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T-Rex in Action: Assessing the impact of translation upon non-English academic discourses Karen Bennett, University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies.

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Apresentação em tema: "T-Rex in Action: Assessing the impact of translation upon non-English academic discourses Karen Bennett, University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies."— Transcrição da apresentação:

1 T-Rex in Action: Assessing the impact of translation upon non-English academic discourses Karen Bennett, University of Lisbon Centre for English Studies

2 “…. a powerful carnivore gobbling up the other denizens of the academic linguistic grazing grounds” (Swales, ‘English as Tyrannosaurus Rex, 1997) ↓  ousting of other languages by English in international academic settings  “loss of specialized registers in otherwise healthy languages”

3 Linguistic imperialism: landmarks 1992: Phillipson, R. Linguistic Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1992: Phillipson, R. Linguistic Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1994: Pennycook, A. The Cultural Politics of English as an International Language. Essex: Longman; 1994: Pennycook, A. The Cultural Politics of English as an International Language. Essex: Longman; 1999: Canagarajah, A. S. Resisting Linguistic Imperialism in English Teaching. Oxford: OUP; Press. 1999: Canagarajah, A. S. Resisting Linguistic Imperialism in English Teaching. Oxford: OUP; Press. 2002: Canagarajah, A. S. A Geopolitics of Academic Writing. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. 2002: Canagarajah, A. S. A Geopolitics of Academic Writing. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press. 2004: Tardy, C. ‘The role of English in scientific communication: Lingua franca or Tyrannosaurus Rex?’ In Journal of English for Academic Purposes 3: : Tardy, C. ‘The role of English in scientific communication: Lingua franca or Tyrannosaurus Rex?’ In Journal of English for Academic Purposes 3:

4 Aims: Describe how the process of linguistic imperialism is being manifested in Portugal: Describe how the process of linguistic imperialism is being manifested in Portugal: I. Academic discourse in Portugal I. Academic discourse in Portugal II. The changing discourse of History II. The changing discourse of History Open the subject up to discussion involving other languages and cultures Open the subject up to discussion involving other languages and cultures

5 A different discourse? A different discourse?  Taste for ‘copiousness’ (general ‘wordiness’ and redundancy);  Preference for high-flown erudite register (complex syntax; lexical abstraction, etc);  Propensity for indirectness (main idea often embedded, adorned or deferred at all ranks);  Presence of literary devices and rhetorical features. Clarity, economy and precision; Clarity, economy and precision; Straightforward syntax; Straightforward syntax; Clearly-defined lexis, with preference for concrete terms over abstractions; Clearly-defined lexis, with preference for concrete terms over abstractions; Structured rational argument supported by evidence; Structured rational argument supported by evidence; Avoidance of ‘dubious persuasive techniques’ and figurative language. Avoidance of ‘dubious persuasive techniques’ and figurative language.

6 I. Academic Discourse in Portugal 1) Corpus of Portuguese Academic Texts 2) Review of Portuguese Academic Style Manuals 3) Survey of Portuguese Researchers

7 Academic Discourses in Portugal 1) The ‘modern’ style: ‘windowpane prose’ - identical to EAD in all respects; prevalent in more ‘scientific’ subjects; 2) The ‘traditional’ style: ornate, rhetorical, ‘literary’; prevalent in humanities subjects and many social sciences; 3) The ‘postmodern’ style: modelled on poststructuralist discourse; prevalent in ‘arty’ subjects and some humanities writing

8 Graph 1. Variance Factor (%): Complete corpus (word count)

9 Graph 2. Variance Factor (%): Humanities and Social Science texts (word count)

10 Enquanto a Europa se desenvolve até a era quatrocentista, à beira do oceano mas sem que a sua vida por ele seja penetrada e sem que por ele se aventure, ao redor do Índico as diferentes populações vão-se interligando pelas vias marítimas e as suas economias não dispensam tais conexões longínquas de navegação; o complexo europeu é predominantemente mediterrâneo e não se abre a poente, onde é meramente costeiro: a África setentrional liga-se ao complexo mediterrâneo, a ocidental permanence mole de terra firme sem respiração marinha; em contraste, o Oriente afro-asiático é oceânico. Extract 1. Vitorino Magalhães Godinho, ‘O oceano Índico de 3000 a.C. até o século XVII’ in Ensaios, Vol. I. Lisbon, 1968.

11 E, ainda antes de avançarmos, seja-nos permitido relevar, por um lado, a dimensão do modo de vida dos que não só em Lisboa, como no Porto e em outras cidades e vilas litorâneas, se dedicavam aos serviços da fretagem naval, bem como ao transporte de encomendas e ao comércio marítimo, a ponto de uma outra carta régia, também de 1414, para evitar burocracias excessivas, aceitar como prova dos direitos alfandegários o juramento dos mestres do navios reinóis e dos mercadores que fretassem navios estrangeiros; por outro, registe-se a já crónica dependência nacional em relação ao trigo de fora, designadamente ao do Noroeste Europeu e do Mediterráneo. Extract 2. João Marinho dos Santos (1993). Reproduced with the kind permission of the author.

12 As Ordens Militares existiram em toda a Cristandade e não apenas na Terra Santa. Em parte, a sua implantação na Península deve-se à necessidade de aplicar o conceito de cruzada, no âmbito das alterações que marcaram a organização social na viragem do 1º para o 2º milénio. Neste trabalho partimos da concepção pluralista da cruzada, que a define como uma forma particular de guerra santa cristã, penitencial, associada à peregrinação, mas que se manifesta em diversos espaços. Assim, é definida pelas suas origens e características e não pelo seu destino – Jerusalém. Extract 3. Paula Pinto Costa (2007). Reproduced with the kind permission of the author.

