Eine gewagte Liebe (German Edition)
Chapter 3. In Chapters 6—8 we shall look at these on six discrete levels. In any text, there are many points where it could have been different in sound, spelling, intonation, punctuation, word order, etc. We shall call these points of detail — points where a text could have been different, i.
Looking at textual variables on a series of discrete levels makes it easier to see which are important in the ST and which are less important.
ACT TWO - SCENE ONE
As we have seen, all ST features inevitably fall prey to translation loss in some respect or other. Even if the TT conveys literal meaning exactly, there will at the very least be phonic loss, and probably also loss in terms of grammar, sentence structure, connotations, etc. It is helpful in forming a translation strategy to decide in broad terms which categories of textual variables are indispensable in a given ST, and which can be ignored. And of course the adequacy of a putative TT can be assessed in the same way.
The six levels are hierarchically arranged, in the sense that each level is built on top of the preceding one. We shall work our way up through the levels, from phonic details to intertextual questions, showing what kinds of variable can be found on each, and how they may function in a text. Together, the six levels constitute part of a checklist of questions 64 Thinking German translation that the translator can ask of an ST, in order to determine what levels and properties are important in it and most need to be respected in the TT. This does not imply a plodding or piecemeal approach to translation: applying the checklist quickly becomes automatic and very effective.
For the whole checklist, see p. Oral texts are normally only looked at in phonic terms.
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Even written texts may need to be looked at in phonic terms as well — in fact, translators consider them more often phonically than graphically. Phonemes and graphemes are on the same level of textual variables. Generally, listeners and readers take little notice of the sounds or shapes of what they hear and read, paying attention primarily to the message of the utterance. The sounds and shapes are usually irrelevant to the message. Often, however, repetition of sounds does have an expressive function, so it is useful to have terms in which to analyse it.
Note that it is the sound, not the spelling, that counts in discussing alliteration and assonance. The more technical or purely informative the text, the less account is taken of repetitions or other sound patterns, because they rarely have any thematic or expressive function. That is true of the sentence about screenbowl centrifuges from an engineering text : the alliteration and assonance are incidental to the message.
However, many texts are marked by the expressive use of phonic patterns, including rhyme. The less purely factual the text, the more likely it is that alliteration, assonance and rhyme will be exploited. The most obvious example is poetry. What are the implications of these observations for translators?
As always, the translator must be guided by the purpose of the ST, the purpose of the TT and the function of the feature in its context. It takes two main forms. In the context, the sounds of given words may evoke other words that are not present in the text.
Or the sound of a given word occurs in one or more others, and sets up a link between the words, conferring on each of them connotations of the other s. The context is crucial. If the sun is maturing, it may well be low in the sky; if so, it looks larger when seen through mist, like a swelling fruit.
But in respect of sound-symbolism poetry offers very clear examples of two vital factors that all translators do need to bear in mind.
The Keats example is useful for this very reason. Practically none of the images and associations derive from literal meaning alone. All are reinforced, or even created, by phonic features. In fact, none of the phonic features in the lines from Keats has any intrinsic meaning or expressive power. Such expressiveness as they have derives from the context — and that is the second vital factor. In a different context, the same features would have a different effect. The sounds of the words have their effect in terms of the literal and connotative meanings of the words.
To take a German example, the sound [v] does not in itself suggest subtle light and sound phenomena in Nature, nor a terrifying, chaotic maelstrom just off a rocky coast. Clearly, before starting to translate, a translator confronted with soundsymbolism has to decide how it is produced, what its function is, and how it relates to the purpose of the text.
The aim will be to convey as much of the ST message as possible. Even if it is essential to this message that the TT include sound-symbolism, it is almost certain that the TL sounds involved will be different from the ST ones: trying to reproduce phonic patterns in the TT usually entails too much loss in respect of literal and connotative meaning.
It should also 68 Thinking German translation be borne in mind that poets sometimes use words musically rather than suggestively, in which case sound-symbolism does not come into it. The translator is only likely to want to replicate ST sounds when they are onomatopoeic. In translating onomatopoeia, there will virtually always be some phonic translation loss. Es kann kurzfristig etwas lauter werden, wenn sich der Motor einschaltet.
Bosch n. The bubbling [cf. Cracking [cf. A multi-zone or No-Frost appliance may cause a low hissing [cf.
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Only very rarely will it be desirable or possible to use the ST rhyme sounds in the TT. In fact, there can be no hard and fast rule regarding rhyme in translation. Each TT requires its own strategic decision. Translators often compensate for this loss by using different sorts of recurrent sound, such as assonance, alliteration or half-rhymes, and perhaps gratefully accepting the odd true rhyme if it presents itself and is not inappropriate. With some sorts of ST especially comic or sarcastic ones , where the precise nuances of meaning are less important than the phonic mockery, it is often easier, and even desirable, to stock the TT with rhymes and echoes that are different from those of the ST, and perhaps differently distributed, but have a similar effect.
Our examples have concerned the sounds of words, because the shapes are less commonly a source of textual effects.
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However, written texts often do depend to some extent on their visual layout. Such effects can lead to problems of layout if the TT takes up more space than the ST, or uses short words where the ST has long ones, etc. Practical 4. In English and German, in any word of more than one syllable, more loudness or emphasis is conventionally given to one of the syllables than to the other s.
On top of this standard accentuation, voice stress can be used for greater expressiveness or clarity. Naturally, voice stress is also different in these two sentences. As this example suggests, 70 Thinking German translation stress and intonation always function together in any spoken utterance, along with the third prosodic feature, namely the speed of vocal delivery.
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Like stress and intonation, speed of delivery varies for expressiveness or clarity. In texts not meant to be read aloud, prosodic patterns are unlikely to have much textual importance. However, in texts intended for oral performance, such as speeches, plays, poetry or songs, prosodic features can be very important in creating moods and reinforcing themes. This is sometimes even true in literary narrative not intended for reading aloud: insistent prosodic patterns may draw attention to themselves and acquire expressive force.
In texts where prosodic effects do play an important role, the translator may have to pay special attention to the prosodic level of the TT. Occasionally, it is worth aiming for similar rhythms in the TT to those of the ST. Prosodic translation loss often arises from a failure to heed the nature and function of ST intonation and stress. This is relatively straightforward in the case of oral texts.
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Even in written texts, the intonation and its communicative purpose will usually be shown by the grammatical structure, the context, or, very often, modal particles. Neither of these sentences is remotely ambiguous. This implies that the translator will normally select an intonation and a stress pattern that give the TT sentence the same communicative purpose as the ST one.
If the genre or style of the TT precludes using italics to mark the stress, a judicious comma or cohesion marker may do the trick. TT He speaks perfect French as well. He speaks perfect French as well. He speaks perfect French, as well. And he also speaks perfect French.