This paper begins with the following question: What is the relation between memory and translation? If a computer, which can be given a very large amount of memory, stored millions and millions of documents and their human translations would that computer then be able to translate just like a human? The paper then explores a limitation to automatic translation based on memory. This limitation is explained in terms of the Black Box Myth of translation. However, despite this limitation, the usefulness of computers is explored as productivity tools for human translators. Then the study asks what properties might be needed in a computer, besides memory, in order to allow it to translate like a human and how to tell whether a computer has acquired human translation skills. A variation of the Turing Test is proposed as a diagnostic, along with various intermediate translation-based tests for theories of meaning. The paper ends with some philosophical speculation about the possible role of free will in language, including translation, and how a certain position on this question might influence future studies in the area of translation and cognition.
A common feature of
much modern translation research is the notion of causality. This is true not
only of empirical descriptive research and applied studies, but also of
hermeneutic studies, since concepts influence action. Different approaches
focus on different kinds and levels of cause and effect. Some focus on the
broad socio-cultural context, some on the situational level (translation
event), some on the cognitive level (translation act) and some on the
linguistic level of the translation product itself (translation profile).
Aristotle's classification of kinds of cause has already been applied in
translation studies. This paper proposes an analysis of translation causality
based on Greimas' modalities of
. It is argued that the study
of causality does not imply a deterministic standpoint; that translation
causality must include the translator's subjectivity; and that the search for
regularities in cause-effect relations does not imply a neglect of what is
unique about every translation. A causal reading of the modalities of
devoir, savoir, pouvoir
as factors influencing the
translator's action (
) allows us to relate different kinds of
causes at different levels, including the individual translator.
Against the background of current corpus-based research on the features of translated language, this study investigates two research questions that emerge as “gaps” in existing research: (1) What are the occurrence patterns for the different hypothesised features of translated language, investigated together? (2) What is the relationship between register and the features of translated language? Utilising a comparable corpus of translated and original English produced in South Africa, the study tests two hypotheses based on the above questions. The first hypothesis is that the occurrence of linguistic realisations associated with particular features of translated language will demonstrate significant differences in a corpus of translated English texts and a comparable corpus of non-translated English texts, reflecting overall more explicit, more conservative, and simplified language use in the translation corpus than in the corpus of original writing. As a starting point for factoring in the variable of register, it was further hypothesised that the frequency of these features in the translation corpus will show no significant effect for the relationship between corpus and register — in other words, the translation-related features would not be strongly linked to register variation. This has the collateral effect of suggesting a broader hypothesis that in the translation corpus less register variation, or sensitivity to register, will occur, specifically as a consequence of translation-specific effects. The findings from the investigation provide limited support for the first hypothesis, with statistically significant differences between the two corpora for only two of the features investigated: the use of the optional that complementiser, and lexical variety. The second hypothesis, that the interference of the translation process will lead to a “levelling out” of registers, is not supported by the findings.
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.
In his Latin translation of Plato's Letter VII 326b-c Leonardo Bruni used the already existing translation of the passage made by Cicero. The paper shows how the Florentine humanist treated the version of his master: he reproduced it with slight modifications caused by his desire for originality.
The paper offers a critical edition of Janus' translation, a comparison of this translation with Cicero's translation of the same passage and an analysis of its place among the translations of the period.
The field of translation in general and of technical translation in particular has become increasingly dependent on the use of various electronic tools. Computer assisted translation uses specialized applications that partly automate the production of multilingual software and documentation. However, for some needs these applications are not flexible enough. In these situations programming becomes indispensable. Scripting programming languages such as Perl provide a perfect platform for rapid solution of specific, short-term problems in a fully customizable way.
In recent years, technologically advanced methodologies such as Translog have gained a lot of ground in translation process research. However, in this paper it will be argued that quantitative research methods can be supplemented by ethnographic qualitative ones so as to enhance our understanding of what underlies the translation process. Although translation studies scholars have sometimes applied an ethnographic approach to the study of translation, this paper offers a different perspective and considers the potential of ethnographic research methods for tapping cognitive and behavioural aspects of the translation process. A number of ethnographic principles are discussed and it is argued that process researchers aiming to understand translators’ perspectives and intentions, how these shape their behaviours, as well as how translators reflect on the situations they face and how they see themselves, would undoubtedly benefit from adopting an ethnographic framework for their studies on translation processes.