T.C. SELÇUK ÜNİVERSİTESİ SOSYAL BİLİMLER ENSTİTÜSÜ İNGİLİZ DİLİ VE EDEBİYATI ANABİLİM DALI TRANSLATION PROCESS: TRANSFERRING CULTURE OR ADAPTATION

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1 T.C. SELÇUK ÜNİVERSİTESİ SOSYAL BİLİMLER ENSTİTÜSÜ İNGİLİZ DİLİ VE EDEBİYATI ANABİLİM DALI TRANSLATION PROCESS: TRANSFERRING CULTURE OR ADAPTATION Muhammet ÖZKUL YÜKSEK LİSANS TEZİ Danışman Yrd. Doç. Dr. Yağmur KÜÇÜKBEZİRCİ Konya

2 I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and thanks to; My dear supervisor Asst. Prof. Dr. Yağmur Küçükbezirci for his patience, kindness and helpful approach in my graduation thesis. Whatever studied in this thesis would have been shortcoming if he didn t help me with his invaluable patience, knowledge and experience. Not only the sources he had provided me but also his motivating attitude played an important role in this study; My teacher Asst. Prof. Dr. Gülbün Onur for sharing her immense knowledge and experiences during her lectures we attended; Asst. Prof. Dr. Sema Zafer Sümer who has always enlightened us about the American Literature and made us love it with her precious knowledge and comments; My parents Iraz and Orhan Özkul for their everlasting motivation and support. And my special thanks go to my adorable daughter Aya Defne Özkul for the lovely and precious time she spent with me between my study sessions. i

3 ÖZET Bu çalışma çevirinin bir kültür transferi mi yoksa bir adaptasyon mu olduğu sorusuna cevap bulmayı amaçlamaktadır. Öncelikle çeviri sürecinin tanımı yapılmak suretiyle, çeviri sürecinin nasıl işlediği, iyi bir çevirmenin nelere dikkat etmesi, hangi özelliklere sahip olması gerektiği ve iyi bir çeviri yapabilmek için nelere dikkat edilmesi gerektiği ele alınmıştır. Çeviri süreci boyunca kullanılan çeviri metotları ele alınmış ve özellikle çeviri sürecinde en fazla kullanılan iki çeviri metodu olan Anlamsal Çeviri Metodu ve İletişimsel Çeviri Metodu bir kez daha kıyaslanarak aralarındaki farklar incelenmiştir. Atasözleri, deyimler, şiirler ve romanlar gibi farklı edebi türlerden orijinal metinler ve bu metinlerin farklı çevirmenler tarafından yapılmış tercümeleri incelenerek aralarındaki anlamsal ve yapısal farklılıklarla beraber orijinal metindeki kültürel unsurların çeviri sürecinde nasıl ele alındıkları değerlendirilmiştir. Küreselleşen dünyada vazgeçilmez bir unsur olan medya ve multimedya tarafından kültürel unsurların bazılarının neler olduğu ve nasıl aktarıldığı ele alınmıştır. Son olarak yapılan çalışmalar özetlenmiş netice olarak nasıl bir çıkarımda bulunulduğu açıklanmıştır. ii

4 ABSTRACT This study aims to find an answer for the question asking whether the translation is a cultural transfer or adaptation. First of all by defining and understanding the translation process, how this process works, what kind of qualities must a good translator have and during the translation process which details a translator must be careful about and which facts he/she must take into consideration are explained. Translation methods which are used during the translation process are explained. And especially two important and most commonly used methods, semantic translation method and communicative translation method are explained one more time in a contrastive way and the differences between these two methods are studied. Original texts and their translations by different translators in different literary types like proverbs, idioms, poems and novels have been studied according to semantic and syntactic differences besides the translation of the cultural details. As an undoubted fact of the world which is becoming more global, some of the cultural details and their translations in media and multimedia are evaluated. At last the study is concluded and the results of the study are evaluated. iii

