestire file e altri contenuti multimediali in quanto parte della traduzione, ad esempio file di video e multimedia, gestire tecnologie web.
  • Dominare le basi della traduzione automatica e il suo effetto nel processo di traduzione.
  • Valutare la rilevanza dei sistemi di traduzione automatica in un flusso di lavoro di traduzione e implementare il sistema appropriato, se necessario.
  • Applicare altri strumenti di supporto delle tecnologie della lingua e per la traduzione, come software per la gestione dei flussi di lavoro.[7]

Colominas e Piqué (2013: 309) elaborano una tabella riassuntiva dei contenuti dei corsi di tecnologie per la traduzione nelle università dello Stato spagnolo in base alla loro presenza nei programmi dei corsi, suddivisi in contenuti introduttivi e contenuti avanzati.

Contenuti introduttivi Contenuti avanzati

Elaboratori di testi

Fondamenti dell’informatica

Traduzione assistita

Fogli di calcolo

Gestione di progetti

Edizione collaborativa

Gestione terminologica

Standard XML, TMX, XLIFF

Database

Elaboratori di presentazioni

Traduzione assistita

Gestione terminologica

Localizzazione web

Gestione di progetti

Gestione di corpora

Localizzazione di software

Standard XML, TMX, XLIFF

Traduzione automatica

Sottotitolazione

Controllo di qualità

Tabella 1: Contenuti dei corsi di tecnologie per la traduzione (adattato da Colominas e Piqué 2013)

Come si può notare nella Tabella 1, i contenuti esclusivi dei corsi introduttivi sono so­prattutto quelli collegati al software di produttività personale (elaboratori di testi, fogli di calcolo, elaboratori di presentazioni, database) e concetti teorici dell’informatica, mentre la localizzazione, la gestione di corpora, la traduzione automatica (TA), la sotto­titolazione e il controllo di qualità compaiono soltanto tra i contenuti avanzati. I conte­nuti che compaiono sia tra i corsi introduttivi sia tra quelli avanzati includono la Tradu­zione Assistita dal Computer (TAC, in inglese CAT), la gestione terminologica, la gestione di progetti, e gli standard (XML, TMX, XLIFF, ecc.).[8] Nelle sezioni successive si definiranno i contenuti di un corso avanzato intensivo in tecnologie per la traduzione elaborato secondo i criteri descritti in introduzione.

3. Impostazione di un corso intensivo avanzato sulle tecnologie della traduzione

In base a quanto esposto nelle sezioni precedenti, in questa sezione vengono descritti i dettagli di un corso avanzato realizzato in base a criteri di ampiezza (nella scelta dei contenuti), di concentrazione (in numero di ore) e di costi zero per l’acquisizione di hardware e software. Si descrivono gli obiettivi e la metodologia del corso, con particolare attenzione alle necessità tecnologiche hardware e software. Successivamente è descritta la messa in pratica del corso, con i dettagli dei contenuti e degli strumenti.

3.1. Obiettivi e metodologia

L’obiettivo principale del corso è quello di fornire allo studente una panoramica dei processi più comuni e degli strumenti per la traduzione nell’ambito della traduzione professionale. Quanto agli obiettivi secondari, si evidenziano l’acquisizione di concetti legati alle tecnologie per la traduzione (strumenti CAT, TA, licenze di software, sistemi operativi, formati standard) e la motivazione all’apprendimento autonomo.

Quanto alla metodologia didattica, il corso è basato su esercizi integrativi (ovvero, esercizi che consentono agli studenti di acquisire le conoscenze necessarie per le sessioni successive), propri dell’approccio task-based.[9] A causa della mole di contenuti che costituisce un insegnamento sulle tecnologie per la traduzione, le competenze di apprendimento autonomo devono avere un peso preponderante e vanno rafforzate tramite dei materiali di approfondimento (quali videotutorial online nel sito web del professore – vedasi sezione 3.2) ed esercizi facoltativi.

Per quanto riguarda la valutazione, il corso prevede un esercizio obbligatorio da svolgere autonomamente fuori dell’orario di lezione (vedasi sezione 3.5).

3.2. Contesto didattico

Come anticipato nell’introduzione, l’autore di questo articolo è stato invitato all’Uni­versità degli Studi di Cagliari come Visiting Professor nei mesi di marzo e aprile del 2015. L’incarico prevedeva una panoramica globale sulle tecnologie per la traduzione: nove sessioni di due ore ciascuna all’interno del corso Teorie e tecniche della traduzione (6 CFU, 30 ore), nella laurea magistrale di Traduzione Specialistica dei Testi. La maggior parte degli studenti, diciassette studenti del primo anno di laurea magistrale, avevano già avuto una formazione specifica sia in traduzione sia in informatica applicata alla traduzione. Il corso, tuttavia, si è incentrato sulle tecnologie per la traduzione, in modo da consentire agli studenti, a prescindere dalle competenze linguistiche o dalla formazione pregressa, di applicare i contenuti appresi alle proprie combinazioni linguistiche. Il corso si è tenuto in lingua italiana, e prevedeva inoltre l’uso dell’inglese e del sardo come lingue di lavoro (sia di partenza sia di arrivo in base alla tematica; vedasi 3.3). Le sessioni si sono svolte in modalità presenziale durante quattro settimane per due volte alla settimana,[10] presso il laboratorio informatico universitario. Il laboratorio era fornito di computer Windows connessi a Internet (una postazione per ogni studente) e di un proiettore, tramite il quale lo schermo del docente veniva proiettato sulla lavagna. Gli studenti accedevano ai computer con un profilo privo di permessi di amministratore. Si è quindi utilizzato il portale www.portableapps.com, un repository di più di trecento programmi (la maggioranza, con licenza libera), per ottenere delle versioni portable dei programmi usati a lezione. I programmi portable possono essere eseguiti dall’interno di una cartella, senza che l’utente debba installarli, per cui consentono di superare la mancanza di permessi di amministrazione nei sistemi.[11]

I contenuti e i materiali del corso sono stati gestiti tramite il sito web del professore, che includeva il calendario delle lezioni, i materiali utilizzabili in ciascuna delle classi e ma­teriali di approfondimento, quali videotutorial ed esercizi facoltativi.

3.3. Gestione del multilinguismo in aula

La Carta europea delle lingue regionali o minoritarie[12] prevede, nella parte III (“Misure a favore dell’uso delle lingue regionali o minoritarie nella vita pubblica”), articolo 8 (“Insegnamento”), l’impegno da parte dei paesi firmatari (tra cui l’Italia nell’anno 2000) ad adottare misure in materia di insegnamento, compreso quello universitario e per adulti, mirate all’inclusione delle lingue minorizzate nell’insegnamento universitario. Nell’esperienza riportata in questo articolo, la lingua di docenza è stata quella italiana. Tenendo conto del fatto che nell’ambito della localizzazione (web, software, apps e videogiochi), l’inglese è de facto la lingua di partenza, e considerando l’alta presenza di traduzioni italiane nei prodotti digitali, è stata scelta l’inclusione del sardo come lingua di lavoro del corso. Questo consentiva di incrementare la presenza di una delle lingue della Sardegna (vedasi Martín-Mor, in pubblicazione) nella docenza universitaria, per lo più in un’ottica strumentale. Approfittando delle conoscenze degli studenti, infatti, la lingua veniva usata come lingua di lavoro e non come oggetto di studio. D’altro canto, l’inclusione del sardo a lezione consentiva di introdurre contenuti collegati alle specificità dei processi di traduzione e localizzazione nel contesto delle lingue minorizzate.

3.4. Contenuti del corso

Nell’elaborazione di qualsiasi proposta formativa, è necessario cercare un punto di equi­librio tra ampiezza e profondità dei contenuti, considerando il numero di ore di docenza a disposizione e il livello di formazione degli studenti. Il fatto che il corso proposto fosse indirizzato principalmente a fornire una panoramica globale delle tecnologie per la traduzione è andato giocoforza a discapito del livello di approfondimento dei contenuti impartiti. Per questo motivo si è deciso di basare il corso specificamente sugli strumenti CAT e la localizzazione.

Sul versante economico, il corso è impostato in modo che non sia necessario alcun in­vestimento, né per quanto riguarda l’infrastruttura né per quanto riguarda l’ottenimento di licenze di software. In questo senso, i programmi liberi rappresentano l’opzione ottimale, sia come strumento CAT, sia come oggetto della traduzione; oltre ad offrire ottime soluzioni, consentono una maggior libertà nella manipolazione dei file sorgente. Per dirla con le parole di Diaz Fouces,

una delle caratteristiche più interessanti del software libero, intimamente collegata alla disponibilità del codice, è il fatto che qualsiasi programma può essere localizzato in qualsiasi lingua da parte di qualsiasi utente che desideri farlo, e redistribuito successivamente senza alcuna condizione’ (2012: 163; traduzione nostra).[13]

D’altra parte, come afferma Pym (2012), ‘non vi è motivo per cui gli studenti debbano pagare il prezzo imposto dal leader del mercato’.[14]

La tabella seguente riassume i contenuti impartiti per sessione, gli strumenti usati e il materiale didattico e le necessità tecnologiche.

Sessione

 Contenuti

Strumenti

Materiali docenti/neces­sità tecnologiche

1

Introduzione alle tecnologie per la tra­duzione

 -

Slide ad-hoc

2

Introduzione alle memorie di traduzione

OmegaT

Testi ad-hoc

3

Linguaggio HTML

FTP

Blocco note

Mozilla Firefox

Filezilla

Server, utenti con per­messi di scrittura.

4

Localizzazione web

OmegaT

HTTrack

Sito web ad-hoc da loca­lizzare

5

Sottotitolazione

Aegisub

Filmato ad-hoc

6

Localizzazione app smartphone

OmegaT

Telegram (app da local­izzare)

7

Localizzazione videogiochi

Poedit

SuperTuxKart (app da localizzare)

8

Localizzazione software

OmegaT

Notepad++ (app da loca­lizzare)

9

Sistemi operativi liberi (liveDVD)

Edizione HTML WYSIWYG

Crowdsourcing

Ubuntu Linux

Mozilla Firefox

Wikipedia (sito da loca­lizzare)

Tabella 2: Il contenuto e i materiali delle sessioni.

Oltre ai programmi e ai materiali didattici usati durante il corso, sono stati scaricati i plug-in dei correttori ortografici per browser, strumenti CAT ed elaboratori di testi, nelle lingue di arrivo dei partecipanti del corso. Per la lingua italiana, sono stati usati i dizionari del progetto PLIO (www.plio.it), mentre per la lingua sarda, quelli del progetto CROS (http://www.sardegnacultura.it/cds/cros-lsc/). Entrambi i dizionari sono disponibili con la licenza libera GPL.

Come si può notare nella Tabella 2, il programma prevede un approccio pratico agli strumenti CAT e alla localizzazione, oltre a contenuti più o meno periferici quali il crowdsourcing o la sottotitolazione. Analizziamo nel dettaglio il contenuto delle sessioni nei paragrafi successivi.

La prima sessione del corso serve a fornire le basi e il quadro concettuale delle tecnolo­gie per la traduzione. Nello specifico, in questa sessione si descrivono i concetti fondamentali delle tecnologie per la traduzione che si ritroveranno durante il corso, quali le fasi del processo digitalizzato della traduzione, la distinzione fra strumenti CAT e di TA, i vari tipi di localizzazione, le memorie di traduzione e il loro funzionamento (segmentazione, importazione, analisi, corrispondenze esatte o parziali, pretraduzione, traduzione interattiva, esportazione, allineamento, formati, database terminologici, ecc.). I materiali didattici usati a questo scopo, dunque, consistono in slide da proiettare o da far avere agli studenti.[15]

I contenuti teorici impartiti nella prima sessione sono messi in pratica nella sessione se­guente, in cui si lavora alla traduzione di vari testi creati ad-hoc con uno strumento CAT libero, OmegaT. Questo strumento, oltre a consentire allo studente di familiarizzare con i concetti fondamentali degli strumenti CAT (tipi di corrispondenze, pretraduzione, TMX, ecc.), è uno dei pochi a includere dei motori di TA liberi (come Apertium), per cui è un ottimo programma persino per introdurre gli studenti alla postedizione di traduzione automatica. Inoltre, negli anni 2016 e 2017 sono state sviluppate le combinazioni linguistiche italiano-sardo e catalano-sardo di Apertium (Fronteddu, Alòs i Font, e Tyers, 2017; Tyers, Alòs i Font, Fronteddu, e Martín-Mor, 2017). In ogni caso, è importante che i materiali da tradurre siano adatti allo scopo. I testi creati ad-hoc, quindi, devono contenere delle ripetizioni interne, corrispondenze esatte e parziali, terminologia, etichette, ecc. Il flusso di lavoro più semplice comprende l’importazione, l’analisi, la traduzione interattiva e l’esportazione dei testi. Come già detto, una speciale attenzione va dedicata alle impostazioni del programma, nello specifico al correttore ortografico di OmegaT nelle lingue di lavoro dei partecipanti (italiano e sardo).

La terza sessione è dedicata ai linguaggi di markup. Questa sessione ha lo scopo in primis di far conoscere il linguaggio HTML in modo da fornire le basi per la sessione successiva sulla localizzazione di siti web. Inoltre, questa sessione è fondamentale per il resto del corso, in quanto altri linguaggi di markup, quali il TMX o l’XML, inclusi nei contenuti delle lezioni successive, presentano un funzionamento analogo. Il linguaggio HTML va prima analizzato tramite l’osservazione di siti web esistenti; in seguito, gli studenti scrivono il codice sorgente di un sito web semplice su un blocco note, e successivamente caricano il sito da loro creato su un server gratuito tramite uno strumento di trasferimento di file (FTP) quale FileZilla. Quest’ultima parte consente allo studente di capire l’architettura client-server in quanto può verificare come, alla fine della lezione, i siti web dei compagni siano accessibili tramite un browser.

Le prime tre sessioni hanno lo scopo di fornire agli studenti le basi per uno dei più co­muni tipi di localizzazione, quella dei siti web. Grazie alle conoscenze acquisite sugli strumenti CAT da un lato, e sui linguaggi di markup e FTP dall’altro, gli studenti sono in grado di svolgere un processo di localizzazione web. Tramite strumenti di navigazione offline (quali HTTrack), lo studente impara a scaricare un sito web in locale (processo inverso al caricamento di file su un server della sessione precedente), in modo da poterlo successivamente analizzare e localizzare in un’altra lingua con uno strumento CAT.

La seconda metà del corso è dedicata ai diversi tipi di localizzazione: app per smartphone, software e videogiochi.[16] Sebbene questi processi di localizzazione abbiano elementi in comune, in ognuna di queste sessioni vanno usati strumenti CAT diversi. Questo consente agli studenti di conoscere un’ampia varietà di programmi CAT, no­nostante l’obbiettivo della sessione sia quello di svolgere un processo di localizzazione piuttosto che imparare a usare altri strumenti specifici. Nella sessione successiva, il gruppo lavora alla localizzazione di applicazioni per smartphone e dispositivi portatili tramite la traduzione del programma di messaggistica istantanea Telegram.[17] Essendo multipiattaforma, il programma ha versioni per la quasi totalità dei sistemi operativi per smartphone.[18] In questo modo gli studenti possono localizzarne la versione che preferiscono. Dato che esistono già varie localizzazioni del software, tra cui la versione italiana, gli studenti possono essere incoraggiati a consultare questa e altre versioni allo scopo di localizzare l’applicazione in sardo. Infine, gli studenti possono esportare il file tradotto, scaricarlo, installarlo e avviarlo sul proprio smartphone nella versione da loro localizzata.

Dal punto di vista tecnico, Telegram permette di far conoscere la localizzazione di vari tipi di linguaggi, principalmente XML (linguaggio in cui è stata programmata la versione Android di Telegram e con cui gli studenti hanno già preso familiarità grazie alla sessione introduttiva al linguaggio HTML). I contenuti relativi alla localizzazione di app, tuttavia, possono essere espansi in modo da includere nella lezione altri linguaggi di programmazione in cui sono state create le altre versioni di Telegram, quali RESX (un formato basato su XML per Windows Phone) e strings (per dispositivi iOS).

Img01

Figura 1: Interfaccia di Telegram localizzata in sardo

Per quanto riguarda l’esemplificazione di un processo di localizzazione di videogiochi, il videogioco libero SuperTuxKart è un ottimo programma in quanto, come molti altri programmi liberi per desktop, usa il sistema di localizzazione GetText con file PO. I file sorgente vanno dunque modificati in anticipo dal professore in modo che contengano delle stringhe scorrette. Dopo un’introduzione ai vari tipi di localizzazione di vi­deogiochi, con riferimenti ai concetti elementari della materia, gli studenti svolgono un lavoro di testing usando il videogioco per individuare i vari errori. Contemporanea­mente, gli studenti devono correggere il codice del programma tramite un software di localizzazione quale Poedit e verificare che l’errore sia stato cancellato dal videogioco.

Il blocco di lezioni sulla localizzazione si chiude con una sessione dedicata alla localizzazione di software scritto in XML. Il programma da localizzare è Notepad++, e lo strumento CAT, la memoria di traduzione OmegaT. L’editor di testi Notepad++ è disponibile sia in italiano sia in sardo; agli studenti va dunque fornita una versione modificata del programma che non contenga i file di queste lingue. La sessione è incentrata sulle particolarità della localizzazione di software per desktop come ad esempio l’ingrandimento degli elementi grafici del programma (quali menù o pulsanti) in modo che possano contenere testi più lunghi dell’originale.

L’ultima sessione del corso è riservata a introdurre concetti legati alla filosofia 2.0, secondo la quale l’utente non è un semplice destinatario d’informazione ma ne è il creatore stesso. È da queste correnti che nascono modalità di traduzione come il crowdsourcing, ovvero la traduzione —solitamente di prodotti tecnologici— fatta dalle comunità di utenti (O’Hagan 2011). A questo proposito, si esemplifica il processo di localizzazione del sistema operativo Ubuntu Linux tramite una piattaforma di crowdsourcing. In seguito, il gruppo lavora alla modifica in tempo reale della Wikipedia sarda per una localizzazione web tramite interfacce WYSIWYG.

3.5. Esercizio obbligatorio

L’acquisizione dell’insieme dei contenuti del corso può essere sottoposta a verifica tra­mite un esercizio autonomo. Nel corso svolto all’Università degli Studi di Cagliari, il docente responsabile ha successivamente incluso i risultati dell’esercizio nella valuta­zione totale del corso (10% del voto finale). Gli studenti hanno avuto una settimana per preparare individualmente l’esercizio, che integrava i contenuti trattati durante le sessioni del corso, quali la localizzazione di software, il sistema GetText e i file PO. Dal punto di vista degli strumenti CAT, le istruzioni richiedevano l’uso del localizzatore Virtaal, libero e gratuito, che non era stato utilizzato a lezione.

L’esercizio consisteva nella localizzazione di varie stringhe di testo del programma Tux­Paint.[19] Al fine di portare a termine un processo di localizzazione completo, gli studenti hanno dovuto localizzare anche uno dei file audio inclusi nel programma. Ogni studente, tramite un programma di registrazione audio, ha dovuto riprendere un messaggio di avviso nella lingua di destinazione, in modo che il file, salvato nella cartella corrispondente, venisse riprodotto automaticamente dal programma. Oltre ai file localizzati, gli studenti dovevano rispondere, su un documento di testo, a domande relative al processo di localizzazione, successivamente consegnato.

Img02

Figura 2: Interfaccia di TuxPaint localizzata in sardo dagli studenti

4. Considerazioni conclusive

L’esperienza descritta in questo articolo corrisponde a un corso di nove sessioni inserite nel contesto di un corso da sei crediti. Si è cercato di condensare in queste sessioni le conoscenze descritte dall’EMT (vedasi sezione 2) tramite i seguenti criteri:

  • I contenuti non sono centrati sullo strumento di traduzione, ma sui processi. Nel corso descritto, la maggior parte delle lezioni prevedono l’uso di strumenti CAT, anche se l’oggetto di studio principale della lezione non è lo strumento in sé, ma un processo specifico di traduzione o di localizzazione. Come si può notare nella Tabella 2, le sessioni dove si tratta specificamente l’uso di strumenti CAT sono le prime due (introduzione teorica e OmegaT). Questo criterio cerca dunque di rafforzare le conoscenze descritte dall’EMT nel punto uno, ‘sapersi adattare velocemente a nuovi strumenti e risorse tecnologiche’.
  • L’esemplificazione in classe di un’ampia gamma di processi di traduzio­ne e di localizzazione. Oltre alla traduzione di file di testo, il corso ha fornito agli studenti le conoscenze necessarie per poter tradurre vari pro­dotti: siti web, programmi, applicazioni per smartphone e videogiochi. Questo criterio è collegato al punto 3 dell’EMT: ‘Pre-processare, processare e gestire file e altri contenuti multimediali in quanto parte della traduzione’.

Infatti, l’esperienza riportata cerca di dimostrare che gli strumenti liberi, così come il sardo in quanto lingua minorizzata, sono elementi validi per l’insegnamento e l’illustrazione di processi complessi di traduzione e di localizzazione.

Tuttavia, è evidente che una proposta complessiva di formazione in tecnologie per la traduzione avrebbe bisogno di approfondire i contenuti esposti e di trattarne altri considerati basilari. Per quanto riguarda l’approfondimento dei contenuti, basta rileggere il secondo punto della proposta dell’EMT per rendersi conto di quanto possa essere soggettiva qualsiasi assegnazione in numero di ore a questo scopo: ‘Usare in maniera effettiva motori di ricerca, strumenti basati su corpora, strumenti per l’analisi dei testi e strumenti CAT’. Ogni tentativo di quantificare il numero di ore necessario per raggiungere quest’obiettivo diventa ancora più complesso se si considera il gran numero di strumenti CAT esistenti.[20] Chiaramente, la docenza di tecnologie per la traduzione non può essere basata su un’analisi esaustiva delle funzionalità dei prodotti (liberi o proprietari) esistenti. La scelta dei contenuti non può nemmeno essere basata su dei criteri strettamente commerciali. Per questi motivi, la nostra proposta ha cercato di segnalare che il software libero consente di illustrare i processi comuni degli strumenti CAT al di là delle varie interfacce utente, in linea con l’affermazione di Piqué Huerta e Sánchez-Gijón (2012: 157), secondo cui

[l]a formazione di traduttori deve prevedere lo scenario mutevole della traduzione professionale. Abbordare il processo partendo dalle mansioni che lo costituiscono consente di svincolarsi dalla formazione basata su strumenti specifici e versioni di software che scadono col tempo.[21]

Come detto precedentemente, a causa del ridotto numero di ore a disposizione, si è scelto di impostare il corso con una prospettiva panoramica, scegliendo contenuti rappresentativi del processo digitalizzato della traduzione e rafforzando l’apprendimento autonomo. Alcuni contenuti ritenuti basilari dall’EMT sono stati, dunque, esclusi dalla nostra proposta, come ad esempio la TA e la gestione di progetti. Tuttavia, sulla base di questa esperienza, presentiamo di seguito una proposta complessiva di contenuti, suddivisi in categorie:

  • Preproduzione: fondamenti di informatica, sistemi operativi, software di produttività personale (anche a livello esperto, compresi i fogli di calcolo, le espressioni regolari e le macroistruzioni), corpora, allineamento di traduzioni, database di terminologia, linguaggi markup (HTML, XML), formati per lo scambio di dati (TMX, TBX, SRX, XLIFF, ecc.), filtri e conversione di formati.
  • Localizzazione: web, software, app per smartphone e dispositivi portatili, video­giochi; ingegneria della localizzazione.
  • Postproduzione: controllo di qualità, revisione di traduzioni, software di edizione grafica e di produzione editoriale, norme di qualità.
  • Gestione di progetti, edizione collaborativa, aspetti professionali (preventivi, questioni fiscali, contenuti per la creazione di imprese di traduzione, Content Management Systems, Search Engine Optimisation).
  • Formati multimediali e audiovisivi (sottotitolazione).
  • Traduzione automatica: TA basata su regole, TA statistica, postediting.

A nostro avviso, questo elenco fornisce una panoramica piuttosto esaustiva delle tecnologie per la traduzione.[22] Nonostante ciò, la docenza della totalità dei contenuti della tecnologia richiederebbe di avere a disposizione non solo un corso ma un intero anno accademico. A titolo indicativo, nell’ambito europeo vari master dedicano circa 60 ECTS a una formazione specifica in tecnologie per la traduzione. È il caso del MSc in Translation Technology (Dublin City University),[23] del Master in traduzione – curriculum Tecnologie della traduzione (università di Ginevra),[24] del Master Technologies de la Traduction (Université de Lorraine)[25] e del Master Métiers de la traduction-localisation et de la communication multilingue et multimédia (Université Rennes 2),[26] tutti parte della rete EMT. Anche fuori dalla rete EMT esistono vari programmi da 60 crediti sulle tecnologie per la traduzione, quali il Translation and Localization of Technical Texts (Kaunas University of Technology),[27] il Màster Universitari Tradumàtica: Tecnologies de la Traducció (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona),[28] il programma Experto en Tradumática, Localización y Traducción Audiovisual (30 crediti, Universidad Alfonso X),[29] e il Máster Universitario en Traducción y Nuevas Tecnologías: Traducción de Software y Productos Multimedia (Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo).[30]

Come questo articolo ha cercato di dimostrare, dunque, il numero di ore da attribuire alle tecnologie per la traduzione nella formazione di traduttori è potenzialmente indeterminato e dipende da fattori quali il livello della formazione e del corso di studi. In un campo talmente mutevole come quello delle tecnologie per la traduzione, svincolare prodotti e processi può essere considerato una buona pratica, in quanto è opportuno che i programmi di formazione puntino sul rinforzo delle competenze di apprendimento autonomo degli studenti, e non sul mero studio degli strumenti/prodotti in quanto tali.

Appendice 1. Programmi di formazione in traduzione nello Stato italiano

(i) Lauree triennali

            Corso di laurea in lingue per l’interpretariato e la traduzione, Università degli Studi Internazio­nali di Roma.

            Corso di laurea in lingue, culture, letterature, traduzione, Università degli Studi di Roma “La Sapienza”.[31]

(ii) Lauree magistrali

Titolo

Università

Crediti in tecnologie

Traduzione specialistica e interpretariato di conferenza

International University of Languages and Media

18/21[32]

Traduzione specialistica

Università degli Studi di Bari Aldo Moro

16[33]

Traduzione e interpretariato

Università degli Studi di Genova

6[34]

Traduzione specialistica

Università degli studi di Napoli ‘L’Orientale’

6/10[35]

Traduzione

Università degli Studi di Torino

9[36]

Traduzione e mediazione culturale

Università degli Studi di Udine

6[37]

Interpretariato e traduzione

Università degli Studi Internazionali di Roma

12[38]

Lingue moderne, letterature e traduzione

Università del Salento

3[39]

Traduzione tecnico-scientifica e Interpretariato

Università del Salento

9[40]

Specialized translation

Università di Bologna

30[41]

Traduzione specialistica dei testi

Università di Cagliari

6[42]

Linguistica e traduzione

Università di Pisa

6[43]

Traduzione specialistica e interpretazione di conferenza

Università di Trieste

6[44]

Interpretariato e traduzione editoriale e settoriale

Università di Venezia ‘Ca’ Foscari’

6/12[45]

Lingue, culture e traduzione letteraria

Università di Macerata

0[46]

Lingue e Letterature Moderne e Traduzione Interculturale

Università eCampus

0[47]

Bibliografia

Cánovas, Marcos e Richard Samson (2012) “An online course in computer skills for translators” in Challenges in languages and translation teaching in the web 2.0 era, Marcos Cánovas, Gemma Delgar, Lucrecia Keim, Sara Khan e Àngels Pinyana (eds), Granada, Comares: 123-131.

Colominas, Carme e Ramon Piqué (2013) “Les tecnologies de la traducció en la for­mació de grau de traductors i intèrprets”, Revista Tradumàtica 11: 297-312, http://revistes.uab.cat/tradumatica/article/view/n11-pique-huerta-colomina (visitato febbraio 2018).

Diaz Fouces, Oscar (2012) “La naturaleza de las habilidades tecnológicas en la forma­ción de traductores y el papel del software libre”, in Challenges in languages and translation teaching in the web 2.0 era, Marcos Cánovas, Gemma Delgar, Lucrecia Keim, Sara Khan e Àngels Pinyana (eds), Granada, Comares: 159-167.

EMT Board. (2017). EMT Competence Framework. Recuperato da https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/emt_competence_fwk_2017_en_web.pdf (visitato febbraio 2018).

Fronteddu, Gianfranco; Alòs i Font, Hèctor; e Tyers, Francis M. (2017). Una eina per a una llengua en procés d’estandardització: el traductor automàtic català-sard. Linguamática, 9(2), 3–20. https://doi.org/10.21814/lm.9.2.255 (visitato febbraio 2018).

Hurtado Albir, Amparo (2008) “Compétence en traduction et formation par compé­tences”, in TTR: traduction, terminologie, rédaction 21, no. 1: 17-64, URL: http://www.erudit.org/revue/ttr/2008/v21/n1/029686ar.html?vue=resume (visitato febbraio 2018).

Jiménez-Crespo, M. A. (2013) Translation and Web Localization, Milton Park, Abing­don, Oxon, Routledge.

Martín-Mor, Adrià; Ramon Piqué e Pilar Sánchez-Gijón (2016) Tradumàtica: Tecnologies de la Traducció, Vic, Eumo.

Martín-Mor, Adrià (in pubblicazione). Technologies for endangered languages: The languages of Sardinia as a case in point. mTm: minor translating major, major translating minor, minor translating minor.

Martín-Mor, Adrià (2016). La localització de l’apli de missatgeria Telegram al sard: l’experiència de Sardware i una aplicació docent. Revista Tradumàtica: tecnologies de la traducció, (14), 112–123. https://doi.org/10.5565/rev/tradumatica.176 (visitato febbraio 2018). Versione in sardo: http://revistes.uab.cat/tradumatica/article/view/n14-martin-mor/pdf_36 (visitato febbraio 2018).

Martín-Mor, Adrià (2012) “Valoració d’un curs de Tecnologies de la Traducció a di­stància”, Revista Tradumàtica 10: 230-236, URL:

 http://revistes.uab.cat/tradumatica/article/view/n10-martin-mor (visitato febbraio 2018).

Morado Vázquez, Lucía e Jesús Torres del Rey (2015) “Teaching XLIFF to translators and localisers”, Localisation Focus 14, no. 1: 4-13, URL: http://www.localisation.ie/sites/default/files/resources/locfocus/issues/LocalisationFocusVol14Issue1_0.pdf (visitato febbraio 2018).

O’Hagan, Minako (ed.) (2011) Translation as a Social Activity. Community Translation 2.0 [Special issue], Linguistica Antverpiensia 10.

Pym, Anthony (2012) “Translation skill-sets in a machine-translation age”, URL: http://usuaris.tinet.cat/apym/on-line/training/2012_competence_pym.pdf (visitato febbraio 2018).

Tyers, Francis M.; Alòs i Font, Hèctor; Fronteddu, Gianfranco e Martín-Mor, Adrià (2017) “Rule-Based Machine Translation for the Italian–Sardinian Language Pair”, The Prague Bulletin of Mathematical Linguistics 108, no. 1: 221-232. URL: https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/pralin.2017.108.issue-1/pralin-2017-0022/pralin-2017-0022.xml (visitato febbraio 2018).

Note

[1]     Va sottolineato che, al momento della stesura di questo articolo, la maggior parte delle università of­fre lauree con piano di studi quadriennale.

[2]     ‘Entenem per tecnologies de la traducció tots aquells coneixements i habilitats de la informàtica apli­cats a la traducció, la documentació i la terminologia.’ Le traduzioni sono nostre.

[3]     Il calcolo è approssimativo, poiché Colominas e Piqué (2013: 304) non possono riportare il numero esatto di crediti dedicati alle tecnologie di traduzione in tre università (‘tra 12 e 18 [crediti]’). Ai fini del calcolo della media per il presente articolo, quindi, viene preso 15 come valore di riferimento in queste tre università.

[4]     Ricerca condotta a febbraio 2018 in base ai dati presenti sulle pagine web di varie università italiane.

[5]     L’appendice presenta la tabella riassuntiva della ricerca web sui crediti dedicati alle tecnologie per la traduzione all’interno di corsi di laurea delle università italiane. Tale tabella è da intendersi come complementare e parallela a quella inclusa nell’articolo di Colominas e Piqué (2013) per lo Stato spagnolo.

[6]     “[Students] have to be left to their own devices […], so they can experiment and become adept at picking up a new tool very quickly, relying on intuition, peer support, online help groups, online tutorials, instruction manuals, and occasionally a human instructor to hold their hand when they enter panic mode.”

[7]     “Use the most relevant IT applications, including the full range of office software, and adapt rapidly to new tools and IT resources; Make effective use of search engines, corpus-based tools, text analysis tools and CAT tools; Pre-process, process and manage files and other media/sources as part of the translation, e.g. video and multimedia files, handle web technologies; Master the basics of MT and its impact on the translation process; Assess the relevance of MT systems in a translation workflow and implement the appropriate MT system where relevant; Apply other tools in support of language and translation technology, such as workflow management software.”

[8]     I formati standard di scambio d’informazione basati sul linguaggio di markup XML sono ogni giorno più presenti nei programmi di formazione. Jiménez-Crespo (2013: 176) sostiene che tra le subcompe­tenze tecnologiche ci sono le ‘Conoscenze basilari degli standard di scambio quali XLIFF, TMX, ecc.’

[9]     L’approccio task-based è stato applicato alla didattica della traduzione negli anni 90 da Hurtado Albir (vedasi Hurtado Albir 2008).

[10]   Per un approccio alla docenza di tecnologie per la traduzione nella modalità a distanza, vedasi Martín-Mor (2012) e Cánovas e Samson (2012).

[11]   Questa è stata la strategia seguita per vari programmi usati nel corso delle lezioni: Notepad++, Mozil­la Firefox, HTTrack, Aegisub, e Poedit.

[13]   ‘Una de las características más interesantes del software libre, íntimamente relacionada con la dispo­nibilidad del código, es el hecho de que cualquier programa pueda ser localizado a cualquier lengua por parte de cualquier usuario que desee hacerlo, y redistribuido a continuación sin cortapisas.’

[14]   ‘There is no reason why students should be paying the prices demanded by the market leader.’

[15]   Nello specifico, i materiali sono basati su Martín-Mor, Piqué e Sánchez-Gijón (2016).

[16]   Per quanto riguarda alcune delle lezioni sulla localizzazione, l’autore si è basato sulla proposta di Morado Vázquez e Torres del Rey (2015).

[17]   Essendo software libero, i file da localizzare sono reperibili dal sito web di Telegram (www.telegram.org). Vedasi Martín-Mor (2016).

[18]   Telegram è disponibile sia per smartphone (Android, iPhone, Ubuntu Touch, SailfishOS e Windows Phone), sia per desktop (Windows, Mac OS e GNU/Linux).

[19]   Ringraziamo la docente e ricercatrice Lucía Morado dell’Università di Ginevra per l’impostazione originale dell’attività.

[21]   “La formació de traductors ha de preveure l’escenari canviant de la traducció professional. Abordar el procés a partir de les tasques que el conformen permet desvincular-se de la formació basada en eines concretes i versions de programes que caduquen en el temps.”

[22]   Questa proposta è stata ulteriormente sviluppata e successivamente (nel 2016) adottata dal Màster Universitari Tradumàtica: Tecnologies de la Traducció (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) come guida per il piano di studi (www.master.tradumatica.net).

About the author(s)

Adrià Martín-Mor is a professor at the Departament de Traducció i d’Interpretació i d’Estudis de l’Àsia Oriental, of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Catalonia, where he teaches translation technologies and coordinates training programmes on translation technologies such as the Tradumàtica master’s degree and the Tradumàtica Summer School. He holds an MA and a PhD in translation studies and his research interests include automation of the translation process, minoritised languages and free software.

Email: [please login or register to view author's email address]

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A Bear Called Paddington: uno studio diacronico delle traduzioni del romanzo di Michael Bond

By Salvatore Ciancitto (Università di Catania, Italy)

Abstract & Keywords

English:

The focus of this work is on children’s literature in translation. Children’s literature began to be a culturally admitted genre only from the beginning of 18th century. The whole industry of children’s books began to gain importance only in the second half of the 19th century. There are several reasons for this delay in the production of books specifically written for children. The main factor that gave rise to the development of children’s literature was a change at the beginning of the 17th century in the way childhood was understood by adults; children were now considered to be individual people distinct from adults, with their own needs and interests. Critical interest in the translation of children’s literature has developed only over the last 30 years. The first signs of an interest in the issues of cross-cultural influences and the international diffusion of children’s literature arose from the discipline of Comparative Literature. With the introduction of “Translation Studies” in  the 20th century, a new approach to the translation activity came out, no longer prescriptive but also descriptive, joining together theory and practice. Unlike adult’s literature, norms governing children’s literature are imposed by several cultural systems such as the educational, ethical and religious ones. In accordance with these theories, in this paper we will analyze two different translations of the book A Bear called Paddington by Michael Bond written in 1958, the first book about the adventures of the bear that became a classic of children’s literature in the United Kingdom. In the diachronic study of the Italian versions, L’Orso del Perù and L’Orso Paddington that came out respectively in 1962 and 2014, we will take into account the social, cultural and ideological constraints involved with a translation from a source text to a target text, analyzing the particular case of children’s literature

Italian:

Il presente lavoro ha come oggetto la letteratura per l’infanzia in traduzione.  La letteratura per l’infanzia divenne un genere culturalmente riconosciuto solo agli inizi del XVIII secolo, e ottenne rilevanza nell’editoria, dalla metà del XIX. secolo; questo ritardo nella creazione di una produzione vera e propria di libri dedicati ai bambini, è dovuto a vari fattori. Il fattore primario, che diede il via allo sviluppo di una letteratura per l’infanzia fu una rivoluzione agli inizi del XVII secolo, riguardante la maniera in cui la società percepiva il bambino, non più considerato alla stregua dell’adulto ma ritenuto un individuo a sé, con particolari bisogni e interessi. Pertanto, anche lo studio critico della traduzione di libri per l’infanzia si è sviluppato relativamente tardi. I primi segni di un interesse inerente a questioni di influenze interculturali e alla diffusione a livello internazionale della letteratura per l’infanzia emersero all’interno di un ramo della Letteratura Comparata.  In seguito nel XX secolo, con l’avvento dei “Translation Studies”, si propone un nuovo approccio descrittivo e non più solamente prescrittivo all’attività traduttiva, collegando così insieme teoria e pratica. A differenza di quanto avviene nella letteratura per gli adulti, è ancor più importante rispettare precise norme didattiche, etiche e religiose, per far sì che l’opera sia accettata e riconosciuta come valida dal sistema letterario. Il traduttore ha quindi il compito di produrre un testo utile ed appropriato a un giovane lettore, che sia in accordo con ciò che la società, in un dato periodo, ritiene valido a livello educativo. Alla luce di questi studi, si prenderanno in analisi due diverse traduzioni italiane del romanzo A Bear Called Paddington di Michael Bond datato 1958 che fu il primo a trattare le avventure dell’orsetto divenuto un classico della letteratura per l’infanzia nel RegnoUnito. Nello studio diacronico delle due versioni italiane, L’Orso del Perù e L’Orso Paddington rispettivamente datate 1962 e 2014, si terrà conto delle implicazioni sociali, culturali e ideologiche che intervengono nella trasposizione di un testo da una lingua dipartenza (LP) a una lingua d’arrivo (LA) nel caso specifico dei libri per l’infanzia.

Keywords: letteratura per l'infanzia, paddington bear fictional character, Michael Bond, children's literature, literary translation, traduzione letteraria

©inTRAlinea & Salvatore Ciancitto (2018).
"A Bear Called Paddington: uno studio diacronico delle traduzioni del romanzo di Michael Bond"
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Il punto focale del presente lavoro riguarda l’analisi diacronica delle due principali versioni italiane del primo romanzo di Michael Bond incentrato sulle avventure dell’orso Paddington. Alla luce delle principali teorie dei Translation Studies, concernenti la letteratura per l’infanzia, vedremo nello specifico come esse agiscono all’interno del testo, e come, nel corso degli anni e nella visione di due diversi traduttori, le loro rispettivescelte traduttive influiscano sul target text.

1. Tradurre la letteratura per l’infanzia

Lo studio dei diversi approcci teorici al testo da tradurre ci permette di osservare come questi possano modificare la ricezione del testo nella cultura d’arrivo. In seguito agli studi di Bassnett e Lefevere (1990), il passaggio ad un’analisi descrittiva del testo tradotto e l’attenzione nei riguardi del contesto socioculturale d’arrivo si dimostrarono elementi particolarmente rilevanti nel campo specifico della traduzione della letteratura per l’infanzia.

Uno dei primi studiosi a dedicarsi allo studio del processo linguistico nella traduzione di libri per bambini fu Göte Klingberg lo svedese co-fondatore della IRSC (International Research Society for Children’s Literature). Egli scrive nel 1978, in collaborazione con Mary Ørvig, Children’s Books in Translation e nel volume indica i possibili futuri sviluppi della ricerca sulla traduzione, come, ad esempio, lo studio statistico dei flussi di traduzione legati a fattori tecnici ed economici e il passaggio dalla selezione dei libri da tradurre fino alla ricezione e all’impatto nella cultura d’arrivo. Quest’opera insieme a Children’s Fiction in the Hands of the translators del 1986, furono per molti anni le uniche pubblicazioni sulla traduzione per l’infanzia.

L’avvento del nuovo millennio segna un altro punto importante inerente al dibattito e alla conoscenza della traduzione per l’infanzia; furono pubblicati due nuovi importanti contributi: Kinderliterarische Komparatistik (2000) di Emer O’Sullivan, la quale applica la letteratura comparata allo studio della traduzione per l’infanzia, e Translating for Children (2000) di Riitta Oittinen. Quest’ultima rispetto a O’Sullivan segue una diversa linea d’indagine, concentrando i suoi studi sul bambino in quanto lettore, spettatore e uditore e analizzando le sue potenziali risposte al testo tradotto.

1.1 Lo status del genere e la percezione del bambino nel tempo

Zohar Shavit nel suo libro Poetics of Children’s literature del 1986 parte da un’analisi dell’evoluzione dello status della letteratura per l’infanzia nel corso del tempo per capire come, in seguito al modificarsi del concetto di infanzia, cambia il modo di produrre testi e traduzioni per bambini; Shavit riteneva che ci fosse una connessione tra lo sviluppo della nozione di infanzia e la relativa letteratura, che si sviluppò solo a partire dalla seconda metà del diciannovesimo secolo.

Nei secoli precedenti la società aveva una percezione totalmente diversa del bambino e questa cominciò a cambiare nel corso del diciassettesimo secolo. Non era possibile la nascita di una letteratura per l’infanzia fin quando non fossero stati riconosciuti e legittimati i bisogni del bambino, distinti da quelli dell’adulto. Come afferma Townsend (1977: 17) autore e studioso di letteratura per bambini: ‘Before there could be children’s books, there had to be children—children, that is, who were accepted as beings with their own particular needs and interests, not only as miniature men and women’.

Per la prima volta si attribuirono al bambino le qualità angeliche di innocenza e dolcezza, caratteristiche che vennero riconosciute già all’interno del nucleo familiare. In un secondo momento nacque la necessità di preservare il benessere del bambino e diventò quindi importante il ruolo dell’adulto per favorirne la crescita, l’educazione e la salute.

Il bambino divenne una creatura da proteggere e istruire, si sviluppò quindi la necessità di creare un sistema educativo organizzato e di conseguenza aumentò la richiesta di libri per l’infanzia, considerati inizialmente soltanto strumenti pedagogici.

