The article’saim is to emphasise different moments of the translation process that are often erroneous during a mainly concerning translating operation where one set of textual material is replaced by another. In this article,authorconsiders the role of the translator as a mediator between different cultures. Rather than merely supplanting one form of words for another, the translator has the capacity to enhance our understanding of development issues and indigenous cultures by mediating ideas across cultural and national boundaries.
The process of translation has a long tradition, which has begun from ancient times and has been widely practiced throughout history, but in our quickly changing world its role has become of paramount importance. Translation is not merely an interlinguistic process. It is more complex than replacing source language text with target language text and includes cultural and educational nuances that can shape the options and attitudes of recipients. Translations are never produced in a cultural or political vacuum and cannot be isolated from the context in which the texts are embedded.
Nowadays, knowledge in which cultural exchanges have been expanding, has been increasingly expanding and international communication has been intensifying, the phenomenon of translation has become fundamental . Be it for scientific, medical, technological, commercial, legal, cultural or literary purposes, today human communication depends heavily on translation and, consequently, interest in the field is also growing.
Moreover, the focus of translation studies has been, recently, shifted away from linguistics to forms of cultural studies. The present study, therefore, attempts to shed some light on the nature and development of the discipline of translation studies (TS), with a view to giving some indication of the kind of work that has been done so far. It is an attempt to demonstrate that TS is a vastly complex field with many far-reaching ramifications.
Translations are never a product of a cultural void and there is a general agreement between translation scholars that ‘in seeking to transport words (and sentences and texts) from one language to another, the translator cannot merely search for equivalent words in the target language to render the meaning of the source’. Therefore, translators not only have to be intermediaries between different language systems, but also have to be intercultural mediators. The role of the translator is to mediate source ideas across cultural and national boundaries placing him or her in a unique position to understand various development issues. Thus, translation performs a crucial role in our understanding of the cultural ‘other’ .
‘What is the translators’ need to know and be able to do in order to translate?’ We are seeking, in other words, a specification of ‘translator competence’. the translator is a bilingual mediating agent between monolingual communication participants in two different language communities’.
Moreover, translation can also have a critical influence in politics and can act as an agent for reconciliation or social integration. Translations can therefore have a distinct effect on how global and human rights issues can be conveyed and communicated.
In this regard, specialists argue that the professional (technical) translator has access to five distinct kinds of knowledge; target language (TL) knowledge; text-type knowledge; source language (SL) knowledge; subject area (‘real world’) knowledge; and contrastive knowledge. This means that the translator must know (a) how propositions are structured (semantic knowledge), (b) how clauses can be synthesized to carry propositional content and analyzed to retrieve the content embedded in them (syntactic knowledge), and (c) how the clause can be realized as information bearing text and the text decomposed into the clause (pragmatic knowledge). Lack of knowledge or control in any of the there cases would mean that the translator could not translate. Without (a) and (b), even literal meaning would elude the translator. Without (c), meaning would be limited to the literal (semantic sense) carried by utterance which, though they might possess formal cohesion (being tangible realizations of clauses), would lack functional coherence and communicative value. As others argue, given the goal of linguistics to match speaker’s competence, an applied linguistic theory of translation should aim at matching the bilingual native speaker’s translation competence. This would necessarily involve seeking an integration between the linguistic knowledge of the two languages with specific and general knowledge of the domain and of the world via comparative and contrastive linguistic knowledge.
One approach would be to focus on the competence of the ‘ideal translator’ or ‘ideal bilingual’ who would be an abstraction from actual bilinguals engaged in imperfectly performing tasks of translation, but (unlike them) operating under none of the performance limitations that underlie the imperfections of actual translation . This approach reflects Chomsky’s view of the goal of the linguistic theory and his proposals for the specification of the competence of the ‘ideal speaker–hearer’. Accordingly translation theory is primarily concerned with an ideal bilingual reader–writer, who knows both languages perfectly and is unaffected by such theoretically irrelevant conditions as memory limitations, distractions, shifts of attention or interest, and errors (random or characteristic) in applying this knowledge in actual performance.
An alternative to the ‘ideal translator’ model would be to adopt a less abstract approach and describe translation competence in terms of generalizations based on inferences drawn from the observation of translator performance . A study of this type suggests an inductive approach: finding features in the data of the product which suggest the existence of particular elements and systematic relations in the process. We would envisage a translator expert system. A final alternative would be to deny the competence–performance dichotomy and redefine our objective as the specification of a multi-component ‘communicative competence’ which would consist, minimally, of four areas of knowledge and skills; grammatical competence, sociolinguistic competence, discourse competence, discourse competence and strategic competence. This approach would lead us to attempt to specify ‘translator communicative competence’: the knowledge and ability possessed by the translator which permits him/her to create communicative acts — discourse — which are not only (and not necessarily) grammatical but socially appropriate. A commitment to this position would make us assert that translator must possess linguistic competence in both languages and communicative competence in both cultures.
Translation Studies continuously brings new theoretical developments to bear upon its disciplinary object. What is obvious in the substantially growing literature is that scholars have come to translation (studies) from a variety of fields and disciplinary backgrounds. Whereas traditionally its background was linguistics (or its sub-disciplines, particularly pragmatics, textlinguistics), and also literature. Nowadays there is an increasing input from Cultural Studies. One of the consequences is terminological inconsistency. When we take concepts from different disciplines we should clearly define them and clarify their disciplinary origin. It seems to be a general phenomenon that different academic disciplines use the same labels, however, with different meanings.
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