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Essay questions



EUT401 Theory of Translation Essay Questions

This list should not prevent students suggesting their own essay questions which have
to be submitted for approval to a lecturer or to the module co-ordinator.

Theory and Translation ( Prof A Nuselovici)

1) Should we talk of theory of translation or of translation theories?

2) Is there any ground for a unified theory of translation?
3) Which could be the criteria to classify theories of translation?

Transversal questions (Prof A Nuselovici)

1) Which theoretical fields do you find the most useful for translation practice and why?
2) Which theoretical approaches do you find the most helpful to empower the translator?

Discourse Analysis (Ms M Laure Jones)

1. To what extent formal and dynamic equivalence differ? Explain giving examples.

2. Explain the following quotation from Basil Hatim and Ian mason and expand. ‘A
translation may be a faithful rendering in terms of denotative meaning yet fail to carry the
conviction of the source text’. Give examples.

Reception Theories (Dr G Vatalaro)

1 Equivalence? Adequateness? No just Loyalty! Discuss.

2 On the basis of a source text of your choice (if this is not in English you need to
provide a translation into English to make the marker aware of what it is about), and of a
brief of your choice (please state very clearly the skopos, including the target language),
without providing a target text, discuss both the 'vertical'/'horizontal' issues which a
translation according to the loyalty criteria would involve, and your possible solutions.

Anthropology (Dr R Langford)

1 Discuss the implications for translation studies of Schneider's insight that the object of
anthropological study should be 'total social facts' (David Schneider, A critique of the
Study of Kinship, Michigan UP, 1984, p.197; quoted in Rosman and Rubel's chapter).

2 In what ways can the emphasis in post-modern anthropology on the locatedness and
bounded nature of the study of other cultures illuminate the translator's practice?

Cultural Studies (Dr M Lunati)

1. ‘In the act of wholesale translation into English there can be a betrayal of the
democratic ideal into the law of the strongest. This happens when all the literature of the
Third World gets translated into a sort of with-it translatese, so that the literature by a
woman in Palestine begins to resemble, in the feel of its prose, something by a man in
Taiwan’. (Gayatri C. Spvivak, ‘The politics of translation’, pp. 399-400).
Discuss Spivak’s concern about the loss of identity differences when translating writers
from non-hegemonic cultures.

2. ‘What the development of Translation Studies shows is that translation, like all
(re)writings is never innocent. There is always a context in which the translation takes
place, always a history from which a text emerges and into which a text is transposed.
Translation involves so much more than the simple engagement of an individual with a
printed page and a bilingual dictionary.’ (André Lefevere and Susan Bassnett,
‘Introduction’ to Translation, History and Culture, p. 11)
Discuss the significance of the ‘cultural turn’ in translation studies in relation to this
comment by Lefevere and Bassnett.

History (Ms E Oerter)

1. D’hulst: ‘It is time to give the history of translation the place it deserves’. Discuss the
relevance of translation history for translators and translation scholars.

2. Translation history: primarily a history of translation, of theoretical statements on

translation or of translators? Compare and discuss the theoretical positions of Lawrence
Venuti and Anthony Pym.

Feminism and Gender Studies (Dr V Motta)

1) Do you agree with Nicole Ward Jouve’s statement that translation occupies ‘a
(culturally speaking) female position’?

2) ‘The recognition of the gendered construction of meaning in any textual practice

makes possible a more differentiated understanding of the translation process ‘ (Louise
von Flotow). Discuss.

Post-colonialism (Dr E Milardi)

1) For a translator to pursue an ethics of difference he/she must limit the ethnocentrism
of the translation project and attempt to produce a text that can become a potential
source of cultural change. Explain.

2) ‘Translation is, of course, a rewriting of an original text. Rewriting is manipulation,

undertaken in the service of power. [...]Rewriting can repress innovation, distort and
contain, and in an age of ever increasing manipulation of all kinds, the study of the
manipulative processes of literature as exemplified by translation can help us towards a
greater awareness of the world in which we live.’ (André Lefevere). Discuss.

Psychoanalysis (Mr H Feldner/Dr F Vighi)

1) What is a constitutive void? Assess the relevance of the psychoanalytic notion of the
‘Real’ for translation studies today.

2) Are we enjoying yet? Explore the relationship between language, ideology and

Hermeneutics (Professor D Boucher)

1. ‘Not the intention of the author, which is supposed to be hidden behind the text; not
the historical situation common to the author and his original readers; not the
expectations or feelings of these original readers; not even their understanding of
themselves as historical and cultural phenomena. What has to be appropriated is the
meaning of the text itself, conceived in a dynamic way as the direction of thought
opened up by the text’. Paul Ricoeur’ (Interpretation Theory, p. 92). What are the
implications of this statement for the translation of texts, and what conceptions of
meaning is he rejecting?

2. ‘The question “What does this presuppose?” itself presupposes an affirmative answer
to the question “Does it presuppose anything?”; and to ask that question is to
contemplate the possibility of the thing being an absolute presupposition, and to claim
that you would know it for one if it was’ (Collingwood, An Essay on Metaphysics, p. 49).
What are the lessons to be learned from the ideas of ‘constellations of absolute
presuppostion’ and ‘paradigms’?