Theorizing and Modelling Translation from a Functional Perspective

When:6 Mar 2018, 3pm - 4pm
Venue:M17, Chemical Sciences Building (F10)
Who:Erich Steiner
Erich Steiner


You are invited to the next Interpreting & Translation seminar, with guest speaker Erich Steiner on:

Theorizing and Modelling Translation from a Functional Perspective

Erich Steiner, born 1954 in Heidelberg/ Germany, studied English and German Philology in Freiburg and Saarbrücken, with longer research periods in Cardiff, Reading and London. He has held posts in Saarbrücken, Luxembourg and Darmstadt. He has served as Head of Department, Pro-Dean and Dean at the University of Saarland in Saarbrücken, as well as received calls from several other universities. Since 1990, he has been Chair of English Linguistics and Translation Studies, later on English Translation Studies, Dept. of Language Science and Technology, University of Saarland, Saarbrücken. His major research interests include Functional Linguistics, Translation Theory and Comparative Linguistics, as well as empirical Linguistics more generally. He has attracted major research projects from the European Union (ESPRIT/ FRAMEWORK, LEONARDO, MINERVA), from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG/ German Research Council) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). He has been Visiting Professor at Rice University, Houston/ Texas, at the University of Southern California/ Los Angeles, Dublin City University, Macquarie University Sydney, the University of Technology Sydney, the University of Oslo, as well as Hong Kong Polytechnic University and City University of Hong Kong over the past 30 years.

Our talk addresses three major goals:

- a characterization of major strands of work on translation from functional perspectives so far,

- an outline of the contribution made in that work to translation studies,

- a brief introduction to some tools for translation contributed in functionally-oriented work,

- and finally an outlook on future contributions to translation, both as an activity, and as a critical object of research.

In an initial historical overview, major strands of work on translation from functional perspectives will be summarized. We shall then explore what this kind of perspective contributes to our understanding of some major questions around translation: translation vs. interpreting vs. multilingual text production; translation vs. paraphrase vs. variation; equivalence; the text-type “translation”; the role of the translator and processing. In some strands of work, this kind of approach to translation has led to tools for the translation process. We shall specifically review methods for pre-translational text analysis, methods for translation evaluation, theoretically-motivated accounts of translation procedures, and the creation of corpora, annotation tools and tools for multi-modal analysis. An outlook will also be attempted at possible future contributions from functional perspectives to the fields, tenors and modes of contemporary translations activities. And finally, we shall make some suggestions of contributions to research on language and translation, where key issues are waiting to be addressed, among them translation and understanding; the bringing together of macro-, mezzo,- and micro-levels of semiotic analyses; multilinguality, language contact and language change in an empirical perspective. The argumentation of the talk will be illustrated with the help of examples from translation, language comparison and textual analysis.

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