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The Role(s) of Native Speakers in L2 Translation

  • Charles University in Prague; University of Hradec Králové


Translating into a non-mother tongue (L2 translation) has received increasing attention from translation scholars over the past two decades in response to the growing proportion of this direction in translation markets in most parts of the world. One of the aspects of L2 translation that remains a relatively uncharted territory is the role of native speakers. Although they are normally involved in relatively few translations from a language of limited diffusion into a major language directly as translators, native speakers need not be entirely absent from L2 translation as it has been suggested that they can assume diverse roles in the process and that cooperation with native speakers brings obvious benefits to L2 translators. The present study aims at providing a more complex picture of the native speaker's role(s) in L2 translation, drawing on the results of a recent project on the qualitative and sociological aspects of L2 translation. By focusing on the questionnaires that the 40 subjects , professionals and advanced translator trainees, submitted before participating in a translation experiment, the study intends to shed more light on the views, preferences and habits of Czech translators regarding their cooperation with native speakers, discussing the possibilities as well as limitations of native-speaker participation in L2 translation.
Translating into anon-mother tongue (L2 translation) has received increasing aention from trans-
lation scholars over the past two decades in response to the growing proportion of this direction in
translation markets in most parts of the world. One of the aspects of L2 translation that remains
arelatively uncharted territory is the role of native speakers. Although they are normally involved
in relatively few translations from alanguage of limited diffusion into amajor language directly as
translators, native speakers need not be entirely absent from L2 translation as it has been suggested
that they can assume diverse roles in the process and that cooperation with native speakers brings
obvious benefits to L2 translators. e present study aims at providing amore complex picture of
the native speaker’s role(s) in L2 translation, drawing on the results of arecent project on the quali-
tative and sociological aspects of L2 translation. By focusing on the questionnaires that the 40 sub-
jects, professionals and advanced translator trainees, submied before participating in atransla-
tion experiment, the study intends to shed more light on the views, preferences and habits of Czech
translators regarding their cooperation with native speakers, discussing the possibilities as well as
limitations of native-speaker participation in L2 translation.
consultant, informant, L1 translation, L2 translation, native speaker, revision
With translation into anon-mother tongue (L2 translation) having become afact of
life in most parts of the world, this direction of translation has also recently been
afrequent topic of research in Translation Studies. Since the late 1990s, research-
ers have focused on diverse aspects of non-native translation. Some have explored
L2 translation as aprocess and product, analysing, among other things, the quality
of literary and non-literary L2 translation, stylistic aspects and explicitation, some
have dealt with the market and sociological aspects (frequency, rates, customer ex-
pectations etc.), and others still have discussed the teaching of L2 translation. Many
of those findings have helped prove the untenability of the golden rule proposed by
several Translation Studies authorities several decades ago whereby translating into
one’s mother tongue is the only natural, accurate and effective direction while L2
translation is an undesired practice (cf. Newmark, 1988; cf. Ladmiral, 1979). Recent
research has increased the general understanding of L2 translation, presenting it
as acomplex issue which deserves serious discussion and further study and, at the
same time, suggesting it is aprocess where success depends on more than one factor.
Although L2 translation implies, by definition, an absence of native speakers of
the target language in the capacity of translators, they may still be involved in the
translation process, albeit in other roles. is aspect of non-native translation, how-
ever, remains relatively under-researched and it is the aim of the present paper to
shed more light on the role(s) of native speakers in L2 translation.
Despite the above mentioned recommendations by translation scholars and, in some
countries, institutional guidelines obligating professionals to only translate into their
mother tongue, L2 translation has become afact of life more or less throughout the
world. L2 translation is afrequent practice mainly in countries using languages of
limited diffusion, as suggested by recent translation market surveys involving Slove-
nian (cf. Hirci, 2005), Croatian (cf. Pavlović, 2007), Czech (cf. Svoboda, 2011), Polish
(cf. Pietrzak, 2013) and Slovak (cf. Ličko, 2014). e obvious reason seems to be an in-
sufficient supply of native speakers, as Gerard McAlester notes: “the volume of work
exceeds the number of available translators who are major language native speakers”
(McAlester, 1992, p.292). An alternative explanation is offered by Paulina Pietrzak,
who says that the “reason for the prevalence of Polish translators among all the trans-
lators working into the English language is primarily the price”, adding that commis-
sioning atranslation into English to aPolish translator is simply more cost-effective.
(Pietrzak, 2013, p.235)
However, even surveys conducted in countries where “major” languages are spo-
ken note alow availability of qualified native speakers of the target language relative
to the demand, i.e. mainly the need to cater to the huge quantities of translation into
English. is appears to be the case in Germany (cf. Schmi, 1998), Spain (cf. Kelly et
al., 2003) and China (cf. Pym, 2016).
Although L2 translation has become astandard practice in most parts of the world
and apopular research topic in contemporary Translation Studies, this does not mean
that asubstantial amount of translation is not done by native speakers (L1 transla-
tion). Scholarly debates, thus, revolve around the merits as well as challenges associ-
ated with L1 and L2 translations. Some of the authors who address the topic discuss
the types of texts appropriate for either L1 or L2 translation.
ere seems to be general agreement that of all the text types that are normally
translated, expressive texts such as literary or journalistic works seem to be least
suitable for translating out of one’s mother tongue, as the expressive and metaphoric
use of language would be very likely to pose problems for atranslator not fully in
control of the lexical richness of the target language (Snell-Hornby, 2000). Amore
thorough explanation is given by Jiří Le, who argues that “the greater the role of
language in the artistic structure of the text, the more difficult translation becomes”
(Levý, 2011, p.48). Levý’s point is taken further by Xenia Liashuk, who suggests that
less replicable (or, indeed, non-replicable) structures typical of most literary genres
call for atranslator of great flexibility and creativity based on the broadest possible
mastery of the target language, which is naturally more likely to be found in native
speakers. (Liashuk, 2014)
is does not mean, however, that successful L2 literary translators do not exist.
In her ground-breaking aempt to put some of the traditional views on directionality
to empirical test, the Slovene scholar Nike Pokorn (2005) analysed nine translations
of Slovene prose into English done by native speakers of Slovene, native speakers
of English as well as native speakers of neither of the two. Pokorn found, among
other things, that some translators, despite being native speakers of only one of the
languages involved in their translation work, have excellent skills in both, enabling
them to produce native-sounding literary translations. Pokorn’s analysis also found
that some of the translators who were native speakers of the target language (i.e. L1
translators) produced stylistically less than perfect translations, afinding which is
hardly surprising given the abundance of Translation Studies literature containing
examples of stylistic infelicities in L1 literary translation.
