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Text and Context in Translation


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Title: Text and Context in Translation

Text and Context in Translation
  • Juliane House
  • University of Hamburg

  • 1. Text and Context
  • 2. Context from Different Perspectives
  • 2.1. Philosophical and
  • Psychological
  • 2.2. Anthropological,
  • Sociolinguistic, Discourse,
  • Conversation Analytical
  • 2.3. Linguistic
  • 3. Context - Text -Translation

  • 4. Translation as an Act of
  • Re-contextualisation
  • 4.1. A Theory of Translation as
  • Re-Contextualisation
  • 4.2. Two Types of Translation
  • Overt and Covert Translation
  • 4.3. The Cultural Filter in
  • Covert Translation
  • 5. Global English and Cultural
  • Filtering

1.The Notions Text and Context
  • Text (A unit of) connected discourse. Its
    function is communicative, and it is an object of
    analysis and description
  • Context A general type of connection or
    relationship circumstances relevant to something
    under consideration the environment surrounding
    a phenomenon (such as e.g. a text!) that
    determines its meaning, similar to setting,
    background, frame, (figure and) ground.

  • Text and context are closely related
  • Context is the more complex
  • notion and thus in need of further exploration.

2.1. Philosophical and Psychological Perspectives
of Context
  • Contextualism versus Universalism
  • Linguistic actions are embedded in the
    environment in which they occur and fulfil
    certain functions versus
  • Sentences obey formal rules, principles and
  • The local, the particular, the social, the
    situated, the individual, the unique, the
    relative versus
  • the generally valid, the typical, the
    supra-individual, the absolute

  • Wittgensteins idea that language is a form of
    action, and that the meanings of linguistic forms
    are their use in specific forms of life
  • Austins emphasis on how the contexts of speech
    acts influence the conventions of language use,
    and how speech act performance depends on the
    enveloping context and language users
  • Gadamers and Steiners hermeneutic interpretive
    study of texts with its fusion of horizons
    uniting writer and reader in their

  • Grices conception of context as part of a theory
    of language use - including conversational
    maxims which guide the conduct of talk and
    express an underlying co-operative principle.
  • Sperber and Wilsons notion of relevance as a set
    of internalized contextual factors for
    interpreting utterances

  • Forgas view that utterance meaning and speakers
    shared views of context result from collective
    cognitive activities.
  • Clarks idea of language use as a form of
    collaborative action bound up with contexts as
    common ground, i.e., knowledge, beliefs,
    assumptions which language users bring to joint

2.2. Context in Anthropology, Sociolinguistics,
Discourse and Conversation Analysis
  • Context as culture is central in
    anthropology. It comprises conventionalized
    expectations made to fit a specific, local
  • For sociolinguists, language reflects context and
    language also determines the context in which it
    is used. Contexts are evolving systems undergoing
    constant change and mutual influence with
  • Context is also at the core of discourse
    analysis, since all interaction involves context.
    In order to understand, speakers must rely on
    context, and their linguistic choices are
    motivated by contextual factors (topic,
    participants, place, time, etc.)

  • Conversation analysts focus on utterances-in-seque
    nce which both create context and are conditioned
    by it. Utterances are organized linearly in time,
    such that what is said now relies on what was
    said before. Context and talk are in a reflexive
    relationship talk and its interpretation shapes
    context as much as context shapes talk.