La nascita di un sistema educativo affidato alle scuole fu il fattore determinante per la diffusione di libri per bambini ed esso fu inizialmente appannaggio esclusivo delle istituzioni religiose; difatti i libri per bambini avevano lo scopo di istruire, impartire precetti religiosi e educare alla morale.

Nella seconda metà del XIX secolo, con la nascita di nuove scuole di pensiero in campo educativo, cambiò anche la produzione di libri per l’infanzia. La letteratura per bambini in Europa riuscì ad affrancarsi dall’egemonia del solo approccio didattico, orientandosi verso la produzione di opere per l’intrattenimento e per il piacere della lettura.

Lo stretto legame di questo genere al sistema educativo fu la principale causa del ritardo della sua diffusione come letteratura ufficialmente riconosciuta, quindi accettata dalla società e considerata egualmente valida rispetto alla letteratura per gli adulti.

La tendenza a ritenere la letteratura per l’infanzia di secondaria importanza (Shavit, 1992) è dovuta anche ad altre ragioni, tra le quali il fatto che questi libri fossero scritti per una minoranza: i bambini che in molti sistemi culturali, così come le donne, erano considerati individui ai margini della società.

La letteratura per l’infanzia, diversamente dalla letteratura per adulti, era caratterizzata da strutture fisse e molto semplici quali l’opposizione tra bene e male e il lieto fine, pertanto non degna di particolare interesse. Inoltre, il predominio delle donne nella produzione e traduzione di queste opere, unitamente ai fattori elencati in precedenza, contribuì a relegare questo genere ad un ruolo minore. La struttura del sistema letterario fu dunque lo specchio della gerarchia all’interno del nucleo familiare tra Ottocento e Novecento, caratterizzata dalla predominanza dell’uomo. Per citare Hearne (1991: 111): ‘The conventional literary system is very like the traditional family: adult male literature predominates, women’s literature is secondary, while children’s literature is at the bottom of the heap […]’.

1.2 Tradurre la letteratura per l’infanzia: approcci teorici

Attraverso l’analisi dello status della letteratura per bambini, Shavit intendeva dimostrare come le traduzioni di queste opere siano influenzate dalla loro posizione all’interno del sistema letterario.

La studiosa sosteneva infatti che la posizione periferica di questa letteratura fece si che il traduttore di libri per bambini manipolasse il testo a suo piacimento, aggiungendo, eliminando e abbreviando. Secondo Shavit, queste trasformazioni erano accettabili solo nel caso in cui fossero stati rispettati due principi alla base della traduzione dei libri per l’infanzia: in primo luogo, rendere il testo appropriato e utile al bambino, in linea con i principi educativi ritenuti opportuni dalla società in un dato periodo; in secondo luogo, modificare il testo nella forma, nel linguaggio e nel contenuto per adattarlo alle abilità di lettura e comprensione che la società riconosce al bambino.

Shavit sottolinea inoltre come in diversi periodi si assiste al prevalere di uno dei due principi sull’altro: difatti, fin quando prevalse l’idea di una letteratura per l’infanzia meramente educativa, il primo principio fu dominante; differentemente da quanto accade ai giorni nostri, in cui la tendenza prevalente è l’attenzione verso il livello di comprensione del bambino e la conseguente modifica del testo per adattarlo alle sue esigenze. Secondo Shavit esistono inoltre cinque Systemic constraints (Shavit 1986: 93), principi che regolano le scelte traduttive, ed in generale l’approccio del traduttore nei confronti del contenuto e della formulazione verbale di una traduzione per bambini. In primo luogo, il testo deve essere conforme ai modelli già esistenti nel sistema d’arrivo, secondariamente è possibile eliminare le parti del testo ritenute poco comprensibili per un bambino e che non seguono i principi morali dominanti. Il terzo principio prevede che il testo sia abbreviato, semplificato nella struttura, nelle tematiche e nel linguaggio; il quarto è basato sul concetto che la letteratura per l’infanzia è uno strumento utile ai fini didattici e di conseguenza va adattato alle teorie prevalenti in ambito educativo; infine, bisogna rendere il testo conforme alle norme stilistiche del genere letterario, che possono però variare da cultura a cultura.

Toury (1980), in contrapposizione con le tradizionali teorie traduttive orientate verso il Source Text, preferisce un approccio orientato verso il Target Text. La traduzione non dev’essere dunque una semplice ricostruzione dell’originale, ma un testo a sè che appartiene in primo luogo al sistema letterario ricevente, e pertanto, deve rispettarne norme linguistiche e letterarie. Il testo tradotto oscilla quindi tra i due fondamentali principi di adeguatezza e accettabilità; seguendo il primo principio, otterremo un testo che osserva le norme della lingua e del sistema letterario di partenza, correndo il rischio che queste possano essere in contrasto con le regole del sistema letterario ricevente. Seguendo il secondo principio, avremo un testo maggiormente compatibile con le norme dominanti nel sistema letterario d’arrivo. Il prevalere di uno dei due principi è determinato, secondo Toury, dalle norme traduttive; queste ultime si dividono in due categorie: le norme preliminari, che influenzano la scelta delle opere da tradurre, e le norme operative, che guidano le scelte del traduttore durante il processo traduttivo.

Il metodo di Toury permette quindi di analizzare le traduzioni letterarie nel loro settore specifico, come nel caso delle traduzioni della letteratura per l’infanzia, dove le norme traduttive tendono ad avvicinarsi al principio di accettabilità. In questo caso è il bambino, lettore modello, a imporre l’uso di questo orientamento nelle scelte traduttive, poiché si presuppone che egli, non avendo esperienze di vita e adeguate abilità nella lettura, non sia in grado di comprendere elementi estranei alla propria cultura.

Klingberg (1986), diversamente da quanto espresso da Shavit e Toury, partendo dall’idea che l’autore del source text abbia già preso in considerazione le esigenze, le abilità e gli interessi di un giovane lettore rendendo il proprio testo adatto ad un bambino, ritiene che il grado di adattamento del source text dev’essere mantenuto nel testo tradotto. Klingberg si fa dunque sostenitore del concetto di adeguatezza sopra citato, preferendo una maggiore fedeltà al source text e mantenendo il grado originale di adattamento. Lo studioso non prende in alcun modo in considerazione le differenze riscontrabili tra due diversi sistemi letterari, che possono richiedere livelli diversi di difficoltà linguistica o idee divergenti riguardo l’adeguatezza di un testo per bambini; ciò rappresenta sicuramente un limite all’interno delle teorie di Klingberg.

Oittinen (2000) non concorda nel ritenere la traduzione un atto di trasposizione meccanica che getta nell’ombra la figura del traduttore; la studiosa focalizza l’attenzione non tanto sull’autorità dell’autore, quanto sulle intenzioni dei lettori del testo in traduzione, rappresentati in primo luogo dal traduttore stesso. L’esperienza di lettura del traduttore assume quindi fondamentale importanza nella creazione di un testo del tutto nuovo, piuttosto che una mera riproduzione dell’originale. Il traduttore instaura una relazione con il testo di partenza, aprendo un dialogo con esso, con il lettore e con l’idea di bambino che ha in sé. Per la prima volta l’attenzione si focalizza sul punto di vista dei bambini in quanto lettori, beneficiari dell’intero processo traduttivo. Altri aspetti sottolineati da Oittinen sono quelli del ritmo, della fluidità del testo e della sua capacità di essere letto ad alta voce (Oittinen 2000: 32-7), caratteristiche fondamentali dei libri per bambini che spesso vengono pensati per essere letti dagli adulti ai più piccoli. Nonostante la studiosa finlandese si allontani dalle teorie orientate verso il source text, i suoi studi sono difficilmente applicabili nella pratica: un’interpretazione troppo personale del source text da parte del traduttore corre il rischio di non essere accettata dal sistema d’arrivo.

1.3 I problemi legati alla traduzione dei libri per l’infanzia

Nella produzione dei testi per bambini, siano essi originali o traduzioni, è necessario tener presente sia le esigenze del lettore-bambino che l’autorità dell’adulto in qualità di scrittore, traduttore, editore e responsabile delle scelte di lettura del bambino.

Una delle maggiori difficoltà che deve affrontare il traduttore è rappresentata dai limiti conoscitivi del bambino riguardo le lingue, la geografia e gli aspetti culturali lontani dalla propria realtà. Per ovviare a questi problemi spesso si ricorre all’utilizzo di una strategia definita da Lawrence Venuti come domestication, ovvero avvicinare il testo al lettore del target text rendendolo più comprensibile. Con l’espressione di Klingberg Cultural context adaptation (Klingberg 2008: 14) si è soliti indicare una serie di procedure utilizzate nella traduzione per rendere più familiari elementi che un giovane lettore difficilmente potrebbe comprendere come: nomi o località straniere, cibi, bevande, unità di misura e sistema monetario. Nonostante l’adattamento o domestication sia il metodo maggiormente utilizzato, molti studiosi si schierano contro questa strategia ritenendo che essa sottovaluti le abilità del bambino di proiettarsi verso realtà diverse dalla propria.

É compito del traduttore orientarsi verso una teoria traduttiva piuttosto che un’altra; analizzando il caso specifico della traduzione dei nomi propri vedremo quali sono i fattori che possono influenzare tale scelta. Nel genere della letteratura per l’infanzia, spesso i nomi propri assumono particolare importanza ai fini del racconto, ‘É tipico dei racconti e dei fumetti per bambini l’uso di nomi doppi e allitterati, si pensi a Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck e Peter Pan’ (Katerinov 2011:90).

Altrettanto frequente è l’uso di nomi propri che rimandano a caratteristiche fisiche o comportamentali del personaggio stesso, sfumature di significato che potrebbero perdersi nella traduzione da una lingua ad un’altra: in questo caso il traduttore dovrebbe usare la propria fantasia trovando un nome adeguato nel testo d’arrivo.

Un altro fattore che determina le scelte traduttive è la relativa impermeabilità di alcuni sistemi letterari dominanti che tendono ad evitare influenze ideologiche esterne e ad eliminare tutti i dettagli che possano associare il testo a specifici luoghi o culture. Come, ad esempio, accade nelle traduzioni francesi, nelle quali tutti i termini che rimandano a nomi, luoghi, concetti legati ad una cultura straniera sono addomesticati e francesizzati, a volte anche in maniera forzata, con l’unico vantaggio di dare al testo caratteristiche universali.

Nel caso in cui nel target text si volesse mantenere in originale molti dei nomi propri, da un lato si riuscirebbe ad immergere il lettore in un’atmosfera nuova, permettendo uno scambio tra culture, dall’altro si correrebbe il rischio che molti nomi possano risultare difficili nella pronuncia e nella comprensione; in ogni caso questa scelta sarà sempre influenzata dall’idea di “lettore modello”, il bambino, e dalle capacità cognitive ad esso riconosciute in una data fascia di età.

Così come accade per i nomi, le stesse strategie traduttive entrano in gioco quando il traduttore viene posto davanti al problema della traduzione dei nomi di cibi e bevande, temi ricorrenti all’interno dei libri per bambini. Il cibo rappresenta felicità e sicurezza. È usato come espediente per ritmare la narrazione (Lathey 2006:86)

Quando si traducono testi rivolti ai bambini, bisogna prendere in considerazione un altro elemento di fondamentale importanza: queste opere sono nella maggior parte dei casi pensate per una lettura ad alta voce da parte dell’adulto. Il traduttore deve tener presente che per i bambini in età prescolare l’ascolto dei testi è l’unico modo per aver accesso al mondo della letteratura. È indispensabile quindi che il testo risulti scorrevole, quasi musicale; il ritmo diventa dunque un aspetto importante da preservare e inoltre la punteggiatura va curata per indicare pause, accenti e intonazione da dare al testo durante la lettura. Ripetizioni, rime, onomatopee, giochi di parole sono tutte caratteristiche dei testi per bambini e rappresentano per il traduttore delle vere e proprie sfide di creatività linguistica.

Nel leggere un testo ad alta voce è come se l’adulto stesse recitando per il bambino che riveste il ruolo di spettatore. In questo caso, l’adulto che legge agisce anche da moderatore capace di influenzare la percezione che il bambino ha del racconto; l’adulto può spiegare i passaggi meno chiari, omettere o modificare le parti che non ritiene comprensibili o adeguate al concetto di bambino che lui stesso ha.

Il traduttore di libri per l’infanzia, inoltre, deve prestare particolare attenzione sia alle immagini che accompagnano un testo in prosa, sia all’intricata relazione tra immagini e testo come nel caso dei moderni libri illustrati; la dimensione visiva presente in questi testi è stata oggetto di una lunga analisi. L’aspetto di un libro è importante per il bambino e spesso include non solo le illustrazioni, ma anche la copertina, la pagina iniziale, il carattere di scrittura, tutti elementi che hanno un impatto emotivo sul lettore. Come già espresso precedentemente, il teatro e i film sono forme d’arte connesse ai libri illustrati, poiché il lettore partecipa all’interazione tra immagini e parole che gli fornisce un’idea della scena, dei personaggi e dell’ambientazione della storia, così come accade nei film o a teatro.

Nonostante sia convinzione comune considerare il linguaggio delle immagini internazionale e capace di superare limiti linguistici e culturali, secondo quanto scrive Emer O’ Sullivan (2006: 113) ‘nella traduzione di libri illustrati, nessun elemento – parole o immagini – può essere isolato’[1]. L’interazione tra visivo e verbale, ovvero che cosa mostrano le immagini in relazione alle parole, crea un gap di significato che spetta al lettore colmare: più intricato è il rapporto tra immagini e parole, più sarà difficile il compito del traduttore.

Un altro dei processi traduttivi che va sotto il nome di cultural context adaptation comprende tutte quelle modifiche apportate in fase di traduzione, legate a fattori ideologici e morali. Infatti, la letteratura per l’infanzia, soprattutto nel passato, era strettamente legata all’ambito educativo, anche per questa ragione la produzione di tali opere era regolata da una serie di tabù quali: la morte, la violenza, il sesso. Un tempo molte opere subivano infatti un processo di “purificazione”, ovvero di censura dei testi o di alcune parti ritenute non conformi alla morale; questa pratica era vista non come un atto di intolleranza ma piuttosto di salvaguardia dell’infanzia e in generale del benessere della società.

2. A Bear Called Paddington

2.1 L’autore e l’opera

Michael Bond nacque a Newbury (UK) il 13 gennaio del 1926 e, durante la Seconda Guerra Mondiale, fu al servizio dell’esercito inglese, ma cominciò a scrivere nel 1945, vendendo il suo primo racconto ad un giornale: il London Opinion.

Durante la vigilia di Natale del 1956, acquistando un orsetto di pezza da regalare alla moglie, nacque in lui l’idea di scrivere delle storie che avessero come protagonista proprio quell’orsetto che chiamò Paddington, dal nome della stazione ferroviaria londinese vicino alla quale viveva. Il libro fu accettato dalla Casa Editrice William Collins and Son, oggi Harper Collins, che scelse un illustratore: Peggy Fortnum. In seguito, nell’ottobre del 1958, A Bear Called Paddington fu pubblicato. Bond (2014) stesso afferma: ‘L’orso Paddington non è nato come libro. Il paragrafo iniziale non erano che poche righe scritte un mattino presto […] quel paragrafo catturò la mia fantasia, così ne scrissi un secondo, e poi un terzo, alla fine della giornata, avevo completato un’intera storia’. Dopo il successo del primo racconto, Bond cominciò a scrivere una collana dedicata all’orsetto, diventando così uno scrittore a tempo pieno. I libri dedicati a Paddington hanno venduto più di trentacinquemila copie in tutto il mondo e sono stati tradotti in più di quaranta lingue, persino in latino. L’orso educato proveniente dal lontano Perù è diventato un’icona della letteratura per l’infanzia inglese; Paddington è stato anche protagonista di diverse serie tv per bambini e di un film dedicato alle sue avventure rilasciato nelle sale in Inghilterra il 28 novembre 2014.

Nel 1977 Michael Bond fu premiato dall’OBE, per i servizi prestati alla letteratura per l’infanzia nel RegnoUnito; nel 2002 la National Portrait Gallery di Londra lo ha incluso tra i più grandi autori per ragazzi del Novecento. Al giorno d’oggi Bond ha scritto 150 libri e vive a Londra non lontano dalla stazione di Paddington.

Il primo libro della collana narra dell’incontro tra i signori Brown e l’orsetto, che avviene proprio nella stazione di Paddington. L’orso partito dal lontano Perù, dopo aver affrontato un lungo viaggio dentro una scialuppa di salvataggio, giunge a Londra con il suovecchio cappello, una valigia di cuoio logora e una targhetta al collo con scritto sopra: “Per favore abbiate cura di quest’orso”. Accolto come un membro della famiglia dai Brown e dai loro due figli Jonathan e Judy, Paddington comincia così la sua nuova vita in Inghilterra. Per quanto l’orsetto sia ben educato e abbia “i piedi per terra e un forte senso del giusto e dell’ingiusto”, riesce sempre a cacciarsi nei guai e a combinare pasticci. Passo dopo passo, il libro narra le avventure e disavventure del piccolo orso, che con l’ingenuità di un bambino e nel contempo la razionalità di un adulto, affronta per la prima volta un mondo a lui sconosciuto.

2.2. La modernizzazione nei testi originali

La letteratura per l’infanzia è caratterizzata da un’instabilità del testo che emerge nelle graduali modifiche subite negli anni; inoltre, la scarsa considerazione riservata a questo genere lo rende ancor più suscettibile a censure e alterazioni.

Può accadere che i testi originali possano essere modificati nelle edizioni seguenti per conformarsi agli standard sociali che prevalgono in un determinato periodo e per soddisfare le specifiche domande del mercato. A volte, la ragione di queste modifiche è da attribuire a motivi di ordine commerciale volti all’incremento delle vendite; in altri casi, le modifiche vengono apportate per rendere il testo più fruibile ai lettori in base al variare degli stili di vita e dei costumi sociali, in modo particolare per quanto riguarda cibo, moda, mezzi di trasporto e sistema monetario.

Queste modernizzazioni, così come le definisce Klingberg, possono essere attuate sia dall’autore del testo originale che dal traduttore; spesso interessano l’adattamento di arcaismi del linguaggio che si sostituiscono con termini di uso comune, in modo tale da rendere il testo più comprensibile ad un lettore moderno. Come afferma Klingberg (Oittinen 2000: 90) ‘As modernization one could term attempts to make the target text of more immediate interest to the presumptive readers by moving the time nearer to the present time or by exchanging details in the setting for more recent ones’.

L’esistenza di un testo originale, che nel corso degli anni ha subito modifiche, anche a causa delle funzioni didattiche e morali che è chiamato ad esercitare, può causare difficoltà quando si fa un’analisi comparativa delle sue traduzioni. L’instabilità del testo è una caratteristica riscontrata nel romanzo preso in esame all’interno di questo lavoro.

Dal confronto preliminare delle due edizioni in lingua originale in nostro possesso, rispettivamente datate 1967 e 2012, emergono discrepanze relative a concetti o vocaboli modificati da un’edizione all’altra. Per citare alcuni esempi, nel primo capitolo dell’edizione del 1967, che narra l’incontro dei Brown con Paddington in una stazione ferroviaria, troviamo:

Trains were whistling, taxis hooting, porters rushing about shouting at one another.

Nell’edizione del 2012 la stessa frase diventa:

Trains were humming, loudspeakers blaring, porters rushing about shouting at one another.

In questo caso si può parlare di modernizzazione: il vocabolo «whistling», che rimanda al suono tipicamente emesso dalle locomotive a vapore, ancora in funzione ai tempi della prima edizione del libro, è stato sostituito con il vocabolo «humming», suono che si addice maggiormente ai treni moderni e potrebbe risultare più familiare a un lettore dei giorni nostri. Per rendere l’ambientazione ancor più vicina alla realtà di un lettore moderno, nella versione del 2012 si fa riferimento agli altoparlanti, ormai diffusi in tutte le odierne stazioni ferroviarie, come osserviamo infatti «taxis hooting» è stato sostituito da «loudspeakers blaring».

Per lo stesso motivo, più avanti, la frase: an engine […] gave a loud whistle and let off a cloud of steam (1958/1962: 12) è stata sostituita con: an engine […] gave a loud wail and a train began to move. (2012: 14)

Possiamo nuovamente parlare di modernizzazione confrontando altre frasi delle due versioni:

1967: I distinctly saw it. Over there—behind those mailbags. (p. 8.)
2012: I distinctly saw it. Over there—near the bicycle rack. (p. 9).

Evidentemente si è cercato un’altra volta di modificare un elemento che descrive un’abitudine ormai desueta, infatti il trasporto di posta non avviene quasi più su rotaia e non è più consuetudine trovare sacchi postali all’interno di una stazione ferroviaria come quella londinese di Paddington.

Analizzando le parti in cui ci sono riferimenti al sistema monetario, si possono notare anche in questo caso cambiamenti apportati alla versione più recente del romanzo. Nel corso degli anni è cambiato il sistema monetario inglese e allo stesso tempo anche il valore attribuito al denaro, per questa duplice ragione notiamo le seguenti variazioni:

1967: Bears is sixpence extra […] sticky bears is ninepence! (p. 18).
2012: Bears is extra […] sticky bears is twice as much again (p.21).

Nell’esempio sopra citato, l’autore ha scelto di eliminare del tutto il riferimento al sistema monetario; più avanti nella narrazione, esattamente nel secondo capitolo, all’interno del dialogo tra i signori Brown riguardo la paghetta settimanale da dare all’orsetto, si è scelto di adeguare l’espressione usata nella prima edizione al sistema monetario attuale e al diverso valore che si attribuisce oggi alla stessa cifra:

1967: He can have one [shilling] and sixpence a week, the same as other children (p. 28).
2012: He can have a pound a week, the same as other children (p. 33).

Un’altra variazione al testo, stavolta legata a ragioni socioculturali, è riscontrabile nel primo capitolo del libro. La modifica che interessa solo un pronome personale, per quanto possa sembrare poco significativa, è legata invece ad un importante cambiamento nel sistema sociale. Le parole sono pronunciate dalla signora Brown al marito e riguardano la decisione di portare l’orso a casa con loro e l’eventuale reazione dei figli qualora ciò non accadesse:

1967: They’d never forgive you if they knew you’d left him here (p. 11).
2012: They’d never forgive us if they knew you’d left him here (p. 13).

Il cambio del pronome indica una variazione all’interno delle gerarchie familiari. Se un tempo all’interno del nucleo familiare le decisioni erano esclusivamente dettate dal capofamiglia, ai giorni nostri il ruolo educativo è riconosciuto ad entrambi i genitori in maniera paritaria, quindi la signora Brown è partecipe della scelta unitamente al marito.

È importante sottolineare, inoltre, un’altra modernizzazione attuata nella nuova edizione del 2012, riguardante un termine che negli anni ha acquisito un’accezione fortemente negativa, diventando un tabù soprattutto se inserito in un testo pensato per bambini. All’interno del quarto capitolo vediamo Paddington alle prese con l’acquisto di un nuovo cappello e, alla proposta di fare dei buchi per le orecchie dell’orso, il commesso inizialmente inorridisce, per poi lasciarsi convincere dall’occhiata gelida di Paddington.

Nella frase:

1967: The assistant’s voice trailed off.” I’ll go and fetch my scissors”, he said, in a queer voice (p. 56).

Il termine “queer” è utilizzato da Bond nella sua accezione positiva ovvero nel significato di “strano”. Nel tempo, l’uso di questo termine, soprattutto nel XX secolo, ha subito dei cambiamenti assumendo vari significati all’interno di diverse comunità. Per cui, il vocabolo si usa per indicare quelle persone il cui orientamento sessuale e/o identità di genere differisce da quello strettamente eterosessuale. Nella versione del 2012 si è resa necessaria quindi la sostituzione di quest’aggettivo diventato oramai un tabù:

2012: The assistant’s voice trailed off “I’ll go and fetch my scissors,” he said in a quiet voice. (p. 67).

L’aggettivo queer è sostituito da quiet ovvero “a bassa voce”.

3. La traduzione del titolo

Le traduzioni italiane del testo che andremo ad analizzare sono: L’Orso del Perù e L’Orso Paddington. Il primo, prodotto dalla Vallecchi editore nel 1962, la cui traduzione è a cura di Donatella Ziliotto e Isabella Errico, fa parte della collana Il Martin Pescatore a cura della stessa Ziliotto ed è la prima traduzione italiana dell’opera di Michael Bond. Il secondo, edito dalla Mondatori nel dicembre 2014, è stato pubblicato in concomitanza con l’uscita nelle sale del film dedicato all’orsetto; la traduttrice è Angela Ragusa. Entrambi i testi mantengono le illustrazioni originali a cura di Peggy Fortnum. L’analisi delle strategie traduttive, attuate all’interno dei testi, inizia già dal confronto dei titoli delle due traduzioni italiane prese in esame:

ST: A Bear called Paddington
TT 1962: L’Orso del Perù
TT 2014: L’Orso Paddington

Non sempre le strategie traduttive sono dettate esclusivamente dal traduttore; infatti, è possibile che intervenga la Casa Editrice per stabilire la scelta del titolo e in generale di tutti gli elementi del paratesto. Nell’edizione del 1962, si nota la tendenza ad escludere la specificità culturale dell’opera, sottolineando invece un aspetto diverso non espresso nel titolo originale. É probabile che le ragioni di questa scelta risiedano nella volontà di evitare l’uso di vocaboli che avrebbero prodotto un effetto straniante e rendere di conseguenza il titolo più accattivante agli occhi del lettore della lingua d’arrivo. Tuttavia, in uno studio precedente (Sezzi, 2001: 71), si evidenzia un cambio di prospettiva dato dalla scelta traduttiva del 1962, per cui si pone in rilievo il luogo di provenienza del protagonista e non il nome che gli è stato imposto, con la conseguente accettazione da parte di Paddington delle regole e delle norme del Paese che lo sta accogliendo. La scelta attuata dalla traduttrice del 2014 sottolinea invece la volontà principale di mantenere l’aspetto culturospecifico dell’opera, evitando di stravolgere il titolo originale, non ritenendo che l’aspetto esotizzante del nome Paddington potesse influenzare o meno il lettore nella scelta del libro.

 Le due traduzioni riflettono anche due diverse immagini del bambino: nella versione del 1962 non si riconoscono al lettore modello abilità interpretative tali da poter comprendere riferimenti ad una cultura lontana dalla propria; si sceglie infatti di eliminare dal titolo il nome inglese Paddington preferendo sottolineare un'altra peculiarità del protagonista, citando cioè il luogo d’origine. Nell’analisi traduttiva che andremo ad affrontare, vedremo come queste scelte si riflettono all’interno dei target texts, mantenendo una sorta di coerenza.

4. La traduzione dei nomi propri

Nel caso della traduzione dei nomi propri, le scelte del traduttore possono essere influenzate dall’idea di lettore modello ricevente il testo, dalla fascia d’età a cui ci si rivolge, quindi dalle abilità cognitive che si attribuiscono al bambino. Nel nostro caso, nella versione del 1962 per quanto riguarda la traduzione di nomi propri relativi a persone o luoghi, si è scelto di adottare una tecnica mista sia straniante che addomesticante (Venuti, 2000: 19-20), pertanto, solo una minima parte dei nomi risulta tradotta in italiano. Nonostante l’uso di tecniche miste sia sconsigliato da Schleinmarcher (1816: 152; Nergaard 1993:153), secondo il quale adottando entrambi i metodi si rischia di ‘ottenere risultati estremamente incerti, con il rischio di smarrire completamente sia lo scrittore che il lettore’, i traduttori utilizzano spesso tecniche miste seguendo anche il proprio gusto personale, soprattutto nella traduzione dei nomi di personaggi per l’infanzia.

Nella traduzione del 1962, i nomi dei signori Henry e Mary Brown e dei loro due figli Judy e Jonathan sono rimasti invariati, nonostante siano tipicamente inglesi; anche Mr. Gruber antiquario del mercato di Portobello e Lucy, la Zia di Paddington, mantengono il proprio nome in traduzione. Probabilmente le traduttrici hanno preferito lasciare invariati i nomi dei personaggi principali della storia per evitare che il target text risultasse totalmente stravolto. Si è scelto invece di italianizzare il cognome della governante «MrsBird», che nella traduzione italiana diventa «La signora Faraona». Bird è un tipico cognome inglese, la cui traduzione letterale è “uccello”, tuttavia tale significato non è legato ad un aspetto fisico o comportamentale del personaggio, quindi irrilevante ai fini del racconto. Le traduttrici hanno comunque trovato un corrispettivo italiano a «Bird», traducendolo con un nome di uccello dal genere femminile, che fosse un po’ altisonante, data la figura di rilevante importanza rivestita dalla governante all’interno di casa Brown. Il cognome però non risulta familiare al lettore italiano tanto quanto il diffusissimo cognome inglese.

Un altro dei nomi a subire il processo di «addomesticamento» è quello del vicino di casa dei signori Brown: «Mr. Curry», tradotto in italiano come «Signor Zenzero». Nonostante il tentativo delle traduttrici di creare un cognome che avesse un qualche legame di significato con l’originale (Curry e Zenzero sono entrambe spezie), esso crea comunque un diverso effetto sul lettore del target text. Tale cognome è inusuale per un lettore italiano, quasi buffo, rende poco reale il personaggio e travisa l’intento del testo originale, che era quello di creare un contesto del tutto reale attorno alla figura di Paddington, un mondo familiare al lettore nel quale potersi riconoscere. All’interno del libro, in altri due casi, si è scelto di tradurre dei nomi propri, che stavolta hanno degli esatti equivalenti in italiano. I nomi sono legati a personaggi secondari della storia, si tratta di «Albert», commesso ai magazzini Barkridges, che nella versione italiana diventa «Alberto», e «Charlie», un fotografo, che viene tradotto con «Carletto». È chiaro in questo caso l’utilizzo di una tecnica mista, che non segue uno schema regolare nella scelta dei nomi da addomesticare.

Al contrario, nella versione del 2014, Angela Ragusa sceglie di lasciare tutti i nomi propri in originale, mantenendo la specificità culturale del testo. Se nel primo caso si è scelto di operare adattamenti, a volte non necessari, per semplificare il testo e avvicinarlo alla cultura d’arrivo poiché si sottovalutavano le capacità cognitive del bambino, nella più recente traduzione, la scelta straniante della Ragusa di mantenere i nomi nella loro forma originaria è probabilmente utilizzata come mezzo educativo atto a stimolare la curiosità del bambino e favorire l’arricchimento lessicale e culturale.

5. Gli elementi culturospecifici

All’interno di questo paragrafo ci occuperemo di tutti gli elementi strettamente legati alla cultura di partenza, definiti anche realia: cibi, unità di misura, luoghi, abitudini, riferimenti storico- culturali. Il testo di arrivo del 1962 dimostra una tendenza ambivalente rispetto agli elementi culturali, tuttavia si cerca di aderire il più possibile al testo di partenza, anche attraverso l’uso di strategie traduttive tese a sottolineare l’ambientazione della vicenda per compensare eventuali perdite di ‘colore locale’ (Sezzi: 72-3). Analizzando le diverse scelte effettuate dalle traduttrici nelle due versioni italiane del nostro romanzo, individueremo i casi in cui ci si orienta maggiormente verso il polo dell’adeguatezza o verso quello dell’accettabilità.

(i) La trasposizione del cibo

Il cibo è un elemento di fondamentale importanza all’interno della letteratura per bambini. Il romanzo di Michael Bond preso in analisi non fa eccezione; esso è infatti costellato di riferimenti al cibo, anche perché Paddington, come tutti gli orsi, è molto goloso. La traduzione dei cibi, però, rappresenta uno degli ostacoli più grandi per un traduttore, poiché spesso è difficile trovare un corrispettivo nella cultura d’arrivo quando si parla di piatti tipici o abitudini culinarie legate unicamente alla cultura del source text.

È il caso del termine inglese «bun», che troviamo più volte all’interno del testo; nella cultura inglese il vocabolo fa riferimento a un piccolo panino rotondo, che può essere sia dolce e ripieno di marmellata, che salato, consumato principalmente a colazione o per accompagnare il tè del pomeriggio. In entrambe le traduzioni, il termine viene adattato e reso comprensibile al lettore italiano; anche se non viene tradotto con un unico corrispettivo, ma cambia in riferimento alla scena e al contesto in cui appare. Nella traduzione del 1962 il termine «bun» viene tradotto con «sfoglia», «pasta»:

ST: Before Mr. Brown could answer he had climbed up and placed his right paw firmly on the bun. It was a very large bun, the biggest and stickiest […] Mr. Brown wished he had chosen a plain ordinary bun […]. (1967, 1ª ed. 1958) pp. 14-15.

TT 1962: E prima che il signor Brown potesse rispondere, l’orso vi si era già arrampicato e aveva appoggiato decisamente la zampa destra sulla sfoglia. Si trattava di una sfoglia molto grande, la più grossa e la più ripiena […] Il signor Brown cominciò a rimpiangere di non aver scelto una pasta più semplice e più comune […] (pp. 15-16).

É rilevante però come all’interno della stessa scena non vi sia coerenza, poiché entrambi i termini vengono indistintamente usati per indicare lo stesso cibo, creando una possibile confusione terminologica nel lettore.

Nella versione del 2014, risulta invece una maggiore coerenza nella scelta del corrispettivo italiano del realia «bun»: all’interno della stessa scena il termine viene tradotto unicamente con «pasta».

TT 2014: Prima che il signor Brown facesse in tempo a rispondergli, si arrampicò sul tavolo e piazzò deciso la zampa destra sulla pasta. Era una grossa pasta, la più grossa e appiccicosa […] Il signor Brown iniziava a pentirsi di non avere scelto una pasta più semplice, più normale […] (pp. 14-15)

Nel romanzo è presente un altro riferimento al cibo che si ripete spesso all’interno del testo; si tratta di «marmelade». Con questo termine si indica la confettura di arance o in generale di agrumi della quale Paddington, essendo un orso, è molto ghiotto. Nella versione italiana del 1962, il termine è tradotto con «marmellata di aranci», ma soltanto nell’uso comune e in modo improprio, si utilizza la parola arancio, plurali aranci, per indicare sia la pianta che il frutto; secondo le regole della grammatica italiana, il frutto dell’arancio è l’arancia che al plurale diventa arance. Nella traduzione del 2014 si è evitato l’uso di un termine grammaticalmente scorretto, soprattutto all’interno di un testo rivolto ai bambini, e si è preferito tradurre con «marmellata d’arance».

(ii) L’uso delle note e le unità di misura

All’interno dei Translation Studies, si è a lungo discusso del problema dell’invisibilità del traduttore da quando Lawrence Venuti (1995 :4-5) introdusse questo concetto secondo il quale ‘Sotto il regime della traduzione scorrevole, il traduttore e la traduttrice si sforzano di rendere il proprio lavoro “invisibile”, […] il testo tradotto deve sembrare “naturale” ovvero non tradotto’. Ma nella letteratura per l’infanzia la presenza del traduttore-narratore è più tangibile rispetto a quanto accade nella letteratura per adulti; la “voce” del traduttore può essere individuata principalmente all’interno delle informazioni paratestuali quali le prefazioni al testo o i chiarimenti metalinguistici, come le note a piè pagina. Le note, nel caso di una traduzione straniante possono aiutare ad avvicinare il testo al lettore, anche se molti editori e teorici della traduzione ‘le considerano nella migliore delle ipotesi l’ammissione di una sconfitta, nella peggiore una scorciatoia’ (Morini 2007:201).

Nella versione italiana del 1962, le traduttrici hanno adottato questa strategia traduttiva, inserendo delle note a piè pagina, per affrontare il problema della traduzione di elementi culturospecifici quali le unità di misura e, in particolare, le misure di peso e di valore. All’interno del primo capitolo del romanzo, a pagina 19, appare il primo riferimento alla moneta inglese, correlato da una nota a piè pagina che, rivolgendosi in prima persona al lettore, presenta una dettagliata descrizione del sistema monetario, unitamente ad uno specchietto che elenca tutte le monete e le banconote esistenti al tempo nonché le rispettive conversioni in lire.

1962: Ecco un brutto scherzo per il quale però ci ringrazierai quando un giorno andrai in Inghilterra e saprai tutto delle innumerevoli monete inglesi e del loro valore, dei pesi e delle misure di lunghezza. […] (N.d.T). (pp. 19-20)

Il traduttore interviene nel testo e, rivolgendosi direttamente al bambino, manifesta la sua presenza, ciò esplicita l’intento primario legato alla scelta dell’introduzione della nota, ovvero quello educativo-didattico, chiarendo un passaggio che riteneva difficile da comprendere per il suo giovane lettore. Nella versione italiana del 2014, invece, la traduttrice opta per una trasposizione letterale del riferimento alla moneta inglese in tutti i casi riscontrati nella narrazione, preferendo evitare l’uso di una nota esplicativa, in modo da mantenere inalterata la specificità culturale del testo ed evitare così il suo intervento diretto, che avrebbe causato un’interruzione nella narrazione. La traduttrice riconosce così al lettore la capacità di comprendere un riferimento ad una cultura lontana dalla propria, poiché facilitato, diversamente da quanto avveniva in passato, dallo scambio tra culture che negli ultimi anni si è sviluppato in maniera esponenziale.

Per quanto concerne la traduzione delle misure di peso, nell’edizione del 1962 si sceglie di non tradurre i corrispettivi termini inglesi, introducendo nuovamente una nota esplicativa. A pagina 77 del libro troviamo infatti uno specchietto che comprende un elenco di tutte le unità di peso del sistema di misura inglese ed il loro corrispettivo in grammi e kilogrammi. Diversamente da ciò, la traduttrice Angela Ragusa, nella versione del 2014, attua una conversione esatta dei valori, esprimendoli secondo le unità di misura italiane:

ST: After a big meal on a Sunday, Paddington had discovered he weighed nearly sixteen pounds. (p. 7).

TT 1962: Dopo il ricco pranzo domenicale, l’orso aveva scoperto di pesare quasi sedici pound […]» segue nota del traduttore (p. 78).
TT 2014: Dopo un abbondante pasto domenicale, aveva scoperto di pesare quasi sette chili.» (p. 81).

La traduttrice adotta la stessa strategia traduttiva anche nel caso della traduzione delle misure di lunghezza e delle taglie, riportando i valori secondo il sistema italiano. Cambia invece l’approccio traduttivo nel testo del 1962, nel quale, contrariamente a quanto descritto in precedenza, non si inseriscono note esplicative ma si preferisce omettere il riferimento al sistema di misura.

ST: See what we have in size 4 ⅞. (p. 53).

TT 1962: Guarda che cosa c’è rimasto della taglia per…ragazzi. (p. 60)
TT 2014: Vedi cos’abbiamo della taglia quaranta. (p.60)

Allo stesso modo:

ST: Paddington followed the assistant, keeping about two feet behind him […] (p. 54)

TT 1962: Paddington seguì il commesso a una certa distanza […] (p. 61)
TT 2014: Paddington lo seguì a mezzo metro di distanza […] (p.61)

La presenza del traduttore all’interno dell’edizione italiana del 1962 diventa nuovamente tangibile a pagina 124, attraverso l’inserimento di una nota per chiarire la consuetudine di festeggiare il compleanno della Regina d’Inghilterra in due date diverse nel rispetto della tradizione. L’inserimento metatestuale è atto a colmare il residuo traduttivo (Osimo 2004 :133) creato da un elemento culturale sconosciuto alla maggior parte dei lettori italiani. Nella traduzione del 2014, si sceglie nuovamente di non inserire chiarimenti metalinguistici, ritenendoli superflui in questo specifico caso.

(iii) Tradurre i luoghi

Come già si evince dall’analisi delle strategie traduttive sopra citate, nella versione italiana del 1962 prevale la tendenza addomesticante atta ad avvicinare il testo alla cultura d’arrivo, eliminando elementi stranianti, privilegiando l’identificazione e la riconoscibilità, dando la possibilità al lettore modello di identificarsi e sentirsi emotivamente vicino al personaggio e alla vicenda narrata. A tal proposito, per quanto riguarda la trasposizione in italiano di località inglesi menzionate nel racconto, le traduttrici Ziliotto ed Errico scelgono in alcuni casi di aggiungere elementi al testo che possano facilitarne la comprensione, in altri di naturalizzare il nome della località inglese, rendendo l’ambientazione più familiare al lettore italiano.

Per citare degli esempi, a pagina 40 del testo originale si fa riferimento a «Barkridges» una sorta di grande magazzino al quale Paddington si reca per fare acquisti; anche se ciò non è specificato nel testo originale, per un lettore inglese sarà facile collegare il nome ad uno dei famosi grandi magazzini londinesi (Selfridges). Per un lettore italiano, invece, tale riferimento rimane silenzioso, soprattutto se consideriamo le conoscenze del lettore modello ai tempi della prima traduzione del 1962, quando ancora la lingua e la cultura inglese non erano così diffuse. Si sceglie pertanto di aggiungere in traduzione il vocabolo «magazzini» per facilitarne la comprensione. Diversamente da quanto avviene nel target text del 1962, in quello del 2014 la traduttrice sceglie di trasporre letteralmente la frase non inserendo alcun termine atto a specificare.

ST: Mummy’s going to buy you a complete new outfit at Barkridges […] (p. 40).

TT 1962: Mamma ha deciso d’andarti a comperare un corredo completo ai Magazzini Barkridge […] (p.46).
TT 2014: Mamma vuole comprarti un completo nuovo da Barkridges. (p. 44).

In altre parti della traduzione del 2014, appare chiara la volontà di preservare inalterati gli elementi culturospecifici che riguardano i luoghi. Come ad esempio nel caso della spiaggia di «Brightsea», scenario della prima avventura al mare di Paddington, il cui nome rimane invariato nel target text. Nella traduzione del 1962 si sceglie ancora una volta una strategia addomesticante adattando il nome della località ad un contesto italiano, traducendolo con «Spiaggia di Sogno», nonostante non si crei un riferimento diretto ad una reale località balneare italiana.

Similmente nel caso in cui si fa riferimento a «Portobello Road», nota strada londinese situata nel quartiere di Notting Hill, famosa per il suo mercato d’antiquariato, la traduzione del 2014 mantiene il nome originale, considerando che Portobello sia ormai diventato un luogo di grande interesse turistico, noto quindi anche ad un lettore non inglese. Nella traduzione del 1962 si è preferito eliminare il termine inglese «Road» che potrebbe risultare difficile da comprendere e pronunciare al lettore del testo d’arrivo, lasciando inalterato «Portobello» probabilmente per il suono italiano del nome, accompagnato dalla parola «mercato» che specifica al lettore la ragione per la quale è famosa la via.

ST: The Browns lived near the Portobello Road where there was a big market […] (p. 68)

TT 1962: I Brown abitavano     nei pressi del Mercato di Portobello […] (p.75)
TT 2014: I Brown vivevano nelle vicinanze di Portobello Road, dove c’era un grande mercato […] (p.77)

6. L’utilizzo dei vezzeggiativi e il registro linguistico

Molti teorici della traduzione hanno evidenziato come l’ambizione di molti traduttori nel voler realizzare testi più belli e ricchi di sentimenti genuini rispetto all’originale possa generare il rischio di creare un testo che manchi d’attenzione filologica rispetto al source text e produrre quindi un risultato diverso dalle reali intenzioni dell’autore. La tendenza dei traduttori nel semplificare eccessivamente il linguaggio, attraverso l’uso smodato di diminuitivi, vezzeggiativi atti ad abbassare il registro per renderlo più comprensibile ad un bambino, rischia di banalizzare il testo. Tutto ciò è riscontrabile nell’edizione italiana del 1962, nella quale sono presenti in maniera copiosa vezzeggiativi, diminuitivi e toni paternalistici, che non figurano nel testo originale.

