Academic journal article Translation & Interpreting

Fitting CULTURE into Translation Process Research

Academic journal article Translation & Interpreting

Fitting CULTURE into Translation Process Research

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

When Holmes (1972, 1988) introduced Translation Studies (henceforth, TS) as a comprehensive label to cover all scholarly approaches to translation, he put an end to the segregation of areas such as literary translation, as proposed by the Leipzig School. Holmes' approach promoted a wider understanding of the discipline by welcoming approaches based, among others, on comparative literature, philosophy, semiotics and linguistics, thereby 'expanding' the frontiers of the field from an interlinguistic to a cultural perspective, in line with the cultural turn of the nineties (Bassnett and Lefevere, 1990; Dimitriu, 2006). Today the 'cultural aspects' of translation seem to comprise a large portion of TS research and scholarship. However, TS contributions on the concept of CULTURE are as varied as they can be (eg. literary, in Carbonell Cortes, 1999; Bandia, 2001; pedagogical, in Katan 2004; and empirical, in Conway, 2012) and they are sometimes difficult to reconcile.

Here, translatology refers to the subset of TS approaches that adhere to scientific empirical research, i.e., with research efforts focused on the description and explanation of translation and interpreting (Munoz Martin, 2010a, p.1). Within Translatology, an expanding area of translation research in the last and in perhaps the next decades pertains to the relationship between translation and cognitive science (Tymozcko, 2005, p. 1091). I will use Cognitive Translatology (Munoz Martin, 2007a and 2007b; 2010a and 2010b) to refer to the subset of Cognitive Translation Studies that draw on second-generation cognitive paradigms and combine both quantitative and qualitative empirical research. This is the referential framework adopted in this research project.

Cognitive translatology (henceforth, CT) is developing as a theoretical frame based on the common tenets of several second-generation cognitive paradigms (situated cognition, embodied cognition, distributed cognition, among others). Its focus on the mental activities and processes of translators can help to reduce the variation within translation activities and circumstances. It may therefore yield a body of knowledge better fitted to survive social change (Munoz Martin, 2010b, p.172). CT rejects linguistic reductionism, and acknowledges that its object of study is a social construct. Nevertheless, CT aims to offer an intersubjective, valid, realistic, detailed account of translation events (Munoz Martin, 2010b). From this perspective, it seems necessary to review the concept of CULTURE to avoid some problems posed by the varied cultural approaches within TS (see Martin de Leon, 2003, 2005).

Also within the umbrella term of Translatology, Translation Process Research (henceforth, TPR) focuses on the analysis of translation processes and seeks evidence to model the architecture of comprehension and production, and their interaction with the bilingual lexicon. TPR adopts a behavioural/cognitive perspective on the study of gestures, speech, reaction time, eye movements (gaze data) and finger movements (keystrokes). Thus, TPR mainly studies reading and comprehension processes (e.g., through eye-tracking), the drafting and typing processes (e.g., alternations of pauses and typing periods), and the coordination of reading and typing. TPR has often drawn from linguistics, psychology, neuroscience, cognitive science, research in reading, writing, and in language technology (cf. O'Brien, 2013), but it is not a theory nor does it imply a certain referential framework by itself. Thus, insights borrowed from other disciplines may not always be mutually consistent. Perhaps for this reason, such insights do not seem to have caused an important impact on the various understandings of CULTURE in TPR.

Section 2 provides a summary on the implications of the cultural turn in different fields of TS. The goal of section 3 is to provide a brief overview on how CULTURE seems to be understood in TPR. …

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