TRANSLATION MODALITIES – A DESCRIPTIVE MODEL FOR QUANTITATIVE STUDIES IN TRANSLATOLOGY Francis Henrik Aubert University of São Paulo
INTRODUCTION Translation, as indeed any speech act, of any nature or description, is something which occurs between and among individuals and social groups. Translation is also something which takes place between different cultures, ideologies and world images.Furthermore, translation is something which goes on the whole time on the marketplace, involving, in economic terms, an added-value of several US$ billion a year. Translation is, evidently, something which is done to texts and discourses. And last but, probably, not least, translation is something which expresses itself in sentences, phrases, words. It is my purpose in this paper to provideempirical evidence which demonstrates that, despite the relevance and, indeed, the compelling urgency of adequate investigations into all textual and extra-textual matters related to language in general and to translation specifically, there is still sufficient scope for a closer look into the actual phrase and sub-phrase linguistic mechanisms that manifest themselves in each and every translationalact. Indeed, it would be reasonable to expect that the macrostructures revealed on the planes of discourse, text grammar, pragmatics and cultural insertion of texts and their translations in one way or another would be mirrored by the microstructure of sentences, phrases and words. But, if de Saussure’s concept of the signifiant/signifié relationship being of an arbitrary nature holds good, thechallenge remains to determine the manner and the extent of such mirroring. Beyond the theoretical interest of the approach suggested in the preceding, a number of praxiological circumstances seem to back up the relevance of a descriptive analysis of sub-phrase trends in translation. Thus, the advances in machine-assisted translation over these last 10 or 15 years, and which to a large extentderive from the assembly of workable interlanguage algorithms based on internal linguistic structure. The current ‘boom’ in bilingual and multilingual terminological studies points in the same direction. And, as pointed out elsewhere,
Francis Henrik Aubert in the everyday work of professional translators, translation is (or is felt to be) very much a word-centred operation, resorting todictionaries, thesauri, and the like as the primary external tool in their daily work. Indisputably, this is not the entire truth; far from it. But one might perhaps dare to suggest that it is a significant part of the perceived truth ... (Aubert, 1995) a perception which, again, underlines the relevance of a technical approach, not in contradistinction to, but certainly in a complementaryrelationship with the more textual approaches favoured by our times.
TRANSLATION MODALITIES – THE VINAY & DARBELNET MODEL REVISITED In this paper, one such technical approach will be presented which, it is hoped, will prove of interest not only to translation theory and practice, but to comparative linguistics in general. This approach takes the form of a descriptive model whereby the degree oflinguistic differentiation between the original text and the translated text can be measured and quantified, thus affording the possibility of organising and preparing data for statistical treatment. The origin of such model harks back to Vinay and Darbelnet (1958), who proposed a set of what they termed procédés techniques de la traduction. Such procedures, set up on a scale ranging from a kind of ‘zerodegree’ of translation (loan) and up to the most source-distant procedure (adaptation), were originally intended as a didactic reference for the training of future translators. This model, whatever its shortcomings, has become very popular among scholars in Brazil. In the 70’s, Queirós (1978) submitted as an MA thesis a commented version of the model. Later, Fregonezi (1984) wrote a doctoral...
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