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A pragmatic approach to the contrastive analysis of a literary work and two of its translations

Article

A pragmatic approach to the contrastive analysis of a literary work and two of its translations

Abstract

There are two levels at which a pragmatic analysis can be carried out in relation to a literary work: the level of the narrative and the level of the text-production and reception. If the pragmatic analysis of a literary work is to be undertaken from a contrastive point of view, the picture becomes more complex, especially, if as in this case- the original literary text and the target texts are historically distant. The pragmatic analysis of Henry James’s Daisy Miller and two of its contemporary translations into Spanish that I intend to pursue here will be carried out in a contrastive way at the level of the narrative; the translated pragmatic actions in the narrative will be assessed in terms of the target readers’ new context of reception. The aim is to see whether and how the original writer’s intended meaning and interpretation has been kept in the target texts and if the pragmatic effect that these texts are likely to cause on the Spanish readership can be considered similar to the effect the source text is likely to provoke on contemporary source readers.
nº 17, November 2004
Departamento de Filología Inglesa
Universidad de Alicante
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A Pragmatic Approach to the Contrastive
Analysis of a Literary Work and Two of its
Translations
Mª Pilar Mur Dueñas
Contents
A Pragmatic Approach to the Contrastive Analysis
of a Literary Work and Two of its Translations . . . . . . . . 6
Abstract . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
2. ‘Pragmatics in the text’ and ‘pragmatics of the text’ . . . . . 9
3. ‘Pragmatics in Daisy Miller’ and ‘pragmatics of Daisy
Miller’ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
4. Concluding remarks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Works Cited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
Revista Estudios Ingleses 17 (2004)
6CONTENTS
A Pragmatic Approach to the Contrastive
Analysis of a Literary Work and Two of its
Translations (note 1)
Mª Pilar Mur Dueñas
University of Zaragoza
pmur@unizar.es
Abstract
There are two levels at which a pragmatic analysis can be carried out
in relation to a literary work: the level of the narrative and the level of
the text-production and reception. If the pragmatic analysis of a literary
work is to be undertaken from a contrastive point of view, the picture
becomes more complex, especially, if as in this case- the original lit-
erary text and the target texts are historically distant. The pragmatic
analysis of Henry James’s Daisy Miller and two of its contemporary
translations into Spanish that I intend to pursue here will be carried
out in a contrastive way at the level of the narrative; the translated
pragmatic actions in the narrative will be assessed in terms of the tar-
get readers’ new context of reception. The aim is to see whether and
A Pragmatic Approach to the Contrastive Analysis of a
Literary Work and Two of its Translations
Mª Pilar Mur Dueñas
7CONTENTS
how the original writer’s intended meaning and interpretation has been
kept in the target texts and if the pragmatic effect that these texts are
likely to cause on the Spanish readership can be considered similar to
the effect the source text is likely to provoke on contemporary source
readers.
1. Introduction
Translating is to be considered an act of communica-
tion and, as such, it must be considered contextually
dependent. The socio-cultural context in which the TT
(target text) will be read must be continuosly kept in mind dur-
ing the translator’s decision-making process if the translator’s
intention is to come out with a text that meets the conventions
of the genre, matches the target readers’ expectations and
produces a similar pragmatic effect on the readership to that
it is likely to produce on SRs (source readers). When the text
to be translated is a literary work remote in time, things get
more complex for the translator because the greater the tem-
poral and socio-cultural gap between source context and the
context in which a new text emerges, the bigger the challenge
the translator will have to face.
In this paper a contrastive analysis will be carried out of Henry
James’s Daisy Miller and two of its contemporary translations
into Spanish from a two-fold pragmatic perspective. First,
Revista Estudios Ingleses 17 (2004)
8CONTENTS
certain pragmatic issues such as illocutionary acts and im-
plicatures that come along the characters’ interaction in the
narrative will be analysed to see whether the pragmatic ac-
tion (Hatim and Mason, 1990) that takes place between them
in the original piece of work can be considered equivalent in
the TTs. Second, it is my intention to evaluate the translators’
nal choices regarding those pragmatic issues in view of the
pragmatic action that takes place between the translator and
the TRs (target readers) to assess whether a pragmatically
equivalent effect is achieved in the TTs.
The two Spanish translations selected for the contrastive anal-
ysis are: (1) Daisy Miller, 1978 Ediciones Leartes, reprinted in
1985, and republished in 1997 in Ediciones del Bronce, which
will be referred to as TTa and (2) Daisy Miller, 1998 Unidad
Editorial, which will be referred to as TTb. In the case of the
rst translation where several editions exist, the 1997 text will
be used for referential purposes.
