Propositions on cross-cultural communication and translation
Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona, Spain
Cross-cultural communication can be characterized by a relatively high degree of effort required to reduce complexity, by relatively high transaction costs, by relatively low trust between communication partners, and by relatively narrow success conditions that create points of high-risk discourse. To communicate successfully between cultures would thus require a special kind of risk management. Translation, as a mode of cross-cultural communication, is held to share those same features, as well as at least two specific representational maxims concerning discursive persons and textual quantity. It is argued that the related concepts of complexity, success conditions and risk can describe not only the act of translating as a mode of cross-cultural communication, but also certain features of the professional intercultures to which translators belong. Step-by-step propositions thus synthesize an approach that runs from an analysis of cross-cultural communication to a description of professional intercultures, their sources of power, and the reasons for their apparent lack of power in a globalizing age.
The following are propositions designed to connect a few ideas about crosscultural communication. They are presented in fairly common language and as concisely as possible. The ideas are drawn from a multiplicity of existing theories; the aim is not particularly to be original. The propositions are instead intended to link up three endeavors: an abstract conception of cross-cultural communication, a description of the specificities of translation, and an attempt to envisage the future of cross-cultural communication in a globalizing age. The various points at which the propositions draw on previous theories are indicated in a series of endnotes. Examples and illustrations can be found in the works referred to.
1994Language shock: Understanding the culture of conversation. New York: William Morrow.
1994b “Karl Popper in the translation class”. Cay Dollerup and Annette Lindegaard, eds. Teaching translation and interpreting 2: Insights, aims and visions. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins 1994 89–95.
1997Memes of translation. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
1992b “The relations between translation and material text transfer”. Target 4:2. 171–189.
1992c “Translation error analysis and the interface with language teaching”. Cay Dollerup and Anne Loddegaard, eds. The teaching of translation: Training talent and experience. Amsterdam: John Benjamins 1992 279–288.
2001b “Four remarks on translation and multimedia”. Yves Gambier and Henrik Gottlieb, eds. Multimedia translation: Concepts, practices, and research. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins 2001 275–282.
2003a “Redefining translation competence in an electronic age”. Meta 48:3. 481–497.
2003b “Translation Studies should help solve social problems”. Georges Androulakis, ed. Translating in the 21st century: Trends and prospects. Proceedings. Thessaloniki: Aristotle University 2003 439–448.
2004The moving text: Localization, translation, and distribution. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
1988Relevance: Communication and cognition. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.
Sprung, Robert C.
ed.2000Translating into success: Cutting-edge strategies for going multilingual in a global age. American Translators Association Scholarly Monograph Series XI. Amsterdam/PhiladelphiaJohn Benjamins.
2002 “Not a melting pot: The challenges of multilingual communication in the European Commission”. Paper delivered to conference The translation industry today. Rimini, Italy, 11–13 October 2002.
1995Descriptive Translation Studies and beyond. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
2002 “What’s the problem with ‘translation problem’?”. Marcel Thelen and Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk, eds. Translation and meaning Part 6: Proceedings of the 3rd International Maastricht–Lódź Duo Colloquium. Maastricht: Universitaire Pers Maastricht 2002 57–71.[ p. 28 ]