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Translating literary texts - methods and theories
Translating literary texts - methods and theories

This essay has got 13.5/15 (year 2002)
I. Content p. 1
II. Preface p. 2
III. Statutory declaration p. 3
1 About my work p. 4

2 Translating literary texts - methods and theories; problems and their

solution, and theory at work: the translation of poems from Uwe Kolbe p. 5

2. 1 The time, the author and his work p. 5

2. 1. 1 Literature in the GDR p. 5

2. 1. 2 Uwe Kolbe and his poems p. 6

2. 2 Translation - science or art? p. 7

2. 2. 1 The absolute equivalent - theories on translation p. 7

2. 2. 2 The cultural-social aspect p. 8

2. 2. 3 Translation competence and translation strategies p. 9

2. 3 A short linguistic comparison between English and German p. 12

2. 3. 1 Specific translation problems and their solution p. 12

2. 3. 2 Theory at work: the translation of poems from Uwe Kolbe p. 16

3 Is Lev Tolstoy the author of a book entitled “War and Peace”? p. 17

III. Annex 1, annotations p. 18

IV. Annex 2, index of names p. 19

V. Annex 3, models and diagrams p. 21

VI. Annex 4, alphabetical list of references p. 26

VII. Annex 5, compilation of relevant internet sources p. 27
Preface
“Communication across language boundaries has never been more important than today. The worldwide interdependence in such areas as economy, culture, politics and sciences requires a continuous exchange of information. This is brought about by communication systems, which span the world and provide information in spoken or written form. Under these circumstances, translation - besides foreign language learning - plays an extremely important role.” (Wolfgang Lörscher)



Living in the global village we have to understand each other, either by knowing our “neighbour’s” language or by knowing somebody who does - professional translators and interpreters.

As it was pointed out by Novalis and others, translating - introducing new ideas, new forms of literature, a new outlook on life into another culture - can enrich (“erweitern”) the target culture and is, thus, contributing to its evolution. This is an enormous responsibility and it might be a little exaggerated.

Globalisation, however, is not a myth. What Gerhard Budin called a “multilingual specialized communication” (cf. Annex 3) is most needed, now and above all in the future. New developments, new economic and political challenges require new bonds between different countries and different cultures. Events in the past sixty years have shown how important international alliances are, for a certain purpose or permanently in an international organisation like the UN or the WHO. “International” communication does not only mean communication between two countries with mostly different languages, but often it also means “intercultural”. With his linguistic and cultural knowledge, the professional translator/interpreter will be faced with a multitude of tasks and responsibilities and a central position within our future globalised world.

Somebody once compared our (future) planet and all the people living on it with a gigantic anthill, everything and everybody being somehow interlinked with everything and everybody else and like a magic perpetual-motion machine - it works.

But it seems, as it is still more like an accumulation of several smaller “anthills”, each and everyone with its own particular cultural, linguistic and social nature. In the future, bilinguals (or “multilinguals“ for that matter), interpreters and translators will function as linkers and will keep this gigantic multicultural anthill-like system work smoothly.

1 About my work
In the course of this work I want to present methods and theories for translating with regard to the translation of literary texts including several problems, which might occur in the translation process and their solution. I have translated 12 poems from Uwe Kolbe into English. The results are presented in an extra book entitled “...but the sky is vast.”



In the first section I deal with the history of literature in the GDR for the author of the poems, Uwe Kolbe, lived in there and was, thus, directly influenced by the political, social and ideological environment and circumstances. In the following section, Uwe Kolbe himself and his work are presented.



In the second big part under the heading “Translation - science or art?” I present theoretical and methodical aspects of translating. This includes theories on translation, the cultural aspect involved and translation competence and translation strategies.



The third part of this work deals with concrete translation problems and their solution as regards translating from English into German and from German into English, as well as with the specific problems occurring during my translation of Kolbe’s poems.



The last point, “Is Lev Tolstoy the author of a book entitled ‘War and Peace‘?” concludes this work and a summary of it is presented.
2. 1 The time, the author and his work

2. 1. 1 Literature in the GDR
In the Soviet occupied zone and later in the GDR, the arts and literature in particular had to support the building of a socialist state. The education of an “exemplary new human being” by means of the media was given much emphasis. Thus, artists, authors and journalists were to follow and spread the socialist idea[i]. The consequences resulting from the dictate of the “Socialist Realism” (see below) lasted well into the 1970’s. Adjusting their way of writing to the rules demanded by the party was commonly regarded as restricting and paralysing by the authors and in many cases this dictate did considerable harm to the artistic value of their work.

Until the mid-1950’s , the literature of the GDR was influenced by anti-fascist authors, such as Alexander Abusch, Erich Arendt, Johannes R. Becher, Bertolt Brecht, Willi Bredel, Stephan Hermlin, Bruno Apitz, Anna Seghers, Friedrich Wolf, Arnold Zweig and many more. This trend was followed by one that featured events from the proletarian history trying to justify the GDR as its inevitable completion, e.g. the two films: “Ernst Thälmann - Sohn seiner Klasse” and “Ernst Thälmann - Führer seiner Klasse” from Willi Bredel and the film“10 Tage, die die Welt erschütterten”[ii]. Characteristic for this trend was the description of the historic conflict between the proletariat and the ruling classes.

At the end of the 1950‘s, the literature reached an all-time low. In an attempt to overcome the “alienation between the artist and the people”[iii] the Bitterfelder Weg[iv] was founded at a conference in Bitterfeld in 1959. Under its influence the so-called Ankunftsliteratur[v] was created describing how the hero tries and eventually manages to fit in with the new system of policy and thought. The best works of this trend[vi], however, questioned it offering a different view at current social and political problems. Therefore, the functionaries soon came to disapprove of this literature as well as of the uncontrollable activities of these authors and the writing workers as regards the cultural and educational policy.

At a second conference in Bitterfeld in 1964 the spontaneous and above all the critical aspects of this movement were restricted rigorously. After the 8th party conference, Honecker had just succeeded Walter Ulbricht in being First Secretary of the SED, the government’s position concerning cultural and educational policy changed again as they sided yet more with their “Big Brother” - the USSR - and consequently continued to differentiate themselves from the West. The situation of many authors who felt that they were held back in their work and educational function in society was now even worse. Thus, problems, which could not be discussed in public, were hidden deeply within the books or poems.

The politicians set the tone. They determined the conception of art, literature and education. They imposed a censorship that, of course, officially did not exist. The Ministry of Culture distributed paper and printing capacity, coordinated and supervised the activities of the publishing houses which were either state-owned or in possession of mass organizations. It granted the permission to print which everybody who wanted to have a book published had to obtain first.