5 FOREWORD Culture and language has a very close relation and as a result of this close relation through the history there are lots of cultural details in a language. The most important feature and the most valuable works of art of a language are literary works which without any doubt have lots of cultural figures inside. And most of these works have been translated to other languages as a result of international affairs and relations. In this study we are going to understand the translation process and we are going to evaluate different points of view from different theorists. Of course in a translation there are many methods to be applied by a translator. These methods have been used and improved through the history and we are going to study and understand these methods especially the most common ones. At every profession there are some criteria for the professionals and the profession. Even in the history there may be examples of translators, who do the translation as a hobby, but most of the translators do the translation as a profession. In this respect we are going to study the criteria and the qualities of a good translator and translation. Literary works, as they have lots of cultural items inside are going to be evaluated in this study. For idioms and proverbs there are not many versions of translations but especially poems and novels have versions. We are going to evaluate different translations of these poems and novels from different translators. Through the history and the translations, as there are so many cultural details inside, a question arises in our minds; is translation process, an adaptation or a cultural transfer? We are going to try to find out the answer of this question in our study and we are going to support the answer with the examples. iv

6 TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENT... i ÖZET... ii ABSTRACT... iii FOREWORD... iv TABLE OF CONTENTS...v CHAPTER I 1.1. Background and Goal of the Study Statement of the Methodological Procedure Statement of Research Questions The Concise Layout of the Study... 4 CHAPTER II 2. DEFINITION OF TRANSLATION...5 CHAPTER III 3. TRANSLATION METHODS Word-for-word translation Literal translation Faithful translation Free translation Adaptation Semantic translation Communicative translation v

7 CHAPTER IV 4. CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD TRANSLATION...11 CHAPTER V 5. SEMANTIC AND COMMUNICATIVE TRANSLATION METHODS Idioms Proverbs Poems Novels Multimedia and Media CONCLUSION...98 BIBLIOGRAPHY APPENDIX vi

8 CHAPTER I 1.1. Background and Goal of the Study Translation is an important bridge between the nations and cultures. For thousands of years people needed to understand each other even though they are from different nations and cultures as a result of travel, trade, international relations and etc. This need and desire of the people created the translation with translators. Translation, whoever is translating, is a hard job because of the differences between the languages and cultures. Translation is not only done by professionals for professional purposes but also teachers, academicians, engineers, students and etc. also need translation sometimes and for different purposes. So, to understand the process of translation and as a result of this, understanding and studying the methods which are going to be used during this process is also important. During the translation process, the capability of the translator is important. A translator has to be able to analyse and know himself/herself. In this respect if he/she is not capable enough he/she has to get help from different professionals like historians, anthropologists and etc. Of course the purpose of the translation is also important during the translation process. The purpose of the translation either sets the translator freer or restricts. Although there are many issues to be careful about, a translator always has to be careful about the purpose of the translation at the same time. Also a translator s background of knowledge of language and culture is also important during the translation process. Sometimes even the gender of the translation can affect the translation. The environment, topography, religion, customs, habits and etc are all affective during the translation process. The differences of the languages are also an important fact during the translation process. There may be some syntactic and semantic differences during the 1

9 translation. The translator has to solve this ambiguity also during the translation process. Culture and cultural items in a translation are also a big problem for a translator. The choices done by the translator will without any doubt, affect the translation process. Nearly in every written works of art there are cultural items or influences. During the translation the translator must give a decision about them. He can omit them, make an explanation in parenthesis or give an explanation by a footnote. If it is possible he/she can adapt them. Which is going to be the best decision? In this respect this study aims to define the translation and the translation process from different points of views. The problems of the translation and in what way the translator has to bare and come over them. Also what kind of qualities he/she must have is another subject in this work. Besides all, the close relation of culture and translation is analysed in different literary types with the translations of different translators. As a result, this study aims to show the relation of culture and translation through the translations of different translators. To analyse, criticise and compare their choices with the cultural items in their translation will be another subject of this study Statement of the Methodological Procedure The following methodological procedure is followed in this study. The definition of the translation from different points of views is analysed and the definition of the translation is explained. Also the theories and the methods of translation are studied. The most common and appropriate two methods are compared. 2

10 Literary works of art which have been translated by different translators are analysed. While analysing these works of art, first all of the texts are read and understood carefully. In the light of information gathered before, the texts and the cultural items are evaluated according to their sentences, over-translations, undertranslations, omitted and added words, translated idioms and proverbs, jargons, obscure terms and shifts Statement of Research Questions Translation especially in today s world, which is becoming more global in the last decades, is an important work. Sometimes more than the works of arts, correct translation of them can be important in order to give the message as it is in the original work. So to understand the translation process, methods which are going to be applied in the process and the problems a translator can face is an important fact. Cultural facts in a translation are another important fact and every translator uses a different approach according to his/her limits, knowledge, experience and purpose. As translation is an important fact in the relations and understanding of the people and nations many problems are aimed to be answered during this study and these can be listed as below; 1. What is translation? 2. What are the theories applied in a translation? 3. Qualities of a good translation and translator? 4. How do the translators translate the cultural items? 5. Is translation and adaptation or a cultural transfer? 3

