Translation as theory and practice: A multilingual approach to translation challenges and tensions

Fochi, Anna (2007) Translation as theory and practice: A multilingual approach to translation challenges and tensions. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Translation always implies establishing a contact between cultures, and thus it inevitably leads to an 'experience of the other', with the possibility of developing a range of different types of 'encounters'. Therefore, translation is no neutral act of communication, having important consequences on the delicate dialogue between cultures, especially in the case of unbalanced contacts between a 'strong' and a 'weak' culture, which also justifies the central role that translation has always played for countries like those in Latin America. To study translation from a cross-cultural perspective first of all implies to acknowledge its role in society, and to stop regarding it only as a specialized and 'detached' field. It is a stimulating position for translation studies, which inevitably leads to a more open approach, extending the discourse about translation, and translation criticism in particular, outside their traditional borders. This confirms the opinion that it is too limiting to conceive the study of translation only on an 'interlinguistic' level, thinking that similar processes of text transfer can be activated in both 'interlinguistic' and 'intersemiotic' translation, and thus this research aims to prove that it is possible for translation criticism to combine a cross-cultural perspective with a more comprehensive approach to translation, inclusive of interlinguistic and intersemiotic forms. In other words, the hope is to show how the tensions and dynamics created by the transposition of a written text, a novel, into a foreign language and culture can be better detected and understood by applying a fundamentally similar approach to the study of more than one transformational form of the same source text (ST), including therefore both written and filmic target texts (TTs). Trying to put such a hypothesis to the proof, and verifying if and how it is relevant to translation criticism, the research identifies two almost contemporary, yet very different Latin American novels (Antonio Skarmeta's Ardiente paciencia, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Cronica de una muerte anunciadd) as case studies, and focuses on their encounters with our Western culture, through both their interlinguistic and intersemiotic translations. This way the study deals with different semiotic languages, which means therefore that it is particularly important to identify an adequate tool for analysis, and from this point of view a promising support has been found in Peeter Torop's table for "Translatability of Culture". Although mainly developed for interlinguistic translation, the table proves to be applicable also to intersemiotic translation, and in both case studies it actually contributes to highlight tensions and dynamics which are more or less overtly present in both written and cinematic TTs. If in the first case study, the analysis reveals a clear process of 'deterritorialization' and assimilation in the long 'journey from the margins', the second case study, instead, offers interesting examples of culturally aware and committed translators. There are relevant implications for translation criticism, as it stops being an aloof and academic arena, only aiming at detecting and scientifically describing translation methods and norms. The research shows that the identification of a translation method almost inevitably leads the observer to reflect on the way the translator's choices influence the readers' perception of the ST within the framework of the receiving culture, and the ultimate focus of translation criticism becomes the practical consequences of translation on the 'meeting' of two different cultures.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Language
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities
Supervisor's Name: Supervisor, not known
Date of Award: 2007
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2007-71013
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 May 2019 14:28
Last Modified: 21 May 2021 10:21

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