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On Aboriginal Sufferance: A Process Model of Poetic Translating

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Abstract: This paper presents an empirical model of the processes involved in translating poetry. I suggest three main stages: Understanding, Interpretation and Creation. The Understanding stage involves close ST analysis. At the Interpretation stage the translator works item by item, though with continual reference to ST and TT. An item may participate in one or more textual structures; hence it may be said to carry a number of marked valent features marking its role in the various structures. Valent features may be weighted differently depending on the importance of their structure to the image or the text. I suggest five main strategies of equivalence: Transference — TT item = ST item; Convergence/Divergence — TT item covers larger/smaller semantic space than ST item, but valency remains constant; Improvisation — TT feature is different from ST feature but has similar poetic role; Abandonment of a low-weight for a high-weight feature; Estrangement — equivalent retains an "untranslated" ST feature. The Creation stage is that. of fashioning the target text as an artefact valid in target-culture terms. This informs and is informed by choices made during the Interpretation phase.
Résumé: Cet article présente un modéle empirique en trois étapes du processus de la traduction poitique: la compréhension, l'interprétation et la création. La premiére étape est le fruit d'une analyse détailée du texte-source. Elle est suivie de l'interprétation, au cours de laquelle le traducteur progresse élément par élément, en se rifirant continuellement au texte-source et au texte-cible. Tout élé-ment participe d'une ou de plusieurs structures textuelles; il vehicule ainsi un nombre donné de traits de valence qui marquent son rôle dans les différentes structures. Ces traits de valence sont jugis selon l'importance de leur structure en regard de l'image ou du texte. Je propose cinq strategies majeures d'équivalence: la transference — élément du texte-cible = dement du texte-source; la convergence/divergence — un élément du texte-cible occupe un espace sémantique plus large/plus étroit que l'élément correspondant du texte-source; mais le degré de valence demeure constant; l'improvisation — un element du texte-cible diffère de l'élément du texte-source, mais posside la même fonction poetique; l'abandon d'un élément determinant en faveur d'un élément subsidiaire; l'étrangeté — l'équivalent conserve un element non-traduit. L'etape de la creation consiste a agencer le texte-cible comme un artefact de la culture-cible. Elle entraine des choix, et en est determinee en retour, durant l'etape de l'Interpretation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 1989

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