In the 1960’s, a new generation of poets, e.g. Wolf Biermann, Volker Braun, Sarah Kirsch, Reiner Kunze, started publishing. Generally, they approved of the state while making clear that, nonetheless, it was a state that needed changes. One of the most prominent authors of this time was Ulrich Plenzdorf whose works are still commonly read and appreciated. Both, the positive and the negative impressions of the current social and political situation proved to be the ideal basis for their work, e.g. the increasing armament on either side of the “Iron Curtain” and the “Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe”, CSCE, in Helsinki in 1975.

As their claim for happiness, freedom of speech and self-realisation fell on deaf ears the conflict between the authors and the authorities grew more an more and culminated in the expulsion of Wolf Biermann in 1976. Authors like Thomas Brasch (1976), Sarah Kirsch, Reiner Kunze, Jurek Becker (all 1977) and Günter Kunert (1979) left the country. Others, like Stefan Heym refused to go although this was suggested to them. Scared and disappointed by reality the authors took refuge in literature and art trying to regain the sense of security and freedom, which they have lost under the political and ideological pressure of the party.

By the end of the 1970’s this pressure started to decrease again. The adherence to the party line remained obligatory but the authors were no longer committed to the rules of the Socialist Realism like they had been in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Though still suppressed the authors in the GDR were, compared to most other people, privileged and unlike the authors in the West they did not have to put up with the concurrence of a free market.

However, a certain cultural liberalisation by the government in the 1980’s failed to prevent the emigration of many authors such as Klaus Schlesinger (1980), Wolfgang Hilbig (1985), Monika Maron (1988) and many more.

In the 1980’s young authors living in Prenzlauer Berg/Berlin played most successfully with different techniques and the language and created a totally new, post-modern form of literature intensifying ambiguity to a sheer denial of any possible and reasonable interpretation. They avoided a clear narrating perspective and wrote also about trivial topics. The anthology “Berührung ist nur eine Randerscheinung” was published in the West in 1985 featuring among others also Uwe Kolbe.





® Socialist Realism: Standard of value applied to every piece of literature and every writer in the GDR and accordingly they were either supported or suppressed. If referring to historical events the authors were required to do so with regard to the Marxist conception of history[vii]. The authors were to stand up for the socialist idea, to educate the people and above all to describe a positive hero with whom the readers can identify themselves. Their work had to be easily comprehensible for the people, both the content and the form had to be harmonious. This excluded for example expressionism, surrealism and modern techniques like montage or alienation, paradoxically also romanticism, and authors like Marcel Proust, James Joyce,Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett.
2. 1. 2 Uwe Kolbe and his poems
Uwe Kolbe was born on 17 October 1957 in East Berlin. He attended grammar school and passed his Abitur[viii]. After his military service he had accepted several occupations before he finally became a professional author. From 1980 to 1981 he studied at the “Johannes R. Becher” Institute for Literature in Leipzig, from that time on he worked as a free-lance writer. As the authors became more and more self-confident and critical in the 1970’s the functionaries had to think of a new way to control their activities. They persuaded writers to work for them as informers and also Kolbe was offered this “position” but he refused saying that he could not lie.

In 1980 his first book was published: the anthology “Hineingeboren, 1975-1979”. Reviewers from East and West Germany considered this work representative for the awareness of life of a new generation. The author Franz Fühmann wrote about him: “I am a little bit proud to have discovered this writer when he was still completely unknown. Ecce Poeta - look, there is a poet!”[ix] In 1981, the anthology “Abschied und andere Liebesgedichte” was published. From 1982 to 1985 Kolbe was not allowed to publish his works, undoubtedly for his critical way of writing. For five years, from 1983 to 1987 he has been co-editor of a literary magazine called “Mikado”. In 1985 he was allowed to travel to Western Europe. One year later he published “Bornholm ll”. He received the Nicolas-Born-Award in 1988. “Vaterlandkanal. Ein Fahrtenbuch” was published in 1990; besides new and old, previously forbidden poems this volume included also texts about cities and regions of which an “ordinary” GDR-citizen could only dream of. In the next year Kolbe published the anthology “Vineta” and two years later in 1993 he was awarded with the Friedrich-Hölderlin-Prize. “Nicht wirklich platonisch” and “Renegatentermine. 30 Versuche, die eigene Erfahrung zu behaupten.” were published in 1994and 1998.

Uwe Kolbe became chairman of the “Studio Literatur und Theater” of the university of Tübingen in 1997.



Uwe Kolbe’s poems (those from “Hineingeboren, 1975-1979 which I translated) are characterized by a captivating choice of words, an illustrative language and images and metaphors, which are both fascinating and profoundly thoughtful. Kolbe’s thoughts and ideas are expressed in a mostly implicit way and as in “The Stones” or “Sprachvermögen, Sprechenkönnen, Sprichwenndukannst” a sufficient interpretation is truly difficult to make. Kolbe’s poems are very personal. They describe his outlook on life and on himself, the political and social situation around him how he sees it. His poems are often critical (cf. “Born into it”, “the guilty ones”) but also hopeful and warm-hearted like “Melanie”, “Summer” and also “Hope...”. Since “the sky is vast” people do have the possibility to live their lives freely and independently although the circumstances might not be perfect, as this seems to be impossible anyway. At least, so the message of this poem, there is enough room for everybody to go his or her own way.

“The guilty ones” is clearly criticizing the political situation although this may look like a general statement and in “Born into it” Kolbe describes how individual freedom (“The wind is mine and mine are the birds”/1st stanza) can suddenly vanish and what is left is a “barbed-wired landscape”, “harsh wind” and “strange birds”. “The cowardice” deals with the weakness of the lyric I but also with his lack of interest to break out of it - he just wants to stay in his own world of chant, laughter and cheap love. To kick an un-shut door open cannot be that difficult, the reason why he does not give it a try is that he fears going “out into the cold” and being “alone” like Ibykus “guided by sparrows“. The lack of verbs in the second stanza might stand for this lack of action.

“Inspiration” appears to be very simple but the antithesis at the very end makes it just the more interesting and tells us a lot about Kolbe’s work as a writer.

As mentioned in point 2. 1. 1, one criteria for the post-modern literature of the 1980’s was the intensification of “ambiguity to a sheer denial of any possible and reasonable interpretation“. Kolbe’s “The Stones” is a perfect example; the stones, the gaps, the eyes, the smoke, the roofs - they could mean everything, anything and nothing.

“Come“ describes the everyday life of a couple. It is surely not bad, nonetheless it turns out to be everything but what they had hoped it would be: “harder against giving up“, “pretend to lie quietly“.

“Court-song“ has the same disillusioned, sad tone describe a dreary and monotonous environment of “grey concrete” and run-down buildings. “Out just, out” does certainly not only refer to the “Yellow [...] smell of fuming stones” but also to the attitude of the lyric I, possibly of Kolbe as well. This poem is also a good example for the abstract and rather confusing way of writing of this literary trend.

