ISLAMIC AZAD UNIVERSITY
CENTRAL TEHRAN BRANCH
Faculty of Foreign Languages- Department of English
A THESIS SUBMITED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIRMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS IN THE EFFECTS OF CRITICAL THINKING ON TRANSLATION
THE EFFECT OF CRITICAL THINKING ON TRANSLATION PERFORMANCE OF TRANSLATIONS STUDENTS
ADVISOR: BEHDOKHT MALL -AMIRI Ph.D.
In the name of god
The compassionate the merciful
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE8
1.2. Statement of the problem10
1.3. Research question12
1.4. Research Hypothesis12
1.5. Definition of Key Terms12
Farahzad‘s Model of TQA13
1.6. Significance of the Study14
1.7. Limitations and Delimitations of the Study15
Review of the Related Literature17
2.3Characteristics of a Critical Thinker19
2.4 Critical Thinking Skills21
2.5. Teaching Critical Thinking22
2.5.1. How to Teach Critical Thinking23
18.104.22.168. Critical Thinking and Inferences25
22.214.171.124. Critical Thinking about Points of View25
126.96.36.199. Conclusions and Decisions26
2.6. Evaluation of the Quality of Translation27
26.1 The History of Translation and TQA30
2.6.2The Main Approaches toward TQA35
188.8.131.52 Response Based Approaches35
184.108.40.206.1 Behaviorist Views35
220.127.116.11 Text and Discourse Based Approaches36
18.104.22.168 Functionalist Approaches: Skopos Relate Approach36
22.214.171.124. Literature-oriented Approaches:36
126.96.36.199.1 Descriptive Translation Studies36
188.8.131.52.2 Post-Modernist and Deconstructionist Thinking37
184.108.40.206 Linguistically-Oriented Approaches37
220.127.116.11.1 A Functional Pragmatic Model of Translation Evaluation:38
2.7. Different Models of Evaluating Students’ Translations39
27.1 Farahzad‘s Model of TQA39
2.7.2. Waddington‘s Model of TQA40
2.7.3 Al-Qinai‘s Model of TQA43
2.7.4. Sainz’s Model of TQA44
3.3.1. Instructional Material49
3.3.2. Preliminary English Test (PET)49
3.3.3. Pre Translation Production Test50
3.3.7. Post Translation Production Test50
3.5. Design of the Study54
3.6. Statistical Analysis54
Results and Discussion55
4.2. Participant Selection56
CONCLUSIONS AND PEDAGOGICALIMPLICATIONS73
5.3. Pedagogical Implications75
5.4 Suggestions for Further Research75
First and foremost I wish to express my deepest appreciation and gratitude to my major professor, Dr. Mall- Amiri my thesis advisor, for her invaluable and useful guidelines, advice and assistance through the development of my research.
I owe my great appreciation towards Ms. Golshahi a translation teacher the university accepted to teach critical Thinking techniques.
I am also grateful to MS. Shahbazpour ,also teacher at the universityfor kindly accepting to be one of raterof this research. Her valuable comments will provide me to improve the final draft of this research.
Moreover, I would like to grant my thanks to my teachers, family and friends whose endless support made the fulfillment of this project possible.
This study was conducted to investigate whether critical thinking had any significant effect on translation performance of translations students. To this end, 75 male and female English translation students at the 7th semester at BA level were chosen from Azad University, Shahr-e-Ghods branch. The participants were non-randomly selected on the basis of the scores they obtained on a pre-piloted Preliminarily English Test (PET) and a translation test before conducting the study. The division of the participants to the experimental and control groups was done randomly..Both experimental and control groups were taught using the same material in translation classes and they received the same amount of instruction .The only difference was some techniques of critical thinking that were taught to the experimental group to be used in their translation. A posttest of translation was given to the participants after the treatment, and the results of the data analyses showed that there was no statistically significant difference between the two groups in terms of their posttest performance
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
Newmark(1998)asserts: “As a means of communication, translation is used for multilingual notices, for tourist publicity; for official documents such as treaties and contracts; for reports, papers, articles, correspondence, and textbooks to convey information, advice and recommendation for every branch of knowledge”(P.7). According to Newmark(1998)“translation is rendering the meaning of a text into another language in the way that the author intended in the text”(p.5). In other words “translation consists of transferring the meaning of the source language (SL) into the receptor language” (RL) (Larson, 1984, p.3). A translator faces some difficulties during translation and may not convey the meaning of the SL to RLappropriately.AsNewmark(1988) puts it“when there is no such thing as a law of translation”(p.113), tohelpconvey the meaning from SL to RL in different texts in different languages what should a translator do? Is it possible to find a way to lesson unpredictable difficulties during a translation?