When selecting the corpus I found two other Spanish transla-
tions of James’s work (note 2); since a contrastive analysis
of all of them would have become an endless, cumbersome
task, I decided to analyse the two translations that were fur-
ther separated in time. I am aware of the fact that a twenty-
year gap might not be suffi cient to perceive striking differ-
A Pragmatic Approach to the Contrastive Analysis of a
Literary Work and Two of its Translations
Mª Pilar Mur Dueñas
9CONTENTS
ences regarding translation norms or procedures between
the two languages, however, I thought the analysis would be
more interesting, above all, taking into account the fact that
they co-exist in time, since TTa was re-printed in 1997. In this
sense the comparison is carried out along two of the three
possible comparative study lines proposed by Peña (1997:
55) “a) entre las versiones de un mismo original separadas
signifi cativamente por el tiempo; b) entre las versiones con-
temporáneas y en competencia mutua […] y c) entre las ver-
siones a distintas lenguas”.
2. ‘Pragmatics in the text’ and ‘pragmatics of the text’
When dealing with the translation of a literary work, we need
to take into account that “[…] there are four worlds: the world
of the original fi ction, the real world of the original text, the
world of the target fi ction and the real world of the target text”
(Hickey, 2001: 53). The pragmatic analysis that is intended
here will be based on “the world of the original fi ction” as com-
pared to “the world of the target fi ction”, which will lead to
some insights into how the text can be perceived in “the real
word of the target text”. In other words, the pragmatic analy-
sis will be carried out at the level of the characters’ verbal
interaction (through which the writer’s intended meaning is
conveyed), taking into account that the characters’ resulting
Revista Estudios Ingleses 17 (2004)
10CONTENTS
verbal interaction in the TT will inevitably affect the reception
of the text by the TRs.
A distinction, then, can be made between what we could call
‘pragmatics in the text’ and ‘pragmatics of the text’, the two be-
ing mutually infl uenced. ‘Pragmatics in the text’ has to be un-
derstood as language in use at the level of the literary fi ction;
its analysis will, then, focus on how characters use language
in their interaction with others. ‘Pragmatics of the text’, on the
other hand, has to be understood as the communicative act
that takes place between the translator -as the purveyor of
the original writer’s intentions- and readers; its analysis will
deal with how writers or translators encode meaning having in
mind the potential readership of their work. A TT should ideal-
ly present pragmatically equivalent verbal interactions among
characters so that the TR can get as close a reading of the
text as that of the SR and, consequently, is able to grasp the
original writer’s intended meaning.
Hess-Lüttich (1991) establishes a distinction which in many
ways resembles the one presented above. He distinguishes
between “literary communication” and “communication as a
literary object”. Firstly, he defi nes “literary communication” as
“the aesthetic representation of communication processes by
literary authors” (1991: 226), a concept which can be consid-
A Pragmatic Approach to the Contrastive Analysis of a
Literary Work and Two of its Translations
Mª Pilar Mur Dueñas
11CONTENTS
ered to encompass that of ‘pragmatics in the text’ proposed
above; both “literary communication” and ‘pragmatics in the
text’ refer to the fact that there are communicative acts taking
place within the fi ctional world. Then, he defi nes “communi-
cation as a literary object” as “a matter of text production and
text reception within social contexts” (1991: 226), an overall
concept which can be taken to cover that of ‘pragmatics of the
text’; in this case, they are both founded on the assumption
that writer and reader communicate through a written literary
text. To put it briefl y, ‘pragmatics in the text’ and ‘pragmatics of
the text’ can be considered complementary aspects of analy-
sis of “literary communication” and of “communication as a
literary object” respectively which are worth looking into.
An analysis of the pragmatics in Daisy Miller may help the
readers and, hence, the translator -a privileged reader who
is fully responsible for the target outcome-, to get a deeper
understanding of the characters and the way they interact.
The pragmatics of Daisy Miller might also facilitate the trans-
lator’s task along his/her decision-making process. Carbonell
i Cortés (1998: 56) states the importance of such an aware-
ness:
Ya que traducir es, ante todo, decir algo que otro ha dicho antes
en otra lengua, y reproducir en este acto -en la medida de lo po-
sible- la actividad comunicativa del original, puede comprenderse
Revista Estudios Ingleses 17 (2004)
12CONTENTS
la importancia que tiene el análisis pragmático en el proceso de
la traducción.
