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Differences in Translation Approaches between Translation Students and Language Teaching Students

Academic Paper 2011 11 Pages

Speech Science / Linguistics

Excerpt

Table of Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Main Questions and hypothesis

Data and methodology

Literature Review

Systemic Functional Linguistics and Translation
Language teaching education
Translation Education

Comparison of Language and Translation Education
Similarities
Differences
Discussion of issues for both groups.
Minor (a).
Idiomatic expression (b).
Addition (c).
Omission (d).
Distinctive translation patterns and features.
Pattern 1:
Pattern 2:
Pattern 3:
Pattern 4:
Pattern 5:
Pattern 6:
Pattern 7:
Pattern 8:
Pattern 9:

Conclusion

References

Abstract

This paper investigates the differences in translation approach between translation students and language teaching students. In particular, it discusses differences in the way each group approaches translation and the effect of those approaches on the translation or the final product. Two groups of students attending King Saud University in Saudi Arabia, one the faculty of Languages and Translation and the other the Faculty of Education, participated in the study, which applied qualitative and quantitative methods to answer the research questions. The findings concluded that there are differences in the way each group approaches translation. However, the observed approaches and patterns are not distinctive; they are shared by both groups in varying intensity. Attributing those differences in approaches to educational background requires further investigation.

Key words: SFL, Arabic Translation, Translators’ Education, Translation Patterns, Translation Approaches.

Introduction

There are a number of professional situations in which bilingual translators and interpreters are needed for communication. The situations include, but not are limited to, business settings, government departments, courts and hospitals in multilingual and multicultural societies. Saudi Arabia is a society in which translators and interpreters play an increasingly important role. However, despite the critical role of translators and interpreters in a range of contexts, often government departments, justice agencies, hospitals, and other organizations lack formal guidelines or standards for recruiting them. The recruitment of a translator is sometimes effected simply by advertising the position, with requirements as simple as finding someone who is fluent in the two languages concerned. There is often no requirement of the individual to have a formal degree in interpretation or translation. In Saudi Arabia, there are many individuals working as translators who have received little formal education in the field. Without formal education in translation, these individuals are not trained in translation theory. Some translators without formal translation education have earned degrees in TESOL or have earned a degree taught in English, while others are merely bilingual, with English as one of their languages.

Against this background, this study commenced with the question of whether or not there are differences in translation approaches between translators who are formally trained in the discipline of translation studies and those who are not.

Main Questions and hypothesis

The current study is designed as a pilot study for the broad research question of whether there are differences in translation approaches between individuals who have received formal training and those who have not. This pilot study analyzes two sets of translations performed by two groups: one by students in the school of education and the other by students in the school of translation at the King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. The study hypothesizes that the analysis of each set of translations may shed light on whether there are differences in translation approaches between individuals who have received formal training and those who have not, as they will make translation choices based on their knowledge of and beliefs about translation. Thus, the analysis will be conducted with a view to answering the following specific questions:

1. Are there differences in translation approach between those who are being trained in the discipline of Translation Studies (TS) and those who are being trained in the discipline of Teaching English as Second Language (TESOL)?
2. If so, is there any significant impact on the delivery of meanings of the source text?

Data and methodology

The data for this research were obtained from 10 students; 5 of the students represented the school of education, while the other 5 represented the school of translation. All students were recruited from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia and were in their final year of study. Certain recruitment steps were undertaken to obtain the two sample groups of students and the two evaluators to promote and maintain satisfactory ethical standards as required by both King Saud University and The University of New South Wales. All participants gave their informed consent and, after listening to an explanation of the research and its purposes, agreed to participate. The evaluators, who were recruited to evaluate the translations of the students, signed non-disclosure agreements, to prevent them disclosing information of any nature in regard to the research or students’ participation, unless otherwise permitted. The analysis of the data will concentrate on quantitative and systemic functional approaches to determine any differences in the translation approaches between the two groups and highlight patterns. The source text chosen for this study is an English text entitled Mark Rothko 1903-1970. It is a biography text that has a typical textual structure for such texts. That is, it introduces the subject of the text by giving information about his birth and proceeds along chronologically through the major happenings of Rothko's life. The text does produce potential difficulties for translators. One such difficulty is the way in which the text only implicitly refers to the major subject of the biography. Other difficulties include the overt and extensive referencing to dates, which would need to be formatted differently in the target language, and this difficulty would increase with the gulf between the grammar of the source and target languages. A unique coding system will be used to categorize data and to promote easy access and discussion.