2.3.Context from Linguistic Perspectives
  • Hymes Ethnography of Speaking as
    contextual linguistics explicitly designed as
    an anti-Chomsky model
  • stark contrast between functional,
    contextual linguistics
  • and
  • formal, competence linguistics. The
    latter has an
  • idealized view of language divorced from
    the context
  • in which it is actually used by human
  • Context in functional linguistics includes
  • behavior, language itself, knowledge, and is
  • to multiple interpretations of immediate
    environments and wider socio-cultural frameworks

  • A prime example of functional linguistics is
    pragmatics. Here context plays such an important
    role that its very definition is bound up with
  • - Pragmatics is the study of linguistic acts
  • and the contexts in which they occur
  • - Pragmatics is a theory of language
  • understanding that takes context into
  • Gumperz notion of contextualization cues is
    based on assumptions about context and connects
    linguistic forms with cognitive and social

  • Hallidays systemic-functional theory explicitly
    links text and context and combines broad
    functional explanations of social phenomena with
    detailed description of linguistic forms

3. Context, Text and Translation
  • In most disciplines, Context is thought to refer
    to both external (situational,cultural) and
    internal (cognitive, psychological) factors which
    influence each other in acts of speaking and
  • Context is often regarded as dynamic rather than
    static, as more than a set of pre-fixed variables
    that impact on language.
  • Context and language are viewed as mutually
    dependent, such that language shapes context as
    much as context shapes language.
  • For translation, such a view of context is
    NOT useful!

  • In translation, a finished, and in this sense
    static stretch of written language as text is
    available to the translator in its entirety from
    the start. Full availability of a written text -
    as opposed to the bit-by-bit unfolding of
    discourse - is thus constitutive of translation.
  • Translating involves RE-CONTEXTUALISING and as
    such the creation of a discourse out of a written
    text, i.e., the creation of a living, but
    essentially NOT dynamic, cognitive-social entity
    replete with contextual connections.
  • In translation, Context is NOT negotiated or
    emergent, but rather static. This staticness
    arises in the space opened up by the separation
    in time and space of writer and reader, and
    through the translators limited power to define
    what the context is.

  • The realisation of a discourse out of a text
    can only involve imaginary, hidden, mental
    interaction between writer and reader in the
    translators mind. The natural unity of speaker
    and listener in oral interaction is replaced by
    the real-world separateness in space and time of
    writer and reader. But the translator can
    overcome this separateness S/he creates a new
    unity that transcends the texts givenness (with
    its immutable arrangement of linguistic elements)
    by activatingthe texts context in its old and
    new variant - imagined and miraculously united
    in his mind.

4. Translation as an Act of Re-
  • For translation as an act of re-contextualisation,
    a TEXT is a stretch of a contextually embedded
    ensemble of linguistic forms. And CONTEXT is the
    means of converting inert (static) text into
    discourse in an ex- post facto, cognitive
    meaning making

  • The translators re-creative act is thus
    critically different from the type of observable
    on-line transformative power a speaker in
    talk-in-interaction has over the path of the
    developing discourse.

4.1. A Functional Theory of Translation
as Re-contextualization
  • Houses Theory of Translation as
  • Re-contextualisation
  • Translation texts are doubly contextually-bound
    to their source text and to the new recipients
    contextual conditions. This double-linkage is the
    basis of the equivalence relation the
    conceptual heart of translation.

  • Equivalence is determined by context, and
  • comprises at least the following
  • Source and target linguistic features and the
    rules of the two language systems
  • The extra-linguistic world and how it is
    perceived by members of L1 and L2 communities
  • L1 and L2 conventions and genres guiding the
  • Structural, connotative, and aesthetic features
    of the original
  • The translators interpretation of the original
    and his or her creativity
  • The translators theory of translation
  • Translation traditions holding in the target

  • Since appropriate use of language in
    communicative performance is what matters most in
    translation, it is functional pragmatic
    equivalence which is crucial. This type of
    equivalence underpins Houses functional
    translation model.

A Scheme for Producing, Analysing and Comparing
Original and Translation Texts
  • This model explicates the way semantic, pragmatic
    and textual meaning are re-constituted across
    different contexts.
  • Translation is conceived as the replacement of an
    L1 text by a semantically and pragmatically
    equivalent L2 text. An adequate translation is
    then a pragmatically and semantically equivalent
  • A first requirement for this equivalence is that
    a translation text have a function equivalent to
    that of its original.