In order to produce an adequate, appropriate and pleasurable
TT, the translator needs to constantly bear in mind the socio-
cultural context of that potential target readership throughout
the translation process and to match it up against the original
context of production and reception since -due to the temporal
and socio-cultural distance between ST (source text) and the
outcoming TT- those contexts will not coincide. It will be sug-
gested here that some pragmatic notions and considerations
about “literary communication” as well as about “communica-
tion as a literary object” may help translators to overcome the
mediating temporal and socio-cultural gap and to come out
with a TT that keeps the original writer’s intended meaning
and that produces a similar pragmatic effect on TRs to that
intended in the ST.
3. ‘Pragmatics in Daisy Miller’ and ‘pragmatics of Daisy
Miller
Although the analysis will be centred on two pragmatic as-
pects, namely, illocutionary acts and implicatures, other prag-
matic aspects will be mentioned in passing when considered
relevant for the comprehension and interpretation of the origi-
nal text and the subsequent production of a successful trans-
A Pragmatic Approach to the Contrastive Analysis of a
Literary Work and Two of its Translations
Mª Pilar Mur Dueñas
13CONTENTS
lating option. The actual options taken by the translators will
be assessed in the light of the pragmatic action taking place
between them and the contemporary Spanish readership. The
aim is to see whether and how the writer’s intended meaning
and interpretation has been maintained in the TTs so that the
pragmatic effect that the original is likely to cause on contem-
porary SRs can be considered equivalent in those TTs.
3.1. Illocutionary acts
As it happens in everyday conversation, the words uttered by
characters in literary works might bring with them a particu-
lar intention or perform a particular illocutionary act (Austin
1962, Searle 1969). This conveyed intention also needs to be
transferred into the TT in an attempt to achieve speech-act
equivalence (note 3) so that the writer’s intentions are fully
and faithfully passed on.
Hatim and Mason (1990) advocate that the translator needs to
aim at achieving illocutionary structure equivalence in the TT.
They claim that “[t]he interrrelationship of speech acts within
sequences leads to the notion of the illocutionary structure of
a text [...]” and that “[i]n translating, one aims not at matching
speech act for speech act but rather at achieving equivalence
of illocutionary structure” (1990: 77). They, then, acknowledge
Revista Estudios Ingleses 17 (2004)
14CONTENTS
the importance of the co-text in interpreting and transferring
the intentionality conveyed in the characters’ utterances.
In Daisy Miller speech acts might reveal much about single
characters and the relationships held among them. Equiva-
lent speech acts in the TT would faithfully reproduce those
relationships, would ensure the texture of the text and the
maintenance of the writer’s intended meaning.
Daisy Miller -a rather carefree American young girl visiting Eu-
rope in the company of her mother, her brother, and their cou-
rier- is rather rough in the ST when addressing her brother,
Randolph, even in the presence of a stranger, Winterbourne,
-Daisy’s counterpart, a ‘Europeanized’ American who, unlike
Daisy, sticks to social conventions and manners. Such rough-
ness can be interpreted as a cue of Daisy’s unconventionality
and lack of composure, something that puzzles Winterbourne
and scandalizes all other ‘Europeanized’ characters. As soon
as Daisy catches sight of her brother, who is conversing with
Winterbourne, she says:
ST 1 ‘Randolph’ said the young lady, ‘what are you doing?’
(51)
TTa 1 -Randolph -dijo la joven-, ¿qué estás haciendo? (13)
TTb 1 - Randolph -dijo la joven dama-, ¿qué estás haciendo?
(8)
A Pragmatic Approach to the Contrastive Analysis of a
Literary Work and Two of its Translations
Mª Pilar Mur Dueñas
15CONTENTS
TTa and TTb cannot be considered to perform the same
speech act as the ST. While Daisy is brusquely scolding her
brother in the ST (note the italics ‘are’ are not compensated
for), in the Spanish translations she seems to be just requiring
some information. So, it can be seen that the original inten-
tionality of Daisy’s words has not been maintained in TTa or
TTb. Daisy’s ST utterance can be considered a “face threat-
ening act” (FTA) (Brown and Levinson, 1987). Daisy is not
being cooperative in maintaining her brother’s face, which
should have been expected, as Winterbourne -still a complete
stranger for her- is with them. However, there are no signs of
such lack of cooperation in the Spanish translations, in which
the FTA does not ensue from the literal rendering of Daisy’s
question. If Daisy had asked her brother ‘¿Se puede saber
que estás haciendo?’, the FTA might have been kept and her
words in Spanish might have conveyed a more similar inten-
tion to that conveyed by her utterance in the original text.
