LINGUIST List 20.2279|
Wed Jun 24 2009
Review: Translation: Munday (2008)
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Introducing Translation Studies
Message 1: Introducing Translation Studies
From: Mekki Elbadri <yamekkhotmail.com>
Subject: Introducing Translation Studies
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AUTHOR: Munday, Jeremy
TITLE: Introducing Translation Studies
SUBTITLE: Theories and Applications
PUBLISHER: Routledge, London and New York, 2nd. Edition.
Mekki Elbadri, Vienna Austria
Munday's book consists of 236 pages divided into an introduction and 12
chapters. It includes also a list of figures and tables, acknowledgements and a
list of abbreviations, as well as an appendix (with internet links), notes, a
bibliography and an index. Each chapter is prefaced by a box of key concepts and
a list of key texts, and concluded with one or two case studies, suggestions for
further reading, a summary and a box containing discussion and research points.
In the introduction, the author defines translation studies as ''the academic
discipline related to the study of the theory and phenomena of translation. By
its nature it is multilingual and also interdisciplinary, encompassing any
language combinations, various branches of linguistics, comparative literature,
communication studies, philosophy and a range of types of cultural studies
including postcolonialism and postmodernism as well as sociology and
historiography'' (p. 1). He points out the difficulty of teaching about the
discipline because of this diversity. He provides a list of readers on the
subject (see, for example, Venuti (2000)) and outlines the structure of the
book, defining its prospective audience, as well as pointing out similarities
and differences between the first edition of the book (Munday, 2001) and this
Chapter 1, pp. 4-17, ''Main issues of translation studies'', outlines the concept
of translation, describes what is meant by translation studies and sketches a
brief history of the discipline. The author presents with some detail the map
formalized by Holmes as a seminal concept of the translation studies, named as
such, and establishes the field as a distinct discipline (Holmes, 2000). He
presents the structure of the field proposed by Holmes and Toury (Toury, 1995).
However, he points out some research areas that are not included in that map and
includes new perspectives and interdisciplinary approaches to the field. The
developments of the field since the 1970s are traced. The chapter is concluded
by a section on the aim of the book and a guide to its chapters.
Chapter 2, pp. 18-35, ''Translation theory before the twentieth century'',
presents the recurring discussion in translation history about ''word-for-word''
and ''sense-for-sense'' translation. Instances of this debate, underlining the
role played by translating religious texts are provided from European heritage
and the debates about translating the Bible, with special reference to St.
Jerome's work, as well as other civilizations, such as Arab translators of Greek
works and Chinese translations of Buddhist sacred texts. In the same vein, the
author presents Martin Luther's approach to the question, the debate on
faithfulness, spirit and truth, in addition to early attempts at a systematic
translation theory and the emergence of contemporary translation theory. The
chapter is concluded with two case studies discussing assessment criteria and a
Chapter 3, pp. 36-54, ''Equivalence and equivalent effect'', discusses the
linguistic, systematic approach to analyzing translation that moved away from
the circular debate of ''literal'' versus ''free'' translation. It discusses Roman
Jakobson's concept of linguistic meaning and equivalence, Nida's work in the
translation of the Bible and his role in establishing a ''science of translating''
through analyzing the nature of meaning and benefiting from Chomsky's
generative-transformational grammar models in his work. The author addresses as
well Newmark's ''semantic and communicative translation'' and Koller's
''Korrespondenz and Äquivalenz''. The chapter contains a case study considering
translations from Nida's perspective of formal and dynamic equivalence.
Chapter 4, pp.55-70, ''Studying translation product and process'', presents the
direction of the classical taxonomy of linguistic changes in translation
proposed by Vinay and Darbelnet, Catford's linguistic approach to translation
and the use of the term ''translation shifts'', as well as the theoretical work by
Czech scholars adopting stylistic and aesthetic parameters of language. It
discusses also the problem of subjectivity of the invariant used to compare
source text and target text. It considers finally the cognitive models seeking
to study the processes of translation through observation making use of
technological advances, such as think-aloud protocols, key-stroke records and
eye trackers. The chapter is concluded with a case study based on the model
proposed by Vinay and Darbelnet (1958) applied to short illustrative texts.