When considering which text types are more appropriate for L2 translation,
Snell-Hornby (2000) suggests informative texts, which are highly conventionalised
with regard to their verbal and non-verbal elements (e.g. instructions for use, public
announcements, commercial correspondence and scientific reports) and operative
texts such as tourist brochures. ese text types lend themselves more easily to L2
translation, particularly if they are intended for international audiences, i.e. where
translators are expected to use International English or McEnglish, alingua franca
lacking the lexical richness and idiomaticity required in the translation of expressive
texts. McAlester goes even further, arguing that anon-native translator may not only
be as competent to translate such texts as anative speaker but sometimes even beer
prepared for such tasks as she “may write in asimpler language with fewer culture-
specific references, and thus one more suited to an audience for whom English is
asecond language” (McAlester, 1992, p.293). Competence is understood here as the
ability to transmit the message in acomprehensible language, sufficiently correct not
to cause amusement on the part of the reader, in other words to produce “translations
that are reliable and respectable” (ibid., p.297).
Xenia Liashuk, employing František Miko’s style-defining categories (Miko,
1970), argues that the more factual/informative and content-oriented (and less ex-
pressive/emotional and receiver-oriented) atext is, the more its translation depends
on successfully mastering the style perceived as natural in the given genre. e
translation of informative texts is, therefore, more approachable for aL2 translator
as long as she is able to develop an active repertory of contextual equivalents, by be-
ing in permanent contact with texts of the given genre in both working languages.
(Liashuk, 2014)
1 It must, however, be admitted that Pokorn’s L2 translators were not typical native speak-
ers of Slovene. e personal history of some of the translators suggests that English was
not aforeign language but asecond language for them. As Roman Ličko points out, this is
acrucial distinction as “there is asignicant dierence between translating aliterary text
into asecond language and rendering it into one’s foreign tongue” (Ličko, 2014, p.46).
Personal experience as well as empirical research seem to suggest, then, that the
feasibility of L2 translation is very much dependent on the type and genre of the
source text and, in some contexts, the nature of the target-text recipients, rather
than merely on the translator’s language competence. e conclusion seems to be that
where native-speaker translators are in undersupply, some of the work can be done
reasonably well by their non-native peers.
As has been pointed out several times above, asignificant number of translators have
to be ready to accept assignments involving translation into anon-native language.
However, L2 translators need not work alone. e common practice— throughout
history as well as today— is for L2 translators to cooperate with native speakers, who
may assume diverse roles in the process, as empirical evidence shows.
When inquiring about the particular stage at which native speakers are involved
in L2 translation from Slovak into English, Ličko (2014) found that 64.7% of the re-
spondents who cooperate with anative speaker do so in the editing stage only, i.e. for
proofreading the target text to eliminate errors of grammar, vocabulary and style.
As many as 21.6% of the respondents rely on the assistance of anative speaker dur-
ing the pre-editing stage, i.e. throughout the translation proper. Others pointed out
that cooperation is not necessarily limited to either of the two stages, saying that
they sometimes enlisted the services of native speakers for both proofreading and
continuous advice.
Astudy by Elke St.John (2003) investigated how native-speaker informants can
be beneficial for the different stages of L2 translation during translator training. In
avideo-recorded experiment, one Japanese student and one Chinese student were
asked to translate atext with an informative and operative function into English;
each of the translators was assigned anative speaker of English as an informant.
Two main areas were identified where the native speakers offered help: grammar
(specific items reported by St.John’s respondents included prepositions, articles—
especially where the translator’s L1 lacks them— word order, active vs. passive
voice) and use of language (e.g. lexical choices, collocations). Although in the ex-
periment the native speakers offered asurprisingly great deal of advice, St.John
admits that with more specialist and terminology-laden texts, anative speaker with
no knowledge of the topic involved would probably be of much less help to the L2
translator. St.John also points to further limitations of native-speaker informants,
noting that their insights may not be absolutely reliable and that they may lack the
metalanguage necessary to explain some of their intuitions. St.John thus concludes
that native speakers are “best dealt with as one of anumber of information sources,
with some aention being given to what each can best offer the translator”. (St. John,
2003, p.11)
An even more detailed account of the native speaker’s possible involvement in
L2 translation— and aremarkable insight into the psychology of the L2 translator
relying on native-speaker assistance— is provided by Pedersen (2000). Sharing his
own best practice as aL2 translator of Danish texts into English, Pedersen notes that
aer the first draing, the text goes through three stages: renewed comparison with
the original, revision by anative speaker, and the final editing performed by the L2
translator. e native reviser is mainly expected to produce formulations that are sty-
listically more acceptable to native speakers than the translator’s own. An interesting
remark is made in relation to the use of the native informant as asupplement to the
dictionary: “If Ifeel reasonably sure that he or she will come up with an acceptable
English solution, there is no need to spend alot of time digging it out of dictionaries
myself.” (Pedersen, 2000, p.112) Pedersens revisers are sometimes given the source
text and sometimes not, depending on the nature of the text and the reviser’s com-
petence in Danish. Apparently, the role of the native speaker here is more one of
aproofreader and/or informant than reviser proper if revision is understood— as is
normally the case in translation practice and research— as checking the translation
against the source text for accuracy and completeness.
In aremark with much pedagogical potential, Pedersen notes that not all changes
proposed by anative speaker should be automatically accepted, because “accepting
asuggestion which is good English may mean geing too far away from the source
language text” (Pedersen, 2000, p.112). Pedersen goes on to point out, however, that
even if the translator has to reject the native informant’s suggestion for lack of accu-
racy, she may be inspired by it to improve the text, making it read more natural and
idiomatic than her original formulation. On the other hand, native speakers tend to
have their own preferences, which, stylistically acceptable as they are, may not nec-
essarily be beer than the L2 translator’s own writing. Summing up the possibilities
and limitations of native-speaker participation in L2 translation, Pedersen concludes
that “working with an informant thus does not free translators from the obligation to
exercise their own judgment”. (Pedersen, ibid.)
Apart from native speakers’ personal limitations, there are purely practical is-
sues that can stand in the way of an efficient use of native speakers. Using the ex-
ample of native speakers of English in the Slovak translation market, Roman Ličko
points to several practical difficulties associated with the involvement of native
speakers in L2 translation in aminor language community. First, the participation
of anative speaker in atranslation assignment means additional financial costs to
be incurred by the customer, afact which most customers seem to be unaware of.
Second, while the demand for native speakers is relatively high, their services are
difficult to come by as there are few native speakers available in the country and
they are very likely to continue to be absent from most L2 translations in the foresee-
able future (Ličko, 2014).
