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13 October 2009

Text and Translation - Implications for Teaching

Prof. Kirsten Refsing

Date: October 13, 2009 (Tue)
Location: Room KKLG 106, KK Leung Building
Time: 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM

The first step in all translation is the translator’s confrontation with the text that has to be translated, i.e. the source text. Translators have the specific task of delivering a finished product, i.e. a target text, which has to function in its own right and independently of the source text. Since texts are thus both the input and the output of the translation process, it seems reasonable to define the text as the basic unit of translation.

The focus in this lecture will be on two crucial perspectives for comprehending the relation between text and translation: the concept of a text as a coherent linguistic unit, and the perception of a text as a mental representation. The speaker shall address the internal linguistic coherence (the “textuality”) of texts, which must exist in every text for it to be understood. Coherence is created “globally”, in the sense that every text should serve a global communicative intention while at the same time be internally linked by thematic, pragmatic and semantic coherence.

A translator needs to be aware of differences in the ways that different languages (in case: Japanese and English), express coherence. Awareness of principles for how texts in general are constructed is important, but understanding what a particular text intends to convey is absolutely indispensable when translating it.

Japanese Studies HKU