Establishing and development of the theory of translation as a science in the XX century (43452)

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Ministry of Science and Education of Republic of Kazakhstan

Colledge of the Foreign Languages

Establishing and development of the theory of translation as a science in the XX century

Karaganda 2008


Many years ago, according to the Bible, all people living on the Earth spoke the same language. As they had had a great desire to reach the God, they began building a very high tower to be closer to him. The God decided to punish them and one morning when they woke up they were speaking the different languages and could not understand each other. Since that very time people have been needing interpreters. Functionally, an interpreter is a person who converts a source language to a target language. The interpreters function is conveying every semantic element (tone and register) and every intention and feeling of the message that the source-language speaker is directing to the target-language listeners. Language interpreting or interpretation is the intellectual activity of facilitating oral and sign-language communication, either simultaneously or consecutively, between two or more users of different languages. Functionally, interpreting and interpretation are the descriptive words for the activity. In professional practice interpreting denotes the act of facilitating communication from one language form into its equivalent, or approximate equivalent, in another language form. Interpretation denotes the actual product of this work, that is, the message as thus rendered into speech, sign language, writing, non-manual signals, or other language form. This important distinction is observed to avoid confusion. Peter Trent, a senator from Westmont, Canada was sure that: To think that you can be an interpreter only because you know two languages is the same to think that you can play the piano only because you have two hands. Each interpreter must know foreign languages very well and of course he must know theory of translation, because it is impossible to translate perfectly without knowing the main basic aspects of the theory of translations. The theme of this work has been chosen because the theory of translation is of great importance in my future life. It has a very interesting history, and was widely developed in the XX century. This century is often called a century of great discoveries, development and progress. Business relations among people, different kinds of communications lead to intensive development of the theory of translation in the XX century. This course papers aims are to show the history of interpreting, establishing of the theory of translation and its development in the last century. The course paper consists of introduction, two chapters, conclusion and bibliography. In the first chapter devoted to the history of interpreting and establishing of the theory of translation the attention is paid to the definition of the terms “translation” and “interpreting”. It is shown that the history of translation has a very long way, beginning from the ancient times. A special attention is paid to the history of theory. In the second chapter which is dedicated to the development of the theory of translation in the twentieth century attention is paid to Modern western Schools of translation and difference among them is shown. In this chapter the difference between simultaneous and consecutive translation is shown and types of interpreting are stated.