Literature Review

Systemic Functional Linguistics and Translation

Systemic functional linguistics (SFL) views language as a type of social semiotic system (Witte, Harden & Harden, 2009). Michael Halliday is generally considered to be the founder of this understanding of language. According to systemic functional linguistics, language is an act of communication that involves the speaker making choices. These choices can be mapped on a system network, which represents the decisions made. This map represents the systemic aspects of this understanding of linguistics (Pawlak, 2011).

The SFL approach to linguistics is functional because it views language as having evolved due to pressures for certain functions that a language system serves (Shiyab, 2006). This means that the functions the language serves leave a mark on the organization and structure of the language and its many levels. These are sometimes referred to as meta-functions (Krawutschke, 2008).

The twenty-first century has seen interest develop in the role of SFL in relation to translation studies (Cronin, 2006). In addition to a number of research papers in translation studies referring to SFL, a number of systemic functional linguists have become involved in translation studies (Ray, 2008).

An important aspect of SFL is its comprehensive nature (Pawlak, 2011), as it considers the entirety of language. Each aspect of language is understood as being a part of the holistic understanding of language. This means that from the perspective of SFL, translation is viewed as having a focus at the macro level, which is contextual and concerned with ideology. On the micro level, socio-cultural factors influence the textual linguistic features (Shiyab, 2006).

According to functional linguistics theory, a given text is a piece of language that is in use (Pawlak, 2011). It is considered to consist of meanings, which are appropriate in the context. The SFL view is that language is multidimensional, which means that it consists of meta-functions, instantiation, stratification, a system, and structures. Stratification involves language being understood as a semiotic system, which is complex. This means there are several levels of meaning, beginning with the phonetics and phonology involved in expression. They then moved to the lexicogrammar and semantics of content. The highest level is context (Witte, Harden & Harden, 2009).

Systemic functional theory can be applied to translation since the act of translation involves a process of meaning realization (Krawutschke, 2008). This realization involves making language choices. Systemic functional grammar is a way that grammatical lexical choices can be described. This system helps one understand how language can be used to create meaning, as two translations of a source text will almost never be identical. This is because lexicogrammar and semantic meaning choices are made that differ from one translator to the next. Different choices made regarding lexicogrammar can result in varied semantic meanings. These distinct semantic meanings are often associated with distinctive contexts with regard to culture and situation (Cronin, 2006).

Language teaching education

As stated in Chapter 1, the participants of this research are 10 final-year students; 5 are from the school of translation and 5 are from the school of language learning. Since each group has distinct qualities, particularly regarding education, it is important to identify the differences between the groups and their relevance in terms of the research questions. The following section provides a review of the nature of education for both groups with a focus on the differences and similarities.

Due to globalization, the need for language-teaching education has increased (Johnson & Golombek, 2011). The twenty-first century has seen an increasing level of connections between organizations, states, and nations, which has increased demand for individuals who are bilingual or multilingual. There are multiple uses for common languages in areas of science, media, technology, international relations, tourism, and trade (Bernaus, 2007). Some countries, such as China and Japan, have education policies that include at least one foreign language at both the secondary and primary school levels (Newby, 2007). There are other countries such as the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and India, which use a second official language for their governing system. China has also recognized the increased importance of learning foreign languages, especially with regard to the English language (Burns & Richards, 2009).

Language teaching education can be delivered either in a general school setting or within a specialized language school (Bartels, 2005). There is a wide variety of methods for the teaching of languages. There are hierarchical concepts in teaching languages, which include technique, method, and approach. The approach consists of a set of correlated assumptions concerning the nature of the language being studied and language learning. However, it does not involve details or specific procedures to be used in the classroom. Many have suggested that approach should be used predominantly for second language acquisition theories (Long & Doughty, 2009).