“Summer” is a much more optimistic poem. Although the verses “The letter towards the north, towards happiness” imply that happiness is not where the lyric I is at the moment, the tone in the last stanza is full of hope and satisfaction (“smiling tree-tops”: positive image) and although “being gone [...] smiling strikes him”.

“Blackness” is like “The Stones” and “Court-song” difficult to interpret. I think it is about the anonymity - “unimportant are the faces, you give one for all” - of a single individual in a controlled and systematized society and the attempt to break out of it (“so that it fills my voice up to a chant of the many to cry out...”). The paradoxes in the fourth stanza might stand for the futility of this venture (“Shine, little darkness [...] make me burned, stinking sweetly, so I shall please the light”).

From all the twelve poems which I selected from “Hineingeboren. 1975-1979”, “Reflection” is probably the most personal one. The lyric I and Kolbe himself might here even be identical (“Me, a child of pre-conscious 20 years...”). This poem has also a rather melancholic tone when he says that “years and ages [..] pass without maturity” and that he, being “eventually capable of a clear thought”, “turn[s] around slowly and notice[s] [his] own tracks there in whose bottom the grass withers.”

“Melanie” is my favourite poem because its tone is really optimistic, hopeful and encouraging: , this is not just piece of advice for “Melanie” but it is an appeal to everybody to believe in himself and his power to change something - for a single individual (cf. “Blackness”) this is simply impossible to accomplish but “if we hold on to it, it [this certain something] is the whole world”.
2. 2 Translation - science or art?

2. 2. 1 The absolute equivalent - theories on translation
“Von einer _bersetzung fordre ich, daî sie den Genius der Sprache in der sie geschrieben ist, nicht aber den der Originalsprache, atme.” (Friedrich Schiller)



“I do not think that we can come to a general agreement on a definition of ‘translation’.” (Hans J. Vermeer)



“There is neither unanimity about what equivalence is, nor how to proceed in order to get to an adequate TL text being the result of a translation process.” (Wolfgang Lörscher)



During my work at papers and various textbooks on Translation Studies I came across many different views and theories. It is no understatement to say that there is no general consent about which fields are part of or influenced by Translation Studies and what exactly should be the focus of attention as regards the several disciplines (Translation Studies is now often referred to as an “interdiscipline“) and sub-disciplines. From the very beginning in classical antiquity to modern theories, translation science has undergone several changes in its definition and the way of looking at problems and tasks as well in process, strategies and performance (cf. Cicero, Horaz, Hieronymus, Quintilian, Luther, Goethe, Herder, Hardenberg, Schleiermacher, W. von Humboldt, W. Benjamin, H. -G. Gadamer, G. Steiner etc.).

Because of the complexity of this topic and the great variety of books, papers, treatises etc. on translation theory it is simply impossible to broach, let alone to cover, every aspect of it in a sufficient way. Such a work would undoubtedly consume more space than I have here. Therefore I will concentrate on these crucial questions: What is a perfect translation?, Is such an absolute equivalent achievable?, What is an adequate (i.e. “translationally equivalent“) translation?, Which aspects are to be concentrated on?, How can such an adequate translation be produced?



Hans J. Vermeer stated that he does “not think that we can come to a general agreement on a definition of ‘translation’.” This implies that there cannot be any standard criteria for a perfect translation, either. It is indeed commonly denied that a perfect translation can be produced at all. To answer this question appropriately it is, nonetheless, necessary to have a look at what is meant by the term “translation”. Basically, to translate is to transfer a source language (SL) text into a corresponding target language (TL) text - to mediate between two languages in order to convey all aspects of an SL text to create its equivalent in the target language. A perfect translated text would, thus, have to have the same effect on a reader of the original text and on a reader of its reproduction in the target language.

The law of equivalent effect is, however, not overall advocated. Especially in poetry the conception of a perfect translation differs enormously: a first school proposes “what is called surface translation where elements of the target language are put together - irrespective of their meaning - so that they produce a very similar sound effect to that of the original. Others have claimed that it is entirely impossible to translate poetry, and have therefore confined themselves to rendering the meaning in prose. A third school, somewhere between these two, accepts the possibility of translation but acknowledges that often the translator has to be just as creative as the original poet.“ “G. B. Shaw [for example] claimed that Shakespeare defied translation because no translator could possibly capture Shakespeare’s ‘word magic’ in another language.”

Translation theories in general, can be most controversial. There is, to name just two fundamental conceptions, the sign-oriented and sometimes even morphological approach on the one hand and the sense-oriented or contextual approach on the other hand. Some scholars proposed, however, that translation, in fact, represents a mixture of sign- and sense oriented procedures (cf. 2. 2. 3).

Resulting from that, it can be concluded that an absolute equivalent, i.e. a perfect translation, is impossible to accomplish as regards literary texts. The problem of serving two masters (cf. conflicting conceptions of [a perfect] translation) is and will remain insoluble. Specialist or technical literature may prove to be a little more easily to translate but this depends on whether the translator has a very good command of specialised lexical and technical knowledge, both in the source and the target language, and on several other criteria like the aim and the purpose of such a translation. Certain SL texts tend to be so language- or culture-bound that they become untranslatable; this is often the case with humorous, poetical and rhetorical examples. (cf. Annex 5, 1) “In translation priority has to be given to one factor and the others have to be subjected to it...”; “...a full transference of meaning from one language to another (=total translation) is generally not possible, [...], [therefore the task has to be] to select TL equivalents not with the same meaning as the SL items, but with the greatest possible overlap of situational range.”

As mentioned above, there is no general concept of what in particular a perfect translation is. Consequently, the views on what an adequate equivalent is, differ as well. “It comes to no surprise then that equivalence [...] is also a complex concept having linguistic, subject (or content), and transfer (or comparative) aspects. In fact, the intensive search for, and hopefully successful choice of one or rather a sequence of ’equivalences’ is the result of a trade-off between linguistic (including stylistic) options, subject preferences, and transfer alternatives. The logic of our complex approach makes it unlikely that equivalence is achieved by any single competence [aspect]. [...] What rightly appears to be linguistically equivalent may very frequently qualify as ‘translationally’ non-equivalent. And this is so because the complex demands on adequacy in translation involve subject factors and transfer conventions that typically run counter to considerations about ‘surface’ linguistic equivalence. [...] Equivalence can never rest entirely on linguistic pillars.”

Of crucial significance are the “exactitude of rendering the content and the effect of the whole.” (cf. law of equivalent effect) “In a kind of tour de force the translator skips L1 [SL] literalness and recreates a new L2 [TL] textual hologram that receives its justification from the new arrangement of words in structure. There is no surface identity. Linguistic equivalence is skewed. But the overall effect of the L2 elements, grammatical and lexical, exhibit a connectivity that is translationally equivalent to the source text.” “SL and TL texts or items would be translation equivalents when they are interchangeable in a given situation. The fact that [often] [...] feelings and associations cannot be communicated is not a shortcoming of translation but one of its natural limitations; a limitation which also applies to language in general.“ For an adequate and successful translation the cultural-social component is another crucial aspect. This will be discussed in section 2. 2. 2.

