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«Technische Universität Chemnitz Hauptseminar “Translation Workshop” Prof. Dr. Josef Schmied Sommersemester 2004 06. August 2004 Kerstin May ...»

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Enlarge-Net = Enlarge-Net?

A comparison of the English and the German

ENLARGE-NET brochures

Technische Universität Chemnitz

Hauptseminar “Translation Workshop”

Prof. Dr. Josef Schmied

Sommersemester 2004

06. August 2004

Kerstin May

Vettersstr. 72/220

09126 Chemnitz

Email: kn_may@yahoo.de

Matrikelnummer: 25039

6. Fachsemester

Fremdsprachen in der Erwachsenenbildung, Anglistik/Amerikanistik, Romanistik


Abbreviations and Figures

1. Introduction

2. A Model for Translation Evaluation

2.1 House’s Original Translation Quality Assessment Model

2.2 House’s Revised Translation Quality Assessment Model

2.3 Model and Parameters applied in this Analysis

3. Analysis of the Source Text

3.1 Field

3.2 Tenor

3.3 Mode

3.4 Statement of Function

4. Translation Quality Assessment

4.1 Field

4.2 Tenor

4.3 Mode

4.4 Overt and Covert Errors

5. Translation Evaluation and Conclusion

6. Bibliography

List of Abbreviations ENE Englisch ENLARGE-NET brochure “A journey through Saxony, Lower Silesia and Northern Bohemia” ENG German ENLARGE-NET brochure “Ein Streifzug durch Sachs

–  –  –

Over the last few years, discussions about ‘globalisation’ have become more and more frequent. As a result, one could get the impression that globalisation has a huge impact on the life of the average person. Or do politicians simply exaggerate in their discussions on globalisation? One might argue that globalisation is a political phenomenon with which only politicians have to deal. Globalisation on an economic level, however, is a trend which is growing so rapidly that its influence can be felt in almost every life situation nowadays. Whether it is the big news about the fusion of Sanofi-Synthelabo and Aventis or the BMW commercial that is shown in Spain, Italy, France and Britain or the tourist information office that offers its services in English, French and German: globalisation is omnipresent. It might have influenced the average person’s life only insignificantly but it definitely has drastically changed business relations worldwide. Competition has increased dramatically; these days’ companies do not just compete anymore with the ones located right next to them, in the same city or in the same region but with companies from all over the world. Their main competitor might have its headquarters in a different country or even on a different continent.

Nevertheless, globalisation is not as bad as it is often portrayed. It opens up the possibility for companies to extend their markets to new regions, countries or continents and thus to increase their sales incredibly.

‘Growing competition and growing possibilities’ is probably the best description of globalisation on an economic level. Needless to say that this influence cannot be ignored by today’s business world. The changes that have been taking place in advertising are some of the most obvious reactions to this new situation. In contrast to the time when every country had its own particular commercials, nowadays big companies develop advertisements that are suitable for most European countries without having to be changed significantly. In most cases, only the commercial’s language is adapted to the language spoken in the country where it is supposed to be shown. This seems to be an easy task but actually it is a very difficult one. Not only has the target audience of advertisements changed in recent years, but also has changed the way the audience perceives commercials. Advertising specialists have found out that not the facts presented in an advertisement win over the audience anymore but the way these facts are presented. As a result, a translator cannot simply reproduce the commercial’s text in a different language. In fact, he has to adapt the text to the habits and customs of the new target audience in order to deliver the same message as the original text. One could expect that, due to growing globalisation, this should be widely known and practised nowadays. If it is really done is a different question, though.

Budget or time limitations often negatively influence the translator’s work.

The following comparison of the German ENLARGE-NET brochure and its translation into English aims at examining if the translator managed to deliver the same message in English that was conveyed by the German brochure and thus managed to create a good English advertisement.

2. A Model for Translation Evaluation The subsequent comparison of the German ENLARGE-NET brochure and its English translation is based on the Translation Quality Assessment Model developed by Juliane House in 1977. She refined the original model in 1997.

2.1 House’s Original Translation Quality Assessment Model House’s Translation Quality Assessment Model is composed of a functional analysis of the source text (ST) as well as a comparison of the ST’s textual profile and the target text (TT). When analysing a ST’s function, the focus should not only be on the text itself but also on the context and the situation in which it occurs. Leornardi agrees that every ST “is placed within a particular situation which has to be correctly identified and taken into account by the translator” (Leonardi 2000). This approach is based on the Hallidayan systemic-functional theory. Halliday states that the context of situation “is encapsulated in the text […] through a systematic relationship between the social environment on the one hand, and the functional organisation of language on the other.” (Halliday 1989:11) In order to facilitate the determination of the relationship between text and context of situation and thus the text’s function, House partly adopts the model of situational dimensions developed by Crystal and Davy (cf. Crystal, Davy 1969: 66).

