Translating competence

January 9, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Psychology, Cognitive Psychology
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Dr. Constanza Gerding


Translation competence: skill, aptitude or qualification? Defining translator’s competence; finding a proper name:  Transfer competence (Nord, 1991: 161)  Translational competence (Toury, 1995: 250-51; Hansen, 1997: 205; Chesterman, 1998: 147)

 Translator competence (Kiraly, 1995: 108)  Translation performance (Wilss 1989: 129)  Translation ability (Lowe, 1987: 57; Pym, 1993: 26; Stansfield, Scott & Kenyon 1992)

 Translation skill (Lowe, 1987: 57)

Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Translation competence often referred to, however, not defined • • • • • • • • • •

Krings (1986: 501, 522) Lowe (1986: 53.61) Nord (1991: 150, 155, 161; 1997: 101) Lörscher (1991: 41; 1992: 426) Toury (1991: 62, 1995: 250- 51) Riedemann (1996: 117) Kiraly (1995: 13-19) Fraser (1996: 87) Hansen (1997: 205) Gerding-Salas (2000, online) It does not mean they have not thought about it… Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

The concept of competence • Translation competence seems adequate, because: • a) it has a long research tradition (e.g. Applied Linguistics, SLA), • b) it conveys the idea of ‘an expert knowledge in a specific area’.

• Competence (‘the ability to do something successfully or efficiently’, Oxford Online, 2012) suits the purpose of defining the act of performing the translation activity skillfully and productively. • In linguistics, ‘competence’ is a speaker’s subconscious, intuitive knowledge of the rules of their language. Often contrasted with performance. Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Translation competence labels • • • •

Translation performance (Wilss 1989: 129; Rothe-Neves, 2007) Translation skill (Lowe, 1987: 57) Transfer competence (Nord, 1991: 161) Translation ability (Lowe, 1987: 57; Pym, 1993: 26; Stansfield, Scotty Kenyon 1992; Hatim and Mason, 1997)

• • •

Translator competence (Kiraly, 1995: 108) Translator’s competence (Kussmaul, 1995: 33) Translational competence (Toury, 1995: 250-51; Hansen, 1997: 205; Chesterman, 1997: 147)

Translating competence (Gerding, 2000) Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Translation competence and Constructivism • For Constructivism 1. learning is meaningful (not memory-based) 2. previous knowledge is important for integration, memorization and application of new knowledge 3. both vertical and lateral transfer take place • Vertical transfer = Advancement goes from inferior to superior levels of complexity, i.e. one ability is essential for the next. • Lateral transfer = application of abilities from one learning domain to another. Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

The Social Constructivist Perspective

• Social Constructivism emphasizes the importance of culture and context in understanding what occurs in society and constructing knowledge (Derry, 1999) • This perspective is closely associated with other contemporary theories, such as the developmental theories of Vygotsky, and Bandura's social cognitive theory (Shunk, 2000)

Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Assumptions of Social Constructivism (Shunk, 2000) • Reality Constructed through human activity • Knowledge Also a human product, and is socially and culturally constructed. Individuals create meaning through their interactions with each other and with the environment they live in

• Learning Viewed as a social process. Meaningful learning occurs when individuals are engaged in social activities Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

What type of knowledge is required for translation? • Four basic parameters are essential to translation competence (e.g. Gerding-Salas, 2000): 1. Knowledge of the languages 2. Knowledge of the cultures 3. Domain-specific knowledge 4. Transfer competence

• Neubert (2000) describes five sub-competencies: language, textual, subject, cultural and transfer competence. Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

What is translation competence? • ‘The mental equipment that constitutes the translator’s unique cognitive set or ability of matching language, textual, subject and cultural competences. ’ (Neubert, 2000: 12)

• It is where translators are judged, no matter how competent they may be in other aspects (Neubert, 2000) • Translator’s competence acts upon text segments of varying sizes (translation units) (Neubert & Shreve, 1992) Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Translator’s competence Neubert (Developing Translation Competence, 2000)

• • • • • • •

Complexity (intricacy; complication) Heterogeneity (several different skills) Approximation (not fully competent in all fields) Open-endedness (always learning from experts & texts) Creativity (originality, initiative, resourcefulness) Situationality (circumstantiality, location) Historicity (flexibility to accept changes)

Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

What is a competent translator?

• Agost and Monzó (2001) pose that the translator must have enough knowledge and abilities to produce a translation that can be considered correct in a given reception situation • Translators are competent when they can do the commissioned mediation task as effectively and quickly as possible

Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Bilingualism and transfer competence

Bilingual competence, while an indispensable condition, is not enough to guarantee translation competence at academic level (Krings, 1986, Lörscher, 1991; Toury, 1995; Kussmaul, 1995; Gerding-Salas, 2000)

Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Translation competence • “The knowledge and skills the translator must possess in order to carry out a translation” (Bell, 1991: 43) • “The ability to know how to translate" (Hurtado Albir, 1996: 48)