ST: […] the bear stood up and politely raised its hat, revealing two black ears. […] “You’re a very small bear,” she said. (p. 9).
TT 1962: […] l’orso si rizzò e si tolse educatamente il cappello, scoprendo così due orecchiette nere. […] “Sei proprio un orsacchiotto piccino” disse. (pp. 9-10)

Secondo quanto afferma lo stesso Michael Bond nel post-scriptum all’edizione del 2014, il romanzo inizialmente non era stato scritto per una specifica fascia d’età, ciò evitò il rischio di utilizzare un linguaggio troppo semplice ‘il che è sempre una cattiva idea’. La traduzione di Angela Ragusa, differentemente da quella del 1962, rispetta l’intento iniziale dell’autore, evitando l’uso di diminuitivi e vezzeggiativi, ove non presenti nel testo originale.

Per quel che concerne il registro linguistico, nel source text spesso sono presenti termini appartenenti alla sfera del parlato o espressioni colloquiali, soprattutto all’interno del discorso diretto. L’abbondanza dei dialoghi è una delle caratteristiche peculiari nella letteratura per l’infanzia, poiché tale espediente serve a stabilire un contatto tra lettore e personaggi. A ciò è dovuta la frequenza all’interno della narrazione di interiezioni, espressioni idiomatiche, vocaboli colloquiali. È interessante notare come nell’edizione del 1962, laddove nel testo originale erano presenti espressioni colloquiali o costrutti appartenenti alla sfera del parlato, si è scelto di abbassare il registro della lingua, facendo ricorso ad espressioni dialettali o regionalismi, come nei due esempi che seguono:

ST: Can’t ‘ear you (1967,1ª ed. 1958, p. 19)
TT 1962: ’un sento (p.22)

ST: I take it the young…er, gentleman, will not be requiring this any more, Modom? (p. 52).
TT 1962: Questo l’or…il signorino non l’adoprerà più, vero ‘gnora? (p.59)

Ad esclusione delle parti dialogate, il testo del 1962 mantiene comunque un registro alto, lo si può notare infatti dalla presenza di arcaismi o termini aulici. Alla luce di ciò potremmo dire che le scelte analizzate precedentemente, esprimono la volontà delle traduttrici di trovare una via di mezzo tra un linguaggio più forbito ed uno più comprensibile ad un giovane lettore.

Nella versione del 2014, si mantiene in generale un registro linguistico semplice, mai banalizzato da vezzeggiativi o diminuitivi superflui, in linea con le scelte dell’autore. Dove richiesto un abbassamento del registro verso un grado più informale della lingua, come nel caso dei dialoghi tra i personaggi, si sceglie di utilizzare strutture sintattiche o espressioni tipiche del parlato, evitando regionalismi o inflessioni dialettali, come nell’esempio che segue:

ST: I told you so! (p. 8).
TT 2014: Che t’avevo detto? (p. 6).

7. Fedeltà all’originale e manipolazioni al testo

Da quanto si evince nell’analisi dello status della letteratura per l’infanzia presente all’interno della prima parte di questo lavoro, nel diciannovesimo secolo fino anche agli inizi del ventesimo, a causa della posizione periferica occupata dal genere all’interno del sistema letterario, i traduttori erano autorizzati ad alterare l’integrità del testo originale, laddove lo ritenessero opportuno, per adattarlo alle richieste del sistema ricevente. Questo è quanto accade all’interno della traduzione del 1962, nella quale è stato riscontrato un discreto numero di frasi o intere porzioni di testo mancanti rispetto al testo originale di Michael Bond ed in generale un approccio traduttivo che lascia molto spazio ad interpretazioni libere e personali da parte delle traduttrici Ziliotto ed Errico.

Secondo Shavit (1986), queste manipolazioni si basano su due fondamentali principi: il rispetto delle norme morali del sistema ricevente e le abilità di comprensione che si riconoscono al bambino. Seguendo il primo principio esposto da Shavit, nel target text del 1962 è stata omessa una frase che nel testo originale conteneva il termine «queer», il cui significato negli anni cominciò ad assumere accezioni negative o addirittura offensive, soprattutto se come nel nostro caso riferito ad un individuo di genere maschile. Per avvalorare questa ipotesi dell’omissione, abbiamo visto come nella versione aggiornata dell’opera il termine sia stato sostituito da «quiet», come già analizzato nel paragrafo riguardante le modernizzazioni. La frase in questione è:

ST: “I’ll go and fetch my scissors”, he said in a queer voice. (p. 56)

Nella traduzione della letteratura per l’infanzia, soprattutto in passato si era soliti eliminare o rimaneggiare le scene violente o le manifestazioni di dolore non adatte ai bambini, al fine di non urtare la loro sensibilità emotiva. In tempi moderni gli studiosi ritengono che l’approccio verso questi aspetti del testo sia cambiato, ci si orienta sempre più verso l’idea che proteggendo il bambino da sentimenti forti o dolorosi, lo si privi della facoltà di poter provare sensazioni ugualmente utili alla sua crescita e al suo equilibrio psicologico. Alla luce di ciò, potremmo giustificare in tal modo la scelta traduttiva del 1962 di omettere una porzione della storia che descrive un momento di malessere del protagonista:

ST: Paddington groaned. “Poor Paddington,” said Mrs. Brown, “you must be feeling bad if you don’t want any lunch.” At the word lunch again, Paddington closed his eyes and gave an even louder groan. Mrs. Browntiptoedaway (pp. 58-59).

Per quel che concerne le altre omissioni riscontrate all’interno del testo in traduzione, non risulta che esse contengano elementi di disturbo alla morale, di difficile comprensione per un giovane lettore o in contrasto con i principi educativi dell’epoca. Resta da considerare il fatto che l’integrità del testo originale può comunque essere intaccata dalla tendenza ad abbreviare i testi per bambini e renderli meno complicati: le parti omesse infatti sono quasi sempre scene descrittive, in secondo piano rispetto alla trama principale e poco rilevanti ai fini della narrazione. In generale, nell’edizione del 1962, l’omissione di tali porzioni di testo comunque non va ad alterare l’integrità dell’intreccio. Contrariamente a ciò, nell’edizione italiana del 2014, non si riscontrano manipolazioni al testo, nessuna delle parti del source text è stata omessa ed in generale si nota una maggiore attinenza al testo di partenza. Citeremo, qui di seguito, due esempi in particolare, attraverso i quali possiamo notare come spesso le interpretazioni libere del source text nell’edizione del 1962 abbiano stravolto il significato iniziale della frase e come di contro, nell’edizione del 2014, la traduzione rimane fedele all’originale:

ST: They might have stood it the right way up. It’s not every day a bear wins first prize in a painting competition! (p.82)

TT 1962: Penso […] che qui si stia commettendo una grave ingiustizia: la verità andrebbe detta, tutta la verità! In fondo non succede mica ogni giorno, che un orso del Perù vinca il primo premio ad una mostra di pittura! (p.89).
TT 2014: Penso […] che avrebbero almeno potuto metterlo dritto. Non capita tutti i giorni che un orso vinca il primo premio ad un concorso di pittura! (p. 93).

ST: It’s nice having a bear about the house. (p. 128).

TT 1962: Quell’orso vale proprio un Perù! (p.137)
TT 2014: è bello avere un orso per casa. (p. 147)

Nel primo esempio, l’interpretazione del 1962 muta totalmente il senso finale dell’affermazione e si perde inoltre la sottile ironia della frase citata da Paddington in riferimento ad un quadro da lui dipinto; oltre a ciò, nel testo originale non si fa alcun riferimento ad un’ingiustizia attuata nei suoi confronti.

Nel secondo esempio, la frase ‘quell’orso vale proprio un Perù’, espressione che rimanda al Perù, soggiogato nel 1532 da Francisco Pizarro in nome della Corona Spagnola, un tempo molto ricco d'oro, e che in Europa divenne simbolo di un luogo favoloso pieno di enormi ricchezze, risulta in un deliberato cambiamento dell’originale nell’intento di abbellire il testo creando una sorta di circolarità, tra questa frase fatta e il titolo “L’orso del Perù”.

Conclusioni

Secondo quanto emerge dall’analisi diacronica delle traduzioni italiane del romanzo di Michael Bond, i risultati ottenuti dimostrano le manipolazioni al testo: le modernizzazioni, le omissioni e le libere interpretazioni riscontrate nei target texts analizzati confermano le teorie di Zohar Shavit, secondo le quali le traduzioni di opere per l’infanzia sono influenzate dalla posizione di scarso rilievo che queste ultime occupano all’interno del sistema letterario, facendo sì che il traduttore possa permettersi grandi libertà riguardo al testo da tradurre. Le differenze riscontrate tra i testi in traduzione confermano, inoltre, le teorie di Oittinen, secondo la quale, il traduttore di libri per l’infanzia è fortemente influenzato dalla propria immagine di bambino e per tale ragione cambia nei due testi il modo di rivolgersi al proprio lettore modello e la scelta di quali elementi del testo modificare, censurare e adattare.

Nel target text del 1962, infatti, le strategie traduttive tendono maggiormente all’adattamento, anche laddove non necessario, in funzione di un risultato più consono alle esigenze del suo lettore modello e alle capacità di comprensione che ad esso si riconoscono, ma, a nostro avviso, il testo che ne risulta è poco aderente al source text. Tali strategie di adattamento risultano evidenti nelle scelte delle traduttrici di italianizzare elementi quali i tratti culturospecifici, i nomi propri e i realia, ma che tuttavia privano il bambino della possibilità di entrare in contatto con culture diverse, arricchendo il proprio bagaglio, e sottovalutano altresì le sue capacità cognitive e la facoltà di approcciarsi ad elementi estranei. Si persegue quindi l’obiettivo di avvicinare quanto più possibile il testo al lettore, intervenendo anche a livello del registro linguistico, che in molti casi è eccessivamente semplificato, dall’uso di vezzeggiativi o diminuitivi. In tal modo ne risulta un testo orientato verso quello che Toury (1980) definisce il polo dell’accettabilità, compatibile con le norme dominanti nel sistema d’arrivo e con l’ideologia prevalente in Italia, che tende a preferire procedure addomesticanti atte ad eliminare i riferimenti a culture diverse.

Nel target text del 2014, il traduttore ha un’immagine diversa del bambino al quale si rivolge, quest’ultimo rispetto agli anni passati è in grado di comprendere elementi esotizzanti, poiché facilitato dallo scambio tra la cultura italiana e quella inglese, dal cambiamento dell’ambiente socioculturale e dalla circolazione di idee favorita dalle nuove tecnologie e dai mass media. In linea con le tesi di Klingberg, la traduzione del 2014 sostiene il concetto di adeguatezza, preferendo una maggiore fedeltà al source text e mantenendo il grado originale di adattamento. Quest’approccio definito straniante nel mantenere i tratti culturospecifici inalterati, consente al lettore il contatto con altre culture, favorendo l’aspetto educativo e lo scambio interculturale, divenuto un’esigenza prioritaria nella società attuale. Le differenze tra le due edizioni analizzate sono determinate inoltre: dal contesto socioculturale nel quale sono state prodotte, dall’evoluzione diacronica della lingua e dall’incremento dello scambio linguistico e culturale che intercorre tra Inghilterra e Italia.

Bibliografia

Fonti primarie:

Bond, Michael (1967) A Bear Called Paddington, with drawings by Peggy Fortnum, London, Collins.

Bond, Michael (2012, 1ª ed. 2002) A Bear Called Paddington, Harper Collins Children’s Books, Epub Edition January.

Bond, Michael (1962) L’orso del Perù, illustrazioni di Peggy Fortnum, traduzione di Donatella Ziliotto e Isabella Errico, Firenze, VallecchiEditore.

Bond, Michael (2014) L’Orso Paddington, illustrato da Peggy Fortnum, traduzione di Angela Ragusa, Milano, Mondadori.

Fonti secondarie:

Baker, Mona (2011) In Other Words: A coursebook on translation, London, New York, Routledge.         

Bassnett, Susan (1993) La Traduzione Teorie e Pratica, a cura di Daniela Portolano, traduzione di Genziana Bandini, consulenza madrelingua Christine Richardson, Strumenti Bompiani.

Cavallaro, Jlenia S. (2015) Tradurre la Letteratura per l’Infanzia - Analisi diacronica delle traduzioni italiane del romanzo A Bear Called Paddington di Michael Bond, tesi di laurea, Università di Catania.

De Mauro, Tullio (1994) Capire le parole, Bari, Laterza.

Frank, Helen Therese. (2009) “Paddington bear in French translation: cultural stereotypes, food references and humour”, inTralinea Vol. 11 URL: http://www.intralinea.org/archive/article/1650 (accessed 8 June 2018)

Katerinov, Ilaria (2012) Lucchetti Babbani e medaglioni magici, Harry Potter in italiano: le sfide di una tradizione, Padova, Camelozampa.

Klingberg, Göte (2008) Facets of Children’s Literature Research: collected and revised writing, Stokholm, The Swedish Institute for Children’s Books’

Lathey, Gillian (2010) The Role of Translators in Children’s Literature: Invisible Storytellers, London, New York, Routledge.

---- (2006) The Translation of Children’s Literature: a Reader, Clevedon, Buffalo, Toronto, Multilingual Matters Ltd.

---- (2016) Translating Children’s Literature, London, New York, Routledge.

Morini, Massimiliano (2007) La Traduzione, teorie, strumenti, pratiche, Milano, Sironi Editore.

Nergaard, Siri (ed) (1993) La teoria della traduzione nella storia, Milano, Bompiani.

Oittinen, Riitta (2000) Translating for Children, New York & London, Garland Publishing, Inc. a member of the Taylor &Francis Group.

O’ Sullivan, Emer (2005), Comparative Children’s Literature, London, New York, Routledge.

Osimo, Bruno (2004) Manuale del Traduttore, Milano, Editore Ulrico Hoepli.

---- (2000) Corso di Traduzione. 1. Elementi fondamentali, Modena, Logos Guaraldi.

Sezzi, Annalisa (2001) “A Bear called Paddington o L'orso del Perù: tradurre il problema dell'immigrazione dell'assimilazione in Gran Bretagna”, in M. Bondi, G. Buonanno, C. Giacobazzi (eds), Appartenenze Multiple. Prospettive interdisciplinari su immigrazione, identità e dialogo interculturale, Roma, Officina Edizioni, pp. 63- 75.

Shavit, Zohar (1986) Poetics of Children’s Literature, Athens and London, The University of Georgia Press.

Van Coillie, Jan and Walter P. Verschuren (2006) Children’s Literature in Translation: Challenges and Strategies, Manchester, St. Jerome Publishing.

Venuti, Lawrence (1995) The Translator’s Invisibility. A History of translation, London-New York, Routledge.

Note

[1] Traduzione dell’autore

About the author(s)

Salvatore Ciancitto è docente a contratto di Lingua Inglese (L-Lin/12) presso il Dipartimento di Scienze Umanistiche dell’Università di Catania. Dopo aver conseguito una laurea in Lingue Straniere e un Master di Interprete di Conferenze (presso l’Orientale di Napoli), nel 2007 ha conseguito un Dottorato di Ricerca in Studi Inglesi e Angloamericani, con una tesi incentrata sulla traduzione dei libri per ragazzi e in particolare su Peter Pan di J.M. Barrie. Dal 2008 è docente a contratto presso l’Università di Catania ed è autore di alcuni articoli e traduzioni di racconti per bambini. E’autore di una monografia intitolata: Heartless children. Translating children’s literature. Peter Pan in Italy in a diachronic perspective (2010). Inoltre ha collaborato con la casa editrice Leconte di Roma, per la quale ha curato dei corsi di traduzione letteraria e una silloge di E.L. Freifeld, Whatwalks (2013). Infine è un autore di un articolo presentato in occasione della conferenza internazionale LanguagingDiversity (2014), presso l’Università di Catania dal titolo Shaping Post-war Society through Children’s Literature in Translation (in corso di pubblicazione).

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A special issue of International Journal of Language & Law on EU Legal Culture and Translation

By Lucja Biel (University of Warsaw)

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Łucja Biel is a linguist and translation scholar (Assistant Professor at the Institute of Applied Linguistics, University of Warsaw, Visiting Lecturer at City University
London), sworn translator, deputy editor of the Journal of Specialised Translation and Secretary General of the European Society of Translation Studies.

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Il Baleniere

By Angela Tiziana Tarantini (Monash University, Australia)

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Angela Tiziana Tarantini ha conseguito il dottorato in Translation Studies presso la Monash University di Melbourne (Australia), dove svolge la sua attività di ricerca incentrata sul rapporto tra traduzione teatrale, performance e gesto. Lavora come Teaching Associate e Tutor in Translation and Interpreting Studies per traduzione e interpretariato Inglese/Italiano. Inoltre insegna inglese come lingua seconda presso Monash University English Language Centre - Monash College.

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Arash the Archer

By Abbas Mehrpooya (Islamic Azad University, Hamedan Branch, Iran)

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Abbas Mehrpooya, a university lecturer, writer, and translator, is the recipient of Iran’s highly-commended Year Book Award in translation in 2007 and Iran’s University Student’s Year Book Award in translation in 2001. His forthcoming book of poetry in translation is ‘A Brook on the Moon’, An Anthology of Persian Poems. In 2009, having written a short story titled Dane-haa-ye Roushanaa-yee (2009), which is a self-translation of Flakes of Light, Abbas Mehrpooya embarked on a solitary voyage on the far- venturing waters of story-writing. As for Translation of poetry, the English translation of the versified legendary Arash, The Archer is a work which he is to add to his literary record as well. Also, Harz-zaar, is to come out soon only to put in perspective certain innovative trends in translation of poetry; Harz-zaar transversifies The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot (1888-1965). Abbas Mehrpooya has published some articles in the language-related fields of literary and folkloristic criticism, exemplary among which is ‘Man’s Affinity with Nature and Literature A Case Study of the Popular Geotale of Khal Pirzene, the Petrified Profaner’, 2012, published in Fabula. Having worked his PhD thesis on lexical innovation, Mehrpooya’s translations are laced with nonce-formations and neologism-oriented creations. Abbas Mehrpooya teaches translation studies at the Islamic Azad University, Hamedan Branch, Iran.

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Le colpe dei padri

By Luigi Gussago & Brian Zuccala (Monash University, Australia & University of Witwatersrand, S. Africa)

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Luigi Gussago has received his MA in English and German language and literature in Italy and holds a PhD in Italian and comparative studies from La Trobe University. His dissertation topic centres on the depiction of the trickster in Anglophone and Italian picaresque fiction. His current research interests include environmental humanities, animal studies and war narratives of desertion. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming book entitled A Century of Italian War Narratives and co-translator into Italian of a collection of short stories by late-Victorian novelist George Gissing.

Brian Zuccala holds a PhD in Literary and Cultural Studies (Italian) from Monash University (Melbourne, Australia) and is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the School of Literature, Language and Media at the University of the Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa). He has co-edited a collection of essays on Pascoli, Il seme di Urbino (Raffaelli, 2013) with Salvatore Ritrovato. Portions of his recent work appeared or are in press, as essays, critical introductions, interviews, translations and reviews, in Italian Studies in Southern Africa (ISSA), Spunti e Ricerche; Italica; LEA- Lingue e Letterature D’Oriente e Occidente; Journal of Italian Cinema and Media Studies; Intralinea: Online Journal of Translation and the Journal of Italian Translation. He edited the 2018 ISSA special issue in two volumes “Postcolonialismi italiani ieri e oggi/Italian Postcolonialisms: Past and Present” with Anita Virga, and a forthcoming volume of collected essays on new approaches to Capuana Studies – Experimental Fiction and Cultural Mediation in Post-Unification Italy: The case of Luigi Capuana – with Annamaria Pagliaro. He is editing a LEA 2018 special section on telecollaboration and blended learning with Virga, Samuele Grassi and Giovanna Carloni. He is also working on a translated volume of George Gissing’s Racconti Americani with Luigi Gussago and John Gatt-Rutter, under contract with Nova Delphi (Rome). Some of his Digital Humanities-related work (with Simon Musgrave) is available through Monash Figshare Repository (http://www.figshare.com).

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Corpus-based Interpreting Studies: a booming research field

By Claudio Bendazzoli, Mariachiara Russo & Bart Defrancq (University of Turin, University of Bologna, & Ghent University)

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Corpus-based interpreting research has gained considerable momentum over the last few years. Indeed, an increasing number of scholars have developed corpora using data from different settings or taken advantage of existing ones. After refining the methodology to address the many challenges involved in the corpus-based approach, investigations carried out within this research paradigm are providing insightful observations about the interpreting process and product, including comparisons between different Translation modes, that is oral interpretation and written translation. In addition, corpora are now being developed and used as educational resources, thus giving trainee interpreters access to principled sets of materials for targeted practice as well as opportunities to reflect upon the skills they are acquiring.

This special issue presents novel investigations that are pushing corpus-based interpreting research to the next level. Some of these are based on, or are deeply inspired by, existing Corpus-based Interpreting Studies (CIS) projects, such as the pioneering European Parliament Interpreting Corpus (EPIC), while others endeavor to embrace other types of interpreting from more sensitive communicative settings, such as health care and court interpreting.

The aim of this special issue is to provide a forum to share the results obtained and the efforts being made in a booming research field, which, as editors, we believe deserves even further support and dissemination.

The seven contributions included here are organized into two main sections relating to two complementary research areas: interpreting practice and interpreter training.

Section 1 Interpreting practice: developing and using corpora to study interpreting includes papers focusing on simultaneous interpreting, with the exception of the essay by Sara Castagnoli and Natacha Niemants “Corpora worth creating: A pilot study on telephone interpreting”. Notwithstanding the many limitations entailed in the creation of this small corpus, the two authors experiment with different types of annotation and lend support to the usefulness of applying the corpus-based approach even to limited collections of data. Turning to simultaneous interpreting, three papers are based on European Parliament (EP) simultaneous interpreting data. In her study “The translation challenges of pre-modified noun phrases in simultaneous interpreting from English into Italian: A corpus-based study on EPIC”, Serena Ghiselli draws on EPIC to analyze professional interpreters’ performances in dealing with a well-known mnemonic challenge when working between non-cognate languages with a reversed lexical order. In “On anaphoric pronouns in simultaneous interpreting” Ana Correia aims to achieve a better understanding of cohesion in interpreter output by looking at anaphoric reference in a language combination not present in EPIC, that is English-Portuguese. Finally, in “Interpreting universals: A study on explicitness in the intermodal corpus EPTIC” Niccolò Morselli sets out to investigate the occurrence of interpreting universals by querying the intermodal corpus EPTIC (European Parliament Translation and Interpreting Corpus, supplementing EPIC with the corresponding written translations) developed at the Department of Interpreting and Translation of the University of Bologna.

Section 2 Interpreter training: developing and using corpora to train interpreters opens with the contribution by Andrew Cresswell “Looking up phrasal verbs in small corpora of interpreting: An attempt to draw out aspects of interpreted language”. This study relies on data from various existing corpora of English, both as a naturally occurring language and as simultaneous interpreting output to inform the teaching of English phrasal verbs in language lessons in order to improve fluency in non-native trainee interpreters. Next is the contribution by Michela Bertozzi “Anglintrad: Towards a purpose-specific interpreting corpus”. This study looks at the strategies implemented by simultaneous interpreters and translators working into Spanish when dealing with anglicisms in Italian source speeches. The study adopts an intermodal perspective, that is contrasting interpreted and translated language, with a pedagogic aim. The last paper in this section is “The TIPp project: Developing technological resources based on the exploitation of oral corpora to improve court interpreting” by Mariana Orozco-Jutorán. It shows how leveraging on multilingual corpora, based on genuine court interpreter-mediated interactions, it is possible to build additional resources to improve court interpreting.

This special issue and a parallel edited volume (Russo et al. 2018), both sparked by the First Forlì Workshop on Corpus-based Interpreting Studies held in May 2015 and attended by numerous researchers engaged in this innovative field world-wide, show the geographical spread of the corpus-based approach in interpreting studies. What started as an Italian enterprise centered on the University of Bologna and the University Trieste, has found followers in many European and Asian countries. In this issue, the University of Bologna, the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy), the University of Minho (Braga, Portugal), the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB, Spain) are represented. The parallel edited volume also presents work from other European countries (Poland, Belgium), China and Japan.

We hope these works can serve as an inspiration to other scholars who may join in the effort of creating further language resources such as corpora. These are proving useful in both interpreting and translation research and education as a result of systematic observation afforded by CIS methods.

References

Russo, M., Bendazzoli, C. e Defrancq, B. (eds) (2018) Making Way in Corpus-based Intepreting Studies. Singapore: Springer.

About the author(s)

Claudio Bendazzoli is Assistant Professor of English Language and Translation at the Department of Economics and Social Studies, Mathematics and Statistics of the University of Turin, Italy. Previously (2004-2011), he worked at the Department of Interpreting and Translation of the University of Bologna at Forlì, where he obtained an MA in Conference Interpreting (Italian, English, Spanish) and a PhD in Interpreting Studies. His main research interests are Corpus-based Interpreting Studies, Theatre and Interpreter Training, Ethnography of Speaking, English Lingua Franca, and English Medium Instruction. He also works as a freelance translator and interpreter.

Mariachiara Russo is Full Professor of Spanish Language and Interpretation at the Department of Interpreting and Translation (DIT) of the University of Bologna at Forlì and free-lance conference interpreter. In 1987 she graduated in Interpreting at the Advanced School of Modern Languages for Interpreters and Translators of the University of Trieste where she taught between 1993 and 2001.She is the Coordinator of the MA in Interpreting (2001-2012; 2015) and Lecturer of Interpreting Theory and simultaneous and consecutive interpretation from Spanish into Italian. She coordinated theEuropean Parliament Interpreting Corpus (EPIC) project (https://corpora.dipintra.it), participated in the EU-funded Improving Police and Legal Interpreting(IMPLI) Project and is currently among the coordinators of the EU-funded Project SHIFT in Orality- Shaping the Interpreters of the Future and of Todayon remote interpreting. She has published extensively on: corpus-based interpreting studies, aptitude testing for interpreting, conference interpreting, liaison interpreting, contrastive linguistics and simultaneous film interpreting. She is member of several editorial boards and international research groups. Webpage: https://www.unibo.it/sitoweb/mariachiara.russo.

Bart Defrancq is an Associate Professor of interpreting and legal translation and Head of interpreter training at Ghent University. Trained as a linguist and an interpreter, he obtained his PhD in linguistics at the same university. His research interests are in corpus-based interpreting and translation research and interpreter-mediated interaction in police and judicial contexts. He is the author and co-author of numerous publications in these areas and supervisor of several research projects on gender dimensions of interpreting, corpus compilation and police interpreting. He is also a Vice-President of CIUTI.

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©inTRAlinea & Claudio Bendazzoli, Mariachiara Russo & Bart Defrancq (2018).
"Corpus-based Interpreting Studies: a booming research field"
inTRAlinea Special Issue: New Findings in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies
Edited by: Claudio Bendazzoli, Mariachiara Russo & Bart Defrancq
This article can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
Stable URL: http://www.intralinea.org/specials/article/2304

Corpora worth creating: A pilot study on telephone interpreting

By Sara Castagnoli & Natacha Niemants (University of Macerata & University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy)

Abstract & Keywords

This paper reports on the development and use of a corpus of interpreter-mediated phone calls to study features of telephone interpreting (TI) in healthcare settings. After a short introduction on TI and corpus-based studies of remote and on-site community interpreting (CI), the paper discusses ways of exploiting the corpus to analyse interpreters’ translation and coordination activities over the phone. It first shows that, notwithstanding some limitations due to data originally collected for non-linguistic purposes, even a small and raw resource can contribute to exploratory analyses of TI, using a qualitative (Conversation Analysis) approach. It then illustrates how opportunities for more systematic research are opened up by corpus annotation. The paper finally reports on some preliminary insights about linguistic and interactional aspects characterizing this type of remote interpreting and makes a tentative comparison with two on-site CI corpora, thereby paving the way to more refined and quantitative investigations.

Keywords: telephone interpreting, community interpreting, interpreter-mediated interaction, healthcare, coordination, remote interpreting

©inTRAlinea & Sara Castagnoli & Natacha Niemants (2018).
"Corpora worth creating: A pilot study on telephone interpreting"
inTRAlinea Special Issue: New Findings in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies
Edited by: Claudio Bendazzoli, Mariachiara Russo & Bart Defrancq
This article can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
Stable URL: http://www.intralinea.org/specials/article/2315

1. Setting the scene: Telephone Interpreting as a sub-type of Community interpreting

Although corpus-based research in the field of interpreting is still lagging compared to Translation Studies, mainly because of the specific challenges involved in the treatment of spoken language data, the last decades have witnessed an increase in the number and variety of interpreting corpora available across modes and settings (see Setton 2011 and Bendazzoli 2015 for a review of such developments, and specific studies in Straniero Sergio and Falbo 2012b). One interpreting modality that has so far escaped empirical, corpus-based research is remote interpreting (RI), that is the provision of interpreting services from a distant location using communication technologies (telephone, videoconferencing, web-conferencing); when a telephone line is used to connect the interpreter to some or all of the primary participants, who may be together at one site or at separate locations, RI is usually called telephone interpreting (TI), or over-the-phone interpreting (Braun 2015).

Demand for RI has been increasing steadily in the last decades, especially in public service settings – such as healthcare and court – that are highly affected by migratory patterns and language issues, and that are normally associated with face-to-face community interpreting (CI). RI’s uptake in these contexts can be explained by its several logistical and financial advantages vis-à-vis traditional on-site CI, including a) improved interpreter availability, in terms of language coverage (especially for minority languages) and 24/7 availability with short or no notice, even at peripheral or isolated facilities; b) lower costs, mainly due to savings related to interpreters’ travel time; and c) increased confidentiality in delicate situations (see, among others, Ko 2006; Rosenberg 2007; Braun 2015).

The expansion of RI has been accompanied by a number of surveys on user perception and satisfaction, which also brought to the fore some of its perceived disadvantages. According to such surveys, RI is at least as acceptable and effective as on-site interpreting for patients, whereas doctors and interpreters generally show preferences for on-site interpreting over RI, mainly due to the challenges of missing visual information, increased difficulty in building rapport, and possible technical problems (see, among others, Ko 2006; Lee 2007; Locatis et al. 2010; Price et al. 2012). Further studies found that (actual and perceived) difficulties with RI tend to diminish with training and experience, thus pointing to the need for both RI users and providers to be specifically trained to the different challenges of interpreting in absentia (see for example Wadensjö 1999; Braun 2006; Kelly 2008; Hlvac 2013).

On the other hand, empirical studies of authentic interactions in this particular communicative situation, aimed to identify typical features of RI as well as factors enhancing or threatening its success, are still scarce. Analysing interpreters’ performance in simultaneous RI, for example, Moser-Mercer (2003; 2005) found that interpreting quality deteriorated faster than in on-site performance, possibly because lack of visual presence, among other factors, determined increased stress and an earlier onset of fatigue. Similar findings were reported by Roziner and Shlesinger (2010), who however highlighted considerable discrepancies between objective measures and subjective perception of performance quality. Experimental studies of videoconference-based dialogue interpreting in legal settings conducted in the context of the European AVIDICUS project basically pointed in the same direction, suggesting greater difficulties and a higher cognitive load for interpreters; however, they also found differences in the dynamics of the communication between traditional and video-mediated settings, the latter being characterized by a reduction in the quality of intersubjective relations between participants and greater discourse fragmentation (Braun and Taylor 2012; 2014).

As regards specific research on TI, Wadensjö (1999) compared on-site and telephone interpreting on the basis of two real-life encounters recorded at a police station. She found that the main difference between the two modalities lay in the possibilities they provided for the coordination and synchronization of interaction: telephone interpreting was found to be characterized by different turn length, less overlapping talk and a greater coordination effort on the part of the interpreter, with difficulties also deriving from the lack of visual cues. Based on a larger sample of over 1,000 personally interpreted phone calls, Rosenberg (2007) argued that major difficulties in TI were caused by the lack of a shared frame of reference, but also by the lack of initial briefing, poor sound quality, and unusual turn-taking patterns due to the configuration of the call (speakerphone vs. telephone passing). More promising results are still to come from the ongoing European SHIFT project (Spinolo et al. forthcoming),[1] which sets out to provide training in remote CI based on the analysis of authentic telephone and video interpreter-mediated multilingual communication.

2. Corpus-based studies of Community Interpreting

The availability of authentic data on remote interpreting is extremely limited compared with the (slowly) growing number of corpus-based studies of traditional community interpreting, with which RI research shares a number of technical/practical problems and methodological concerns. To quote but a few, a) the difficulty of accessing data and getting permission to use them for scientific purposes, which impacts on corpus design and representativeness, and ultimately on the researchers’ objectives (Straniero Sergio and Falbo 2012a); b) the time-consuming nature of data collection and transcription, which limits corpus size and also influences analysis (Niemants 2012); c) the problem of dealing with dialogue-like data including both monolingual and interpreted utterances, where overlaps and other conversational phenomena are hard to annotate or extract automatically (Angermeyer et al. 2012). There is consequently much room for improvement and the few existing CI corpora and corpus-based studies are our closest and most valuable reference.

Research in this field has been mostly qualitative in nature, relying on discourse-analytic and ethnographic methods, and especially on Conversation Analysis (CA; Sacks et al. 1974), which appears particularly well suited for observing interpreting as interaction (see Baraldi and Gavioli 2012; Straniero Sergio and Falbo 2012a; Davitti and Pasquandrea 2014; Dal Fovo and Niemants 2015 for recent overviews). As Meyer and his panelists reminded us at the Corpus-based Interpreting Studies – The State of the Art workshop, interaction sequences are usually investigated in detail to pinpoint systematic challenges of community interpreting, for example code switching, dyadic sequences, explanations of technical terms, and to substantiate Wadensjö’s (1998) theoretical distinction between “translation” and “coordination” by observing it in professional practice.

As for interpreters’ translating activity, a number of independently conducted investigations have shown that turn-by-turn translation is just one of the ways in which interpreters translate the interactions. Research conducted on authentic interpreter-mediated encounters has expanded on the categories of “renditions” identified by Wadensjö (1998) and provided extensive evidence of how interpreters translate and of the reasons why they do it that way (Mason 1999 and 2006; Davidson 2000 and 2002).

The coordinating function of interpreters has also attracted an increasing interest among researchers, leading to the publication of individual and collective endeavours that have further developed Wadensjö’s pioneering categorizations. According to Wadensjö, interpreters play their coordinating function when they contextualize their translations in the interaction and when they manage the turn-taking. Coordination is implicit when interpreters translate, since the fact of producing a turn in a language implicitly selects the participant who speaks it; coordination is explicit when interpreters carry out other actions, which have no counterpart in a preceding original – she calls them “non-renditions” – and which overtly contribute to organizing talk in interaction. Wadensjö herself (1998: 145–151) suggested that the distinction between implicit (through renditions) and explicit coordination (through non-renditions) is not clear-cut, since there exist overlapping areas that can be as interesting as the distinction itself and pave the way to new dichotomies, such as the one introduced by Baraldi and Gavioli:

We suggest that the distinction posited by Wadensjö between implicit and explicit coordination can be looked at as a distinction between basic and reflexive coordination, both of which can potentially be achieved by renditions and non-renditions. Basic coordination is the smooth achievement of self-reference, without any emergence of problems of understanding and/or acceptance of utterances and meanings. Reflexive coordination is the achievement of self-reference through actions that aim to improve (encourage, expand, implement, etc.), question or claim understanding and/or acceptance of utterances and meanings (2012: 5–6).

The edited volume by Baraldi and Gavioli gives a substantial contribution to research into reflexive coordination activity, as the chapters in it analyse, in different ways and from different perspectives, authentic data from some of the CI corpora available to the scientific community, e.g. the DiK corpus of Portuguese-German and Turkish-German interpreted doctor-patient communication (Bührig and Meyer 2004), the AIM corpus of Italian-English/Arabic/Chinese/French language-mediated interactions in healthcare (Baraldi and Gavioli 2012), and the CorIT corpus of Italian television interpreting (Falbo 2012).

Although CI corpora have so far been analysed qualitatively, their growing size is now opening paths to combine qualitative and quantitative approaches, where corpus technologies can be used to code, count and search existing collections. In this regard, Gavioli et al. (2016) suggested that coding CI corpora should primarily be done to search interesting data for analysis, i.e. to retrieve different types of encounters and interaction sequences, and only afterwards to count what has been searched for, for example lexical items or dyadic vs. triadic sequences. These considerations originate from their use of the AIM corpus, which is probably one of the biggest collections of this kind worldwide.[2]

The AIM corpus currently includes about 550 interpreter-mediated medical encounters for over 100 hours audio recording, whose transcripts have been mainly produced using a simple word processor. Although many AIM transcribers still prefer to rely on separate software tools to manage the recordings and produce transcripts, there is a case for using a single interface, where the transcript acts as a dynamic index to the recording. This would allow transcribers to keep symbols to a minimum and facilitate the adding and subtracting of details for the purpose of more precise analyses and of presentations to different types of audiences. Such interfaces include EXMARaLDA, which was used to experimentally audio-link a subset of 19 French-Italian encounters recorded in Italian and Belgian healthcare settings (Niemants 2015), and ELAN, which was tested to audio-link another subset collected for the purposes of a recent project on improved communication in Italian healthcare settings.[3] Both EXMARaLDA and ELAN enable researchers, just by clicking on the transcript, to listen to the corresponding audio segment, thereby playing a major role in keeping track of what different transcribers do on the data. Both tools additionally allow for data extraction, enabling one to retrieve lexical matches, like concordances, as well as complex interactional sequences that can be later investigated in greater details.

While being far from the level of annotation added in the Community Interpreting Database,[4] the AIM corpus is representative of the efforts that are internationally being made to turn existing CI “spoken corpora”, that is ‘collections of transcripts of (video)recorded data not included in the corpus’ (Straniero Sergio and Falbo 2012a: 31), into “speech corpora”, that is multimodal collections where ‘the audio and/or video tracks, with the relevant transcripts, are an integral part of corpora themselves’ (ibid.: 31–32). As Straniero Sergio and Falbo underline when making such a distinction, ‘this difference in the presentation of data decisively affects the analysis potential not only of corpora, but also of the aspects to be investigated’ (2012a: 31–32), which is true for both on-site and remote forms of interpreting.

3. Creating and using a Telephone Interpreting corpus

The following sections introduce the work done to create a corpus out of a small existing collection of TI transcripts. Our aim is to show that, considering the paucity of authentic RI data available to the scientific community, even a small, unorthodox corpus can make a valuable – albeit exploratory – contribution to empirical research on this interpreting type.

3.1 Corpus description

Our corpus contains the transcriptions of 30 telephone calls to a remote interpreter made at a healthcare institution of the Emilia Romagna region (Italy) on the occasion of medical encounters involving at least one Italian healthcare provider (doctor, nurse) and a foreign patient with no or limited Italian proficiency. The phone calls were made between 2013 and 2014, when the institution was experimenting with a TI service to assess whether it could effectively be integrated with the existing face-to-face community interpreting service – or replace it in some specific contexts – in order to reduce costs and improve coverage.

The 30 recordings (a sample of about 1/5 of total phone calls made during the testing phase, kept by the external service provider for legal purposes) were listened to and transcribed within the institution to monitor how the TI service was being used, as well as the personnel’s attitude towards the service itself. Most transcriptions were provided by some to-be translators during traineeships, mainly for phone calls involving language pairs that they could master (namely, Italian plus English/French/Albanian/Polish); some recordings involving Chinese or Arabic interpreters were also transcribed leaving out non-Italian turns, based on the assumption that even partial transcriptions would be sufficient for the non-linguistic quality control envisaged. For the same reason, transcribers were not provided with specific guidelines for the transcription nor for the annotation of paralinguistic features such as pauses, hesitations or overlaps. Plain, orthographic transcriptions were produced using a word processor. Access to the recordings was subject to a cumbersome procedure which involved asking permissions to listen to individual audio files; these would remain accessible for 4–5 days and could not be downloaded.

Lack of access to the original recordings implies that, when turning these texts into a corpus, we had to accept some major limitations as “irreparable”. The quality of transcripts stands out as the most problematic aspect: a) some of them are incomplete, as they involved turns in languages unknown to transcribers; b) as they were produced by different translators, not specifically trained for the purpose and without any guidelines, inconsistencies – and even inaccuracies – are inevitable both within and across transcripts, especially as regards the annotation (when provided) of paralinguistic features. In addition, the lack of relevant audio tracks prevents any development of this spoken corpus into a multimodal speech corpus (see section 2).

The nature of the data directs and constrains the range of possible research objectives. On the one hand, the above-mentioned limitations affect the analysis potential of the corpus by preventing research on aspects that are specific to spoken language data, like phonetics, prosody, non-verbal features and so on. On the other hand, the small size of the corpus – about 22,500 total words – rules out the possibility to carry out statistical analyses of lexical frequencies. Moreover, the sample comes from a single source and is not sufficiently large to generalise. We believe, however, that by highlighting the recurrence of given lexical and interactional phenomena, the corpus can still be a precious resource to start identifying typical features of interpreting in this particular communicative situation.

3.2 Some insights obtained through qualitative investigations of the raw collection

Our first approach to the corpus was through manual, qualitative investigations of the transcripts, using conversation analysis (CA) methods. Despite the small size of the corpus, it was possible to identify common courses of interaction and recurring features of participants’ verbal behaviour, mainly connected to the lack of visual information and shared contextual knowledge, and to observe their positive or negative impact on the success of telephone-interpreted phone calls. The main findings of this study (fully reported in Niemants and Castagnoli 2015) are summarised in the following paragraphs.

The analysis of transcripts shows that conversations in the corpus seldom follow the turn-taking sequence Speaker 1 – Interpreter – Speaker 2 – Interpreter – Speaker 1 – Interpreter and so on: while some examples of this pattern can indeed be observed within individual phone calls, the latter are essentially structured as sequences of monolingual dyadic exchanges between the interpreter and one of the primary participants (see Jefferson 1972 on side sequences in general, and Kelly 2007 on side conversations or side talk in the context of TI), which may or may not be subsequently summarized by the interpreter into the other language for the benefit of the excluded party (see Merlini 2015). Although, according to existing standards of practice, side conversations should be avoided by telephone interpreters (Kelly 2007: 118), the analysis of transcripts suggests that they play a fundamental role in establishing shared ground on which the conversation can then continue. In particular, corpus data suggest that an initial dyadic briefing between the healthcare provider and the interpreter – during which the former provides some basic information about the patient and the reasons for the encounter, and also informs the interpreter about how the conversation is to take place (for example if there is a speakerphone) – is essential to provide contextual information which would be taken for granted in on-site encounters but which is missing to remote interpreters, and may reduce the need for extensive negotiation afterwards.

Corpus data indicate that the lack of a ‘shared frame of reference’ (Rosenberg 2007: 75) between the primary participants – sitting together at the same location – and the remote interpreter determines knowledge asymmetries at several levels. On a macro-level, remote interpreters are not only physically absent, but they may also not be familiar with the primary participants’ local reality (towns, hospital/medical facilities, proper names and so on). Even more significantly, remote interpreters lack information about things that are happening in the room where the medical encounter takes place, including on-going non-verbal communication. The lack of visual clues, which several authors have described as the most problematic and stressing feature of TI (see section 1), has a negative impact on turn management and represents a major limitation in settings where practical information needs to be conveyed.