  • If we use a concept such as function of a text,
    we must be sure that there are elements in a text
    which can reveal a texts function.
  • Function here is NOT identical with functions of
    language as suggested by philosophers and
    linguists such as Bühler, Jakobson,Popper and
    many others.
  • Different language functions always co-exist in
    a text, there is no simple equation of language
    function and textual type.

  • The function of a text is simply the application
    of a text in a particular context, and there is
    a systematic relationship between context and the
    functional organization of language-in-text,
    which can be revealed by breaking down context
    into a manageable set of contextual parameters
  • The pre-translation analysis results then in a
    text-context profile that reflects the texts
    function. Whether and how this function can be
    maintained, critically depends, however, on the
    type of translation sought.

4.2.Two Types of Translation Overt and Covert
  • Overt and covert translation are outcomes of
  • different types of re-contextualisation
  • They resemble Schleiermachers famous distinction
    between verfremdende und einbürgernde
    Übersetzungen (alienating and integrating
    translations) which has had many imitators using
    different, but essentially similar terms.
  • What sets the overt-covert distinction apart is
    the fact that it is integrated into a coherent
    theory of translation, within which these terms
    are explicated.

  • In overt translation, recipients are quite
    overtly NOT
  • directly addressed, because an overt translation
    is quite overtly a translation, not a second
    original. And it shows while an overt
    translation must needs be embedded in a new
    context, it also, at the same time,
    schizophrenically, signals its origin. The
    translators work is important and visible it is
    to enable L2 members to observe and judge the
    originals impact from outside
  • Although an overt translation and its original
    are equivalent at the levels of Language/Text,
    Register, Genre, only second-level functional
    equivalence is possible giving access to the
    originals function. Since this access is to be
    in the L2, a contextual switch is necessary. But
    because there is this three-tier equivalence, the
    originals context is co-activated in the minds
    of the translator and L2 addressees so as to
    enable them to eavesdrop and appreciate the
    originals function in its new guise.

  • A covert translation is a translation which
    enjoys the status of an original text in a new
    context. The translation is covert because it is
    not marked as a translation, but may,
    conceivably, have been created in its own right.
    An original and its covert translation are
    pragmatically of equal concern for L1 and L2
    addressees in their different contexts
  • The translator re-creates an equivalent speech
    event and reproduces the originals function with
    the result that a covert translation operates
    solely in the new L2 context, with no attempt
    made to co-activate the context in which the
    original had unfolded.

  • The translators express task is to betray the
    original, to hide behind its transformation.The
    translator acts in a self-effacing manner.
  • Since true functional equivalence is the goal,
    the original may be legitimately manipulated at
    the levels of Language/Text and Register. The
    translator takes exclusive account of the new
    context into which the translation is inserted.
    To facilitate this insertion seamlesssly as it
    were, the translator applies a CULTURAL FILTER.

4.3. The Cultural Filter
  • A cultural filter is a means of capturing
    contextual differences in expectation norms
    between recipients in L1 and L2 contexts.The
    application of a cultural filter should however
    ideally not be left to accidental individual
    intuition, but be in line with relevant
    cross-cultural research.
  • What do we mean by culture??

  • Whatever it is one has to know or believe in
    order to operate in a manner acceptable to a
    societys members, and do so in any role that
    they accept for any one of themselves ....
    Culture is not a material phenomenon it does not
    consist of things, people, behavior, or emotions.
    It is rather an organization of these things. It
    is the forms of things that people have in mind,
    their model of perceiving, relating, and
    otherwise interpreting them.
  • (Goodenough, 1964 36)

  • As in the case of context, a dynamic,
    negotiable view of culture is NOT useful for
    translation, because in translating a text, one
    must refer to a concrete point in time and space
    and adopt a static, necessarily essentialist
    idea of culture. This should not be disqualified
    as naively ignoring the complexity of culture, as
    in translation we also take account of empirical
    research into cultures as interpretive devices
    for understanding communicative behavior.

