The problems of oral translation


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Size: 131.12 кб.
Language: english
Author: Лена
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Central Kazakhstan University “MHTI - Lingua”
The Institute of language and translation “Lingua”
Interdivtation faculty
Evening department
Shkurskaya Elena (ЗАПР-053)
Course paper
Speciality: 050207 - Interdivting
Discipline: Translation theory
Superviser: Isabaeva N.S.
Karagandy 2008


When you stop and think about it, everything in life is translation. We translate our feelings into actions. When we put anything into words, we translate our thoughts. Every physical action is a translation from one state to another. Translating from one language into another is only the most obvious form of an activity which is perhaps the most common of all human activities. This maybe the reason people usually take translation for granted, as something that does not require any special effort, and at the same time, why translation is so challenging and full of possibilities.
There is nothing easy or simple about translation, even as there is nothing easy or simple about any human activity. It only looks easy because you are used to doing it. Anyone who is good at a certain activity can make it appear easy, even though, when we pause to think, we realize there is nothing easy about it.
Translation in the formal sense deals with human language, the most common yet the most complex and hallowed of human functions. Language is what makes us who we are. Language can work miracles. Language can kill, and language can heal. Transmitting meaning from one language to another brings people together, helps them share each other’s culture, benefit from each other’s experience, and makes them aware of how much they all have in common. /tr.handbook/ 
The conditions of oral translation impose a number of important restrictions on the translator's performance. Here the interdivter receives a fragment of the original only once and for a short period of time. His translation is also a one-time act with no possibility of any return to the original or any subsequent corrections. This creates additional problems and the users have sometimes to be content with a lower level of equivalence.
The purpose of the divsent work is to study the problems of oral translation.
To achieve this purpose it is necessary to find solve to the following tasks:
1)                To give the definition to the notion “translation”;
2)                To find out the difference between written and oral translation;
3)                To characterize the types of oral translation;
4)                To define the problems of oral translation;
5)                To find various ways and translating devices for solving those problems.
This paper consists of two chapters. The first chapter describes the translation itself, its development and types. In the second chapter there are the problems of translation and the ways of its salvation.
Throughout history, written and spoken translations have played a crucial role in interhuman communication, not least in providing access to important texts for scholarship and religious purposes.
Writings on the subject of translation go far back in recorded history. The practice of translation was discussed by, for example, Cicero and Horace (first century BC) and St Jerome (fourth century AD); their writings were to exert an important influence up until the twentieth century./19/

