Prototext-metatext translation shifts
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In our society people deal with translation quality in various contexts, which seldom share information. The first context one comes into contact with it is university: in bachelor’s and master’s degree translation courses teachers do not evaluate translations by testing linguistic abilities anymore. Translations are now considered as texts in themselves that can be more or less independent from their source texts. Marks, whether expressed out of thirty, twenty and so on assign a quantitative value to the result of a translation process.
When a newly graduated translator enter the market, whether she chooses to work as a literary translator or she prefers other kinds of translations (business, advertising or technical-scientific), she must translate an essay. Whether the translator will be hired or not depends on how the employer evaluates the translation. In this case, too, a person evaluates the result of a translation process. What kind of criteria does the evaluator use? Are they the same that went for university?
If a translation is published, sometimes it happens that reviews on the target text appear on newspapers or specialized magazines, where one may also find a quick comment on the translator’s job. In this case, her job is often judged only depending on the result, without having had a look at the source text.
Last but not least, researchers in the field of translation science (like us now) deal (also) with translation quality, argue about its being either descriptive or evaluative. Here is another context where translations are evaluated, or at least where one thinks about how they should be evaluated and so on and so forth. In a book I wrote about translation quality (2004) I took into account these issues and tried to arouse the interest of those who work in these different social contexts of translation evaluation. I cannot go back over all the milestones of my reasoning here, as I would like to focus on examples of differences and shifts between source and target text. Should you be interested in it, you may read my book. I will go through different examples from the table about consequences on reception of shifts onwards.
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