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454Re: [itit] world-wide query

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  • stone
    Jan 10, 2001
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      > QUESTION 1: What POINTS do you check out while assessing a
      > translation?
      >

      I assess the text first as an autonomous verbal artefact in the target
      culture. If it doesn't signal its membership in a specific TC text
      type--that is, if it flaunts or shows no awareness of TC norms and
      expectations--I consider it unsuccessful. This entails correct syntax
      and spelling and the like, but also the control of rhetorico-stylistic
      factors and discourse.

      I then check for mistranslations, the accurate transmission of message
      content, etc.

      Lastly, I assess the the translator's success at conveying anything more
      of the complexity of the ST's position in its source culture, and its
      richness. By this I mean intertextuality, prose rhythm, layered
      meanings, alliteration, use of archaisms. etc. The list is endless.

      Each of these checks is a hurdle or cut-off point. If the student fails
      the first check. her/his work fails. The same goes for the second,
      though not for the third.

      > QUESTION 2: What abilities and skills do you expect of a first-line
      > translator?

      As I don't have time to write a full answer, I'll mention a specific and
      often neglected skill: research. When I (an academic and occasional
      translator) and my wife (a full-time mainly AV translator) are working
      on a documentary, a book of architectural criticism, an
      eighteenth-century essay, or a book on arts education, we inevitably
      have to re-educate ourselves, have to acquire some of the expertise of
      the writer of the ST. Knowing how knowledge is structured in reference
      collections and how to second-guess Internet search engines is important
      in this regard, but the ability to come up with alternative search
      strategies when the first one fails is by far more important. First-time
      tranlators have seldom been trained to carry out research (or to attend
      to such details as how their work should be laid out--but that's another
      answer).

      John Stone
      Department of English and German Philology
      University of Barcelona, Spain
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