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On the Verge Between Language and Translation

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Edited By Marcin Walczynski, Piotr Czajka and Michał Szawerna

This book explores a range of topics situated in the overlapping areas of theoretical linguistics, applied linguistics and translation studies. The first part of the book comprises five original contributions on topics ranging from general linguistics to applied linguistics while the second part comprises eleven original contributions exploring selected aspects of theoretical, descriptive and applied translation studies.

This book also initiates the publishing activity of the Department of Translation Studies, established at the Institute of English Studies, University of Wrocław, Poland.

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On English-Mediated Communication

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Abstract: The focus of the chapter is the translation process with reference to the global language system that builds on the hierarchy of languages. The mechanisms of literature translation indicate not only explicit regularities in translation patterns between languages, but also – due to its global status – endow English with a mediating function. The chapter concludes on remarks that summarize the specificity of English-mediated translation.

Keywords: language hierarchy, literature translation, global language system, English mediation

1 Introduction

Phenomena related to mediated communication by definition open up a wide perspective on socio-cultural relationships. One of the most recent ‘turns’ in Translation Studies ostentatiously locates the question of translation at the interface of sociology and language, thereby implying that the concept of language also incorporates translation. Thus, the ‘sociological turn’ or ‘the sociology of translation’—as it has already been named (see, e.g. Chesterman 2007, Heilbron and Sapiro 2007, Wolf 2007)—provides the best perspective on translation as a social activity that accentuates the position of language, rather than its knowledge. The extended view on translation offered within the macro scale of sociolinguistics, combined with assumptions provided by the Polysystem theory, brings out the hierarchical structure of the global language system as described by de Swaan (1993, 2001). Therefore, it seems purposeful to examine the translational intermediacy of English as a consequence of its global status. The fact that English is a pluricentric language of high Q-value is clearly reflected in the directionality in translation...

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