As is evident from the above overview of recent research and discussions regard-
ing directionality in translation, native speakers can contribute to the translation
process in anumber of ways. If they cannot be used directly as translators— as
seems to be the case in an increasing number of countries and seings— they can
assist anon-native translator in various capacities related to linguistic as well as non-
linguistic consultation at different stages of the process. However, their involvement
carries several potential risks that should be considered in practice and which are
worth further inquiry.
e present study is part of alarge-scale research project, conducted at Charles Uni-
versity’s Institute of Translation Studies in 2016–2018. Taking up the calls for further
research to help destigmatize L2 translation (Pavlović, 2007), the project aims at in-
vestigating translation into anon-mother tongue, including textual and sociological
aspects, between Czech, alanguage of limited diffusion, and English and French, two
major languages frequently demanded in the Czech translation market and in vari-
ous other areas of employment.
What follows is abrief description of the project’s methodology. e research pop-
ulation comprised 40 translators, native speakers of Czech. Twenty of them were
professionals who graduated from the Institute’s programme in translation eight to
fieen years ago and have had an uninterrupted translating career since, the other
half being students in the second year of their master’s programme in translation.
Half of the professionals and students translate between Czech and English, the other
half between Czech and French.
Data was gathered in several ways, combining quantitative and qualitative meth-
ods. e first source of data were translations produced under experimental seings,
whereby each subject produced atotal of four translations (apromotional text and
alegal one were first translated from L2 into L1 and later acomparable pair of texts
was translated from L1 to L2). Aproduct-oriented qualitative analysis of the transla-
tions was conducted by apanel of assessors, with two to three native speakers evalu-
ating each direction of translation.
To beer understand the complexity of the translation process and sociology,
aseries of questionnaires was administered to each respondent. Apre-translation
questionnaire inquired about their general aitudes and habits regarding L1 and L2
translation, providing valuable psycho-sociological data on the personality of the
translators themselves, atopic still relatively under-researched in L2 translation re-
search. Post-translation questionnaires were designed to explore in more detail the
difficulties faced by the translators as well as the strategies and resources employed
to overcome the challenges.
Since the present study is concerned with the ways in which native speakers of (not
only) English and French assist native Czech translators in the process of L2 trans-
lation in the Czech market, Iturned to the reflections provided by Czech translator
trainees and professionals as the primary source of data. erefore, the pre-transla-
tion questionnaires described above were analysed to shed more light on the views
and experience of Czech translators regarding native speakers and their input as
consultants and revisers. Although the subjects participated in the translation exper-
iment only with one of their foreign working languages (translating between Czech
and either English or French), they were invited, aer filling out the primary ques-
tionnaire concerning the language of the experiment, to share their experience and
views on asecond foreign language which they use as translators (if they have one).
erefore, whenever quantitative data is discussed, my analysis of the results will
inevitably include two sets of data: 40 respondents answering about their primary
working foreign language, that is either English or French, with 24 of them provid-
ing an extra set of answers concerning their second foreign language, i.e. English (12),
Spanish (5), German (4), French (2), Russian (1).
Atotal of four items in the pre-task questionnaire dealt, either directly or indi-
rectly, with the topics under discussion here. Two of the questions were related to
native-speaker consultations:
Do you consult native speakers when translating out of your native language? Choose
one answer: always/most of the time— sometimes— never.
Explain what issues are consulted on (vocabulary, terminology and realia were
offered by way of example).
e other two questions inquired about the subjects’ experience regarding revision
and/or proofreading by (not only) native speakers:
Are your translations out of your native language revised/proofread? Choose one an-
swer: always/most of the time— sometimes— never— Ido not know.
Explain who the reviser/proofreader is (anative speaker or aCzech colleague),
whether the revision/proofreading applies to the entire text or difficult sections only,
whether you are able to see the revised/proofread text, and— supposing you have
asay in the revision process— to what extent you accept the changes proposed.
e following section of the paper will discuss findings yielded from the above items
of the questionnaire. Answers to some of the sub-questions can be translated into
quantitative data; however, the primary ambition of the study is to analyse and dis-
cuss the respondents’ more extended answers in which they shared their experience
and views on the subject.
2 e exact wording of the question in Czech is: “Využíváte při překladu do cizího jazyka
vtéto jazykové kombinaci konzultace srodilým mluvčím? Vyberte jednu zmožností: vždy
nebo většinou— někdy— nikdy.”
3 e exact wording of the question in Czech is: “Rozveďte odpověď na otázku č.12 (např.nej-
častěji pro ověřování lexika, terminologie, reálií…).”
4 e exact wording of the question in Czech is: “Procházejí vaše překlady do cizího jazyka
vtéto jazykové kombinaci jazykovou revizí/korekturou? Vyberte jednu zmožností: vždy
nebo většinou— někdy— nikdy— nevím.
5 e exact wording of the question in Czech is: “Rozveďte odpověď na otázku č.10 (kdo
revizi/korekturu provádí; zda je to rodilý mluvčí, nebo jiný Čech; zda se revize/korektu-
ra týká celého textu, nebo jen obtížných míst; zda máte vždy možnost zrevidovaný pře-
klad vidět; pokud máte možnost se krevizi/korektuře vyjádřit, do jaké míry změny ak-
e first part of the section devoted to presenting empirical data will discuss (a) the
frequency with which the Czech participants of aproject on L2 translation seek ad-
vice from native-speaker informants when translating out of their mother tongue,
and (b) the areas, linguistic or otherwise, that are the object of the consultations.
Consultation is here understood to cover any type of situation where aCzech transla-
tor doing atranslation into anon-mother tongue approaches anative speaker of the
target language, during the translation process (i.e. excluding the editing stage), to
discuss adiversity of issues relating to the translation being done.
e respondents were first asked how oen they consulted anative speaker dur-
ing L2 translation, having the following options: always/most of the time— some-
times— never. In summary, of the 40 respondents, most (21) reported that they sought
native-speaker consultation “sometimes”, 11 “never”, while only 8 said “always/most
of the time”. No significant difference in the distribution of answers was noted be-
tween students and professionals. Similar data was obtained from the answers relat-
ing to the respondents’ second foreign language (24 respondents), with amajority
(13) reporting that they “sometimes” consulted anative speaker, 7 respondents saying
“never”, and only 4 saying “always/most of the time”. e quantitative data is pre-
sented in Charts 1 and 2 below.