  • Empirical research into communicative norms in L1
    and L2 cultures can give substance to the
    cultural filter and thus complement tacit
    native-speaker knowledge.
  • For example, in the case of the German and
    Anglophone linguistic-cultural communities, the
    cultural filter has been substantiated through
    extensive empirical contrastive-pragmatic
    research. Its results show differences in
    behavioral norms that can explain acts of
    re-contextualization in covert translation.

  • For example Germans often express themselves in
    more direct, explicit and content-oriented ways
    than Anglophone speakers
  • Such cross-cultural differences can be displayed
    along dimensions such as
  • directness vs.
  • explicitness vs.
  • focus on vs.
    focus on
  • content

The Cultural Filter Examples
  • Sign at Frankfurt Airport at a building site
  • Damit die Zukunft schneller kommt!
  • Such that the future comes more quickly!
  • vs. English translation
  • We apologize for any inconvenience work on our
    building site is causing you!

  • Software manual (original English, Back
    Translation from German)
  • WordPerfect is backed by a customer support
    system designed to offer you fast, courteous
    service. If youve exhausted all other Help
    Avenues and need a Friendly Voice to help you
    with your problem, just follow these steps...
  • vs.
  • WordPerfect has established a Support Centre,
    whose employees offer you competent support with
    problems. If, despite the support available to
    you in WordPerfect, you were not able to solve a
    problem, turn to our support centre.

Preface, Perl Cookbook (Original English,
backtranslated from German)
  • That's what Learning Perl, a kinder and gentler
    introduction to Perl, is designed for.
  • It is for this that books like Introduction to
    Perl are meant.

  • Instruction leaflet, oven ware (original German
    backtranslated into English)
  • Kerafour has been tested for being ovenproof in
    independent testing institutes. So that you can
    enjoy it for a long time, we give you some
    instructions for use 1. Never put an empty cold
    vessel into the heated oven - empty also
    refers to a vessel which is only rubbed with fat!
  • vs.
  • Kerafour oven-to-table pieces have been tested
    by independent research institutes and are
    considered ovenproof and micro-wave resistant.
    Here are a few simple rules for using Kerafour
  • Never put a cold and empty piece into the heated

  • ADVERTISEMENT AIR FRANCE (Translations from
    French into English and German, backtranslated)
  • We know how hard it is for business travellers
    to have to concentrate on their work while waging
    the eternal battle of the armrest, so we have
    re-arranged the space between our LEspace Europe
    seats. Where there used to be rows of three
    seats, there are now two seats separated by a
    table. Your seat is now much wider, more
    comfortable and the total space more conducive to
    a little privacy.
  • Business travellers want to study their files,
    read newspapers or prepare themselves quietly for
    a meeting. Preferably without getting too close
    to the man sitting next to them. Or the woman.
    This is why we have completely re-arranged our
    LEspace Europe. Bigger, more beautiful and
    comfortable and above all with very welcome space
    for putting things on between the seats. For much
    elbow room for reading, eating and relaxing in
    exactly the right distance. And also for
    stimulating conversations.

  • FILM TITLES (Original ENGLISH-Backtranslation
    from GERMAN)
  • Where are the children?----Limitless Suffering of
    a Mother
  • Jack the Bear----My Dad-a totally incredible
  • The Surrogate ----Murder after Birth
  • Whatever happened to Aunt Alice----A widow kills
  • Silent victim .Accusation Abortion
  • Backlash..The secret of the five graves
  • Shadow of the Past----The corpse in the boot
  • etc.

