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Review of Translation Research and Interpreting Research
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2005 17:46:01 +0200 From: Prencipe Vittoria Subject: Translation Research and Interpreting Research: Tradition, Gaps and Synergies
EDITOR: Schäffner, Christina TITLE: Translation Research and Interpreting Research SUBTITLE: Tradition, Gaps and Synergies PUBLISHER: Multilingual Matters YEAR: 2004
Vittoria Prencipe, Department of Linguistics, Università Cattolica "Sacro Cuore" di Milano.
The volume, resulting form a one-day seminar held at Aston University in February 2002, is a collection of papers about the differences and the synergies between Translation Studies (TS) and Interpreting Studies (IS). The discussion investigates and compares the disciplines or subdisciplines (cf. Gile, p. 23) from different points of view: historical, (how they were born and developed), situational, ideological, cultural and sociological. Daniel Gile takes all these questions in the first and the main contribution of the book: he gives an overview of the history of research in translation and interpreting, he reviews the differences between translating and several forms of interpreting, he explores the causes of differences, also highlighting also their deep common basis.
The Debate (chapter 2) immediately after Gile's contribution gives an idea of the main issues of that seminar. The other contributors, indeed, use Gile's chapter as a starting point for their considerations, in order to introduce new perspectives or to deepen some of his arguments.
In the second contribution (chapter 3) Public Service Interpreting: Practice and Scope for Research, Jan Cambridge examines the Public Service Interpreting characteristics, describing it as an independent branch of IS and he concludes hoping for an improvement in interdisciplinary understanding and collaboration.
Chapter 4, Paradigm Problems?, by Andrew Chesterman, focuses on the different approaches and aims, from a research point of view, between TS and IS. He discusses different opinion of relation between theory and data in empirical and hermeneutic research and he supports the Popperian approach to research, based on the testing of hypotheses, that might also help the researchers in understanding claims of translation research.
Janet Fraser, in her essay titled, Translation Research and Interpreting Research: Pure, Applied, Action or Pedagogic (chapter 5), first highlights different approaches between traditional translation research (TR) based on literary translation, and interpreting research (IR) whose paradigm "is practice in the booth rather than a more abstract theoretical model" (p. 57). Then, particularly in the paragraph "From Practice to Theory" (p. 59), she shows TR and IR have much in common and much to learn from one another. So she wishes for future generations "a more effective partnership between TR and IR, coupled with a change of focus and paradigm" (p.61).
In Chapter 6, Translation Studies: A Succession of Paradoxes, Yves Gambier, analyses the development of Translation Studies (TS) focusing on the diversity of context in which translation is practised (pp. 62-64); on the variety of disciplines addressed with it (pp. 64-65); on the diversity of research relevance (pp. 65-68) and research discourses (pp. 68-69) of the studies conducted. His aim is shedding light on several paradoxes of TS and show how "the consensus and the possible unity in the diversity of approaches and of these paradoxes cannot be stable and definitive" (p. 69).
In the next contribution, Aligning Macro- and Micro-Dimension in Interpreting Research (Chapter 7), Moira Inghilleri, put forward her point of view, as a sociolinguist engaged in research on norms in interpreting, also about the role of interdisciplinarity in translation/interpreting research; and on the relation between approaches to TR and IR; and the relevance on norm theory to IS. Particularly, she points out the necessity of a conceptual framework for interpreting norms "intended to provide a means to conceptualise the relationship between the interpreter and the social world and to consider how sociological and ideological determinants function within interpreting contexts" (p. 75).
In A Way of Methodology: The Institutional Role in Translation Studies Research Training and Development (Chapter 8), Zuzana Jettmarova' focuses her attention on the role of the academic institutions in the development of TS "in terms of research and methodology, as well as for the production of 'informed' researchers" (p. 77). In detail, she concentrates on the institutionalisation of TS in the Czech Republic, and on national course programmes and methodology.
In Chapter 9, Conduits, Mediators, Spokespersons: Investigating Translator/Interpreter Behaviour, Ian Mason pursues the Gile's idea that "besides the autonomous investigation of [the] respective features [of TR and IR], each step in the investigation of one can contribute valuable input towards investigation of the other". In so doing, Mason shows how "the interactional pragmatic variables of footing, politeness and relevance are central to the concerns of translator and interpreter alike" (p. 89). This approach might lade to fragmentary results, but descriptive studies should take into account of "socio-pragmatic studies of the interpreter/translator in situ and pragma-linguistic studies of whole texts and discourses" (p. 95).
Mariana Orozco, in The clue to Common Research in Translation and Interpreting: Methodology (Chapter 10), focuses on a common research methodology by scholars in both translation and interpreting fields. She puts forward a scientific model that can be applied to any field of TR and IR (cf. figure 1, p. 99); then she highlights the advantage of using this model (pp 100-101), and she discusses the issues of applying the model proposed (p. 102); finally she concludes wishing for an open-mindedness that allows the researchers to "take as [their] point of departure the work of others" (p. 102) and permits to "undertake research together with colleagues from other specialities / languages / disciplines in an interdisciplinary holistic approach to interrelated topics" (ibid.)
Chapter 11, I in TS: On Partnership in Translation Studies, by Franz Pöchhacker, attempts to give an analysis that highlights "the general theoretical core that unites translation and interpreting studies" (p. 104). The author's points of departure are "Kade classic definition and the 'map' of the discipline by Holmes" (p. 104); his aim is to show how TR and IR can appear as parallel structures like a "tree, with a strong common trunk rooted in various types of soil... and with a number of boughs which support larger and smaller branches and many little twigs" (p., 114).
In the last contribution (Chapter 12), Doorstep Inter-subdisciplinarity and Beyond, Miriam Shlesinger, examines the relation between IS and its parent disciplines focusing principally on three types of collaboration: in terms of alternative approaches, between theoreticians and practitioners, between IS / TS and neighbouring disciplines, between IS and TS in narrower sense. Her analysis leads to new questions rather than solutions and with the encouragement to keep focusing on "the effort to highlight kinship, differences and prospects for partnership" (p. 121).
The volume ends with Daniel Gile Response to the Invited Papers (Chapter 13).
The collection is rich with suggestion for translation and interpreting researchers due to its focusing primarily on the sociological dimension of TS and also because it keeps suggesting a necessary collaboration between translation (in its generic sense) researchers and all the disciplines related to translation studies.
The lack of interdisciplinary communication, in fact, denounced already by Holmes in 1980, - like the lack of communication between (literary) translators and theoreticians - is the main cause of 'stagnation' in TS. These contributions may be a good starting point for the application of a renewed and broader research method.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Vittoria Prencipe, Ph.D. works as a postdoctoral researcher in the field of Translation Studies at the Università Cattolica "Sacro Cuore", Milan (Italy). Her current research deals with the application of a Sense-Text model to the field of linguistic translation.