Literary translation in the digital age – who is afraid of machine translation?
This event has been postponed
Speaker: Marion Winters (Heriot-Watt University)
Date: 24 November, 2022
Time: 15:00-16:30 (UK time)
There is growing interest in the use of machine translation (MT) in literary translation. Much recent research in this area has focused on productivity and is based on experimental designs. In our project (together with Dorothy Kenny, DCU, Ireland), however, we focus on the translator and account for the way he works with MT. Our study is based on a full novel translated by machine and subsequently post-edited by Hans-Christian Oeser, a highly experienced and prize winning English-to-German literary translator. We explore what effect his translating by post-editing an MT output has on his style. In this talk, I will focus in particular on the method of keyword analysis to investigate the translator’s style.
Correlations between the Social Position of Freelance Conference Interpreters and their Strategies for Mediating Impoliteness
Speaker: Caiwen Wang (University of Westminster/UCL)
Date: 8 December, 2022
Time: 15:00-16:30 (UK time)
Situations where a source speaker speaks rudely or even attacks the addressee’s face pose a challenge for interpreters, who may be concerned about the potential impact of their interpreting. In this exploratory study, I hypothesise that there are potential differences in interpreting face-threatening acts (FTAs, Brown and Levinson, 1987) between freelance conference interpreters and staff conference interpreters due to their different social positions and take stock of the issue by examining freelance interpreters’ interpreting of impoliteness and their stance underpinning relevant actions. The aim is to investigate the extent to which freelance interpreters mediate impoliteness in interpreting.
Hitherto, interpreting literature appears to refer to ‘the Interpreter’ in general in discussing roles and responsibilities. Zwischenberger’s (2017) is the only literature that shows the need to distinguish between freelance conference interpreters and staff conference interpreters, as their respective perceptions of interpreting standard are found to be significantly disparate in that ‘[f]reelance conference interpreters attached a statistically significantly greater importance to the feedback of conference [organisers] than their staff interpreter colleagues did’, and that ‘[f]reelance interpreters rated the head’s [namely, the head of the interpreter team; note added] feedback also statistically significantly higher than staff interpreters’ (Zwischenberger 2017, p.68). It would be rational to anticipate that this high sensitivity to feedback on the part of freelance conference interpreters will impact on the way they interpret chunks of speech that are prone to conflicts, such as impolite utterances. On the other hand, Magnifico and Defrancq (2016), the only existing research that explores how staff interpreters at the EU parliament mediate impoliteness, have found that staff interpreters at the EU, who are governed by their institutional ideology, mediated or mitigated FTAs. The authors highlighted the influence of ‘the rules, norms and expectations’ of the community that EU staff interpreters have formed and belong to (Magnifico and Defrancq, 2016, p. 32). As there has not been a study of how freelance conference interpreters mediate impoliteness or conflictive discourse, my current exploratory research will start the attempt. I argue that since freelance interpreters do not have the community norms in the sense of Magnifico and Defrancq to bind them but only the general norms that govern their profession to refer to, their way of interpreting and mediating impoliteness may show differences meriting attention from academia and the interpreting industry. I further argue that identifying these potential differences may be useful or significant for us to prepare the skill set of freelance interpreters, who form a larger part of the interpreting force in industry, and that an additional clause may need to be written into the ethics by professional associations.
I drew upon Bousfield’s (2008) linguistic model of impoliteness and used the political speech by Nigel Farage here to generate interpreting data. This speech was delivered at the EU Parliament on 28 June 2016 while Nigel Farage was an active UK politician. I chose Nigel Farage because FTAs are plentiful in his speeches, which has been either a research focus or a talking point in relevant interpreting literature, e.g., Mankauskienė (2015), Magnifico and Defrancq (2016), and Mapson (2019). I recruited a number of freelance interpreters to simultaneously interpret the speech into Chinese. I also used semi-structured interviews to survey the interpreters’ opinions on what they understood to be general interpreting standard, the specific strategies they used in mediating impoliteness, and the need of specific guidance for interpreting conflictive discourse. Data from both interpreting and interviews were examined for evidence supporting my arguments in the above.