Those FTAs continue along the passage:
ST 2 ‘Well, I guess you had better be quiet,’ she simply ob-
served. (51)
TTa 2 - Bueno, supongo que será mejor que te estés quieto.
(14)
TTb 2 - Bueno, supongo que sería mejor que te estuvieras cal-
lado. (8)
Revista Estudios Ingleses 17 (2004)
16CONTENTS
ST 3 ‘I should like to know where you got that pole,’ she said.
(52)
TTa 3 - Me gustaría saber de dónde has sacado ese palo -dijo.
(14)
TTb 3 - Me gustaría saber de dónde has sacado ese bastón -
dijo. (9)
It can be observed that in both examples TTa and TTb transla-
tors have opted for a very literal translation of Daisy’s words.
However, the TTs cannot be considered to entail an equiva-
lent pragmatic effect to that stemming from Daisy’s utterances
in the ST. In the case of example 2, the Spanish renderings do
not refl ect the mandatory force of the original. In this respect,
it can be said that the FTA is not so clearly retrievable in the
TTs. A more pragmatically equivalent -and probably more
natural- utterance would have been obtained, had the hedge
‘supongo que’ not been included. This can be explained tak-
ing into account the different ways in which politeness is
encoded in both languages. Whereas English tends to em-
ploy more negative politeness strategies, Spanish does not
require such smoothening strategies to commit a FTA (see
for instance Hickey, 1991 and Vázquez, 1995). While in ST 3
Daisy reprimands her brother for doing something he should
not have done, in TTa 3 and in TTb 3 it seems that she is just
inquiring him about the pole.
A Pragmatic Approach to the Contrastive Analysis of a
Literary Work and Two of its Translations
Mª Pilar Mur Dueñas
17CONTENTS
It is believed that not preserving those threatening acts im-
plies that Daisy’s fl outing of the prevailing social norms at the
time can hardly be inferred by TRs. As a result, the ‘illocution-
ary structure’ of this passage cannot be considered pragmati-
cally equivalent in the translations under analysis.
When Daisy boldly asks Winterbourne to go out with her in a
boat at night, her mother, -shocked- cannot but exclaim:
ST 4 ‘Well, Annie Miller!’ exclaimed her mother. (71)
And upon her daughter’s indecent insistence on her wish to
meet Winterbourne that night, she exclaims again:
ST 5 ‘Well!’ ejaculated the elder lady again.
Hatim (2000: 16) addresses the problem of the unit size in
analysing speech acts and he states that “a single act may
be realized by less than a sentence (“yes” for agreement)”. In
this case the sole word ‘Well!’ performs a speech act. Daisy’s
mother exclamations are intended to dissuade her daughter
from her scandalous idea or at least to show her disapproval
of it. In both cases she is completely ignored by her daughter,
which proves her inability to bring her up, as she is also un-
able to control her little son. It will be important to keep the
illocutionary force of these two utterances in the TT, since it
Revista Estudios Ingleses 17 (2004)
18CONTENTS
contributes to the characterization of Daisy’s mother and to
the understanding of the relationship between them.
TTa 4 -¡Bueno Annie Miller! -exclamó su madre. (45)
TTb 4 -¡Caramba Annie Miller! -exclamó su madre. (35)
TTa 5 -¡Bueno! -exclamó de nuevo la señora. (45)
TTb 5 -¡Caramba! -profirió de nuevo la dama mayor. (36)
The repetition is maintained in both texts but the pramatic in-
tention of Daisy’s mother’s utterances cannot be considered
equivalent. In the case of TTb, her exclamation shows sur-
prise rather than disapproval; she seems to imply that it is
the fi rst time her daughter acts in such a way. In the case of
TTa her exclamation is a rather empty one, her dissatisfaction
is not successfully communicated; the mother seems to be
just interrupting Winterbourne’s and Daisy’s rather passionate
conversation. The two exclamations chosen in the Spanish
translations do not perform an equivalent speech act to that
encoded in Daisy’s mother’s utterance, i.e. trying to discour-
age Daisy from her late night-project; the mother’s attempt
to keep the situation under control cannot be retrieved in the
Spanish translations. Other interjections such as ‘¡Pero bue-
no!’ or ‘¡¿Cómo?!’ might be considered more pragmatically
successful options.
