Academic journal article Translation & Interpreting

Directionality in Translation: Investigating Prototypical Patterns in Editing Procedures

Academic journal article Translation & Interpreting

Directionality in Translation: Investigating Prototypical Patterns in Editing Procedures

Article excerpt

1. Introduction

In the field of translation process research, there is a need to further investigate cognitive processing of professional translators in order to complement previous studies (Jakobsen, 2005a, 2005b; Dragsted, 2004, 2005; Alves & Vale, 2011). Research in this area may include the identification of prototypical patterns of editing procedures according to a number of variables, such as linguistic pair, specific translator profiles and subprofiles, or the translation process phase. Here, prototypical patterns are understood to be the shared attributes or properties that are specific to editing procedures.

This article explores the impact that directionality may have on editing procedures in micro/macro translation units (Alves & Vale, 2009, 2011; Alves & Goncalves, 2013) and aims to identify translators' profiles and subprofiles. To do so, a study was conducted with a group of eight professional translators who perform four different translation tasks--two translation tasks into their first language (L1), i.e., direct translation, and two into their second language (L2), i.e., inverse translation, during two data collection sessions (DC).

Editing procedures refer to changes made in micro/macro translation units (TUs) during the drafting and revision phases of the translation process. If no changes are introduced in the translation, we consider this type of translation unit to be a P0 micro/macro translation. If revisions only occur during the drafting phase, this can be considered a P1 macro translation unit. A P2 macro translation unit, in contrast, implies changes made only in the revision phase. Finally, if there are revisions in both phases (drafting and revision), then we consider this a P3 macro translation unit.

Our analysis adopts formulas first proposed by Alves & Vale (2011) that use the number of macro TU categories to identify professional translators' profiles and subprofiles. In this investigation, we seek to answer the following research questions:

* Are the patterns of macro TU categories similar in direct and inverse translation?

* Does directionality impact the translation process and lead to a higher occurrence of P3 macro TUs in inverse translation?

* What is the relationship between directionality and the identification of profiles and subprofiles in direct and inverse translation?

To answer these questions, different tools were used to analyze data collected during the performance of both direct and inverse translation tasks. Keystroke log files, eye-tracking data, questionnaires, and verbal protocols were triangulated (Jakobsen, 1999b, 2006; Alves, 2001, 2003). By analyzing this data, we were able to investigate the impact of directionality on editing procedures during the drafting and revision phases of the translation process. Likewise, we identified translators' profiles and subprofiles of the professional translator participants, which in turn contributes to our understanding of translation expertise.

2. Theoretical framework

2.1 Directionality in translation

It is still widely believed that one should only translate into one's L1, despite inverse translation having been practiced for ages in certain environments (e.g., with languages of limited diffusion). This belief can be related in part to the assumption of some translators and translation scholars that inverse translation tasks are more difficult for most translators. One such scholar is Campbell (1998, p. 57), who asserts what is easy and difficult in both translation tasks:

      The two activities are in a way mirror images. In translating
   from a second language, the main difficulty is in comprehending the
   source text; it is presumably much easier to marshal one's first
   language resources to come up with a natural looking target text.
   In translating into a second language, comprehension of the source
   text is the easier aspect; the real difficulty is in producing a
   target text in a language in which composition does not come
   naturally. … 
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