As far as turn management is concerned, the corpus contains several occurrences of interruptions and uncertainty about who is entitled to the next turn. While in face-to-face situations non-verbal behaviour such as gestures, posture, mimics and gaze have a role in guiding the interaction (see, among others, Wadensjö 1999: 254), in TI interpreters do not have access to these clues and need to rely on explicit verbalisations by the interlocutors (utterances like Adesso te la passo così glielo dici ‘Now I’ll put you through so you tell her’, Aspetta che te lo passo ‘Wait I’ll put you through’, Adesso te la ripasso ‘Now I’ll put you through again’ are indeed common in the corpus). Difficulties in turn management also determine the presence of long, uninterrupted turns especially on the part of healthcare providers, who tend to accumulate (even unnecessary) information or questions before giving the floor to the interpreter. The major risk of such information overload is for interpreters to miss important details, which entails requests for clarifications and repetitions, and more extensive negotiation in general. Corpus data thus seem to confirm Wadensjö’s remark that translating and coordinating the talk exchange is more complicated for interpreters in TI than in face-to-face interaction, so participants to a telephone-interpreted encounter should ‘make a special effort to express themselves clearly and verbalize any non-verbal activities that may have an impact on the ongoing interaction’ (1999: 262).

Overall, the corpus provides evidence that the success of TI may depend on the specific healthcare setting involved and the type of information to be conveyed. As suggested in previous literature (Villarruel et al. 1999: 268; Price et al. 2012), TI is generally smooth and effective in settings in which routine information is exchanged. It is the case, for instance, of interviews preceding paediatric vaccinations, whose contents are highly predictable, as questions and answers normally focus on the child’s health, on reactions to previous vaccinations and on informed consent. On the contrary, TI turns out to be less effective in “educational” scenarios in which practical information needs to be conveyed and visual clues are virtually indispensable for mutual comprehension (as also observed by Price et al. 2012), as in the case of one interpreter being asked to translate instructions on how to perform an insulin injection; or when the patient is not cooperative, and building rapport through TI becomes more complicated.

In sum, qualitative analyses proved useful to identify recurrent actions and verbal behaviours which can have an impact on the success of telephone-mediated encounters, and ultimately point to the need to develop the participants’ awareness of the additional challenges of TI compared to on-site interpreting.

3.3 Annotating the data for more refined, corpus research

In an attempt to enable more systematic investigations as well as comparative analyses (see section 4), we tried to turn the collection of transcripts into a “proper” corpus which can be searched with corpus-based techniques.

Transcripts were anonymised (by substituting personal and geographical names) and standardised as much as possible in their format. Original text files were converted into xml documents; each phone call is enclosed within a <text> element, with a unique identifier, and speakers’ turns (possibly containing several utterances) are encoded as separate <s> elements, progressively numbered.[5] This allowed us to add annotations at different levels, in order to encode (implicitly) available extralinguistic information and make it searchable: while we cannot aim at any quantification of interactional aspects, given the size of the corpus and the limited control we had over transcripts, our goal is to be able to make more focused searches as well as retrieve all instances of given elements to be then analysed qualitatively. Because of the impossibility to access original recordings, we decided to annotate only information and features that required the least interpretive effort (see Angermeyer et al. 2012).

Basic categories include descriptive metadata about the date and the setting in which phone calls took place (mainly local vaccination centre or hospital department, such as Maternity, Obstetrics and gynaecology unit, A&E and so on). This information was derived from official reports and coded in a sort of “header” at the <text> level, together with details about the language pair involved and the transcriber’s name. Additional descriptive metadata is provided at the turn level, where we annotated speaker’s role (doctor/patient/interpreter) as well as the language(s) involved. Basic linguistic annotation, namely Part-of-Speech tagging and lemmatisation, was also introduced; however, as the corpus could only be processed as a single, monolithic entity – it is a single file, comprising parts written in different languages – and since POS taggers can normally handle one language at a time, we decided to treat it as if it were a monolingual Italian corpus (Italian being shared by all interactions within the corpus). Consequently, turns in other languages are not properly tagged.

This basic level of annotation can be leveraged to investigate a number of interesting aspects, for example from differences in interaction patterns across healthcare settings to interpreters’ “formulations” of previous turns at talk (Baraldi and Gavioli 2010; Baraldi 2012). For instance, example (1) shows selected concordances obtained by searching for the lemma dire “to say/tell” in interpreters’ turns, and suggests that the verb is often used within turns directed to healthcare providers containing either their renditions of the patient’s utterances (as in cases a and b) or summaries of what they have just told the patient in a different language (c and d).[6]

(1)

(a) 676: <s_speaker int><s_trans rendition>:  Eh , infatti <dice> che non è ... non è un infortunio .

Uh, he says that it’s not…  it’s not an accident .

 (b) 3866: <s_speaker int><s_trans rendition>: Ha <detto> che ogni tanto la bimba soffre di mal di pancia . Dolori lievi .

He said that sometimes the girl has got stomach ache. Mild pains .

 (c) 1166: <s_speaker int><s_trans non-rendition>:  # sì , gli ho <detto> della farmacia che si deve informare # al pronto soccorso .

# yes , I told him about the pharmacy that he needs to get information # at the emergency room .

 (d) 1395: <s_speaker int><s_trans non-rendition>:  Sì . Sì . Le ho <detto> che deve portare il referto al pediatra per i controlli successivi .

Yes . Yes . I told her that she has to bring the medical report to the pediatrician for the next checkups.

We decided to additionally include two types of analytical annotations which – according to Angermeyer et al. (2012) – are usable with community interpreting data in general (thus enabling comparisons as those provided in section 4) and do not require much subjective interpretation (thus limiting decision-making at the annotation stage). To start with, we annotated the language of turns distinguishing monolingual (unmixed) and multilingual (mixed) turns: in community settings it is quite frequent for participants and interpreters to produce mixed utterances, as a result of code-mixing, code-switching or ad hoc borrowing (ibid.: 288–289; see also Anderson 2012; Meyer 2012), and it is arguably worth investigating whether the same occurs in TI. Turns were annotated as mixed whenever some kind of language mix – from a single lexical item to a longer code-switch – took place, so that a search for mixed turns would retrieve occurrences of any type of bilingual speech. The 75 mixed turns in our corpus (out of 1605 total turns) are interpreters’ turns (with one exception, discussed in section 4.1); the large majority of such turns correspond to a change in the primary interlocutor, as exemplified in (2),[7] with only a few cases of real code-mixing (as in 3).

(2)

<s n="40" speaker="doc" langstat="unmixed" trans="original" lang="it"> Sì, va bene. Senta, potrebbe chiederle se l'allatta ancora al seno e se dalla nascita ad oggi ha avuto nessuna malattia? Sul bambino. Gliela passo. </s>

Yes, fine. Listen, could you ask her whether she’s still breastfeeding him and whether he’s had any illnesses since birth? About the baby boy. I’ll put you through.   

<s n="41" speaker="int" langstat="mixed" trans="rendition" lang="it-al"> Va bene. Grazie. [((in Albanian)) Allora, signora. Come terza domanda il dottore vuole sapere se lei ha allattato il bambino al seno dalla nascita e continua tuttora?] </s>

Ok. Thanks. [((in Albanian)) So, madam. As a third question the doctor wants to know whether you have been breastfeeding the baby since birth and whether you still continue to?]

(3)

<s n="55" speaker="int" langstat="mixed" trans="rendition" lang="it-en"> Hello. The lady ha detto.. said that when you feel ill you have to eat something sweety and everything that you feel ill you have to eat something sweet to... okay? </s>

The second level of analytical annotation added to the corpus, which is called  “translation status”, is more interpretive in nature (it requires that the researcher actually looks at the data to make decisions) and is based on Wadensjö’s (1998) classification of interpreters’ utterances as renditions vs. non-renditions. This annotation is meant to record whether interpreters’ turns correspond to translations of prior utterances made by the primary participants (whose turns are, consequently, always annotated as original), or do not have any counterpart in a preceding original turn, thus pointing to instantiations of interpreters’ coordinating role. Identifying source-target pairs in dialogue interpreting is not a trivial task, not only because the extent to which interpreters’ renditions relate to original utterances may vary (see Wadensjö’s more refined categories of renditions), but also because source-target turns may not be adjacent. For example, in (4), the interpreter’s turn n= “24” is arguably a rendition of two previous turns by the doctor (namely n= “11” and n= “17”), from which it is separated by a number of non-renditions, consisting mainly in (requests for) clarifications.

(4)

<s n="11" speaker="doc" langstat="unmixed" trans="original" lang="it"> Allora, dovrei dire alla mamma che deve fare due iniezioni. Una sulla coscia destra, che contiene un attivo contro difterite, tetano, pertosse, epatite B, poliomelite ed emofilo B. </s>

So, I should tell the mother that he has to get two injections. One on the right thigh, which contains an active ingredient against diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, polio and haemophilus influenzae B.

<s n="12" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it"> Mi scusi, una sulla coscia ? </s>

I’m sorry, one on which thigh?

<s n="13" speaker="doc" langstat="unmixed" trans="original" lang="it"> Destra. </s>

The right one.

<s n="14" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it"> Okay, contro la difterite. </s>

Okay, against diphtheria.

<s n="15" speaker="doc" langstat="unmixed" trans="original" lang="it"> Non solo la difterite. Anche tetano, pertosse, epatite B, poliomelite ed emofilo B. </s>

Not only diphtheria. Also tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B, polio and haemophilus influenzae B.

<s n="16" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it"> Okay, okay. </s>

<s n="17" speaker="doc" langstat="unmixed" trans="original" lang="it"> Mentre nella coscia sinistra farà una puntura che contiene il vaccino antipneumococcico. </s>

Whereas on the left thigh he will get an injection which contains the vaccine against pneumococcus.

<s n="18" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it"> Anti? </s>

Against?

<s n="19" speaker="doc" langstat="unmixed" trans="original" lang="it"> Antipenumococco. </s>

Against pneumococcus.

<s n="20" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it"> Okay. </s>

<s n="21" speaker="doc" langstat="unmixed" trans="original" lang="it"> Le passo la madre. </s>

I’ll put you through to the mother.

<s n="22" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it"> Okay, va bene. Grazie. </s>

Okay, fine. Thank you.

<s n="23" speaker="paz" langstat="unmixed" trans="original" lang="fr">Allo? </s>

Hello?

<s n="24" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="rendition" lang="fr"> Allo, bonjour. Alors, le médecin dit qu'il va faire deux injections au bébé, une dans la cuisse gauche, et c'est contre la blessure (XXX) et l'hépatite. Et il va lui faire une autre injection dans la cuisse droite, et c'est contre la méningite. Halo, vous m'entendez ? </s>

Hello, good morning. So, the doctor says that he will give two injections to the baby, one on the left thigh, and it’s against the injury (XXX) and hepatitis. And he will give him another injection on the right thigh, and it’s against meningitis. Hello, can you hear me ?     

Considering that we can only establish correspondences at the level of speakers’ turns (rather than more fine-grained utterances), we decided to annotate as renditions only turns containing a significant amount of propositional elements that are retraceable to something which was previously said by other participants. In other words, interpreters’ turns including both translations of prior utterances and other coordinating activities were annotated as non-renditions whenever the latter were more numerous than the former.

Even so, the translation status of some turns is not easily determined. This is the case of turns like examples (1c) and (1d) above, where the interpreter summarizes for the Italian doctor what has just been negotiated with the foreign patient. Although these kinds of turns admittedly render talk for a speaker who was temporarily excluded, the corresponding original is the interpreter’s turn and not a stretch of talk by a primary participant; as a consequence, strictly following Wadensjö’s classification, these turns were treated as non-renditions.

The situation is possibly even less clear-cut when dealing with interpreters’ replies to patients’ requests for clarification, as in (5) below. A diabetic patient is receiving instructions on how to measure her blood sugar. Following the interpreter’s rendition of the doctor’s utterance, the patient asks for two clarifications on the content just rendered, and the interpreter responds with two turns in which he replies autonomously, albeit recalling some content he knows – and has already rendered – because the doctor first voiced it.

(5)

<s n="58" speaker="paz" langstat="unmixed" trans="original" lang="en"> In a week I control three times in a day? </s>

<s n="59" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="en"> No, no. All morning you have to control. </s>

<s n="60" speaker="paz" langstat="unmixed" trans="original" lang="en"> All morning in every day. In the morning. </s>

<s n="61" speaker="int" langstat="mixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it-en"> Sì. You have to control in the morning. </s>

From a certain viewpoint, the above interpreter’s turns could be annotated as renditions – especially if more fine-grained categories were used, e.g. Wadensjö’s “multi-part renditions” for multiple interpreting utterances corresponding to one original. We decided, however, to treat them as non-renditions, in order to show that rendering originals is not enough to ensure participants’ mutual understanding, and that interpreters thus need to do more, such as recalling and repeating something that has already been said and translated, to encourage and promote understanding and participation. A more detailed analysis of the possible nature of non-renditions is provided in section 4.2.

4. Telephone vs. on-site interpreting – Comparing corpora and discussing results

Notwithstanding the corpus’ small dimensions and the problems raised by some of the annotations added, the analyses in section 3 have already shown some of their potential. We believe, however, that the comparison with existing on-site CI corpora can yield even more interesting insights. For the purposes of this paper, we will use as reference corpora the two time-aligned subsets of the AIM corpus that we have personally transcribed, namely a small collection of interpreter-mediated interactions in Italian and Belgian healthcare settings (Niemants 2015) and a recently collected corpus of mediated and non-mediated doctor-patient interactions in the Emilia Romagna region (see footnote 3). These were transcribed using two different multi-tier transcription tools – EXMARaLDA and ELAN – and will henceforth be referred to as “the EXMARaLDA sub-corpus” and “the ELAN sub-corpus”, respectively.

4.1 A closer look at mixed turns

As we have seen above, mixed turns in our TI corpus amount to 75. Either by refining the quantitative search for speakers or by having a qualitative look at single occurrences, it appears that all the matches except one are in the interpreter’s turns. In other words, with the exception of example (6) below, where the Italian doctor utters an all right? in English, doctors never switch code in our TI corpus.

(6)

<s n="1" speaker="doc" langstat="mixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it-en"> Sì. Ha capito tutto. All right? Okay. Adesso mi deve dire, che non succede, però se dovesse, se ha delle crisi ipoglicemiche, che significa un abbassamento della glicemia, lei inizia a sudare, ad avere tremori, crampi, un malessere generale, deve prendere subito dello zucchero. Okay? E poi mangiare. Okay? </s>

Yes. She understood everything. All right? Okay. Now you have to tell, this doesn’t happen, but in case it happened, if she has hypoglycaemic reactions, which means that her blood glucose level falls, she starts sweating, having tremors, cramps, general sickness, she must have some sugar immediately. Okay? And then eat. Okay?

The absence of mixed turns in doctors’ talk might not be surprising if our TI corpus was only analysed on its own: it may simply indicate that doctors fully delegate the translation activity to interpreters – this is what they are contacted for in the first place – and never switch code to communicate with the patients who are sharing their physical space. While we cannot speculate on what precedes and follows the phone calls, we can state that in our corpus doctors never try to address patients directly during the call, and wonder whether this practice has some implications for the role of the telephone interpreter. As Mason (2006), Zorzi (2012) and Gavioli (2015), among others, have been showing for on-site CI, the interpreter’s role is not fixed, but highly depends on the actions of other participants in the interaction, which may arguably be the case for telephone interpreting, too.

The absence of code-switches in doctors’ turns, however, becomes more revealing if we compare our TI corpus with reference on-site CI corpora, which both contain instances of healthcare workers addressing patients directly.

Example (7) is taken from the “EXMARaLDA sub-corpus”, where code-switches were explicitly annotated as such and can easily be retrieved using EXMARaLDA concordance tool EXAKT. Here a female Italian doctor (Doc) utters two words in French, asking the patient to breath-in through his mouth (‘open mouth’). This piece of information is acknowledged by the interpreter (Int), who utters the acknowledgment token ah in partial overlap with the doctor’s turn. She then redesigns this turn to make sure the patient follows the doctor’s instructions (‘ah okay good you breathe through your mouth’).

(7)

Doc: bouche [ouverte]

mouth [open]

Int: [ah] okay bon tu respires avec la bouche

[ah] okay good you breathe through your mouth

Example (8) is taken from the “ELAN sub-corpus”, where language status was explicitly codified as “Italian” (when turns are entirely uttered in this language), “non-Italian” (when turns are uttered in foreign languages, here mainly Arabic, English and French), “mixed” (when turns contain propositional contents in both Italian and one or more foreign language(s)) and “international” (when speakers utter minimal responses that are hardly falling within the other three categories – such as mm hm, okay and the like – or when they produce non-verbal vocalization like laughter, cough and the like), and where healthcare providers (mainly mid-wives) often switch code to address patients directly. Here the mid-wife partially self-translates what she has just said in Italian, for the patient (Paz) to understand what is about to happen (pressure measurement). In other cases, mid-wives retrieve foreign words uttered by the patients and integrate them into their Italian turns at talk (e.g. te la do adesso la drugs sì, ‘I’ll give it to you now the drugs yes’).

(8)

Doc:   ti provo la pressione [la tension]

I’ll measure your pressure [your pressure]

Pat:   [oui d’accord]

[yes, fine]

The tendency of healthcare workers to switch code in order to address patients directly is confirmed by other researchers working on bigger corpora of on-site CI in healthcare, such as Meyer (2012) analysing data from two projects on ad hoc interpreting for Turkish and Portuguese patients in hospitals in Hamburg, and Anderson (2012) studying a subset of the AIM corpus including out-patient visits with English speaking patients. Both authors show that primary participants can have some level of proficiency in their respective languages and try to communicate directly, which poses problems of coordination for interpreters and inevitably affects their role. More precisely, if primary speakers are able to understand and talk to each other, interpreters may be called to stop translating, to stay on a ‘stand-by-mode’, as Angermeyer suggestively describes it (2008: 391), and to monitor participants’ understanding in order to decide when it is time to move in – because they do not understand each other – and out – because they manage to communicate directly – of the conversation.

The near absence of doctors’ mixed turns in our small TI corpus might be due to the fact that the patients in the corpus mainly speak languages that are unknown to doctors, but might also suggest that telephone interpreters are not called to ‘monitor and mould’ code-switching and other ‘participant behaviours that can potentially index an (at least partial) understanding of the ‘other’ language on the part of one or more primary participants’ (Anderson 2012: 144). This hypothesis obviously needs to be tested using bigger TI and CI corpora, where translating and coordinating activities such as monitoring can be qualitatively and quantitatively compared. However, our tentative comparison raises an interesting question about the potentially different nature of on-site and remote interpreting, namely: does the absence of direct communication between doctors and patients project a mainly translating role for telephone interpreters? In other words, does their interpreting activity on the phone mainly consist in rendering primary speakers’ talk?

4.2 A closer look at non-renditions

The number of renditions and non-renditions in our TI corpus (namely 207 vs. 584) in fact suggests that telephone interpreting does not mainly consist in rendering primary speakers’ talk but involves a high dose of coordinating activities. This preliminary result is in line with recent studies on dialogue interpreting (see Baraldi and Gavioli 2012; Dal Fovo and Niemants 2015 for two recent collections) where, irrespective of the languages spoken, interpreters appear to do much more than translating.

Starting from the assumption that both on-site and remote interpreting consist in translating (mainly through renditions) and coordinating (mainly through non-renditions) work, we will now compare some non-renditions retrieved from our TI corpus with some of those recurring in our two reference corpora. Our objective is to see whether there are any qualitative differences between non-renditions in on-site and telephone interactions, and to make hypotheses on their possible implications for TI practice and training.

If we have a closer look at turns annotated as non-renditions in our TI corpus, it appears that many instances have to do with the medium and the interpreting service provided through it. This is the case of utterances such as pronto? (the Italian “hallo” when answering the phone) or of utterances having the following structure: ‘good evening (or good morning), interpreter for the Chinese (or other) language’ (as in example (9)).

(9)

<s n="1" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it"> Buonasera, interprete di lingua cinese. </s>

Good evening, interpreter for the Chinese language.

A number of non-renditions also have to do with meaning negotiation: they are used by interpreters to (dis)confirm that they are hearing and/or understanding properly, thereby signalling that the other speaker can(not) go on speaking. This is often done through minimal responses such as , okay, mm hm (see turns n= “8”, “10”, “11” and “13” in example (10)).

(10)

<s n="8" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it"> Va bene, okay. E poi?</s>

Fine, okay. And then?

<s n="9" speaker="doc" langstat="unmixed" trans="original" lang="it"> E poi se ha # allergie # alle medicine o agli alimenti.</s>

Then if he has # allergies # to drugs or food.

<s n="10" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it"> # poi # sì</s>

# then # yes

<s n="11" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it"> Okay, sì, ha #</s>

Okay, yes, he has #

<s n="12" speaker="doc" langstat="unmixed" trans="original" lang="it"> # se ha avuto reazioni con i vaccini fatti finora.</s>

# if he had reactions with the vaccines he’s been given so far.

<s n="13" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it"> Okay, reazioni... va bene, okay.</s>

Okay, reactions… fine, okay.

<s n="14" speaker="doc" langstat="unmixed" trans="original" lang="it"> Okay.</s>

<s n="15" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it"> Sì? Ehm... posso parlare già con la mamma?</s>

Yes? Ehm… can I already speak to the mum?

<s n="16" speaker="doc" langstat="unmixed" trans="original" lang="it"> Sì, sì sì # parli</s>

Yes, yes yes # speak

As the example above shows, and Gavioli (2012) has also pointed out, okay systematically occurs when the translation is about to take place and plays the double role of (1) showing understanding of what has just been uttered by one primary speaker (for example the first okay in turn n= “13”, Okay, reazioni... va bene, okay) and (2) projecting the beginning of the translation for the other (for example the second okay in that same utterance). But the doctor does not understand that the translation is about to start and utters himself an okay, which requires a greater conversational effort on the part of the interpreter, who explicitly asks whether she can start translating for the mother and waits for the doctor to answer before doing so (in turns omitted here).

In addition to meaning negotiation, many non-renditions serve to summarize the gist of preceding turns and correspond to the formulations we problematized in section 3.3, which often contain the lemma dire followed by what has actually been said by primary participants and/or interpreters.

(11)

<s n="62" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it"> Dottoressa, eccomi. Lei ha detto che... le ho spiegato che c'è un costo e che non è necessario che lei debba stare per una semplice medicazione per giorni e giorni in ospedale. Possono fare un'eccezione due giorni ma non di più. Stop. Lei ha detto che stasera parlerà con il marito e poi provvederanno... le ho anche suggerito di andare nella parrocchia di appartenenza, di zona di residenza se c'è qualche volontario che, lo fanno di solito, la può accompagnare. Tutto qui. Io ho finito il mio lavoro. </s>

Doctor, here I am. She said that… I explained to her that there’s a cost and that it’s not necessary that she stays for a simple dressing for days and days in hospital. They can make an exception for two days but no longer than that. That’s it. She said that tonight she’s going to talk to her husband and they will take action… I also suggested her to go to the parish they belong to, where they live if there’s some volunteer that, they usually do it, can accompany her. That’s it. I’ve finished my job.

The interpreter here summarizes the gist of the previous turns in two ways: she first recalls what she has just told the mother (le ho spiegato che, “I explained to her that”) and then formulates what the mother has actually said (lei ha detto che, “she said that”). Both summaries are addressed to the doctor, who is also informed of what the interpreter has autonomously suggested, that is to go to the local parish and ask for a volunteer to accompany her, as they usually do.

Some non-renditions finally have to do with the interpreter’s need to take time and write things down. Utterances like un attimo che scrivo (“wait a moment I’m writing”) make it explicit that there is a difficulty in dealing with long and dense doctors’ turns, and arguably point to the importance of note-taking in telephone interpreting.

(12)

<s n="1" speaker="int" langstat="unmixed" trans="non-rendition" lang="it"> Un attimo che scrivo. Per 21 giorni, una al giorno.</s>

Wait a moment I’m writing. For 21 days, one a day.

If we now search for non-renditions in our on-site reference corpora, we are confronted with similar and divergent courses of action. Starting from similarities, both the EXMARaLDA and the ELAN sub-corpora also contain meaning negotiation sequences where minimal responses play a major role in showing understanding of what has been previously said or negotiated and signalling the transition to translation. This is the case in (13), where the interpreter (Int) first acknowledges receipt of what the Italian speaking patient (Paz) has just said (va bene (.) okay), then uses the same token okay – but with a French pronunciation – to address the healthcare worker.

(13)

Pat: no

Int: va bene (.) okay

fine (.) okay

(2)

Int: okay donc

okay then

In the ELAN corpus, okay is very widely used as a feedback token: when uttered with a rising intonation, be it on its own or at the end of longer turns at talk, it generally checks for the patients’ understanding and is often followed by their confirmation; when uttered with a falling intonation, usually on its own or at the beginning of longer turns, it shows understanding and signals the transition to translation. The selected example is representative of the latter case, where the interpreter utters three okay in less than four seconds to acknowledge receipt of what the Arabic patient has just said and start rendering it into Italian for the midwife, who had explicitly invited the interpreter to tell her.

(14)

Int: [okay però]

[okay but]

Pat: [hata] khti [lama] bitihmil

[even] my sister [when] she got pregnant

Int: [okay] okay dice che loro in famiglia…

[okay] okay she says that in her family…

Both the EXMARaLDA and the ELAN sub-corpora also contain formulations that summarize the gist of previous turns at talk and that are similarly pre-faced by expressions like ti dice che… or ti ha detto che… (meaning “s/he tells” – or “told” – “you that…”), but they additionally present a number of non-renditions we have not found in our TI corpus, such as directions on how to reach local healthcare facilities or clarifications and explanations on routine examinations the patient shall undergo.

Example (15) is taken from the EXMARaLDA sub-corpus, where direction-giving sequences were explicitly annotated as “instruction” among departures from the traditional triadic sequence organization in interpreter-mediated interactions. Following the midwife’s indication to go to a certain office, the interpreter provides the patient with all the necessary directions to reach that place alone, going so far as to write them down on a sheet of paper she can later use as an aide-mémoire.

(15)

Int: [scri-] écris si c'est écrire ça ehm allora (2) je te l'écris ici (.) via Mandorla (1) ehm autobus (1) numéro deux (.) pour aller (2) ça c'est l'autobus qui porte à Modena

[writ-] write if it’s writing this ehm so (2) I’m writing this here for you (.) via Mandorla (1) ehm bus (1) number two (.) to go (2) this is the bus that goes to Modena      

Example (16) comes from the ELAN sub-corpus and can be retrieved using the software multiple layer search, which allows one to investigate interactional patterns such as Patient-Interpreter-Midwife and to explore the translation status of interpreters’ turns. On a closer look, while some instances unsurprisingly are Italian renditions of what foreign patients say, followed by the midwife reception, many interpreters’ turns are uttered in the patients’ language and are thus non-renditions playing a wide range of functions, for example providing feedback, giving directions, expanding explanations, and asking for or making clarifications, as is the case here, where the interpreter clarifies that the pap test would not have taken longer if it had been performed.

(16)

Int: w chufi (.) kun 'amlatu lik (.) kun 'amlatu nafs el waqt gha diri gha tghulik safi ['amaltu] (.) lahaqach had li bghat dakhlatu kant gha tamsah- ma'mlatuch hit 'ank des pertes ktira

and look that (.) if she had done that (.) it would have taken the same amount of time immediately she would have [told] you I’m done (.) because in the end she had already inserted- she didn’t do it because you have heavy discharges

Clarification, explanation, and direction-giving are activities that the interpreter is more or less explicitly delegated to carry out on behalf of the healthcare staff, which again is not an isolated phenomenon, as the tendency to delegation is confirmed by analysts working with other corpora (such as different subsets of the AIM corpus: see Baraldi 2009; Gavioli 2015) and other methods (such as participant observation and interviews: see Hsieh 2010).

Given the near absence of these activities (both as delegated by healthcare workers and self-initiated by interpreters) in our small TI corpus, we can make the hypothesis that telephone interpreters are not called to play a role that has been variably and arguably labelled as co-interviewer (Davidson 2000), co-diagnostician (Hsieh 2007), co-therapist (Bot and Verrept 2013). Again, this preliminary result should be verified in bigger corpora, where quantitative approaches cannot do without the qualitative explorations that enable one to go deep into the nature of interpreter-mediated interactions and of interpreters’ contributions to them. But as limited as it may be, our tentative comparison has the merit of exploring two possible research directions and of showing their implications for telephone interpreting users and providers.

5. Conclusions

This study set out to provide data-based reflections on telephone interpreting, in order to start filling the gap in empirical research about this particular interpreting type, which is increasingly common in some community settings. Starting from the widely-shared assumption that community interpreters both translate and coordinate the interaction, the results of our research suggest that TI is characterised by some linguistic and interactional specificities which distinguish it from on-site CI, and which are largely determined by interpreters’ physical and experiential remoteness as well as by the lack of visual information that the medium entails.

Corpus data indicates that in TI primary speakers do not try to communicate directly: this may suggest that the monitoring role found in on-site CI could be irrelevant in its remote forms, where interpreters are called for translating and expected to do primarily this. These preliminary findings thus have significant implications for interpreters’ training, as would-be-interpreters should be aware of the different roles they may be expected to play, and of how the actions of primary participants can affect their activity.

The study also highlights the need to raise healthcare providers’ awareness of the peculiarities of TI, where the lack of a shared frame of reference requires adaptation of habitual on-site CI practices. For instance, some delegations that healthcare providers often make during on-site encounters are problematic in TI, mainly because interpreters may not be familiar with the local reality, and cannot therefore fulfil the same facilitating function that they are usually charged with in on-site CI. Healthcare providers should also be alerted to the fact that the lack of visual information entails a greater negotiation effort, thus requiring more thoughtful communicative behaviour.

From the point of view of interpreting research, the study confirms the worthiness of transcribing, annotating and analysing even the smallest collections of authentic (telephone/remote) interpreting data, as these can provide invaluable exploratory insights, encouraging and justifying the creation of more full-fledged corpora. In particular, further research in the field of RI would evidently benefit from the availability of multimodal corpora where transcripts are linked to original audio or video recordings, as the joint analysis of the two types of data can provide better descriptions of complex speech patterns and phenomena than is possible on the basis of transcripts alone.

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Notes

Note: The authors have jointly discussed the contents of the paper, but primary responsibility for writing the different sections is as follows: Sara Castagnoli wrote sections 1, 3 and 5, while Natacha Niemants wrote sections 2 and 4.

[1] The SHIFT project (SHaping the Interpreters of the Future and of Today, http://www.shiftinorality.eu) is a 3-year Erasmus+ project funded by the European Commission in 2015 which aims to develop solutions for training in remote dialogue interpreting through the cooperation of a European network of universities offering interpreting programmes and interpreting service providers.

[2] AIM stands for Analysis of Interaction and Mediation and is the name of an Italian research network that has contributed to this collective project by sharing already transcribed data and/or by transcribing new subsets of audio-recorded interactions (http://www.aim.unimore.it/).

[3] Project title: Analysis of communication with migrant patients and suggestions for improvements in the healthcare system - P.I. Prof. Claudio Baraldi, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, financed under the FAR 2014 competitive programme and concluded with an international seminar which took place in Modena on December 13, 2016.

[5] Although these tag names are normally associated to written language corpora, they are temporarily used because of the specific requirements of the tools used to annotate and encode the corpus.

[6] Concordances in example (1) are taken from a version of the corpus that was encoded with the Corpus WorkBench (http://cwb.sourceforge.net/) and searched with the related Corpus Query Processor. Relevant annotations at the turn level are displayed in angle brackets before each actual concordance, where the search term is also enclosed in angle brackets and shown in boldface.

[7] Examples formatted as in (2) are taken directly from the xml version of the corpus.

About the author(s)

Sara Castagnoli is Assistant professor of English Language and Translation at the Department of Education, Cultural Heritage and Tourism, University of Macerata (Italy). She holds a degree in Specialized Translation from the University of Bologna (Forlì) and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Pisa. Her research interests focus on corpus- based translation studies, learner translation, and on the construction and use of corpora for professional, pedagogic and research purposes in the fields of translation, LSP, terminology, lexicography and applied linguistics.

Natacha Niemants is a free-lance conference interpreter and translator in Italian, French, English, and German, she carried out a PhD project on the Training of Dialogue Interpreters at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia and works there as a Postdoc. She previously taught French-Italian translation and interpreting at the University of Macerata and she currently provides French-Italian courses and tutoring services at the University of Bologna. Her research interests include the following: interpreting in healthcare, interpreters’ training, role-play and task-based language teaching, computer assisted language learning, transcription, conversation analysis, and TV interpreting.

Email: [please login or register to view author's email address]

©inTRAlinea & Sara Castagnoli & Natacha Niemants (2018).
"Corpora worth creating: A pilot study on telephone interpreting"
inTRAlinea Special Issue: New Findings in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies
Edited by: Claudio Bendazzoli, Mariachiara Russo & Bart Defrancq
This article can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
Stable URL: http://www.intralinea.org/specials/article/2315

The translation challenges of premodified noun phrases in simultaneous interpreting from English into Italian

A corpus-based study on EPIC

By Serena Ghiselli (University of Bologna, Italy)

Abstract & Keywords

This paper examines the handling of complex noun phrases in simultaneous interpretation into Italian of English speeches in the electronic corpus EPIC (European Parliament Interpreting Corpus). The complex noun phrases analysed in this study are noun phrases with two or more premodifying items included in the following categories: nouns, adjectives, adverbs, cardinal numbers and genitives. The aim is to extract complex noun phrases from a large sample of authentic English speeches and compare them with their corresponding translation into Italian in order to study the strategies used by interpreters. The initial hypothesis was that complex noun phrases pose a translation challenge in simultaneous interpreting from English into Italian because of structural and lexical diversities and memory overload. This hypothesis was partially confirmed in that strings where information was changed or deleted represent 45 per cent of the cases. In most cases, however, interpreters were able to adopt effective translation strategies.

Keywords: simultaneous interpreting, complex noun phrases, noun strings, corpus-based interpreting studies, strategies, premodifying items, european parliament

©inTRAlinea & Serena Ghiselli (2018).
"The translation challenges of premodified noun phrases in simultaneous interpreting from English into Italian"
inTRAlinea Special Issue: New Findings in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies
Edited by: Claudio Bendazzoli, Mariachiara Russo & Bart Defrancq
This article can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
Stable URL: http://www.intralinea.org/specials/article/2322

1. Introduction

The topic of this study is the translation of complex noun phrases in simultaneous interpreting from English into Italian. Complex noun phrases are common in English, a language in which attributive adjectives are placed before the noun they modify (Quirk et al. 1985: 402). In this study the term complex noun phrases indicates structures where the noun head is preceded by two or more modifiers placed next to one another or linked by the conjunctions and, or and but.

Handling complex noun phrases in simultaneous interpreting from English into Italian is a challenge as modifiers normally follow the noun head in Italian, thus taxing working memory. This issue has already been discussed in the graduation thesis of Barbafina (2003), who carried out an experiment with 10 interpreting students: they undertook a simultaneous interpreting exercise from English into Italian of a text to which long sequences of adjectives were added. Students tended to omit these sequences, especially when these did not change the overall meaning of the source text. Moreover, the high information density of the strings of modifiers brings about specific processing constraints due to memory overload. As Gile pointed out in his Effort Models’ tightrope hypothesis (1997), interpreters have to coordinate various efforts and if one effort requires too many attentional resources interpreting performance may suffer from it.

Two studies tackled the same issue for two different language pairs: English into Hebrew and Polish into Italian. Shlesinger (2003) dealt with the memory overload in the translation of noun strings in simultaneous interpreting into Hebrew of English texts delivered at different speeds. Her hypothesis was that a slower presentation rate overloaded the interpreters’ working memory more than a faster one. To test it, she carried out an experiment with 16 professional interpreters who interpreted six texts where strings of adjectives were added. Every text was interpreted twice (three weeks apart), once at 120 and the other at 140 wpm. The effect of presentation rate was in the predicted direction: a consistently better performance at a higher presentation rate, when there is less time for unrehearsed items to decay. Nevertheless, observed differences in performance were statistically non-significant. The other study is the doctoral dissertation of Cappelli (2014). Aiming to find out the strategies adopted by interpreters at the European Parliament to translate long strings of nouns from Polish into Italian, she observed that interpreters tend to omit some parts that can be inferred from the context.

The present paper is based on the author’s graduation thesis (Ghiselli 2015), which was inspired by the widespread perception among interpreting students that the translation of complex noun strings from English into Italian requires increased cognitive effort. This study is corpus-based and includes the analysis of complex noun phrases extracted from original English speeches contained in an electronic corpus and their simultaneous interpretations into Italian. The corpus is the European Parliament Interpreting Corpus (EPIC) (Sandrelli et al. 2010; Russo et al. 2012). The available metadata are specified in the transcript header of every text in the corpus. These are a sequence of fields providing information about the speaker (gender, country, mother tongue, political function and group) and about the speech (date, id number, language, type, duration, timing, text length, number of words, speed, words per minute, source text delivery, topic, specific topic).

The aims of the research were, firstly, to identify the strategies used by EU interpreters to translate complex noun strings and, secondly, to characterise the extent to which these strategies were influenced by speed and mode of delivery. In the EPIC corpus the speed of delivery can be low (< 130 w/m), medium (130–160 w/m) and high (> 160 wpm). The mode of delivery of the text is labelled impromptu, read or mixed (Monti et al. 2005). The hypothesis is that the translation of complex noun phrases from English into Italian in simultaneous interpreting is difficult to handle in texts delivered quickly and texts read from written notes. Texts delivered quickly present greater difficulties because of higher cognitive load for interpreters due to time constraints, whilst texts read from written notes have a higher number of noun phrases. Some characteristics of the source text, such as redundancy, familiarity or explicitness, have an impact on the level of difficulty in interpreting it simultaneously (Hönig 2002; Alexieva 1994, 1999). Alexieva (1999) demonstrated that texts with more than one (two, three or even more) implicit predications are difficult to comprehend. She collected data from different sources such as four interpreting classes (50 students), summary writing exercises (60 students), multiple choice listening comprehension tests (65 trainees) and answers elicited from interpreters used as informants. Moreover, almost all the mistakes in interpreting were found in the highly condensed portions of the text, or the parts after them. As far as the mode of delivery is concerned, Hönig (2002) points out that a speech delivered using a prepared manuscript is more difficult than an impromptu speech because the speaker might read it at a very high speed, giving the wrong emphasis and occasionally leaving out words.

The paper will start by describing the materials of the study; then the way in which noun phrases were extracted from the corpus and divided into different categories will be outlined; finally, there will be the discussion of results and some conclusive remarks.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1 Materials

2.1.1 The corpus

The source of the speeches used for this study is the European Parliament Interpreting Corpus (EPIC) (Monti et al. 2005; Sandrelli, Bendazzoli and Russo 2010; Russo et al. 2012). In corpus linguistics a corpus is a large collection of authentic texts in electronic format created according to a set of criteria and is characterised by representativeness, dimension and format (Bowker and Pearson 2002: 9). A very interesting aspect of electronic corpora is the opportunity to perform semi-automatic searches thanks to markup. Markup is related to the description and explicitation of the structure of a certain text. Tagging is related to a more specific level in the texts, that is linguistic and pragmatic aspects (Bendazzoli 2010: 76). POS-tagging in particular is a considerable added value for a corpus because it makes it possible to do an automatic search of words in specific linguistic structures (Monti et al. 2005).

EPIC contains transcripts of speeches delivered at the European Parliament in February 2004 in English, Italian and Spanish and the interpretation of each speech into the two other languages involved. It was created by the research group of corpus-based interpreting studies of the then Department of Interdisciplinary Studies in Translation, Languages and Cultures (SITLeC) of the University of Bologna (now Department of Interpreting and Translation) with the aim of studying interpreting strategies and problems related to language pairs. EPIC is structured into nine sub-corpora. The comparable analysis carried out for this study is based on two sub-corpora: the sub-corpus of English source speeches (SS) and the corresponding sub-corpus of Italian target speeches (TS). The SS analysed are 81, for a total of 42,705 words.

Part of the EPIC archive was transcribed and is accessible online through the SSLMITDev website. The corpus is tagged, so texts can be automatically retrieved. The taggers used are Tree Tagger for Italian and English and Freeling for Spanish. They were created for written texts and, therefore, some tags were wrongly assigned in the oral speeches of EPIC. However, generally speaking, tagging was satisfactory, with more than 90% of correct tags in all subcorpora (Bendazzoli 2010: 131). EPIC can be queried with simple or advanced queries. Simple queries can be used to find words or strings of words in context, whereas advanced queries have to be written in the Corpus Query Processor (CQP) language and aim at finding occurrences of complex strings of elements (Bendazzoli 2010: 134–35).

2.1.2 Noun phrase modifiers

In English noun phrases consist of a head, normally a noun, and of elements that determine and optionally modify the head or complement another element in the phrase, for example all those fine warm days in the country last year (Quirk et al. 1985: 62). The complex noun phrases analysed here are noun phrases with two or more premodifying items from the following categories: adjectives, cardinal numbers, adverbs, nouns and genitives.

All the adjectives included in this study have an attributive function, meaning that they occur between the noun they modify and the determiner, as in an ugly painting (Quirk et al. 1985: 402–3). The intensifier very and the premodifiers more and most can have both the function of determiners and of adjectives (Collins English Dictionary, http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/more?showCookiePolicy=true and http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/most?showCookiePolicy=true, 21 April 2016) and have been counted as part of noun strings. Many adjectives in English have the same suffixes as participles in –ing or –ed and are called participial adjectives, for example: his surprising views; the offended man (Quirk et al. 1985: 413). Gerunds and present participles have been included in the study because, in the attributive function, they qualify the head of the noun phrase. In the noun strings of this study, adverbs having the function of adjective modifiers are included, as in very vibrant poultry industry (org-en text 4). Normally adverbs that premodify an adjective have the function of intensifiers and are used with an adjective having comparative and superlative forms (Quirk et al. 1985: 445). Genitives are most often used for possessions, relationships and physical characteristics, especially when the first noun refers to a person or animal, or to a country, organisation or other group of living creatures (Swan 2005: 440). Descriptive genitive (for example: a women’s college= a college for women) acts as modifier and has a classifying role similar to that of noun modifiers and some adjective modifiers (Quirk et al. 1985: 327).

In Italian, the adjectival phrase can have different functions. It has an attributive function when it is in a noun phrase before or after the name that defines the phrase. Adjectives can be in a prenominal or in a postnominal position: in the noun phrase the adjective follows the name in the unmarked case and it precedes it in the marked one (Renzi et al. 2001: 439–40). An adverb can modify an adjective and it normally precedes it. In Italian the noun has inflection for gender (masculine/feminine) and number (singular/plural). Nouns are the grammatical heads of the noun phrase that influence the gender and number agreement of the other elements and of the predicate.

If the position of adjectives in respect of the noun is taken into account, they behave similarly in English and in Italian (Rosato 2013: 31). Compared to English, Italian has a “mirror image” post-nominal ordering: in English the noun head is at the end, whereas in Italian it is at the beginning of the noun phrase. For example, dry red wine becomes vino rosso secco. If we consider the distance of adjectives from the noun, we can notice that the noun head has a different position but the adjective order is the same.

2.2 Methods

2.2.1 Extraction of noun phrases from EPIC

The first phase of this corpus study consisted of elaborating search queries from the Advanced query interface in EPIC in order to find complex noun phrases. As already stated, EPIC is POS-tagged, so it was possible to perform not only searches by single words but also searches by parts of speech, it was therefore possible to perform an automatic search and then manually select results following inclusion and exclusion criteria. The text numbers mentioned in this article are the Text ID numbers that appear on top of the page when opening a search result in SSLMITDev. Every original speech shares the same Text ID number with its corresponding interpretation into Italian.

The subcorpus of original English speeches (org-en) was queried by means of three different advanced query expressions. The search parameters were: find at maximum 10,000 results (the highest possible option). The Results set was Random set, that is the visualisation of all the possible results and the Results per page option was no limit. The aim of the three expressions was to cover all possible kinds of premodified noun phrases.