A Pragmatic Approach to the Contrastive Analysis of a
Literary Work and Two of its Translations
Mª Pilar Mur Dueñas
19CONTENTS
It can be concluded that in most cases, a “residual”
approach (note 4) to translation will suffi ce to achieve equiv-
alent TT speech acts; that is, in most cases, when translating
literally the locution of a speech act, its intentionality ensues.
In some other cases, however, the intention lying behind some
of the characters’ utterances of is not so easily workable and/
or transferable. “When dealing with utterances whose illocu-
tionary force is rather indeterminate, the translator has to in-
fer the implicit intentionality which underlies the use of that
particular utterance in the context of the ST” (Pérez González
and Sánchez Macarro, 2000: 35). The translator, then, needs
to pay special attention in order to grasp the full communica-
tive force of the utterance and to try to create an equivalent
speech act in the TT, thus, rendering a faithful portrayal of
the characters and their interpersonal relations, enabling the
transference of the writer’s intended meaning and ensuring a
pragmatic equivalent effect for TRs.
3.2. Implicatures
“Implicatures are unstated propositions which lurk between
the lines of discourse” (Hatim, 1997: 117). It will be particu-
larly important in the transference of implicatures into a TL
(target language) to bear in mind the fact that “what is infer-
able or situationally evoked for a ST reader may not be so for
Revista Estudios Ingleses 17 (2004)
20CONTENTS
a TT reader. Operating in different cognitive environments,
ST and TT readers are not equally equipped for the task of
inferencing” (Hatim and Mason, 1990: 93).
Implicatures arise from the fl outing of one or several Gricean
maxims, which contribute to a cooperative communica-
tive act. However, when maxims are fl outed, the interaction
among participants can be maintained provided these can be
worked out by the participants (Grice, 1975). When translat-
ing a dialogue between characters, then, translators have to
make sure that the implicatures can also be worked out by the
TRs. Otherwise, that interaction might not make sense for the
new readership.
Winterbourne and his aunt, Mrs Costello, are conversing
about Winterbourne’s lately pensiveness, which -according to
his aunt- is due to his constant thinking:
ST 6 ‘Of that young lady’s, Miss Baker’s, Miss Chandler’s -
what’s her name?- Miss Miller’s intrigue with that little
barber’s block.’ (103)
TTa 6 - En esa chica, Miss Baker, o Miss Chandler... ¿cómo se
llama? Miss Miller y su intriga con ese aprendiz de bar-
bero. (93)
TTb 6 - De algo en relación a esa joven dama, sobre la intriga
de la señorita Baker, Chandler...¿cómo se llama?, de la
señorita Miller y ese aprendiz de barbero. (77)
A Pragmatic Approach to the Contrastive Analysis of a
Literary Work and Two of its Translations
Mª Pilar Mur Dueñas
21CONTENTS
Daisy’s surname, Miller, hints at her father’s trade and sim-
bolizes how he made his fortune. Mrs Costello disapproves
of nouveau riches such as Daisy’s family, which can be in-
ferred from the above ironical statement. Neither in TTa nor in
TTb can this implicature be worked out, since the names have
been left in English and no explanation has been provided.
The Spanish readers will probably not know the meaning of
the words ‘Baker’, ‘Chandler’ or ‘Miller’, therefore, they will
hardly be able to infer Mrs Costello’s critique of Daisy’s family.
As Baker (1992: 229) puts it: “[i]f we do not understand the
meanings of the words and structures used in a text, we can-
not work out its implied meanings”.
It is worth noting that this implicature is explicitly comment-
ed upon in the following ST note: “Mrs Costello probably re-
members Daisy’s surname perfectly well; she is deliberately
sneering at her social origins” (124). Although that implicit in-
formation could be easily inferred by a contemporary English
reader, some explicitation has been judged convenient in the
British edition. No such explicitation, however, appears in the
translations under analysis, even though a Spanish reader
would have been more likely to require it.
Mrs Costello fl outs the Gricean maxim of Quantity and Manner
in her utterance. However, the conversation with her nephew
Revista Estudios Ingleses 17 (2004)
22CONTENTS
has not failed because he has inferred the implied judgment
made by his aunt, although he has preferred not to comment
on it. In the Spanish translations -even though the implicature
is doubtfully workable- the interaction between both charac-
ters can be followed since the implicature does not affect the
ow of their conversation.