 :Frequency of consultations (FL: answers given by respondents about their rst foreign
Always/most of
the time
Sometimes Never
How oen do you consu lt native speakers
during L2 translation? r = 40 (FL1)
Professionals r = 20
Students r = 20
How oen do you consu lt native speakers
during L2 translation? r = 24 (FL2)
Professionals r = 15
Students r = 9
How oen are your L2 translations revised?
r = 40 (FL1)
Professionals r = 20
Students r = 20
How oen are your L2 translations revised?
r = 24 (FL2)
Professionals r = 15
Students r = 9
Always/most of
the time
Sometimes Never
of the time
Sometimes Never I don't know
1 1 3
of the time
Sometimes Never I don't know
 :Frequency of consultations (FL: answers given by respondents about their second foreign
e present section aims to provide adetailed typology of the various issues that are
the subject of consultations demanded of native speakers by the respondents partic-
ipating in the survey. e respondents were not restricted in terms of the length of
their answers and, as mentioned above, vocabulary, terminology and realia were of-
fered by way of example.
e area reported by most respondents (24 respondents: 17 FL1, 7 FL2) was vo-
cabulary, i.e. seeking native-speaker advice on the appropriateness of lexical choices.
Some of the respondents gave more specific answers, mentioning that they contacted
native speakers in order to check the use of collocations (3) and idioms (4). Another
broad category frequently mentioned (12 respondents: 9 FL1, 3 FL2) was style, with
one respondent explicitly saying that she asked anative speaker to judge the stylistic
effect of marked linguistic features proposed by her in her L2 translation.
Broad and rather vague as the categories of vocabulary and style are, the predomi-
nance of these issues in the respondents’ answers seems to be in line with observa-
tions and findings reported by some of the authors writing on the subject, including
Elke St.John (see section 2.3 above). ese process-related data can also be viewed
from the perspective of product quality as some authors have suggested that vocab-
ulary and style are amore frequent source of errors than grammar. For instance,
Miroslav Pošta (1999) makes ageneral observation that the majority of deficiencies
in translation are not qualitative errors (errors proper, e.g. grammar). Rather, they
are quantitative errors, i.e. features not conforming to prevalent usage; also, they are
products of decision-making, being “alternatives chosen by the translator in prefer-
ence to other options. In other words, this is the realm of stylistics.” (Pošta, 1999, p.91).
In an aempt to present hard data on language mistakes in L2 translation, David
Mraček (2017) explored the frequency and typology of grammar and style errors in
Always/most of
the time
Sometimes Never
How oen do you consu lt native speakers
during L2 translation? r = 40 (FL1)
Professionals r = 20
Students r = 20
How oen do you consu lt native speakers
during L2 translation? r = 24 (FL2)
Professionals r = 15
Students r = 9
How oen are your L2 translations revised?
r = 40 (FL1)
Professionals r = 20
Students r = 20
How oen are your L2 translations revised?
r = 24 (FL2)
Professionals r = 15
Students r = 9
Always/most of
the time
Sometimes Never
of the time
Sometimes Never I don't know
1 1 3
of the time
Sometimes Never I don't know
Czech-English translations of promotional and legal texts, using the same population
of participants as the present study, and established that the rate of style errors made
by L2 translators, irrespective of their proficiency level (no significant difference was
found between translator novices and professionals), was substantially higher than
the rate of grammar errors. e text genre, however, was found to be acrucial factor:
the L2 translations of alegal text contained an average of 5.9 style errors as opposed
to 3.5 grammar errors; by contrast, in the translations of apromotional text, the ratio
rose to twice as many mistakes in style as in grammar (10 style mistakes vs. 4.5 gram-
mar mistakes). It appears, then, that non-native translators do have much less control
over items of style, including the use of vocabulary, idioms and collocations, than
over grammar, which results— during the translation process— in their heightened
need for native-speaker assistance in this area of language. Interestingly, grammar
itself was only cited by 4 respondents of the present study (3 FL1, 1 FL2); one specific
example was given by atranslator who oen translates from Czech into French, say-
ing that she explicitly asked the native speaker to check the correct use of articles and
punctuation. Other areas consulted by Czech L2 translators will now be discussed.
Terminology, though belonging to the realm of vocabulary from alinguistic point
of view, is here treated as aseparate issue as it constitutes one of the major transla-
tion problems in almost any translation assignment. us, it was offered in the ques-
tionnaire as an example independent of vocabulary, and was listed alongside vocabu-
lary by the respondents (15 respondents: 10 FL1, 5 FL2).
Atotal of 9 respondents (6 FL1, 3 FL2) cited realia, or features relating to life and
institutions. One respondent mentioned domain-specific knowledge as, presumably,
the native speaker whom she co-operates with specializes in the particular domain
of the translation.
Finally, although the questionnaire inquired about L2 translation, atotal of 4 re-
spondents (3 first-foreign-language subjects, 1 second-foreign-language subject) ex-
plicitly stated that they used their native-speaker consultants when translating into
their mother tongue, checking comprehension in the source (i.e. foreign) language.
ere is, however, every reason to believe that amuch higher number of the respon-
dents use their native-speaker collaborators in this way and they would no doubt
have indicated the fact had they been explicitly invited to do so.
All the areas of native-speaker consultation that were identified in the respon-
dents’ answers are presented in descending order in Table 1 below.
To conclude the discussion of issues for which non-native translators prefer to
seek assistance from native speakers, several remarkable points should be noted as
they provide precious insight into the psychology and sociology of L2 translation.
One respondent (aprofessional) noted that she rarely used native-speaker assis-
tance since she mostly found sufficient the online resources available such as dic-
tionaries, search engines and translator forums. One of the translators (astudent)
who reported that she never consulted native speakers said she preferred to consult
her non-native colleagues; another person (also astudent) said she had never been
in asituation that would necessitate native-speaker assistance. Another interesting
answer concerning amore general approach to using information resources in L2
translation— and one that can be thought to apply to more than one translator—
came from atranslation novice, who said she only consulted native speakers over
issues that she had been “racking her brains” over for some time, having found no
answer in any of the “ordinary” sources of information.
Two interesting points were raised concerning terminology. Two respondents
said that they did their own terminology research, which was sufficient most of the
time. Another respondent noted that she preferred to check the use of English ter-
minology with aCzech-speaking expert in the given field, while the other mentioned
that sometimes she approached the customer with terminological issues, pointing
out that customers are very oen the best source of verification where terminology
is concerned. It is hardly surprising that both these points were made by professional
translators, and they seem to reflect amore experienced and, perhaps, responsible
aitude to terminology, one of the crucial aspects of translation.
