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Elisabet Titik Murtisari Monash University, Australia
Introduction The concept of explicitation itself, which is generally understood as ‘the spelling out of information which is otherwise implicit in the source text’, has been of special interest in translation studies because of its elusiveness. Different methods have been applied in the study, e.g. by the use of the discourse based concept of explicitness and the traditional encoded/inferred distinction. The studies, however, are somewhat difficult to compare since every study seems to have its own concept of explicitation. Besides, there is also a issue with the combination of the two notions of explicitness, which is often done in explicitation research. In this presentation, therefore, I’d like to demonstrate how Relevance Theory (RT) may be able to shed more light on the elusive nature of explicitation and may also bring all the different approaches together in its future research. I will begin by examining the types of explicitness and their use in current approaches to explicitation. Later I will propose the typology I’ve developed from the Relevance Theory Framework and explain how it may solve some issues in the area of explicitation. Examples of analysis are taken from the comparison between John Steinbeck’s novels The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men and their translation
Explicitation Definition: “the spelling out in a target text of information which is only implicit in a source text” (Olohan/Baker 2000:142) The issue: the concept of implicit and explicit itself is not clear Result: While there are a good number of studies but the results are difficult to compare because the concepts used are different
Two types of explicitness 1. Explicitness that is based on meaning levels (so far the traditional encoded/inferred distinction) Explicit – encoded; Implicit – inferred 2. Discourse – based explicitness (gradable) measured by features such as encodedness, informativity, specificity, topicality, focus, and emphasis These two types of explicitness basically lead to two different approaches of research in explicitation, i.e. process and product/addition approaches
Process explicitation Additional encoded meaning in TT is examined in terms of its relationship with ST; helpful to find out about the degree of TT’s adherence to ST. Interested in what happens in the mind of the translator, interpretation process, and meaning reconstruction Needs a specific theory to explain the explicit and implicit – so far based on the traditional encoded/inferred distinction. But this explicit/implicit distinction is problematic (redundant with encoded/inferred distinction, against the underdeterminate and indeterminate nature of language).
Product explicitation The focus is on what is encoded in the TT but not in the ST Does not matter whether the additional meaning is recoverable from the text or not. Easy to apply esp. with large corpora, but does not explain the relationship between ST and TT Explicitation is a gain of information
‘ Mix’/Combination of product and process explicitation The product and process explicitness are often mixed, sometimes for more benefits of analysis, but sometimes due to lack of attention to the conceptual basis of explicitness and implicitness. The problem: the two types of explicitness are not compatible with the process one based on the encoded/inferred distinction.
The incompatibility Explicitation in the traditional explicitation is not necessarily a gain of extra information: This is because what is spelled out from the context may be more general than the ST. He bought some beef. --- He bought some meat. ‘meat’ is more general than ‘beef’ but in Klaudy and Karoly’s approach it is used as implicitation See also Kamenická (2007:48) Question: Are product and process explicitation naturally incompatible or is it because of the traditional explicit/implicit distinction that is problematic here? Since the explicit/implicit distinction is problematic in the first place, it could be the cause of the problem. But my early aim was just to find an alternative paradigm to explain based on a distinction that take more account of the nature of language, thus I searched for a theory that may be used for this.
An alternative 1. Use of Explicit/Implicit distinction (Explicature and Implicature) by Relevance Theory (Sperber and Wilson, 1986): Take account of indeterminacy and underdeterminacy of language ; Human thoughts are too complex to be fully represented by language. Thus linguistic symbols are just pointers to them. ‘On a more traditional view, the explicit content of an utterance is a set of decoded assumptions, and the implicit content is a set of inferred assumptions. Since we are claiming that no assumption is simply decoded, and that the recovery of any assumption requires an element of inference, we deny that the distinction between the explicit and implicit can be made in this way.’ (Sperber and Wilson, 1986:182) 2. Take account of the contextual effects of the use of specific form (based on relevance).
The RT’s distinction of explicit and implicit An assumption communicated by an utterance U is explicit [hence an ‘explicature’] if and if only it is a development of a logical form encoded by U’. (Sperber and Wilson, 1986); ‘derived by pragmatically filling in and adjusting the semantic scaffolding provided by the linguistic expression used’ (Carston, 2002:366). An assumption communicated by U which is not explicit is implicit [hence an ‘implicature’] (Sperber and Wilson, 1986); implicatures: derived wholly pragmatically (Carston, 2002:366).