The first expression, which will be called expression A, recalled a noun preceded by at least two modifiers, for example larger commercial units (org-en text 1). The tags of all possible modifiers were included in the first two parts of the expression, that is the tags for adjectives, cardinal numbers, nouns, past participle, -ing forms, possessive pronouns and adverbs. For the head of the noun phrase all the tags for nouns were used. Two modifiers + noun was set as the minimum required length for the strings to be included in the study, but there are also longer strings, which could be identified through the key word in context (KWIC) consultation of the corpus. The context was of 25 characters before and after the result.

The second expression, which will be called expression B, looked for a noun preceded by two modifiers linked by a coordinative conjunction such as and, or, but, for example Food and Veterinary Office (org-en text 7). Premodifiers were searched using the same tags as in expression A, the coordinative conjunctions were retrieved through the tag of coordinating conjunctions and, for the noun head, all the tags for nouns were included.

The third expression, which will be called expression C, consisted of tags for possessive endings. When this search was performed, it only provided 146 occurrences. Nonetheless, it was decided not to change it by adding further search parameters and results were manually selected. Genitives were taken into consideration only when they were premodifiers of a noun phrase with at least another premodifier, for example last year's second preparatory committee (org-en text 27).

An automatic system of data collection was chosen because it was quicker and reliable in terms of including all the potentially relevant results. However, it was just a first phase of the research because while reading the results it was clear that the Advanced query function was not able to assess whether noun sequences made sense or not. For this reason, the automatic data extraction from EPIC was followed by a manual selection of results.

To ensure that the manual phase was as objective as possible, a set of inclusion and exclusion criteria for modifiers was drawn up. Adjectives, numbers, nouns, possessives and adverbs were looked up. Determiners (except for possessives) and predeterminers were excluded, as well as results which were considered irrelevant for different reasons, detailed in paragraph 2.2.3.

2.2.2 Inclusion criteria

The modifiers included in the search were all adjectives, cardinal numbers, nouns, past participles and gerunds, possessives and adverbs. For the noun head, all nouns were looked up.

Tags were normally correct, but there were some exceptions: -ing and -ed forms are always tagged as VVG (verb gerund/participle) and VVN (verb past participle) respectively. However, these forms are not always verbs, they can also be adjectives, as for instance in: mounting circumstantial evidence (org-en text 7) and internal organised crime (org-en text 18). In both cases the -ing and -ed forms are used as adjectives, but they would not have been retrieved from the corpus without the inclusion of the tags VVG and VVN in the search string.

Compound nouns of countries such as United States, or of organisations like European Union, were included in search results and treated as two-element items.

There are three kinds of peculiar noun phrases that have been included in the study. The first type includes eight strings retrieved with expression A that are more complex versions of expression B. An example is the following string from org-en text 7: its sanitary and its economical dimension. In this string there is a first modifier (its sanitary) + a conjunction (and) + a second modifier (its economical) + a noun head (dimension).

The second type is the case of three complex strings having multiple heads with the same modifiers. Multiple heads with the same modifiers are noun phrases where the same modifier applies to two nouns (Quirk et al. 1985: 1345–46). If there is just one modifier, the structure is not complex and is not in the remit of this study. Using the KWIC visualisation, two results of expression A and one result of expression B were identified as multiple heads with multiple shared modifiers, to be included in the study. These three strings are: global and regional peace and security (org-en text 27), largest drug dealers and drug producers (org-en text 37), clear agreed objectives and positions (org-en text 75).

The third and last special type of strings is the case of constructions with the preposition of used as premodifiers. There are two strings in org-en text 18 and one string in org-en text 28 where a prepositional phrase with of is one of the noun modifiers. These two complex constructions were retrieved with expression A and included in the results. These three strings are: nineteen ninety six Hague Protection ehm of Children Convention, Chief of Police Task Force, Cold War weapons of mass destruction programmes.

2.2.3 Exclusion criteria

Some exclusion criteria were applied before the string analysis was undertaken, whereas other criteria were developed during data collection. Determiners and predeterminers were excluded from the relevant modifiers because including them would have resulted in a much higher number of hits, the majority of which would not have been relevant. Determiners are elements at the beginning of noun phrases different from adjectives, for example a, this, some, either, every, enough, several (Swan 2005: 154). The only determiners that were included in the study are possessives. Prepositional structures with of were excluded, except for those mentioned before (see 2.2.2).

During data collection 14 exclusion criteria were developed:

  1. Strings including -ed forms having a verbal function: the -ed forms that were excluded from the results were past participles preceded by the auxiliary verb be to form either the present perfect or the passive or implicit sentences including past participle.
  2. Strings including -ing forms having a verbal function: -ing forms were excluded when they were present participles, gerunds or when they were used after prepositions.
  3. Strings including one’s own + noun: even if own is tagged as an adjective, it is solely an intensifier and adds no new information. Strings with one’s own were included only if, apart from one’s own, they included also other modifiers, for example: my own little hairdresser (org-en text 22).
  4. Strings with numbers: in EPIC all the numbers are expressed in words, so they appeared in the results as word strings but were excluded (with the exception of numbers modifying a noun together with other modifiers) because they were not relevant for the study purpose.
  5. Strings including time: for example twelve o’clock (org-en text 7).
  6. Strings with lists: lists are formed by independent words and can be repeated in the same order, so they are not relevant for the present study.
  7. Strings with vocatives: vocatives are expressions that speakers use to mention somebody among the public. They are very common at the beginning of EPIC speeches, when the speaker thanks the President of the Parliament or other subjects.
  8. Strings including filled pauses: Tree Tagger often tags filled pauses as nouns. For this reason, the automatic search extracted a number of irrelevant results, which were excluded manually.
  9. Long strings that appear in more than one result: phrases longer than the three-element first search string were retrieved more than once in groups of three elements. For these cases, the first occurrence was counted and the following excluded.
  10. Strings containing wrong tags: in some cases results were not relevant because tags were wrong. The corpus tagger often made mistakes when there were truncated words, for example: parliamentary secretariats a- (and) (org-en text 12).
  11. Strings with untranslatable proper names: these names had just to be repeated by the interpreters and were not relevant for the present study.
  12. Strings with hesitations: strings containing repetitions, truncated words and filled pauses were excluded because they were not complex noun phrases. For example: Lisbon pro- pro- process (org-en text 71).
  13. Strings with rephrasing: cases when the speaker rephrases the sentence, often with the aim of giving a more precise information. For example: humans nineteen humans (org-en text 12).
  14. Special cases: strings that were excluded but which do not fit into any of the previous criteria. Many of these excluded results include genitives that are not part of a complex noun phrase, such as girls’ schools (org-en text 33). There are also occurrences of adjacent nouns belonging to different phrases or without mutual relationship. In the KWIC visualisation they appear as in the following example: situation of the European economy and major guidelines for economic policy and (org-en text 51).

2.2.4 Noun phrases in relation to speed and mode of delivery

In the EPIC corpus transcript headers contain some information about the speaker and the text, among which two variables were considered interesting for data analysis: speed of delivery and mode of delivery. Text speed was calculated in words per minute and the texts of the corpus are divided into three types according to their speed: low speed (< 130 w/m), medium speed (130–160 w/m) and high speed (> 160 wpm). The mode of delivery of the text was classified as either impromptu, read or mixed (Monti et al. 2005).

Data about noun phrases were matched with speed and mode of delivery. The relation between speed and mode of delivery and the percentage of string words as a share of the overall number of words in every original English text was calculated.

The differential use of translation strategies found in target texts was analysed according to speed and mode of delivery. This analysis was based on two data sets created on the basis of Schjoldager’s theoretical model of translation relationships (Schjoldager 1995, see section 2.2.5 below). The first data set cross-classifies Schjoldager’s categories with delivery mode and delivery rate. The second data set includes the percentages of strings of every Schjoldager’s category compared to the overall number of strings only in the texts having the same speed or the same mode of delivery.

2.2.5 Translational norms in simultaneous interpreting: Schjoldager’s categorisation

In order to assess the translation strategies used by interpreters, it was necessary to divide them into categories and the categorisation used was Schjoldager’s theoretical model of translation relationships (1995).

Schjoldager explores the potential of Toury’s (1980) translational norms in the field of simultaneous interpreting studies. Schjoldager speculates whether Toury’s norms can be applied to simultaneous interpreting and to what extent the cognitive complexity of this activity influences the use of translation strategies by interpreters.

Schjoldager identified five main categories, one of which is divided into six subgroups.

A/ Repetition: target-text item bears formal relation with relevant source-text item. Examples:

Eighteen human lives – diciotto vite umane [eighteen human lives] (text 1)

Public health issues – temi di salute pubblica [issues of public health] (text 7)

World Health Organisation – Organizzazione Mondiale per la Salute [World organization for health] (text 11)

Regulatory and supervisory regime – regime normativo e di sorveglianza [regulatory regime and of supervision] (text 43)

Increasingly intensive cooperation – cooperazione sempre più intensa [more and more intense cooperation] (text 76)

B/ Permutation: target-text item(s) is(are) placed in a different textual position from relevant source-text item(s). Examples:

Pandemic influenza preparedness – preparazione alla pandemia e all’influenza [preparation to pandemic and to influenza] (text 1)

Member State responsibility – lo Stato membro responsabile [the accountable Member State] (text 18)

Its fundamentalist Islamic revolution - integralismo e la rivoluzione isl- islamica [extremism and the islamic revolution] (text 46)

European Union economy – Unione europea e la sua economia [European Union and its economy] (text 65)

Full and unconditional cooperation – piena ehm co- collaborazione senza condizioni [full ehm co- cooperation without conditions] (text 81)

C/ Addition: target-text item constitutes an addition to information given in relevant source-text item. Examples:

Animal health pro- issue – questione anche anche di salute animale [issue also also of animal health] (text 2)

Member States' responsibilities – responsabilità dei vari Stati membri [responsibility of the various Member States] (text 11)

Their long-term economic development - loro sviluppo economico a più lungo termine [their economic development at a longer term] (text 40)

Most competitive economy – principale economia e più competitiva [main and more competitive economy] (text 68)

Considerable simbolic importance - significato simbolico importante notevole [important considerable simbolic significance] (text 74)

D/ Deletion: no target-text item bears direct relation with relevant source-text item.

E/ Substitution: target-text item bears no formal relation with relevant source-text item.

E1/ Equivalent Substitution: source-text item is translated functionally. Example: Larger commercial units – grandi aziende [large businesses] (text 1); Rome two regulations – regolamento Roma due [Rome two regulation] (text 18); my last remark – quest’ultima osservazione [this last remark] (text 25).

E2/ Paraphrastic Substitution: source-text item is translated functionally, but in an expanded and/or segmental way. Example: negative ehm criminal issue - non è tutto negativo non si parla solo di crimini [not everything is negative, you do not only talk about crime] (text 22); new and challenging agenda - ordine del giorno che sia una vera ehm sfida [agenda that would be a real ehm challenge] (text 24); newly independent states – nuovi paesi indipendenti nuovi stati indipendenti [new independent countries new independent states] (text 75).

E3/ Specifying Substitution: source-text item is translated functionally and implicit information is made explicit. Example: military and security dimensions – dimensione della sicurezza e la soluzione del conflitto [security dimension and conflict resolution] (text 16); last few years – ultimo due anni [last two years] (text 21); our neighbourhood policy – nostra politica di buon vicinato [our policy of good neighbourhood] (text 75).

E4/Generalizing Substitution: source-text item is translated functionally, but conveys less information than relevant source-text item. Example: very worrying aspect – aspetto preoccupante [worrying aspect] (text 4); their hard work – lavoro [work] (text 11); important Additional Protocol – protocollo aggiuntivo [additional protocol] (text 28).

E5/ Overlapping Substitution: source-text item is translated functionally, but with a different viewpoint, so that target-text item conveys different information. Example: FAO-WHO-OIE expert panel – gruppo di esperti di alto livello (text 1); two further amendments – due blocchi di emendamenti [two blocks of amendments] (text 12); very little progress – qualche progresso [some progress] (text 30).

E6/ Substitution Proper: target-text item bears little or no resemblance to relevant source-text item. Example: only ninety inspectors – sforzi enormi da questi ispettori [enormous efforts from those inspectors] (text 2); clear scientific leadership – dati scientifici [scientific data] (text 11); richest and most prosperous parts – guardate quello che è successo [look at what happened] (text 62).

The translations of the selected strings were found by comparing the original English text with the corresponding interpretation into Italian using the author’s knowledge of both languages. The noun strings were matched this way with their translations and then classified according to Schjoldager’s categories.

An effort was made to keep the division of the strings’ translations into the different categories as objective as possible. However, some categories cannot always be clearly distinguished and differences of interpretation may occur. Thus, the categories E1/ Equivalent Substitution, E4/ Generalizing Substitution and E5/ Overlapping Substitution contained some items which could, with justification, have been reassigned. A consistent approach was adopted throughout the whole corpus. For example, all the strings where every word of the translation corresponded to the original text with a minor change concerning a singular turned into a plural or vice versa were put into E1/ Equivalent Substitution.

3. Results and discussion

3.1 Results

The subcorpus org-en has 42,705 words and 970 strings were retrieved in the study. This corresponds to 3482 words (7.9 % of the words in the subcorpus). The average string length was 3.59 words. The classification of the strings’ translations according to Schjoldager’s categories is shown in Table 1 and Figure 1.

Strings divided by translation category

Translation categories

Number of strings

% of total number of strings

A/ Repetition

343

35.36

B/ Permutation

27

2.78

C/ Addition

16

1.65

D/ Deletion

98

10.10

E1/ Equivalent Substitution

93

9.59

E2/ Paraphrastic Substitution

40

4.12

E3/ Specifying Substitution

12

1.24

E4/ Generalizing Substitution

265

27.32

E5/ Overlapping Substitution

40

4.12

E6/ Substitution Proper

36

3.71

Overall number of strings

970

100.00

Table 1: Strings by translation category

img1

Figure 1: Strings per translation strategy

Schjoldager’s categories were divided into two groups. The first group consists of strategies that give evidence of interpreters’ control: A/Repetition, B/Permutation, C/Addition, E1/Equivalent Substitution, E2/Paraphrastic Substitution and E3/Specifying Substitution. In the strings belonging to these categories no elements were lost, the elements of the noun phrase appeared in the same order or in a different order as the original text (A and B), they were reformulated (E1 and E2) or even completed and expanded (C and E3). The second group of categories includes problematic strategies, including D/Deletion, E4/Generalizing Substitution, E5/Overlapping Substitution and E6/Substitution Proper. In these categories, strings are modified: the original message was completely or partially lost (D and E4) or partially modified or replaced with different elements (E5 and E6).

Category E4 was then analysed more in detail, leading to the identification of two further subcategories: subcategory one (strings with modifiers omitted) and subcategory two (strings with noun heads omitted). Strings of subcategory one were then divided into four groups: strings with two, three, four or five premodifiers. It appeared that 90 per cent of cases belong to subcategory one and only 10 per cent to subcategory two. The percentage of omissions of modifiers is similar in the four groups and equal to 57 per cent.

3.2 Discussion

The hypothesis was that read texts were denser and therefore had more complex noun phrases, an issue that had already been considered by Hönig (2002) and Alexieva (1994, 1999). In this study, complex noun phrases are strings where the noun head is preceded by two or more modifiers placed next to one another or linked by the conjunctions and, or and but.

The most used translation strategy was A/Repetition (see Chart 1), which is noteworthy, as it is a successful outcome, because it shows that the interpreter has fully understood the message in the source language and then correctly and exhaustively reproduced it in the target language. In general, 55 per cent of the results belong to one of the successful strategies (categories A, B, C, E1, E2 and E3); the remaining 45 per cent displayed a more problematic strategy (categories D, E4, E5 and E6). It can thus be concluded that interpreters at the European Parliament handle complex noun phrases rather well.

Some omissions in category E4/ Generalizing Substitution were associated with a substantial loss of information. A recurrent strategy to compensate for this loss is replacement of premodifiers with more general expressions such as indefinite or demonstrative adjectives, for example: two ongoing EC assistance programmes – altri programmi [other programs] (text 1) and its traditionally long historic record – questo questa lunga storia di progresso [this this long record of progress] (text 46). Other omissions do not imply a substantial loss of information instead: 36 premodifiers omitted in strings belonging to category E/4 are possessives and, among them, in 30 cases the possessive is the only premodifier omitted. In some cases possessives in Italian would have been redundant, as in the following example from text 66: our common prosperity – prosperità comune [common prosperity]. Another trend is the omission of references to Europe, like the acronym EU, the nouns Europe and European Union and the adjective European. Taking the context into account, the plenary sitting of the European Parliament, those references are often already clear to the listener. The strategy of omitting context-deducible elements confirms the results both of Cappelli’s PhD thesis (Cappelli 2014) and of Barbafina’s graduation thesis (Barbafina 2003). As mentioned in the introduction, Cappelli’s study dealt with the interpretation of complex noun strings in a different language pair, namely Polish into Italian. She analysed interpreted speeches at the European Parliament and found that in 41 per cent of cases some elements of the noun phrases were missing, but these omissions could be inferred by the context. Barbafina carried out a study about the simultaneous interpreting of long sequences of adjectives in the same language pair considered in the present study, that is English into Italian, with advanced students of interpreting at the University of Bologna. Students tended to omit problematic items, especially when they did not change the overall meaning of the source text, and few sequences were translated completely and correctly. Thus, Barbafina’s results support the assumption upon which her study and the study described in this paper are based: long sequences of elements indeed represent a potential problem for interpreters in simultaneous interpreting. In EPIC, in contrast to Barbafina’s study, there are some omissions but the majority of strings are translated completely and correctly.

It may be hypothesised that interpretation of complex noun phrases improves with the acquisition of strategies via experience. This might be an interesting research question for a comparable study adopting the novice versus expert paradigm. Applying strategies is in fact crucial in simultaneous interpreting and there are several studies on this topic. Sunnari (1995), for instance, argues that interpreting exhaustively may not always be the best choice. Expertise means knowing what can be left out without losing key ideas of the text. Eliminating redundancy, for example, is a strategic choice showing expertise. By applying certain mental operations (macrorules) to the source language message (microstructure) during comprehension, interpreters should be constructing the macrostructure of what they hear. Riccardi (2005) distinguishes between skill-based and knowledge-based strategies in simultaneous interpreting. Skill-based strategies are governed by stored patterns of automatic responses whose application is triggered by the recognition of a well-known stimulus within the communicative event. Knowledge-based strategies are conscious and come into play when actions must be planned on-line because no automatic response is found or because something has caused a momentary memory overload. Bartlomiejczyk (2006) carried out an experiment about interpreting strategies and directionality with English and Polish, including retrospective remarks of the interpreters, and she identified 21 interpreting strategies. Liu (2008) describes expertise in simultaneous interpreting as the result of well-practised strategies in each of the comprehension, translation and production processes and the interaction among these processes, which are specific to the needs of the task of simultaneous interpreting. Kader and Seubert (2015) distinguish between macro-strategies, that include planning and expectations before the assignment, and micro-strategies, which are related to speech-inherent issues.

3.2.1 Strings in relation to speed and mode of delivery

The data presented in this study confirm the hypothesis that read texts have more complex noun phrases. A further important observation is that impromptu speeches have a much lower percentage of strings found in speeches delivered in both read and mixed modes. On average, complex noun phrases in terms of word count represent 7.9 per cent of the text in the subcorpus org-en. The percentages for each subgroup of mode of delivery, by contrast, were 4.18 per cent (impromptu), 9.52 per cent (read) and 8.23 per cent (mixed).

Speeches delivered at low speed are handled well by interpreters: 60.87 per cent of performances belong to categories of successful interpretation. Complete omissions accounted for 2.48 per cent of all source strings and the most used strategy was A/Repetition (42.86 per cent). Moreover, B/Permutation was observed in 29.63 per cent of the cases in these texts. Interpreters thus seemed to have enough time both to translate and to reorganise the phrase elements in a different order. In speeches delivered at medium speed, 58.89 per cent of the occurrences belonged to the categories of successful interpretation. A/Repetition (35.45 per cent) is the most frequently used strategy, but the percentage of D/Deletion was three times the rate found in texts delivered at a low speed (8.97 per cent). A/Repetition was also the most used strategy in texts delivered at high speed (31.53 per cent). Source texts with high delivery rates are the only group for which the percentage of problematic strategies (51.43 per cent) is higher than that of successful strategies (48.57 per cent). Moreover, this group had the highest percentage of D/Deletion (15.06 per cent). It is noteworthy that more than half of the occurrences of D/Deletion (54.08 per cent) and of E6/ Substitution Proper (55.56 per cent) were found in texts delivered at high speed.

In summary, the percentage of A/Repetition decreases as delivery speed increases, whereas the percentage of D/Deletion of strings increases as delivery speed increases. The initial hypothesis that complex noun phrases are more difficult to handle in fast speeches was confirmed by the study data. This finding contrasts with the findings of Shlesinger (2003) in her study of memory overload in the translation of noun strings in simultaneous interpreting from English into Hebrew. Shlesinger observed important, even if statistically non-significant, differences in performance, with more modifiers retained in texts presented at a higher speed. Possible explanations of the discrepancy may be that Shlesinger’s analysis is based on experimental data and that it focuses on adjectival modifiers, reporting on retention of those modifiers only, without considering the omissions of the noun head. When Shlesinger talks about the materials she used, she points out that, in terms of ecological validity, the materials for such a study should ideally be taken from an existing corpus of actual conference presentations. This was not possible in her case, because her study required clearly delineated, accurately constructed strings, unlikely to occur in naturalistic speech. For the present study, it was possible not only to consider adjectival modifiers but also to access EPIC, a validated corpus-based resource of real speeches. Moreover, different parameters for speed were used in the two studies. Speed of delivery at the European Parliament is on average higher than what is found at a conference because speakers are allotted very short time slots to deliver their speeches. In Shlesinger’s experiment, the high delivery rate was set at 140 wpm, whereas in EPIC original English speeches the average delivery rate of high speed texts is 180 wpm. It can be argued that, if the delivery rate is so high, other difficulties add to memory overload, for example a greater effort to coordinate listening and speaking, leading to a very challenging translation of complex noun phrases.

4. Conclusions

The initial hypothesis that complex noun phrases in English are a challenge for interpreters translating into Italian was only partially confirmed in the data analysis from EPIC. If we consider the whole subcorpus of original English speeches, the percentage of strings belonging to Schjoldager’s problematic categories is 45, less than half of the occurrences. On the other hand, 45 per cent is quite high, so it can be said that, even if interpreters at the European Parliament handle complex noun phrases well in the majority of cases, occurrences of incomplete or wrong translations are also rather common. The most common translation strategies are complete and correct translations and generalisations, with 35 per cent and 27 per cent of the occurrences respectively. Less frequent strategies are additions (1.6 per cent) and specifications (1.2 per cent): this is unsurprising as complex noun phrases are already dense and adding more information is often not feasible.

Therefore, the translation of complex noun phrases is challenging and special attention in training and practice of simultaneous interpreting is recommended. For example, the control of Ear-Voice-Span (EVS) is a crucial issue. Van Dam (1989) describes a set of beginner exercises which include distance exercises to avoid tailgating the speaker and keeping the optimum start-up distance, which corresponds to approximately one meaning unit behind the speaker at the beginning of each new sentence. EVS has to vary during the task and a balance should be struck between understanding the message before speaking and not overloading working memory.

Kader and Seubert (2015) include flexible EVS in micro-strategies and write that complex passages, such as lists, demand a short EVS, whereas more abstract ideas require a longer one. According to Liu (2008), experts use semantic-based processing strategies to free up mental resources. In this way the interpreter is able to anticipate the upcoming information based on the context that is provided. One semantic processing strategy is expert interpreters’ ability to perceive and distinguish the importance of the input material and to pay more attention to the overall conceptual framework of the source speech, which may also contribute to their ability to segment the input material into bigger chunks during the process of translation.

Among Bartlomiejczyk’s (2006) strategies, compression might be useful in the case of complex noun phrases. Compression means summarising a longer fragment with a shorter phrase, which is supposed to convey the same meaning, but expressed in a more concise and general way. This strategy is similar to Kader and Seubert’ condensing strategy (2015). According to Riccardi (2005), with increasing expertise the primary focus of control moves from the knowledge-based (conscious) to the skill-based (automatic) level, providing for a well-balanced allocation of cognitive resources.

Translating complex noun phrases in simultaneous interpreting from English into Italian is a challenge for many interpreters, but only limited research has been previously undertaken on this topic. This study is offered as a contribution based on real data coming from a specific setting, the European Parliament. The study includes various types of modifiers and focuses on the number of omissions and on retentions and their translation. Another aspect that has not been investigated and that could be interesting for a more fine-grained approach is whether there are differences between the different types of modifiers, for instance whether the adjectival modifiers are more vulnerable to deletion than the nominal ones. Another further development is analysing what exactly is omitted and to what extent. It stands to reason, for instance, that the omission of the head noun is much more harming to the general understanding than the omission of a modifier. Research with more data and in other domains is needed to develop a better understanding of the difficulties posed by noun strings. Further research questions may also include the difference between the novice and the expert interpreters’ approach and whether a high-level of expertise in a specific field, acquired thanks to specialised studies and experience in that sector, has a positive impact on the handling by interpreters of the complex noun phrase terms belonging to that field. Skill-based strategies seem to be the hallmarks of expertise and flexible EVS makes it possible to keep the optimum start-up distance and adopt more semantic-based processing strategies. Starting from this consideration, a hypothesis for further research may be that students benefit from automatising as many linguistic expressions as they can and should focus on improving working memory, so that they will have more cognitive resources to keep an EVS that allows them to make the more appropriate strategic choice when translating complex noun phrases.

References

Alexieva, Bistra (1994) “Types of Texts and Intertextuality in Simultaneous Interpreting” in Translation Studies: An Interdiscipline, Mary Snell Hornby, Franz Pöchhacker, Klaus Kaindl (eds), Amsterdam, John Benjamins: 179–88.

Alexieva, Bistra (1999) “Understanding the Source Language Text in Simultaneous Interpreting”, The Interpreters’ Newsletter 9: 45–59.

Bartlomiejczyk, Magdalena (2006) “Strategies of Simultaneous Interpreting and Directionality”, Interpreting 8, no. 2: 149–74.

Bendazzoli, Claudio (2010) Corpora e interpretazione simultanea, Bologna, Asterisco.

Bowker, Lynne and Jennifer Pearson (2002) Working with Specialised Language – A Practical Guide to Using Corpora, London, Routledge.

Gile, Daniel (1997) “Conference Interpreting as a Cognitive Management Problem” in Cognitive Processes in Translation and Interpreting, Joseph H. Danks, Gregory M. Shreve, Stephen B. Fountain, and Michael McBeath (eds), Thousand Oaks, London, Sage Publications: 196–214.

Hönig, Hans G. (2002) “Piece of Cake - or Hard to Take? Objective Grades of Difficulty of Speeches Used in Interpreting Training” in Teaching Simultaneous Interpretation into a “B” Language, EMCI Workshop, 20–21 September 2002.

Kader, Stephanie, and Sabine Seubert (2015) “Anticipation, Segmentation…Stalling? How to Teach Interpreting Strategies” in To Know How To Suggest… Approaches to Teaching Conference Interpreting, Dörte Andres, Martina Behr (eds), Berlin, Frank and Timme: 125–44.

Liu, Minhua (2009) “How do Experts Interpret? Implications from Research in Interpreting Studies and Cognitive Science” in Efforts and Models in Interpreting and Translation Research. A Tribute to Daniel Gile, Gyde Hansen, Andrew Chesterman, and Heidrun Gerzymisch-Arbogast (eds), Amsterdam, John Benjamins: 159–77.

Monti, Cristina, Claudio Bendazzoli, Annalisa Sandrelli and Mariachiara Russo (2005) “Studying Directionality in Simultaneous Interpreting through an Electronic Corpus: EPIC (European Parliament Interpreting Corpus)”, Meta 50, no. 4. http://id.erudit.org/iderudit/019850ar

Riccardi, Alessandra (2005) “On the Evolution of Interpreting Strategies in Simultaneous Interpreting”, Meta 50, no. 2: 753–67.

Rosato, Enrica (2013) Adjective Order in English: A Semantic Account with Cross-linguistic Applications, Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University.

Russo, Mariachiara, Claudio Bendazzoli, Annalisa Sandrelli, and Nicoletta Spinolo (2012) “The European Parliament Interpreting Corpus (EPIC): Implementation and Developments” in Breaking Ground in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies, Francesco Straniero Sergio and Caterina Falbo (eds) Bern, Peter Lang: 53–90.

Sandrelli Annalisa, Claudio Bendazzoli and Mariachiara Russo (2010) “European Parliament Interpreting Corpus (EPIC): Methodological Issues and Preliminary Results on Lexical Patterns in SI”, International Journal of Translation 22, no. 1–2: 165–203.

Schjoldager, Anne (1995) “An Exploratory Study of Translational Norms in Simultaneous Interpreting: Methodological Reflections”, Hermes, Journal of Linguistics 14: 65–87.

Shlesinger, Miriam (2003) “Effects of Presentation Rate on Working Memory in Simultaneous Interpreting”, The Interpreters’ Newsletter 12: 37–49.

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Unpublished materials and grammar references

Barbafina, Silvia (2003) Gestione delle stringhe aggettivali nell'interpretazione simultanea dall'inglese, MA diss., University of Bologna.

Cappelli, Rita (2014) L'interpretazione simultanea dal polacco all'italiano. Le strategie per affrontare le catene nominali, PhD diss., University of Bologna.

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Ghiselli, Serena (2015) Le sfide traduttive dei sintagmi nominali con modificatori in posizione prenominale nell’interpretazione simultanea dall’inglese in italiano: uno studio sul corpus EPIC, MA diss., University of Bologna.

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About the author(s)

I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Interlinguistic Communication from the University of Trieste and a Master’s Degree in Interpreting from the University of Bologna at Forlì. I studied English, French and Spanish. I am now a PhD student at the Department of Interpreting and Translation of Forlì and I am working on an interdisciplinary study on working memory and selective attention in interpreting, in collaboration with the Department of Psychology of Cesena.

Email: [please login or register to view author's email address]

©inTRAlinea & Serena Ghiselli (2018).
"The translation challenges of premodified noun phrases in simultaneous interpreting from English into Italian"
inTRAlinea Special Issue: New Findings in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies
Edited by: Claudio Bendazzoli, Mariachiara Russo & Bart Defrancq
This article can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
Stable URL: http://www.intralinea.org/specials/article/2322

On anaphoric pronouns in simultaneous interpreting

By Ana Correia (University of Minho, Portugal)

Abstract & Keywords

The successful establishment of anaphoric links between pronouns and their antecedents is a basic condition to ensure that a text is both cohesive and coherent. This is sometimes difficult to achieve when dealing with spoken texts and severe temporal restrictions as is the case in simultaneous interpreting. The present study focuses on personal and demonstrative pronouns. It is based on a random sample of transcripts of speeches and interpretations delivered at plenary sessions of the European Parliament (EP), taken from a larger pool of data, which will be included in an interpreting corpus to be compiled at the University of Minho.

Keywords: simultaneous interpreting, cohesion, anaphora, personal pronouns, demonstrative pronouns

©inTRAlinea & Ana Correia (2018).
"On anaphoric pronouns in simultaneous interpreting"
inTRAlinea Special Issue: New Findings in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies
Edited by: Claudio Bendazzoli, Mariachiara Russo & Bart Defrancq
This article can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
Stable URL: http://www.intralinea.org/specials/article/2321

Introduction

Research on anaphora has gained momentum in recent years due to the interest it has raised among scholars of Natural Language Processing and Artificial Intelligence, who became intent on finding solutions to resolve the ambiguities posed by this intriguing linguistic phenomenon. In the field of translation and interpreting (T&I) studies, anaphora is but a marginal topic of research. This may be because this phenomenon does not lend itself readily to observation, especially not in simultaneous interpreting (SI). Studying anaphora involves studying the relationship between two or more elements (i.e. the antecedent and the anaphor(s)), which are sometimes not easily identifiable in a text. This is all the more true if said text is translated simultaneously, in which case the likelihood increases that one of the elements in the anaphoric chain will be lost. Additionally, in simultaneous interpreting, the study of anaphora – and in fact of any other linguistic phenomenon – is further compounded by the need to transcribe the oral data beforehand. However, the developing paradigm of corpus-based interpreting studies may help to contravene this tendency, shedding light on such phenomena, which are crucial to achieve a deeper understanding of the mechanics behind discourse production. In the first section of this paper, we will briefly trace the evolution of corpus-based interpreting studies and provide an overview of some of the interpreting corpora that are currently available online. This section further describes the general outline of a teaching experience conducted at the University of Minho in connection with the compilation of an interpreting corpus. The second section deals with the object of study, i.e. anaphoric pronouns, and its relevance for simultaneous interpreting, which we will attempt to demonstrate in the third section by transcribing and analyzing some examples taken from a small sample of speeches. The fourth section provides some conclusions based on the findings discussed in the previous section.[1]

1. Corpus-based interpreting studies

Interpreting is a multi-faceted phenomenon which can – and no doubt must – be studied from a wide array of perspectives (Pöchhacker 2015). Indeed, since the 1950s, research on interpreting has been conducted under different paradigms. According to Moser-Mercer (1994), the fundamental distinction is that between the liberal arts paradigm and the natural science community. Most of the research conducted under the liberal arts paradigm was of a prescriptive and anecdotal nature, far removed from the realm of scientific experimentation. This paradigm corresponded to the first developmental stage of interpreting research. The first writings were essentially reports of personal experience and their main scope of application lied in training. Gradually, the scope broadened as did the methods employed to carry out research (Hale and Napier 2013). There was a growing concern with quantification and measurements, connected in particular with the surge of interest on the definition of quality in interpreting. This evolution was also accompanied by an important shift from prescriptive to descriptive research, which is now a cornerstone principle of the so-called liberal arts paradigm. For these reasons, it can be argued that the line between the liberal arts paradigm and the natural science community is becoming increasingly blurred. One of the factors that contributed to this state of affairs was without a doubt the advent of corpus linguistics, with its focus on the systematic and rigorous description of authentic data. Corpus linguistics was first applied to translation, yielding very successful results, and it became a popular research method among translation scholars ever since (Baker 1993, 1995; Laviosa 1998). In 1995, Susan Armstrong pioneered the idea of corpus-based interpreting studies (Armstrong 1995), which was further developed by Miriam Shlesinger (1998) in her seminal paper on the challenges and opportunities of extending corpus linguistics to interpreting studies. Following Shlesinger’s call, many researchers did indeed venture into the compilation of interpreting corpora, some of which will be mentioned in the next subsection.

1.1. Interpreting corpora

In corpus linguistics, it is common to equate the notion of corpus with an electronic corpus available online through a dedicated search interface, which allows users to perform different types of queries. However, the word corpus can also be used to refer to any purposefully sampled body of texts, available either in paper or machine-readable form. This is indeed a broader conception of corpus, which is compatible with much of the work conducted in interpreting studies. In order to overcome problems of ecological validity, researchers in this field have been increasingly concerned with studying actual interpreting output and have therefore begun to build their own interpreting corpora. They are generally compiled by single researchers in the scope of their Master’s or PhD projects, with many constraints. The compilation procedure begins with data collection, which could be a fairly simple retrieval of audiovisual files from a given online source or a more complex undertaking that requires the presence of the researcher at a conference to record the proceedings and gather informed consents from all the participants. The data collected must then be transcribed according to a predefined set of transcription conventions. Researchers may rely on the help of speech-recognition software to produce draft versions of the transcripts but ultimately, whether it is done from scratch or not, transcription involves a great deal of manual labor, hence determining the limited size of many such corpora. Once data collection and transcription have been completed, the corpus is ready to be analyzed either manually or with the support of dedicated software. Not all of these ad hoc corpora result in electronic corpora. Nevertheless, both types of corpora are valuable sources of information for the study of interpreting and have contributed to achieve significant results in our field. For example, Setton (1999) based his cognitive-pragmatic approach on the analysis of such a corpus of English, German and Chinese transcripts. Naturally, these corpora are more useful if they are in machine-readable form, in which case they are fit to be processed using corpus linguistics tools. Nowadays there are countless free web-based tools that allow researchers to exploit their corpora (monolingual or bilingual) in meaningful ways, such as concordancers, taggers, aligners and terminology extractors.

It is widely acknowledged that the process of building interpreting corpora is a highly time-consuming task, mainly due to transcription work (Bendazzoli 2010b; Shlesinger 1998). However, over the past ten years, some scholars have successfully taken up the challenge of compiling such corpora. Among the first interpreting corpora was the European Parliament Interpreting Corpus (EPIC), built between 2004 and 2006 by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Bologna. EPIC is an on-line, trilingual corpus made up of speeches delivered at plenary sittings of the European Parliament in Italian, Spanish and English plus the respective interpretations (Bendazzoli and Sandrelli 2005; Russo et al. 2012). Italy has in fact been an active center for corpus-based interpreting research. In addition to EPIC, other corpora are worth mentioning, such as CorIT (media interpreting – consecutive and simultaneous) (Falbo 2012), DIRSI-C (conference interpreting - simultaneous) (Bendazzoli 2010a), and FOOTIE (media interpreting - simultaneous) (Sandrelli 2012). At the Hamburg Center for Language Corpora, affiliated with the University of Hamburg, several interpreting corpora have been compiled as well, representing not only simultaneous but also consecutive modes of interpreting (Bührig et al. 2012; House, Meyer and Schmidt 2012). One particular feature that distinguishes the work of researchers at Hamburg is that their repository includes community interpreting corpora, reflecting for example interpreter-mediated interaction in hospitals and in courtrooms. All around the world, the growing interest in corpus linguistics has spurred the creation of all sorts of different corpora suited to the study of a wide gamut of linguistic phenomena. Thanks in part to the pioneering work developed by the Language Resource Center for Portuguese, known as Linguateca, Portugal is no exception. We now have at our disposal a number of monolingual and multilingual corpora featuring Portuguese as either a source or target language such as Corpus de Referência do Português Contemporâneo. Corpus do Português, CETEMPúblico, Le Monde Diplomatique, COMPARA, Per-Fide and OPUS, to name but a few (for a comprehensive review of Portuguese corpora, see Berber Sardinha and Ferreira 2014). The last four examples are multilingual corpora with parallel alignment, hence particularly suited to research in translation studies. To our knowledge, the corpus mentioned in this study is an original attempt at building an interpreting corpus since, at present, there are no such corpora for (European) Portuguese. This is not surprising if we consider that spoken corpora in general are scarce and of limited size. However, members of the above-mentioned Hamburg Center for Language Corpora have created Dik - interpreting in hospitals corpus and CoSi - a corpus of consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, both of which include Brazilian Portuguese (Bührig at al. 2012; House, Meyer and Schmidt 2012). In Brazil, Luciana Ginezi is also compiling an interpreting learner corpus (Ginezi 2014). Due to the lack of interpreting corpora for European Portuguese, we decided to take up that challenge. We are currently involved in the compilation of the interPE corpus. It is a simultaneous interpreting multimedia corpus which includes Portuguese and English speeches delivered at the European Parliament plenary sittings. It will include not only the sentence-aligned transcripts of the original speeches and interpretations but also the corresponding audiovisual files. The interPE corpus will be composed of 20 Portuguese and 20 English speeches plus the respective interpretations, with each original speech averaging a duration of one and a half minutes. InterPE was envisaged as an open corpus, which means that more speeches will be added in the future. While it falls outside the scope of this paper to describe the compilation stages of our corpus, we would nevertheless like to report the involvement of some students of the University of Minho in the transcription stage, highlighting the potential benefits of this kind of work for the students.

1.2. Transcription: a teaching experience at the University of Minho

The study presented in this paper is part of a doctoral project, which in turn is based on a corpus of speeches delivered at EP plenary sittings by English and Portuguese MEPs (Members of the European Parliament) as well as the respective interpretations, in simultaneous mode. This initiative, which began in 2013-14, has been developed in collaboration with students attending the course unit of Principles of Interpreting, from the 3rd year of the undergraduate degree in Applied Languages of the University of Minho (Braga, Portugal). The students transcribed and/or revised speeches using EXMARaLDA – Partitur. The speeches were orthographically transcribed. The decision was made not to transcribe paralinguistic features such as pauses, hesitations, vowel lengthenings or false starts (among others), as this fell outside the scope of our study, which was exclusively concerned with anaphoric relations. The students further aligned the speeches with the respective interpretations using the web-based aligner YouAlign[2]. Each student was then asked to produce an analysis of the interpretations they transcribed, based on a typology adapted from Falbo (1998). We implemented a two-stage approach which allowed us to successfully involve students not only in the actual compilation of the corpus but also in the analysis of the data, as illustrated in Figure 1 below:

img1

Figure 1: Methodology used in class.

This teaching experience led us to believe that such an approach produces positive results as it encourages students to acquire technical (connected with the early stages of corpus compilation) and analytical (connected with reasoning abilities and linguistic analysis) skills. According to the students’ feedback, this exercise had a satisfactory outcome. In general, students claimed to have acquired a relevant and diverse set of skills that can actually help them in their future language-related careers. For example, among the benefits they mentioned were learning to use transcription and alignment software, and learning simple yet effective linguistic terminology to describe with scientific rigor some of the phenomena encountered in the speeches they transcribed. Incidentally, for the majority of students, who saw interpreting as a mission impossible, the analysis of authentic output contributed to demystify the work of the interpreter. It helped students gain a better understanding of simultaneous interpreting in the context of EP plenary sittings, drawing their attention to the delivery rates as well as to the syntactic and semantic complexity of the speeches.

2. Anaphoric pronouns in simultaneous interpreting

Anaphora is one of many linguistic devices employed by speakers to create “texture” or “textuality”, that is, the property of “being a text”. According to de Beaugrande and Dressler (1981), texts are communicative occurrences that must comply with seven principles of textuality: cohesion, coherence, intentionality, acceptability, informativity, situationality and intertextuality. Textuality is the property that allows a text to be acknowledged as such, rather than of a heap of disconnected sentences. The first two standards are text-centered. Cohesion, in particular, concerns grammatical dependencies. Coherence, in turn, depends upon the semantic connection between the sentences that make up a text or, in other words, it depends on whether they conform to our view of the world and on their adequacy to the communicative context. Anaphora is located at the level of cohesion. It is a lexico-grammatical mechanism that enables the establishment of referential chains, presupposing the existence of a referentially dependent element (the anaphor) which can only be interpreted in connection with another item that is present in the cotext. An anaphora can be coreferential if both elements designate the same real world entity, or non coreferential if they have different referents. There are also various types of anaphora, depending on the grammatical nature of the elements involved: pronominal, nominal, verbal, and adverbial (Lopes and Carapinha 2013; Charolles, 2002).