Chapter 5, pp. 71-88, ''Functional theories of translation'', considers a number
of approaches that have adopted functionalist and communicative models in
translation analysis. This includes a discussion of moves away from the static
typologies of translation shifts represented by theories such as Katharina
Reiss's early work on text type and Mary Snell-Hornby's 'integrated approach',
the translatorial action model that views translation as purpose driven,
outcome oriented human interaction, and the Skopos theory as a technical term
for the purpose of translation and action of translating, which determines the
translation methods and strategies that are to be employed in order to produce a
functionally adequate result. It includes as well a discussion of
translation-oriented text analysis. The chapter is concluded with a case study
of a real-life translation commission discussed using Nord's model of text analysis.
Chapter 6, pp. 89-123, ''Discourse and register analysis approaches'', presents
approaches to translation influenced by the growth of discourse analysis in
applied linguistics and primarily by Halliday's systemic functional grammar. It
contains a discussion of Houses' model for the assessment of translation
quality, Baker's influential course book introducing discourse and pragmatic
analysis for practicing translators, and Hatim and Mason's addition of pragmatic
and semiotic levels to register analysis. Two case studies illustrating this
approach are used to analyze the translation of a German and a French film in
Chapter 7, pp. 107-123, ''Systems theories'', discusses Even-Zohar's polysystem
theory that sees translated literature as part of cultural, literary and
historical system of the target language. It moves out of the static linguistic
analysis of shifts and debate on one-to-one equivalence into an investigation of
the position of translated literature. The chapter presents also the methodology
proposed by Toury for descriptive translation studies as a non-prescriptive
means of understanding the 'norms' at work in the translation process, and of
discovering the general 'laws' of translation. It discusses also the related
Manipulation School as part of the systems approaches. In conclusion, a case
study is presented discussing the Harry Potter series and its translations into
Italian and Spanish, following Toury's three-phase methodology.
Chapter 8, ''Cultural and ideological turns'', pp. pp. 124-141, considers the move
in translation studies towards the analysis of translation from a cultural
studies angle, sidelining linguistic theories of translation. Attention is paid
to Lefevere's treatment of translation as ''rewriting'', identifying ideological
pressures on translated texts, an approach that developed from systems theories.
This chapter also looks at the writings of feminist scholars in translation
studies who have raised the issues of gender and opposition to male dominated
discourse in translation, as well as to the translation of gay literature.
Considerable attention is paid to postcolonial translation theories which stress
the part that translation has played in the colonization process and the image
of the colonized. The move from translation as text to translation as culture
and politics is termed 'the cultural turn' borrowing the name from Snell-Hornby.
In addition, the author considers the ideologies of the theorists who come from
different cultural schools and they themselves have their own ideologies and
agendas that drive their criticism. The chapter is concluded with a case study
that discusses the English translation of a Punjabi novel.
Chapter 9, pp. 142-161, ''The role of the translator: visibility, ethics and
sociology'', focuses mainly on the role of the literary translator and the
cultural and political agenda of translation. It discusses Venuti's position on
the invisibility of the translator in contemporary Anglo-American culture and
its ethical consequences. This view maintains that the foreign is made invisible
by both publishing strategies, who influence and are influenced by market
forces, and by the preference for a 'fluent' target text that erases traces of
the foreign. This phenomenon, called ''domestication'', is opposed to
''foreignization'' as an endeavor of resistance to that dominance. The approach
outlines the roles of different participants in this process: practicing
translators, publishers, and reviewers, as well as the agent of the translator
who has become central to work in these areas. Research in this area has links
both to cultural studies theories and to philosophical approaches discussed
elsewhere in the book. Finally, the case study investigates many of the areas
discussed in the chapter by focusing on the epitexts of the English translation
for a collection of short stories by García Márquez.
