RSS feed
Way, Catherine, Vandepitte, Sonia, Meylaerts, Reine and Bartłomiejczyk, Magdalena (eds) (2013). Tracks and Treks in Translation Studies. John Benjamins: Amsterdam/Philadelphia, pp. 298, €95.00/$143.00. ISBN 9789027224590

This volume is a collection of fifteen selected papers from the 6th Congress of the European Society for Translation Studies, held at the University of Leuven (Belgium) in September 2010. The aim of the congress was to explore the various tracks and treks in Translation Studies (TS) since the 1960s. In little more than half a century, TS have indeed evolved considerably by interacting with a variety of other disciplines ─ e.g. Cognitive Sciences, Sociology, Cultural and Gender Studies, Computer Science, to name but a few, ─ which has widened the range of perspectives, methodologies and tools adopted.

The story of this evolution is introduced in the first paper by Javier Franco Aixelá. Based on the bibliographic data in the BITRA database, he offers an interesting overview of the main approaches and patterns developed in the last decade and proposes a different methodology for calculating the impact factor. As concerns professional practice, some insights are provided by Hanna Risku, Nicole Rossmanith, Andreas Reichelt and Łukas Zenk in their follow-up case study on the role and competences of the project managers of a translation services company. Their findings depict a rapidly evolving industry facing the challenges of the network economy, where cultural and linguistic expertise seem to give way to networking and organisational skills, with inevitable consequences for translators’ education and training.

The issue of training is further addressed in two papers. Rosemary Mitchell-Schuitevoerder proposes project-based didactics replicating the professional setting. Following her empirical study, group work and reflection seem to help trainees in developing the management, ICT and communicative skills now required in professional practice. A particular focus is placed on translation technology by Cécile Frérot, who suggests the use of concordancers and Translation Memories for educational purposes, so as to provide students with different possible accurate and idiomatic translations, as well as evidence of different translation strategies by professionals.

Considerable space in the volume is devoted to process- ─ and product- ─ oriented research. Gyde Hansen monitors the evolution of the translation process in a sample of former translation students, now professionals, by having them replicate the same empirical study carried out ten years earlier. A combined approach (i.e., both process- and product-oriented) is adopted by Gerrit Bayer-Hohenwarter to investigate and test translational creativity in translation trainees. Her results seem to validate this dual approach as a reliable methodology to assess translation creativity. The relation between process and product is further explored with reference to revision by Isabelle Robert. Her contribution investigates the impact of the revision process on the revised product, so as to observe and measure how and to what extent different procedures can affect revision quality. Interpreting is addressed by Emilia Iglesias Fernández, whose study shows that variability in interpreting quality assessment can be largely due to the looseness of the parameter of ‘pleasant voice.’

A further track relates to methodologies in TS and is explored by two authors. Josep Marco investigates the properties of translated texts with a focus on marked collocations. Following a three-step method, he analyses a comparable and parallel corpus and observes that markedness appears to be peculiar to all translations, though to different degrees. On the interpreting side, Agnieszka Chmiel and Iwona Mazur investigate the development of sight translation skills in a sample of trainees by means of eye tracking, trying to identify the text features presenting the greatest difficulties.

The last track in the volume addresses the role of translators as agents in the communication process. Waltraud Kolb explores the decision-making process of five literary translators, with special reference to ambiguity and underspecification, stressing the “translator’s role as a reader and constructor of meaning” (220). The contribution by Alexandra Assis Rosa focuses on fictional texts and proposes a classification of translational shifts affecting the relationship among narrator, character and narratee, on the one hand, and between implied translator and implied TT reader, on the other. Still in the literary field, Hanne Jansen considers the relation between authors and their translators by investigating the possible influence of the author’s guidelines, on the translator as well as on the translation process and product. Changing focus, Lola Sanchez outlines the positive implications of the interdisciplinary contact between TS and History of Science. Finally, the concluding paper by Maria Antónia Gaspar Teixeira analyses the first Portuguese translation of the adventures of the Baron Münchhausen and relates its conservative features to the reception conditions of the target culture.

The volume explores a wide range of topics and domains in TS, with a predominant focus on translation as compared to interpreting, which is only addressed in two papers out of fifteen. Though rather comprehensive, the collection admittedly does not include some lines of research which could prove crucial for the future developments of the discipline (i.e. audiovisual translation, localisation, transediting, transcreation, and versionisation ─ with the possible addition of postediting). This notwithstanding, it surely draws a broad picture of the major tracks in TS and collects valuable and innovative contributions to the domains covered.

Carla Quinci, IUSLIT, University of Trieste (Italy)
carla.quinci@phd.units.it