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Macro- and Micro-level Approaches to Translated Texts -Methodological Contradictions or Mutually Enriching Perspectives?

Steiner, Erich (2023)
Macro- and Micro-level Approaches to Translated Texts -Methodological Contradictions or Mutually Enriching Perspectives?
In: Zeitschrift für Interkulturellen Fremdsprachenunterricht : ZIF, 2003, 8 (2/3)
doi: 10.26083/tuprints-00012398
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Item Type: Article
Type of entry: Secondary publication
Title: Macro- and Micro-level Approaches to Translated Texts -Methodological Contradictions or Mutually Enriching Perspectives?
Language: English
Date: 2023
Place of Publication: Darmstadt
Year of primary publication: 2003
Publisher: Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Darmstadt
Journal or Publication Title: Zeitschrift für Interkulturellen Fremdsprachenunterricht : ZIF
Volume of the journal: 8
Issue Number: 2/3
DOI: 10.26083/tuprints-00012398
Corresponding Links:
Origin: Secondary publication from TUjournals

The journal Target recently hosted a methodological debate on “essentialist vs. nonessentialist approaches to translation” (cf. Target. International Journal of Translation Studies. 12:1-13:2), in the course of which several basic methodological orientations in translation studies and related areas were discussed. I shall set out by reminding us that the debate between “essentialism” and “non-essentialism” can be understood as yet another instantiation of a wider debate between “macro-level/top down” and “micro-level/bottom up” methodologies in many disciplines concerned with socio-cultural and socio-semiotic phenomena. I wish to argue that the continuing existence of these different methodological orientations is partly due to the fact that the socio-cultural and socio-semiotic phenomena in question are themselves structured into layers of abstraction, instantiation and specification, related in complex ways by both top-down and bottom-up processes. There is thus nothing wrong or intrinsically worrying about the existence of different methodological orientations, provided that research communities working on these different layers still have enough of a shared concept of discourse, and are thus able to transmit their discourses across layers. I shall argue that a cornerstone of this shared concept of discourse has to be a general concern with how (translated and otherwise interlingual) texts work, this concern being logically and methodologically prior to a concern with the further questions why and with what effects texts function. The question of what translation is can be very differently answered from different perspectives, but here as well, the question of how should be at the centre of a shared concern in studies of translation. I shall then go on to identify what I believe to be helpful, and what I believe to be less helpful contributions to methodological debates between macro- and microlevel approaches to translated texts. I shall generally warn against the extremes of top-down abstract discourses which are not checked against any empirical data on the one hand, and against excessive bottom-up empiricism which disregards the fact that after all we are concerned with a meaningful object (text) on the other. I shall thus argue that at its very heart, the (translated and otherwise interlingual) text is a linguistic, or otherwise multimodallysemiotic, object, and that our methodologies have to maintain contact with their linguistic, and more broadly semiotic, base. Recent work by Juliane House will be discussed as an example of a positive integration of macro- and micro-level approaches.

Status: Publisher's Version
URN: urn:nbn:de:tuda-tuprints-123989
Classification DDC: 400 Language > 400 Language, linguistics
Divisions: 02 Department of History and Social Science > Institut für Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft > Sprachwissenschaft - Mehrsprachigkeit
Date Deposited: 24 May 2023 17:03
Last Modified: 24 May 2023 17:34
URI: https://tuprints.ulb.tu-darmstadt.de/id/eprint/12398
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