While anaphora has been studied in a wide range of disciplines, within different frameworks (Branco, McEnery and Mitkov 2005), we are particularly interested in anaphora as a discourse-level phenomenon, as conceived in text linguistics and discourse analysis, and the challenges it brings for simultaneous interpreters. In Translation and Interpreting Studies, many scholars have been concerned with the question of how translators are able to recreate cohesive and coherent texts in the target language (Baker 2011; Hatim and Mason 1997; Neubert and Shreve 1992, among others). This line of research was often connected with the quest for translation and interpreting universals (Blum-Kulka 1986). Anaphoric reference is generally addressed as a marginal topic subsumed under the broad umbrella of cohesion and coherence. This is for example the case of Shlesinger’s (1995) paper on cohesive shifts in SI, where anaphora is but one of the various devices dealt with by the author, and Gallina’s (1992) study on the cohesion of political speeches, which looks not only into reference but also ellipsis, conjunctions and lexical cohesion. Friedel Dubslaff’s (1993) paper on anaphoric retrieval in simultaneous interpreting is one of the few examples where anaphoric reference is regarded as a research topic that is worthy of interest on its own. Snelling (1992) also addresses a number of syntactic as well as semantic issues that should be taken into consideration when interpreting from Portuguese. With regard to syntax, one of the problems on which he focuses in more detail is choice of subject. Based on his corpus, Snelling found that most sentences in Portuguese did not begin with the subject. In such cases, he recommends that interpreters working into English always begin their sentences with a subject, following the linearity of the subject-verb-object structure. As we will see in the next section of this paper, the search for a subject is a frequent obstacle faced by interpreters working from Portuguese into English, who often use pronouns to fill in that gap, often generating ambiguities and even erroneous chains of reference. These authors share an interest in cohesive ties and acknowledge their relevance for interpreting (see for example Gumul 2012). In particular, anaphoric ties are a basic condition for the successful construction of any text, helping to ensure cohesion and coherence. Pronouns can be used to build anaphoric chains made up of not only intrasentential but also intersentential connections that can spread through an entire speech. Such a complex architecture may be costly in terms of processing requirements, and if anaphoric links are not properly established, that may well affect a text’s communicative intelligibility. The cognitive processing underlying the mechanisms of reference building becomes more complex when it is conducted only in the spoken mode and under severe temporal restrictions as is the case in simultaneous interpreting. Thus, if we consider that a text results from the intersection of several anaphoric chains, it becomes clear that the study of anaphora is relevant for interpreting, which aims to ensure that a source text is rendered in the target language in a cohesive and coherent manner.

3. Empirical analysis of anaphoric pronouns in simultaneous interpreting

In this section, we present a small-scale exploratory study about anaphoric pronouns in simultaneous interpreting from Portuguese into English. We will begin by providing the frequency and distribution of the pronouns. This will be followed by a detailed analysis of examples taken from the corpus.

3.1. Frequency and distribution

For this empirical analysis, we selected a random sample of seven Portuguese speeches (plus English interpretations). The sample – to which we will refer as corpus throughout the remainder of this paper – was deliberately small in order to allow for a more in-depth qualitative analysis of the relevant examples. By randomly selecting the speeches, we ensured that the sample would be unbiased by any speech- (for example, topic), speaker- (for instance, gender) or interpreter-related variables (for example, professional experience) and that it would be free from researcher bias. The following exclusion criteria were applied before we could proceed with the random sampling to ensure that the data was homogenous in the first place:

  • speakers who did not speak in their mother tongue (that is Portuguese);
  • speeches by Commissioners and other non-MEP entities, which tend to be either long interventions that far outlast those of MEPs or very brief announcements of who has the floor;

We then proceeded to the extraction of all the pronouns, in the originals as well as in the interpretations. Since the corpus had been previously annotated with part-of-speech tags, the extraction process was completed semi-automatically, only requiring manual verification in a few ambiguous cases. The pronouns were then organized and counted according to type. The large majority of occurrences found in the corpus were of personal, relative and demonstrative pronouns, in that order. No possessive pronouns were found but we thought it relevant to extract all possessive determiners since these markers are often implicated in anaphoric relations, leading to ambiguous readings. Possessive determiners ranked third, after the personal and relative pronouns. The results are shown in table 1 below:

 

PT (original)

EN (interpretation)

TOTAL

Personal pronouns

36

121

157

Relative pronouns

48

26

74

Possessive determiners

29

20

49

Demonstrative pronouns

13

22

35

TOTAL

126

189

315

Table 1: Number of pronouns per language and type.

This study focuses on personal and demonstrative pronouns. Personal pronouns were chosen because of the high number of total occurrences, which is more than twice the number of occurrences found for the second most frequent category of pronouns (namely, relative). Despite being the least frequent, demonstrative pronouns were chosen because of their potentially resumptive value, which allows for these pronouns to select wider antecedents. After extracting the pronouns, it was necessary to mark those that were part of anaphoric chains (that is the pronouns with anaphoric value). We found that: out of 36 personal pronouns, 26 were anaphoric; and out of 13 demonstrative pronouns, all 13 were anaphoric. This quantitative extraction was carried out only in the original speeches. We then copied into a spreadsheet all the occurrences of anaphoric pronouns in Portuguese in their extended context along with the respective interpretations in English. This allowed us to comparatively analyze the originals and the interpretations, focusing on how the anaphoric chains were rendered in the interpretations.

3.2. Personal and demonstrative pronouns

In the following sections, we present a non-exhaustive selection of cases where the anaphoric chains present in the original speeches were omitted or reformulated in the interpretations. While such operations could affect coherence, it is not our goal here to assess the extent to which the interpreted speeches are affected by the omission and/or reformulation of the anaphoric chains. The examples were taken from five out of the seven speeches analyzed; the originals are preceded by the acronym OS and interpretations by the acronym INT, each accompanied by the speech number (according to the chronological order in which they were delivered).

3.2.1 Personal pronouns

Corpus analysis uncovered a clear asymmetry between English and Portuguese in terms of the number of pronouns, as can be seen from Table 1. This is especially visible in the case of personal pronouns, which may be explained by the fact that English, as opposed to Portuguese, does not accept null subjects. This can further be explained by the tendency observed in the English interpretations toward paratactic structures. Example (1a) is representative of the speeches delivered by Portuguese MEPs, who tend to include several embedded clauses:

OS_2

(1a) Neste debate não podemos esquecer que existe uma proposta dum chamado pacto de competitividade
In this debate we cannot forget that there is a proposal of a so-called competitiveness pact

através do qual o diretório, comandado pela Alemanha, quer desferir novos ataques ao regime público
through which the directory, led by Germany, wants to launch new attacks against the solidary and

solidário e universal da segurança social, aumentar a idade da reforma e desvalorizar salários, tentando
universal public regime of social security, increase the age of retirement and devalue salaries, trying to

pôr fim à sua indexação à taxa de inflação apenas para beneficiar o setor financeiro, o qual pretende
put an end to their indexation to the inflation rate only to benefit the financial sector, which intends to

encontrar nas pensões novas formas de maiores ganhos especulativos.
find in pensions new ways to greater speculative gains.

INT_2

(1b) We must remember in this debate that there is a proposal relating to the competitiveness pact. Germany in particular seems to be very ready to attack the system of public security by lowering salaries, by exacerbating inflation largely for the benefit of the financial sector and we know that the financial sector wants to continue to gamble through private financing of pensions.

The complexity of the original speech takes its toll on the interpreter, who attempts to chunk the incoming message into smaller, more manageable bits of information. These chunking operations result in the creation of shorter sentences, to which the interpreter must assign a subject, as required by English grammar. According to Gile (1994: 48), however, ‘a deviation from the source language structure may mean the interpreter is controlling the situation, whereas the selection of target language structures similar to source language structures indicates that the interpreter may be short of processing capacity’. As mentioned above, syntactic complexity is often the hallmark of Portuguese speeches. This factor is further compounded by the delivery rates, which in our corpus ranged between 140 and 181 words per minute (average = 156 wpm). These factors hinder the process of recognizing and assigning a syntactic subject to the new sentences. In such cases, our corpus analysis has shown that interpreters often resort to the generic personal pronoun “we”. In (1b), this pronoun provides the interpreter with a plausible subject for the independent clause he[3] creates in his rendition. The use of “we” also proved a particularly useful instrument when the interpreter struggled to identify the antecedent in an anaphoric chain. In (2b) we have a rather unclear anaphoric link between the pronoun ‘ela’ and the immediately preceding antecedent (‘Europa pós-queda do muro’):

OS_3

(2a) Isto parece-me uma perversão fundamental dos princípios da Europa pós-89, da Europa pós-queda do
This seems like a fundamental perversion of the principles of Europe after 89, of Europe after the fall of

muro. O que ela queria dizer é que nós não abandonaríamos os nossos irmãos europeus de qualquer país à
the Wall. What she meant is that we would not abandon our European brothers of any country to

censura e à repressão à liberdade de expressão.
censorship and to repression of freedom of expression.

INT_3

(2b) I think this runs completely counter to the principles of Europe, particularly after the fall of the Wall. We have said that we will not leave Europeans subject to censorship in any country.

Unable to identify the antecedent of ‘ela’, the interpreter has to look for an alternative that allows her to do away with the anaphoric chain without severely detracting from the coherence of her speech. In their efforts to segment the incoming speech into manageable chunks of information that allow them to stick to the canonical sentence order (subject-verb-object(s)), interpreters seem more prone to employ paratactic structures rather than hypotactic ones. In order to convert hypotaxis into parataxis, the interpreter is required to produce a syntactic subject. Since it is not always simple to come up with an appropriate subject, the use of the pronoun “we” acquires a strategic dimension of considerable usefulness. A great deal of attention has also been devoted to the study of “we” markers (we, us, our) in the specific context of European Parliament interpreting as a means of highlighting ideological assumptions (Beaton 2007; Dumara 2015). As we have seen in (2), the pronoun “we” can be used as an alternative to solve such anaphora-induced difficulties but there are other pronouns that can fulfill the same role, such as “they”:

OS_6

(3a) O desaparecimento de Ai Weiwei tem de ser entendido no contexto do aumento desesperado da
The disappearance of Ai Weiwei has to be understood in the context of the desperate increase of

repressão política por parte das autoridades Chinesas. Tudo por medo de que o espírito revolucionário
political repression on the part of Chinese authorities. All out of fear that the revolutionary spirit

no mundo Árabe infete a sociedade chinesa.
in the Arab world might infect the Chinese society.

INT_6

(3b) The disappearance of Ai Weiwei has to be understood in the context of the tightening up of political repression in China. They are afraid that the democratic spring in the Arab world might infect them.  

In (3b), the interpreter creates an anaphoric relation that did not exist in the original speech (‘they’…’them’). In the first sentence, he replaces the agent (‘por parte das autoridades chinesas’) with a simple locative phrase (‘in China’). This phrase becomes the antecedent for the pronoun at the beginning of the following sentence. Owing to the vagueness of this antecedent, which could refer to the Chinese authorities (as in the original), to the population or any other Chinese entity, the interpreter opts for ‘they’ to fill in the subject role, possibly due to the reminiscence of a plural antecedent uttered in the original speech (‘autoridades chinesas’). This anaphoric chain has a third link (‘them’), which necessarily follows from the interpreter’s previous choice. It remains unclear though whether the two anaphors are coreferential. In any event, by using ‘they’, the interpreter leaves it up to his listeners to decide whether to interpret these two anaphors coreferentially and to determine what their referent(s) is(are).

3.2.2. Demonstrative pronouns

In addition to personal pronouns, demonstrative pronouns have also been found to serve as a strategic device when used resumptively. As already mentioned above, delivery rate is an essential variable in interpreting, which may lie at the origin of various comprehension and production problems encountered by interpreters, especially in simultaneous mode. In the specific context of the EP plenary sittings, which is notorious for rigid constraints on floor allocation rules, delivery rates are often found to exceed the optimal threshold[4]. For that reason, most speakers prepare their speeches in advance, which means that they are generally closer to the literate pole of the oral-literate continuum (Shlesinger 1989). Adding to an already tense situation, speeches are typically encumbered by intricate lines of reasoning that are often hard to follow even for native speakers, as is the case in the excerpt transcribed in example (4a):

OS_2

(4a) Neste debate não podemos esquecer que existe uma proposta dum chamado pacto de competitividade
In this debate we cannot forget that there is a proposal of a so-called competitiveness pact

através do qual o diretório, comandado pela Alemanha, quer desferir novos ataques ao regime público
through which the directory, led by Germany, wants to launch new attacks against the solidary and

solidário e universal da segurança social, aumentar a idade da reforma e desvalorizar salários, tentando
universal public regime of social security, increase the age of retirement and devalue salaries, trying to

pôr fim à sua indexação à taxa de inflação apenas para beneficiar o setor financeiro, o qual pretende
put an end to their indexation to the inflation rate only to benefit the financial sector, which intends to

encontrar nas pensões novas formas de maiores ganhos especulativos. Queremos aqui manifestar a nossa
find in pensions new ways to greater speculative gains. We want here to manifest our

clara oposição a este caminho da integração europeia construído na base de políticas anti-sociais a que
clear opposition to this road of European integration built on the basis of antisocial policies to which

lamentavelmente este relatório dá cobertura ao apoiar o Livro Verde da Comissão Europeia, ao
this report regrettably gives credit by supporting the Green Book of the European Commission, by

admitir uma ligação da idade legal da reforma à esperança de vida e incentivar a permanência por um
allowing a connection between the age of retirement and life expectancy and encouraging permanence

período mais longo no mercado de trabalho, ao não excluir o apoio a sistemas de reformas privados
for a longer period of time in the job market, by not excluding support to private retirement systems

mesmo quando já se conhecem consequências graves da sua utilização especulativa por fundos e
even when there are already known consequences of their speculative use by private banks and funds

bancos privados que deixaram os idosos, designadamente mulheres idosas, na pobreza.
that have left the elderly, namely elderly women, in poverty.

INT_2

(4b) We must remember in this debate that there is a proposal relating to the competitiveness pact. Germany in particular seems to be very ready to attack the system of public security by lowering salaries, by exacerbating inflation largely for the benefit of the financial sector and we know that the financial sector wants to continue to gamble through private financing of pensions. I think we have to be clear about the dangers of that. These are antisocial policies and I think it's crucial that we understand that. We have to take account of increasing life expectancy and the fact that in many instances people are working for much longer periods. The document also talks about the intervention of the private sector but there are serious speculative risks related to that because many older women are being driven into poverty by this combination of circumstances.

It would seem that the interpreter was not able to keep up with the original speech. In particular, after the first sentence he was thrown off the track and forced to deploy ‘coping tactics’ (Gile 1995: 191). In this case, his tactics consisted in the use of the demonstrative pronoun “that” as a resumptive, which is taken to refer back to the preceding clauses. This allowed him to save time, leaving it to the listeners to put together the intended meaning of the speaker. Irrespective of all the compounding difficulties inherent to simultaneous interpreting, interpreters must see their renditions through, resorting to alternatives that do not always yield the best results. Although resumptive pronouns do offer a valid non-committal strategy, their intrinsic vagueness could impair the listeners’ understanding of the interpreter’s rendition. It can be argued, however, that the listeners, who are assumed to possess some degree of familiarity with the topics discussed at EP plenary sittings, may be able to fill in any semantic gaps on the basis of their previous knowledge. This speaks to the importance of extralinguistic factors in interpreting, namely, the listener’s cognitive complements (Seleskovitch and Lederer 1984), which allow them to fill in gaps caused by any omissions or inaccuracies on the part of interpreters.

We have already mentioned above that, when interpreting from Portuguese into English, there is a recurrent use of parataxis to the detriment of hypotaxis, which forces interpreters to assign a syntactic subject to each new sentence or clause. When in doubt about an adequate subject, it was found that interpreters often used the pronoun “we” or “they”. However, other evidence from the corpus showed that demonstrative pronouns can also be used for the same purpose, as in (5b):

OS_7

(5a) Obrigada, Senhora Presidente. Num tema necessariamente vasto, queria aqui deixar apenas dois
Thank you, Madam President. In a necessarily vast theme, I would like here to leave just two

breves apontamentos. O primeiro para chamar a atenção para os fatores de ameaça que hoje pesam sobre
brief notes. The first to draw attention to the factors of threat that today weigh over

inúmeros ecossistemas florestais.
numerous forest ecosystems.

INT_7

(5b) Thank you, Madam President. This is a very vast topic but I'd simply like to make two points. The first is that I'd like to draw your attention to the threats for forestry resources and then the exotic species that escape forest fires.

This excerpt was taken from the beginning of the speech. The original sentence was converted into two coordinate clauses joined by an adversative conjunction (‘but’). Due to this segmentation, the interpreter had to find a subject for the first clause, which is the pronoun ‘this’. This transformation makes more explicit the restrictive relationship between the hypernym (‘vast topic’) and the hyponym (‘two points’). In this case, the pronoun ‘this’ takes on a cataphoric value, unlike the pronoun ‘that’ in the following example which is both anaphoric and cataphoric:

OS_1

(6a) É condição sine qua non que a Líbia permita que o Alto Comissariado das Nações Unidas para os
It is a sine qua non condition that Libya allows the United Nations High Commissioner for

Refugiados volte a operar no país com um mandato alargado. Atrevo-me a dizer claramente: sem
Refugees to once again operate in the country with an extended mandate. I dare say clearly: without

ACNUR não há acordo.
UNHCR there is no agreement.

INT_1

(6b) The condition sine qua non is that Libya allows the UNHCR to come back to the country with an amplified agreement. I have to say that quite clearly: without UNHCR, no agreement.

In (6b) the pronoun ‘that’ resumes the idea conveyed in the previous sentence and, at the same time, it announces the reasoning that follows it. It would seem that, by placing the pronoun in a cataphoric position, the relationship between the anaphor and the postcedent becomes even more evident than in the original. In both (5b) and (6b), the interpretations have a higher degree of explicitness – the first due to the segmentation and the second due to the addition of the demonstrative.

4. Conclusions

Our corpus analysis has shown that English target speeches (the interpretations) globally have more pronouns than Portuguese source speeches (the originals). This is partly because interpreters are more prone to use hypotactic structures. In order to deal with this, interpreters tend to segment the input into small chunks and in doing so they are left with coordinated clauses to which they must assign suitable subjects. It was found that interpreters resort to pronouns such as ‘we’ and ‘they’ as a means of fulfilling that grammatical requirement. Our corpus analysis also showed that demonstrative pronouns were employed in anaphoric relations with a resumptive function, referring back to strings of embedded clauses as in (4b). Demonstrative pronouns further contributed to make more explicit the semantic logic that was only implicit in the original speeches, as was the case in examples (5) and (6). These findings suggest that personal and demonstrative pronouns are strategically used by interpreters to meet a grammatical requirement of the target language as a result of chunking operations. Additionally, these pronouns provide a non-committal alternative which is valuable to interpreters in case of doubt. However, the drawbacks of pronoun use can quickly overshadow the benefits if the intrinsic vagueness of pronouns prevents listeners from being able to identify the antecedent in the anaphoric relationship of which they form part. Although listeners are assumed to bring their previous knowledge to the context of simultaneous interpreting, that may not always be sufficient to overcome the vagueness introduced by some pronominal anaphors.

This type of study is based on the premise that reflection on the practice of interpreting through the analysis of authentic data, that is, a corpus (electronic or not), can promote the students’ metalinguistic awareness, helping them to develop anticipation and problem-solving strategies (Sandrelli 2010). We have seen that there are a few corpora of interpreting but certainly not nearly as many as there are for (written) translation. However, it is fair to claim that corpus-based interpreting studies is gaining ground all around the world. Scholars engaged in this kind of research are well aware of the difficulties of creating interpreting corpora so, in line with the rationale behind the 1st Forlì International Workshop on Corpus-based Interpreting Studies, it is important that researchers join efforts in the future with regard to greater standardization of interpreting corpora, thus contributing to significant increases in terms of sheer size and representativeness. To the best of our knowledge, the interPE corpus is an original attempt at a simultaneous interpreting corpus featuring European Portuguese and, although it was created with the aim of studying anaphoric relations in simultaneous interpreting, we hope that it will come to serve a wider range of research purposes.

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---- (2010b) Corpora e interpretazione simultanea, Bologna, Asterisco.

Bendazzoli, Claudio, and Annalisa Sandrelli (2005) “An Approach to Corpus-based Interpreting Studies: Developing EPIC (European Parliament Interpreting Corpus)” in MuTra – Challenges of Multidimensional Translation: Conference Proceedings, Heidrun Gerzymisch-Arbogast and Sandra Nauert (eds), Saarbrücken, 1–12.

Berber Sardinha, Tony, and Telma São Bento Ferreira (eds) (2014) Working with Portuguese Corpora, London/New York, Bloomsbury Academic.

Blum-Kulka, Shoshana (1986) “Shifts of Cohesion and Coherence in Translation” in Interlingual and Intercultural Communication: Discourse and Cognition in Translation and Second Language Acquisition Studies, Julianne House and Shoshana Blum-Kulka (eds), Tübingen, Narr: 17–35.

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Bührig, Kristin, Ortrun Kliche, Bernd Meyer, and Birte Pawlack (2012) “The Corpus “Interpreting in Hospitals”: Possible Applications for Research and Communication Training” in Multilingual Corpora and Multilingual Corpus Analysis, Thomas Schmidt and Kai Wörner (eds), Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins: 305–15.

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Dumara, Barbara (2015) “How Can Interpreting Corpora Extend Our Knowledge on Intrusive ‘We’ in SI?”, Poster presented at the conference Corpus-based Interpreting Studies: The State of the Art. First Forlì International Workshop, 7-8 May 2015, University of Bologna at Forlì.

Falbo, Caterina (1998) “Analyse des Erreurs en Interprétation Simultanée”, The Interpreters’ Newsletter 8: 107–20.

---- (2012) “CorIT (Italian Television Interpreting Corpus): Classification Criteria” in Breaking Ground in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies, Francesco Straniero Sergio and Caterina Falbo (eds), Bern, Peter Lang: 157–85.

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Ginezi, Luciana Latarini (2014) “Desafios para a Construção de um Corpus de Aprendizes de Interpretação Simultânea”, TradTerm 23: 165–91.

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Moser-Mercer, Barbara (1994) “Paradigms Gained or the Art of Productive Disagreement” in Bridging the Gap. Empirical Research in Simultaneous Interpretation, Sylvie Lambert and Barbara Moser‑Mercer (eds), Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins: 17–23.

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Russo, Mariachiara, Claudio Bendazzoli, Annalisa Sandrelli, and Nicoletta Spinolo (2012) “The European Parliament Interpreting Corpus (EPIC): Implementation and Developments” in Breaking Ground in Corpus-Based Interpreting Studies, Francesco Straniero Sergio and Caterina Falbo (eds), Bern, Peter Lang: 35-90.

Sandrelli, Annalisa (2010) “Corpus-Based Interpreting Studies and Interpreter Training: A Modest Proposal” in Translationswissenschaft: Stand und Perspektiven. Innsbrucker Ringvorlesungen zur Translationswissenschaft VI, Lew Zybatow (ed.), Peter Lang: 69–90.

---- (2012) “Interpreting Football Press Conferences: The FOOTIE Corpus” in Interpreting across Genres: Multiple Research Perspectives, Cynthia J. K. Bidoli (ed.), Trieste, Edizioni Università di Trieste: 78–101.

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Setton, Robin (1999) Simultaneous Interpretation: A Cognitive-pragmatic Analysis, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, John Benjamins.

Shlesinger, Miriam (1989) Simultaneous Interpretation as a Factor in Effecting Shifts in the Position of Texts on the Oral-Literate Continuum, M.A. diss., Tel Aviv University, Israel.

---- (1995) “Shifts in Cohesion in Simultaneous Interpreting”, The Translator 1, no. 2: 193–214. 

---- (1998) “Corpus-based Interpreting Studies as an Offshoot of Corpus-based Translation Studies”, Meta 43, no. 4: 486–93.

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Notes

[1] This study is part of a doctoral project, supported by grant no. SFRH/BD/88142/2012 and awarded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology under the Human Potential Operational Program. It is cofunded by the European Social Fund and the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science.

[3] Thanks to the audio of the interpretations we were able to distinguish male from female interpreters, hence in this paper we use gender-marked pronouns to refer to the interpreters.

[4] According to Gerver (1969/2002) that would be in the range of 95 to 120 words per minute.

About the author(s)

Ana Correia holds an undergraduate degree in Applied Foreign Languages from the University of Minho (2006). She worked as a research assistant for the corpus compilation project “Per-Fide - Portuguese in parallel with six languages: Español, Russian, Français, Italiano, Deutsch, English” (ref. no. PTDC/CLE-LLI/108948/2008). Currently, she is a PhD student in Language Sciences, speciality of Applied Linguistics, at the same university. She has received a grant from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology to conduct her PhD project, which is a corpus-based study dealing with pronominal anaphora in simultaneous interpreting.

Email: [please login or register to view author's email address]

©inTRAlinea & Ana Correia (2018).
"On anaphoric pronouns in simultaneous interpreting"
inTRAlinea Special Issue: New Findings in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies
Edited by: Claudio Bendazzoli, Mariachiara Russo & Bart Defrancq
This article can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
Stable URL: http://www.intralinea.org/specials/article/2321

Interpreting Universals: A study of explicitness in the intermodal EPTIC corpus

By Niccolò Morselli (University of Bologna, Italy)

Abstract & Keywords

This paper presents a study on explicitness in the European Parliament Translation and Interpreting Corpus (EPTIC). EPTIC (Bernardini et al. 2013) is a bilingual, bidirectional and intermodal corpus of EP plenary session speeches in English and Italian. It contains transcripts of both source speeches and their interpreted versions, as well as their written counterparts in the form of minutes and their translations. The study set out to test the findings of the quantitative analysis on explicitness in English interpretations carried out by Kajzer-Wietrzny (2012). The indicators of explicitness for the investigation of English (linking adverbials, apposition markers and optional that) were matched by comparable indicators for the investigation of Italian and applied to the relevant sub-corpora of EPTIC. First, a quantitative analysis was carried out, both from a monolingual comparable perspective (comparing speeches and interpretations in the same language), and from an intermodal perspective (comparing interpretations and translations). Second, a parallel qualitative analysis was performed. Some interesting differences according to language direction emerged, such as the Italian interpreters’ preference to add apposition markers, or the tendency of English interpreters to leave out linking adverbials.

Keywords: explicitation, intermodal corpus, apposition markers, linking adverbials, simultaneous interpreting, interpreting universals, italian

©inTRAlinea & Niccolò Morselli (2018).
"Interpreting Universals: A study of explicitness in the intermodal EPTIC corpus"
inTRAlinea Special Issue: New Findings in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies
Edited by: Claudio Bendazzoli, Mariachiara Russo & Bart Defrancq
This article can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
Stable URL: http://www.intralinea.org/specials/article/2320

1. Introduction

This study focuses on the thorny issue of translation and interpreting universals in general, and on the highly debated universal of explicitation in particular. Many translation scholars have so far questioned the existence of these concepts (Mauranen and Kujamäki 2004).

In translation studies, the so-called Explicitation Hypothesis was first put forward by Blum-Kulka (1986), who analysed explicitation from the perspective of discourse analysis, focusing on shifts in cohesion and coherence, and which led to subsequent studies. Much work has been done so far with the help of corpora to put this hypothesis to the test from many other perspectives.

After also Baker (1993 and 1996) listed it as a potential universal, explicitation has in fact been studied both as an S-Universal[1] in parallel corpora, for example, by Øverås (1998), and as a T-Universal, that is to say from a comparable monolingual perspective,for example by Olohan and Baker (2000) and Puurtinen (2004). These two perspectives have also been combined, for instance, by Pápai (2004) and Konšalová (2007). As for the different forms of explicitation, research has moved from Blum-Kulka’s text cohesive elements to a wide variety of linguistic phenomena, as in Pápai and Konšalová’s studies, or to the analysis of a single form of explicitation such as the optional that in Olohan and Baker’s research.

Of the few studies on explicitation in interpreting studies, most are still based on very small collections of texts, mainly produced by advanced students of conference interpreting. This is the case of the study carried out by Schjoldager (1995/2002), the first study also focusing on explicitation in interpreted texts in the simultaneous mode, using parallel and intermodal corpora. From this first study on explicitation in simultaneous interpreting, no cases of the interpreter making explicit something implicit in the source speech emerged, while subsequent studies have on the whole confirmed Blum-Kulka’s initial Explicitation Hypothesis. Shlesinger (1995) noticed that when the source text had an elliptical structure omitting an element mentioned before, the advanced interpreting students in her sample tended to repeat the missing element or to find a synonym, ‘thus making the connection more explicit’ (Shlesinger 1995: 201). Gumul (2006) maintains that an increased level of explicitness in the target text is often due to interpreting-specific factors, such as the interpreters’ need to rephrase the utterance to add a new piece of information or to correct themselves. Gumul also noticed that sometimes her student interpreters tended to add words without adding information, filling a pause while waiting for the next piece of information to come. For this reason, she finds it difficult to maintain that these are examples of explicitation implied by the interpreting process itself. Ishikawa’s study (1999) represents a rare example of investigations on explicitation in simultaneous interpreting carried out on texts interpreted by professional conference interpreters – in this specific case Japanese professionals working into English, that is not into their mother tongue, adding yet another variable to an already complex task. In her study, she singled out some cases of ‘pure explicitations’ thus confirming Blum-Kulka’s hypothesis, but she also argued that in many cases the interpreters preferred implicitation (1999: 252).

As for universals in general, Chesterman pointed out that ‘some have been corroborated more than others, and some tests have produced contrary evidence, so in most cases the jury is still out’ (2004:39) and explicitation makes no exception. Other authors have also put Blum-Kulka’s Explicitation Hypothesis to the test (Pym 2005; Becher 2010a, 2010b), focusing on explicitation in translation, and they reached the conclusion that explicitation as a universal should be regarded as a myth to be debunked because of the vagueness of the very concept of explicitation. Notably Pym (2005) explained this phenomenon within his model of risk aversion, and Becher (2010a and 2010b) maintained that the studies confirming the explicitation hypothesis featured serious weaknesses as for the methodology adopted, because they did not stick to the definition of explicitation as a phenomenon inherent to the translation process, but included also different types of explicitation (as in Øverås 1998; Pápai 2004). Further criticism was raised by Becher (2010a) because the corpora used were unbalanced or because one could not have access to source texts (such as in Olohan and Baker 2000). He therefore suggested (2010b) that the assumption of explicitation being a universal should be discarded for good. Also Baumgarten, Meyer and Özçetin (2008) critically investigated explicitation both in translated and interpreted texts, and concluded that the increased level of explicitation in interpreted renditions from Portuguese into German of the term Amazônia were to be ascribed to other factors, such as interpreter’s style, interpreting mode and other social and cultural variables (2008: 198).

To complete this short overview of this field of research, Kajzer-Wietrzny’s corpus-based study (2012) on interpreting universals is important to mention for two main reasons. The first one is that in this study professional conference interpreters’ performances are analysed. Secondly, this study was conducted using a larger corpus, namely the Translation and Interpreting Corpus (TIC) (2012: 57), which is one of the few intermodal corpora used in interpreting research so far. More specifically, it is an English monolingual comparable corpus including ten subcorpora in total. The oral part consists of one subcorpus of speeches in English and four subcorpora of interpreted versions into English of speeches given at the European Parliament from four different languages, namely Spanish, French, German and Dutch. The written part contains transcripts of the English speeches and of the interpreted versions of the speeches pronounced in the other languages, as well as further four subcorpora of texts translated into English from the same four other languages. In particular, in her study on interpreting universals, Kajzer-Wietrzny investigated explicitness, analysing linking adverbials, apposition markers and optional that as explicitness indicators.

Besides the weaknesses of the studies on explicitation in interpreting already referred to above – analysing principally small-scale collections of texts often produced by student interpreters – existing studies on explicitation in interpreting have applied extremely varied methodologies, thus making the findings considerably difficult to compare with other investigations of the same linguistic phenomenon.

Additionally, scholars have investigated explicitation not always clarifying the concept itself. As it emerges from this review, many have looked at explicitation (sometimes implicitly) defining it as the process of rendering covert information in the source text in an explicit way in the translated text. For instance, Baker (1996: 180) rather generally defined explicitation as ‘the tendency to spell things out’. On the other hand, Kajzer-Wietrzny analysed explicitness, unequivocally defining it as a feature of target texts, rather than a strategy or a technique. In our study the term ‘explicitness’ is also adopted, since the subject of this investigation is not the process of making overt in the target text implicit information in the source text, but the tendency of target information of being more explicitly encoded, namely a textual feature not necessarily deriving from an explicitation process.

All these controversial aspects might also be some of the causes why clear and sound evidence of explicitation being an interpreting universal has not been yet been forthcoming. Nevertheless, explicitation is still considered one of the most popular ‘candidates’ in this quest. The investigation described in the following study is an initial attempt at searching for explicitness in Italian and English texts, both translated and interpreted (in the simultaneous mode). One of the aims of this study is to produce comparable results with future research projects, by adopting a quantitative approach, which is typical of corpus-based studies and has already been adopted in Kajzer-Wietrzny’s study mentioned above. For this reason, in our study we applied the methodology used by Kajzer-Wietrzny (2012) in order to obtain comparable data, though working also on different language pairs.

In addition, a qualitative analysis was also performed to combine the invaluable contribution provided by corpora with a qualitative approach aimed at corroborating quantitative data, enriching it with further insights.

2. A study of explicitness in oral and written texts in English and Italian

2.1 Materials

The texts used for this study come from the European Parliament Translation and Interpreting Corpus (Bernardini, Ferraresi and Miličević 2013), a machine-readable multifaceted resource recently developed at the Forlì campus of the University of Bologna. EPTIC evolved from EPIC, the trilingual European Parliament Interpreting Corpus (Sandrelli and Bendazzoli 2005; Bendazzoli 2010) including speeches in Italian, English and Spanish and their interpretations in the same languages. Overall, EPTIC is an extension of EPIC with a difference - it does not contain Spanish subcorpora but it includes four subcorpora of written texts, both in Italian and in English. As a result, EPTIC is to date a unique bilingual, bidirectional and intermodal corpus of European Parliament plenary session speeches in English and Italian, containing both transcripts of source speeches and their interpreted versions paired with their written counterparts in the form of source-language minutes and their translations.

Plain text transcripts and headers containing extra-linguistic information (metadata) were taken from EPIC, while their respective minutes and their independently produced translations were downloaded from the official website of the European Parliament. Transcripts were POS-tagged and lemmatized[2], and subsequently sentence-level alignment for parallel and intermodal pairs was carried out. For this study the corpus has been accessed through a UNIX server with a SSH client, and investigations were performed by using CQP syntax with a command line interface.

Thanks to its structure (Figure 1), EPTIC offers the key advantage of supporting investigations from various perspectives: its content can be examined from a comparable monolingual point of view, by comparing interpreted and translated subcorpora with oral and written source production in the same language, and from a monolingual intermodal perspective, by contrasting interpreted and translated texts, as well as from a bilingual parallel perspective that enables the investigation of target texts and their source texts.

img1

ST: source texts

IT: Italian

ST-IN: transcripts of the original speech

TT: target texts

EN: English

TT-IN: transcript of the interpreter’s rendition

IN: interpreted

 

ST-TR: minutes in the original language

TR: translated

 

TT-TR: translated minutes

FIGURE 1: Structure of EPTIC

As far as the corpus size is concerned, EPTIC subcorpora were not very much balanced in its original version (Table 1). For the purposes of this study, the first EPTIC enlargement was carried out adding transcripts, thus raising the number of tokens from 175,122 to 253,818 (Table 2).

SUBCORPUS

NUMBER OF TEXTS

TOTAL WORD COUNT

 

% OF EPTIC

ST-IN-EN

81

41,869

23.91

ST-TR-EN

81

36,685

20.95

TT-IN-IT

81

33,675

19.23

TT-TR-IT

81

36,876

21.06

ST-IN-IT

17

6387

3.65

ST-TR-IT

17

6234

3.56

TT-IN-EN

17

6577

3.76

TT-TR-EN

17

6819

3.89

TOTAL

392

175,122

100

TABLE 1: Size and composition of EPTIC (Bernardini, Ferraresi and Miličević 2013)

SUBCORPUS

NUMBER OF TEXTS

TOTAL WORD COUNT

 

% OF EPTIC

ST-IN-EN

81

41,869

16.50

ST-TR-EN

81

36,685

14.45

TT-IN-IT

81

33,675

13.27

TT-TR-IT

81

36,876

14.53

ST-IN-IT

61

26,088

10.28

ST-TR-IT

61

25,244

9.95

TT-IN-EN

61

26,113

10.29

TT-TR-EN

61

27,268

10.73

TOTAL

568

253,818

100

TABLE 2: Size and Composition of EPTIC after the first enlargement

2.2 Objectives and methods

Our study set out to test the findings of the quantitative analysis on explicitness in English interpretations and translations carried out by Kajzer-Wietrzny (2012). A second objective was to perform the first investigation into explicitness in Italian applying the same research design to the EPTIC Italian subcorpora. Furthermore, the study was also aimed at identifying tendencies in terms of higher or lower explicitness of interpreted and translated texts, in order to see whether some generalizations could be drawn.

Kajzer-Wietrzny’s three indicators of explicitness for the investigation of English were borrowed for our study; they include the use of linking adverbials, apposition markers and optional that, since they are widely considered to be linguistic signals for an increased level of explicitness (Kajzer-Wietrzny 2012: 76). The set of linking adverbials comprised: as a consequence, as a result, consequently, hence, in consequence, therefore and thus. The apposition markers adopted indicated reformulations with an explicitation function: that is, that is to say, to be (more) precise, to be (more) specific, to be exact, namely and in other words. The third indicator, the optional that connective after reporting verbs, differed from the previous two because it indicates increased syntactic explicitness rather than content reformulations. The reporting verbs chosen were: admit, believe, claim, hope, know, suggest, say and tell. All these indicators are exactly the same as in the study by Kajzer-Wietrzny.

For the investigation of Italian, the aforementioned indicators were matched by comparable Italian ones, identifying similar sets of linguistic elements characteristic of this language. So, for the purposes of this study, some adaptations have been made to the set of Italian indicators. In particular, an authoritative Italian grammar text was taken as a reference, specifically the Grammatica Italiana by Serianni, which provides lists of both linking adverbials and apposition markers (1989: 541-542). From these lists, archaic items such as onde and laonde were left out, since they are virtually never used today, neither in prestige high-register, while other elements, such as per cui, di conseguenza and in altre parole, were added in order to have the same number of elements in each set (English and Italian). The linking adverbial infatti was excluded, given its numerous pragmatic meanings and functions and its high frequency in spoken Italian language which might have distorted the results. The Italian linking adverbials selected were: dunque, quindi, perciò, pertanto, sicché, per cui and di conseguenza, while the set of apposition markers included: cioè, ossia, ovvero, se vogliamo, vale a dire, per essere precisi and in altre parole. As for the English optional that, this syntactic indicator was replaced with a similar one, as in Italian the connective after reporting verbs has always to be stated. In Italian, in fact, when the subordinate clause after reporting verbs has the same subject of the main clause, the speaker can choose between an explicit clause structure, using the connective che followed by the subject and the conjugated verb, and an implicit clause structure followed by the connective di and an infinitive verb, without having to repeat the subject. The reporting verbs chosen were: affermare, aggiungere, ammettere, annunciare, asserire, avvertire, comunicare, confessare, considerare, credere, dichiarare, dire, dubitare, esclamare, informare, negare, promettere, raccontare, ricordare, rispondere, ritenere e trovare (Serianni 1989: 552). In this subset of indicators, 22 elements have been analysed, as opposed to the only 8 items in English. In this case, we could not keep the same number of reporting verbs in English, since these reporting verbs are all currently in use in Italian.

Firstly, a quantitative macroanalysis[3] was carried out both from a monolingual comparable perspective, comparing speeches and interpretations in the same language, and from an intermodal perspective, comparing the occurrences of the selected sets of items in interpretations and translations. Secondly, a parallel qualitative microanalysis was performed to check if the trends of increased explicitness highlighted by the quantitative analyses were actually confirmed. The underlying tenet of the chosen methodology is that combining both a quantitative and qualitative approach gives researchers the opportunity to verify that the observations that emerged from the quantitative investigation are in fact the phenomenon really looked for, thus allowing sounder conclusions to be drawn.

2.3 Statistical significance test and limitations of the applied methodology

In order to verify the null hypothesis, that is that there were no differences between the raw frequencies of the investigated explicitness indicators, Fisher’s exact test was applied and carried out thanks to R, a freely accessible software for statistical computing[4]. This test is expected to produce more precise p-values for not too large counts (Baayen 2008:113), as this is the case of the chosen items’ frequencies, given the size of EPTIC and the kind of investigated linguistic phenomena[5].

The first limitation of this methodology is related to the statistical significance test. To carry out Fisher’s exact test, the number of the occurrences of the indicator (x) and the total number of tokens (N) of the investigated subcorpus must be inserted in the matrix (N – x). Since some indicators consist of more than one token, it is impossible to take this into account while performing the subtraction, otherwise each token of the same occurrence would count as separate occurrences. Therefore, every indicator was considered as if it were composed by a single token. It was thought that this does not affect the statistical relevance result.

Secondly, for an analysis to be as similar as possible in two different languages, first a preliminary contrastive analysis should be performed in order to verify that the sets of selected indicators are in fact exhaustive and equally represented in that language. Nevertheless, this would have led to a different methodology and to results not comparable with Kajzer-Wietrzny’s study (2012).

Thirdly, it must also be acknowledged that it would have been better to use a corpus with perfectly balanced subcorpora, while some EPTIC components are larger than others, in spite of the efforts made within the scope of this study, as mentioned in 2.1.

3. Results

3.1 Introduction

In the following sections the results of the investigations conducted in the eight EPTIC subcorpora are grouped according to the three different sets of selected explicitness indicators, and presented from a traditional monolingual perspective. All the results are shown together with raw and normalized frequencies[6] and with the outcomes of Fisher’s exact test for statistical relevance. First, the tendencies which emerged are discussed carrying out a comparable and an intermodal macroanalysis. For the purposes of the intermodal analysis, source subcorpora have also been statistically compared, to ensure that no significant differences due to external factors could affect the comparison between the target subcorpora, in terms of occurrences of the selected items, between original speeches and written minutes. Second, a parallel qualitative analysis is performed to confirm or disconfirm two quantitative tendencies that have emerged from the previous investigations and were selected as particularly interesting.

Even though a quantitative macroanalysis follows, the corpus size allowed us to ascertain that every single occurrence is precisely the linguistic phenomenon looked for.

3.2. Macroanalysis on English subcorpora

3.2.1 Frequency of explicitness indicators

Table 3 shows the results obtained from the different queries launched in the English oral and written subcorpora, both from a comparable and an intermodal perspective.

As regards linking adverbials, the data related to the oral subcorpora, namely original speeches and interpreted production into English, showed 57 occurrences in the interpreted subcorpus, normalized to 100,000 words, which was exactly the same number of normalized occurrences in comparable original speeches in English. As for written subcorpora, source texts (minutes) featured 65 occurrences of the seven selected items, while in the translated subcorpus the number of occurrences was almost three times as much, that is to say 183 in total. In this case, there were no statistically significant differences between the two subcorpora of oral and written source texts that could distort this comparison, counting respectively 57 and 65 occurrences.

As for apposition markers, the corresponding occurrences were 46 in interpreted texts and 26 in the comparable oral subcorpus. In written subcorpora, 51 apposition markers were counted in translated texts and 26 in comparable written texts, and therefore the normalized number of occurrences in the subcorpora of source texts is the same.

The results concerning the optional that connective after reporting verbs indicated that in every subcorpus this connective was verbalized in more than 50 per cent of cases. More precisely, the structure with optional that occurred in 78 per cent of the cases in the subcorpus of interpreted texts and in 70 per cent of cases in that of original speeches, while it appeared in 84 per cent of the cases in written translations and in 80 per cent of the cases in written texts.

From an intermodal perspective, it can be noted that the normalized occurrences of linking adverbials in the subcorpus of interpretations were 57, while they accounted for 183 in the subcorpus of translations. The apposition markers in the interpreted English subcorpus were 46 compared to the 51 occurrences in the translated English one. The data on optional that show that interpreters opted for the verbalisation of this connective in 78 per cent of cases, while translators did that in 84 per cent of cases.