Examples of explicature & implicature Explicature: Very cold. Very cold here. It’s very cold here. _________________________________ Implicature: I want you to close the window. classificatory
Scalar and Categorical Shifts Based on Sperber and Wilson’s idea that explicitness is comparative and classificatory (1986/1995), I’ve developed ‘Scalar’ and ‘Categorical’ Explicitation and De-explicitation Scalar shifts taking place within explicatures, based on the comparative (gradable) nature of explicatures. cover all grammatical shifts and pragmatic development or contraction of an utterance’s explicature. Accomodate the discourse explicitness. Thus specification and generalization of individual semantic representation would be always explicitation and implicitation respectively. Categorical shifts shifts from one category of meaning to another (from the explicit (explicature) to the implicit (implicature) or from the implicit to the explicit). based on the classificatory nature of explicatures, i.e. that they define what may be classified as the explicit and implicit. Accommodate process explicitation. Scalar and categorical shifts can be combined together in analysis, so it can unify the traditional product and process approaches
Scalar explicitation ST: And since old Tom and the children could not know hurt or fear unless she acknowledged hurt and fear, she had practiced denying them in herself. The Grapes of Wrath, P.77 TT: Dan sejak Tom tua dan anak-anak tidak tahu rasa sakit kecuali kalau ia merasa sakit atau takut, ia sudah berlatih menolak perasaan itu [the feeling] dalam dirinya. Amarah, Vol 1, P.93 The shift may be categorized as ‘scalar’ because ‘the feeling’ (perasaan itu) is only a development of the form ‘them’ and thus the target text still shares the same explicature as the source text. X → X’, in which X’ is a development of the form X and X’represents the same explicature as X does. It makes a case of explicitation because ‘the feeling’ is comparatively more explicit than ‘them’ because although they share the same meaning the target form is more accessible and more informative to the reader than the source form.
Scalar de-explicitation ST: The rabbits hurried noiselessly for cover. Of Mice and Men, p.7 TT: Diam-diam binatang-binatang itu lari menyembunyikan diri. (Quietly the animals ran to hide themselves). Tikus dan Manusia, P. 8 The shift is scalar because the shift from ‘the rabbits’ into ‘the animals’ is just a formal development of the former. X → X’, in which X’ is a contraction of the form X and X’ represent the same explicature as X does. It is a de-explicitation because the omission of the form ‘there’ makes the TT less explicit than the ST (making the reader work more on inference).
Categorical explicitation ST: “Give you what, George?” “You know God damn well what. I want that mouse.” Of Mice and Men, P.13 TT: “Apa yang kuberikan, George?” “Keparat, engkau mengerti betul apa. Berikan tikus itu.” (Give me the mouse). Tikus dan Manusia, P.14 The shift is categorical because ‘Give me the mouse’ is an implicature of ‘I want that mouse’ in the ST, but in the TT it becomes part of the explicature. In other words the meaning shifts from the implicit to the explicit. X→ Y, in which Y is an implicature of X. It is a case of explicitation because the meaning ‘the corner is folded’ becomes more accessible by moving to the level of explicature (by being encoded).
Categorical de-explicitation ST: “… Maybe I can preach again. Folks out lonely on the road, folks with no Ian', no home to go to. They got to have some kind of home…." He stood over the fire. The hundred muscles of his neck stood out in high relief, and the firelight went deep into his eyes and ignited red embers. The Grapes of Wrath, P.58-9 TT: omitted and thus the text in bold only becomes an implicature of the previous sentence. Amarah, Vol.1. P.71 The shift is categorical because the meaning of ‘They got to have some kind of home’ moves from being an explicature to an implicature of the previous sentence. X → Y, in which X is an explicature and Y is an implicature.
Contextual effects The scalar/categorical typology, however, can only be most fruitful if we also take the contextual effects into account. Eventually what matters in translation as a type of communication is not what is gained and lost, but the effects of the shift the translator want to achieve for the rendering. Considering the above issue, I have also considered the likely reasons of the shifts (clarity, naturalness, stylistic, etc) for the classification of my data.
Sample of data from Of Mice and Men Likely reason of shiftScalarCatgSub- Total ScalarCatgSub- Total Total S &C Clarity % Naturalness – clarity % Conciseness – clarity % clarity – style % Sub – Total %14.3%92.9%7.1%0.0%7.1%100% Table 8.2. Clarity-related Shifts in the translation of Of Mice and Men
Conclusion RT’s explicit/implicit distinction helps explicitation research to take account of the indeterminate nature of language More analytic results for distinguishing meaning levels Can combine product & process explicitness Hope to help studies on explicitation more fruitful
References: Carston, Robyn (2002). Thoughts and utterances: the pragmatics of explicit communication. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell. Kamenická, Renata (2007). Defining explicitation in translation. Brno Studies in English, S13, 2007, pp Sperber D. and D. Wilson (1986) Relevance: communication and cognition. Oxford: Blackwell. Steinbeck, John (1937/1970). Of Mice and Men. London: Penguin Books. Steinbeck, John (1937/2003). Of Mice and Men. (P.A. Toer, Trans.). Jakarta: Lentera Dipantara. Steinbeck, John (1939/2000). The Grapes of Wrath. New York: Penguin Classics. Steinbeck, John (1939/2000). The Grapes of Wrath. (S. D. Damono, Trans.)