11 1.4. The Concise Layout of the Study To understand the answer to the question whether the translation is an adaptation or culture transfer; In chapter 1, the aim of this study, methodology to be used, the questions that arise in mind about the translation process and concise layout of this study are explained. In chapter 2, we tried to understand the definition of the translation. The problems that can be faced during the translation process are analysed and also the definitions and opinions of different theorists are also analysed. In chapter 3, methods of translation are explained and understood. The importance of the methods and common features of these methods are analysed. In chapter 4, the features which make a translation better and the features a good translator must have are stated and evaluated. In chapter 5, the two most common methods, semantic translation method and the communicative translation method are evaluated and compared. And the literary works like idioms, proverbs, poems and novels are criticised according to their translation methods and cultural items. Also the cultural elements in media and multimedia and their translations are stated and criticised. In chapter 6, there is a conclusion and evaluation of the study and the answer of the question whether the translation is an adaptation or culture transfer which forced us to make this study. 4

12 CHAPTER II 2. DEFINITION OF TRANSLATION Translation is the process of changing a piece of written or spoken language into a different language. According to Larson the language to be translated is called the source language (SL) and the language into which the piece is going to be translated is called the target language (TL). Translation by dictionary definition is; changing from one state or form to another, to turn into one s own or another s language (The Merriam-Webster Dictionary, 1974). Longman dictionary of contemporary English defines it as the process of changing something into a different form. And Oxford Wordpower Dictionary (1997:660) defines it as translation consists of something spoken or written from one language to another. And the dictionary explanations often used for the word translation are; alternation, explanation, interpretation, paraphrase, change and etc. While translating a piece, one must be very careful about the meaning. In order to keep the meaning same the translator has to be fluent in both language and he or she must be very capable of using the forms in both languages. When we say form of the language we mean words, phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs, verbs, adjectives and etc. which are written or spoken. So we can say that a translation is a summary of the work on lexicon, grammatical structure, communication situation and cultural context, analysing it and determining the 5

13 meaning and then reconstructing the same meaning what the author has intended in the target language with the appropriate usage of the form of target language. We can show this process in a diagram below; Text in Source language Text in Target Language TRANSLATION Understanding the meaning MEANING Re-expressing the meaning But of course there are some issues that the translator has to be careful about the translation. The most important one is, understanding what is meant to be said in the source language. Then he or she has to re-express the same meaning in the target language. Of course the last step must be to reflect the meaning of the source language with the closest meaning to the target language. So it is clear that a translator; a. Must be very careful about the meaning and the form of the source language, b. Must understand and re-evaluate the meaning and the feeling of what the writer or speaker has intended. c. Must be very careful about the meaning and the form of the target language in order to give the same meaning and feeling of the original piece. 6

14 As we say meaning and feeling, these two words are the most difficult facts that a translator has to be careful about. A written or spoken piece in the source language always has to give the same meaning and feeling in the target language. Sometimes even punctuation has to be the same in both source and the target languages in order to give the same meaning. So the translator has to understand exactly what is the meaning and the feeling he/she is going to use in the target language. During the translation process he/she has to be sure about this fact and he/she has to use the perfect form of the target language with the same meaning and impact. At this point of view we can say that translation itself is an art because it is a work that is like painting a picture with the same paints and same brushes and both of the pictures must be same. But on the other hand we can regard translation as a science because it is like taking a picture and painting what has been filmed. Doesn t matter what one thinks about the translation, it is a hard work to be appreciated unless it gives the same meaning and the feeling of the source language in the target language. Here comes the ability and the knowledge for the translator. The ability itself is creating the same impact. The knowledge is the way one uses the form of the target language in the same way of the source language but with totally different rules. 7

