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Translation Studies and Translation Practice: Proceedings of the 2nd International TRANSLATA Conference, 2014

Part 1

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Edited By Lew N. Zybatow, Andy Stauder and Michael Ustaszewski

TRANSLATA II was the second in a series of triennial conferences on Translation and Interpreting Studies, held at the University of Innsbruck. The series is conceptualized as a forum for Translation Studies research. The contributions to this volume focus on humo(u)r translation, legal translation, and human-machine interaction in translation. The contributors also regard computer-aided translation, specialised translation, terminology as well as audiovisual translation and professional aspects in translation and interpreting.

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Towards an Optimality Theory of Translation (Lew Zybatow)

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Lew Zybatow, University of Innsbruck

Towards an Optimality Theory of Translation

Abstract: The paper presents my first reflections towards an Optimality Theory of Translation (OTT), which tries to combine my approach of developing separate theories for different kinds of translation with Optimality Theory (OT), originally designed within Linguistics. I will show how the OT principles can be operationalised in order to highlight the cognitive procedures, to verify/justify decision making in translation and to provide fundamental, empirically based criteria for the evaluation and criticism of transfer products (or target texts) within various kinds of translation or interpreting in terms of their optimality.

1. Introductory remarks

The TRANSLATA Conference has been created to rediscover and revive Translation Studies’ (TS) genuine profile and its core subject – translation proper – which unfortunately has been lost in never-ending so-called paradigm changes since introducing the functional “new orientation” (Snell-Hornby 1986) and proclaiming TS as an “interdiscipline”. Since that time TS seem to have dealt with anything but translation proper, apparently feeling encouraged to act so because of their status as an interdiscipline. Having nothing at all against the research principle of interdisciplinarity, one cannot help stressing: there is no successful interdisciplinarity without one’s own genuine profile! That is why many translatologists are inclined to see such an “interdisciplinarity” as symptomatic of and problematic for the discipline of TS. This is the state of the art of the discipline – characterised by Cronin (2000, 104): “The discipline itself is nomadic in...

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