Academic journal article The Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education

Stepping into Others' Shoes: The Readership Taste in Translation

Academic journal article The Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education

Stepping into Others' Shoes: The Readership Taste in Translation

Article excerpt

1 Introduction

Translation process is understood as the cognitive activity of producing a target text in one language, based upon a source text in another language (Englund 2010). Translation involves the rendering of a source language (SL) text into the target language (TL) so as to ensure that (1) the surface meaning of the two will be approximately similar and (2) the structure of the SL will be preserved as closely as possible, but not so closely that the TL structure will be seriously distorted (McGuire 1980). Englund's study (2010) lends empirical support to the intuition that translators often orient themselves towards the target audience and suggests the existence of different degrees of target audience orientation. Translator should be familiar with the culture, customs, and social settings of the source and target language speakers. He should also be familiar with different styles of speaking, and social norms of both languages (Akbari 2013). This awareness, can improve the quality of the translations to a great extent. According to Hatim and Mason (1990), the social context in translating a text is probably a more important variable than its genre. The act of translating takes place in the socio-cultural context. Consequently, it is important to assess translating activity only within a social context.

When a translator translates a text, he has an implied target reader for whom he is translating the text for. The TT (target text) is a type of reported speech in which the translator reports a message from the source text, forming communicative interaction between one author and the readership. Translators need to render the exact contextual meaning of the original in such a way that both content and language are readily acceptable and comprehensible to the readership (Newmark 1988).

Byram and Risager (1999) believe that culture oriented language-teaching methodology aims to enable the learner to become a mediator between cultures, which is essential from a communicative point of view since it is the mediation which allows for effective communication. The ability to enable language learners to become mediators between cultures can also be achieved through translation. When translators translate a text, they have an imagined readership. The notion of such a target reader, according to Assis Rosa (2006), is important for translation studies as it will motivate or constrain the translation process and product.

User-centered translation is a theory that extends the possibilities of usercenteredness from technical communication and software development to translation. In user-centered translation, the recipient of the text is present in every step of the translation process from refining the target audience to releasing the final translation. From the user's point of view, user-centered translation means that the aim of the translation process is to create a translation that is as usable and as userfriendly as possible. Alternatively, from the translator's point of view, user-centered translation aims to provide translators with a more profound knowledge of the target audience's needs, and thus helps translators meet these needs and produce a translation that is usable and functional. As Suojanen et al. (2012) state, usercentered translation is not a radically new departure from previous approaches. It is, instead, an updated and pragmatic version of functionalist translation theories. Instead of just an end-of-process quality assessment, the translation can be assessed and the methods modified according to the user's needs along the translation process (Suojanen et al. 2012). Every translation has an audience, and the better the translator knows the audience and is aware of it, the better are the chances of producing a good and usable translation. The translator needs to be very aware of this, as neglecting to consider the needs of the audience can have a profound effect on how the translation is received, how well the translated work sells and so on. …

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