3 March, 17:00, Barcelona
When I got to work this morning I discovered that some subscribers would like to start the discussion already, before the colloquium even opens. I have no objection to doing so, but I would recommend that participants consult all of the texts first.
I have made some modifications to the colloquium’s home page. Michael Cronin’s response to Doug Robinson’s and Anthony Pym’s position papers, entitled “Hand over Fist? A Response to Anthony Pym and Doug Robinson”, is now available there.
Remember, the Web site for the colloquium [was] at
http://cc.uab.es/~iuts0/colloquium.html [no longer available]
and that the address “~iuts0” ends with the number zero, not with the letter “o”.
As frequently happens in a “live” colloquium, the invited speakers begin a debate among themselves before opening the debate to the public. In our case this has become a “virtual” debate: Anthony Pym has published his response to Doug Robinson’s position paper, and Doug Robinson has published his response to Anthony Pym’s response. This virtual debate is now available on the colloquium Web site as well. From now on all further debate will take place over TRANSFER-L.
This debate will be unmoderated. When I created the list I had the choice of moderating it. That would have allowed me to filter the messages that arrived, and to dosify them, before sending them out to everyone on the list. This would have been a clear case of an invisible or a guiding hand! I chose not to moderate the list. Therefore I would ask participants to treat TRANSFER-L as a forum for discussing the issues raised by the invited speakers, in the first place, and for introducing corollary, but related issues as well.
If this colloquium proves to be an interesting way of organising debate on the subject of translation, translation studies, and the teaching of translation, there could be more in the future. TRANSFER-L is not meant to repeat what is already being done on TRANSLAT or LANTRA-L. It is meant to be a discusssion list related to a specific discussion: the one represented by the topic of the colloquium. While discussion may continue on other lists (such as TRANSLAT or LANTRA-L), this one will be deliberately short-lived. TRANSFER-L will shut down after the colloquium is over.
The topic chosen for this colloquium was INTERCULTURAL TRANSFER, which is a topic with a very high socio-economic and ideological content, that may not be of equal interest to all participants. Future colloquia could cover different topics, and we would certainly be open to suggestions. We would also be open to suggestions about the organisation of the on-line colloquium.
As of this morning there are more than 100 subscribers and the list of subscribers is growing (it was announced on TRANSLAT, LANTRA-L, LINGUIST, and H-CLC). I will try to keep you informed of the statistics relating to participation. I am happy to say that the colloquium is truly international. I will try to extract statistics of the number of countries represented. In some cases this is easy, because the e-mail addresses end in a country code, but a very large number of e-mail addresses end in <.net> or <.com>, and I don’t know how to identify the country of origen of such codes.
It is now 17:00 in the afternoon of 3 March in Barcelona. Since the colloquium Web page is now complete, and since about half of you will receive this message tomorrow, while the other half will receive it when the first half is sleeping, I suppose we’re close enough to the offical opening date to accept messages relating to the discussion. Unless the volume of messages completely overwehelms me, I will try to add them to the Web page reserved for that purpose.
I hope you will enjoy this experiment, and that it may prove useful.
Welcome once again.
Sean Golden, Dean
Facultat de Traduccio
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
08193 Bellaterra, BARCELONA, Spain
Tel: 34 3 5811374 FAX: 34 3 5811037 e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have read with interest Robinson’s and Pym´s papers and I must confess I am a bit disappointed as I was expecting this to be more of a methodological or philosophical discussion on translation per se. However, both are very valid papers that reflect the language reality of Europe and the economic and alas ethical issues involved in translation.
While the economic discussion evolves around the idea that T is moved by external forces (Davidson’s interpretation of Smith’s “guiding hand” and Pym’s transaction cost analysis), the ethical one centres around the question: “To translate or not to translate”, a question that I find most provocative, honest and generous on the part of somebody like Pym who profits greatly on the European status quo. Not only is he posing a very valid and timely argument but also is hinting to other ethical questions such as the role of the translator in the wider community and his/her importance as a mediator. I could not help myself smiling remembering my childhood dreams, “a la Mafalda” (those of you who are familiar with this Argentinian cartoon would no doubt remember Mafalda’s ambition to become a UN interpreter to help in world peace!). However, his other ethical concern -the one that talks about the translator’s obligation to favour the weaker actor in any cooperation situation- I feel is too generalised to be taken seriously. Surely many weaker actors need support, but we cannot view the the world through such a simplistic dichotomies. There are some “dangerous” weaker actors that we as translators should not help to become stronger.
