Centre for Translation Studies


Past Seminars: 2010 - 2011

20 October 2010
Translating with Attitude. Translation, Intervention and Added Value
Prof. Theo Hermans, University College London, UK 

Translation is more than the transmission of information or the recreation of an existing message. I am interested in the way translators convey opinions and attitudes along with the texts they translate. Starting from a series of specific examples illustrating different aspects of the question, my presentation casts translation as a form of reported speech. Even exact quotation is not wholly mimetic; much less so the kind of reporting that translation represents. Looking at translation as a form of reporting enables us to see translators positioning themselves in the reported as well as the reporting discourse.  In addition, translators report to audiences. This interaction, too, frames the words being reported and allows translators to express value judgements about the messages they are transmitting. In this way translators negotiate and package the foreign, and help to sustain or change communities.

3 November 2010
Specialised Translation Techniques: from Legal to Intercultural
Dr Mariana Orozco, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

Translation techniques are widely used by translators. However they are often unaware of the different techniques they are using. Developing a wider knowledge of the different techniques that are available, and which ones are appropriate for different text types, translation methods and for the function of the target text, can enable translators to improve coherence and achieve better quality in their translations.  We will start by clarifying concepts, since there are several labels for translation techniques and a clear lack of agreement between translation scholars as to what is a translation procedure, a strategy, etc. - all of which can lead to confusion. We will then present and discuss examples of the different techniques that can be used in legal translation, depending on the existence or non existence of a conceptual and/or linguistic equivalent in the target language and culture. Finally, these techniques will be compared with those used in intercultural translation, where the function of the target text is completely different.

17 November 2010
Gender and Translation
Dr Karen Seago, City University, London, UK

What do we mean when we talk about gender issues in translation? Does this refer exclusively to feminist translation or a much wider approach? In this talk, I will review what theories and strategies are available and to what extent they are of relevance to different modes of translation and translation criticism. I will illustrate my points with reference to translations of popular tales from German into English.

12 January 2011
Invisible Storytellers - The Role of Translators in the History of English-language Children's Literature 
 Dr Gilian Lathey, Roehampton University, London, UKThe proportion of translated children's books published in any one year in the UK stands at around 2 or 3 percent, so that English-language children's literature currently lacks the difference of translated texts that inspires new directions or genres. Yet this was not always so. Translations have enriched English-language children's literature from its earliest history: indeed, texts intended specifically for children in the period preceding the eighteenth century are predominantly translations, as are many 'English' children's classics, from Andersen's and Grimms' tales to Heidi and Pinocchio. Two case studies of the translation of well-known fairy tales into English will illustrate the vastly underestimated role of the translator in the history of English-language children's literature. The first is that of Robert Samber, sometime translator of pornography and transformer of the fairy tales of Charles Perrault, designed for the courtly entertainment of aristocratic adults, into popular children's stories in 1729. The second, Edgar Taylor, translated Grimms' tales into English in 1823 and determined the course of their dissemination across Europ e. Finally, tw o recent translations of Co llodi&rsq uo;s Pinocchio will illustrate the dilemma faced by publishers and translators of classic children's texts as to whether to produce a lively and engaging translation for the modern child, or a version that privileges historical accuracy for the scholarly adult reader in the relatively new field of children's literature studies.

26 January 2011
Translation as Transcultural Dialogue: The Case of Law
Dr Sieglinde Pommer, Oxford University, UK

The Cultural Turn in Translation Studies has brought about an understanding of translating as a complex cultural activity which raises difficult questions about how to handle culture-specific assumptions. Translators are confronted with the asymmetry of thought systems, the relativity of concepts, and have to deal with inconsistent categorizations and classification s. Their task as cultural mediators is to adequately communicate information about a foreign culture specifically taking into account the divergent previous knowledge and divergent expectations of the target audience in order to avoid mis understandings. 

9 February 2011
Surtitling: Making Opera Accessible
Ms Judi Palmer, Royal Opera House, London, UK

The aim of a surtitler is to break down the language barrier in order to help the audience fully engage with the action on stage to a point where they believe they have understood every word without reference to the projected text. I shall discuss the history of opera surtitling, the development in technology, the development of a surtitle script and techniques involved in making titles as "invisible" as possible.

23 February 2011
Eyes in Your Ears; Ears in Your Eyes....AVT Solutions for People with Sensory Impairment
Dr Josélia Neves, Istituto Politécnico de Leiria, Portugal

When impairment limits one of the senses, the other senses often make up for the lack and activate to cover for the loss. This means that there is always a solution to make problems light and as far as communication goes, alternative texts are the solution.  Audiovisual translation now plays an important role in the provision of such alternatives. When the impairment comes in the guise of low vision, blindness or deafness, solutions such as audio-description and subtitling are in order. These alternative formats are to be found mainly in conventional audiovisual materials (cinema, TV, DVD,…), but are also finding their way into the performing arts and other cultural and educational contexts. The solutions are many and varied and a challenge to those working in the field.

9 March 2011
Audiovisual Translation and Language Learning: Subtitling in the Language Class
Dr Noa Talaván, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia, Madrid, Spain

Firstly, the possibilities of using Audiovisual Translation in the language class will be presented; several proposals and approaches will be outlined.  Then, the ways in which subtitles and subtitling have been used in foreign language learning will be summarized, and there will be a discussion about which language learning skills can be better enhanced depending on the approach chosen.  Finally, the talk will focus on specific tools and procedures that can be followed when students are asked to subtitle a particular video clip. Practical tips will be provided and further research possibilities will be suggested.

11 May 2011
The Strange Case of Subtitle Creation: an overview of processes and job types Rania Benekou, European Captioning Institute, Athens, Greece

Subtitles are viewed by many, but their inner workings and technical constraints remain a mystery to most. During this talk I will illustrate the various processes and working methods used by subtitling companies to create subtitles in a multitude of languages catering for a variety of media, as well as how different obstacles are overcome and quality is ensured. I will then focus on the ways graduates can find employment in the subtitling sector, describing what good practices they should adopt and errors to avoid, as well as offer an overview of the various positions available within the industry and the job types subtitlers are frequently asked to complete.

25 May 2011
Translation Competence: Pacte's Experimental Research
Professor Amparo Hurtado Albir Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

The PACTE Group (Process in the Acquisition of Translation Competence and Evaluation) has been carrying out experimental research into translation competence and its acquisition in written translation since 1997. Research is being carried out from two complementary perspectives: (1) the translation process: gathering and analyzing data obtained from experimental studies concerning the mental processes involved in translating  and the knowledge and abilities required;  (2) the translation product: gathering and analyzing data obtained from the results of the translation process (translated texts). The study has been carried out in the following language pairs: English-Spanish/Catalan, French- Spanish/Catalan, and German- Spanish/Catalan. After first completing exploratory and pilot tests (PACTE 2002, 2005) to validate different aspects of our research design, we carried out an experiment to determine translation competence in 35 professional translators and 24 foreign language teachers.  The aim of the seminar is to present the differentiating characteristics of translation competence as reflected in the most important results obtained for each  of the six variables under study, namely: Knowledge of Translation; Translation Project; Identification and resolution of Problems;  Decision-making; Efficacy of the Process;  and Instrumental Resources. Results show that Translation Competence comprises several  subcompetences that are interrelated, validating PACTE's  holistic model of Translation Competence (2003). Five subcompetences are specifically identified  (bilingual, extra-linguistic, knowledge about translation, instrumental and strategic competence) in addition to  psycho-physiological components.

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