Translation and Interpretation
Eugene Nida has suggested that the "significance of translation as an act of communication has been overlooked or underestimated" and has called for translation to be studied as a communicative event ( 1964: xx). With the publication of Brislin ( 1976) edited collection Translation, many authors began to call for studying translation (which is text-centered) and its related field, interpreting (which is speech-centered), as communicative processes. In the introduction, Brislin notes: "There is a recent study area in the social and behavioral sciences that is devoted to just these aspects of communication in social settings. It is called sociolinguistics, and it has been described in a number of places ( ErvinTripp 1969; Gumperz and Hymes 1972)" ( 1976: 77).
Nida's point was that sociolinguistic theory focuses on language performance which, in turn, focuses the translator's attention on the person who receives the message. "Because translating always involves communication within the context of interpersonal relations, the model for such activity must be a communication model, and the principles must be primarily sociolinguistic" ( 1976: 78). Nida advocated sociolinguistic theory because he knew that translation processes needed to account for a myriad of factors--interpersonal relations, extralinguistic features, and linguistic, cultural, and social variants--that influence the way a message is formed and understood. As Nida called for this change, sociolinguistics had just begun to account for these same social factors as they influenced meaning when language was used within a particular social event or institution. What Gumperz and Hymes made clear in the preface to Directions in Sociolinguistics: The Ethnography of Commu