As there are different conceptions of equivalence and adequacy there are, consequently, also different opinions about which aspects are to be concentrated on in order to produce an adequate translation. Equivalence could be seen as a “hierarchical concept with the different levels of hierarchy depending on the goal(s) of the translation”. Accordingly, the translator would focus on certain aspects and express them in an optimal way. “A translator, [...], is not only supposed to know his words and transcode text line by line into a target language, for which he will need at most a good dictionary and grammar book; a translator is made co-responsible for the success of a communicative act, because he, the translation expert, is the crucial factor in it.” The choice of important aspects for the translation does, thus, not only depend on the goals of the translation but also on the ability of the translator to determine them and to estimate the situational/linguistic/contextual range within which he can operate. (cf. translation competence, 2. 2. 3)

It is often stated “that in the field of literature the translator‘s duty is to be faithful to the wording of the source text, the surface structure of a text [and] [...] to show a meaning objectively contained in the text itself. [...] [but it] is well known that the task of the translator is not fulfilled with the mere linguistic transcoding of a message on what is generally called the object level [surface identity]. His more important task is twofold: first, to convey an intended meta-meaning [“meta“=aim, end (lat.)] in such a way that the ultimate aim (’skopos’) of the communicative act is achieved. [...] The second task of the translator is to transform the form and meaning of the message on its object level into a target text in such a way as to make this target text fit the intended skopos.” This requires “that he fully understands what the purpose of the communication is and takes into consideration the cultural circumstances into which the target text is supposed to fit.”

Since the translation has to have the same effect as the original it is supposed to convey the same tone, mood, standard of language etc. and to render the “meta-meaning“ - the “ultimate aim of the communication“. But the uniqueness of the original text is also brought about by its “form and meaning [...] on its object level”: the choice of words, sentence patterns and the text structure, stylistic devices etc. This has to be part of the translation as well. As Schiller had pointed out, a translation should be written in the current target language even if the original is much older; there are, however, different views on that matter. Additionally, the translation should not be noticeable being a translation instead of an original. It is also said that an incoherent SL text may even be “improved” in order to produce a coherent TL text, which fits the conventions of the target culture.

The question how such an adequate translation can be produced will be discussed later in section 2. 2. 3. Generally it can be said that that a translator must always know the goals and the purpose of the translation since they are of eminent relevance for the choice of those aspects he has to concentrate on in order to produce an adequate translation. Because “translation is primarily a problem-solving activity, which involves problem recognition as well as decision-making” a certain degree of translation experience and expertise is required or this process. Thus, novices are often thought to be unable to produce adequate translations (cf. translation competence, 2. 2. 3). Others have claimed that all bilinguals can translate and that “the bilingual’s translation competence develops to the same degree as and parallel to their competence in the two languages involved.” It goes without saying that the translator has to understand the text completely, even better than the author him/herself. In order to fulfil the criteria for an adequate translation he has to be able to interpret every aspect and nuance of meaning in the text so that he can render them into a corresponding TL text. Strategies used to solve reception or production problems in translation depend on the goals and the purpose of the translation and on the translator’s competence in recognising and estimating these problems.
2. 2. 2 The cultural-social aspect
“The impossibility of excluding the cultural component [...] implies that there can never be any ideal translation.” (José Lambert)



“During some tough negotiations between a German businessman and his Chinese partners, the former lost his patience and exclaimed: ‘I’ll be damned if I continue this way. Either they’ll sign the contract right now or I’ll leave.’ What was the interpreter to do? A translation on the object level would have meant a serious insult to the Chinese, ‘losing countenance’, as they call it. The intention of the negotiation was not to insult but to ultimately come to terms with the Chinese. So the interpreter translated: ‘We still need time to ponder the matter. We should like to meet again a little later.’ The situation was saved. [...] The task of a translator is to bring about the skopos of the communicative act and I believe that only a few people will disagree [...].” At this point of the translation process, when the translator realises the conflict between the two languages involved, one of the most important aspects comes up - the cultural-social component. “What people say and how they say it is culturally determined, on the very fundamental cognitive level [...].” An adequate translation is not only text- and skopos-specific but also culture-specific. “Translation is therefore a process of conceptual restructuring [cf. Annex 4, 3] in in the target culture [...]. And then there are the consequences of a translation, the implications to be taken into consideration by a translator who, for example, is given a text about rearmament or ecological problems and so on.” As regards translation, three kinds of intercultural differences can be named: real conflicts[x] because of unknown cultural specifics, formal conflicts because of culture-specific syntax and text specifics, semantic conflicts because of culture-specific associations.

The translator has two social task, the “duty to bring about communication between two partners [...] in such a way that its ultimate aim, the ‘skopos’ on what I have called the meta-level, can be achieved; and his cultural responsibility in introducing into a society and its literary tradition new aspects either of form or of content or of meaning and thereby new aspects of the ‘world’, thus enriching [...] the target culture. Form and content and meaning are interdependent in each culture in their own way, and in the target culture in a necessarily different way from that of the source culture.”

2. 2. 3 Translation competence and translation strategies
“...the translator’s task goes beyond translating.” (Hans J. Vermeer)

“Es gehört aber zum Wesen der Translation, daî sie nie endgültig ist.” (Radegundis Stolze)

As mentioned in section 2. 2. 1, the choice of relevant band important aspects for the production of an adequate translation and the proper rendering of these (SL) aspects and nuances of meaning into a corresponding TL text depend on the goals and the purpose of the translation and on the translator’s experience and expertise. Views on translation competence differ often as much as the innumerable conceptions in other fields of translation theory. Generally speaking, it can be said that scholars and professionals agree on the fact that translation competence depends on and is related directly with the translator’s competence in the two languages involved. Translation competence is founded on an indispensable basis of procedural and declarative factual knowledge as regards linguistic, lexical, cultural and specialised knowledge in the translator’s memory, and on a “meta-cognitive knowledge” and sufficient experience and expertise of translation strategies. “Translatorial expertise is ability to compare how two languages structure the world and to adapt the conceptual pattern of one language to meet the conceptual and linguistic constraints of another.” The translator has to have a very good sense of what is essential and necessary and he needs a sensitive feeling for language as regards the proper formulation of the TL text.