  • Michel Bonds classic book A Bear called
    Paddington in translation
  • An example of massive cultural filtering in
    childrens literature.
  • Examples here backtranslated from the German
    Paddington unser kleiner Bär

  • (Mr Brown offers Paddington some cakes)
  • Im sorry they havent any marmalade ones, but
    these were the best I could get
  • There is nothing with marmalade
  • (Paddington in a shop)
  • Mr Gruber took Paddington into his shop and
    after offering him a seat. .
  • Then he pulled the little bear into the shop
  • down!
  • (Small Talk)
  • Hallo Mrs Bird said Judy Its nice to see you
    again. Hows the rheumatism? Worse than its
    ever been began Mrs Bird.
  • (Zero-Realization in the German Translation)

The Body Shop Corporate Statement (Original
English, Back Translation from German)
  • We consider testing products or ingredients on
    animals morally and scientifically indefensible 
  • We are of the opinion that experiments with
    animals in the cosmetics industry are neither
    necessary nor morally defensible

  • We are of the opinion that every man or woman is
    beautiful, everyone in his or her own way
  • We know that you're unique, and we'll always
    treat you like an individual.

PG CEO Speech to students at small US College
(Original English, Back Translation from
German)Simulation of oral impromptu talk
  • I will use the time allotted to me to report
  • I will report on another case...
  • I thought Id use my time here to talk to you
  • Ill give you one more example

Congruent Presentation of states of affairs and
  • For the preparation of my presentation today I
    asked Dr. Amos Bradford for a few suggestions...
  • When I was first started to put together my
    remarks for today, I asked for some input from
    Dr. Amos Bradford, who provided a broad list of
    subjects he thought youd be interested in
    hearing about

  • After Ive finished, Ill be happy to answer any
    questions you have and, hopefully, to engage in a
    bit of conversation about the issues well raise
    here this afternoon.
  • After my presentation I will gladly answer all
    your questions and talk about this afternoons

Second Person Pronouns
  • he provided a broad list of subjects he thought
    youd be interested in hearing about
  • Youre tempted to put off a discussion
  • ..he provided me with a long list of topics,
    which he considered interesting
  • One is tempted to delay a conversation...

  • And its important to note that it is not just a
    piece of paper
  • And more positively, governments and other
    companies really do want to deal with companies
    they feel...
  • It is not simply a piece of paper
  • Governments and other firms prefer to cooperate
    with companies which act

Multisyn Vision 2000 (Original English, Back
Translation from German)
  • ...look for intensive new ideas through
    observing, listening and learning from everyone.
  • ...obsessively search for new ideas, by
    observing, listening and learning from everyone

  • I want to be part of a company which challenges
    me to
  • put high expectations on me and others
  • I want to be part of a company where I am
    challenged to..
  • have unrelentingly high expectations of myself
    and others

Goldsmith Corporate Statement (Original English,
Backtranslation from German)
  • Our long term success requires a total commitment
    to exceptional standards of performance and
    productivity, to working together effectively
  • Our long-term success is only possible, if we set
    ourselves exceptional standards of performance
    and productivity, and if we cooperate efficiently
    and with all preparedness.

Milton Meissner Letter to Sharesholders
27.12.1971 (Original English, backtranslated from
  • As you will note, we have asked that you
    designate a bank (or broker) to which your
    dividend certificates will be sent. Your bank (or
    broker) should indicate its confirmation of your
  • As you will note, we have asked you to name a
    bank (or a broker) to which the dividend
    certificates shall be sent. You have to ask the
    bank (or the broker) to confirm your signature

Vaccines Prospects and Challenges
Scientific American, July 1998/ Backtranslated
from German Spektrum der Wissenschaft, October
  • Most vaccines activate what is called the humoral
    arm of the immune system.
  • Most vaccines activate the so-called humoral arm
    of the immune system
  • (after Latin humor,
  • liquid.

Buchbinder, S. Avoiding Infection after HIV
Exposure Scientific American July 1998
Backtranslation from German Spektrum der
Wissenschaft October 1998 Prevention after HIV
  • Treatment may reduce the chance of contracting
    HIV infection after a risky encounter.
  • An immediate treatment after contact reduces
    under certain circumstances the danger that the
    human immuno-deficiency-virus establishes itself
    in the body.There is no guarantee for this,
    moreover new risks arise.