15 CHAPTER III 3. TRANSLATION METHODS As a translator, one must be very careful about the job he/she is doing. Because translation is not a puzzle made of words and the job is not only exchanging the words with the appropriate ones in another language. A translator must use different translation methods for different texts. The most important fact the translator should be careful is the aim of the writer or the written text. A good translation has to give the same feelings of the text in source language also in the target language. In order to give the impact sometimes a translator can even use a few different methods in a whole translation. Although there are slight differences between the methods given here, they are named differently by different scientists. Some of the translation methods are as follows: 3.1. Word-for-word translation The aim of this method is to translate the text in the same word order as in the source language also in target language. In this explanation and also according to the facts we mentioned about the translation earlier we can say that this method can not be applied on a text itself. The most important purpose of this method can only be a pre-translation activity. First the translator uses this method and then translates it with the new form in the target language. Because in order to make a good translation the translator must use all the ways to give the same impact in the target language and to do this of course the translator has to change the form. 8

16 3.2. Literal translation This method is a different kind of word-for-word translation. But different from the word-for-word translation in this method the unit is the sentence. This means the translator has to be faithful lexically but to give the same impact and the meaning he/she can make differences in the form of the language Faithful translation The translator in this method translates the exact contextual meaning of the original text within the constraints of the grammatical structures of the target language. So we can say that form is not important but the translator has to be faithful to the intention of the original text Free translation In free translation style or the form is not important. The most important feature is the message, impact, feeling and the aim of the writer. In order to do this, as it can be understood from its name the translator is free to do any change in the original text when translating it to the target language. So to give the same message of the original text in source language without any constraints the translator can make any lexical or grammatical change on the text as soon as he/she gives the same impact Adaptation This is a method of translation where the translator needs to make changes more than lexical and grammatical items. Especially the translators use this method when translating poems or plays. While using this method the translator does not change the plot, characters or themes. They change and adapt the cultural differences of the source language to the target language. 9

17 3.6. Semantic translation In this method the aim of the translator is to establish a semantic equivalence in the translation of the source language to the target language. It can also be considered as a type of literal translation but of course there are differences. Literal translation is a kind of word for word translation but semantic translation is not. Unlike literal translation semantic translation should express meaning. Semantic translation should also have an aesthetic value and the natural sound of the text. In semantic translation the translator reproduces the contextual meaning of the source language also in the target language of course with the limits of semantics and syntax in the target language. As it aims the original flavour of the source language in the text in the target language most of the legal documents and scientific articles are translated semantically. On the other hand a translator can not translate literary works semantically since he/she is going to have difficulty in conveying connotative and metaphoric aspects of the text Communicative translation In this method the translator tries to translate the text contextually equal to the other language in which the content and the language are both easily acceptable and comprehensible to the reader. Communicative translation attempts to render the exact contextual meaning of the original in such a way that both content and the language are readily acceptable and comprehensible to the reader (Newmark, 1988). Although the methods are named differently, we can group the translation methods under the two headings such as semantic (word for word, literal) translation and communicative (adaptation, faithful and free) translation. A comparative analysis of both translation methods and examples will be given in chapter 4. 10

18 CHAPTER IV 4. CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD TRANSLATION There are some important facts as the criteria of a good translation. First of all in a good translation a translator must not reveal its non native source. Easily it must be translated and understood by the reader as it is in its original context and form after the translation. A good translation must be read with ease and pleasure. The translation due to some reasons must not be boring or very different from the reading pleasure. That s why the translator has to be very careful about what he/she is translating. He has to give the same message and the impact but in manner that the reader must enjoy while reading. In a good translation the style and the form of the translation must be close the original one. While translating of course every language differs from each other in many ways but what a translator has to do is to translate the text in the closest style and form to the target language. The translation has to give the same meaning. To do this sometimes a translator can omit or add some from the source language. But the aim of the translation is not summarizing what is going to be translated. That s why in a translation there must not be omitted or added parts. In this respect a translator first of all must have enough knowledge of literary and non-literary textual criticism because he has to assess the quality of the text before he/she decides how to interpret and then translate it. A good translator for a good translation must understand the form and the feeling of the text of course. Some believe that technical and literary translations are 11