Translation competence in general can be split up into three major sub-competences: reception competence, transfer competence and production competence, whereas language competence is integrated in all of them. Because of the high demands on translators the question has been discussed whether novices, e.g. students of Translation Studies or pupils, are able to produce adequate translations and whether bilingualism suffices to master this task or not. One group is convinced that this is the case, that mere bilingualism provides at least a basis for translation competence. Others claim, for example, that novices “are unable to produce adequate translations because of inadequate inference and abstraction capabilities, underdeveloped holistic processing and insufficient problem representation. Problem-recognition is a salient feature of expertise; we are all familiar with novices and laypersons who describe texts as ‘easy to translate’ because they are not aware of the difficulties (i.e. the nature of the problem) involved. For my purposes, ‘problem’ will mean ‘any task which requires a specific strategy to achieve its goal’ and ‘difficulty’, a ‘critical mass of error potential’. This means not only that all translations are problem-solving activities, but all are difficult (as witnessed by the infinite number of bad translations even of the ‘simplest’ texts), although some are, of course, more difficult than others. Complex tasks are only ‘easy’ once their error potential has been recognised and strategies can be employed to avoid it [...] since recognition of the problem necessarily precedes decisions as to the various strategies which can be taken to solve it.” This translatorial knowledge “should not be imparted in isolation [...], but in relation to the main goal of culture-specific conceptual restructuring.”

Reception competence is the ability of the translator to work with a given text in such a way as to sufficiently take in all the information contained in the text - also with regard to additional information like facts about the author, the time etc., and it is the ability to understand every aspect and nuance of meaning contained in the text on its object- and meta- level (cf. Annex 4, 1). If the subject, the theme of the text is missed, i.e. if the translator cannot correctly capture the skopos of the text, the translation can be (partially) inadequate. Already in this early stage, irrelevant strategies for solving or avoiding translation problems can be put aside. “The ways in which these (translation) problem solving patterns are organised by the experienced translator as well as the novice or student is extremely varied. Highly creative ‘jumps’ may alternate with ‘run of the mill’ routines. [...] Procedural competence is an integral part of the transfer competence to be practised.” “Strategic phases are neither exclusively linear nor continuous.” “Transfer competence refers to the mental equipment that constitutes the translator’s unique cognitive set or ability of matching language and subject competences. [...] Transfer strategies, [...], can never be isolated from linguistic and encyclopaedic considerations. There is an intricate network between all three of them, which it is the task of translation studies to unravel. The mental processes underlying translation and the linguistic implementation leading to the target text occur in anything but a neatly organised linear fashion.” How transfer strategies are employed by the professional translator as well as by novices is largely determined by their ability to detect and eliminate translation problems to produce an adequate TL text. Transfer/translation strategies will be presented later on.

Production competence depends, naturally, on the translator’s degree of reception competence and on how successful the detection and elimination of translation problems have been. It is closely connected with transfer competence since the production of a TL text being an adequate translation of a given SL text, marks the end of the translation/transfer process. Production competence refers to the translator’s ability to present adequate solutions to translation problems put together in a coherent TL text. Language (SL/TL) competence is especially essential for the proper rendering of a text, no matter whether the text is translated from or into the translator’s native language, whereas SL competence may be seen as a part of reception competence and TL competence as a part of production competence. However, because of its complexity, language competence is considered a unit of its own and has to stand on the same level as the others named above. Scheme 7 (Annex 4) illustrates the relations between all three competences and their position in the translation process.

“...a translation strategy is a potentially conscious procedure for the solution of a problem which an individual is faced with when translating a text segment from one language to another.” (Faerch/Kasper)


The choice of translation strategies or certain strategic elements depends on which problems occur in a given SL text or the translation process. Translation problems can be categorised as illustrated in scheme 8 (Annex 4). Linguistic investigations among students or pupils (cf. Wolfgang Lörscher) have shown that “it can be concluded hypothetically that the subjects take up an antecedent information in order to obtain hints for a preliminary solution to a problem by mere intuition, spontaneous associations or by activating a network of information in memory.” Retrospective elements are especially important in the process of testing (preliminary) solutions to translation problems.

As already briefly mentioned in section 2. 2. 1, there are two completely different ways of approaching a translation: the sign-oriented and the sense-oriented approach. According to their translation competence and the characteristics of the given text, translators choose one or the other or, if necessary, a combination of both of them.


A) Sign-oriented translating:

The translator transfers SL text segments by focussing on their forms (succession of signs) and by replacing them by TL text segments without recourse to the sense of the two text segments involved. The TL lexemes are available through an automatic association process, which occurs primarily in non-strategic parts of the translation process. There are several indicators for a sign-oriented approach:


1. A TL text segment is produced immediately after the reception of a SL one by means of an automatic association process.

2. The translator produces a TL text segment which represents a literal, if not word-for-word, translation of a SL text segment but which either makes no sense or makes a sense, which differs from that of the respective SL text segment. This can occur with (unknown) metaphoric or idiomatic utterance.

3. The translator produces negative solutions to a translation problem, i.e. text segments which cannot function as solutions to a translation problem although they suggest themselves as solutions. The translator realises the inadequacy of the TL text segment. The problem-solving activities, which follow negative solutions are always sense-oriented because the translator becomes aware of the limits and the problematic nature of sign-oriented translating.

4. The translator rephrases SL text segments, i.e. he searches for synonymous SL lexemes or combination of lexemes, activating TL lexemes stored in memory which have previously been inaccessible. The process of rephrasing itself is sense-oriented, though.

A simple scheme for sign-oriented translating is the following:

lexeme equation

SL sign -------------------® learned and stored ------------------®TL sign / (SL sign = TL sign)

in memory

B) Sense-oriented translating:


To take a mainly sense-oriented approach is to separate SL signs from their sense and to search for a corresponding TL lexeme. This can be illustrated as follows:


SL sign -- --> TL sign
l l

l separation combination l
l l

l __ -----> SENSE----- __ l

There are two ways how to separate forms from their senses:

1. The translator concentrates on (problematic) SL signs having recourse to antecedent and subsequent SL text segments, and repeats them several times until he has determined the sense of the SL sign(s) or has successfully approached it. The sense is separated from the signs and placed into the translator’s focus of attention.

2. The translator concentrates on (problematic) SL signs having recourse to antecedent and subsequent SL text segments, and rephrases them, i.e. tries to find synonyms. This requires a considerable high SL-competence and knowledge about these elements having the same sense, which can, therefore, serve as rephrasings (cf. Lörscher). Developing these rephrasings the translator becomes aware of the sense of the SL signs and of those nuances of sense in which two SL signs may differ.


During or after the separation of SL forms from their sense, the translators often try to combine the senses to a sequence of TL forms. This requires a process of searching in which situational and contextual factors, which determine the range of sense of a SL text segment, are taken into account. This depends on translatorial and linguistic expertise, competence and experience.


It is often said that translation represents a mixture of sense- and sign-oriented procedures, whereas non-professional translators take a mainly sign-oriented approach and professional translator a mainly sense-oriented one.