By using the expression a ‘barber’s block’ (a stand on which
wigs are shown), Mrs Costello is implying that Giovanelli,
Daisy’s gallant during her stay in Rome, “is just a handsome
face” as the ST note explains (124). The Spanish translators
have not appropriately interpreted Mrs Costello second part
of her utterance, giving way to a mistranslation. The original
implicature can no longer be worked out and, in turn, a feature
is attached to this character which did not appear in the origi-
nal. A “communicative clue” (note 5) is included that was not
found in the original, thus, leading the TRs to an interpretation
not intended in the original (Gutt, 2000b). Translators have to
be particularly attentive when dealing with implicatures since
“s/he may even inadvertently give rise to other interpretations
which are not derivable from the original text” (Baker, 1992:
228) -as this example shows.
Not only is it impossible to have access in the TTs to some
meaningful features about the characters through Mrs Cos-
A Pragmatic Approach to the Contrastive Analysis of a
Literary Work and Two of its Translations
Mª Pilar Mur Dueñas
23CONTENTS
tello’s comment, but also her wittiness and meanness are not
retrievable for the TTs readers.
Towards the end of the short story Winterbourne interrupts
Daisy and Giovanelli’s imprudent and doom-laden visit to the
Colosseum by moonlight. Upon Daisy’s enquiry on his thought
about her possible engagement to Giovanelly, Winterbourne
resentfully answers her:
ST 7 ‘I believe it makes very little difference whether you are
engaged or not.’ (113)
To which Daisy answers:
ST 8 ‘I don’t care, ’ said Daisy, in a little strange tone, ‘whether
I have Roman fever or not!’ (113)
Her words in the ST echo those of Winterbourne. This paral-
lelism allows the SR to infer Daisy’s implicit statement (i.e.
now that you, Winterbourne, no longer care about me, it is the
same for me to live or die). It can be inferred from this state-
ment that what causes Daisy’s death is not only her disease
but also, and most signifi cantly, Winterbourne’s ultimate lack
of interest in her. This meaningful parallelism has not been
maintained in TTa or Ttb:
TTa 7 - No creo que el que esté usted prometida o no sea muy
importante. (108)
Revista Estudios Ingleses 17 (2004)
24CONTENTS
TTa 8 - Poco me importa -dijo Daisy con un extraño tono de voz
-coger o no la fiebre romana! (109)
TTb 7 -¡Creo que da lo mismo que esté prometida o no! (89)
TTb 8 - No me importa -contestó Daisy, con un tono extraño-caer
enferma o no de fiebre romana. (90)
On the contrary, the translators appear to have purposefully
sought two different formulations of the binary oppositions. As
a result, Daisy’s implied meaning cannot be so easily grasped
neither by Winterbourne nor by the TT readers, which brings
about further consequences for the overall interpretation of
the story.
During their fi rst encounter, Daisy and Winterbourne refer to
the Château de Chillon in different terms:
ST 9 ‘[…] he says he doesn’t think much of old castles. […]
‘Your brother is not interested in ancient monuments?’
Winterbourne inquired, smiling. (58)
‘He says he don’t care much about old castles. […] (59)
Whereas Winterbourne describes the castle as ‘an ancient
monument’, Daisy describes it as ‘old’, which denotes her
lack of knowledge and culture; an argument which is later on
used by Winterbourne to defend the vulgarity and innocence
his aunt accuses Daisy of. Such an implicature can solely be
A Pragmatic Approach to the Contrastive Analysis of a
Literary Work and Two of its Translations
Mª Pilar Mur Dueñas
25CONTENTS
triggered by the TT readers if such a distinction in the use of
adjectives is retained, which only happens in Ttb:
TTa 9 - […] dice que los castillos antiguos no le dicen nada.
[…]
- ¿A su hermano no le interesan los monumentos antigu-
os? -inquirió Winterbourne sonriendo.
-Dice que los viejos castillos no le interesan. […] (25)
TTb 9 - […] Dice que los viejos castillos son cosas sin importan-
cia […]
- ¿No le interesan los monumentos antiguos a su her-
mano? -preguntó Winterbourne, con una sonrisa.
-Dice que los viejos castillos no le atraen. […] (18)
As Daisy is walking around The Pincian Gardens accompa-
nied by two men, Winterbourne and Giovanelli, Mrs Walker
-an acquaintance of both Winterbourne and Daisy- appears in
search of Daisy in the belief that she is acting in a completely
indecorous way. Upon this Winterbourne makes the following
remark:
ST 10 ‘I think it’s a pity to make too much fuss about it.’ (90)
To which Mrs Walker angrily replies:
ST 11 ‘It’s a pity to let the girl ruin herself!’ (91)
Mrs Walker repetition of Winterbourne’s words show her dis-
approval not only of what Daisy is doing but also of what he is
Revista Estudios Ingleses 17 (2004)
26CONTENTS
doing and about his lack of concern about social conventions.