LINKING ADVERBIALS ENGLISH

SUBCORPUS

st-in-en

tt-in-en

st-tr-en

tt-tr-en

RAW FREQUENCY

24

15

24

50

NORMALIZED FREQUENCY (100,000 words)

57

57

65

183

STATISTICAL COMPARISON

significance

indicated by: (*)

monolingual comparable

monolingual intermodal

st-in-en vs. tt-in-en

st-tr-en vs. tt-tr-en

st-in-en vs. st-tr-en

tt-in-en vs. tt-tr-en

p-Value

significant with

p < 0,05

1

1.72 x 10-5 (*)

0.6666

2.852 x 10-5 (*)

 

APPOSITION MARKERS ENGLISH

SUBCORPUS

st-in-en

tt-in-en

st-tr-en

tt-tr-en

RAW FREQUENCY

11

12

9

1

NORMALIZED FREQUENCY (100,000 words)

26

46

26

51

STATISTICAL COMPARISON

significance

indicated by: (*)

monolingual comparable

monolingual intermodal

st-in-en vs. tt-in-en

st-tr-en vs. tt-tr-en

st-in-en vs. st-tr-en

tt-in-en vs. tt-tr-en

p-Value

significant with

p < 0,05

0.2001

0.09197

1

0.8459

 

OPTIONAL THAT

SUBCORPUS

st-in-en

tt-in-en

st-tr-en

tt-tr-en

RAW FREQUENCY

97/138

63/81

90/112

75/89

FREQUENCY IN PERCENT

70%

78%

80%

84%

STATISTICAL COMPARISON

significance

indicated by: (*)

monolingual comparable

monolingual intermodal

st-in-en vs. tt-in-en

st-tr-en vs. tt-tr-en

st-in-en vs. st-tr-en

tt-in-en vs. tt-tr-en

p-Value

significant with

p < 0,05

0.2704

0.5792

0.3282

0.0793

TABLE 3: Results - English[7]

ST: source texts

IT: Italian

ST-IN: transcripts of the original speech

TT: target texts

EN: English

TT-IN: transcript of the interpreter’s rendition

IN: interpreted

 

ST-TR: minutes in the original language

TR: translated

 

TT-TR: translated minutes

3.2.2 Major findings

The investigations carried out in the English subcorpora reveal an overall tendency towards an increased frequency of explicitness indicators in interpreted and translated subcorpora. The only exceptions are linking adverbials, whose frequency remains constant in oral subcorpora but increases in the translated subcorpus compared to the comparable written one. Only this very last tendency of higher explicitness marked by a larger number of linking adverbials in translated English texts is statistically significant according to Fisher’s exact test. Table 4 summarises the explicitness tendencies that have emerged from the comparable monolingual analysis in English.

 

SUBCORPUS

NORMALIZED FREQUENCY

EXPLICITNESS

IN TARGET SUBCORPUS

STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE

LINKING ADVERBIALS

ENGLISH

tt-in-en

57

CONSTANT

NO

st-in-en

57

tt-tr-en

183

HIGHER (*)

YES

st-tr-en

65

APPOSITION MARKERS

ENGLISH

tt-in-en

46

HIGHER

NO

st-in-en

26

tt-tr-en

51

HIGHER

NO

st-tr-en

26

OPTIONAL THAT

tt-in-en

78%

HIGHER

NO

st-in-en

70%

tt-tr-en

84%

HIGHER

NO

st-tr-en

80%

TABLE 4: Explicitness tendencies – comparable perspective (English)

The English intermodal analysis has brought to light a clear tendency towards a higher degree of explicitness in translated production compared to interpreted texts, even though this tendency is statistically confirmed only in the case of linking adverbials. In no comparison between written and oral source subcorpora can a statistically significant difference be observed, thus confirming that potential tendencies are to be ascribed to the translating or interpreting process and not to differences already present in the source subcorpora. Table 5 indicates the frequencies of the three selected explicitness indicators in English from an intermodal point of view.

 

SUBCORPUS

NORMALIZED FREQUENCY

EXPLICITNESS

STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT

LINKING ADVERBIALS

ENGLISH

tt-in-en

57

HIGHER (*)

in tt-tr-en

YES

tt-tr-en

183

st-in-en

57

NO statistically

significant difference

between source subcorpora

st-tr-en

65

APPOSITION MARKERS

ENGLISH

tt-in-en

46

HIGHER

in tt-tr-en

NO

tt-tr-en

51

st-in-en

26

NO statistically

significant difference

between source subcorpora

st-tr-en

26

OPTIONAL THAT

tt-in-en

78%

HIGHER

in tt-tr-en

NO

tt-tr-en

84%

st-in-en

70%

NO statistically

significant difference

between source subcorpora

st-tr-en

80%

TABLE 5: Explicitness tendencies – intermodal perspective (English)

3.3 Macroanalysis on Italian subcorpora

3.3.1 Frequency of explicitness indicators

As was mentioned before (section 2.2), the three Italian explicitness indicators were chosen so as to be as similar as possible to the English ones. Since the Italian language does not have an equivalent connective to the optional that, but only an alternative construction with the connective preposition followed by the implicit form, this English syntactic explicitness indicator was replaced with the most similar Italian explicit structure. Table 6 summarises the results of the queries launched in the Italian subcorpora together with the respective statistical significance tests.

In the subcorpus of interpreted texts into Italian, 273 normalized occurrences of linking adverbials were counted, while there were 207 occurrences in the original Italian oral subcorpus. As for written subcorpora, in the translated one there were 106 occurrences of the seven selected items and in the comparable written subcorpus the number of occurrences is 136. Also in this case there were no statistically significant differences between the two subcorpora of oral and written source texts.

The investigations carried out for the second indicator, the set of apposition markers, showed that 51 normalized occurrences of this linguistic phenomenon could be identified in interpreted texts, but this frequency went up to 104 in the comparable oral Italian subcorpus. The same trend was observed in the two corresponding written subcorpora, where occurrences accounted for 30 in translated texts and 76 in comparable written ones. From the control comparison, in this case, no statistically significant differences were observed between source subcorpora either.

The frequencies obtained show that the third indicator chosen, namely the explicit structure after reporting verbs in clauses with the same subject, is in fact a very rare linguistic phenomenon in this corpus, being in one subcorpus even completely absent. Therefore, it could not be used to make any kind of generalisation and it was excluded from the following analysis.

The intermodal perspective highlighted that the normalized frequency of linking adverbials was 273 in interpreted texts and 106 in translated texts, and as for apposition markers, 51 occurrences could be observed in the interpreted subcorpus and 30 in the translated one.

LINKING ADVERBIALS ITALIAN

SUBCORPUS

st-in-it

tt-in-it

st-tr-it

tt-tr-it

RAW FREQUENCY

54

92

50

39

NORMALIZED FREQUENCY (100,000 words)

207

273

136

106

STATISTICAL COMPARISON

significance

indicated by: (*)

monolingual comparable

monolingual intermodal

st-in-it vs. tt-in-it

st-tr-it vs. tt-tr-it

st-in-it vs. st-tr-it

tt-in-it vs. tt-tr-it

p-Value

significant with

p < 0,05

0.1125

0.003396 (*)

0.8448

2.472 x 10-7 (*)

 

APPOSITION MARKERS ITALIAN

SUBCORPUS

st-in-it

tt-in-it

st-tr-it

tt-tr-it

RAW FREQUENCY

27

17

28

11

NORMALIZED FREQUENCY (100,000 words)

104

51

76

30

STATISTICAL COMPARISON

significance

indicated by: (*)

monolingual comparable

monolingual intermodal

st-in-it vs. tt-in-it

st-tr-it vs. tt-tr-it

st-in-it vs. st-tr-it

tt-in-it vs. tt-tr-it

p-Value

significant with

p < 0,05

0.02186 (*)

0.0001117 (*)

0.8928

0.1884

 

CHE + CONJUGATED VERB

SUBCORPUS

st-in-it

tt-in-it

st-tr-it

tt-tr-it

RAW FREQUENCY

2/3

6/9

0

7/9

FREQUENCY IN PERCENT

67%

67%

0%

78%

TABLE 6: Results – Italian

ST: source texts

IT: Italian

ST-IN: transcripts of the original speech

TT: target texts

EN: English

TT-IN: transcript of the interpreter’s rendition

IN: interpreted

 

ST-TR: minutes in the original language

TR: translated

 

TT-TR: translated minutes

3.3.2 Major findings

As was noted in the previous section, only two out of the three explicitness indicators chosen could be taken into account for the macroanalysis in Italian, since the third resulted as being too rare in the investigated corpus. Given the longer list of reporting verbs chosen for Italian (22 items in this category, as opposed to the 8 selected for English on the basis of Kajzer-Wietrzny 2012), this finding is surprising. Maybe a preliminary contrastive analysis could help ascertain whether this indicator is not representative for the Italian language or if this lack of results is due to the corpus size.

Table 7 gives an overview of the major explicitness tendencies detected. Overall, the data show an opposite trend compared to that highlighted in the English subcorpora. In both interpreted and translated subcorpora there is a statistically lower occurrence of the indicators chosen, which might be ascribed to a tendency towards a lower degree of explicitness. The only exception to this is represented by the increased frequency of linking adverbials in the interpreted subcorpora, though this was not confirmed by Fisher’s statistical test. The data concerning apposition markers are more homogenous, since both interpreted and translated subcorpora feature fewer explicitness items than their source counterparts.

 

SUBCORPUS

NORMALIZED FREQUENCY

EXPLICITNESS

IN TARGET SUBCORPUS

STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE

LINKING ADVERBIALS

ITALIAN

tt-in-it

273

HIGHER

NO

st-in-it

207

tt-tr-it

106

LOWER (*)

YES

st-tr-it

136

APPOSITION MARKERS

ITALIAN

tt-in-it

51

LOWER (*)

YES

st-in-it

104

tt-tr-it

30

LOWER (*)

YES

st-tr-it

76

TABLE 7: Explicitness tendencies – comparable perspective (Italian)

The intermodal investigation carried out in the Italian subcorpora shows once again an opposite trend compared to that observed in the English subcorpora, as indicated in Table 8, where explicitness tendencies are illustrated from an intermodal perspective. Here the occurrences of the selected sets of items were higher in the interpreted texts, but only for linking adverbials is this tendency statistically confirmed.

 

SUBCORPUS

NORMALIZED FREQUENCY

EXPLICITNESS

STATISTICAL SIGNIFICANCE

LINKING ADVERBIALS

ITALIAN

tt-in-en

273

HIGHER (*)

in tt-in-it

YES

tt-tr-en

106

st-in-en

207

NO statistically

significant difference

between source subcorpora

st-tr-en

136

APPOSITION MARKERS

ITALIAN

tt-in-en

51

HIGHER

in tt-in-it

NO

tt-tr-en

30

st-in-en

104

NO statistically

significant difference

between source subcorpora

st-tr-en

76

TABLE 8: Explicitness tendencies – intermodal perspective (Italian)

3.4 Parallel microanalysis

3.4.1 Introduction

After having discussed the major explicitness tendencies observed thanks to a twofold monolingual analysis following a comparable and an intermodal approach, in this section some of the findings so far obtained are tested, performing a parallel qualitative analysis in English and Italian – a way of further exploiting the huge potential of EPTIC. In particular, the source frequencies of the selected sets of items are compared and investigated through bilingual concordances. Needless to say that only linking adverbials and apposition markers are the subject of this analysis, since these are the only indicators that can be contrasted from an inter-linguistic viewpoint.

The assumption underlying this kind of analysis, combined with the previous one, is that this is an effective way to verify if the emergent tendencies of higher or lower explicitness are in fact the result of explicitation or implicitation processes. For the purposes of this paper, only two interesting cases are discussed, namely English linking adverbials and Italian apposition markers.

3.4.2 Parallel microanalysis of English linking adverbials

In the monolingual quantitative analysis of linking adverbials, the tendency of translated texts being more explicit than comparable English written texts emerged as statistically significant. From a parallel point of view, the data related to linking adverbials (Table 9) show a drop in the number of the occurrences of this indicator from 54 in Italian original speeches to 15 in their English interpreted counterparts.

 

SUBCORPUS

RAW FREQUENCY

LINKING ADVERBIALS

ENGLISH

st-in-it

54

tt-in-en

15

st-tr-it

50

tt-tr-en

50

TABLE 9: linking adverbials - parallel perspective (English)

By looking at parallel concordances, it can be observed that English interpreters tend to leave out linking adverbials more frequently than Italian speakers, as shown in the following examples (1) and (2).

(1)

st-in-it <text_id 18>: Un precedente ripeto molto grave di censura che sembra più tipico della democrazia alla cu- turca che non di un paese sicuramente democratico e fondatore dell'Unione europea contro la forza politica che vuole autonomia e federalismo e quindi contro lo statalismo //

tt-in-en: It 's a kind of thing that one would expect more in Turkey than in a country which is supposed to be democratic and which is certainly a founding country of the European Union // Ehm we are in favour of federalism and against the state centralism [...]

st-tr-it: E' un precedente , ripeto , molto grave di censura - che sembra più tipico della democrazia alla turca che di un paese sicuramente democratico e fondatore dell' Unione europea - nei confronti di una forza politica che vuole autonomia e federalismo, quindi contro lo statalismo.

tt-tr-en: This seems more typical of Turkish style democracy than that of a country that is undoubtedly democratic and was a founding member of the European Union. I would reiterate that this is an extremely serious precedent concerning censorship of a political party that wants independence and federalism and is, therefore, against statism.

 (2)

st-in-it <text_id 46>: Credo che la scelta dell'Unio- dell'Unione europea sia corretta quella di avere lunghi tempi non di fermarsi immediatamente con una politica dove i nodi vengono tagliati come nell'antico attraverso il taglio del nodo gordiano // Abbiamo bisogno quindi di un tempo abbiamo bisogno di riflettere e di costruire relazioni //

tt-in-en: I think that the European Union has made the right choice that is looking at things on the long-term rather than simply cutting the gordian knots immediately in the form of certain policies // What we need is time we need to reflect we need to build up our activities //

st-tr-it: Credo che sia corretta la scelta dell' Unione europea di optare per il lungo periodo e di non pretendere risultati immediati attraverso il taglio del nodo gordiano di antica memoria. Abbiamo quindi bisogno di tempo per riflettere e costruire relazioni.

tt-tr-en: I think the European Union 's decision to opt for the long term and not to aim for immediate results by cutting the Gordian knot of old is the right one. We therefore need time to reflect and to build relationships.

In example (1), being against state centralism is, in the speaker’s version, a result of being federalist, while the interpreter simply juxtaposes the two concepts. Probably, it cannot be said that the interpreter’s rendition lacks coherence, but certainly English recipients need to process the concept heard to a deeper level than the Italian audience. Example (2) shows a case in which a common Italian SVO pattern is turned by the interpreter into a pseudo-cleft sentence, placing more emphasis on the concept of time. Since this sort of structure presumably requires a more considerable cognitive effort for the interpreter, it might be that the interpreter opted for this more complex structure to compensate the linking adverbial’s omission.

The observed tendency of English interpreters to omit linking adverbials that are, on the contrary, present in the respective translations, seems in line with the results of the intermodal analysis, thus confirming the higher explicitness of translated texts for this explicitness indicator.

3.4.3 Parallel microanalysis of Italian apposition markers

The quantitative comparable macroanalysis of Italian apposition markers highlighted a statistically significant tendency towards a lower degree of explicitness of the interpreted subcorpus compared to the original oral one. Table 10 shows the results of the investigations carried out on this indicator from a parallel perspective, displaying a rise from 11 to 17 occurrences in interpreted texts.

 

SUBCORPUS

RAW FREQUENCY

APPOSITION MARKERS
ITALIAN

st-in-en

11

tt-in-it

17

st-tr-en

9

tt-tr-it

11

TABLE 10: apposition markers - parallel perspective (Italian)

By examining the relevant parallel concordances, the Italian interpreters' preference to add apposition markers can be clearly observed in examples (3) and (4).

(3)

st-in-en <text_id 23>: There is sometimes a danger that we engage in the in the politics of the Book of Genesis //

tt-in-it: a volte c'è un pericolo ossia ehm fare un po'come la Genesi che luce sia e luce fu //

st-tr-en: Sometimes there is a danger that we engage in the politics of the Book of Genesis : let there be light - and there is light.

tt-tr-it: A volte si rischia di fare la politica del Libro della Genesi : " Sia la luce. E la luce fu ".

 (4)

st-in-en <text_id 3>: Commissioner Byrne I welcome very much your statement here here this morning // But I understand Sir you went to Thailand and were told that it wasn't avian flu but it was chicken cholera cholera //

tt-in-it: Commissario Byrne io sono molto lieto della dichiarazione che lei ha fatto questa mattina però mi pare che lei sia andato in Tailandia e le è stato detto che non c'era l'influenza aviaria ma che era un'altra malattia dei polli e cioè il colera dei polli //

st-tr-en: Mr President, Commissioner Byrne, I welcome your statement here this morning, but I understand that you went to Thailand and were told that it was not avian flu but chicken cholera.

tt-tr-it: Signor Presidente, Commissario Byrne, accolgo con favore la sua dichiarazione di stamani, ma ho sentito che lei è stato in Tailandia e che le è stato detto che non si trattava di influenza aviaria, ma di colera dei gallinacei.

While example (3) seems to be a simple addition of the apposition marker ossia, without further relevant interventions by the interpreter on his/her production, example (4) features a more segmented rendition than the original speech. The structure “it wasn’t x, but y” is rendered into Italian more gradually “it wasn’t x, but another illness, that is y”, and is a typical case of the interpreter approaching the correct translation by stating a general term first and then correcting and/or complementing it with a more precise one immediately afterwards. The choice of a longer rendition might have been required by the interpreter’s need to recall the information from the short-term memory, or to think of a more accurate term. In both examples, apposition markers appear as good tools to add a new piece of information to an utterance that could also have been considered as concluded, without starting a new sentence.

Finally, example (5) shows a quite common phenomenon in the corpus. Here the apposition marker is added in the interpreted production as a consequence of the interpreter verbalising a logical link that s/he presumably perceives from the speaker’s prosody. In the corresponding written versions, this link is not lexicalised but it is expressed through punctuation marks.

(5)

st-in-en <text_id 23>: Mention has been made here about the slow progress in relation to the two major ehm Amsterdam imperatives the ehm the ehm the directives in relation to asylum //

tt-in-it: Si è parlato della lentezza dell'avanzamento dei due imperativi più importanti di Amsterdam ossia le di- ehm le direttive legate all'asilo //

st-tr-en: Mention has been made of the slow progress in relation to the two major Amsterdam imperatives: the directives in relation to asylum.

tt-tr-it: Si è parlato dei lenti progressi riguardanti i due principali imperativi di Amsterdam: le direttive in materia di asilo.

In the light of the cases of explicitation examined so far, it seems reasonable to conclude that the tendency of interpreted texts being less explicit cannot be observed in the parallel qualitative analysis performed.

4. Conclusions

This study found no clear evidence of more or less explicitness in interpreted/translated versus untranslated speeches, and therefore no evidence for a universal tendency in its strictest sense. In other words, no homogenous and conclusive tendency could be observed which could summarise and include all the results obtained with the methodology applied to analyse each explicitness indicator selected. On the other hand, from the monolingual macroanalysis different tendencies according to language direction have emerged.

Firstly, results in the English subcorpora in this study suggest an overall tendency of increased explicitness in translated and interpreted subcorpora, but only the tendencies of the translated subcorpus being more explicit compared to the written comparable one and to the interpreted subcorpus were confirmed by Fisher’s exact test of statistical relevance. The results highlighted by the queries related to both linking adverbials, apposition markers and optional that do not indicate a statistically significant tendency towards a higher explicitness of interpretations, while it seems that their frequency is, in a few cases, statistically significantly more pronounced in translated texts and not statistically significant in the remaining ones. The findings related to all the three explicitness indicators selected are therefore in line with Kajzer-Wietrzny’s (2012: 141).

Secondly, after having excluded the third explicitness indicator because of its overall lower frequency in the corpus, an overall tendency of lower explicitness of both interpreted and translated texts has emerged from the investigations in the Italian subcorpora. As for linking adverbials, the tendency of increased explicitness of interpreted texts compared to source oral texts in Italian was not statistically significant. On the other hand, the tendency of translated texts being less explicit than their comparable counterparts was confirmed by Fisher’s exact test. Also the lower frequency of apposition markers in both translated and interpreted texts compared to the respective comparable subcorpora was statistically proved. From an intermodal point of view, the tendency of interpreted texts being more explicit than translated ones was statistically relevant only for linking adverbials. It must be borne in mind that Kajzer-Wietrzny’s study did not investigate Italian subcorpora, and therefore these results not only corroborate hers, but also complement them.

Finally, thanks to the versatility of the EPTIC corpus and the twofold methodology (quantitative and qualitative) applied, some interesting differences according to language direction have emerged from the parallel microanalysis. In spite of the limitations that are present in this study, such as the sample size and the unbalanced subcorpora, in this paper the English interpreters’ preference to leave out linking adverbials more frequently than Italian speakers, and the tendency of Italian interpreters to add apposition markers, which they use more frequently than English speakers were discussed. In particular, the first case confirms the outcome of the monolingual analysis, while in the second case the findings of the quantitative macroanalysis were disproved by the parallel qualitative microanalysis.

The overriding aim of this study was to conduct an investigation into explicitness, trying to add new elements to the discussion on translation and interpreting universals. Hopefully, the methodology applied will aid in comparing and contrasting the findings of future studies, thus enriching the debate on translation and interpreting universals. Furthermore, parallel concordances allowed for the highlighting of some shortcomings of traditional monolingual comparable analyses, whose results could not sometimes be disconfirmed by parallel investigation. A deeper analysis on larger Italian corpora of the explicit structure after reporting verbs in clauses with the same subject is hoped to verify its appropriateness. We also noted (3.3.2) that a preliminary contrastive analysis can more effectively help choose perfectly equivalent explicitness indicators, especially if this kind of investigation is to be carried out on non cognate languages. These and other aspects may represent a fertile ground for future studies aimed at dispelling some of the confusion about this potential universal.

Nevertheless, these results highlight the huge untapped potential of bilingual, bidirectional and intermodal corpora like EPTIC, and the need to enlarge the corpus in order to gain further research insights into the nature of translation and interpreting universals.

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Pym, A. (2005) “Explaining Explicitation”, in New trends in Translation Studies. In Honour of Kinga Klaudy, K. Károly and A. Fóris (eds), Budapest, Akadémiai Kiadó: 29–34.

Sandrelli, A. and C. Bendazzoli (2005) “Lexical Patterns in Simultaneous Interpreting: A Preliminary Investigation of EPIC (European Parliament Interpreting Corpus)”, Proceedings from the Corpus Linguistics Conference Series 1, no. 1.

Schjoldager, A. (1995/2002) “An Explanatory Study of Translational Norms in Simultaneous Interpreting” in The Interpreting Studies Reader, F. Pöchhacker and M. Shlesinger (eds) (2002), London & New York, Routledge: 301-11.

Serianni, L. (1989). Grammatica Italiana, Torino, Utet.

Shlesinger, M. (1995) “Shifts in Cohesion and Simultaneous Interpreting”, The Translator 1, no. 2: 193–214.

Notes

[1] S-Universals are ‘universal differences between translations and their source texts’, while T-Universals are ‘universal differences between translations and comparable non-translated texts’ (Chesterman 2004).

[2] Part-of-speech tagging and lemmatization was performed independently of EPIC using Tree-Tagger, while Corpus Work Bench (CWB) was used for the indexing process (Bernardini et al. 2013).

[3] In this study, by ‘quantitative analysis’ we mean the analysis of the number of occurrences of the indicators chosen, on which we applied Fisher’s exact test to find out their statistical significance.

[4] For further information about the R project see: http://www.r-project.org/ (accessed: 16 June 2016).

[5] This is also the reason why chi-squared test was not applied. In this respect, Baayen maintains that ‘For tables with not too large counts, a test of independence of rows (or columns) that produces more precise p-values is Fisher’s exact test’ (Baayen 2008: 113).

[6] For the results of the different indicators and corpora to be comparable, raw frequencies have all been normalized per 100,000 words. Differently, the occurrences of the third indicator of each set of indicators are already expressed in percentages, and hence comparable across subcorpora.

[7] P-Values with more than five decimal numbers are conveniently written in scientific notation.

About the author(s)

Niccolò Morselli graduated in Interpreting (MA) from the Advanced School of Modern Languages for Interpreters and Translators (SSLMIT) at Forlì, University of Bologna
in 2014 with a dissertation on “Interpreting Universals: a study on explicitness in the intermodal corpus EPTIC”.

Email: [please login or register to view author's email address]

©inTRAlinea & Niccolò Morselli (2018).
"Interpreting Universals: A study of explicitness in the intermodal EPTIC corpus"
inTRAlinea Special Issue: New Findings in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies
Edited by: Claudio Bendazzoli, Mariachiara Russo & Bart Defrancq
This article can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
Stable URL: http://www.intralinea.org/specials/article/2320

Looking up phrasal verbs in small corpora of interpreting

An attempt to draw out aspects of interpreted language

By Andy Cresswell (University of Bologna, Italy)

Abstract & Keywords

A comparison of the frequencies of English phrasal verbs in two corpora of simultaneous interpreting into English, one B into A, and the other A into B, showed the A to B interpreters used phrasal verbs much less often, which confirms the theories that non-natives find it hard to acquire phrasal verbs, and that non native interpreters, because of the pressure of the SI process, find it hard to access them. In particular, phrasal verb lemmas with idiomatic and figurative meanings were very much less frequent in the language of the A into B interpreters, as were phrasal verbs with aspectual meaning. Despite this, metafunctional analysis showed that the A into B interpreters did use phrasal verbs with interpersonal function, to pursue the role of interpreter as mediator. The most striking finding on metafunctions was that phrasal verbs used by the B into A interpreters for the process of textualisation, and which are therefore crucial for meaning assembly, were almost entirely absent in the language of the A into B interpreters. In short, phrasal verbs are clearly an important resource for SI and the lack of them in the language of A into B interpreters suggests an urgent instructional need.

Keywords: simultaneous interpreting, directionality, collocations, phrasal verbs, interpreter training

©inTRAlinea & Andy Cresswell (2018).
"Looking up phrasal verbs in small corpora of interpreting An attempt to draw out aspects of interpreted language"
inTRAlinea Special Issue: New Findings in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies
Edited by: Claudio Bendazzoli, Mariachiara Russo & Bart Defrancq
This article can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
Stable URL: http://www.intralinea.org/specials/article/2319

1. The scope of this article

The primary purpose of this article is to make the case for the teaching of English phrasal verbs in language lessons for trainee interpreters. Phrasal verbs are a major sub-component of formulaic language, and the use of formulaic language is a major factor in the fluency that makes simultaneous interpreting a feasible activity. Despite this, to the best of my knowledge, nothing has so far been published that focuses specifically on the role played by phrasal verbs in simultaneous interpreting.

The article assumes that simultaneous interpreting is a process of assembly of meaning, as illustrated by Setton (1998/2002), and that it often necessarily involves deletion and summarising of aspects of the source text. For these reasons the article deliberately does not take a “translation” oriented perspective, and is not concerned with observing the items of language that phrasal verbs are translating, but rather with the more general questions of whether phrasal verbs are used by native and native-like interpreters, and whether there is therefore a need for non-native interpreters to use them. In seeking to find this out, the methods used are primarily those of counting and the comparison of frequencies in corpora. Given the lack of availability of transcribed interpretations, the corpora are necessarily small, but Aston (1997) argues that interesting results and applications can be derived from small corpora, and Flowerdew (2004) points out that if a corpus is specialised enough, small size is enough to provide satisfactory results – albeit when the corpora are very small, as in this research, an appropriate degree of caution will need to be exercised when generalising.

Assuming that phrasal verbs are used by interpreters, the article aims to discover which phrasal verbs are particularly characteristic of interpreting in comparison with the English language as a whole, as represented by the British National Corpus. Finally, by studying the context of use as represented in concordance lines, the article seeks to show what functions interpreters use phrasal verbs for, with a view to possible use in a language syllabus for trainee interpreters.

2. Directionality, Proficiency and Formulaic Sequences

The cognitive complexity of the process of simultaneous interpretation requires extensive knowledge of the source and target languages, while time constraints imply there must be swift access to that knowledge both in the sense of plausibly accurate comprehension and in the sense of adequately synchronic production. The initial response to this challenge was that interpreters should work only towards their mother tongue (Herbert 1952: 61), and that simultaneous interpreting, in particular, should ideally be the exclusive preserve of native speakers (Seleskovitch 1978: 100), working from their foreign active or passive language(s) (or B and C languages, respectively) to their native language (or language A according to AIIC’s classification). This favouring of C/B to A directionality is reflected in the position taken by AIIC (as reported by Bartłomiejczyk 2004: 247). Yet there are plausible arguments on the other side. Denissenko (1989: 157) argues that A to B directionality, which implies the ability to comprehend of the native speaker, but the more limited ability to produce language of the non-native speaker, is more likely to lead to reproduction of all or most of the original message. In addition, there is the pragmatic argument, as highlighted by Bartłomiejczyk (2004: 247), that circumstances lead to market demand for A to B in addition to retour, and that interpreting students might as well be properly prepared for this. One essential aspect of such preparation for working towards B, in other words for working towards the non-native language, is the effort to bring the productive language skills of the non-native speaker nearer to the proficiency level of the native speaker.

So what is it about native speakers that non-native interpreters, in seeking to be native-like, should seek to emulate? From the points of view both of comprehension and of production, acquiring the phraseological knowledge of the native-speaker would appear to be both a feasible and a useful strategy for reducing stress and processing load in SI – especially for trainees, since, according to Setton (1998/2002: 199), the attention taken by selective suppression, working in two languages, and by meaning assembly, makes access to phrasal expressions the only automatic mechanism that is likely to be available. From the point of view of comprehension, such phraseological knowledge is an important component of pragmatic processing in oral comprehension (Rost 2011: 138). From the point of view of production, the fact that native speakers know formulaic sequences (Wray 2002), in other words ready-formed phrases or strings or slot and filler patterns, brings processing advantages in reducing cognitive load and freeing up attention. This is because formulaic sequences are retrieved from memory as whole units – as it were, automatically, so that the time and effort needed to encode meanings through combining grammar and lexis is not needed (Pawley & Syder 1983: 192; Wray 2002: 9). In the words of Pawley and Syder (2000: 164), ‘It is knowledge of conventional expressions, more than anything, [...] that is the key to nativelike fluency’.

3. Phrasal verbs: description and use

3.1 The value of phrasal verbs

Multiword verbs, together with their collocations, constitute a major subclass of formulaic expressions. Following Biber et al. (1999), the subclass can be further divided, on the one hand, into free combinations of verbs and prepositions, which are not formulaic sequences, and on the other, into prepositional verbs, phrasal verbs, phrasal-prepositional verbs, and other multiword verb constructions, which are formulaic sequences (Biber et al: 1999: 403–427). Among these, the principal category is phrasal verbs, which are formed of a lexical verb in combination with an adverbial particle.

Many phrasal verbs are polysemic – they are quasi-empty vessels, with a vague tendency towards meaning which ends up being defined by the words used around them. As a consequence, many of these verbs can be used in quite a wide range of contexts – and the cotexts (in other words the adjacent text with which the phrasal verb is closely linked semantically, such as its regular collocates) may themselves extend the phrasal verb into longer strings.

As phrasal verbs are often short, with monosyllabic lexical verbs and particles, they also arguably offer value to the interpreter in reducing articulation time and effort. Additionally, they are fairly frequent in English, occurring in the British National Corpus (henceforth the BNC) at a rate of approximately one every 192 words (Gardner and Davies 2007: 347). For reasons then of processing advantages and expediency, combined with their high frequency in the English language as predicted by the BNC, one would expect to find a reasonably high occurrence of phrasal verbs in English produced by English native-speakers and native-like simultaneous interpreters.

3.2 Phrasal verbs: structural and semantic processing difficulties for non-native interpreters

The difficulty non-native speakers experience in acquiring English phrasal verbs is well documented in the literature (Dagut and Laufer 1985; Laufer and Eliasson 1993; Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman 1999: 425; Liao and Fukuya 2004; Siyanova and Schmitt 2007). The difficulty is experienced even by speakers of Germanic languages, such as Dutch, which themselves have phrasal verbs (Hulstijn and Marchena1989). While one would expect experienced native and native-like interpreters working towards English to have moved beyond such difficulties, this is not necessarily the case where interpreters are non-natives working towards English as a B language, particularly if they are trainees or beginning professionals. The difficulties can be divided into two types. The first type of difficulty is structural, and applies particularly to speakers of languages with few or no phrasal verbs. The problem here is that, given the pressure experienced during SI, as detailed by Setton (1998/2002: 199; see section 2 above), interpreters working towards B may retreat to more automatised structures analogous to those of their mother tongue, avoiding the use of phrasal verbs. Given that phrasal verbs are so difficult to acquire, and that even in non-interpreters of advanced proficiency levels there is a tendency to avoid using them (Siyanova and Schmitt 2007: 129), one would expect that interpreters will to some extent avoid using them when working towards English as a B language in the booth.

The second major factor determining the difficulties of English phrasal verbs for non-natives is semantic. The non-literal nature of the meaning that many phrasal verbs convey arguably creates processing problems during construal of the message. To be clear, I am using the term “literal” with the sense intended by Grant and Bauer (2004: 39), who quote Lakoff’s definition of literal as ‘nonmetaphorical literality: directly meaningful language – not language that is understood, even partly, in terms of something else’ (Lakoff 1986: 292). According to Celce-Murcia and Larsen-Freeman (1999), cited in Darwin and Gray (1999: 68), phrasal verbs can be divided into three categories on the basis of degree of literalness: literal, idiomatic, and aspectual. Proceeding according to Lakoff’s definition, in Celce-Murcia’s first category, a literal phrasal verb is exemplified by take and down in take down the poster. The second category, idiomatic phrasal verbs, is exemplified by make up with the meaning of ‘become reconciled’, where (to use the analytical method proposed by Grant and Bauer 2004: 44, which relies on Frege’s principle of compositionality as cited in Lyons 1995: 24) the meaning of the phrase is not recoverable from any dictionary definition of the word make combined with any dictionary definition of the word up – in other words, the meaning of make up/(=become reconciled) is non-compositional. Alongside such non-compositional items as make up, which Grant and Bauer would call ‘core idioms’, there are phrasal verbs whose meanings are recoverable by means of a shared understanding, between utterance producer and utterance recipient, of figures of speech such as metaphor (Grant and Bauer 2004: 49). One example is stand out, as in his writing stands out among that of his contemporaries, but while this example is metaphorical, Grant and Bauer (2004: 49) point out that figurative language (obviously including figurative phrasal verbs) includes all figures of speech, whose meanings are all equally recoverable through ‘taking a conversational untruth and extracting probable truth from it by an act of pragmatic interpretation’ (Grant and Bauer 2004: 50). This quotation can be taken as a definition of figurative language.

It should be stated here that most writers on phrasal verbs, and on idiomaticity in general, do not distinguish between idiomatic meaning and figurative meaning. In Grant and Bauer’s view (Grant and Bauer 2004) there are three categories of “idiomatic” meaning – first, core idioms, which are completely non-compositional, second, phrasal items with one element that is non-compositional, and third, figurative language. But it appears from Siyanova-Chanturia and Martinez (2015), who review the literature on processing of non-literal phrases, that in this field of research, the three categories are usually conflated. Hence in the context of the current research on interpreted language with its concomitant processing constraints, I will refer to “idiomatic and figurative” phrasal verbs.

Celce-Murcia’s third category of aspectual phrasal verbs in not unproblematic either, in involving overlap with the conflated idiom/figurative category. This is the definition of aspectual phrasal verbs in the words of Darwin and Gray (1999: 68):

Whereas the verb proper in aspectual phrasal verbs can be understood literally, the particle contributes meanings, not commonly understood, about the verb’s aspect. For example, up in They ate up all the chips and drank up all the soda signals that the actions are complete.

Aspectual verbs are thoroughly discussed by Side (1990), but many of his examples are figurative in addition to being aspectual, for example took off in his business really took off (Side 1990: 148) derives its meaning not only from the aspectual off meaning departure, but also by analogy with an aircraft taking off.

It is worth commenting on Darwin and Gray’s phrase ‘not commonly understood’, for if a non-native speaker is unaware of the aspectual meaning of particles, aspectual phrasal verbs become in effect non-compositional. On the other hand, in the examples quoted by Darwin and Gray (1999, above), for comprehension purposes the aspectual particle does not need to be understood as the meaning is easily recoverable in the context from the lexical verbs ate and drank. In these examples the potential problems for non-native speakers (henceforth, NNS) deriving from lack of knowledge of the aspectual meaning of up would lie in production, in the inability to produce the pragmatic effect of completion.

Whatever the semantic classification as far as non-literal meaning goes, there is general agreement that non-literal phrasal verbs cause additional difficulty to NNS. Siyanova and Schmitt (2007: 132) cite Laufer (1997), Moon (1997) and Wray (2000) as finding that ‘both teachers and learners find idiomatic multi-word units more difficult than their nonidiomatic counterparts, which is likely to lead to avoidance behaviour’ (Siyanova and Schmitt 2007: 132). A reading of Siyanova-Chanturia and Martinez (2015: 555) demonstrates that these difficulties have been observed empirically, and while the cited studies did not focus specifically on phrasal verbs, their conclusions about idiomatic phrases in general can be inferred to apply to idiomatic/figurative phrasal verbs, which are part of the same category. Hence, out of four studies comparing idiom processing by native speakers (henceforth NS) and NNS, three (Cieslika 2006; Underwood, Schmitt and Galpin 2004; Siyanova-Chanturia, Conklin and Schmitt 2011) reported NNS as processing literal uses of words used in idioms more quickly than they processed the same words used figuratively or idiomatically, while the reverse held for NS, who were shown to gain processing advantages from the use of idiomatic phrases (Siyanova-Chanturia and Martinez 2015: 555).

Since phrasal verbs form an integral part of the formulaic expressions that facilitate fluent production in English, it is worthwhile highlighting them for interpreter trainees and on inservice professional development courses. The best way to do this is to identify and describe situated use of phrasal verbs in interpreted language, produced during SI by experienced professional interpreters. This can be done by identifying the phrasal verbs in a corpus of interpretations, so that they can be presented in their context in materials used in language courses that supplement courses of training of conference interpreters.

3.3 ELF and the survival of the international phrasal verb

A further point concerning phrasal verbs is the issue of what has become known as ELF or English as a Lingua Franca (Jenkins 2001; McArthur 2003; Modiano 2003; Seidlhofer 2007), involving the simplification of English to exclude those features that non-natives find hard to use. If English in Europe is increasingly used as a medium of communication between non-native speakers, and if phrasal verbs are inherently difficult to acquire, does that mean that they are falling out of use in international forums? And that interpreters will therefore use them less? There may be a certain precedent for this in frequencies of phrasal verbs in some ex-colonial varieties of English, such as Indian English, which Schneider, working on ICE (the International Corpus of English) found to be rather low (Schneider 2004: 235). On the other hand, in Singapore, where English is a second language for nearly all of the population, yet is the national language and therefore universally taught to a reasonably high standard, the frequency of phrasal verbs is higher than in British English (Schneider 2004: 235). Additionally, research shows that phrasal verbs are relatively frequent in the international context represented by written EU documents. A study using CEUE (the Corpus of EU English), a 200,000 word corpus of EU documents intended for the general public, found a frequency of 1 every 200 words (Trebits 2009: 276), which is comparable to the frequency of 1 every 192 words found in the BNC (Gardner and Davies 2007: 347). These arguments suggest that, in international contexts where high levels of proficiency are a priority, phrasal verbs not only survive, but thrive. And this in turn suggests that the high level of proficiency expected of interpreters working towards English will guarantee a reasonably high frequency of phrasal verbs in interpreted English.

3.4 Phrasal verbs in interpreted English – hypotheses and questions

Hypothesis 1. On the basis of the arguments in sections 3.1–3.3 above, in other words on the basis of (a) the processing advantages of multi-word expressions of which category phrasal verbs form a part (sections 2 and 3.1), of (b) their expediency in the sense that they are short and quick to say (section 3.1), of (c) their high frequency in the English language as shown by the BNC, and of (d) the finding that they occur frequently in international English as shown by Trebits (2009) (section 3.3), it was hypothesised that phrasal verbs will occur frequently in the English of native speaker and native-like interpreters.

Hypothesis 2. On the basis (a) that non-native speakers find it difficult to acquire phrasal verbs, as shown in section 3.2 above, and (b) of the likelihood that non-native interpreters will respond to the pressure experienced during SI by retreating to more automatised structures analogous to those of their mother tongue (also in section 3.2), it was hypothesised that phrasal verbs will not occur reasonably frequently in the English of non-native interpreters working towards English as a B language. The meaning of “reasonably frequently” is clarified in the next paragraph.

To operationalise these hypotheses, the frequencies of phrasal verbs were measured in two corpora. Hypothesis 1 was tested by measuring the frequency of phrasal verbs in a corpus of English language interpretations produced by interpreters of native-speaker standard, which was called INT-A. Hypothesis 2 was tested by measuring the frequency of phrasal verbs in a corpus of English language interpretations produced by non-native interpreters, which was called INT-B. The notions of “reasonably frequent” and “reasonably frequently” were operationalised by comparison with frequency in the language as a whole, as represented by the BNC. On this basis, if both Hypothesis 1 and Hypothesis 2 were confirmed, then the frequency of phrasal verbs in INT-A would be fairly close to the frequency of phrasal verbs in the BNC, while the frequency of phrasal verbs in INT-B would be much lower than the frequency of phrasal verbs in both INT-A and the BNC. This would be regardless of genres and written/spoken production, on the principle that the structural and semantic difficulties outlined in section 3.2 above are intrinsic to the phrasal verb in itself, independently of the genre or mode (spoken or written) in which it is used.

With the aim of providing descriptions of situated use that could be used in language lessons for trainee interpreters, as mentioned in section 3.2 above, it was decided (in addition to investigating Hypotheses 1 and 2) to use the study in an exploratory way, to find out precisely which phrasal verbs are shown by the data to be used in interpreted English, and for which functions they were used. To help structure an exploration of exactly how the phrasal verbs were used, and to permit evaluation of the role that phrasal verbs might play in furthering the task of the interpreter, reference was made to the concept of the three metafunctions in Hallidayan systemic functional grammar – interpersonal, textual and ideational (Halliday and Matthiessen 2014: 30).

The three metafunctions in Hallidayan linguistics – ideational, interactional and textual – are ‘dimensions of language’ (Halliday and Matthiessen 2014: 30), and as such, they are complementary, and they co-occur, as is clear from the quotations from Halliday and Matthiessen that I will now cite. Halliday and Matthiessen (2014: 30) refer respectively to the ideational and interactional metafunctions as follows:

every message is both about something and addressing someone, and [...] these two motifs can be freely combined – by and large, they do not constrain each other.

They describe the role of the textual metafunction as follows:

this can be regarded as an enabling or facilitating function, since both the others – construing experience and enacting interpersonal relations – depend on being able to build up sequences of discourse, organising the discursive flow, and creating cohesion and continuity as it moves along. This, too, appears as a clearly delineated motif within the grammar (Halliday and Matthiessen 2014: 30).

