Hybrid functionality and the word survive

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Material: the source text

The ST used for this translation, The Art of the Print: Masterpieces, History, Techniques is an art book, with focus on graphic art, by Fritz Eichenberg (1976). Each graphic technique described in the book consists of three chapters: history; technique and a collection of letters or notes from prominent printmakers, discussing their technique. Two excerpts of the text were chosen for the translation in question. The first is from the history of the wood-block print, and the other from the technique of the relief print. These two excerpts were chosen to present examples of both instances of hybrid functionality and terminology.
Before carrying out the translation, the extended preface written by the author was studied. This was done as the translation strategy used focuses on both the original authors intentions as well as the experience of the intended reader, and both Eichenberg’s intentions and his intended reader was explicitly presented in the preface. Eichenberg (1976:9) states that he is neither a scholar nor an art historian, and that the book is based on his own “personal views, experiences, preferences and antipathies,” thus he acknowledges the subjective expressiveness that is linguistically present in his descriptions of the art and artists, in his otherwise informational and historical text. The intended readers are explicitly presented as “working artists, art students, teachers, but it is intended also to be of help to the collector, the curator, the dealer and the general public interested in prints” (ibid.). The intended readers for the TT are the same as for the ST, i.e., perhaps not all professionals with expert knowledge, but also laymen with an interest in graphic art.

Theoretical background

This section (4) is divided into two parts. The first part (4.1) discusses text functions in general. This section presents why functions were used as the basis of the analysis and why they may present a translation problem. It also discusses how the functions studied in this essay were chosen and presents them more thoroughly. The second part (4.2) presents the translation strategy and procedures. It does also encompass a section (4.2.5) which discusses function hybridity and hierarchy in relation to translation, as a basis for the discussion for instances where not all functions can be kept.

Text functions

The pragmatic function of an utterance is the effect that the original sender (author, speaker) intends to have on the receivers of the utterance. The intention can be to inform the receivers, or it can aim to invoke a certain feeling. The aim can also be to affect the actions of the receiver. Ingo (2007:129) exemplifies this with the sentence It is awfully cold in here [my translation]. If the sender had an informative purpose, then the sentence is an informative statement about the lack of warmth in the room. However, the sentence can also be perceived as a request for the receiver to close the window or turn up the heat. If the function is misconstrued in the TT, the meaning of the utterance may change.
Three types of text functions seem to occur in most function-based translation models: the informative function, the operative function, and the expressive function. Albeit, they are sometimes presented with different terminology. Reiss (1981) and Ingo (2007) use these three functions; the latter supplementing them with seven “secondary” functions, although he (ibid., 129) explains that a secondary function can be more important than one of the three universal functions (i.e., the informative, operative and expressive functions). Reiss (1981:125), on the other hand, disregards any other function and their effect on the translation process. Nord’s (2006) model encompasses the three functions mentioned above as well. However, she calls the informative function “referential” and the operative “appellative”. She (ibid., 47) also presents a phatic function as her fourth function, which purpose is to establish, maintain or end the contact between the sender and the receiver.
For the essay at hand, two of the universal functions are of interest, as they are highly present in the ST: the referential and the expressive (Nord’s terminology was chosen as it is her translation strategy that is the basis of the analysis, see section 4.2.) Moreover, ST contains descriptive how-to-portion, which could be claimed to have an appellative purpose, which Ingo (2007:128) claims is typical of instruction manuals. However, in this essay this aspect of the ST is considered to have an instructional referential function, which is described below (section 4.1.1). An aesthetic function was present in the ST as well, thus the referential and the expressive functions are supplemented with Ingo’s (2007) aesthetic function. All three functions are discussed below (sections 4.1.1-4.1.3).

The referential function

Nord (2006:48) explains that the referential function entails references to objects or phenomena, whether they are non-fictional or fictional. Drawing from Karl Bühler’s (1934) analysis of the linguistic sign, Nord (ibid: 46) explains that if the function is referential, the linguistic sign is seen as a symbol of the “object of reference”, i.e., the referent. Nord’s (2006:46) visualization of Bühler’s triangle can be seen below.
She (ibid.) explains that the linguistic sign, which Bühler saw as words, can be extended to encompass utterances, parts of a text, or text segments. Thus, the referent can be a single object, such as a remote control, or even an utterance about the remote control, such as an explanation on how to use it.
She (ibid.) further presents three subfunctions. The first is the “descriptive”, for example when the referent is a product unknown to the receiver and the text describes its properties: the man is tall. The second one is the “metalinguistic”, as when the referent is a language or a specific use of a language: inanimate agents are less common in Swedish than in English. The final subfunction is the “instructive”, if the referent is, for example, a guide on how to use a washing machine: put the detergent in the second compartment. As stated above, Ingo (2007:128) would consider this an appellative function, as it is meant to guide the actions of the receiver. However, Nord (2006:50) explains the appellative purpose as aiming to induce “the audience to respond in a particular way” such as persuasions, advertisements and requests. The instructional referential, on the other hand, describes how the washing machine works but does not try to affect the receiver in a particular way.

The expressive function

Ingo (2007:128) explains that the “expressive function” is emotive and subjective. Focus is on the writer’s (or speaker’s) subjective attitude towards the subject being described. Nord (2006: 46) concurs, stating that the expressive function can be seen as a symptom of the sender’s state of mind (see image on page 5) and (ibid., 49) expresses the sender’s attitude towards the referents of the text.
Nord (2006:49) presents the sub-functions “emotive”, i.e., when subjective feelings or emotions are expressed, and “evaluative”, i.e., when the sender evaluates the referent. She further explains that the expressive function can be verbalized explicitly, e.g., by the means of adjectives, or implicitly.

