Translation Studies - Erciyes University

Translation Studies
Transfer operations
Pelin Irgin,
Erciyes University
Spring, 2014
1. Transfer operations from
the point of view of the
Classification of TOs was so far
based on
the “technical performance” of the
operation (omission, addition,
narrowing, broadening, etc.),
linguistic (lexical, grammatical,
stylistic) + extra-linguistic (cultural,
historical, geographical, etc.)
Present focus:
translation as a special bilingual
speech activity (characteristics of
code switching  natural losses, the
role of redundancy, the role of the
channel, etc.)
the translator as a professional L
The main principles followed
by translators as
professional L mediators in
their everyday work
(1) The principle of following the
TL norm
aim = facilitate communication between
two communities who speak different
languages (= mediator role)  translators
develop certain characteristic forms of
the translator follows certain general
translation principles:
- to take into consideration the TL reader.
- to must follow the TL norms
- to respect the SL text
(2) The principle of cooperation
translators tend to opt for the more explicit
explicitation (Blum Kulka 1986; Klaudy 1998a)
= expressing something in the TL text in a
clearer and more open manner, and possibly
with the help of more words than in the SL text
in seeking explicitation, the translator is guided
by the principle of cooperation ( Grice
(1975), because in translation the receiver is
the translator generally relies less on the
readers' imagination than authors of original
texts do, preferring to "play it safe"  one
means is by using the strategy of explicitation
(3) The principle of following the
translation norm
the translator is not only a mediator, but
also a professional one  he/she has a
profession/trade, with its own rules
the immense translational experience of
previous generations has always been
handed down from one generation of
translators to the next
the principle of following tradition is also
a principle that can guide translators in
their decisions
tradition is sometimes more highly valued
by translators than the TL norm 
existence of a “translation norm” beside
the target language norm
General, specific and
individual transfer strategies
I. General transfer strategies
the general principles (following the
target language norm, the principle of
cooperation, following the translation
norm) imply certain general transfer
= particular series of transfer
operations carried out consciously to
transform the ST into the TL text
as a general transfer strategy
= “a process which consists of
introducing information into the TL
which is present implicitly in the SL,
but it can be derived from the context
or the situation” (Vinay and Darbelnet,
1995, p.352)
Explicitation cont.
Explicitation (implicitation) strategies are
generally discussed together with addition
(omission) strategies;
3 main views:
some regard "addition" as the more generic
and "explicitation" as the more specific
concept (Nida 1964)
others interpret "explicitation" as the
broader concept which incorporates the
more specific concept of "addition"
(Seguinot 1988, Schjoldager 1995)
the two are treated as synonyms by
Englund Dimitrova who uses the terms
"addition-explicitation" and "omissionimplicitation" (Englund Dimitrova 1993).
Blum-Kulka (1986):
examined explicitation systematically
 introduced the term "explicitation
hypothesis" (1986)
Blum-Kulka cont
she explored discourse-level
explicitation (= explicitation connected
with shifts in cohesion and coherence
i.e., overt and covert textual markers in
shifts in cohesive markers can be partly
attributed to the different grammatical
systems of languages, and partly to the
differences in stylistic preferences for
various types of cohesive markers
Blum-Kulka suggests that shifts on the
level of cohesion may change the
general level of the textual explicitness
in the target text:
Blum-Kulka cont. (citation)
“The process of interpretation performed by
the translator on the source text might lead
to a TL text, which is more redundant than
SL text. This redundancy can be expressed
by a rise in the level of cohesive
explicitness in the TL text. This argument
may be stated as "the explicitation
hypothesis", which postulates an
observed cohesive explicitness from SL to
TL texts regardless of the increase
traceable to differences between the two
linguistic and textual systems involved. It
follows that explicitation is viewed here as
inherent in the process of translation.”
(1986, p.19)
Critical remarks on Blum Kulka's
explicitation hypothesis
Seguinot (1988):
finds the definition too narrow: states that
explicitness does not necessarily mean
argues that "the greater number of words
in French translation, for example, can be
explained by well-documented differences
in the stylistics of English and French."