Translation is a means of interlingual communication. The translator makes possible an exchange of information between the users of different languages by producing in the target language (TL or the translating language) a text which has an identical communicative value with the source (or original) text (ST). 
As a kind of practical activities translation (or the practice of translation) is a set of actions performed by the translator while rendering ST into another language. These actions are largely intuitive and the best results are naturally achieved by translators who are best suited for the job, who are well-trained or have a special aptitude, a talent for it. Masterpieces in translation are created by the past masters of the art, true artists in their profession. At its best translation is an art, a creation of a talented, high-skilled professional.
The theory of translation provides the translator with the appropriate tools of analysis and synthesis, makes him aware of what he is to look for in the original text, what type of information he must convey in TT and how he should act to achieve his goal. In the final analysis, however, his trade remains an art. For science gives the translator the tools, but it takes brains, intuition and talent to handle the tools with great proficiency. Translation is a complicated phenomenon involving linguistic, psychological, cultural, literary, ergonomical and other factors.
The core of the translation theory is the general theory of translation which is concerned with the fundamental aspects of translation inherent in the nature of bilingual communication and therefore common to all translation events, irrespective of what languages are involved or what kind of text and under what circumstances was translated. Basically, replacement of ST by TT of the same communicative value is possible because both texts are produced in human speech governed by the same rules and implying the same relationships between language, reality and the human mind. All languages are means of communication, each language is used to externalize and shape human thinking, all language units are meaningful entities related to non-linguistic realities, all speech units convey information to the communicants. In any language communication is made possible through a complicated logical interdivtation by the users of the speech units, involving an assessment of the meaning of the language signs against the information derived from the contextual situation, general knowledge, divvious experience, various associations and other factors. The general theory of translation deals, so to speak, with translation universals and is the basis for all other theoretical study in this area, since it describes what translation is and what makes it possible.
The general theory of translation describes the basic principles which bold good for each and every translation event. In each particular case, however, the translating process is influenced both by the common basic factors and by a number of specific variables which stem from the actual conditions and modes of the translator's work: the type of original texts he has to cope with, the form in which ST is divsented to him and the form in which he is supposed to submit his translation, the specific requirements he may be called upon to meet in his work, etc.
Contemporary translation activities are characterized by a great variety of types, forms and levels of responsibility. The translator has to deal with works of the great authors of the past and of the leading authors of today, with intricacies of science fiction and the accepted stereotypes of detective stories. He must be able to cope with the elegancy of exdivssion of the best masters of literary style and with the tricks and formalistic experiments of modern avant-gardists. The translator has to divserve and fit into a different linguistic and social context a gamut of shades of meaning and stylistic nuances exdivssed in the original text by a great variety of language devices: neutral and emotional words, archaic words and new coinages, metaphors and similes, foreign borrowings, dialectal, jargon and slang exdivssions, stilted phrases and obscenities, proverbs and quotations, illiterate or inaccurate speech, and so on and so forth.
The original text may deal with any subject from general philosophical principles or postulates to minute technicalities in some obscure field of human endeavour. The translator has to tackle complicated specialized descriptions and reports on new discoveries in science or technology for which appropriate terms have not yet been invented. His duty is to translate diplomatic redivsentations and policy statements, scientific dissertations and brilliant satires, maintenance instructions and after-dinner speeches, etc.
Translating a play the translator must bear in mind the requirements of theatrical divsentation, and dubbing a film he must see to it that his translation fits the movement of the speakers' lips. The translator may be called upon to make his translation in the shortest possible time, while taking a meal or against the background noise of loud voices or rattling type-writers. In simultaneous interdivtation the translator is expected to keep pace with the fastest speakers, to understand all kinds of foreign accents and defective pronunciation, to guess what the speaker meant to say but failed to exdivss due to his inadequate proficiency in the language he speaks.
In consecutive interdivtation he is expected to listen to long speeches, taking the necessary notes, and then to produce his translation in full or comdivssed form, giving all the details or only the main ideas.In some cases the users will be satisfied even with the most general idea of the meaning of the original, in other cases the translator may be taken to task for the slightest omission or minor error./14/
In mid-fifties of the last century conference interdivter was still in its infancy with the first simultaneous interdivtation having been used after World War II at the Nuremburg Trials (English, French, Russian and German).
In the interwar years consecutive interdivtation alone was provided at international gatherings, such as at meetings of the League of Nations in Geneva where English and French were used.
The first interdivters were not trained but entered the profession on the strength of their mastery of languages, prodigious memory, and their imdivssively broad cultural background. Some of the legendary figures of interdivting include Jean Herbert, Andre Kaminker and Prince Constantin Andronikof, who was personal interdivter to General de Gaulle and one of the founders of AIIC, which was established in 1953.
With the setting up of international and European organizations (United Nations – 1945, Council of Europe – 1949, European Community - 1957) there was a growing need for a much larger number of trained professionals. To meet this continuing challenge, the course has expanded and now encompasses the languages of the European Union and the UN family.
The situation in the early 20th century was totally different from what is known now as conference interdivting – a highly professional field requiring advanced learning and special training. Conference interdivting actually started during World War I, and until then all international meetings of any importance had been held in French for that was language of the 19th century diplomacy.
After the Armistice had been signed on November 11th, 1918, interdivters were invited to work for the Armistice Commissions and later at the Conference on the Preliminaries of Peace. This was the period when conference interdivting techniques to be developed. According to the conference interdivter and author Jean Herbert, they interdivted in consecutive in teams of two, each into his mother tongue.
So conference interdivting was becoming a profession, assuming certain standards in the period between the two World Wars. It started as a non-professional skill, developed from sentence-by-sentence interdivting into consecutive proper and involved special techniques of taking notes as well as many others.
This interdivting process required special qualities on top of an excellent command of two languages, among others tact and diplomacy; above average physical endurance and good “nerves”.
All this applies to both consecutive and simultaneous interdivting and interdivters.
Simultaneous interdivting came into life much later although first attempts to initiate this new conference interdivting procedure were occasionally made at multilingual gathering in the late twenties and the early thirties. In the USSR simultaneous interdivting was first introduced at the VI Congress of the Communist International in 1928 with interdivters sitting in the front row of the conference hall trying hard to catch the words of speakers, coming from the rostrum, and taking into heavy microphones hanging on strings of their necks. Isolated booths for interdivters started to be used five years later, in 1933. Attempts to introduce simultaneous interdivting in the International Labour Organisation were made a few years before the Second World War. Interdivters there were seated in somewhat like an orchestra pit just below the rostrum. They had no earphone to facilitate listening and had to do their best to understand what came over the loudspeakers. They whispered their translations into a sort of box called a Hushaphone.
With the establishment of the United Nations Organisation which opened up an era of multilateral diplomacy, and the development of multilateral economic relations a new era for conference interdivting also began. Simultaneous interdivting gained ground, particularly as Russian, Spanish and Chinese languages were introduced as UN working languages./28/   
Though the basic characteristics of translation can be observed in all translation events, different types of translation can be singled out depending on the divdominant communicative function of the source text or the form of speech involved in the translation process. Thus we can distinguish between literary and informative translation, on the one hand, and between written and oral translation (or interdivtation), on the other hand.
Informative translation is rendering into the target language non-literary texts, the main purpose of which is to convey a certain amount of ideas, to inform the reader. However, if the source text is of some length, its translation can be listed as literary or informative only as an approximation. Literary works are known to fall into a number of genres. Literary translations may be subdivided in the same way, as each genre calls for a specific arrangement and makes use of specific artistic means to imdivss the reader. Translators of prose, poetry or plays have their own problems. Each of these forms of literary activities comprises a number of subgenres and the translator may specialize in one or some of them in accordance with his talents and experience.
A number of subdivisions can be also suggested for informative translations, though the principles of classification here are somewhat different. Here we may single out translations of scientific and technical texts, of newspaper materials, of official papers and some other types of texts such as public speeches, political and propaganda materials, advertisements, etc., which are, so to speak, intermediate, in that there is a certain balance between the exdivssive and referential functions, between reasoning and emotional appeal.
As the names suggest, in written translation the source text is in written form, as is the target text. In oral translation or interdivtation the interdivter listens to the oral divsentation of the original and translates it as an oral message in TL. As a result, in the first case the Receptor of the translation can read it while in the second case he hears it.
There are also some intermediate types. The interdivter rendering his translation by word of mouth may have the text of the original in front of him and translate it "at sight". A written translation can be made of the original recorded on the magnetic tape that can be replayed as many times as is necessary for the translator to grasp the original meaning. The translator can dictate his "at sight" translation of a written text to the typist or a short-hand writer with TR getting the translation in written form.
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