- Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle
Munday's book was required for my recent translations course in French. It was used as a textbook for the senior level class. A course requirement was to write a review of the book, which I now post here. Enjoy!
May 2, 2012
Introduction to Translation Studies by Jeremy Munday
Introduction to Translation Studies was written by Jeremy Munday and published by Routledge. The first edition was published in 2001 and the second edition in 2008. The purpose of the book can be found in the Introduction on page two. "The book is designed to serve as a coursebook for undergraduate and postgraduate translation, translation studies and translation theory, and also as a solid theoretical introduction to students, researchers, instructors and professional translators." Mr. Munday's academic accomplishments, resume and body of work are exhaustive and impressive. It seems clear that Mr. Munday's expertise is of particular interest to the F423 course as he is a qualified translator from both Spanish and French into English.
The book is positioned as a course text for translation studies. It is a scholarly work and endeavors to communicate the scholarly nature of the art and science of translating a foreign language. Although the author is a qualified translator in both Spanish and French, the concepts can be applied across different languages and is not limited to romance languages. Throughout the book, linguists and translators of many different languages, as well as their theories, are presented to help the reader understand different translation theories.
The student of French, or another language, may be surprised when taking a course focused on translations studies to discover that translating a text is actually quite complex. The author does an excellent job at identifying different translations theories and presenting them to the reader. Often, the theories are quite steeped in academia and difficult to comprehend. This lack of clarity cannot fairly be contributed to the author as his task is to identify different theories and present them to the reader in a logical and orderly fashion.
The book contains an introduction, twelve chapters, an appendix, notes, bibliography and index. The table of contents is neatly organized, further dividing the chapters by subtopic which allows the reader to quickly scan and find areas of interest. Of particular note is the appendix, which contains many internet links. The notes section expands upon footnotes contained in the chapters. The bibliography is extensive and further underscores the scholarly nature of the work. The bibliography alone is approximately eighteen pages. Any reader who wishes to expand their translations knowledge can take advantage of the works cited in the bibliography and research various theories and practices.
The book contains many helpful images, figures and tables which further enhance the reader's understanding. Common abbreviations, such as ST, or Source Text and TT, or Target Text are introduced early in the book for the benefit of the reader. Once abbreviations are established, the book takes on the issue in Chapter One of the main issues in translation studies. Most university students, especially if they fail to study a foreign language, are largely unaware of the field of translations and how it affects them. Most translated works do not clearly and conspicuously identify the translator of the TT but instead focus solely on the author. Many readers are not cognizant that many of the works which they read are being read as a translation and not in the original language.
After identifying the subject of translations studies, Munday proceeds with a brief history of translations theories in Chapter Two. The most basic concept which has been debated for literally centuries is the idea of "word for word" or "sense for sense" translation. With many examples that are easily relatable to the experience of the reader, Munday demonstrates the inherent strengths and flaws in each of these translation methods. The general public is blissfully ignorant that common texts, such as the Bible, have been fought over continually for literally hundreds of years. Entire groups of religious adherents advocate for, fight and declare translations other than their anointed one, to be heretical. If only they were acquainted with just the basic differences of literal and equivalent translations they might make room intellectually for a translation other than the King James Version. Laughably, the KJV only crowd can be heard on radio stations, arguing that the KJV is the only "Holy" Bible as other translations do not use the word "Holy" as many times as the King James.
Outside of academic linguistic circles, the translator and his craft may not be fully appreciated for the monumental accomplishments and scholarly nature of the work. In Chapter
Three Munday delves into equivalence and equivalence effect. The potential for debate in this area is tremendous as some advocate to keep the original cultural flavor of a text while others argue that the target language culture should be the focus. Munday gives an excellent example on page 43 ..."considers that give one another a hearty handshake all around `quite naturally translates' greet one another with a holy kiss." The potential for debate is clear: what, if anything, is lost by translating the culture as well as the text and striving for equivalency in the target language? Do we lose the opportunity to educate the reader in the target language about the culture of the source text? Or render the differences invisible through equivalence?
Chapter Four delves into interesting exercises; nuts and bolts, if you will, providing tools that translators might use to maintain faithful meaning across the source and target texts. The idea of translation shifts can be illustrated by the resource table on page 66. This table illustrates the concept of taking a source text and segmenting the text into units. These units are then numbered in a vertical column on the left half of the page. The target text is placed on the right side of the page and numbers, mostly sequential, in a middle column. The segmented texts are then matched by number and because of the nature of syntax in various languages, are not always a direct translation. Often, different languages use a word order not found in the original and translating the segments becomes a convenient way to try and balance a translation.
Focus on the functional theories of translations is found in Chapter Five. An illustration representing the complexity contained in translating for a literary translation, general language translation or special language translation is contained on page 76. The chart demonstrates how mind boggling translations can become. A component of this chapter discusses the coherence rule, which dictates translation in the target text based on age, cultural awareness and other issues. The continuum that is the fidelity rule states that the translator receives and interprets the source text, then encodes that information for the target text reader.
The concept of systemic functional grammar is offered as it relates to Halliday's model of discourse found on page 90. Further in the chapter the author presents ways in which one might judge the quality of a translation. Some translations will be overt and known to be a translation in the target culture. "A covert translation `is a translation which enjoys the status of an original source in the target culture.'" Even cultural areas that would be largely unknown to outsiders must be addressed. For example, `l'hexagon,' the idea that metropolitan France is shaped like a hexagon would need explanation to a target culture especially if unfamiliar with European geography and France in particular.
The seventh chapter was especially enlightening and covers the idea of systems theories. A common misconception among the monolingual is that a foreign language is easily translated as if there is a one to one ratio between thoughts spanning two or more languages. In fact, being able to create a system around different translations theories and having a framework to guide the translator is groundbreaking. The translator must consider many factors, including whether to include stylistic anachronisms in the target text to engender authenticity in older texts.
Chapters eight, nine and ten have common goals of educating the reader in cultural, ethical, sociological, philosophical and hermeneutical theories of translation. Each of these chapters contains in depth information about what some may see as the fuzzier side of translation. Taking into account gender issues, the cultural or political bias of the translator, and the relatively weak position of the translator in relation to a publishing house, these chapters address issues normally ignored by the reader. Chapter Ten delves into Hermeneutics, defined as the theory of interpretation of meaning. Steiner, author of After Babel defines the hermeneutic approach as `the investigation of what it means to "understand" a piece of oral or written speech, and the attempt to diagnose this process in terms of a general mode of meaning.'
New media, audiovisual translation, localization and globalization, and corpus-based translation studies are all issues tackled in Chapter Eleven. These are all timely topics in light of the digital age and preference for audiovisual communication that we see in this generation growing up with the internet. The unique challenges presented by this generation of YouTube watchers include information receivers who prefer not to read or may in fact be too lazy to read. The translator must still consider the best way to interpret and transmit information to this group.
The role of the translator is fluid, moving from generation to generation, culture to culture, and one source text to target text interpretation at a time. As technology changes, the core values of translation do not change. Humans still need to transfer information in an accurate yet culturally appropriate way. This textbook certainly meets the needs of the student translator by identifying issues, presenting theories and offering solutions for those who seek to interpret meaning across languages and cultures.