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Status, Origin, Features : Towards a Flexible Model of Translation

Centre for Translation (October 22, 2009)

SEMINAR SERIES : Translation Seminar Series

MAJOR SPEAKER : Delabastita, Dirk
LENGTH : 114 min.
ACCESS : Open to all
SUMMARY : I shall present a simple, flexible and highly relativistic approach to the vexed question in translation studies of how to define and circumscribe 'translation'. My main argument is that in our scholarly models we have to make a radical distinction between three dimensions of texts and discourses: their status (what a text is claimed or believed to be in a given cultural community), their origin (the real history of the text's genesis, as revealed by a diachronically oriented reconstruction) and their features (as revealed by a synchronic analysis, possibly involving comparisons). These three dimensions tend to be collapsed in static definitions which determine if a label such as 'translation' may 'legitimately' be attributed to a text on the basis of its origins and its textual features. But in different cultural contexts 'status', 'origin' and 'features' will be made to interlock in quite different ways, and that is what makes it necessary to construe these three levels as forming discrete continua. Many examples - ranging from Shakespeare translations to the experience of taking the train in a multilingual country such as Belgium - will be offered to explain the three levels and the variable relationships between them. Quite importantly, this model enables and encourages us to take the 'international turn' in translations studies. It also forces us to take a radically fresh look at the relations between Translation Studies and its various neighbouring disciplines.  [Go to the full record in the library's catalogue]

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