19 different and in technical translations a translator must deal with the content more than the form whereas in a literary translation he/she must deal with the form more than the content. At any case, a good translator has to deal with both any kind of translation. A technical translation can be less literary, lets say less understandable as a result of a bad translation, so the translator has to deal with the meaning also in order to give the same literary form to the translation. And it can be the same, maybe more, also with a literary text, because more than a translation the translator has to assess the literary quality and the moral seriousness of a text. A translator has to be able to use the grammatical and lexical items of both the source and the target language in order to keep the same power and the meaning of the text. During the translation process there are lots of facts effecting the translation like cultural items. A good translator even with the cultural items inside the source language has to express the same meaning in the target language. Peter Newmark describes a good translator as; 1. Requires a knowledge of literary and non literary text cohesion, otherwise he cannot make judgements and cannot differentiate possible interpretations. 2. Should constantly improve his style of writing. 3. Must possess a potential capability to make judgements on literary quality of the text. 4. Must have good knowledge of logic. 5. Must be so competent in two languages that can determine the degree of the author s faithfulness on observing dominating norms of his community and also be able to determine the best target-language style that suits the author s work best. 12

20 6. Must be familiar with figurative, technical and colloquial senses of the two languages. 7. Must differentiate between primary meaning, secondary/collocational meaning, and core and peripheral meanings. 8. Must be familiar with the following techniques; a. transcription (Loan words, adaptation, transfer) b. one-to-one translation c. through-translation (loan translation) d. lexical synonymy (translation by a close target language equivalent) e. componential analysis f. transposition (replacing one grammatical writing with the other) g. modulation (variation in point of views) h. compensation (how to recover for semantic losses) i. defining j. paraphrasing k. expansion (how to elaborate and clarify intricacies by grammatical expansions) l. contraction (how to narrow lexicon where required to avoid redundancy) m. discourse rearrangements n. new linguistic coining in the two languages 13

21 And finally Newmark advocates that while translating a translator must follow the steps below; 1. Must be sure that he/she has understood the text knowing the intension of the text, the intension of the readers by reading the text, the readers social and cultural strata, sex, and specific occupations they are engaged in. 2. Must determine the text category whether it is expressive, descriptive or informative or vocative. 3. Must determine if some parts of the text are ironical or nonsensical. 4. Must determine what type of meaning he/she has to take into account; linguistic, referential, connotative or pragmatic. 5. Must make his/her own interpretation of the parts of the text which are semantically vague. 6. The translator may find it useful to refer to who does what to whom, where, where, when, how, with what result? And where appropriate why? 14

22 CHAPTER V 5. SEMANTIC AND COMMUNICATIVE TRANSLATION METHODS The best way to analyse whether the translation is an adaptation or a culture transfer is to understand and evaluate the differences between the two types of translation methods exactly. Newmark (1981:22) proposes two types of translation; communicative translation and semantic translation. In communicative translation, the translator s efforts are directed toward more adaptation of two languages. His aim is to make the same impact, to make the readers feel the same atmosphere and to make the readers get the same impression from the translated text as it is in the original text in the source language. This means and shows that adaptation is the key concept in communicative translation as there is a message between the translator and the readers within the frame of shared knowledge and cultural focus. On the other hand, in semantic translation, the translator does not corrupt the original text and makes word by word translation. Therefore semantic translation results in transferring the culture. There are many differences between semantic and communicative translation methods. Semantic translation is more likely to be used for expressing texts like legal documents but communicative translation is used for informative and sensitive texts. First of all; semantic translation is author-centred which means the aim of the translator shall be to translate word by word most of the time but on the other hand communicative translation aims to give the same impact on the reader and to do changes, to add and omit parts for this is acceptable unless the reader has the same taste from the translation in the target language. 15

23 For semantic translation the form of the text is important and this can be considered more detailed and complex by a translator whereas the message of the text is the only important fact to be considered through a translation process in communicative translation. Thus, it is more simple, clear and brief in communicative translation. Semantic translation is most of the times both linguistic and encyclopaedic whereas communicative translation is more functional, creative, effective and powerful. In semantic translation the translated text must be the most appropriate and mostly like the original text but in communicative translation the translated text must be better, more understandable and more effective, than the original text. Semantic translation most of the time causes loss of meaning because the form is more important but communicative translation is generally more effective and meaningful as meaning is more important and the translator is more natural and creative. Semantic translation without changing the form is more like an interpretation whereas communicative translation tends to be more explanatory, creative and functional. In semantic translation, the text is translated according to or in the limits of translators linguistics level whereas in communicative translation the text is translated according to the readers linguistic level as giving the same feeling of the original text to the reader at their level is more important. Semantic translation is usually preferred for legal documents, scientific articles, and other important statements but communicative translation is preferred for all kinds of literary works in order to adapt them to the target the language at the readers level. By this way, it may be more effective and necessary for literary texts. 16

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