On the question of T as a transaction cost I entirely agree with Pym’s argument that we need to review language policy in long term alliances such as the EU, where language training should be favoured. This question should be posed at the level of nations, international organisations or multinationals. In a report to the government I wrote in 1992 -Language for Export- I argued that even language training can also be substantially reduced if export companies were to audit the language skills available within their working force and utilise the wealth of linguistic abilities already present within their companies. Furthermore, sometimes it is more cost effective for export representatives operating in other languages to get acquainted with the cultural do’s and don’ts of that target culture than to invest in learning the target language itself. Again here it would be a question of the transaction cost involved in the short or long term relationship.
Now, in Australia, second language acquisition and (what we call community) interpreting/translation do not have the high profile that they enjoy in Europe. In fact both have been from the onset related directly to migration and migrants are nowhere important players in the power game. In a present environment where languages training (even English classes for migrants) has been depleated of funds and interpreting and translation agencies are limiting more and more their services, the only argument that the government listens to is economic rationalism. The difference is that while in Europe this is a well informed discussion being led by responsible translators and academics, here the government imposes the restrictions without any reference or consultation with professionals or academics, making “tabula rasa” of the last 20 years of language policy in Australia. If we are forced to adopt economic racionalism to education we need to begin a well informed discussion before we destroy what many of us have spent years building up.
I have more to say about Davidson’s paper, but given that this is our second week of semester I shall leave it for another day.
Dr. Estela Valverde
Co-ordinator of Spanish
Dept of Romance Languages
The University of Queensland
Qld 4072, AUSTRALIA
Phone: 61 7 3365 2277
Fax: 61 7 3365 2798
E-mail: E.Valverde@mailbox.uq.oz.au (Estela Valverde)
Date: Sun, 02 Mar 1997 21:22:41 -0600
From: Doug Robinson <email@example.com>
>I have read with interest Robinson’s and Pym´s papers and I must confess I am a bit disappointed as I was expecting this to be more of a methodological or philosophical discussion on translation per se.
What would “translation per se” entail, exactly? I agree with Pym that at some point you have to be able to distinguish translation from nontranslation, but maybe, if Estela thinks we AREN’T writing about “translation per se,” she’s drawn the circle a little too narrowly?
>While the economic discussion evolves around the idea that T is moved by external forces (Davidson’s interpretation of Smith’s “guiding hand” and
Would this Davidson be me? And would the “guiding hand” be Smith’s invisible hand?
>I have more to say about Davidson’s paper, but given that this is our second week of semester I shall leave it for another day.
Davidson and I will be waiting!
Date: Mon, 03 Mar 1997 14:11:57 +0200
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Anthony Pym)
>Now, in Australia, second language acquisition and (what we call community) interpreting/translation do not have the high profile that they enjoy in Europe.
What? I’ve just started calling it ‘liaison interpreting’ because that’s what Adolfo Gentile et al. do at Deakin in Australia, albeit also because the adjective ‘community/communautaire’ can mean a lot of other things in Europe.
High profile in Europe? Perhaps for conference interpreters and a handful of literary translators, but not for the rest of us. Could this be part of the old Australian ‘cultural cringe’? Is everything really better in Europe?
In fact both have been from the onset related directly to
mmigration and migrants are nowhere important players in the power game. In a present environment where languages training (even English classes for migrants) has been depleted of funds and interpreting and translation agencies are limiting more and more their services, the only argument that the government listens to is economic rationalism. The difference is that while in Europe this is a well informed discussion being led by responsible translators and academics,
Show me where! Please! What we have in Europe looks more like an official ideology being gulped down by academics, along with subsidies, without much serious reflection in terms of economic rationalism. A few numbers wouldn’t go astray.
here the government imposes the restrictions
wwithout any reference or consultation with professionals or academics, making “tabula rasa” of the last 20 years of language policy in Australia. If we are forced to adopt economic rationalism to education we need to begin a well informed discussion before we destroy what many of us have spent years building up.
But what you *have* built up in Australia, with a centralized official accreditation agency, a string of para-professional training programmes, and a certain implication in a very profound social debate on multiculturalism, is exactly what I miss here in Europe! What I’m hoping is that some minor doses of economic rationalism will help us address social and professional issues in much the same way as has been done in Australia.
I do not accept that economic rationalism need be opposed to ‘consultations with professionals or academics’ or ‘an informed discussion’. Why can’t we have both sides at the same time?