RSS feed

Wotjak, Gerd, Vessela Ivanova, Encarnación Tabares Plasencia (eds) (2009). Translatione via facienda. Festschrift für Christiane Nord zum 65. Geburtstag.

Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, pp. 394. EUR 59.80. IBSN: 978 3 631 59486 5.

Real success is finding your lifework in the work that you love.
David McCullough

Christiane Nord has found her lifework in the 'art' of translation. Throughout her career, she has dedicated herself to this field, be it in her functional model of text analysis (1988) and other manifold publications beginning in the early 1980s, or in her seminars and lectures on translation around the globe. Having taught at several universities in Germany and Austria, the didactics of translation theories and practice are her near and dear.

In Translatione via Facienda, a Festschrift to commemorate Christiane Nord's 65th birthday, academics encompassing friends, colleagues and former students praise her lifework and success by featuring a broad and carefully selected arrangement of contributions in German (15), Spanish (10) and English (2), the main working languages of the jubilarian. Several of the essays are situated in the context of the special fields of expertise of Christiane Nord, such as the education of translators, whereas others deal with communicative, cultural and cognitive aspects of translation. The well-rounded selection is complemented by two essays which pay tribute to areas presenting new challenges in the world of translation: localisation and audiovisual translation. Moreover, two essays on empirical research in specialised areas of translation studies have been included.

In the contribution of Batista Rodríguez/Hérnandez Socas/Tabares Plasencia, the concept of loyalty, one main focus of Nord's research, was applied to the translation of two works dealing with the Canary Islands. Belen Santanatakes up a functionalist approach looking into the challenges of translating humour. Contributions by Rader, Siever, Fehlauer-Lenz and Balzer shed light on various issues involved in literary translation, whereas Jung and Berger deal with bible translation. Investigations on the teaching of translation form the basis of various essays by Schmitt, Ivanova, Neunzig, Postigo Pinazo, Vilar Sánchez, Emsel, Sinner and Varela Salinas/Plaza Lara. Based on already existing models, Göpferich develops her own translation competence model and illustrates sub-competences and models by means of detailed charts. Kondratjuk specifically investigates intercultural competence, Wotjak deals with the function of culture in texts and Kupsch-Losereit analyses the added value of translation in terms of culture. Moreover, Baumann's contribution addresses the concept of intertextuality applied to technical texts. Nobs Federer devotes her contribution to analysing an empirical study on a survey of tourist brochures. A corpus-based comparative analysis of proper names in the work Don Quijote de la Mancha is carried out by Ruiz Yepes and Pradas Marcías looks into the quality of simultaneous interpretation within the framework of an ample study.

As a consequence of the sheer variety of contributions, a subdivision into distinct topics was not manageable; hence, the essays are arranged in alphabetical order according to author. The contributions themselves, however, are well-structured by rendering comprehensive introductions to the respective topics, giving subheadings for all paragraphs as well as offering conclusions paired with outlooks and rounded up with extensive bibliographical references. Where relevant, the authors provide their readership with backtranslations illustrating their findings and with charts, tables and graphics depicting and underpinning their research. Furthermore, in the very end of the book, Translatione via Facienda portrays a list of 58 volumes of studies on Romance linguistics and intercultural communication published by Gerd Wotjak pointing the readership to further literature related to the field.

Many of the articles give incentive for further thought and indicate specialised fields open to future research. One example is given by "Ontology Localization: a key issue in the Semantic Web of the future." Here, more efficient ways have to be found in order to deal with the multilinguality of ontologies to facilitate access to the Semantic Web in different languages. Moreover, "El texto multimodal accessible: metodología de análisis basada en corpus"pays tribute to audiovisual translation, in this case audio description for the blind and visually impaired. This exciting new field poses new challenges for professionals and requires innovative translational approaches, not least as a consequence of the ever-evolving technologies translators and broadcasters now have at their disposal. In her contribution "In the year 1 BG (before Google) Revisiting a 1997 Study Concerning the Use of Translation Aids," Britta Nord summarises her study on the usefulness of translation aids for professional translators in authentic translation situations and stimulates thought on conducting new studies based on modern translation aids such as the internet or translation tool software.

Translatione via Facienda features a vast array of interesting topics in translation while, at the same time, doing justice to most of the main areas of research of Christiane Nord. In order to complement this, contributions on the translation of titles and headings as well as quotations and allusions, or essays on translating paralanguage, all constituting further areas of expertise of the jubilarian, might have been considered for inclusion. Overall, the effort and dedication put into this commemorative publication by Gerd Wotjak, Vessela Ivanova and Encarnación Tabares Plasencia, the publishers, as well as by the contributing academics successfully reflect their appreciation of the lifework of Christiane Nord. The compilation constitutes a well-rounded reading for anyone interested in the field of translation from an academic point of view.

  • Nord, Christiane (1988). Textanalyse und Übersetzen: Theoretische Grundlagen, Methode und didaktische Anwendung einer übersetzungsrelevanten Textanalyse, Heidelberg: J. Groos; translated (2005, 2nd edition) as Text Analysis in Translation: Theory, Methodology and Didactic Application of a Model for Translation-Oriented Text Analysis, Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Nina Weber, Roehampton University, London