Finally, the findings seem to confirm the special status of English as far as the
availability of (mainly online) resources is concerned. More than one respondent
expressed their satisfaction with how many issues relating to the English language
can be consulted online, suggesting that the significance of native speakers of Eng-
lish as consultants may be diminishing, or at least changing: according to one re-
spondent, with so many sources available for English, native speakers are used not
as informants on particular items (which would more oen be the case with other
languages) but rather as afresh pair of eyes to confirm that the text reads smoothly
and is comprehensible.
e other observation made by respondents who have more than one foreign
working language with respect to the availability of resources was that nowadays,
English vocabulary, idioms, terminology as well as cultural references are much
easier to find online than with other languages. One professional translator pointed
out that with Spanish, for instance, L2 translators had to consult native speakers on
abroader spectrum of issues than with English. Obviously, the number of linguis-
tic resources available (reference books, dictionaries and, of particular relevance
nowadays, online sources) differs considerably among languages and there are low-
resource languages and high-resource languages (recently, this dichotomy has been
used in machine translation studies to refer to the amount of parallel data that MT
Area consulted No. of answers
FL1 respondents No. of answers
FL2 respondents
lexical choices, incl. collocations and idioms  
terminology  
style  
realia / culture / life and institutions  
grammar  
comprehension in L1T  
domain-specic knowledge  
 :Types of translation-related issues where consultation is sought by non-native translators
(FL: answers given by respondents about their rst foreign language; FL: answers given by respon-
dents about their second foreign language).
can utilize). It would thus seem only natural to acknowledge the special status of Eng-
lish as a“super-high-resource language”. is may have numerous implications for
translation practice, research and training, one of them being the need to question
the reliability, quality and authoritativeness of the resources that translators use.
Interestingly, none of my respondents said anything about possible risks associated
with searching information online.
e present section is devoted to revision in L2 translation and aims to discuss: (a) the
frequency with which the Czech participants of aproject on L2 translation have their
translations into anon-mother tongue revised (by native speakers or otherwise), and
(b) the personality of the reviser, the extent of revision as well as the respondents’
experience and views regarding revision in L2 translation.
Revision (here understood to cover proofreading) is another frequent service which
native speakers of atarget language offer to the translation market and is perhaps
more visible than native-speaker assistance during the translation process (such as
consultation discussed in section 4.1). It was thus anatural part of the pre-task ques-
tionnaire inquiring about the roles of native speakers in L2 translation.
e respondents were first asked whether (and how oen) their L2 translations
were revised, having the following options: always/most of the time— sometimes
never— Ido not know. In summary, most of the 40 respondents know whether or not
their L2 translations are revised (35), with 21 respondents noting that their transla-
tions are revised “always/most of the time”, 12 respondents “sometimes” and 2 re-
spondents “never”. e remaining 5 respondents do not know whether there is are-
viser. No significant difference in the distribution of answers was noted between
novices and professionals. Similar data was obtained from the answers relating to the
respondents’ second foreign language, where 20 of the 24 respondents know whether
or not their L2 translations are revised. Of them, 15 reported that their translations
were revised “always/most of the time”, 4 respondents “sometimes” and 1 respondent
“never”. e quantitative data is summarized in Charts 3 and 4 below. It needs to be
borne in mind, however, that given the formulation of the question, these sets of data
relate to revision in L2 translation in general, disregarding the language status of
the reviser. Whether or not the reviser is anative speaker of the target language will
become obvious from the answers to the following set of questions.
Next, the respondents were invited to elaborate on the issue of revision and in-
dicate who the reviser is (anative speaker of L2 or aCzech colleague), whether the
revision applies to the entire text or difficult sections only, and, finally, whether the re-
spondents are able to see the revised text and, supposing they have asay in the revision
process, to what extent they accept the changes proposed. What follows in sections
4.2.2, 4.2.3 and 4.2.4 is asummary of the most interesting points raised in the answers.
 :Frequency of revision (FL: answers given by respondents about their rst foreign
 :Frequency of revision (FL: answers given by respondents about their second foreign
e general conclusion as to the language status of the reviser seems to be that re-
visers are not always native speakers: of the 27 respondents who were explicit about
the personality of the reviser, about ahalf said that their translations were always
revised by native speakers but the rest reported various other scenarios (with revis-
ers being sometimes native, sometimes non-native, mostly native, mostly non-native,
or always non-native). e data is summarized in Table 2 below for respondents who
gave answers relating to their first foreign working language as well as those report-
ing about their second foreign language.
Much more illuminative of the revision practice than the figures above are some
of the comments le by the respondents, suggesting that more than one factor plays
arole in whether revision is assigned to anative speaker or not. e difficulty of the
Always/most of
the time
Sometimes Never
How oen do you consu lt native speakers
during L2 translation? r = 40 (FL1)
Professionals r = 20
Students r = 20
How oen do you consu lt native speakers
during L2 translation? r = 24 (FL2)
Professionals r = 15
Students r = 9
How oen are your L2 translations revised?
r = 40 (FL1)
Professionals r = 20
Students r = 20
How oen are your L2 translations revised?
r = 24 (FL2)
Professionals r = 15
Students r = 9
Always/most of
the time
Sometimes Never
of the time
Sometimes Never I don't know
1 1 3
of the time
Sometimes Never I don't know
Always/most of
the time
Sometimes Never
How oen do you consu lt native speakers
during L2 translation? r = 40 (FL1)
Professionals r = 20
Students r = 20
How oen do you consu lt native speakers
during L2 translation? r = 24 (FL2)
Professionals r = 15
Students r = 9
How oen are your L2 translations revised?
r = 40 (FL1)
Professionals r = 20
Students r = 20
How oen are your L2 translations revised?
r = 24 (FL2)
Professionals r = 15
Students r = 9
Always/most of
the time
Sometimes Never
of the time
Sometimes Never I don't know
1 1 3
of the time
Sometimes Never I don't know
translation seems to be adecisive text-internal factor, with one respondent (astu-
dent) pointing out that most of her L2 work is revised by Czechs and only more chal-
lenging texts undergo native-speaker revision. Most factors, however, are external,
having to do with the different actors in the translation process. It was, for instance,
mentioned by one respondent (aprofessional) that her translations assigned by
atranslation agency were revised by native speakers while her assignments for di-
rect customers were not revised at all. As regards text recipients, one respondent
(aprofessional) pointed out that native-speaker revision only took place with texts
intended for native-speaker users, implying that at least some of her Czech-English
translations were targeted at lingua franca users. Amore general view was expressed
by another respondent (aprofessional), who believes that no native-speaker revi-
sion is necessary with in-house texts, texts not intended for publication and/or texts
where further editing is expected; in these categories of texts, minor linguistic im-
perfections are easily tolerated, according to the respondent. Of the other text-exter-
nal factors, the customer was mentioned several times. For one thing, arespondent
(aprofessional) pointed out that native-speaker revision was only done if required by
the customer. On the other hand, according to another respondent (aprofessional),
few customers are willing to pay extra rates for native-speaker revision (an aitude
reported also by Ličkos survey of the Slovak market, cf. section 2 of the present ar-
ticle); price, therefore, seems to be adecisive factor.