There are three basic views regarding the technique of language teaching (Borg, 2006). The first is a structural view, which sees language as a type of system, which is composed of structurally related elements that are used to code meaning (Davis, 2010). This is what makes up the grammar of the language. The second view is functional and understands the language as a vehicle that is used to accomplish a certain function or express ideas. The final view is an interactive one that sees language as a method for maintenance and creation of social relations. This approach focuses on the interactions, negotiation, acts, and patterns of movement involved in interactions in exchanges of conversation. This has been the dominant view since the 1980s (Farr, 2011).

The method for language learning consists of a plan that is used to present the language material (Johnson, 2009). This plan is based on a particular type of approach. The foreign approach can be translated into a particular method; there must be an instructional system that has been designed to consider the objectives for the teaching and learning which is to occur (Tedick, 2005). This system must also consider the way in which the content will be organized and selected, as well as the types of language tasks that will be performed. It is important to take note of the roles of teachers and students. The technique is usually quite specific and concrete. It can be understood as a strategy to accomplish an immediate language-teaching objective. These techniques are derived out of the controlling method (Kumaravadivelu, 2006).

Translation Education

Like language-teaching education, translator education consists of a wide variety of approaches (Gile, Hansen & Pokorn, 2010). However, there are general professional objectives that define translation education. One of these objectives is an understanding of the discipline. Successful schools of translation education help students understand the problems and issues they may be called upon to consider in actual translation situations. Another important aspect of translator education is a familiarity and fluency regarding the symbol system and vocabulary used in the translation field. It is also important that the students understand the traditions of translation (Gile, 2009). Effective schools of translation will also instill in their students the importance of continuity of learning. This serves to ensure that the graduating students will continue to develop professionally and learn important skills after they have exited the program. A final program goal of translation schools is helping students become resourceful. This allows the students to use their intellectual sources to ensure they can successfully engage in a wide variety of professional work and projects. It should be noted that these goals are much broader than those of language-teaching education, which merely requires that students be able to fully understand the other language and explain its use to others (Gambier & Doorslaer, 2009).

There are a number of important standards and traditions in the field of translation that it is important for students to understand (Hung, 2005). For example, it is generally accepted among translators that individuals are better translators when they are interpreting from their second language into their primary language. This is because it is unusual for an individual who is learning a second language to be completely fluent in it. Within the profession of translation it is considered standard procedure to translate from a second language into an individual's primary language.

Another important concept in the field of translation education is that a competent professional translator must not only be bilingual, but they must also be bicultural (Sofer, 2006). This is because the interpretation of language often involves cultural aspects, which are essential to providing a proper translation. Often there are spoken or written words that can have multiple meanings when changed from one language to another. However, an accurate translation will involve understanding which meaning is applicable due to the cultural situation. This involves an underlying understanding of both cultures. This is one reason that computer translations are often inaccurate (Rodrigo, 2008).

The profession of translation is not regulated like law or medicine; while there are translation organizations that offer accreditation, this type of verification is not legally binding. For this reason, many individuals who are bilingual, yet have no training in translation, will attempt the process commercially (Rodrigo, 2008). This can lead to inaccurate translations. If such translations are done for political or high-level business reasons, serious misunderstandings can result.

There are clear differences between the systemic and authorized educations of those trained in translating and those trained in language teaching. The most obvious differences are related to practicality and maintenance; translation students get more “hands-on” education compared to TESOL or languages students, who tend to learn more “about” the language and its technicalities. The following section highlights the various similarities and differences noted above.

Comparison of Language and Translation Education

Similarities

There are similarities between language-teaching (Davis, 2010) and translation education. One of these similarities is the types of schools teaching the information. Both translation (Gambier & Doorslaer, 2009) and language teaching can be taught in general or specialized schools. When either of these topics is taught in a general school, it is usually done within a department that focuses on language. Both types of education involve a learning plan that is based on a particular type of approach. The approaches for both types of education are grounded in theory and historical practices. The translation and language teaching education programs (Kumaravadivelu, 2006) are both taught in a wide variety of ways based on a number of factors, including the specific orientation of the instructors or the school.

