chapter  Chapter 1
22 Pages

Groundworks

WithStella Cragie, Ann Pattison

Both writers and translators need to be aware of the role of three perspectives in shaping a text: time, context and culture. The concept of time and how it is measured was considered by philosophers, theorists and writers, including Pamuk, Woolf, Mann, Proust, Butor, Robbe-Grillet and Priestley. In literature, time is represented within different frames of reference. Concepts such as “emplotment,” which the philosopher Paul Ricoeur borrows from Aristotle, and non-linear narrative techniques can create considerable challenges for the translator.

Context can be considered both logistically and linguistically, so the translator’s interpretation of a text is a complex process that is inherently subjective. The difficulty of producing valid and coherent theories of language led to the development of semiotics, the study of signs and symbols.

Culture reflects the historical, geographical, linguistic and social setting. It can be material or non-material or both, making it difficult to transfer cultural references between different languages.

The focus is not only analytical; it is also practical and creative because translators are also writers. They each need to develop their own voice as a writer and explore time, context and culture from a writer’s perspective before they can truly identify and recreate another writer’s voice.