NOTES ON TRANSLATION CRITICISM
sources: House ‘Quality’, House Model, Newmark Textbook
A criticism of a translation is different from a review of a translation. Review = comment on new translations, description and evaluation as to whether they are worth reading and buying
Criticism = a broader activity, analysis in detail, evaluating old and new translations , assuming that readers know the translation
Translation criticism should take into account all the factors and elements in the process of translation (translation as a communicative act: intention, function, text tupe, register, strategies, principles, rules, constraints, audience) It comprises activities which are part of the process of translation (analysis and interpretation of the ST), but it is different from the forms of criticism involved in this process
Translation criticism should not be a mere identification of errors, an intuitive or highly subjective appraisal judging translations as ‘good’, ‘bad’. ‘faithful’ without qualifying these adjectives.
Similarly, reviews should
-describe the quality of a translation with more than a single adjective and - refrain from trashing the translator’s work on the basis of isolated errors Criticisim of translation quality should be grounded on thorough analysis and description Some critics prefer to eschew value judgements, prefer not to proclaim one translation better than another (Hatim and Mason 1990b: 1)
More concern with understanding how translated texts work (rather than with traditional cponcepts of quality) and seek to define the translator’s method (Vilikovsky) and purpose (Newmark: 1998: 75)
There is discussion about whether evaluation should take into account the Source Text : Toury notes that comparisons between translations and originals often lead to an enumeration of errors and a reverence for the original (1978: 26) Most critics carry out a comparative criticism of original and translation • Newmark (Textbook): five-part model
analysis of source text
comparison of it and the translation
comments about the translation’s potential role as a translation • Hatim and Mason (1990b) outline a set of comparative parameters; their principal interest lies in the ‘cultural semiotics of language’.
Using the notions of genre, discourse and text, they focus not on individual words but on a ‘thread of discourse which is sustained through a communicative transaction’ (10)
• de Beaugrande (1978) evaluative criteria should address the ‘presuppostions and expectations about texts’ shared by readers and writers in each language Non-comparative models
Lefevere (1981b) focus on the product of translation in the context of the target culture rather than on the translation process (see polysystem theory) Toury (1978, 1980c) his work with translational norms suggests evaluative centred on the target system alone
Criticism should take into account the presence of ideology in translation. Critics may also have their own hidden ideology conditioning their criticism A reviewer’s motiviation may be political, or of other nature. For instance, in his study pf Matthew Arnold’s lecture ‘On Translating Homer”, Venuti (1995: 118-45) has shown not only that Arnold’s attack on Francis Newman’s translation of the Iliad served to marginalize Newman’s work, but also the extent to which a polemics about acceptable translation strategies can bu simultaneously one about cultural politics.
[Cladera on Moratín’s translation of Hamlet]
Criticism of translations can be found in
translator’s prefaces and annotations (many new translations try to improve or rectify previous translations; prefaces and annotation contain evaluative comments)
complimentary poems and essays about the work of other translators (often in metaphorical language -> they must be read in the context of prevailing rhetorical conventions),
scholarly writing about translation theory, and
appraisals embedded in fictional commentary (a simile from Don Quixote...
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