LESSON 4

Translation criticism

Translation criticism is applied translation theory. It has five purposes:

(a)  to improve standards of transltion;

(b) to provide an object lesson for translation;

(c)  to throw light on ideas about translation at particular times and in particular subject-areas;

(d) to assist in the interprettation of the work of significant writers and significant translatos.

(e)  to assess critically seantic and grammatical differences between SL and TL.

Translation criticism has four basic procedures:

(۱) to analyse the intention, predominant language function, tone, themes, register, style (syntactic and lexical), literary qality, cultural features, putative radership and setting of the SL text, and to propose an appropriate translatio method;

(۲) to make a detailed comparison between the SL nd TL text, noting all signifacant semantic, stylistic, pragmatic and ideaological differences (either in the whole TL text or in random passages);

(۳) to assess the difference s between the total impression of th SL and TL text, including in particular their interpretations of the sunject-matter;

(۴) to evaluate the translation.

The third procedure is often neglected: while the exposure ofmitakes (in relation to the SL text and the facts of the matter, as well as the TL style and register) is important, this procedure is helpful only in relation to the translator’s interpretation of the text.

I should add that translation criticism is an exercise of intelligence and imagination, and is only patially objective: Harris’s (1975) attempts to quantify mistakes are futile, and both Reiss’s (1977) and House’s (1977a) categorizations are too rigid. (Koller (1978) and Newmark (1973) have previously criticized Reiss’s misunderstanding of form-stressed texts)” (Newmark, 1981, pp. 181-182).

Referece: Newmark, P. (1981). Approaches to translation. London: Prentice Hall.