17 ago. 2009

I'm excited about my courses. A graduate seminar on poetry and performance, and an advanced undergraduate course on translation. That, together with my jazz course in the spring and another undergraduate course, makes the year very welcoming for me.

The biggest obstacle for my undergraduate students in translating is going to be their knowledge of Spanish. The second biggest obstacle, their capacity for expression in English. The third, the linguistic interference caused by the process of translation itself. My biggest challenge is running the class bilingually, without teaching it completely in English.

Here are some lecture notes for the first day (Monday, Aug. 24):

[Taking Jakobson's six elements of communication)

El contexto es distinto: por ejemplo, otro país.

(Context, Jakobson's referential function, is different. The translation is read in another country.)

Hay dos destinadores: por ejemplo, autora original + traductora
(a menos que el autor se traduzca a sí mismo)

(There are two addressors by definition: the original author and the translator, except in the case of autotranslation.)

Los destinadores son distintos: hablantes del idioma original / hablantes del idioma de llegada.

(The addresses are different, defined as speakers of a different language. The audience for the translation never the same audience as that of original text.)

El mensaje, supuestamente, se mantiene.

(Yet the message is the same!)

(En el caso del contacto, no hay mucha relevancia.)
[The contact, J's "phatic" function, is not that relevant. A book is translated as another book.]

El código es distinto, por definición.
(The code is different: that's what defines translation as a translation? Then is an "intralingual" translation really a translation at all?)

La traducción, entonces, se puede definir como un acto de comunicación en que el mismo mensaje (un mensaje equivalente por lo menos) se transmite en otro contexto, en otro código, a otro grupo de destinatarios (mediante un método de contacto más o menos equivalente). Por lo tanto, juzgar una traducción no es solo ver si el mensaje es equivalente, sino evaluar su eficacia con referencia a los 6 elementos de la comunicación.

Translation is defined as an act of communication in which the same message (an equivalent one at least) is transmitted in another context, in another code, to another audience, using a more or less equivalent method of contact (though not always: subtitles in a film?). The result: judging a translation is not just looking to see whether the message is equivalent in two distinct codes, but of evaluating its efficacy in relation to all 6 elements of communication.

1 comentario:

Vance Maverick dijo...

I realize you're just jotting this casually, but there's a funny little crux here:

El mensaje, supuestamente, se mantiene.

(Yet the message is the same!)


where the uncertainty is admitted only in Spanish.

I agree that something is preserved, or to be preserved, but I'm not sure we can get agreement on what it should be. "Message" isn't quite right. It's easy to think of cases where a translator would do well to alter an incidental meaning (say, an evocative mention of a plant or animal) the better to convey an "underlying" meaning or gesture; but then it's hard to state rigorously what's being preserved.