Translation Studies Lecture 1

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Lecture 1

Introduction: Translation and Translation Studies

Translation and Translation Studies (Definition and a brief history of the discipline)

Hermes the god of thieves and liars is also the god of translation. But he has so many other tasks as the god of roads, commerce, travel (these can be connected to translation) as well as arts, magic and crafts not talking about matrimonial matchmaking… A translator has, at least, as many tasks and roles when translating that I hope to show you this term.

As a translator, Hermes is a messenger from the gods to humans. As an interpreter who bridges the boundaries with strangers he is a hermeneus. So the word “hermeneutics” for the art of interpreting hidden meaning can also be traced back to his name. (By the way in Greek a lucky find was also a hermaion.)

What is translation?
1/ oral form is called interpreting or interpretation
2/ written form is called translation that has roughly 2 main categories from our point of view: (a) specialized translation
(b) literary translation

(Task: Look up the word in different dictionaries and see how different explanations work) e.g
translation (an on-line dictionary; mind the phrase underlined: do you agree?) – a written communication in a second language having the same meaning as the written communication in a first language – a uniform movement without rotation (see the meaning of Hungarian word ‘fordítás’); [cf. ‘What’s in a Word?’ my lecture of April 08, 2007 now an article in Faces of English soon in print] – the act of changing in form or shape or appearance; "a photograph is a translation of a scene onto a two-dimensional surface" etc.

The most common explanation: translation is the expression in one language (target language TL) what has been expressed in the source language (SL)

Meaning:
• the notion of movement btw. languages
• …of some kind of content and context
• …of obligation to find “equivalents” (expression commonly used in the 1960s and ‘70s; linguistic schools) which “preserve” features of the original Is total equivalence possible?
There is no absolute synonymy btw. words in the same language; even less btw. different languages (one of the causes some say it is impossible to translate). – sg. ‘lost’ or ‘gained’ in the process –> translators ‘betraying’ the author’s intentions (cf: Hermes; Italian proverb: traduttore traditore).’translator is a traitor’ ‘a fordító ferdítő’ (Kosztolányi ÁBÉCÉ a fordításról…. Gondolat, 1957)

The term Translation has several meanings:
Translation –> the general subject field, the abstract concept encompassing the other two Translating –> the process, the activity (our main interests during the term) A Translation –> the product, the translated text, the target language text

A theory of translation must explain both the process and the product. Previously it was rather the product theorists tried to analyse, later interest turned towards the process, and translation today is as much about the translation of cultural, political, and historical contexts and concepts as it is about language. (cf. The cultural turn of the 1990s! the emergence of a new discipline called Cultural Studies that uses translation moreover literary translation as its main field of comparative analysis; all these have generated the emergence of an independent discipline called Translation Studies.) Cf.[translation turn in Cultural Studies; translating cultures is not “cultural translation”; see Rushdie= a translated man]

(LITERARY) TRANSLATION ↓ ↓ Linguistics (applied linguistics) Literature (comparative literature)

Both fields dealt with it marginally and created their own translation theories, explanations (by researchers in linguistics and in...
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