Exploring Translation and Multilingual Text Production: Beyond Content

Exploring Translation and Multilingual Text Production: Beyond Content

Exploring Translation and Multilingual Text Production: Beyond Content

Exploring Translation and Multilingual Text Production: Beyond Content

Excerpt

The purpose of this introduction is to explain some general features of this book (1.1), to give a brief summary of the chapters within it (1.2) and to make some suggestions about how the book might be used (1.3). We hope that our remarks here will not only introduce the book but also make it clear why we believe it to be well placed in the series Text, Translation, Computational Processing.

1. What kind of book is this?

As the sub-title of the book implies, one of our aims is to move beyond the notion of content in thinking about language and translation. The book is an attempt to face the demands of translation and multilingual text production by modeling texts as configurations of multidimensional meanings, rather than as containers of content. A common conception of translating is that it is a process of transferring content from (texts in) a source language to (texts in) a target language. From that kind of perspective, multilingual text production — if it is seen as a textual operation in its own right at all — is simply the expression of some (usually pre-existing) content in several languages. This book sets out to challenge such folk notions, as well as their more technical variants in logic-oriented approaches to language. It will be a recurrent argument in this book that unstructured and one-dimensional notions of content are insufficient for an understanding of the processes involved in translation and multilingual text production. Even more refined variants of such notions in logic-oriented semantics suffer at least from the privileging of one dimension of meaning. Rather than using the assumption of some stable, unchanged content in modeling the processes in focus here — an assumption which is rarely if ever equal to the day-to-day reality of work in translation and text generation — we rely on the notion of meaning, a concept that allows us to recognize multidimensionality and internal stratification into levels. For the processes in focus are complex, and we need to do justice to them.

Thus we do not apologize for problematizing simplistic notions of content. Beyond that, we hope to demonstrate how more complex and more flexible notions of meaning can lead directly to a better understanding and to enhanced professional practice. The various contributions to this volume take up relevant research questions, problematize existing an-

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