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Challenges of metarepresentation to translation competence.

By Dr Ernst-August Gutt

Abstract

One of the outcomes of the inferential framework of communication developed by Sperber and Wilson (1995) is the pursuit of competence-oriented research on translation (CORT), as proposed in Gutt 2000. CORT focuses on the discovery of the mental capabilities involved in the translation task.\ud \ud One of the key concepts recently being explored in the inferential framework is that of metarepresentation. It involves the capability of people to represent in their minds not only the external world but the thoughts (mental representations) other people entertain about that world. Metarepresentations can involve several levels of embedding: thus persons can metarepresent to themselves the thoughts of others about their own thoughts about a certain subject matter etc.\ud \ud While metarepresentation is an important mental faculty for successful communication in general, it is of eminent importance in the translation task where the translator may have to metarepresent several different worlds of thoughts (cognitive environments) and their interaction with one another as mutual cognitive environments in cross-cultural communication events.\ud \ud This paper first briefly outlines the inferential model of translation, including the notions of cognitive environment, context and metarepresentation. The main part of the paper surveys five distinct constellations of mutual cognitive environments found in translation situations. The first – and ideal – constellation is where original author, translator and receptor audience all share essentially the same mutual cognitive environment. More commonly, however, this condition is not fulfilled and the other four constellations can present considerable challenges to the metarepresentational capabilities of the translator. Furthermore, the translator needs to develop strategies that will overcome differences in cognitive environment that would negatively affect the communication process. (This is in addition to the task of overcoming problems caused by language differences.) Suggestions are made about directions in which these problems, which can seriously undermine the success of the translated text, can be sought.\ud \ud References\ud Gutt, Ernst-August 2000 Translation and relevance: Cognition and context. Manchester: St. Jerome.\ud Sperber, Dan and Deirdre Wilson 1995 Relevance: Communication and cognition. Oxford: Blackwell.\u

Topics: Cognitive Psychology, Pragmatics
Year: 2004
OAI identifier: oai:cogprints.org:6328
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    Citations

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