  • Suppose you are a doctor in an emergency room
    and a patient tells you she was raped two hours
    earlier. She is afraid she may have been exposed
    to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS but has heard
    that there is a "morning-after pill" to prevent
    HIV infection.
  • Can you in fact do anything to block the virus
    from replicating and establishing infection?
  • In the emergency room of a hospital a patient
    reports that she had been raped two hours ago and
    was now worrying that she had been exposed to the
    AIDS-Virus. She said she had heard that there was
    an "After-Pill", which might prevent an
    HIV-infection. Can the doctor in fact do anything
    which might prevent potentially existing viruses
    from replicating and establishing themselves
    permanently in the body?

  • M.F. Perutz, Hemoglobin structure and
    respiratory transport, Scientific American,
    December 1978, Backtranslated from German,
    February 1979 Spektrum der Wissenschaften
  • Hemoglobin carries oxygen from the lungs to the
    tissues and helps to transport carbon dioxide
    back to the lungs. It fulfils this dual role by
    clicking back and forth between two alternative
  • Hemoglobin, the substance responsible for the
    bloods red color, carries oxygen from the lungs
    to the tissues and facilitates the backtransport
    of carbon dioxide to the lungs. The molecule
    fulfils this double function because it changes
    between two structures. Why the grass is green
    and our blood red, are secrets which nobody will
    ever know. In this dim state, poor soul, what
    will you do? (John Donne On the souls

  • David Hounshell, Two Paths to the Telephone,
    Scientific American, June 1981
  • As Alexander Graham Bell was developing the
    telephone, Elisha Gray was doing the same. Bell
    got the patent, but the episode is nonetheless an
    instructive example of simultaneous invention.
  • Back Translation from German The Race for the
    Telephone Patent, Spektrum der Wissenschaft,
    August 1981.
  • Independent of each other Alexander Graham Bell
    and Elisha Gray handed in nearly identical
    construction plans for a telephone in 1976 but
    only Bell received the patent and became rich and
    famous. Gray on the other hand had misjudged the
    importance of his invention and had moreover been
    badly advised.

INTERVIEW with German translator of Popular
Science Texts (Scientific American/Spektrum der
  • A bit more rational strength, a bit more what
    can we really do and what do we really know? What
    can we really build on? Many popular science
    texts written in English, when you translate
    them, you notice that they are written totally
    imprecise. You consume them in a way for your
    entertainment, and if you realize that then you
    dont find it so bad. But try to get this into
    German! The English language actually permits you
    to express yourself much more imprecisely, then
    everything is like chewing gum with a taste of

5. Global English and Cultural Filtering
  • Globalisation has created a demand for texts
    simultaneously meant for recipients in many
    different contexts. They are either translated
    covertly or produced simultaneously as
    comparable texts. In the past, translators
    routinely applied a cultural filter. Due to the
    global dominance of English, there is now a
    tendency towards cultural neutralism - which
    is in reality a drift towards (universal)
    Anglo-American norms.

  • While Anglophone influence is amply documented in
    the area of words and phrases, we know very
    little about what happens at the levels of text
    and context. However, investigating textual
    shifts from local contexts towards pseudo-neutral
    Anglo-contexts is an important research task.
  • A first step in this direction is the project
    Covert Translation at Hamburgs Research Center
    on Multilingualism. Here we investigate
    Anglophone influence on translations and
    comparable texts in other languages, using
    quantitative and qualitative diachronic analyses
    on the basis of multilingual corpora, interviews,
    and ethnographic background material.