Complementarity and co-occurrence mean that two or three of the metafunctions can be realised in the same clause. This multifunctionality has an implication for processes of language analysis in Applied Linguistics. Items of contextualised language – words or phrases – should not be assumed to be exclusively associated with any single metafunction, on the principle of mutual exclusivity of categories. The contribution any linguistic item makes to the meaning is dependent on the other linguistic items it is associated with and on the context, and vice versa. For example, Hyland (2005: 59) cites Hood and Forey (1999), who show that in the context of shifting from a positive to a negative judgement, but and however realise interactional function, in addition to the more predictable textual function. Conversely, the same words and phrases used in different structures and different contexts can represent different metafunctions, as Martin (1992:8) shows in a worked example. Hence any judgements made in the current research about the predominant metafunction expressed by a given phrasal verb reflect the researcher’s view of the role of that phrasal verb in that context. The researcher’s judgement of the ideational, textual or interpersonal metafunction of each phrasal verb examined is necessarily subjective, although this subjectivity was constrained by repeated analysis after a month’s interval, which resulted in an index of consistency of 98 per cent.

One reason here for distinguishing in the data between the three metafunctions is that it permits evaluation of the potential value of the effort taken to learn a particular phrasal verb, through distinguishing between interpreting process, which is predictable, because it recurs, and interpreted speaker’s translated product, which is unpredictable. I will argue that phrasal verbs with textual and interpersonal metafunction are used as part of the interpreting process, and that there is a good probability that the contexts where they are used will recur; these verbs are worth practising to make them automatically retrievable. On the other hand, with phrasal verbs with the ideational metafunction, the probability of their recurrence is a function of the extent to which the interpreter is or is not always dealing with the same subject matter – and for interpreters of both parliamentary debates and of conferences, subject matter is inherently variable. This distinction is subject to the qualification that some aspects of ideational metafunction, such as some mental processes or some material processes, are likely to recur in repeated contexts and are likely to prove productive.

The need for vocabulary to express textual metafunction is somewhat more predictable. As Setton describes it, the re-creation of textual structure is part and parcel of the process of simultaneous interpretation:

relevance (coherence) is sought as a matter of routine. Context is seen as a nested set of assumptions: a background about the world and the situation, then assumptions based on previous discourse, on the previous utterance, and finally those taking shape from the utterance-initial cues about the illocution or modality of the ongoing argument […]” (Setton 1998/2002: 193).

So it is clearly worthwhile identifying phrasal verbs used with textual metafunction, describing their exact functions, and presenting them to trainees as high priority lexical items.

Similarly, the interpreter’s function as mediator implies that any phrasal verbs used with interpersonal metafunction are likely to prove useful on repeated occasions; as with phrasal verbs used with textual metafunction, it is worth describing the exact functions to present to trainees. Hence identifying metafunctions points the way to phrasal verbs used in the interpreting process, which constitute high priority lexical items for inclusion on a language syllabus for trainee interpreters.

On the basis of the probability that they are likely to be experienced at textualisation towards English, and at the same time are likely to take advantage of the processing advantages of use of phrasal verbs as outlined in sections 2 and 3.1, it was predicted that the native or native-like interpreters of INT-A would tend to use phrasal verbs for textual metafunction. On the basis of the difficulties that non-natives have in producing phrasal verbs as outlined above, and on the basis that non-native interpreters have relatively little experience of textualisation towards English, it was predicted that non-native interpreters working towards English as B would tend not to use phrasal verbs with textual metafunction. Expressed as a hypothesis, this is

Hypothesis 3. Native or native-like interpreters will use phrasal verbs with textual metafunction more frequently than non-native interpreters.

On a similar basis of the likely experience of the native or native-like interpreters working B to A of mediating aspects of interpretation, combined with their knowledge of ready-made phrasal verb expressions on the one hand, and on the other hand on the basis of the difficulties non-natives have in producing phrasal verbs combined with the added processing load of the A to B interpreter, the following hypothesis was formulated.

Hypothesis 4. Native or native-like interpreters will use phrasal verbs with interpersonal metafunction more frequently than non-native interpreters.

The final Hypothesis relates to the semantic processing difficulties highlighted in section 3.2.

Hypothesis 5. Given the evidence of processing difficulties experienced by NNS with idiomatic/figurative phrases, and of processing advantages experienced by NS, as cited in section 3.2 above, it can be hypothesised that non-native interpreters working towards their B language will use idiomatic/figurative phrasal verbs less often per 1000 words than native or native-like interpreters.

4. The Corpus Data

Two corpora of interpreted English, which I called INT-A and INT-B, were compiled out of several pre-existing corpora. The objective of INT-A was to represent the interpreted English of established professional interpreters, who should be either native speakers or native-like. It was made up of texts from three sources. The first two were corpora based on proceedings of the European Parliament, and consisted of interpreting towards English (from Italian and Spanish) taken from the EPIC corpus (Monti et al. 2005; Sandrelli, Bendazzoli and Russo 2010), plus all the interpreting towards English (from unspecified languages) in 2249, a corpus of all the English spoken in the European parliament on a single day (see Aston 2017), the non-interpreted sections from which had been removed on the basis of the tags. The third source was the DIRSI corpus of conference interpretations (Bendazzoli 2010), which contributed all of its native-speaker-interpreted English, all of which took place at two conferences about cystic fibrosis (Bendazzoli 2010: 155). The interpreters in the texts contributed by EPIC and DIRSI were tagged as native speakers, but as there was no information about the interpreters in 2249, it was assumed that they were (a) established professionals and (b) either native speakers or native-like – and a reading of the interpretations in 2249 to evaluate their fluency and accuracy provided no evidence to counter this supposition. The total number of running words in INT-A was 85,891.

The INT-B corpus was intended to represent NNS interpreter language. It was made up of all those transcripts of interpretations towards English in both the DIRSI corpus and the EPIC corpus that were tagged as being done by non-native interpreters. All the texts from DIRSI were translated into English from Italian, and were taken from the same two conferences about cystic fibrosis that supplied the native speaker material mentioned above, plus a conference about social care policy (Bendazzoli 2010: 155). The total number of running words in INT-B was 24,122. It is regrettable that INT-B was so much smaller than INT-A, but this reflects the easier availability of A-direction transcripts.

The transcription of all the words in all the component texts of both INT-A and INT-B was orthographic, and word for word, meaning that features such as reformulation were maintained. In 2249, punctuation was added, as it would be in writing. On the other hand, the transcription of all the texts taken from EPIC and DIRSI was without punctuation, with the speech divided into “units of meaning” using double slash marks (for further details, see Monti et al. 2005, section 2; Bendazzoli 2010: 184ff).

5. Interrogating the Data

Information relative to the research questions was uncovered by making KWIC concordances of phrasal verbs using Wordsmith Tools Concord, first version 6, and later version 7 – see Scott (2012/16), and by comparing the frequency data obtained with the data about phrasal verbs in the BNC in Gardner and Davies (2007). There are various definitions of the term “phrasal verbs” (for a review, see Darwin and Gray 1999), but for the sake of simplicity I followed the definition of the term in Gardner and Davies (2007), which is a simplified version of the exhaustive definition in Biber et al. 1999: 405ff). To paraphrase Gardner and Davies (2007: 344), my definition of a phrasal verb is a lexical verb followed by an adverbial particle, with meaning derived from a combination of the two.

The phrasal verb forms were retrieved from the data by searches for each of the following particles, which were those used in the searches of the BNC by Gardner and Davies (2007):

out/up/down/back/off/round/along/over/around/on/through/about/in/under/by/across.

The searches were carried out first in INT-A, then in INT-B. Each concordance line was then examined, first to eliminate instances of verbs and prepositions in free combination, and secondly, to eliminate prepositional verbs (for these two categories, see Biber et al. 1999: 405ff).

To verify whether multiword verbs in concordances were phrasal (and hence eligible for inclusion in the results) or prepositional (and thus excluded from the results) I used the following operational procedures, based on syntactic descriptions from Biber et al. (1999: 405ff):

A. is the verb+particle unit used transitively or intransitively? If – as in example (1) – the answer is “intransitively” (i.e. if the following noun answers the question where or when), then the unit is a phrasal verb, the particle being clearly adverbial, since prepositions need to be followed by noun phrase objects that answer the questions who or what – as in (2).

(1) I think the law will go through. Intransitive – so adverbial.

(2) We should go through these results before the presentation. Transitive use.

B. If the verb+particle unit is used transitively, can it be used with a pronoun object placed between the lexical verb and the particle? If the answer is no, as in (3), the unit is a prepositional verb and is excluded from the results.

(3) We should go them through X

If the answer is yes, as in (4), the unit is counted as a phrasal verb, and included in the results.

(4) It was only the whiskey that saw him through.

Other points on the selection of which forms were phrasal verbs are that as only lexical verbs are included in the definition, combinations with be were excluded, for example, be out (= be in the public domain). On phrase length, which is relevant because phrasal verbs can have noun phrase objects between verb and particle, only 2–4 word phrases were considered, following Gardner and Davies (2007: 345). Gerunds, for example by setting up, were classified as verb forms not noun forms, as they are in the BNC. Phrasal-prepositional verbs were counted as phrasal verbs, because they follow the Gardner and Davies (2007: 344) definition of a verb followed by an adverbial particle. Thus come up with was counted as the phrasal verb come up.

Once the above syntactic criteria were fulfilled, a phrase was accepted as a phrasal verb independently of any notional lists of canonical phrasal verbs, on the principle that phrasal verbs are an open-ended, productive category in which the standard adverbial particles can combine with new lexical verbs to create new meanings (Side 1990: 146).

Once it had been verified that what remained in the concordances were phrasal verb forms only, the frequencies of each form were counted and entered on a spreadsheet. The frequencies were subsequently additionally grouped by lemma, to facilitate comparison with the frequencies in the BNC presented by Gardner and Davies (2007), which were taken to represent frequencies in the language as a whole. The lemmas were also ranked by frequency. For the metafunctional analysis, the concordances were merged and then classified according to the three Hallidayan metafunctions mentioned above.

When it was necessary to find the frequency in the BNC of a phrasal verb that was not listed by Gardner and Davies (2007), the online BYU-BNC (Davies 2004) was consulted, with a collocation search starting with the POS-tagged adverbial particle and looking for the lexical verb within a span of three words to the left. In this way, the phrases containing phrasal verbs found were two to four word phrases as they were in Gardner and Davies (2007).

For Hypothesis 5, phrasal verbs were classified as idiomatic/figurative if the meaning of the whole phrase was figurative, or if the meaning of the whole phrase was non-compositional in the sense that the meaning could not be deduced from summing the literal meanings (as defined in section 3.2 above) of the verb and the particle. If the meaning was entirely literal, they were classified as literal. With aspectual phrasal verbs, if figurative/idiomatic they were classified as figurative/idiomatic, and were classified as aspectual only if the meaning of the verb was literal, with aspectual use of the particle. The final test for literal meaning was any of the meanings of the individual word (verb or particle) listed in a contemporary dictionary (Cobuild 2001), according to Grant and Bauer’s (2004) method as outlined in section 3.2 above. To help ensure plausibility of the classification, the analysis was repeated after a month’s interval, with an index of agreement of 0.97.

6. Results and discussion

The INT-A corpus was used to make observations about the comparative frequency of phrasal verbs in interpreted language, while both corpora were used for the functional analysis and the analysis of literality. But before proceeding to report the results, I would like to clarify the statistical approach I have adopted to these comparisons.

When using mathematics in research, it is as well to consult a well-informed source for the most appropriate method. In corpus linguistics research, Kilgarriff, author of a review of statistical tests for corpus comparison (Kilgarriff 2001) published in The International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, constitutes such a source. As Kilgarriff has not only pointed out but also demonstrated empirically (in Kilgarriff 2005), in corpus frequency comparison the fact that language is a matter of choice, and is therefore not random, presents problems for statistical hypothesis testing (Kilgarriff 2005: 264). Hypothesis testing depends on disproof of the null hypothesis that there is only a random relationship between two sets of data (Kilgarriff 2005: 263). Clearly, if the language occurring in two different corpora is by definition not random, then to demonstrate that it is not random is meaningless – albeit one uses impressively sophisticated mathematics for this demonstration (Kilgarriff 2009). For this reason, in the research reported in this paper, the mathematics used to compare frequencies will be that of normalised frequencies, as Kilgarriff (2010: 3) recommends, without the use of chi-square, log likelihood, or any other probability test.

6.1 Phrasal verbs in interpreted English - frequency

The first finding, on the overall frequency of phrasal verbs in interpreted English, was that phrasal verb tokens were less frequent in INT-A than in the BNC. In the 100 million word BNC – as mentioned above – there is one phrasal verb every 192 words (Gardner and Davies 2007: 347), whereas the 364 tokens in INT-A work out as one phrasal verb approximately every 236 words. This raises the question of why, given the potential usefulness of phrasal verbs to interpreters, the frequency should be lower in interpreted English rather than higher. The logical explanation is the size factor. The hugely greater size of the BNC relative to INT-A means that it represents a much wider range of contexts. For example, from the point of view of mode, the BNC includes dialogue, whereas INT-A is limited to monologue. From the point of view of field, INT-A contains mainly parliamentary subject matter, whereas the BNC samples many different fields. From the genre angle, the BNC also contains many examples of texts exemplifying different literary genres, as well as journalism, both of which are absent from INT-A. In particular, it seems likely that the literature and journalism together with the dialogue present in the BNC will present narrative and interactional contexts of use of a large number of phrasal verb lemmas, whereas those same contexts of use are absent from the discourse sampled in INT-A.

A rate of one phrasal verb every 236 words is quite frequent, nevertheless. Assuming that interpreters towards English speak at 132–136 words per minute (Bendazzoli 2010: 149, 152), and taking the average of 134, it means interpreters were using on average one phrasal verb token approximately every 106 seconds; looked at another way, this means 136 phrasal verb tokens over four hours of interpreting. This is certainly a frequency high enough to confirm Hypothesis 1 (in section 3.4 above), that there would be a reasonably high occurrence of phrasal verbs in English produced by English native-speaker and nativelike simultaneous interpreters.

In terms of types, INT-A contained 131 phrasal verb lemmas. Table 1 shows the most frequent twenty-two, together with raw and normalised frequency (per million words), and, for the BNC, the frequency per million and the rank order of frequency. Additionally, the Table shows the ratio of keyness, obtained by dividing the normalised frequency of INT-A by the normalised frequency of the BNC. The keyness procedure is recommended by Kilgarriff (2010) as the most effective mathematical way to uncover differences between corpora.

Rank INT-A

Lemma

 Rf

INT-A

f/million

INT-A

f/million

BNC

Ratio

Keyness

Rank

Keyness

Rank

BNC

1

carry out

28

326

108

3

11

2

2

move on

21

244

14

17.4

2

55

3

come up

17

198

55.2

3.6

10

10

3

draw up

17

198

25

7.9

6

0

5

set up

16

186

104

1.8

15

3

6

open up

15

174

21.4

8.1

5

0

7

take up

11

128

46

2.8

12

19

8

send out

10

116

13.5

8.6

4

0

9

bring in

9

105

25

4.2

9

37

10

point out

8

93

70

1.3

17

8

11

bring on

7

81

3.9

20.8

1

0

11

come back

7

81

80

1.0

20

6

13

sort out

6

70

27.8

2.5

13

0

13

pick up

6

70

90

0.8

22

4

15

come in

5

58

48

1.2

18

15

15

make up

5

58

55

1.1

19

11

15

put in

5

58

8

7.3

7

78

18

bring about

4

47

21

2.2

14

44

18

come out

4

47

50

0.9

21

13

18

end up

4

47

33

1.4

16

0

18

move in

4

47

8

5.9

8

79

18

send in

4

47

3.8

12.4

3

0

Table 1: The top 22 phrasal verbs in INT-A

As the rightmost column of Table 1 shows, fifteen of the most frequent phrasal verbs in INT-A also occurred in the Top 100 in the BNC as reported by Gardner and Davies (2007: 358). But Gardner and Davies’ “top 100” is anomalous – it includes only phrasal verbs that contain one of the top twenty lexical verbs making up phrasal verbs, as contained in Gardner and Davies’ Table 5 (Gardner and Davies 2007: 350). A search of the BYU-BNC shows that some phrasal verbs with lexical components outside the “lexical top twenty” are more frequent than the hundredth ranking phrasal verb in Gardner and Davies (2007), which has a frequency per million of 4.23 (see Gardner and Davies 2007: 359). Such verbs should therefore be considered as particularly frequent alongside the “top hundred”. The f/million/BNC column of Table 1 shows that there are five such phrasal verbs in INT-A – draw up, open up, send out, sort out and end up. This means that a total of twenty out of twenty-two of the most frequent phrasal verbs in INT-A were among the most frequent in the BNC too. This in turn suggests that the phrasal verbs most often used in interpreted language are mostly used frequently in the language as a whole, although the differences are perhaps more interesting than the similarities. These differences are shown mathematically in Table 1 in the ratio of keyness column. The higher the ratio, the more characteristic the phrasal verb of interpreted English as represented in INT-A. According to this measure, the ten most characteristic verbs, in descending order, are bring on, move on, send in, send out, open up, draw up, move in, bring in, and come up (these verbs will be further discussed in sections 6.5 and 6.6). Examination of the contexts of some of the verbs that are ranked the highest in keyness in INT-A can help to define what marks out interpreted English, and to provide clues about formulae that are proven to be of use to interpreters. I will return to this topic in section 6.5.

6.2 Phrasal verbs in non-native interpreters: frequency

In INT_B, there were 59 phrasal verb tokens, representing one phrasal verb token every 409 words,

which means that the non-native interpreters used phrasal verbs as a category much less often than the interpreters of INT-A, and much less often than in the BNC, which confirms Hypothesis 2, and this in turn confirms the theory that processing difficulties make the choice of phrasal verbs by non-native interpreters less likely. It seems that, in the pressure of the SI situation the non-native interpreters had no time to search for phrasal verb items – items that, although probably known in theory, were hard to access in memory, probably due to their having being encountered only occasionally.

As far as individual phrasal verbs go, only 12 lemmas were used more than once. There was a considerable difference in the phrasal verb lemmas that were most frequent in INT-A and INT-B, as can be seen from Table 2, which shows the top 25 verbs in INT-A together with the rank orders, raw and normalised frequencies (per million) of the same verbs in INT-B, and the rank and ratio of keyness of the verbs in INT-B relative to the BNC. Only verbs with a ratio of keyness over 1.0 are ranked, as only these are statistically characteristic of INT-B relative to the language as a whole. All phrasal verbs in INT-B with a frequency of >1 are included in the Table.

LEMMA

Rank

INT-A

Rank

INT-B

Rf

INT-B

F per million

INT-B

Rank Keyness

Ratio Keyness

 

carry out

1

1

12

500

3

4.6

move on

2

7

2

83

2

5.6

come up

3

0

0

0

-

0

draw up

3

0

0

0

-

0

set up

5

4

4

167

6

1.6

open up

6

0

0

0

-

0

take up

7

0

0

0

-

0

send out

8

0

0

0

-

0.1

bring in

9

0

0

0

-

0

point out

10

13

1

42

-

0.6

bring on

11

7

0

0

-

0.2

come back

11

7

2

83

-

1.0

sort out

13

0

0

0

-

0

pick up

13

13

1

42

-

0.5

come in

15

13

1

42

-

0.9

make up

15

3

5

208

4

3.7

put in

15

0

0

0

-

0.9

bring about

18

0

0

0

-

0

come out

18

0

0

0

-

0

end up

18

0

0

0

-

0

move in 

18

0

0

0

-

0.1

send in

18

0

0

0

-

0.2

go on

23

2

7

292

5

2.0

go back

23

5

3

125

7

1.5

sum up

23

5

3

125

1

10.2

Table 2: Comparison of phrasal verbs in INT-A and INT-B

Of course, it is easy to object to the finding that there was a lower frequency of phrasal verbs in INT-B than in INT-A on the grounds that the frequency differences are explicable in terms of the subject matter translated in INT-A being inherently more suitable for translation by phrasal verbs than the subject matter translated in INT-B. This can be tested through examination of one case, the material in DIRSI that is collected from two conferences on cystic fibrosis. Part of this material was translated into English by a NS interpreter, and part by NNS interpreters. Over 8436 words of text, the NS used 21 phrasal verb tokens, making one phrasal verb every 401 words on average, and covering 19 lemmas. The NNS interpreters used 22 phrasal verb tokens in 14.435 words, which makes one phrasal verb every 656 words, and covered 9 lemmas. At one every 401 words, the NS interpreter uses phrasal verbs less frequently than they are used in INT-A as a whole (see the first paragraph of section 6.1), so this would seem to confirm that discussions about cystic fibrosis do seem to require phrasal verb translations relatively seldom. On the other hand, this makes no difference to the relative frequency of phrasal verb use in the two corpora – frequency remains much higher in INT-A than it is in INT-B. So while it remains the case that the conference topic could have an effect, there is nevertheless a difference between the corpora, in terms of lower frequencies of phrasal verbs in INT-B as compared to INT-A . It is risky to restrict explanatory factors to one. So, given the evidence presented in section 3.2, the greater processing difficulties phrasal verbs present to non-native interpreters would seem to be a good candidate for an additional explanation for the lower frequency of phrasal verbs in INT-B.

6.3 Metafunctional distribution

To uncover information relating to Hypotheses 3 and 4, about phrasal verbs used for textual and interpersonal metafunctions, each phrasal verb concordance line was classified according to the metafunction that it predominantly expressed. The distribution of phrasal verb occurrences across the metafunctions in the two corpora is shown in Table 3.

Corpus

INT-A (n)

INT-B (n)

INT-A (%)

INT-B (%)

Metafunction

 

 

 

 

Ideational

296

43

81

73

Interpersonal

18

11

5

19

Textual

50

5

14

8

Table 3: distribution of phrasal verbs across metafunctions

Table 3 shows that there was a substantial representation of all three metafunctions in the INT-A corpus. In the INT-B corpus, all three metafunctions were represented, but the proportion of phrasal verb tokens used for textual metafunction was lower than in INT-A. The data therefore confirmed Hypothesis 3, thus in turn confirming that native and nativelike interpreters use phrasal verbs as a resource to textualise their interpretations. Conversely, the data in terms of the much lower frequency of phrasal verbs used with textual metafunction in INT-B suggests that in tending not to use phrasal verbs when constructing the ongoing sense of their interpretations, non-native interpreters are neglecting a valuable resource.

For phrasal verbs used with interpersonal metafunction, the situation was reversed. The non-native interpreters used phrasal verbs interpersonally more often than the native speaker interpreters, so that Hypothesis 4 was not confirmed. It cannot entirely be discounted that the differing proportions of different types of message being translated (for example, allocation of seating, transitions of speaker, management of latecomers – which are more likely to involve mediation) may have influenced the disparity in frequency of interpersonal phrasal verbs between the two corpora. However this cannot reliably be checked, since there was no information of this type in 2249, which formed a substantial component of INT-A. An alternative explanation is that the non-native interpreters have substantial experience of phrasal verbs used interpersonally, as a result of having passed through courses of English language conducted using communicative language teaching methods. Therefore the assumption that phrasal verbs would be hard to access for non-native interpreters during SI does not apply in the case of interpersonal contexts.

In sections 6.4 to 6.7, there is a detailed examination of examples of phrasal verbs used for the three metafunctions, which reveals the prominent role carried out by phrasal verbs in the work of the interpreter. The examples also demonstrate the functions that the phrasal verbs are being used for.

6.4 Mediation using interpersonal phrasal verbs

When used with interpersonal metafunction, phrasal verbs were used to expedite the interpreter’s role of mediator, in helping to make a third party do something or feel something. The following examples from INT-A show how phrasal verbs express the process of mediation:

(5) I will give the floor back to you.

(6) I could hand out some of the tables with the relevant information

(7) I’d like to thank you for … the fact that you've stuck it out this evening.

(8) could you please come in and close the door.

As Table 3 shows, phrasal verbs with interactional metafunction were relatively well represented in INT-B, with examples like the following:

(9) please hand back the headset and receivers for the interpretation to the desk at the entrance

(10) just five minutes while filling in the questionnaire and pick up the devices the headsets

All of these examples show how phrasal verbs are used by interpreters in their integral role of mediator, to expedite event proceedings. It is interesting to note that phrasal verbs are used in this role in both types of event, parliamentary debates (5, 6, 7) and conferences (8), represented in INT-A, as well as in the conferences represented in INT-B (9 and 10).

6.5 Textualising phrasal verbs in interpreted language

Phrasal verbs used with textual metafunction are also indexical to the interpreter’s role, being involved in the interpreting process in the sense of Setton’s account of online meaning assembly, which sees simultaneous interpreters as involved in a continuous process of simulating and recreating context:

relevance (coherence) is sought as a matter of routine. Context is seen as a nested set of assumptions: a background about the world and the situation, then assumptions based on previous discourse, on the previous utterance, and finally those taking shape from the utterance-initial cues about the illocution or modality of the ongoing argument […] (Setton 1998/2002: 193).

The way that phrasal verbs convey the process of creation and articulation of textual meaning in SI is shown in examples (11) to (19) from INT-A. Here is an account of the rhetorical function of each example.

In examples (11) and (12) , the interpreter is indicating to herself and to the hearers that between propositions a relation of evidence should be perceived; in (13), (14) and (15) there is a direction to perceive a relation of presentation; in (16) there is the perception and relaying of a relation of recap; in (17) with both the initial choice focus down and the reformulation narrow down there is the evocation of a relation of elaboration involving a perception of movement from the general to the specific; and (18) and (19) are relations of resumption [1].

(11) The + data can all be documented, to back up what I said.

(12) this analysis has in fact been borne out by a number of different contributions

(13) That brings us on to the report, by Mrs Lucas

(14) we're kicking off on the basis of an assessment report

(15) We move on to the report by Mr Sakalas.

(16) And that brings me back to what I was saying at the very beginning

(17) this allowed us to focus down to narrow down the field to

(18) Now we'll go on with the er debate

(19) Well, I would like to er pick up on the point on the credit rating agencies.

Bring on is the highest ranking phrasal verb by keyness in INT-A, while move on ranks second in keyness in INT-A (see Table 1 above), and first in INT-B (see Table 2). Six of the seven occurrences of bring on in INT-A express the textual metafunction, as do fifteen of the twenty-one occurrences of move on – so these would seem to be two instances of relative prominence of a phrasal verb in INT-A which is explicable in terms of aspects of the process of interpreting, in this case textualisation. 

Phrasal verbs used for the textual metafunction were much less common in INT-B. However, the two most key phrasal verbs in INT-B (see Table 2) were used with textual metafunction. These were move on, signalling the presentation relation, and sum up, used to indicate a relation of summary. It is thus clear that textualisation of output was taking place explicitly in INT-B, as one would expect. Given this, it could be that different types of conference situation provide the explanation for the lower frequency of textualising phrasal verbs in INT-B; in INT-A, there is a preponderance of parliamentary debates, whereas in INT-B there is a preponderance of conferences with the function of updating members of a specific professional community. But given that message construction with attendant textualisation should be taking place in both contexts, it is equally plausible to explain the low frequency of phrasal verbs with textual metafunction in INT-B through a lack of experience on the part of the non-native interpreters of textualising in English, or simply through the pressure of the SI situation, both of which plausibly result in the signalling of textual structure through structures transferable from the mother tongue, rather than through phrasal verbs.

6.6 Ideational phrasal verbs in interpreted language

The ideational metafunction, by virtue of its application to content, can be stated to cover interpreted product. Phrasal verbs used for the ideational function in INT-A cover a wide range of types of meaning. As indicated above, some phrasal verbs used with ideational meaning are likely to recur whatever the subject matter being translated, such as certain mental process verbs, while others will be linked with a more restricted, specialised context. The discussion is organised according to verb types – mental processes, material processes, and relational processes. The degree of productive value for interpreters of certain phrasal verbs, and of the multiword expressions of which they form part, as revealed by the corpora, is discussed within these sections. Of course verbs cannot intrinsically be placed in a single one of the three categories of mental, material and relational processes. I classified them as belonging to one of the three categories on the basis of the type of meaning that they predominantly expressed in each single instance of use in context actually observed in the KWIC concordance.

Starting with mental processes, some of the more frequent phrasal verbs in INT-A form components of collocations or slot and filler patterns that extend the phrasal verb into longer multiword expressions which are likely to be formulaic sequences particularly worth learning for non-native interpreters. There is for example the phrasal-prepositional verb come up with, which occurred as many as fifteen times, thus contributing to this verb’s position as number ten for keyness in INT-A (see Table 1). Come up with collocated relatively frequently (seven times) with proposal (example 20).

(20) we asked the Commission to come up with a proposal to harmonise the guarantee.

At a more general level of semantic prosody, a slot and filler pattern can be observed, which is come up with + noun phrase describing something viewed positively in the context. Thirteen of the occurrences of come up with fall into this category. A further specification for this particular formulaic sequence is that the positive semantic prosody is reflected in ten cases out of fifteen by collocates that are positive adjectives (excellent, good, speedy, flexible) – see (21).

(21) we’ve been able to come up with a very pragmatic and flexible proposal.

Although the mental nature of the process represented by come up with would suggest it would occur in a wide range of situations, in INT-A it only occurred in parliamentary debates. This is almost certainly a reflection of the small proportion of INT-A (about 10 per cent) represented by conference interpreting. It is true that come up with, through its association with solutions to problems, is closely associated with parliamentary process; but it is also associated with idiom, so it should occur fairly frequently in conferences, given that they are often held for the purpose of exchanging information about innovations. This unexpected lack of instances reflects the need for bigger samples of conference interpreting, to produce more representative results.

Moving on to material processes, carry out was also observed to combine in INT-A with collocates in formulaic sequences, notably with analysis (three times), checks (three times), a study/studies (three times), actions (twice) and noun phrase modifier + activities (twice) – for example, carrying out the reception activities). This was one of the few verbs to occur really frequently in INT-B (12 occurrences), where it was used with study/studies (twice), demonstrations and research. This verb was used in both the parliamentary debates and the conference speeches, so it would seem to be particularly productive for interpreters, in the sense of having a wide application.

The material process verb set up was also fairly frequent in both INT-A and INT-B. In INT-A there are few indications of extended multiword expressions, with mechanism(s) being the only collocate of set up that recurs (twice). There were no repeated collocations in INT-B, though the contexts of use were standard (access, laboratory, model), so that one can infer that in a larger corpus of non-native interpreting, some recurring collocations would have emerged.

The material process verbs draw up and open up, as shown by their contexts viewed in the KWIC concordances, are productive in the context of interpreting in the sense that they refer to content that interpreters in international institutions are likely to repeatedly experience and then produce. The noun collocates of draw up in INT-A are law (twice), regulation, list, plan and agreement. All of the occurrences were in parliamentary debates, and closely reflect the role of parliament. It is therefore unsurprising that draw up did not occur in INT-B, which is almost entirely composed of medical conference interpretations. The association of draw up with parliamentary procedure explains why it ranked as high as sixth in terms of keyness in INT-A as compared with the BNC (see Table 1 above). The noun collocates of open up are mostly (nine times) the word market or synonyms of market, reflecting the current preoccupation of the European parliament with market-led economics, which in turn explains the number five ranking of this item in the INT-A keyness scale (see Table 1). Open up was absent from INT-B, which is unsurprising given that almost all of the subject matter is concerned with social care and health matters rather than economics. But it is surely uncontroversial to claim that, for as long as the hegemony of market economics persists, open up + market(s) will be a productive multiword pattern for non-native interpreters to learn to automatically produce.

Relational processes are quite frequently conveyed in INT-A through phrasal verbs, for example end up (four times), bring about (four times), make up – meaning constitute – three times, and bring in (nine times). One formulaic sequence was discernible in the case of bring in, which is its collocation with new (three times), and, more generally, there was an association with the semantic field of innovation (eight times), involving adjectives like extraordinary and nouns like improvement and advances. Make up (=constitute) also occurred three times in INT-B, with standard contexts of use (e.g. an audience made up of friends), but none of the collocations was repeated.

So far the ideational phrasal verbs reported on here are shown by their presence in the BNC top 100 to be reasonably frequent in the language as a whole. But (as Table 1 shows, and as mentioned in section 6.1) there is also the question of the keyness of some items, in other words of their conspicuously high normalised frequencies in INT-A as compared with the BNC. Among these are bring on, move on, come up, draw up and open up, whose keyness has already been discussed. For the remaining members of the top ten of keyness in INT-A (see Table 1), send in, send out, put in, move in and bring in, it would be tempting to claim that their higher frequency in INT-A makes them typical of interpreted English. However, there is nothing in the contexts revealed by the concordances to support this, and all of the occurrences are from parliamentary debates. So it is more realistic to attribute the higher frequencies of these phrasal verbs to the fact that the contexts where they were the appropriate translations happened to have occurred in parliamentary business in the debates concerned.

It is interesting to note that there is a reasonably wide variety of ideational phrasal verbs in INT-B, with 16 different types represented. This seems to suggest that the non-native interpreters are not inherently shy about using phrasal verbs for translated subject matter, albeit the figures show that they use them less frequently than native speaker and native-like interpreters. It is also in contrast with the lack of variety (only two types, sum up and move on) of phrasal verbs used in INT-B for the textual metafunction. Together with the low number of tokens, this suggests a precise reason why so few phrasal verb types and tokens with textual metafunction are used by non-native interpreters. This reason is that textualisation is the aspect of interpreting over which interpreters have most control. By contrast, for ideational function (i.e. content) the context set by the original speaker is probably steering the interpreter into the phrasal verbs associated with it. In this respect, with ideational function, non-native interpreters appear to be behaving like native and native-like interpreters, in using phrasal verbs as a processing resource, rather than experiencing them as a processing difficulty (though, the frequency figures suggest, with non-native interpreters this happens much less often). But in the textualisation process, with the creation of the textual framework the responsibility of the interpreter, the non-native interpreters are probably automatically falling back on textualising structures analogous to L1, and are thus avoiding phrasal verbs in the process. This is speculation, of course, but it would be interesting if some research could be designed to test this idea.

6.7 Idiomatic/figurative and aspectual phrasal verbs in INT-A and INT-B

The data on literal, idiomatic/figurative and aspectual phrasal verbs in INT-A and INT-B is summarised in Table 4. The verbs listed by name in the Table are the most frequent in each category. An asterisk indicates that the verb is neither present in Gardner and Davies’ BNC top 100 nor has a BYU-BNC frequency high enough to be included in it, in other words a frequency of 4.23 per million, that of Gardner and Davies’ hundredth ranked item. The data confirmed Hypothesis 5, which predicted that non-native interpreters working towards English as their B language would use idiomatic and figurative phrasal verbs less than do native and native-like interpreters. In INT-A, there were 2200 figurative/idiomatic phrasal verb tokens per million words, while in INT-B there were only 1200 tokens per 1000 words. These data reinforce the theory that processing difficulties make idiomatic and figurative phrasal verbs difficult to access for non-native interpreters working towards B.

Table 4 shows that, as might be expected in the circumstances, the number of different lemmas used with figurative/idiomatic meaning was much higher in INT-A at 75, while in INT-B the total was 8, which is surprisingly low even considering that the number of words in INT-B was less than a third of the number of words in INT-A. Indeed, in INT-B 12 of the 29 figurative/idiomatic tokens are accounted for by a single lemma, carry out, and all but one figurative/idiomatic lemmas are inherently frequent, as shown by their having a frequency per million in the BNC above the threshold of 4.23. This suggests that access to individual figurative/idiomatic phrasal verbs during B-direction interpreting is likely only if frequent experience has brought them relatively near to the surface of memory. Conversely, the finding that figurative meanings of phrasal verbs less frequent than the 4.23 per million threshold are hardly used at all by the B-direction interpreters (only a single occurrence of spring up – see Table 4) has a plausible explanation. It is likely that, given the time lag shown in the literature for NNS access to non-literal items, less frequent phrasal verbs (even though they may be known) take too long for the non-native to access in the SI situation.

 

Figurative / Idiomatic

Aspectual

Literal

INT-A - raw F tokens

192

55

117

INT-B - raw F tokens

29

2

28

INT-A - tokens/million words

2200

600

1400

INT-B - tokens/million words

1200

100

1200

INT-A - lemmas (n)

75

25

41

INT-B- lemmas (n)

8

2

 

INT-A - lemmas ranked 1–8 (Rf, f/million words)

carry out (30, 349.3), come up (17, 197.9), set up (16, 186.3), take up (9, 104.8), point out (8, 93.2), draw up (6, 69.9), make up (5, 58.2), pick up (5, 58.2) 

open up (15, 174.6), sort out (6, 69.9), end up (4, 46.6), slow down (3, 34.9), sum up (3, 34.9), find out (2, 23.3), help out (2, 23.3), start out (2, 23.3), weigh up* (2, 23.3)

move on (20, 232.9), send out (10, 116.4), bring in (9, 104.8), bring on (6, 69.9), come back (6, 69.9), move in (5, 58.2), come in (4, 46.6), go down (4, 46.6), move around (4, 46.6), send in (4, 46.6) 

INT-B - lemmas ranked 1–8(Rf, f/million words)

carry out (12, 497.5), make up (5, 207.3), set up (4, 165.8), sum up (3, 124.4), go on (2, 82.9),     bring up (1, 41.5), point out (1, 41.5), spring up* (1, 41.5)

find out (1, 41.5), fill out*, (1, 41.5) 

go on (4, 165.8), go back (3, 124.4), come back (2, 82.9), fill in (2, 82.9), get back (2, 82.9), keep on  (2, 82.9), miss out (2, 82.9) , move on (2, 82.9) 

Key - * phrasal verb with a frequency in the BNC of <4.23 per million words

Table 4: Idiomatic/figurative, aspectual and literal phrasal verbs

In contrast, inherently less frequent non-literal phrasal verbs did occur in INT-A, with the presence (mostly as one-off occurrences) both of non-compositional lemmas like beef up, crop up, kick in and stump up, and of lemmas used figuratively, such as chime in, float around, iron out, thrash out and whittle down, to name some examples of verbs found on the BYU-BNC to have frequencies lower than the 4.23 per million threshold. This occurrence of not particularly frequent idiomatic and figurative items in the INT-A corpus is another way in which the corpus shows that use of phrasal verbs in interpreted language resembles the use of phrasal verbs in the language as a whole, and is consonant with the theory that NS and native-like interpreters, like English speakers in general, derive processing advantages from the use of such idiomatic/figurative phrases.

The figures for aspectual phrasal verbs follow a similar pattern, with frequencies of aspectual tokens per million words much higher in INT A (600) than in INT B (100). Once again, the variety of lemmas was disproportionately lower in INT-B, with only two lemmas used with aspectual meaning in INT-B as against twenty-five in INT-A. The suggestion here once again is that phrasal verbs with aspectual meaning do not come readily to the mind of the B-direction interpreter engaged in SI; and that a phrasal resource that is used to advantage by native and native-like interpreters, seems plausibly to constitute a difficulty, to be circumvented, for the non-native interpreter.

7. Conclusions

In this article I have set out to make the case for the teaching of phrasal verbs to trainee interpreters. The case rests on six findings.

  1.  The observation of reasonably frequent use of phrasal verbs by native and native-like interpreters in INT-A.
  2. The observed use of phrasal verbs by the native and native-like interpreters in INT-A for the textualisation that is a crucial aspect of the SI process.
  3. The observed use of phrasal verbs for interpreter-mediated interpersonal functions.
  4. The observed use of phrasal verbs for mental processes which are likely to recur in situations where interpreting takes place.

Findings 1–4 are intended to show that phrasal verbs are part of the linguistic fabric of professional SI. Findings 5 and 6 concern non-native interpreters.

  1. There was confirmation of the hypothesis that processing difficulties in SI would lead to a lower frequency of phrasal verb use by the non-native interpreters of INT-B.
  2. There were very much lower frequencies in INT-B of phrasal verbs with textual metafunction, which demonstrate a linguistic lack, and a consequent need for learning and teaching (though there appears to be less need for instruction on phrasal verbs with interpersonal metafunction).

It is conceded that the small size of the INT-B corpus, and the restriction of the corpus to only part of three conferences with just a small section of parliamentary interpreting, must make finding number 5, that there is a relatively low frequency of phrasal verbs by non-native speakers, a tentative one. The inclusion of different subject matter, forming a larger sample, might have revealed more occasions when opportunities were taken up by interpreters for the choice of phrasal verbs in translations. Finding number 1, that there was a reasonably high frequency of phrasal verbs in INT-A, should also be received with a degree of caution, due to the low proportion of conference interpreting and the preponderance in the data of parliamentary debates. Overall, however, the results found in both INT-A and in INT-B are in accord with the theories that propose that native speakers find processing advantages in phrasal verbs while non-natives find processing difficulties, and for that reason it seems likely that replication of the research with a larger and more varied non-native interpreter corpus would result in similar findings.

The lower frequencies of phrasal verbs in the non-native interpreters corpus suggests that there is room for improvement in phrasal verb knowledge if non-natives are to more nearly approach native or native-like standards in terms of readiness of automatised formulaic sequences involving phrasal verbs during meaning assembly when working from A to B. Similarly, a need for improved knowledge is indicated by the low frequency of non-literal phrasal verbs among the non-native interpreters, which if translated from production to reception, would mean the risk of non-comprehension when working from B to A. The literature suggests that, partly because of the large number of non-literal phrasal verbs, acquisition cannot be left to simple experience, even when residence in an English speaking country is involved (Siyanova and Schmitt 2007), and this in turn suggests that for improvement in knowledge of phrasal verbs to take place, there must be some form of designed instruction, preferably before trainees begin interpreting work, and preferably involving attentional processes (Schmidt 1990). This form of instruction cannot take place in interpreting practice classes, precisely because attention there is perforce directed away from linguistic form; so it should take place in adjunct language support courses. Material for such courses has been uncovered in the current study, where analysis of the KWIC concordances revealed a number of longer multiword formulae (phrasal verbs +…) useful for interpreted language. Some of the concordances have already been converted into learning materials and used with trainees at the Department of Interpreting and Translation (University of Bologna at Forlì). The hope is that such work will continue, and that our understanding of the role of formulaic language in the process and product of interpreted English can be extended by the development of corpus research methods. This should include more representation in corpora of conference interpreting, to take its place alongside existing corpora of interpretation of parliamentary debates. Work also needs to be done on developing larger corpora of non-native interpreters. The small size of the non-native interpreted language corpus used in this research has meant that the findings presented here must be qualified as merely tentative. But this is no reason to disregard them, for progress in corpus research on interpreted language has to start somewhere, and in any case, it is unrealistic to expect this progress, particularly in a relatively unexplored field, to be anything other than gradual and incremental.

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Notes

[1]    For a more detailed account of the pragmatics of these and other “coherence relations”, see Cresswell (2013).

About the author(s)

Andy Cresswell has taught English Language and Linguistics in further and higher education in the UK and Italy. He has studied Sociology, English Literature, Education, and Applied Linguistics, and holds a Ph.D from Reading University, UK.  His research interests are academic writing, discourse analysis, corpus linguistics, phraseology, spoken fluency and advanced learner pedagogy, with specific reference to pre-service interpreters and translators.

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©inTRAlinea & Andy Cresswell (2018).
"Looking up phrasal verbs in small corpora of interpreting An attempt to draw out aspects of interpreted language"
inTRAlinea Special Issue: New Findings in Corpus-based Interpreting Studies
Edited by: Claudio Bendazzoli, Mariachiara Russo & Bart Defrancq
This article can be freely reproduced under Creative Commons License.
Stable URL: http://www.intralinea.org/specials/article/2319

Cfp Specialised discourse and multimedia: Linguistic features and translation issues

By The Editors

Keywords:

©inTRAlinea & The Editors (2018).
"Cfp Specialised discourse and multimedia: Linguistic features and translation issues"
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Stable URL: http://www.intralinea.org/specials/article/2318

©inTRAlinea & The Editors (2018).
"Cfp Specialised discourse and multimedia: Linguistic features and translation issues"
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Edited by: {specials_editors_news}
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Stable URL: http://www.intralinea.org/specials/article/2318

ANGLINTRAD: Towards a purpose specific interpreting corpus

By Michela Bertozzi (University of Bologna, Italy)

Abstract & Keywords

Corpus-based inter