Scriven and Paul ( 1987), indicatethatcritical thinking(CT) is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.
Facion (2010) also believes that CT includes the following cognitive skills: interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation, and self-regulation. So a critical thinker should have especial skills in order to make a good judgment. Critical thinkers observe carefully, rely on evidence, ask right questions, and identify problems based on reasons. These thinkers are opposite to unreflective people who are biased, jump to conclusion and delay too long in making a good decision. These definitions of CT indicate the importance of thinking especially in the production of new ideas and problem solving. . On the other hand Paul and Elder (2004) think making an inference is an essential part of comprehension. Writers can’t make all the information explicit in a text. It is relied on reader to make necessary inferences in each case.
Schafersman(1991) believes that children are not born with the power to think critically, nor do they develop this ability naturally beyond survival-level thinking. Critical thinking is a learned ability that must be taught. Most individuals never learn it. Critical thinking cannot be taught reliably to students by peers or by most parents. Trained and knowledgeable instructors are necessary to impart the proper information and skills.. Regarding the teachability of critical thinking Wright (2002) proposes three main ways for teaching critical thinking in the class, teacher modeling, classroom activities, and teaching the tools of critical thinking.Wright (2002) proposes several ways of organizing for instruction in critical thinking: teach a separate course or unit, infuse critical thinking into what we teach, or we can use a mixed approach.Wright (2002) as well believes that in teaching critical thinking mastering the following concepts is crucial: a) cause and effect b) premise and conclusion c) point of viewd) evidence e) reason f) assumption
Bailin (2002) holds firmly to the idea that becoming proficient at critical thinking involves, among other things, takes the acquisition of certain kinds of knowledge. Knowledge of critical concepts such as ‘premise’, ‘conclusion’, ‘cause and effect’, ‘necessary and sufficient condition’; knowledge of methodological principles; and knowledge of the criteria for critical judgment.
There is not an appropriate and sufficient theory of CT for application in translation and education but as Robinson (2003 as cited in Kelly.2005) mentions, translation is an intelligent activity involving complex processes of conscious and unconscious learning.
According to the above-mentioned forerunners of CT Critical thinking and learning how to think critically may have a crucial role in translation.
1.2. Statement of the problem
The quality of translation is different from person to person. When a text is given to a number of translators with the same age, social, and educational background to be translated the products are not the same. According to Shahvali (cited in Razmjou 2004), theoretical knowledge and practical skills alone are not adequate to prepare students to have the developments in the field. There is a need for the ability to develop; therefore, it is necessary to focus on students’ self- updating and to develop their relevant mental, communicative, and planning skills.
Moreover, there are many factors that influence the quality of translation. The question is that what happens in the mind of a translator that translates differently from the others at the same age and level of knowledge. To provide the answer, one needstolook at the job with a critical perspective to delve into the differences.
As Newmark (1998) points out, translation is rendering the meaning of a text into another language of a text in the way that the author intended the text. Since the writers cannot possibly make explicit all the information in the text it is heavily relied on the translators to make necessary inferences in each case, but some of them usually cannot grasp the intended points writers try to convey. Translation students in translating the texts need deep thinking to overcome the challenges they have during translation.Aguado-Giménez(2005) argues that translation students are continually faced with choices. In making them, they are intuitively or consciously following a theory of translation to identify and define a translation problem, to indicate all the factors that have to be taken into account in solving the problem.
According to Facion (2010, p. 5), CT includes a number of cognitive skills which are “interpretation, analysis, evaluation, inference, explanation, and self-regulation”. Facion believes that evaluation means to assess the credibility of statements or other representations which are accounts or descriptions of a person’s perception, experience, situation, judgment, belief, or opinion and to assess the logical strength of the actual or intended inferential relationship among statements, description on questions, or other forms of representation.
Among all the factors influential in translation, the translator’s way of thinking and being a critical thinker may make a difference. Hence this study was an attempt to see if critical thinking instruction has any effect on EFL learners’ translation ability.