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The aesthetic function

Ingo (2007:128) explains that the “aesthetic function” entails elaborate and polished language used to represent the beauty of the world, and gives pleasure both to the writer and the reader. He also (ibid., 129) points out that it can be quite important, even more so than an informative function, for example when it comes to puns or other plays on words. Reiss (1981:130) also observes that for “artistically structured content” in expressive texts, the artistic organisation can be more important than the actual content. However, she (ibid., 125) does not define artistic organisation as a separate function, claiming that “additional functions” can be realized in all of the universal functions and does not lead to “particulars of the text construction”. Although she states it can be realized in all functions, she (ibid., 124) connects artistically organized content mainly to the expressive function. However, according to Nord (2006:49), the expressive function, refers to attitudes expressed by the author and the aesthetic, in Ingo’s view (2006:128), to the organisation of the language itself, such as puns, tropes, proverbs and literary devices. For example, the phrase bad boy may encompass several different emotive or evaluative attitudes, while the trope “alliteration”, the repetition of the initial letter (Cuddon, 1998:23), is only related to the use of language, not the attitude behind the statement. Thus, in this essay, the aesthetic function is considered as a separate function that entails polished and pleasurable language, tropes, proverbs, puns and other literary devices.

Strategy and procedures

This part of the essay (4.2) presents the translation strategy and the accompanying procedures used in the translation of the ST. The first section (4.2.1) presents the global translation strategy used. Section 4.2.2-4.2.4 presents the translation procedures used for each of the functions. These are presented separately as Nord (2006) suggests different procedures for the different functions. As Nord (ibid.) does not present any procedures for the translation of the aesthetic function, section 4.2.4 discusses different theoretical ideas on the translation of this function. The final section, (4.2.5), briefly discusses theory on hybridity and hierarchy between functions.

Global translation strategy

The global translation strategy used for the translation at hand was taken from Nord (2006). Nord (ibid., 56) presents two types of translation procedures for all functions, depending on whether the global translation strategy is source-oriented or target-oriented. She (ibid., 57) explains that the source-oriented strategy would keep close to the source culture and make use of procedures that keeps the TT as close to the ST as possible; this type of translation could be called a more literal, or word-for-word, translation. For example, not translating a culture-specific entity such as custard, and instead stating the definition of the dessert in a footnote. The target-oriented translation would then rather adapt the TT to the target culture; this could be called a freer translation, sense-for-sense rather than word-for-word. This strategy would instead place the explanation of custard in the running text or exchange the custard with a similar dessert of the target culture.
Nord (2006:45) separates the sender’s intended function of the text, the purpose, and the reader’s perception, the actual function. Her (ibid.) model entails that the translator aims for congruence between the sender’s (ST’s) purpose and the reader’s (TT’s) function. When moving a text from one culture to another, differences in value systems or culture-specific phenomena or entities may result in a lack of congruence. For example, if the ST states that “the gum tastes like cherry tart”, a reader from a culture that does not have any cherry tart does most likely not fully perceive what the author indented. For instances like these, Nord proposes different strategies to achieve said congruence, i.e., to make sure the ST’s purpose is achieved in the target culture.
Nord (ibid., 58) claims that most theorists, like Schleiermacher (1813) and Nida (1964), prefer one type of translation method: source-oriented and target-oriented respectively. She further explains that for functionalists such as herself both types of translation are as valid; they are chosen depending on the translation’s purpose. For Nord (ibid., 58), the translation purpose comes from the translation brief, i.e., from the sender. For the translation at hand however, no translation brief was presented and the translator, I, chose to use a target-oriented translation strategy. This decision was made with the perceived purpose of the original author in mind; as stated above, he states that he aims at educating his receivers as well as expressing the beauty of the works and techniques discussed. It was deemed that his aims would be easier to achieve if the TT was written as a fluent text in which the reader would not come across unknown or foreign words or phenomena that had to be looked up in a footnote or glossary, but could focus on the message itself. The procedures of the target-oriented translation strategy are presented for the functions below (sections 4.2.2-4.2.4).

The referential function in translation

Nord’s (2006:53) criteria for congruence between the sender’s purpose and the actual function in the target culture is that all explicit, as well as non-verbalized, extralingual information in the text should be perceived by the reader. For instances where the ST information is presumed to most likely not be fully understood by the intended target reader, Nord (ibid., 53) suggests that the translator gives additional information in the running text, either by “explicitation” or “expansion”. “Explicitation” entails turning implicit information present in the ST explicit in the TT, and “expansion” means adding information in the TT that is not implicit in the ST. For example, if the ST makes a reference to a celebrity that is, presumably, not well known in the target culture one can expand the reference as in example (2).

Table of contents :

1. Introduction
2. Aim
3. Method and Material
3.1 Method
3.2 Material: the source text
4. Theoretical background
4.1 Text functions
4.1.1 The referential function
4.1.2 The expressive function
4.1.3 The aesthetic function
4.2 Strategy and procedures
4.2.1 Global translation strategy
4.2.2 The referential function in translation
4.2.3 The expressive function in translation
4.2.4 The aesthetic function in translation
4.2.5 Hybrid functions and hierarchy
5. Analysis
5.1 Terminology
5.1.1 Wood engraving
5.1.2 Artist’s proof
5.1.3 White-line engraving
5.1.4 Concluding remarks on terminology
5.2 Hybrid functionality
5.2.1 Hybrid functionality and the word survive
5.2.2 Hybrid functionality and the word responsible
5.2.3 Hybrid functionality and malicious tools
5.2.4 Concluding remarks on hybrid functionality
6. Conclusion


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