Furthermore, some of the respondents’ comments on the profile of the reviser
shed more light on the revision process itself. One example of good practice is
asystem of peer-revision by non-native speaker translators, with the respondent
(aprofessional) explaining that editing can be done using the “Comments” or “Track
changes” options in MS Word while it is the translator who is responsible for mak-
ing the final decision. More on the psychology of L2 translators face-to-face with
revisions will be said in section 4.2.4. An alternative scenario, realistic with texts
intended for multinational corporations, was mentioned by the same respondent
whereby the customer may be asked to have the target text revised by his/her col-
leagues in the target-language country.
On amore general level, it was also pointed out by arespondent (aprofessional)
that revision is agood thing per se as asecond pair of eyes can always see something
that the first one missed.
Revisers: native vs. non-native No. of respondents
FL1 No. of respondents
Always native  
Mostly native  
Sometimes native, sometimes non-native  
Mostly non-native  
Always non-native  
 :Revisers of L translations according to native-speaker status (FL: answers given by respon-
dents about their rst foreign language; FL: answers given by respondents about their second for-
eign language).
When asked about whether the revision (native or otherwise) covers the entire trans-
lation or only some portions thereof, most respondents said that revision normally
applied to the entire translation (17 of the 22 who explicitly answered the question).
However, several others said that they only asked for revision of difficult portions of
the text or segments that they were not very sure about. One of these respondents
mentioned the time factor (with the reviser only concentrating on challenging sec-
tions when alimited amount of time is available), while another pointed out the low
availability of qualified native speakers and budgetary constraints as factors which
sometimes only allow for partial revision.
In order to find more about Czech practice with respect to translation revisions, and
in an aempt to shed more light on the psychology of L2 translation, the question-
naire also investigated the respondents’ degree of confidence when dealing with re-
visions done to their L2 translations. erefore, the respondents were asked whether
they were normally able to see the revised text and how many of the reviser’s inter-
ventions they normally accepted.
Out of the 22 respondents who made an explicit note regarding how oen they
were able to see their revised translations, 14 said that they always were. In two cases,
the reason was that it was normally the translator who sent the final product to the
customer. Interestingly, one of the 14 respondents, aprofessional, said that she al-
ways had access to the revised text because she herself always placed ademand for
revision, while another professional, demonstrating alaudable sense of responsibil-
ity, pointed out that she never submied atranslation to the customer without seeing
the revised version first.
Afurther three respondents said that they were able to see the revised text most
of the time, with one of them admiing that she was normally sent the revised text
“on demand”. ree respondents said that they were sometimes sent the revision
and sometimes not: one pointed out that some of her translations were revised by
the recipient’s own reviser in which case she was only able to see the final version
once it was published; the other two said the normal practice with translations as-
signed through agencies was that the translator was sent the revisions at random
or only if the interventions were numerous. Translation agencies were also men-
tioned by the two respondents who said that they knew that their text was revised
but received very lile feedback and almost never saw the final product.
It follows from the above that aconsiderable number of the respondents are nor-
mally able to see their L2 translations aer they have been revised. It is then very
interesting to see what happens to the text at this stage, i.e. before it reaches the end
Although the general conclusion is that L2 translators normally accept the changes
introduced by revisers (even though these are not always native, as it turns out from
the previous answers, as summarized in Table 2), there is substantial variation among
respondents as to their experience, degree of trust and sense of responsibility. Some
gave rather general answers; for instance, the relatively frequent “Iaccept most of the
changes” type of answer was given equally oen by professionals and students. Two re-
spondents, who indicated that theirs was always anative-speaker reviser, seem to fully
trust their collaborators, saying that they “definitely” or “naturally” accept the changes.
Another, also aprofessional collaborating almost invariably with native speakers, said
that she accepted ninety-nine percent of the changes as her revisers are fellow translators.
However, afew respondents said, in arather vague manner, that they accepted
only some of the changes. Two of these (both students) pointed out that they checked
the revised text carefully and reversed some of the reviser’s procedures to eliminate
any shis of meaning that might have been introduced by the native speaker, espe-
cially where native speakers worked without the source text. It does seem, then, that
it is important to distinguish between revision and proof-reading, aterminological
distinction which was le unsolved by the authors of the questionnaire. Another
student respondent said that she had to decline some of her reviser’s suggestions
because she had to make the text conform to the terminological and other specifici-
ties demanded by the customer (as she pointed out, she would normally expect her
reviser to only improve the text in terms of style and comprehensibility).
Several other remarkable points were raised as to whether or not to accept all
changes proposed by native-speaker revisers. First, not every native speaker is
qualified enough to do aqualified revision. Second, the translator may have abeer
domain-specific knowledge— and also adifferent feel for the language— than the
reviser. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the translator should use her own
judgement when deciding which changes to accept and which to reject because, aer
all, it is the translator who is responsible for the quality of the end product. Perhaps
not surprisingly, these remarks were all made by professionals, which may point to
the fact that professionals tend to be more aware of their own responsibility for the
quality of the product and also of the limitations associated with native speakers;
moreover, they seem to be in line with the experience presented by translation schol-
ars (cf. Pedersen in section 2.3).
Finally, some of the answers reveal something about the interaction between
translators and revisers. For instance, more than one respondent said that they dis-
cussed the proposed changes with their revisers, either in person, or via telephone
or Skype. One respondent, astudent, even has two regular native-speaker collabora-
tors: the first is asked to do amore thorough revision, which is then discussed by the
translator and the reviser. e result, asemi-finalized product, is given to another
native speaker, who is responsible for checking the overall fluency of the target text.
All too oen, the translator has been envisaged as amore or less solitary individual
and there has been asense in which asking for linguistic advice is an admission of
inadequacy.” (St. John, 2003, p.11) e image of the translator depicted in the above
quote was shaered by St.John’s own experiment and several other authors (cf. sec-
tion 2 of the present paper). Without making strong claims about the representative-
ness of my sample, the present paper, too, has revealed that translators can— and
oen do— enjoy the benefits of collaboration with other individuals, professional or
otherwise, who may or may not share the translator’s mother tongue, and can assume
adiversity of roles in the translation process.
