Academic journal article Translation & Interpreting

The Consistency Degree in the Use of Translation Procedures: A Pilot Study

Academic journal article Translation & Interpreting

The Consistency Degree in the Use of Translation Procedures: A Pilot Study

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

In the domain of translation studies, we have seen many theorists investigating procedures to identify possible paths that translators can adopt for converting source texts (STs) into target texts (TTs).

In Europe, Vinay and Darbelnet (1958) propose seven translation procedures (Borrowing, Calque, Literal Translation, Transposition, Modulation, Equivalence and Adaptation); Newmark (1988) compiles a V-shape diagram to show eight translation methods (from the most literal to the most free: Word-for-word Translation, Literal Translation, Faithful Translation, Semantic Translation, Communicative Translation, Idiomatic Translation, Free Translation and Adaptation); Chesterman (1997) discusses thirty translation strategies, which are divided into syntactic, semantic and pragmatic strategies; and Munday (2009) gives another V-shape diagram (from the most literal to the most free: Phonological Translation, Word-forword, Literal, Formal, Functional, Free-Adaptation, Translocation and Creative/Primary).

In the USA, Nida (1964) lists five techniques for solving translation problems (Additions, Subtractions, Alterations, the Use of Footnotes and Adjustments of Language to Experience) and Malone (1988) brings forward ten trajections (Equation, Substitution, Divergence, Convergence, Amplification, Reduction, Diffusion, Condensation, Reordering and Recoding).

The above-mentioned scholars conducted studies on the basis of STs and TTs written in European languages. During the same period, there are also Chinese-speaking researchers who spent efforts identifying translation procedures for converting English into Chinese (or vice versa). Among them, Loh (1958) proposes six ways to tackle translation problems (Omission, Amplification, Repetition, Conversion, Inversion and Negation), Liu (2001) gives four expediencies for transferring STs into TTs (Description, Rephrasing, Addition and Transliteration), and Su (2005) brings forward six adaptive strategies (Paraphrasing, Conversion in the Part of Speech, Amplification, Omission, Shifting and Division).

These theorists' findings focus on the procedures adopted by the translators. To my knowledge, however, there has been no study examining the consistency degree in the use of translation procedures among translators. Do translators tend to employ the same procedure when tackling the same sentence? Or, is there a tendency to use different methods to deal with the same word? In order to obtain an answer, a translation test was designed, and percentage-based calculation and a statistical measure (kappa coefficient), were adopted to analyse the test results. This is an issue that has not been delved into yet and no one has ever introduced the kappa coefficient into translation studies, so it would be an important contribution if a positive answer could be gained. Meanwhile, because this is an investigation that has never previously been undertaken, the research in this article is also a pilot study to determine whether or not my methodology can work. If yes, examinations that include more participants and test questions can be conducted in the future.

Because a translation test needed to be designed, it was considered to be worthwhile to also elicit translators' thoughts for obtaining answers to questions such as:

* is the consistency degree influenced by any factor?

* why do translators tackle some words in some ways? and

* what are the factors that can influence translators' outputs?"

To achieve this, participants, right after translating the extracts in the test, were asked to write down answers to a number of questions relating to their translation work. By studying their written comments, it is expected that meaningful thinking patterns can be identified. If this expectation can be fulfilled, it will be the other contribution.

In this section, past theorists' contributions and the aim of this pilot study have been explained. …

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