However, the two translations into Spanish -almost identical-
have not kept this parallelism, thus, Mrs Walker’s implicit as-
sessment of Winterbourne’s acts and attitude cannot be so
easily recoverable:
TTa 10 - Creo que no vale la pena darle tanta importancia al
asunto. (75)
TTa 11 - ¡Es una lástima dejar que esa muchacha se pierda!
(75)
TTb 10 - Creo que no vale la pena darle tanta importancia al
asunto. (61)
TTb 11 - ¡Es una lástima dejar que esa muchacha se arruine!
(61)
It appears that both translators have tried again to avoid repe-
tition by turning to two different expressions in Spanish, which
proves to be unsuccessful here since Mrs Walker implicature
is less likely elicited by the TT readers.
The examples above show that “literary communication” im-
plicatures deserve careful treatment in translation since they
might become indecipherable for a TR, go unnoticed for the
translator or be wrongly interpreted, bringing about unintend-
ed interpretations in the TT. The harshness with which Daisy
addresses her brother, Mrs Miller’s interjections, Mrs Cos-
A Pragmatic Approach to the Contrastive Analysis of a
Literary Work and Two of its Translations
Mª Pilar Mur Dueñas
27CONTENTS
tello’s apparent “forgetfulness” of Daisy’s surname and her
characterization of Giovanelly, the parallelism of Daisy’s and
Mrs Costello’s retorts with Winterbourne’s statement can be
considered “communicative clues” for the interpretation of the
original as intended by Henry James. As has been shown, the
Spanish translators have not successfully transferred those
communicative clues as the inferences that can be drawn by
the SRs from them cannot be considered equivalent to those
that will possibly be drawn by the TRs of both translations.
Therefore, the latter cannot be considered to be appropriately
guided to the intended interpretation of the original.
For a successful translation of implicatures the translator
ought to carefully read the text in search of unstated proposi-
tional meanings or “incidentaly-transferred information” (Gutt,
2000b: 152)] and to constantly match the ST readers’ against
the TT readers’ contextual backgrounds and inferencing ca-
pacities because “the message may run the risk of not being
understood, much less enjoyed, if it is a literary text, when a
great number of presuppositions and implications conveyed in
the passage are lost or misinterpreted” (Alcaraz, 1996: 109).
4. Concluding remarks
It has been my intention in this paper to show that a pragmatic
analysis in the ST is necessary to get a thorough understand-
Revista Estudios Ingleses 17 (2004)
28CONTENTS
ing of it and that bearing in mind the potential TRs and their
socio-cultural context is essential to produce a TT that keeps
the writer’s intended meaning and allows TRs to grasp the in-
tended interpretation. Even though the analysis has revolved
around the translation of the characters’ illocutionary acts and
implicatures, other pragmatic notions such as face threaten-
ing acts, linguistic politeness and Gricean maxims have en-
tered the discussion when considered relevant. Some signifi -
cant examples of ST indirect speech acts and implicatures
have been included and compared to their TT renderings. It
has been shown that in most cases neither TTa nor TTb offer
successful solutions to these complex questions. They cannot
be considered to purvey equivalent verbal interactions among
the characters of the story and consequently TRs can hardly
retrieve the writer’s intended meaning and interpretation. A
more careful pragmatic interpretation of the original text to-
gether with a constant awareness of the likely readership of
the translation in Spanish, its socio-cultural context and its
inference capacity may have led to more appropriate solu-
tions, giving way to a more equivalent TT that would allow the
preservation of possible responses on the part of the target
readers, thus, not limiting their dynamic role (Hatim and Ma-
son, 1990: 11).
A Pragmatic Approach to the Contrastive Analysis of a
Literary Work and Two of its Translations
Mª Pilar Mur Dueñas
29CONTENTS
It is suggested here that a close study of the pragmatics in
the ST would allow the translator to discern certain writer’s
intended meanings and interpretations. This, combined with
a close study of the pragmatics of the TT, would ensure more
accurate decisions on the part of the translator.
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Gutt, Ernest-August (2000a): “Issues of translation research in the in-
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Mª Pilar Mur Dueñas
31CONTENTS
James, Henry (1986): Daisy Miller. Harmondsworth: Penguin Clas-
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Revista Estudios Ingleses 17 (2004)
32CONTENTS
1. I would like to thank Dr. Rosa Lorés Sanz for her enlightening com-
ments and suggestions as well as for her constant support. Needless
to say should there be any errors or inaccuracies, I am the only re-
ponsible. I am also indebted to the Spanish Ministerio de Educación,
Cultura y Deporte as the writing of this paper was carried out while
holding a scholarship from the said institution.