Considering the topic of the present paper, i.e. the role(s) of native speakers in
L2 translation, the answers obtained from questionnaires that were administered to
apopulation of 40 Czech professional and novice translators reveal, first and fore-
most, that the respondents do asubstantial amount of networking as they seek advice
from native speakers on avariety of issues, with lexical choices clearly leading the
list. At the same time, however, the answers suggest apossible future trend whereby
L2 translators working into English may be relying less and less on native-speaker
informants as English is becoming a“super-high-resource” language in terms of the
amount of linguistic material available online. As regards revision, most of the re-
spondents have their L2 translations revised on aregular basis.
e quantitative data can be compared to the findings of researchers who have
explored the translation markets in countries where other languages of limited dif-
fusion are spoken. For instance, in his survey of the Slovak translation market in-
volving 111 translators who regularly translate from their native Slovak into English
as aforeign language, Roman Ličko inquired, inter alia, about the extent of native-
speaker involvement in L2 translation, in any role, i.e. including consultants and re-
visers. He found that “the majority of Slovak translators of English cooperated with
native speakers very lile— i.e. either occasionally (38.2%) or even rarely (20.9%)”
(Ličko, 2014, p.50). Similarly, Nataša Pavlović, in her survey involving 193 Croatian
translators, found that “only aslim number of respondents have their translation
revised by anative speaker on aregular basis” (Pavlović, 2007, p.88). Both Ličko and
Pavlović cite the insufficient number of competent L1 English speakers available in
the local market and customers’ general unwillingness to pay for the extra cost of
revision as the possible reasons. e more optimistic results shown by the present
study may have to do with the fact that, unlike the two surveys conducted in Slovakia
and Croatia, the Czech participants were all graduates or near-graduates of auniver-
sity degree programme in translation, implying apossibly heightened awareness of
their own limits regarding L2 translation skills.
Furthermore, the answers in which the respondents were able to explain their
experience with L2 revision in more detail reveal no small amount of variation re-
garding what Czech translators think about, on the one hand, native speakers’ roles
and skills and, on the other, their own abilities, limits and responsibilities as regards
non-native translation. Professionals, in general, came across as more confident
but also responsible than students, although the laer also demonstrated agrowing
awareness of the specific demands of L2 translation, crucial to the development of
their self-efficacy.
Although native speakers of the target language may be absent from asubstantial
number of L2 translations, the benefits of their assistance “must be more than obvi-
ous to all practicing translators” (Ličko, 2014, p.51). It is then the task of translator
training to ensure that the professionals of tomorrow are presented the full picture
of the possibilities and limitations of co-operation with native speakers. Aer all,
McAlester (1992, p.296) notes that students should be encouraged to work collab-
oratively with native speakers of other languages during translator training, “the
aim being not only to get the students to produce as good afirst version as possible,
but also to train them in using anative-speaker reviser effectively”. However, this
is no easy task as native speakers tend to vary in linguistic as well as extralinguis-
tic competence; furthermore, students should be taught to combat the “unfortunate
tendency for commissioners of translations to use areviser independently of the
original translator” (ibid.).
It is, however, important to admit that in the present article, Ihave presented
aconsiderable number of remarkable views on the participation of native speakers
in L2 translation as seen by non-native translators and the realities of the translation
market. It is equally interesting to explore the issue of L2 translation from the per-
spective of native speakers themselves, focusing on their views which are no doubt
informed to alarge extent by their experience as readers and revisers of L2 transla-
tions. Here are some of the questions that Ifeel are worth investigating: How difficult
is revision of L2 translations for native speakers? How oen do they feel that the en-
tire process of L2 translation plus native-speaker revision is cost-effective? And how
oen do they feel that the final result of this double process really conforms to their
own quality expectations? ese questions (and many more related to native speak-
ers’ viewpoints) have hardly been addressed by translation theory and research, but
the following quote from astatement by William Lise, president of the Japan Associa-
tion of Translators, may point to some of the possible answers; consider the words
in italics: “[…] almost all of Japan’s Japanese-English translation is done by Japanese
writing English as aforeign language, which is then the object of heroic damage-repair
efforts by foreign rewriters.” (Lise, 1997, p.27)
To bridge this gap in our understanding of native speakers’ participation in L2
translation, the long-term project of which the present study was apart sought to
consider the issue from the native speaker’s perspective as well. Data was gathered
through interviews with apopulation of native speakers of English and French, and
analysed to find out more about their long-time experience as translators and revis-
ers in the Czech translation market (cf. Duběda et al., 2018).
e article presents data obtained in an ongoing research project supported by the Czech Science
Foundation (GA ČR) under no.16-03037S, panel P406. Project title: Directionality in translation:
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Consortium for Training Translation Teachers
(CTTT) Available at WWW < https://web.
Svoboda, T. (2011). Anketa— průzkum
překladatelského trhu. Tlumočení apřeklad
(ToP), 99, 15–17.
David Mraček | Institute of Translation Studies, Charles University, Prague
... Other examples supporting this argument could be found in the study by Chmiel [2016, 271], who, in addition to various branches of the European Union, enumerates organisations like NATO and United Nations, where interpreters also work generally into their L1. Nevertheless, it could be observed that, in fact, translators and interpreters work not only into their mother tongue but very frequently receive commissions for translating and interpreting into L2, and this tendency increases together with globalisation [Pavlovič, Jensen 2009;Ferreira 2014;Ferreira et al. 2016;Ferreira, Schwieter 2017;Chmiel 2016;Mraček 2019;]. This practice is especially frequent among countries where languages of limited diffusion are spoken, like Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, Spain, Denmark, Netherlands, or Brazil [N. ...
... In this context, Mraček [2019,18] names English as a "super-high-resource language." The authors are consistent that in the case of languages of limited diffusion, the number of such resources is much smaller [Mraček 2018[Mraček , 2019Whyatt et al. 2019. However, the studies described in this section have shown that, in fact, translation into one's native language could also cause problems. ...
... Moreover, in each translation direction, answers pointing out vocabulary and terminology as more difficult ones exceed 50%. These results overlap with the observation made by Mraček [2019], as he considers vocabulary as the main problem trigger. However, the number of students who point out problems with grammar and punctuation in both directions is far from insignificant. ...
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The present study, in the form of a questionnaire, aims to analyse students’ subjective perception of directionality in translation. Additionally, it places a particular emphasis on the aspects which are perceived as difficult in each direction. Although for most students, L2 translation is more cognitively demanding, and they prefer to translate into L1, such preferences may change as the result of the amount of translation training. Students with a longer span in translation training frequently encounter more problems in L1 translation and may not have any preferred direction of translation. Nevertheless, the importance of practicing translating into L2 has been emphasized in many aspects, like expanding L2 competence or translation market demand; additionally, it is also a preferred language of translation for some students. Vocabulary and terminology have been described as the most problematic in both directions of translation. Other aspects which pose many problems and require some training are both L1 and L2 grammar as well as punctuation.