1.3. Research question
To fulfill the purpose of the study, which was to find any possible impact of CT on translation quality of translation students the following question was raised:
1. Does critical thinking have any significant effect on translation ability of translations students?
1.4. Research Hypothesis
To provide an empirical answer to the above question, the following null hypothesis was proposed:
H (0): Critical thinking does not have any significant effect on translationability of translation students.
1.5. Definition of Key Terms
According to Moor andParker(2000) “CT is the determination of whether we should accept, reject, or suspend judgment about a claim and of a degree of confidence with which we accept or reject it” (p.4).
According to Newmark(1988)“ translation is a craft consisting in the attempt to replace a written message and/or statement in one language by the same message and/or statement in another language”(p.7). In this study, the translation abilityof the learners was checked through translation tests comprising passaged extracted from TOEFL (2003) for the pre-treatment test, and a press passage prepared from valued resources on the net for the posttest. The texts were journalisticand two and three paragraphs in length respectively.
Farahzad‘s Model of TQA
Farahzad (1992, p.276) maintains that there are two main features that are to be checked in scoring for each unit of translation and they are as follows:
1. Accuracy: the translation should convey the information in the ST precisely i.e. the translation should be close to the ST norms.
2. Appropriateness: the sentences should sound fluent and native and be correct in terms of structure.
Farahzad (1992) statesthat unnatural translations which convey the source text’s meaning receive half a score, whereas inaccurate translations receives no score, no matter how appropriate and natural the target texts sound. In error recognition items, one score is given for spotting the error, and another one for correcting it. Farahzad (1992, p. 277) believes that scoring the long text can be done in several ways:
A: it can be scored holistically: since the item assesses a wide, variety of competencies, the examiner may find it convenient to approach the text as the unit of translation and adopt this system, especially with a large number of students.
The examiner may, for instance, come up with the following scheme:
1. Accuracy 20 percent
2. Appropriateness 20 percent
3.Naturalness 20 percent
4.Cohesion 20 percent
5. Style of discourse/choice of words 20 percent
1.6. Significance of the Study
According to Newmark(1988)“ translation is a craft consisting in the attempt to replace a written message and/or statement in one language by the same message and/or statement in another language”(p.7). In other words “translation consists of transferring the meaning of the source language(SL) into the receptor language”(RL) (Larson, 1984,p.3).To transfer the meaning from SL into RL a translator has to analyze, interpret carefully and thoughtfully to translate accurately to avoid any mistakes. During the process of translation a translator faces some choices and problems .To solve these problems s/he has to make his or her decisions.AsHatim and Masón (1990, pp.3–-4, as cited in Pedro, Oliver, &Velasco Sacristán (2001) claim, translation should be viewed as:
(…) a process, involving the negotiation of meaning between producers and receivers of texts. In other words, the resulting translated text is to be seen as evidence of a transaction, a means of retracing the pathways of the translator’s decision-making procedures. In the same way, the ST itself is an end-product and again should be treated as evidence of a writer’s intended meaning rather than as the embodiment of the meaning itself(…P.2).
On the other hand Newmark(1998,p.8) maintains that “a translator, perhaps more than any other practitioner of a professioncontinually faces choices .In making his choice ,he is intuitively or consciously following a theory”.
Newmark (1988,p.6) also claims that “a translator has to be a good judge of writing; s/he must respect good writing scrupulously by accounting for its language, structures and content, whether the piece is scientific or poetic, philosophical or fictional”. In this regard, CT abilities are accountable. Glasar (1941, as cited in Fisher, 2001) lists the CT abilities as:
a) the ability to recognize problems, b) to find workable means for meeting those problems, c) to gather and marshal pertinent information, d) to recognize unstated assumptions and values, e) to comprehend and use language with accuracy clarity and discrimination, f) to interpret data, g) to appraise evidence and evaluate statements, h) to recognize the existence logical relationships between propositions, i ) to draw warranted conclusions and generalizations, and j) to render accurate judgments about specific things and qualities in everyday life(p.7).
CT is applied both in different academic courses, and is used in everydaylife. Hence, translation students can use it in the process of translation to analyze data, interpret, judge, solve problems, and make decisions. The researcher hopes that the result of this study may provide empirical evidence for choosing the appropriate instruction of teaching translation through CT. Therefore, the researcher tries to suggest a suitable solution for translation difficulties.
