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New Approaches to Translation History Anthony Pym Intercultural Studies Group Universitat Rovira i Virgili Tarragona, Spain.

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Presentation on theme: "New Approaches to Translation History Anthony Pym Intercultural Studies Group Universitat Rovira i Virgili Tarragona, Spain."— Presentation transcript:

1 New Approaches to Translation History Anthony Pym Intercultural Studies Group Universitat Rovira i Virgili Tarragona, Spain

2 Menu for morning session: n Why do it? n Quantitative research? n Systems and norms? n Intercultures?

3 Why do translation history? n Personal satisfaction –So why communicate it? n Protection and glory of target cultures –So why look at translation? n To challenge concepts of cultures? –But there is nothing outside of cultures?

4 A traditional theory:

5 What’s missing? n Cross-cultural intertextuality n Overlaps of cultures n Positions for receivers (how many meanings?) n Positions for translators...

6 An alternative model:

7 An even better alternative model: Locale 1 Locale 2 Locale 3 IC Locale 4

8 What is different here? n Translation moves out from a common centre (an interculture) n It moves towards locales n There are no target texts in the interculture

9 What is an interculture? n Relations are professional n They have secondness with respect to monocultural communication n The agents become principles (?) n They become more independent the more technical their tasks are. n (They will one day rule the world?)

10 Where are cultures?

11 Where are intercultures?

12 Which means... n Translators work in networks (of intermediaries). n Translations mark the limits of cultures n The communication borders are nodes, increasingly in cities. n Translation precedes cultural identity.

13 Measuring translation flows 1

14 Measuring translation flows 2

15 Measuring translation flows 3

16 Measuring translation flows 4

17 Which means: n The more cultural products there are in a language, the more translations there are likely to be from that language. n A low translation percentage in a language may be due to no more than a relatively high number of cultural products produced in that language

18 And... n The more cultural products a country produces in non-national languages, the higher the percentage of translations into the national language(s) is likely to be. n (e.g. People in Sweden read in English AND read translations from English)

19 Thus... n This is why intercultures appear to be central or peripheral, in accordance with the relative size and openness of the cultural locale concerned.

20 So how can we read this?

21 Is English-language culture hegemonic? n For there were more than 2.5 times as many translations in Britain and the United States (1,872,050) than in France (688,720) or Italy (577,950). n 24% of all books in English are published outside the US or the UK.

22 What are norms? n ‘The main factors ensuring the establishment and retention of social order’ (Toury 1995:55). n For example... n Literal / free, longer / shorter, neologisms / archaisms, preface / none, notes / none.

23 How to discover norms? n Look at translations? n Compare translations with parallel texts? n Look at translation theories? n Look at translation criticism? n Look at debates between translators? n I.e. Bottom-up or top-down.

24 For example: n 'no great novel has ever been rendered into French without cuts' (Wyzewa 1901: 599). n M. G. Conrad (1889) proposed that German translators make more cuts as an act of adaptive protectionism against the disloyal cultural competition of French translators.

25 Toury’s laws: n The textual relations of the original are increasingly ignored in favour of the options offered by the target language. n Interference happens when the translation is from a prestigious language or culture and the target language or culture is minor.

26 In human terms...? n The more the translator is in an interculture, the less “natural” the translation. n The bigger the receiving culture, the more marginal the interculture and the more “natural” the translation. n... Perhaps...

27 Examples: n Twelfth-century translations into Latin were... n...extremely literal. n Nineteenth-century translations into French were... n...often very free...

28 But what of the power of the individual? n Rabbi Mose... n Henri Albert... n Ezra Pound n... Or their patrons?

29 The real question is: n Who makes history? n (Or are the norms and systems simply there?)

30 Activity n Select a translator (or group of translators) n Try to find out how they made their money. n Who did they work with / for /against? n What was the locale conditioning their work? n Can you locate any norms of that locale?


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