Conference Paper
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Cílem příspěvku je představit dílčí výsledky výzkumu překladu do nemateřského jazyka. V rámci experimentu mělo 20 studentů překladatelství a 20 profesionálů přeložit texty dvou různých žánrů nejprve z cizího jazyka do češtiny a následně obsahem a náročností srovnatelné texty z češtiny jako mateřského jazyka do angličtiny či francouzštiny jako cizího jazyka. Překlad do nemateřského jazyka byl v translatologii dlouho opomíjen, přestože představuje běžnou praxi ve většině zemí světa. Odpůrci tohoto směru překládání tvrdí, že překlady do cizího jazyka jsou nutně méně kvalitní, neboť vykazují vedle gramatických chyb také neuzuální kolokace či jiné jevy nekompatibilní se stylistickými konvencemi cílového jazyka. V příspěvku se proto soustředíme na kvantitativní i kvalitativní analýzu nedostatků na rovině gramatiky a stylu, jež byly zjištěny v překladech studentů a profesionálních překladatelů z češtiny do angličtiny. Získané poznatky mohou jako typologie tendencí českých uživatelů angličtiny najít uplatnění nejen v přípravě dalších generací překladatelů, ale také ve výuce cizích jazyků.
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La “directionnalité” indique si la traduction (ou l’interprétation) est effectuée depuis ou vers la première langue (L1). Selon les vues traditionnelles, prescriptives, le travail effectué vers la deuxième langue (L2) est considéré comme inférieur et les traducteurs sont encouragés à ne travailler que vers leur L1. Cependant la traduction vers la L2 est une pratique courante dans de nombreux pays du monde, particulièrement ceux où sont utilisées des “langues de diffusion limitée”. Une étude empirique a été conçue pour examiner les prises de position prescriptives qui s’opposent à la traduction vers la L2, en décrivant les pratiques de traduction et d'interprétation dans un pays qui utilise une langue de diffusion limitée. Un questionnaire a été envoyé à des traducteurs et à des interprètes en Croatie, qui ont été interrogés sur leur pratique professionnelle et leurs attitudes envers la directionnalité. Les résultats montrent que la traduction vers la L2 est une pratique régulière pour plus de 70% des traducteurs/interprètes travaillant à temps complet en Croatie. Un tiers des répondants préfèrent traduire vers leur L2 et ils sont presque aussi nombreux à juger que cette direction est plus facile que l’autre. De plus, 45% obtiennent des tarifs supérieurs en traduisant vers leur L2. Les réponses révèlent toutefois que certaines des opinions traditionnelles sur la directionnalité sont toujours d’actualité.
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The article first briefly addresses the problems of translation into a non-mother tongue, providing as a possible aid in the process of translation a list of both traditional and contemporary translation resources; then it focuses on the results of a questionnaire given to professional translators in Slovenia at the first meeting of the Forum of Translators in November 2003. Following the results of the questionnaire, some guidelines are provided, advocating the implementation of an appropriate translation course for students of translation. 1 UVOD V prispevku je na kratko predstavljena problematika prevajanja v nematerni jezik, ki je v Sloveniji neizogibno, četudi je v nasprotju z nekaterimi vodilnimi prevajalskimi teorijami. Da bi prevajalci ustrezno zapolnili vrzeli, ki morebiti nastanejo pri tovrstnem delu, si lahko pomagajo s sodobnimi prevajalskimi viri in orodji ter tako laže pridejo do kakovostnih prevodov. Na vzorcu profesionalnih prevajalcev je bila opravljena pilotska študija, katere rezultati so delni odsev realnega stanja na slovenskem trgu in prevajalska praksa s smernicami za bodoče usposabljanje prevajalcev pri nas.
Although the use of translation in the language classroom was severely criticized in the 1970s and 1980s as at that time the prevailing functional approach did not favour focusing on the exact equivalence, it may without hesitation be stated after Pym that “translation is and will continue to be used as a way of learning foreign languages” (1992: 280). Inversely, following on from this statement, can the foreign language be used as a way of developing translation competence? Despite many voices against mistaking the translation classroom with the language classroom, foreign language development is undeniably present in the process of translation because translation practice develops “not only translation competence in the narrow sense, i.e. transfer competence, but also, whenever necessary, other translation relevant competences, such as […] linguistic competence in the native language (L1) and in the foreign language (L2) with regard to formal and semantic aspects of vocabulary and grammar, language varieties, register and style, text-type conventions, etc.” (Nord 1991: 146). The question arises whether language should additionally be practised in the translation classroom and as to the aspects in which language practice for translation purpose should be different from language practice for general purpose. Although professional translators also need constant development of language skills, the focus will be laid on students of translation programmes who must be assisted and taught how to foster this development. Clearly, a translation programme should not include teaching basic skills of how to use a language but only make sure it does not go rusty by constant honing it to perfection. Bearing in mind the comment of Newmark that in language teaching translation “has an essentially supportive role only” (1993: 59), language should also be just a supportive component of a basic translation course.
Many “translation solutions” (often called “procedures,” “techniques,” or “strategies”) have been proposed over the past 50 years or so in French, Chinese, Russian, Ukrainian, English, Spanish, German, Japanese, Italian, Czech, and Slovak. This book analyzes, criticizes and compares them, proposing a new list of solutions that can be used in training translators to work between many languages. The book also traces out an entirely new history of contemporary translation studies, showing for example how the Russian tradition was adapted in China, how the impact of transformational linguistics was resisted, and how scholarship has developed an intercultural metalanguage over and above the concerns of specific national languages. The book reveals the intensely political nature of translation theory, even in its most apparently technical aspects. The lists were used to advance the agendas of not just linguistic nationalisms but also state regimes – this is a history in which Hitler, Stalin, and Mao all played roles, Communist propaganda and imperialist evangelism were both legitimized, Ukrainian advances in translation theory were forcefully silenced in the 1930s, the Cold War both stimulated the application of transformational grammar and blocked news of Russian translation theory, French translation theory was conscripted into the agenda of Japanese exceptionalism, and much else. Table Of Contents Introduction 1. Charles Bally and the Missing Equivalents 2. Vinay and Darbelnet Hit the Road 3. A Tradition in Russian and Environs 4. A Loh Road to China 5. Spontaneous Combustion in Central Europe? 6. Cold War Dalliance with Transformational Grammar 7. Forays into Romance 8. Meanwhile Back in German 9. Disciplinary Corrections 10. Going Japanese 11. The Proof of the Pudding is in the Classroom 12. A Typology of Translation Solutions for Many Languages Postscript: The Flaw in the Dream References - See more at:
Original author Jiří Levý, Translator Patrick Corness, Editor Zuzana Jettmarová