2. Daisy Miller, 1990 Ediciones Aguilar, republished in 2002 in Suma
de Letras and Daisy Miller, 1997 Edicomunicacón S.A.
3. Speech-act equivalence can be said to have been achieved when
the target text says, does and achieves approximately the same as the
source text did (Hickey, 2001: 50).
4. “‘Residual’ translation is straightforward, simple, even simplistic, lo-
cution-centred translation, which is usually effective when the locution
of the source text is capable of carrying with it the illocution and the
perlocution just as soon as the locution is translated” (Hickey, 2001:
56).
5. “‘[C]ommunicative clues’ are abstractions from the actual linguistic
properties of the text and may need to be provided by very different
linguistic means in the receptor language. ‘Communicative clues’ can
be identifi ed only by reference to the role they play in guiding the audi-
ence towards the intended interpretation, not by straightforward struc-
tural or text-linguistic comparisons” (Gutt, 2000a: 169-170).
Article
تنطلق هذه الدراسة من الفرضیة القائلة بأن فعل الترجمة التواصلی یستدعی اللجوء الى منهج التوسع/ الإضافة. فإن نقل الرسائل عبر اللغات من خلال الترجمة خاصة الرسائل الأدبیة یتطلب الإضافة من أجل ضمان مقبولیة هذه الرسائل لدى المتلقی. المشکلة التی تحاول هذه الدراسة تشخیصها هی مسألة فهم الوحدات الترجمیة الغامضة أو غیر الواضحة لدى القارئ العربی. وتتبنى الدراسة فکرة التوسع البراکماتی التی جاءت بها کلاودی سنة 1998 إذ ترى من خلالها أن ما یعد معرفة عامة فی لغة بعینها قد ینظر إلیه بأنه ذو خصوصیة ثقافیة فی لغات أخرى. ولأجل التحقق من نجاعة منهج التوسع/الإضافة جرى تحلیل ثلاث قصص قصیرة انکلیزیة ترجمتها إلى العربیة هالة صلاح الدین محررة مجلة البوتقة الالکترونیة التی تصدر کل أربعة أشهر. وتوصلت الدراسة إلى أن التعاطی مع سمة الخصوصیة الثقافیة وبلوغ رضا القاریء یستدعی توظیف منهج التوسع/ الإضافة.
Article
While the literature on either contrastive linguistics or discourse analysis has grown immensely in the last twenty years, very little of it has ventured into fusing the two perspectives. Bearing in mind that doing discourse analysis without a contrastive base is as incomplete as doing contrastive analysis without a discourse base, the specific aim of this book is to argue that translation can add depth and breadth to both contrastive linguistics as well as to discourse analysis. Authentic data from both spoken and written English is used throughout to add clarity to theoretical insights gained from the study of discourse processing. Each aspect of the model proposed for the analysis of texts is related separately to a problem of language processing and in domains as varied as translation, interpreting, language teaching etc. The global objectives pursued in this volume are the training of future linguists and the sensitization of users of language in general to the realities of discourse.
Translation and pragmatics
  • Enrique Alcaraz
Alcaraz, Enrique (1996): "Translation and pragmatics". In Álvarez, R. and A. Vidal, eds., Translation, Power, Subversion. Clevendon: Multilingual Matters, 99-115.
Traducción y cultura: de la ideología al texto
  • Carbonell I Cortés
  • Ovidio
Carbonell i Cortés, Ovidio (1998): Traducción y cultura: de la ideología al texto. Salamanca: Ediciones Colegio de España.
Issues of translation research in the inferential paradigm of communication InterculCONTENTS tural Faultlines: Research Models in Translation Studies. I. Textual and Cognitive Studies
  • Ernest-August Gutt
Gutt, Ernest-August (2000a): "Issues of translation research in the inferential paradigm of communication". In M. Olohan, ed., InterculCONTENTS tural Faultlines: Research Models in Translation Studies. I. Textual and Cognitive Studies. Manchester: St. Jerome Publishing, 161180.
How does the writer of a dramatic text interact with his audiences?: On the pragmatics of literary communication
  • Ernest Hess-Lüttich
Hess-Lüttich, Ernest (1991): "How does the writer of a dramatic text interact with his audiences?: On the pragmatics of literary communication". In R. Sell, ed., Literary Pragmatics. London: Routledge, 225-241.