One of the most discussed and investigated aspects of translation theory is the mental process, or rather processes, underlying the translation performances. What is going on inside the translator’s mind? Among many others, Wolfgang Lörscher tried to reveal that mystery, with regard to translation strategies. In his “psycholinguistic investigation”, Lörscher tested students and pupils for their way of approaching translation and translation problems. In the course of the following section I will present a part of his analysis including original and potential elements of translation strategies and some basic structures. His study is based on protocols of “thinking aloud” sessions with the subjects performing their tasks.


A) Elements of Translation Strategies:

1. Original elements:

RP : realising a translation problem
VP : verbalising a translation problem
®SP : search for a (possibly preliminary) solution to a translation problem
SP : solution to a translation problem
PSP : preliminary solution to a translation problem
SPa, b, c : parts of a solution to a translation problem
SPØ : a solution to a translation problem is still to be found (Ø)
SP=Ø : negative (Ø) solution to a translation problem
PSL : problem in the reception of the SL text


2. Potential elements:

MSL : monitoring of SL text segments
MTL : monitoring of TL text segments
REPHR.SL : rephrasing of SL text segments
REPHR.TL : rephrasing of TL text segments
CHECK : discernible testing (= checking) of a (preliminary) solution to a translation problem
OSL : mental organisation of SL text segments
OTL : mental organisation of TL text segments
REC : reception of an SL text segment
[TS]com : comment on a text segment
TRANS : transposition of lexemes or combination of lexemes
T : translation of text segments
®T2, 3,...n : conceiving a second, third, etc. translation version
ORG : organisation of translational discourse


B) Basic structures:


1. Pure forms:

Type I : RP - (P)SP#/SPØ
Type II : RP - ®SP - (P)SP#/SPØ
Type III : (RP) - VP - (P)SP#/SPØ
Type IV : (RP) - (®SP) - VP - (®SP) - P)SP#/SPØ; at least one ®SP must be realized.
Type V : (...) (P)Spa/SPa Ø(...) (P)SPb/SPbØ (...) (P)SPc/SPcØ - (...)
Type Va : RP - (®SP) - (P)SPa/SPaØ - (®SP) - (P)SPb/SPbØ - (®SP) - (P)SPc/SPcØ - (...)
Type Vb : RP - (®SP) - VPa - (®SP) - (P)SPa/SPaØ - (®SP) - VPb - (®SP) - (P)SPb/SPbØ - (®SP) - (...)
Type Vc : RP - (®SP) - (VPa) - (®SP) - (P)SPa/SPaØ - (®SP) - (VPb) - (P)SPb/SPbØ - (®SP) - (...)


2. Pure forms with embeddings:
Type I + < MSL/ MTL/ REPHR.SL/ REPHR.TL/ ...>
Type II + < MSL/ MTL/ REPHR.SL/ REPHR.TL/ ...>
Type III + < MSL/ MTL/ REPHR.SL/ REPHR.TL/ ...>
Type IV + < MSL/ MTL/ REPHR.SL/ REPHR.TL/ ...>
Type V + < MSL/ MTL/ REPHR.SL/ REPHR.TL/ ...>


3. Pure forms with bound elements:

Type I + CHECK/ (P)SP+/ MTL/ REPHR.TL/ ...
Type II + CHECK/ (P)SP+/ MTL/ REPHR.TL/ ...
Type III + CHECK/ (P)SP+/ MTL/ REPHR.TL/ ...
Type IV + CHECK/ (P)SP+/ MTL/ REPHR.TL/ ...
Type V + CHECK/ (P)SP+/ MTL/ REPHR.TL/ ...



4. Pure forms with embeddings and bound elements:

Type I + < MSL/ MTL/ REPHR.SL/ REPHR.TL/ ...> + CHECK/ (P)SP+/ MTL/ REPHR.TL/ ...
Type II + < MSL/ MTL/ REPHR.SL/ REPHR.TL/ ...> + CHECK/ (P)SP+/ MTL/ REPHR.TL/ ...
Type III + < MSL/ MTL/ REPHR.SL/ REPHR.TL/ ...> + CHECK/ (P)SP+/ MTL/ REPHR.TL/ ...
Type IV + < MSL/ MTL/ REPHR.SL/ REPHR.TL/ ...> + CHECK/ (P)SP+/ MTL/ REPHR.TL/ ...
Type V + < MSL/ MTL/ REPHR.SL/ REPHR.TL/ ...> + CHECK/ (P)SP+/ MTL/ REPHR.TL/ ...


Lörscher also revealed more complex expanded structures but presenting these would consume much more space than I have here, (cf. Lörscher, 1991:125ff). Depending on which strategy the subjects used they either finished with “SP”, the solution to a translation problem, or with “SP=Ø”, a negative solution or none.
2. 3 A short linguistic comparison between English and German

2. 3. 1 Specific translation problems and their solution
In this section, I will present some problematic lexical and syntactic differences between English and German; the original and its translation. All the examples here were taken from Wolf Friedrich’s book “Technik des _bersetzens”. This is by far not all there is to cover but it will suffice for a short overview.


I. General facts:


1. German sentence patterns which do not exist in English:

a) auxiliary + object (Er kann es. Er kann Deutsch. Hans soll es.)
b) “wollen” + past participle (Er will nichts gesehen haben.)
c) verb of expression + infinitive (Er behauptet, dort gewesen zu sein.)
d) stressed dative form + predicate + subject (Dem Mann traue ich nicht. Hans glaubt keiner mehr.)
e) article + prepositional expression + participle + noun (ein aus mehreren komplizierten Teilen bestehender Apparat)


2. English patterns which do not exit in German:

a) “with” + participle (Both forms of the word are used with the shorter form gaining.)
b) noun + participle[xi] (The disputes having been settled, the workers returned to work.)
c) preposition + gerund (In choosing our dress, we must not forget the quality of the material.)
d) subject + predicate, auxiliary + pronoun (She is there, isn’t she? He won’t do it, will he?)
e) verb + object + participle (I saw him running. He kept me waiting.)


3. A lexical problem: “false friends”:

German English/literally English/correct

- ein Examen machen - make an exam - to sit for an exam
- als ich fertig war - when I was ready - when I had finished
- alkoholfreie Getränke - alcohol-free beverages - soft drinks
- alles andere als höflich - everything else than polite - anything but polite/ far from polite
- eine Schule besuchen - visit a school - attend a school
[...] [...] [...]


