Style is Fiction and Non-Fiction: Applying Stylistic Methods and Strategies to Translation and Interpretation Teaching

Style is Fiction and Non-Fiction: Applying Stylistic Methods and Strategies to Translation and Interpretation Teaching

Ilaria Rizzato (University of Genoa, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6615-3.ch003
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This chapter points out the advantages of stylistics in teaching translation and interpreting. By looking at the relationship between Translation Studies and Linguistics, it attempts to identify translation didactics as an area where the study of translation may profit from the methodology offered by stylistics. It explores the features of the stylistic method that may offer better insight into the translation process, such as its attention to the linguistic features and functions of texts, the systematic and critical analytical method provided, the emphasis on the variegated nature of text production and comprehension, and the hands-on approach that encourages the application of the stylistic methodology to real work situations. This chapter argues that training in the tools and methods of stylistics may enhance a translator's and an interpreter's motivation and professional performance and discusses the proposed teaching methodologies and strategies in the context of real-life teaching situations at a Master's degree level.
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A rigorous and systematic approach to the study of translation has only been developed very recently. Before the rise of Translation Studies, in fact, translation was considered neither a full-fledged discipline nor a topic worth academic attention. Since the early 1980s translation has started to occupy a more prominent position in linguistic and literary studies and has grown into a scientific field. The contribution of linguistics to the field, however, might have been to a certain extent delayed or played down because of the linguistic approach prevailing when Translation Studies emerged, namely the transformational-generativist approach. As a consequence, other disciplines have had a stronger influence on Translation Studies than linguistics. Although the 1972 manifesto The Name and Nature of Translation Studies establishes interdisciplinarity as one of the main features of Translation Studies (Holmes, 1988), literary studies at first, and social studies at a second stage, have played a major role in influencing the development of the discipline up to this day. Key figures in Translation Studies include in fact Susan Bassnett, André Lefevere, Maria Tymoczko, and Lawrence Venuti, who devoted most of their attention to the cultural and political implications of literary translation at different times by applying mainly a Cultural Studies approach.

The success experienced by the transformational-generativist approach has certainly to do with its most valuable contribution to the language science, which may be exemplified by its thorough illustration of code and its systematic approach to language inquiry. Its notion of language universals, however, and the dominant role assigned to competence at the expense of performance have been largely detrimental to the emergence of translation as an independent discipline, the practical component of which is clearly associated with the domain of performance. It is no surprise, then, that having to establish themselves as a new research field, Translation Studies decidedly rejected generativism and the linguistic approaches revolving around it.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Pragmatics: The study of language in context.

Translation Studies: The systematic and interdisciplinary study of translation.

Translation and Interpreting Teaching: Formal training enhancing translational competence and awareness.

Inductiveness: Approach implying the inference of general laws from particular cases.

Text: Any object that is deliberately assembled and directed to a target.

Stylistics: The study of language use in text.

Motivation: What moves the student towards learning.

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