Teaching Translation Theory outside Europe: Historical Specificity Versus Universal Applicability

St. André, James (2015) Teaching Translation Theory outside Europe: Historical Specificity Versus Universal Applicability. Journal of Foreign Language Teaching and Applied Linguistics, 2 (1). ISSN 2303-5528

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While teaching first in Singapore and now in Manchester, it has come to my attention that there are certain difficulties in teaching translation theory either outside of Europe or, in Europe, to students from outside of Europe who come here to study. This paper concentrates on the role of examples in theoretical works, the problems they pose in teaching theory and the implications for universalism in translation studies. I draw on Edward Said’s discussion of travelling theory, post-colonial critiques of the hegemonic role of English, and skopos theory to propose two courses of action to help overcome the problem: first, the incorporation of the translation of theoretical material both from and into European languages as part of practical postgraduate training; and second, the use of a radical substitution policy for examples, with new examples centred around the target language, rather than preservation of the original examples, which are centred around the source-language. Using the example of China, I will demonstrate how these two strategies push us to reconsider how we approach teaching theory. Firstly, the translation of Chinese theoretical texts into English will allow for a deeper appreciation of writings in Chinese and their wider dissemination. Secondly, the search for examples which involve the target language should lead to an engagement between the target culture and the theory. Translating Vinay and Darbelnet’s path breaking essay on translation processes, for example, immediately raises the question of what exactly is meant by ‘borrowing’ in the Chinese context, and for the need to distinguish between retaining the use of the roman alphabet and transliteration using Chinese characters, a distinction that would never arise between French, English and German. Keywords: translation theory, examples, Chinese

Item Type: Article
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: J-FLTAL
Depositing User: Alma Milisic
Date Deposited: 25 Dec 2014 10:45
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2016 15:45
URI: http://eprints.ibu.edu.ba/id/eprint/2790

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