History of interpreting and establishing of the theory of translation

Translation and interpreting Translation is the interpreting of the meaning of a text and the subsequent production of an equivalent text, likewise called a “translation”, that communicates the same message in another language. The text to be translated is called the “the source text”, and the language that it is to be translated into is called the “target language”; the final product is sometimes called the “target text”. Translation must take into account constraints that include context, the rules of grammar of the two languages, their writing conventions, and their idioms. A common misconception is that there exists a simple word-for-word correspondence between any two languages, and that translation is a straightforward mechanical process; such a word-for-word translation, however, cannot take into account context, grammar, conventions, and idioms. Translation is fraught with the potential for “spilling over” of idioms and usages from one language into the other, since both languages coexist within the translator's mind. Such spilling over easily produce linguistic hybrids such as “Franglais” (French-English), “Spanglish” (Spanish-English), “Poglish” (Polish-English). On the other hand, inter-linguistic spillages have also served the useful purpose of importing calques and loanwords from a source language into a target language that had previously lacked a concept or a convenient expression for the concept. Translators and interpreters have thus played an important role in the evolution of cultures. The art of translation is as old as written literature. Parts of the Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, among the oldest known literary works, have been found in translations into several Asiatic languages of the second millennium BCE. The Epic of Gilgamesh may have been read, in their own languages, by early authors of the Bible and of the Iliad. With the advent of computers, attempts have been made to computerize or otherwise automate the translation of natural language texts (machine translation) or to use computers as an aid to translation (computer-assisted translation). The latin “translatio” derives from the perfect passive participle, “translatum”, of “transferre” The modern Romance, Germanic and Slavic European languages have generally formed their own equivalent terms for this concept after the Latin model – after “transferre” or after the kindred “traducere” (“to bring across” or “to lead across”). Additionally, the Greek term for “translation”, “metaphrasis” (“a speaking across”), has supplied English with “metaphrase” (a “literal translation”, or “word-for-word” translation) – as contrasted with “paraphrase” (“a saying in other words”, from the Greek “paraphrasis”). “Metaphrase” corresponds, in one of the more recent terminologies, to “formal equivalence”, and “paraphrase”, to “dynamic equivalence”. Newcomers to translation sometimes proceed as if translation were an exact science – as if consistent, one to one correlations existed between the words and phrases of different languages, rendering translations fixed and identically reproducible, much as in cryptography. Such novices may assume that all that is needed to translate a text is to “encode” and “decode” equivalents between the two languages, using a translation dictionary as the “codebook”. On the contrary, such a fixed relationship would only exist were a new language synthesized and simultaneously matched to a pre-existing language's scopes of meaning, etymologies, and lexical ecological niches. If the new language were subsequently to take on a life apart from such cryptographic use, each word would spontaneously begin to assume new shades of meaning and cast off previous associations, thereby vitiating any such artificial synchronization. Henceforth translation would require the disciplines in this article. Another common misconception is that anyone who can speak a second language will make a good translator. In the translation community, it ie generally accepted that the best translations are produced by persons who are translating into their own native languages, as it is rare for someone who has learned a second language to have total fluency in that language. A good translator understands the source language well, has specific experience in the subject matter of the text, and is a good writer in the target language. Moreover, he is not only bilingual but bicultural. It has been debated whether translation is art or craft. Literary translators, such as Gregory Rabassa in “If this be treason”, argue that translation is an art – a teachable one. Other translators, mostly technical, commercial, and legal, regard their “metier” as a craft – again, a teachable one, subject to linguistic analysis, that benefits from academic study. As with other human activities, the distinction between art and craft may be largely a matter of degree. Even a document which appears simple, e.g. a product brochure, requires a certain level of linguistic skill that goes beyond mere technical terminology. Any material used for marketing purposes reflects on the company that produces the product and the brochure. The best translations are obtained through the combined application of good technical-terminology skills and good writing skills. Translation has served as a writing school for many prominent writers. Translators, including the early modern European translators of the Bible, in the course of their work have shaped the very languages into which they have translated. They have acted as bridges for conveying knowledge and ideas between cultures and civilizations. Along with ideas, they have imported, into their own languages, loanwords and calques of grammatical structures, idioms and vocabulary from the source language. Interpreting, or “interpretation”, is the intellectual activity that consists of facilitating oral or sign-language communication, either simultaneously or consecutively, between two or among three or more speakers who are not speaking, or signing, the same language. The words “interpreting” and “interpretation” both can be used to refer to this activity; the word “interpreting” is commonly used in the profession and in the translation-studies field to avoid confusion with other meanings of the word “interpretation”. Not all languages employ, as English does, two separate words to denote the activities of written and live-communication (oral or sign-language) translators. Even English does not always make the distinction, frequently using “translation” as a synonym of “interpretation”, especially in nontechnical usage. Interpreting has been in exsistence ever since man has used the spoken word. It has therefore always played a vital role in the relationships between people of different origins since the beginning of mankind. However, there is a lack of hard evidence pinpointing the time of the creation of interpreting due to the fact that interpreting, unlike written translations, leaves behind no written proof. The first written proof of interpreting dates back to 3000 BC, at which time the Ancient Egyptians had a hieroglyphic signifying “interpreter”. The next widely known use of interpreting occurred in Ancient Greece and Rome. For both the Ancient Greeks and Romans, learning the language of the people that they conquered was considered very undignified. Therefore, slaves, prisoners and ethnic hybrids were forced to learn multiple languages and interpret for the nobility. Futhermore, during this era and up until the 17th century. Latin was the lingua franca, or the language of diplomacy, in Europe, and therefore all nations had to have some citizens who spoken latin in order to carry on diplomatic relations. Throughout the centuries, interpreting became more and more widely spread due to number of factors. One such factor is religion. The people of many different religions throughout history have journeyed into international territories in order to share and teach their beliefs. For example, 17th and 18th centuries AD, many Arabs were in West Africa in order to trade. Along with commerce, however, the Arabs introduced Islam to the Africans, and Arabic, the language of the Koran, became ever more important. Interpreters assisted in spreading the word of the Koran to the local villages. Another religion that has always yearned to explaned its borders is Christianity. In 1253, William of Rubruck was sent by Louis IX on an expedition into Asia accompained by interpreters. This was one of the very first large-scale pure mission trips: William's sole purpose was to spread the word of God. Another factor that played a large role in the advancement of interpreting was the Age of Exploration. With so many expeditions to explore new lands, people were bound to come across others who spoke a different language. One of the most famous interpreters in history came out of the Age of Exploration, specifically the early 16th century. This interpreter was of Mexican descent, and served Cortes on his crusades. Her name was Dona Marina, also known as “La Malinche”. La Malinche serves as good example of the feelings held toward interpreters in the Age of Exploration. Because the interpreters that helped the conquerors were often of native descent, their own people often felt that they were traitors, regardless of the circumstance and whether or not they were interpreting voluntarily. On the other hand, however, these people served as a connection between the native population and the explorers. The explorers therefore treasured these go-betweens. Furthermore, interpreters enabled many pacts and treaties to occur that otherwise would not have been possible; they have played a large role in the formation of the world that we know today.

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