Text-Functions in Translation: Titles and Headings as a Case in Point
As a text-type in their own right, titles and headings are intended to achieve six functions: distinctive, metatextual, phatic, referential, expressive, and appellative. Taking as a point of departure the hypothesis that translated texts have to "function" in the target situation for which they are produced by serving the purpose(s) they are intended for (which may or may not be the "same" as those of the source text), it is argued that the translator has to reconcile the conditions of functionality prevailing in the target culture with the communicative intentions of the source-title sender (= functionality + loyalty). The discussion of several examples from an extensive corpus of German, French, English, and Spanish titles and their translations shows how this methodological approach can be put into practice, establishing a model for the functional translation of other texts and text-types.
In the following article, I would like to elaborate on the implications which the functional approach has for the theory and (professional) practice of translation, [ p. 262 ]taking titles and headings as a case in point. The study is based on the analysis of more than 12,000 German, English, French and Spanish titles and headings of fictional, nonfictional and children's books, short stories, poems, and articles published in scholarly journals. Titles and headings were assumed to be textual units forming a text-type (cf. Nord 1989a). The aim of the analysis was to find out (a) the communicative functions of titles and headings, (b) the culture-specific and genre-specific ways in which these functions are verbalized, and (c) the culture-specific structural conventions determining the textual design of titles in general and of the six title-genres ip particular.
Beaugrande, R.A. de and Wolfgang U. Dressier
1981Einfiihrung in die Textlinguistik. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
1981Approaches to Translation. Oxford: Pergamon Press.
1989a “Der Titel—ein Mittel zum Text?: Überlegungen zu Status und Funktionen des Titels”. Norbert Reiter, ed. Sprechen und Hören: Akten des 23. Linguistischen Kolloquiums in Berlin. Tübingen: Niemeyer 1989 519–528.
1989b “Loyalität stätt Treue: Vorschläge zu einer funktionalen Über-setzungstypologie”. Lebende Sprachen 34. 100–105.
1991aText Analysis in Translation: Theory, Methodology and [ p. 284 ]Didactic Application of a Model for Translation-Oriented Text Analysis. Amsterdam-Atlanta, G.A.: Rodopi.
1991b “Scopos, Loyalty and Translational Conventions”. Target 3:1. 91–109.
1993Einführung in das funktionale Übersetzen: Am Beispiel von Titeln und Überschriften. Tübingen: Francke. [UTB, 1734.]
1994 “Translation as a Process of Linguistic and Cultural Adaptation”. Cay Dollerup and Annette Lindegaard, eds. Teaching Translation and Interpreting 2: Insights, Aims, Visions. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins 1994 59–67.
1977/78 “Textsortenkonventionen: Vergleichende Untersuchungen zur Todesanzeige”. Le Langage et l’Homme 35. 46–54 and 36. 60–68.
Reiß, Katharina and Hans J. Vermeer
1984Grundlegung einer allgemeinen Translations-theorie. Tübingen: Niemeyer.