• For PACTE (2000), translation competence is "the underlying system of knowledge and skills needed to be able to translate” The PACTE (Process in the Acquisition of Translation Competence and Evaluation) Group investigates the Acquisition of Translation Competence in written translation, both direct and inverse. Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Communicative competence: From L2 Learning to Translation Communicative competence (CC) accounts for knowledge of a linguistic code and language use for communicative purposes (Hymes, 1971): • Linguistic, cultural, and sociolinguistic knowledge • Cognitive, physical and environmental constraints on communication • Extra-linguistic competence • Knowledge about translation; bi-cultural knowledge • Encyclopedic knowledge and subject knowledge in specific areas Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Communicative competence in SLA • CC refers to a language user's grammatical knowledge as well as social knowledge of how and when to use utterances appropriately • CC was coined by Hymes (1966), in response of Chomsky's (1965) distinction between competence and performance • CC, one of the theories underlying the communicative approach to L2 learning, is the ability to interpret, express and negotiate meaning

Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Communicative competence components CC was redefined by Canale and Swain (1980), Canale (1983) and Savignon (2003): • Grammatical competence: words and rules • Sociolinguistic competence: appropriateness • Strategic competence: appropriate use of communication strategies • Discourse competence: cohesion and coherence

Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Communicative competence in translation • SLA CC and communicative translation competence (Colina, 2003): • Translators are responsible for the interpretation of ST meaning, expression in the TT in accordance with task specifications, the translational protocol and TL conventions, and negotiation between source and target linguistic and cultural communities in order to satisfy the requirements of the brief

Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Communicative translation competence • The notion of Communicative Translation Competence excludes translation activity that does not respond to communicative purposes (e.g. linguistic studies, grammar translation) • The communicative translation competence notion by Colina (2003) is functionally equivalent to the concept of instrumental translation by Nord (1997)

Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

PACTE’s Translator’s sub-competencies 1. Communicative competence in two languages 2. Transfer competence 3. Instrumental/professional competence (deriving from the translation brief or documentation difficulties) 4. Psycho-physiological competence (relating to creativity, logical thought). 5. Strategic competence (individual procedures, conscious and unconscious, verbal and non-verbal, used for solving the problems encountered along the translation process).

Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Communicative translation competence • Shreve (1997) added a cognitive dimension to CTC, and defined it as a series of knowledge structures that allow the translator to recreate form and function associations into other form and function associations in a different culture. Translational competence Communicative-based definition Cognitive-based definition Focus on social context of translation task

Focus on translator as an individual

External factors

Internal elements Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Full communicative competence • In L1 acquisition, the native speaker has full communicative competence • Based on the concept of ‘native speaker’, Toury (1986) proposed that of ‘native translator’: one equipped with the basic innate ability to transfer between two or more languages if placed in a particular sociocultural environment

• In translation competence acquisition there is no agreement as to what competences and sub-competencies make up the cognitive system of the ‘native translator’ (Colina, 2003) Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Components of translation proficiency (Cao, 1996: 328)

Translational Language Competence

Translational Knowledge Structures

Translational Strategic Competence Context of Situation • For Colina (2003), this model suits her concept of communicative translation competence

Concepción-Leipzig, 2012


• ‘Enculturation is the process by which a person learns the requirements of the culture by which he or she is surrounded, and acquires values and behaviors that are appropriate or necessary in that culture’ (Grusec & Hastings, 2007: 547) • Based on the enculturation competences, Hurtado Albir (1999), Kelly (2002), and the PACTE (2008) defined a model of translation sub-competencies: See next  Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Model of five sub-competencies + a set of components

1. Bilingual sub-competence: procedural knowledge required to communicate in two languages, i.e. pragmatics, sociolinguistics, textuality, grammar and lexis 2. Extra-linguistic sub-competence: bi-cultural, encyclopedic and subject knowledge 3. Translation sub-competence: aspects of the profession, the labor market, etc.

Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Model of sub-competencies and components 4. Instrumental sub-competence: procedural knowledge for the use of documentation resources & information & TICs 5. Strategic sub-competence: procedural knowledge that guarantees efficiency in the translation process by identifying problems. It creates links between the other subcompetencies 6. Psycho-physiological components: cognitive components, such as memory, perception, attention span, etc.; attitudes such as curiosity, rigor, etc.; and abilities such as creativity, analysis, logical reasoning, etc. Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Translation competence (Kelly, 2002) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Strategic sub-competence Interpersonal sub-competence Psychophysiological sub-competence Instrumental-professional sub-competence Thematic sub-competence Cultural sub-competence Communicative y textual sub-competence

Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Generic and specific competences Teoría y Metodología de la Traducción, Universitat Jaume I, Spain (Agost, 2008)

Generic Competences n Analysis and synthesis ability n Organization & planification ability n Motivation for quality n Initiative & entrepreneur’s drive n Problem solving n Critical thinking n Autonomous learning

Specific Competences n Labor market knowledge n Theoretical knowledge acquisition n Knowledge of translation varieties n Knowledge of translation competences

Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Summing up… • Communicative and textual subcompetence in at least two languages. • Cultural subcompetence and encyclopaedic knowledge. • Thematic subcompetence in the translation areas. • instrumental and professional subcompetence: use of sources and resources, business administration, union trade activity, and deontological knowledge. • Psychophysiological subcompetence: translator awareness, self-confidence, attention span, memory... • Interpersonal subcompetence: relationships, team work. • Strategic subcompetence: procedures related to work organization and performance, problem identification and resolution, and self-evaluation and revision. Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

Concepción-Leipzig, 2012

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