From 17 to 26 January 2000 some 330 people from all over the
world participated in an on-line symposium on the general topic of training
translators and interpreters. The main topics of debate included the use of
teamwork in the classroom, class size, the accreditation of translators, how to
teach literary translation, the changing role of media translation, the place
of interpreting, the importance of dealing with neologisms, and the general
impact of technology. In all cases the focus was on the way recent changes in
the profession are or should be producing innovations in the way translators
and interpreters are trained. The actual papers and discussions can be seen at
http://<a href = "http://www.fut.es/~apym/symp/intro.html">www.fut.es/~apym/symp/intro.html.
This paper reports on evaluative comments made over some ten years on research by students in the doctoral program in Translation and Intercultural Studies at the Universitat Rovira i Virgili in Tarragona, Spain. The vast majority of the comments are found to involve general shortcomings that do not particularly concern Translation Studies. This would suggest that research trainees do not really need a doctoral program in Translation Studies. Other weaknesses stem from the relatively undeveloped intellectual position of Translation Studies as a discipline, especially with regard to unstable terminology, the attribution of authority to other disciplines, and tendencies to disappear into philosophical aporias, into indiscriminate data-gathering, and into the uncritical extension of vocational values or professional best practices. Some shortcomings, however, would seem more germane to the nature of translation as an object of knowledge. This particularly concerns the problems of describing translation quality and attempts to position the researcher as being external to the intercultural processes being investigated. Translation researchers, it is argued, are necessarily interpreting language in a way similar to translators, operating on the borders between stabilizing systems. That special position, which is specific in terms of degree rather than kind, makes hermeneutic work and self-reflection basic parts of translation research, and trainees need to develop the corresponding awareness. On the other hand, to limit oneself to empirical and often positivistic methodologies from other disciplines would be to de-intellectualize the way researchers engage socially and politically with translation.
The methodological task of defining “translation” across languages forms an apparent aporia, since there is no guarantee that the different terms that might express “translation” are in fact translations of each other. One solution is to propose a formal conceptualization of “translation”, in practice a set of criteria, a research filter, that the scholar imposes on the prior multilingual data. However, this act of imposition may neutralize the dynamic variability and historicity of the many culturally different ways of thinking about translation. Here the extent of that imposition is guaged by taking three examples of formal conceptualizations, from Toury, Gutt and Pym, and testing them on three cases of potentially borderline translational practices. It is found that the formal conceptualizations are not simple cultural impositions and can in fact allow considerable space for the historical study of textuality, receptive positions, and the semi-concealed subjectivities of translators.
Professional non-literary translation in contemporary Europe may be understood as a coherent alternative to interlocutors using languages in which they have deficient or non-natural competence. Such translation can thus be seen as inscribing an ideology of non-hybridity. This is because macrostructural translated texts mark out lines between at last two languages and cultures; they thus posit the separation and possible purity of both; this in turn supports the ideal of pure or natural language use. If such imagined purity is some kind of opposite of hybrids, then translations might help rather than hinder it. This general argument can be unsheathed from a picture in a twelfthcentury translation of the Qur'an, a close reading of Horace, a wink at Schleiermacher, and twinkling Euro-English from an EU meeting on business statistics regulations.
Future enlargement of the European Union is destined to accentuate the problems of its translation services. Some lessons for likely scenarios can be gleaned from the addition of Finnish to the list of official languages in 1995, especially with respect to juridical syntax, new terminology, the status of a relatively ‘opaque’ language, and the social factors influencing acceptance of change. These issues are linked to the special theoretical problems ensuing from translational equivalence as an EU ‘legal fiction’ and the subsequent non-directionality of translated texts. Official equality also hides extreme imbalances in language use, perhaps promising more than limited budgets may be able to deliver. It is suggested that, in preparation for such problems, restricted training programmes should be developed, the non-bureaucratic translation market should not be abandoned, and a series of critical questions should be asked of EU experts.
The translator’s risk management while translating can involve several general dispositions, of which risk taking, risk avoidance, and risk transfer have been modeled previously (Pym 2015). In this paper we propose a fourth type of disposition, risk mitigation, which was identified by Matsushita (2016) through empirical research based on Pym’s model. Risk mitigation is a disposition where the translator incurs one kind of risk in order to reduce another. Analyzing authentic examples in multiple languages, we ask whether mitigation is fundamentally different from the other three types, whether it involves a specific restriction on how much effort should rationally be invested by the translator, and whether a general logic of trade-offs is applicable. We further propose that mitigation correlates with factors both on the production side of the translator’s discourse, where it enhances translatorial visibility, and on the reception side, where it can respond to imprecise identification of the target public.
Maeve Olohan (ed.): Intercultural Faultlines. Research Models in Translation Studies I. Textual and Cognitive Aspects. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing, 2000; Paul Kussmaul: Kreatives Übersetzen Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 2000; Jenny Williams and Andrew Chesterman: The Map. A Beginner's Guide to Doing Research in Translation Studies. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing, 2002.
There is ongoing debate about which skills translation students require for employment. Numerous “bridge the gap” studies draw on translation professionals in order to list the skills that graduates should have acquired. However, many of the available surveys indicate, with some regularity, that only a minority of graduates from Master’s programs in translation actually find stable employment in the translation industry. Here we report on a survey of graduates from the University of Melbourne and the skills that they say they require once in employment. The graduates who are employed in the translation industry prioritize skills that are significantly different from those prioritized by graduates employed in other sectors. This raises an underlying question of whether we are training for an industry or for society.
Research cooperation between academic and nonacademic institutions tends not to concern the humanities, where mutual financial rewards are mostly not in evidence. The study of eight nonacademic placements of doctoral researchers working on interlingual translation nevertheless indicates some degree of success. It is found that the placements lead to ongoing cooperation when the following conditions are met: 1) the nature of the placement is understood and relations of trust are established; 2) mutual benefits are envisaged; and 3) there are prior arrangements for receiving visiting researchers. A placement can be successful even when one of the last two factors is missing. Further, the measure of success for placements in the humanities should concern social and symbolic benefits, in addition to financial profits.