(ibid.) She would reserve the term
"explicitation" for additions, which cannot
be explained by structural, stylistic or
rhetorical differences between the two
II. Specific transfer strategies
(1) Language specific transfer
the translator is not only a “professional mediator”
but also a “language mediator”  has
developed his/her own individual strategies to
overcome difficulties resulting from the differences
between the two languages
= language pair specific transfer strategies
the facile and routine-like application of these
transfer strategies distinguishes translators from
simple monolingual speakers or from bilingual
speakers who are not professional mediators.
The basis of language specific transfer strategies
is the routine-like use of transfer operations
developed to overcome difficulties resulting
from differences between languages.
(2) Culture specific transfer
translators are not only linguistic but many
times also “cultural mediators”
it is also part of the translators’ professional
competence that they know two cultures,
and can compare and assess the
geographical, historical, social, and cultural
aspects of two language communities.
The routine-like use of transfer operations
developed by the translator to bridge
cultural gaps serves as the basis for
culture-specific transfer strategies.
III. Individual transfer strategies
during their translation practice,
translators develop their own
individual strategies as well.
E.g., “chop up” the sentences,
“augment” lexical elements (e.g.,
reporting verbs), “verbalise”
2. The framework of an
Indoeuropean-Hungarian transfer
comparison of four Indo-European
languages (English, French, German, and
Russian) with Hungarian (a Finno-Ugric
despite the systemic differences inside the
IE group, they are treated together in
relation to Hungarian based on
(1) the literature on language typology,
(2) experiences of practising translators,
editors of translations and translator
(3) the evidence of the corpus
Language-typological reasons
The lexical and grammatical systems
of the four IE languages under
investigation differ in similar ways in
their basic features from the lexical
and grammatical system of
Language typological reasons cont.
IE = analytical morphological and lexical
structuring; H = synthetic morphological and
lexical structuring,
synthetic sentence structuring in IE languages
vs. analytical sentence structuring in
dominantly SVO basic word order in IE
languages vs. dominantly SOV basic word
order in Hungarian
the complementation of nominal structures to
the left in Hungarian vs. their complementation
to the right in IE languages,
subject-prominence in English vs. topicprominence in Hungarian, etc.
Experience as a practising
Intuitive, experience-based “witty”
observations of translators strongly
resemble one another.
Differences between Hungarian and
IE languages:
Intuitive observations cont.
(1) " Hungarian likes to use verbs when IE languages
use nouns."
(2) " Hungarian likes to use active when IE
languages use passive."
(3) "When you translate from IE languages into
Hungarian you have to begin the translation from
the end of the sentence."
(4) "Hungarian cannot manage the long chains of
complements in preposition to the nouns."
(5) "IE languages force Hungarian to use this long
nominal chain, but we do not like it."
(6) "IE languages cannot evoke the whole richness of
Hungarian verbs."
(7) "When translating form Indo-European languages
an impoverishment of the Hungarian language
takes place  against which translators have to
fight etc."
Evidence of the corpus
The data collected confirmed the assumption that the
four Indo-European languages in many aspects
“contrasted” with Hungarian in a similar way.
E.g., first page of a Budapest travel guide published
by Corvina Publishing Company
Hol is kezdjük? (lit: Where shall we start?) (Bart 1)
Where shall we begin our journey? (Gorman 1)
Par ou commencer notre flanerie? (Chehádé 1)
Wo sollen wir unseren Spaziergang beginnen?
(Dira 1)
Otkuda nachat’ nasu progulku? (Voronkina 1)
The sources of the examples
five languages (English, French, German, Russian
and Hungarian)
eight directions of translation (English 
Hungarian, Hungarian  English, French 
Hungarian, Hungarian  French, German 
Hungarian, Hungarian  German, Russian 
Hungarian, Hungarian  Russian)
- approx. 50 English, 50 French, 50 German, and
50 Russian literary works and their Hungarian
- about 100 Hungarian literary works and their 25
English, 25 French, 25 German, and 25 Russian
-  600 literary works have been examined
authors: Dickens, Balzac, Thomas Mann,
Pasternak, Mikszáth, Krúdy, Örkény
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