13 Hybrid text (Schäffner & Adab, 1995: 325) “ A hybrid text is a text that results from a translational process. It shows features that somehow seem ‘out of place‘ / ‘strange’ / ‘unusual’ for the receiving culture, i.e. target culture. These features, however, are not the result of a lack of translational competence or examples of ‘translationese’, but they are evidence of conscious and deliberate decisions by the translator. Although the text is not yet fully established in the target culture (because it does not conform to established norms and conventions), a hybrid text is accepted in its target culture because it fulfils its intended purpose in the communicative situation (at least for a certain time).”

14 To what extent does language contact in translating affect target text production beyond lexical borrowings to take the form of the transfer of patterns such as syntactic constructs, reproduction of source text repetition and cohesion? Adapted from Musacchio (2005: 73) See also: House (2006, 2008), Baumgarten et al. (2004) Hypothesis

15 Effect of English on Italian economics articles (Musacchio, 2005:93) Lexis: Lexis: Loan words, loan translations, formation of compound terms, phraseology and figurative language Syntax: Syntax: Close rendering of syntactic constructs; repetition; higher frequency of cohesive links such as coordinators, subordinators, possessive determiners and demonstrative pronouns Close rendering of syntactic constructs; repetition; higher frequency of cohesive links such as coordinators, subordinators, possessive determiners and demonstrative pronouns

16 Influence of English on German popular science and economics texts (House, 2008: 92) “…analyses of most recent popular science and economic texts do in fact point to a shift in the use of those linguistic means which realise the interpersonal function component, in particular linguistic means of expressing ‘stance’, ‘subjectivity’, ‘point of view’ and addressee orientation.” “…analyses of most recent popular science and economic texts do in fact point to a shift in the use of those linguistic means which realise the interpersonal function component, in particular linguistic means of expressing ‘stance’, ‘subjectivity’, ‘point of view’ and addressee orientation.”

17 II. The changing discourse of history To what are extent changes in Portuguese historiographic discourse due to the influence of translated texts?

18 Method Assess the prevalence of works translated from English into Portuguese in history libraries (Institute of Social and Economic History, University of Coimbra) Assess the prevalence of works translated from English into Portuguese in history libraries (Institute of Social and Economic History, University of Coimbra) Analyse those translations to determine the strategy used (prevalence of DDFs) Analyse those translations to determine the strategy used (prevalence of DDFs)

19 Institute of Social and Economic History, University of Coimbra (total holdings volumes / acquired since 1985) 33% foreign (i.e. non-Portuguese) works 78% are untranslated (French – 58%; Spanish – 19%; English – 18%) 78% are untranslated (French – 58%; Spanish – 19%; English – 18%) 22% are translated (76% in Portuguese) 22% are translated (76% in Portuguese) 63% from French 35% from English ↓ Projected presence of Eng→Port translations (approx. 2.5% of total holdings)

20 Preliminary Results Prevalence of untranslated foreign texts Prevalence of untranslated foreign texts Great influence of French (untranslated and translated texts) upon Portuguese history Great influence of French (untranslated and translated texts) upon Portuguese history French and English works of different nature French and English works of different nature↓ accounts for why the traditional discourse in Portuguese has persisted for so long

21 Mechanisms of language change in the era of globalization 1) Calquing through imitation: “unconscious imbibing of a dominant language” (Cronin, 2010: 251) 2) Authorial self-censorship: removal of DDFs prior to translation

22 Self-censorship by authors writing for international public (Bennett, 2010b; 2011)  General orientation: more factual / pragmatic / technical; concrete rather than abstract  Structure: argument clearer / more linear; text & paragraphs more rigidly organised  Style: more precise; more succinct; less elaborate; more limited vocabulary; less rhetorical or figurative devices

23 Historical situations where translation has played a role in language change C12: calques onto Latin of terminology and grammatical structures from Greek and Arabic (Montgomery, 2000:148-9) C12: calques onto Latin of terminology and grammatical structures from Greek and Arabic (Montgomery, 2000:148-9) Late C19: systematic translation of Western science into Chinese (Wright, 2009) Late C19: systematic translation of Western science into Chinese (Wright, 2009) C19: deliberate imposition of scientific discourse onto Indian languages (Dodson, 2009) C19: deliberate imposition of scientific discourse onto Indian languages (Dodson, 2009) C21: creation of language of science in Arabic C21: creation of language of science in Arabic

24 Topics that could be elaborated on Reactions of Portuguese researchers to encroachment of English Reactions of Portuguese researchers to encroachment of English Appearance and development of Portuguese academic style manuals Appearance and development of Portuguese academic style manuals The ‘worldview’ encoded into EAD The ‘worldview’ encoded into EAD The ‘worldview’ encoded into Portuguese (Spanish/French) humanities discourse The ‘worldview’ encoded into Portuguese (Spanish/French) humanities discourse Translation strategies Translation strategies

25 Possible discussion questions In your culture, does there exist a ‘traditional’ discourse of knowledge that is different from EAD? Is it under pressure to change? In your culture, does there exist a ‘traditional’ discourse of knowledge that is different from EAD? Is it under pressure to change? How is academic discourse translated in your culture (to and from English)? How is academic discourse translated in your culture (to and from English)? Is the spread of EAD a good thing (i.e. promoting international communication) or is it leading to an ‘epistemological monoculture’? Is the spread of EAD a good thing (i.e. promoting international communication) or is it leading to an ‘epistemological monoculture’? Can translators do anything to impede the process of linguistic imperialism in the academic sphere? Can translators do anything to impede the process of linguistic imperialism in the academic sphere?


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