Is There a Special Kind of “Reading” for Translation? An Empirical Investigation of Reading in the Translation Process

Gregory M. Shreve, Christina Schäffner, Joseph H. Danks and Jennifer Griffin
Kent State University | Aston University, Birmingham

The role of reading in translation is rarely discussed in the literature. Translation has mainly been discussed within a product-oriented framework. The more process-oriented approaches of recent years have taken notice of reading as a component activity of the translation process. However, few empirical studies have been completed which address the role of reading in translation. The way a person reads, and the result of that reading (some sort of mental representation of the text or text segment), will depend on the reader's purposes and motivations. The present empirical study indicates that while the translator's reading of a text may be to some extent more thorough and deliberate than that of an ordinary reader, it is not likely to be markedly so. The study also indicates a significant variability in the way translators "read for translation". This suggests the existence of alternate strategies in this kind of reading.

Table of contents

A primary investigative technique in translation studies has been the contrastive analysis of source text and target text. Many of the central concepts of modern translation studies, such as communicative equivalence, are based on a detailed study of relationships between source and target texts. These approaches are result-oriented and are grounded in the objective existence of source and target. The source and target texts are assumed to be linked by some sort of intervening translation process which can be reconstructed by detailed textual analyses of the source-target pair. Toury has commented on this relationship (Toury 1982: 25):

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price. Direct PDF access to this article can be purchased through our e-platform.

[ p. 37 ]References

Danks, Joseph H.
Forthcoming. “The Psycholinguistics of Reading and Translation”. Gregory Shreve, Albrecht Neubert and Klaus Gommlich eds. Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Basic Issues in Translation Studies Kent, Ohio Institute for Applied Linguistics Kent State University Forum on Translation Studies, 2
Danks, Joseph H. and L.J. End
1987 “Processing Strategies for Reading and Listen-ing”. R. Horowitz and S.J. Samuels, eds. Comprehending Oral and Written Language. New York: Academic Press 1987 271–294.Google Scholar
Déjean Le Féal, Karla
1988 “A Look into the Black Box”. Fremdsprachen 4. 237–240.Google Scholar
Hatim, Basil and Ian Mason
1990Discourse and the Translator. London: Longman.Google Scholar
Krings, Hans P.
1986Was in den Köpfen von Übersetzern vorgeht: Eine empirische Untersuchung zur Struktur des Übersetzungsprozesses an fortgeschrittenen Franzö-sischlernen. Tübingen: Narr.Google Scholar
Neubert, Albrecht
1985Text and Translation. Leipzig: Verlag Enzyklopädie. [Über-setzungswissenschaftliche Beiträge, 8.]Google Scholar
1991 “Models of Translation”. Sonja Tirkonnen-Condit, ed. Empirical Research in Translation and Intercultural Studies. Tübingen: Narr 1991 17–26.Google Scholar
Neubert, Albrecht and Gregory Shreve
1992Translation as Text. Kent and London: Kent State University Press. [Übersetzungswissenschaftliche Beiträge, 13 and Translation Studies, 1.]Google Scholar
Séguinot, Candace
1989 “The Translation Process: An Experimental Study”. Candace Séguinot, ed. The Translation Process. Toronto: H. G. Publications 1989 21–53.Google Scholar
Toury, Gideon
1982 “A Rationale for Descriptive Translation Studies”. Dispositio VII:19–20. 23–39.Google Scholar