  • Covert Translation Corpus
  • I Primary Translation Corpus Translations of
    English Texts into German,
  • French, Spanish (later Chinese, Persian,
  • Two Genres
  • Popular Science Texts
  • Economic Texts
  • -Business-/Product Information
  • -Letters to Shareholders
  • -Visions and Missions
  • II Comparable Corpus English, German, French,
    Spanish (later Chinese,
  • Persian, Arabic)
  • Authentic original texts in the same genres
  • III Validation Corpus

  • The analyses show that German communicative
    preferences unlike French and Spanish ones!
    have indeed changed over the past 25 years
  • (Two time frames 1978-1982 and 1999-2002 550
    texts, 800 000 words)
  • Particularly vulnerable are the functional
    categories pronouns, conjunctions, pronominal
    adverbials, mental verbs and modal particles.
    They trigger changes in text norms
  • There is a general tendency towards
    colloquialisation in German texts - where
    formerly a more scientific, serious norm was
    the rule in popular science and economic texts,
    and a cultural filter enabled German readers to
    be informed in a more detached manner rather than
    the entertaining person-oriented Anglo-manner..
    All this, it seems, is now changing.

Non-Filter Examples
  • Michael Rose Can Human Ageing be Postponed?
    Scientific American, December 1999,
    Backtranslated from German March 2000 Can Human
    Ageing be Held up? Spektrum der Wissenschaft
  • Anti-ageing therapies of the future will
    undoubtedly have to counter many destructive
    biochemical processes at once.
  • Effective therapies must however take up the
    fight against many destructive biochemical
    processes simultaneously.

  • Ian Tattersall Once we were not alone,
    Scientific American, January 2000, Backtranslated
    from German, Spektrum der Wissenschaft, March
  • As far as can be told, these two hominids
    behaved in similar ways despite anatomical
    differences. And as long as they did so, they
    somehow contrived to share the Levantine
  • As far as we can judge this, both hominids
    behaved in a similar way despite all their
    anatomical differences. And as long as both
    stayed that way, they also succeeded in sharing
    the environment in the Near East.

  • Hans Moravecs, Rise of the Robots, Scientific
    American, December 1999, Backtranslation from
    German Spektrum der Wissenschaften Robots will
    overtake usJanuary 2000
  • Nevertheless, I am convinced that ... By 2040,
    I believe, we will finally achieve the original
    goal of robotics and a thematic mainstay of
    science fiction Why do I believe that rapid
    progress and stunning accomplishments are in the
  • Despite previous failures I am convinced that....
    By 2040 we will, so I think, have finally reached
    the great goal which has also been often praised
    in science fiction...How do I come to be so
    optimistic and believe

  • Jill Tarter and Christopher Chyba Is Life
    elsewhere in the universe? Scientific American
    December 1999
  • At a minimum we will have thoroughly explored
    the most likely candidates, something we cannot
    claim today. We will have discovered whether life
    dwells on Jupiters moon Europa or on Mars. And
    we will have undertaken the systematic
    exobiological exploration of planetary systems
  • Is there extra-terrestral life? Spektrum der
    Wissenschaft March 2000, backtranslated
  • We will at least have thoroughly examined the
    most likely candidates, something we cannot yet
    claim today. Until then we will for example find
    out whether we will find traces of life on the
    Jupiter moon Europa or on Mars. And we will have
    begun to systematically and biologically
    investigate extrasolar planets

  • While there is then some evidence that cultural
    filtering is replaced by All-Anglo Norms,
  • we cannot be sure that the dissolution of
  • the natural ties between texts and their local
    contexts is traceable to hegemonic English via
    translation processes
  • It might for instance be the case that the
    observed changes reflect a current general
    (media-induced? youth-culture conditioned?)
    tendency for texts to become more colloquial,
    more oral, more ,personal!

  • The changes in the link between text and context
    can presently not be definitively explained. Much
    more empirical research is needed - with
    different genres, different language pairs and
    larger diachronic corpora - before plausible
    hypotheses can be formulated that might explain
    how global English changes the link between texts
    and their local contexts.
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