Chapter 10, pp. 162-178, ''Philosophical theories of translation'', considers the
hermeneutic approach to translation studies, linked to the German Romantics and
represented by Steiner’s hermeneutic motion, that consider translation as the
act of elicitation and appropriate transfer of meaning. It discusses as well
Ezra Pound’s energy of language, which treats translation as a tool in the
cultural struggle, and the revitalization of the past, an effort that is
considered as an early form of ''foreignization''. The author points out that
Steiner's monumental description of literary translation in 'After Babel' (1975)
brought translation to the attention of many non-specialists. At last, the case
study, showing Steiner's model of the hermeneutic process, discusses an Irish
translation of the epic poem 'Beowulf'. A second case study discusses a short
story in which the language is described as seemingly designed to resist
Chapter 11, pp. 179-196, ''New directions from the new media'', discusses how new
media has transformed translation practice and caused theory to revisit and
adopt new concepts. It presents corpus-based translation studies, as means of
investigating translated language, audio-visual translation, especially
subtitling that is becoming increasingly popular for applied descriptive
studies, and localization and globalization, new translation practice and
environment that alters notions of equivalence and power. As a case study,
examples of corpus-based translation studies and audiovisual translation as
scenarios for discussing what they can bring to the theory and applications of
translation studies are discussed and illustrated by reference to source material.
In the concluding remarks the author points out the possible fragmentation of
translation studies that would result from the persistent tension between
linguistic and cultural studies. He outlines some of the new sub-disciplines or
disciplines in their own right, such as interpreting studies, potential future
audiovisual translation and localization studies, that are emerging within the
field. He observes as well that issues such as equivalence are constantly
revisited in the light of new theoretical models and technological developments.
In spite of the book's average size and textbook format, it manages to overview
in a rather comprehensive way many of the important milestones of translation
studies history, current trends and approaches, newer directions and future
horizons. The author states at the onset that the book is designed to serve as a
course book for students, researchers, instructors and professional translators
in the areas of translation, translation studies and translation theory both at
the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The book's simplified structure,
clear indication of key concepts, main sources, further readings and discussion
of research points makes it adequate for the purpose that the author put
forward. In spite of the book's comprehensive approach and extensive reference,
it didn't do injustice to the theories studied. They are presented in a concise
but clear way.
However, given the vastness of the area of translation studies, the book missed
some important areas in the field. Subjects such as machine translation and
computer assisted translation tools could have found their place in a separate
chapters or within the last chapter on ''new media''. Other subjects such as
online-translation services, translator training, terminology and the role of
globalization (see for example Ho 2008) and new market forces effect on
translation, among others, would be worthy of discussion in such a comprehensive
work. Nevertheless, these lacunae do not undermine the value of the book and its
usefulness to its intended audience. In addition, the extensive literature
referred to by the author makes it a difficult task for the reviewer to give
adequate referencing to all the works mentioned in such a limited space, it is
therefore inevitable to refer either to the book itself or to the original
references for more details.
Ho, G. (2008) _Globalization and Translation: Towards a Paradigm Shift in
Translation Studies_. Saarbruecken, Germany: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller
Aktiengesellschaft & Co. KG.
Holmes, J. (2000) 'The Name and Nature of Translation Studies', in Venuti
(2000), pp. 172-185.
Munday, J. (2001) _Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications_.
London and New York: Routledge, 1st. edition.
Steiner, G. (ed.) (1975) _After Babel: Aspects of Language and Translation_.
London: Oxford University Press.
Toury, G. (1995) _Descriptive Translation Studies – And Beyond_. Amsterdam: John
Venuti, L. (2000) _The Translation Studies Reader_. London and New York: Routledge.
Vinay, J.-P. and J. and J. Darbelnet. (1958) _Stylistique Comparé du français et
de l'anglais: méthode de traduction_. Paris: Didier.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Mekki Elbadri is a translator and researcher based in Vienna, Austria. He
conducts research on news discourse in English and Arabic. His research
interests include translation, terminology and critical discourse analysis.
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