She subsumes eight dimensions under two categories:

–  –  –

The category Dimensions of Language User refers to linguistic features which mark the author’s geographical and social origin as well as features that mark the text’s temporal provenance.

Medium, which belongs to the category Dimensions of Language Use, describes the channel employed to communicate a text. It can be simple or complex. As House concentrates on written texts, she only considers texts which were written to be read as simple medium. A complex medium could be for instance a text which was written to be spoken or one that was written to be read as if heard. Just like Medium, Participation can be either simple or complex. In contrast to simple forms (monologue and dialogue) more complex forms employ various linguistic means to evoke addressee participation and to directly or indirectly involve the addressee. Social Role Relationship portrays the relationship between author and audience. If it is characterised by social equality, it can be considered symmetrical. If, however, one of the two takes a dominant position, the rocial role relationship is asymmetrical. House advises to take into consideration three

possible roles, “position role, situational role, and personal or status role” (House 1981:

45), when determining the author’s social role and his relationship to the addressee.

Social Attitude characterises the degree of formality and thus the degree of social distance between author and audience. House based this dimension on Joos’ system of

five styles of formality: “frozen, formal, consultative, casual, and intimate” (ibid:

45/46) which can, of course, be combined, too. The consultative style is the most neutral one. Frozen style and formal style are obviously more formal than the consultative one. They are characterized by elaborateness, abstractness and a high degree of social distance as well as a lack of addressee participation. Casual style and intimate style distinguish from the other ones by being more implicit and less formal.

What is more, the degree of social distance between author and addressees is lower.

Due to their more or less intimate relationship, providing the audience with background information is often not necessary and therefore omitted. Last but not least, Province describes the text’s topic and its register: linguistic features such as special terminology which were chosen because of the text’s context of situation.

Following the textual analysis of the ST, its ideational and interpersonal function can be deduced from the linguistic features that determine its situational dimensions.

Afterwards, the TT should be analysed in the same way in order to obtain its textual profile. By comparing both textual profiles the quality of the translation can be evaluated. The more the TT’s textual profile and its function equal those of the ST, the better the translation is. The TT’s function should not only correspond to the ST’s function but should also be characterised through the use of similar linguistic features.

“For a translation of optimal quality it is desirable to have a match between source and translation text along the dimensions which are found – in the course of the analysis –

to contribute in a particular way to the two components of the text’s function” (ibid:


Depending on the ST, its context-situation, target audience and function, House proposes a distinction between two translation types. Overt translations should be used for texts which do not directly address the target audience of the translation because they are too closely linked to the culture and the language community from which they originate. In this case the focus should be on the actual translation. Therefore, overt translations are usually recognized as such. As a consequence, the function of an overt translation cannot correspond to the ST’s function, “either because the source text is tied to a specific non-repeatable historic event in the source culture […] or because of the unique status (as a literary text) that the source text has in the source culture” (House 1997: 67). In contrast to overt translations, covert translations aim at not being recognized as translations but rather at appearing to be “original source text[s] in the target culture” (ibid: 69). Their STs are not directly addressed to their source culture community but address their audience in the same way that the translation addresses the target language audience. It is therefore necessary to ensure that the TT fulfils the same function as the ST for the reason that its target audience has similar needs as the ST’s target audience. House proposes to employ a so-called “cultural filter” (ibid: 70) to better adapt the translation to the target culture. This type of translation evidently costs much more time, effort and money than an overt translation and is, unfortunately, often neglected because of these requirements.

2.2 House’s Revised Translation Quality Assessment Model

Having reconsidered her original model, House no longer bases her analysis mainly on a text’s register but adds the category Genre to better categorize a text’s function and the language that it may require. She defines genre as “a socially established category characterized in terms of occurrence of use, source and a communicative purpose or any combination of these” (ibid: 107). Genre, Register and Language are linked in a Hjelmslevian ‘content-expression’ type of semiotic planes: Genre is the content-plane of Register, which simultaneously is the expression-plane of Genre. Register, however,

is also the content-plane of Language while Language is its expression plane (cf. ibid:

106). Moreover, Genre serves as link between Register and Function. All in all, with the help of the new model texts can be examined on four different levels: Function, Genre, Resister and Language.

–  –  –

House adopted Halliday’s “trinity”: Field, Tenor and Mode (cf. ibid: 107/8) to better structure her model and to make it more easily applicable. Field refers to the topic of the text; its subject matter. Furthermore, it subsumes the old category Province and the new category Social Action which determines how general or specific the language is that is used to present the topic.

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