Numerous questions may arise when thinking about translation/interpretation. For example, do I translate/interpret a joke by giving an equivalent in the target language for the audience to laugh at, do I translate/interpret it word-by-word, or do I leave it out? Do I translate swear words or will the audience be offended? Who do I translate for?
All those questions are answered by Philip Macdonald, translator and interpreter, who draws on his experienceto present problems a translator/interpreter may face when translating/interpreting. He talks about a large range of difficulties that translators/interpreters face and how to overcome them according to the translation’s ”purpose”.
This paper is a great source of information for any future translator/interpreter for it will open their eyes to the issues of translating/interpreting and therefore make them more aware of what needs to be considered when translating/interpreting.
As he puts it: “Roman Jakobson summed it up by stating that we translate messages and not words. Such an idea may seem obvious but I would argue that we forget it all too often—I know I do.”
Philip Macdonald also compares translation and interpretation in both the challenges they imply and the advantages they present. He focuses mainly on three aspects: context, intention and tone.
His paper presents the Skopos Theory in the context of translation/interpreting as a professional activity:
“The ideas I have outlined in this paper are, to a large extent, in agreement with Skopos theory (skopos is the Greek word for aim or purpose,” cf. “Translating Publicity Texts in the Light of the Skopos Theory: Problems and Suggestions” by Wang Baorong inTranslation Journal, Volume 13, No. 1, January 2009, for a description of this theory). This is hardly surprising since Skopos theory focuses on translation as a service ordered and paid for by a client, in contrast with translation of literature. It therefore looks at the prospective function of the target text as influenced by the customer’s needs and the end-user’s culture, linguistic ability, expectations, and so forth. Accordingly, Skopos theory does not reduce translating/interpreting to striving to achieve equivalence with another text in another language and describes it as a decision-making process—freeing it from the exclusive need to remain loyal to the original speech act and putting the onus on meeting the needs of our customers.”
Take the time to read this paper thoroughly as it provides great insights on the translator/interpreter’s profession.
It can be found here: http://www.translationdirectory.com/articles/article2420.php