Another similarity between translation education and language learning (Kumaravadivelu, 2006) is that both involve the full understanding of a second language. Both types of education have the goal of helping students become completely fluent in a new language. This means the students must be able to speak, read and write in this new language. This involves an understanding of the underlying structure, grammar, and semantics used in the new language (Hung, 2005). Both types of education frequently involve interpreting texts or speeches in one language and repeating them in the second language.

Differences

There are a number of differences between translation and language-teaching education. Language-teaching education (Tedick, 2005) focuses only on helping the student understand a second language and transferring this knowledge to others. Conversely, there is a vast number of additional considerations involved in translation education. Translation education aims to help the student understand the profession of translation. While this requires a thorough knowledge of the second language, this knowledge is not sufficient.

This is similar to many other professions. For example, memorizing laws is not sufficient to make an individual a competent attorney. As another example, a thorough knowledge of biochemistry and medical facts is not sufficient to practice as a competent physician.

The successful translator must not only understand the second language, but the culture as well (Gambier & Doorslaer, 2009). In most languages there are many phrases and words that have multiple meanings. For these to be translated accurately the full context of the situation must be understood. This often involves a thorough understanding of the culture in which the writing or speech is being presented (Pym, Shlesinger & Jettmarova, 2006). Additionally, translators must be well versed in the profession of translating. This means they must understand the general profession and certain standards in the field. The importance of continuing education is part of any translation education, but may not be included in simply teaching a second language. This means that the education of the translator is more involved than that of simply teaching a second language. While the second language is essential to the active successful translation, a number of other skills must be learned in order for this process to be completed accurately.

In terms of education, when it comes to the education of the two groups, there are differences and similarities in education for the two groups; however, the differences are far more pronounced than the similarities, so the question of a difference in approaches when it comes to translation is of great significance.

Discussion of issues for both groups.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Minor (a).

As can be seen in Figure 1, both groups committed 45 minor issues; 30 issues were committed by the education group and 15 issues were committed by the translation group. Those results emerged after testing the samples in accordance with SFL. Those issues did not affect the transmission of meaning and can go unnoticed. They varied between phonetic issues and very minor grammatical issues. For example, issues 1-1-A1, among others, are all issues related to the phonetic pronunciation of the name of the character our translated text refers to. The name of the character is Mark Rothko Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten /mɑrk rɒθkɔː/. Most of the issues lay in the name / rɒθkɔː/, especially with the two sounds /θ/ and /k/. All issues related to a section translated either as Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten/rɒtxɔː/ or as Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten /rɒskɔː/.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Idiomatic expression (b).

Figure 1 shows that both groups committed 149 issues related to this category; 83 were committed by education students and 66 were committed by translation students. The issues varied between process issues with 52 issues like 45-17-A3.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Participant issues with 15 issues like 198-5-B3.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Circumstance 72 issues like 32-4-A3.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

What distinguishes this category is that it contains all the major meaning changing and altering issues. For example, in issue 45-17-A3 the translator translated the verb (process) wrongly, since the literal meaning of this verb in Arabic is very different than its meaning in English, especially in this position. To judge whether an issue belongs in this category reveals a lot about the approaches translators take while transmitting information.

Addition (c).

Figure 1 shows that both groups committed 45 addition issues, varying between 3 minor addition issues and 4 process addition issues like 66-9-A5;

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

6 participant addition issues like 139-7-B1;

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

24 circumstance addition issues like 131-14-A5;

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

and 4 modifier addition issues like 218-7-B5.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

In this category a minor issue means there has been no change in the functional meaning by adding constituents to the translated sentence.

[...]

Details

Pages
11
Year
2011
ISBN (eBook)
9783346043030
Language
English
Catalog Number
v500623
Institution / College
King Abdulaziz University
Grade
99.5
Tags
Arabic

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Title: Differences in Translation Approaches between Translation Students and Language Teaching Students