II. Syntactically and lexically problematic patterns:


1. Hendiadyoin[xii]:

· The coloured advertisements which were flashing · Die bunte Reklame, die überall aufleuchtete gab diesem
everywhere gave this shopping centre an additional Einkaufszentrum darüber hinaus eine zauberhafte
beauty and magic. Schönheit.
· Apart from its fine, modern university, Birmingham · Abgesehen von seiner schönen, modernen Universität
has few building of individuality and charm. hat Birmingham wenig Gebäude von eigenem Reiz.
· laughter and happiness · glückliches Lachen
· sanity and reason · gesunder Menschenverstand
· loyal and faithful · höchst zuverlässig
· exact and scientific · wissenschaftlich genau


2. Negated antonyms:

· sit tight · sich nicht rühren
· ambiguous expressions · keine eindeutigen Ausdrücke
· dull · wenig phantasievoll
· unweltlich · spiritual
· undeutlich · faintly
· kein leichtes Los · tough time


3. English - verbal, German - adverbial:

· I suppose I must have fainted. · Ich muî wohl ohnmächtig geworden sein.
· He used to walk to his office everyday. · Früher ging er jeden Tag ins Büro zu Fuî.
· My shoe-lace keeps coming undone. · Mein Schürsenkel geht ständig auf.
· Prices continued to rise. · Die Preise stiegen weiter.
· His promises failed to materialize. · Seine Versprechen erfüllten sich nicht.
· The factory ceased making bicycles. · Die Fabrik stellt keine Fahrräder mehr her.
· One grows to like what one is accustomed to. · Man gewinnt allmählich lieb, woran man gewöhnt ist.
· He tends to pitch the ball too high. · Er schlägt den Ball leicht/gern zu hoch.
· He is a clever boy but apt to get into mischief. · Er ist ein kluger Junge, stellt aber leicht etwas
Dummes an.
· Loudspeakers tend to become a nuisance. · Lautsprecher werden immer mehr zu einer Plage.
· I should prefer to wait until evening. · Ich warte lieber bis zum Abend.
· I daresay it is only a matter of habit. · Das ist wohl nur eine Sache der Gewohnheit.
· I seem to be deaf today. · Ich bin heute offenbar (oder anscheinend) taub.
· Ich weiî es bestimmt (oder wirklich) nicht. · I’m sure I don’t know.
· Our team is bound to win. · Unsere Mannschaft gewinnt bestimmt.
· I have come to see the problem in another light. · Jetzt sehe ich das Problem in einem anderen Licht.
· This would go a long way to meet the very serious · Das würde die sehr ernsten Schwierigkeiten weitgehend
difficulties. (oder zu einem groîen Teil) überwinden.


4. Nominalized adjectives in German:

· That is an odd thing. · Das ist etwas Seltsames.
· He spoke about indifferent topics. · Er sprach über Belangloses.
· Ein Ertrinkender klammert sich an einen Strohalm. · A drowning man will catch a straw.
· I told him what was most important. · Ich teilte ihm das Wichtigste mit.
· Das Schöne in dieser Welt lohnt sich zu betrachten. · Whatever is beautiful in this world is worth looking at.


5. Abstract - concrete:

· Ein Wald von prächtigen Buchen nahm ihn auf. · He entered a forest of magnificent beeches.
· Einem Gelehrten steht die ganze Welt offen. · A scholar has the whole world open to him.
· Es geht mir schon viel besser. · I have improved a lot.
· Ihre Schluîfolgerung leuchtet mir nicht ein. · I don’t see your conclusion.
· Die Universität war vernichtet; die Jahre 1630-1652 · The University was totally destroyed; in the years
wissen nichts von ihr. between 1630 and 1652 there is no trace of its
existence.
· Ein Bündel uniformiertes Pflichtbewuîtsein. · A bundle of duties in uniform.


6. Complex attributive structures in German:

· Die durch eine neue Serie von schlimmen Grenz- · The Northern Ireland Government, disturbed by another
zwischenfällen und die wachsende Besorgnis über series of border outrages and the growing danger of
Repressalien beunruhigte nordirische Regierung reprisals, has again reported the situation to the Home
hat dem Innenminister in London wiederum Bericht Secretary in London.
erstattet.
· Freilich ist Kanada ein durch Sprache, Geographie · True, Canada is a country even more severely divided by
und Interessen noch mehr zerrissenes Land als die language, geography and interests than the United
USA. States is.
· It’s a never-ending controversy, not to be settled · Es ist eine durch die Wahl nicht zu lösende Streitfrage
by the election. ohne Ende.
· The Labour Party has long had two wings: a Left · Die Labour-Partei weist seit langem zwei Flügel auf: eine
composed of the intellectual economic socialists, aus intellektuellen Wirtschaftssozialisten bestehende
and a Right made up of solid horny-handed trade Linke und eine aus handfesten Gewerkschaftlern mit
unionists. schwieligen Händen bestehende Rechte.


7. Prepositional constructions in German:

· Er ging zu der Ausstellung in Begleitung seiner · He went to the exhibition accompanied by his wife.
Frau.
· Mit der Aufstellung dieser Bedingungen vollzog · Establishing these conditions, the Communist Party
die KP eine entscheidende Wendung. made decisive turn.
· Du fängst am besten mit der Lektüre dieses · You had better begin by reading this article.
Artikels an.
· Fehlschläge schreckten ihn nicht von noch- · Failure did not deter him from trying again.
maligen Versuchen ab.
· Die Befähigung zu logischem Denken unter- · The ability to reason makes man different from animals.
scheidet den Menschen vom Tier.
· Es besteht eine zunehmende Neigung zur · There is a growing tendency to overvalue material
_berbewertung materiellen Wohlstandes. wealth.


8. The participle as a syntactic linker:

· There are steamers running to all parts of the · Es gibt Dampfer nach allen Teilen der Erde.
world.
· Ich dankte ihm gute Stunden in seinem · I was grateful to him for the happy hours spent in his
gastlichen Haus. hospitable house.
· Vom Koreakrieg her bestehen groîe Meinungs- · There are great differences deriving from the Korean
verschiedenheiten,-. war,-.
· A reporter speaking in the BBC’s European Service · Ein Reporter im Europadienst der BBC erläuterte die
explained the significance of this event. besondere Bedeutung dieses Ereignisses.


9. The infinitive as a syntactic linkers:

· We waited to see what would happen. · Wir warteten auf das, was kommen würde.
· We went to see the exhibition. · Wir gingen auf die Ausstellung.
· Von ihm hast du nichts Gutes zu erwarten. · You cannot expect to get anything good from him.
· It rather sets my nerves on edge to hear the way · Es ist mir einfach zuwider, wie du von ihr sprichst.
you talk of her.
· He was annoyed to hear that the Conservative · Er war verärgert, daî die Konservative Partei wieder an
had got it again. die Macht gekommen war


10. Additions for completing and explaining expressions:
· ohne Rücksicht auf höhere Kosten · regardless of the higher costs involved
· Ein kürzlich herausgebrachter Band versucht, durch · A recently published volume attempts to give an insight
durch Beispiele ein annäherndes Bild vom Wesen into his poetry by examples provided.
seiner Poesie zu geben.
· The crowd made way for the procession to pass. · Die Menge machte der Prozession Platz.
· Sometimes the student may not know which · Manchmal weiî der Lernende vielleicht nicht, welches
of two words is the proper one to use in a certain von zwei Wörtern in einem bestimmten Zusammenhang
context. das richtige ist.
· You can rely on me to stand by you (or to help you) · Du kannst dich auf mich verlassen, wenn du in
if you are in trouble. Schwierigkeiten bist.