1.7. Limitations and Delimitations of the Study
The following are the limitations of the study:
1. Like all studies, this research had a number of limitations, the major one is age. Since the range of age is unlimited at the universities in Iran, it is not possible to control the age factor. Hence, the age variable which might have an effect on the outcome of any study was not controlled in this study was not controlled in this investigation.
2. Scarcity of students in each class caused the researcher to have just 21 students in each class.
3. In this study, the participants’ ability to translate texts from English to Persian was measured not vice versa , as in classes where the study was conducted translation from English to Persian was practiced exclusively.
4. There was no possibility for the researcher to teach the university classes. Therefore, she had to train the instructor of the classes to conduct the treatment.
Lack of time caused the researcher to choose some of the CT techniques.Wright (2002)’s techniques :a) cause and effectb) premise and conclusion c) point of viewd) evidencee) reason f) assumption g) inference which were more practical than the others techniques mentioned above were chosen to be taught regarding the limited time in this semester.
Review of the Related Literature
This chapter tries to review CT and the issues related to it. First, it considers thinking, types of thinking, CT skills,CTcharacteristics, andfinallysome scholars’ opinions in this regard.
Dunn, Baumfield, Elliott, Gregson, Miller and Roger, (2005, p.10) argue that trying to understand how people think and learn is in some ways an impossible challenge, since we can only try to understand these things by using the very processes that we do not fully understand. PaulandElder (2002,p.28)believe that good thinking is as easy as bad thinking but it requires hard work to develop it. To make significant gains in the quality of your thinking, you will have to engage in a kind of intellectual work.Dewey( 1933, p. 16 as cited in Dunn et al p.27)maintains that:
To be genuinely thoughtful, we must be willing to sustain and protract that state of doubt which is the stimulus to thorough enquiry, so as not to accept an idea or make a positive assertion of a belief until justifying reasons have been found.
Dewey (1933as cited in Dunn 2005, pp.3-5-6-9) refers to classic introduction to how one thinks that offers an overview of some of the different senses in which the term thinking is used:
• thinking as a “stream of consciousness” and the everyday uncontrolled coursing of ideas through our heads, including dreaming and daydreams;
• thinking as imagination or mindfulness which is usually restricted to things not directly perceived since one tends to say one saw a tree rather than one thought of a tree if one is actually standing with one’s eyes open in front of one.;
• thinking as synonymous with believing expressed in statements such as one thinks it is going to rain tomorrow; in this sense, it is contrasted with knowledge and the level of confidence with which one expresses such a belief;
• reflective thinking as a chain of thought leading, through enquiry, to a conclusion.
In this regard, Heuer (1999,p.2) believes that thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, learned, and improved with practice. All people think less or more, but they think in different stages. Elder and Paul (2004) lay out the following stages for thinkers:
Stage 1: The unreflective thinker when one is unaware of problems in one’s thinking.);
Stage 2:The challenged thinker when one becomes aware of problems in one’s thinking);
Stage 3: The beginning thinker when one tries to improve, but without regular practice;
Stage 4: The practicing thinker when one recognizes the necessity of regular practice;
Stage 5: The advanced thinker when one advances in accordance with one’s practice;
Stage 6: The master thinker when Skilled and insightful thinking becomes 2ndnature(p.69).
2.3Characteristics of a Critical Thinker
Having a clear definition of CT and a precise description of critical thinker helps to understand better the difference between individual thinking as Chaffee (1998, cited in Van der Wal, 1999) believes that:
Critical thinkers are people who have developed thoughtful and well-founded beliefs that guide their choices in every area of their lives. In order to develop these strongest and most accurate beliefs possible, one needs to become aware of one’s own biases, explores situations from many different perspectives, and develops sound reasons to support one’s points of view. These abilities are the tools one needs to become more enlightened and reflective—a “critical thinker”. (p. 3)
Allen (2004) uses smart thinking instead of CT. He believes that being a smart thinker is not becoming a different sort of person but is developing skills that one already has. The way to achieve this goal is to become explicitly aware of the analytical processes involved in reasoning. Moreover, Paul and Elder (2002,p.35) characterize a well cultivated critical thinker as one who
(a) raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely;
(b) gathers and assesses relevant information by using abstract ideas to interpret it well and comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions through testing them against relevant criteria and standards; and
(c) thinks open-mindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizes and assesses their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences,andcommunicates with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems.
