METM17 presentation

Translating: writing the Other, rewriting for the Other

Mirella Agorni, Brescia, Italy
Translators translate, mediate, adapt, remediate, transcreate and transedit. In a word, they rewrite texts. The subject of this paper is the degree of intervention translators often have to exercise to achieve successful communication. We shall consider translation as a cross-cultural writing practice, highlighting degrees of translator intervention in linguistic and textual features, and culture-specific elements. The main problems will obviously concern the transfer of those cultural markers that represent a text’s specific historical, geographical, social and cultural aspects. The translators’ task is not to demonstrate their knowledge of very specific areas but rather to show their ability to facilitate knowledge, so as to make it accessible to a client who is logically different from the original work’s target reader. As a result, translators should learn to dose the amount of information clients/readers will be able to process, and at the same time they must work out strategies of addressee inclusion to ensure reader involvement.
Theoretical assumptions will be illustrated by means of student translations of tourism texts, a text typology that not only provides very valid teaching tools but is also largely represented in the publishing industry. It will be demonstrated that translators’ decisions at linguistic and explanatory levels allow a relatively substantial degree of reader involvement and consequently affect the promotion of tourist destinations.
It is expected that this METM will be attended by editors and translators who may benefit from a deeper awareness of training issues, with particular reference to the teaching of functionally oriented rewriting skills. It is hoped that this shared knowledge will eventually pave the way for future collaboration between academia and the editing/translation industry.

Mirella Agorni has a PhD in translation studies from the University of Warwick (UK) and is an associate professor of English language and translation at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Brescia campus, Italy. She has published extensively in the fields of translation teaching and translation history.