11. Rendering the German “Es”:

· Es schauderte mich bei dem Gedanken daran. · I shuddered to think of it.
· Es fehlte ihm der Mut dazu. · He lacked the courage to do it.
· Es wurde ihm klar, daî er einen groîen Fehler · He realized that he had made a big mistake.
gemacht hatte.
· Es fiel uns nichts ein. · We could think of nothing to say.
· Es fehlt ihm nie an einer Ausrede. · He is never at loss for an excuse.
· Bis zur Dampfmaschine war (es) freilich noch ein · The steam engine was still a long way off.
sehr weiter Weg.
· Es ist eine lange Geschichte. · The story is a long one.
· Es wurde gesungen und getanzt. · There was singing and dancing.
· Es geht um Leben und Tod. · It’s a matter of life and death.
· Ohne Charakter geht es nicht. · You can’t do without moral character.


12. The relation between active and passive:

· Ihm stehen an Taschengeld fünf Mark in der · He is allowed five marks a week pocket money.
Woche zu
· Was dieser Bericht vor allem verrät, ist die Tat- · What is revealed by this report more than anything
sache,-. else is the fact that-.
· Dem Auîenminister bereitete die Erklärung · The Secretary of State was caused certain anxiety
einiges Unbehagen. by the declaration.


13. English constructions with “with”:

a) translated with “wobei”:

· Dewey’s cabinet sessions are a prolonged · Deweys Kabinettssitzungen sind lange Runden von
round of give-and-take with Dewey subjected Schlagwechseln, wobei Dewey eine ganze Menge ein-
to lots of taking. stecken muî.

b) translated with “wenn”:

· Possibly it has no firm idea today of how it might · Möglicherweise hat sie (die Sowjetunion) heute noch
use these weapons; but, with Western Europe keine feste Vorstellung, wie man diese Waffen ver-
exposed, it would be subject to great temptations. wenden könnte, aber wenn Westeuropa schutzlos preis-
gegeben wird, würde sie einer groîen Versuchung aus-
ausgesetzt sein.

c) translated with (“jetzt wo”, “heutzutage wo”, “damals als”):

· With maids a thing of the past and the automatic · Heutzutage, wo Dienstmädchen vergangenen Zeiten
kitchen a thing of the future, the woman is doing angehören und die automatische Küche noch Zukunfts-
the harder job. musik ist, leistet die Frau die schwerere Arbeit.

d) translated with “da”:

· There’s an awful draught with all the windows down. · Es zieht hier furchtbar, da alle Fenster offen sind.

e) translated with “und”:

· The women sat with their hands folded. · Die Frauen saîen da und hatten die Hände gefaltet.

f) translated with a new sentence:

· With one entrance blocked completely, and the · Ein Eingang war völlig und der andere fast ganz ver-
other one almost, the very existence of the grotto sperrt; so wurde 1300 Jahre lang sogar das Vorhanden-
was forgotten - for thirteen hundred years. sein der Grotte vergessen.

g) translated with “während”:

· First a Hindu woman makes herself clean and · Zuerst reinigt eine Hindufrau sich und zieht sich sorg-
neat, and then she says her prayers, sitting in fältig an, dann sagt sie ruhig dasitzend ihre Gebete,
silence with the house quiet and the day not yet während das Haus um sie herum noch ganz still und
come. der Tag noch nicht angebrochen ist.

h) translated with a relative clause:

· Straight ahead, blocking out the sky, they now · Gerade vor sich bemerkten sie jetzt, den Himmel ver-
noticed an extraordinary peak - a perfect half-dome sperrend, einen auîergewöhnlichen Berggipfel - eine
of mountainous rock rising nearly a mile above them, vollkommene Halbkuppel, die sich fast anderthalb-
with its flat, sliced side facing the valley. tausend Meter über ihnen erhob und deren abgeschnit-
tene Seite dem Tal zugewandt war.
3 Is Lev Tolstoy the author of a book entitled “War and Peace”?
Is Lev Tolstoy the author of a book entitled “War and Peace”? Unlike the book “Vojna i Mir”, he did not write a single word of it. Can the translator claim to have produced a text, which can rightfully be referred to as “written by Shakespeare”? Should the title of Shakespeare’s dramas not read, for example, “written by Shakespeare and Schlegel”? Was the impact, which Marquis de Sade’s work had on the British society so enormous because they were translated correctly or incorrectly?

It is the task of translation theory to provide answers to these questions, and to many more. It goes without saying that I could not broach everything. The purpose of this work was to show some important aspects of this science - of rather this art, because translation is, in fact, an art - besides all the established procedures, rules, definitions and strategies. Sometimes I am writing poems myself, both in English and when trying to translate them I found it to be almost a “mission impossible”. Finally, I want to summarize the gist of this work:



1. Translation is not a well defined concept

2. Adequacy depends on several aspects, including:

Ÿ the goals and the purpose of this translation

Ÿ the text kind and other characteristics

Ÿ specific characteristics of the target language

Ÿ specific characteristics of the target culture

Ÿ the translator’s translation competence, as regards:

Ÿ reception competence

Ÿ transfer competence

Ÿ production competence

Ÿ language competence

3. A 100 % equivalent translation is impossible to achieve
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[i] Otto Grotewohl, 1951: „Die Idee der Kunst muî der Marschrichtung der politischen Kampfes folgen.“

[ii] this film is based on a novel from John Reed covering the Russian Revolution from 1917

[iii] Walter Ulbricht at the 5th SED party conference, 1958: „Entfremdung zwischen Künstler und Volk

[iv] union of professional authors and writing workers

[v] referring to the novel „Ankunft im Alltag“ from Brigitte Reimann (1961)

[vi] cf. Erik Neutsch: „Die Spur der Steine“ (1964), Christa Wolf: „Der geteilte Himmel“ (1963) and „Nachdenken über Christa T.“ (1968), Hermann Kant: „Die Aula“ (1964)

[vii] according to Marx, „history is a succession of class struggles“ (of which communism is the only way out)

[viii] school-leaving examination at grammar school which if passed qualifies for the entry to higher education

[ix] „Ich bin ein biîchen stolz darauf diesen Dichter entdeckt zu haben, als er noch völlig unbekannt war. Ecce Poeta - siehe, da ist ein Dichter!“ Franz Fühmann commenting in Kolbe‘s debut „Hineingeboren. 1975-1979“ , page 145

[x] in this case the antonym to concord

[xi] Friedrich used the term „absolutes Partizip“

[xii] combination of two verbs or nouns stressing the expressiveness of the context




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