Furthermore, Starkey (2004, p.vii) maintains that a critical thinker is willing to explore, question, and search out answers and solutions. Not only do these skills mean greater success at school and at work, but also they are the basis of better decisions and problem solving at home, too. Halpern (1996) also points out that an essential component of CT is the progress of the attitude and disposition of a critical thinker. Good thinkers are motivated and willing to make the conscious effort needed to work in a plan or manner, to check for accuracy, to gather information, and to persist when the solution is not obvious or requires several steps. A critical thinkers will exhibit the following dispositions or attitudes: a)willingness to plan, flexibility, and persistenceand willingness to self-correct.
b)Being mindful, that is, having meta-cognition or meta-cognitive monitoring. Consensus-seeking means a critical thinker will need to be disposed to ways in which consensus can be achieved. Consensus-seekers will need high-level communication skills, but they will also need to find ways to compromise and to achieve agreement.
2.4 Critical Thinking Skills
Paul and Elder (2004,p.42) believe that True excellence in thinking is not simply the result of isolated intellectual skills they are as follow:
2. Having Knowledge of Ignorance
3. Intellectual Humility
4. Intellectual Courage
5. Intellectual Empathy
6. Intellectual Empathy
8. Intellectual Perseverance
9. Confidence in Reason
10. Intellectual Autonomy
11. Intellectual Autonomy
According to Starkey (2004, p.viii) critical thinking skills include the ability to:
– make observations
– be curious, asking relevant questions and finding
the resources you need
– challenge and examine beliefs, assumptions, and opinions against facts
-recognize and define problems
– assess the validity of statements and arguments
– make wise decisions and find valid solutions
– understand logic and logical argument
Halpern’s skill categories(1984 as cited in Moseley et al. 2005, p.121)
are: memory; thought and language; deductive reasoning; argument analysis; hypothesis testing; likelihood and uncertainty; decision-making; problem-solving; and creative thinking.
2.5. Teaching Critical Thinking
According to Schafersman (1991) children are not born with the power to think critically, nor do they develop this ability naturally beyond survival-level thinking. Critical thinking is a learned ability that must be taught. Most individuals never learn it. Critical thinking cannot be taught reliably to students by peers or by most parents. Trained and knowledgeable instructors are necessary to impart the proper information and skills.
Üstünlüog˘lu (2004) believes that critical thinking skills are not likely to develop spontaneously and teachers must take a directive role in initiating and guiding critical thinking. Language classes are particularly appropriate for teaching critical thinking owing to the richness of material and the interactive approaches used.
Taking the idea that language classes are appropriate for teaching critical thinking, this question rings a bell that is critical thinking applicable at different stages and ages. Some specialists are of the opinion that critical thinking can be applied at different levels of age and proficiency. Waters (2006) tries to support the idea that critical thinking is independent of language proficiency level and is applicable at different levels. Following Water’s point of view, teaching critical thinking at different levels and ages is not out of reach, though challenging, and are up to promotion through the following ways.
2.5.1. How to Teach Critical Thinking
Despite the consensus that critical thinking needs to be taught more effectively at all educational levels, there is little agreement on how it should be taught. Regarding the teachability of critical thinking Wright (2002) proposes three main ways for teaching critical thinking in the class, teacher modeling, classroom activities, and teaching the tools of critical thinking.
Halpern (1999) takes up a four-part model of instruction for critical thinking which includes instruction in the skills, dispositions for critical thinking, structure training, and the last component of critical thinking instruction is metacognitive monitoring.
Rudd (2006) asserts that teachers who are interested in teaching students to arrive at reasonable, high-quality critical thinking outcomes should pay particular attention to developing the students critical thinking skill, teaching the knowledge necessary to solve the problems faced, and molding critical thinking dispositions. In addition, teachers must be aware of student academic strengths and weaknesses, as well as other personal factors that can influence problem solving and decision making. Finally, the environment in which the teaching and learning occurs is critical to the success of thinking processes.
Smith (2003) argues that critical thinking has both cognitive and attitudinal dimensions, in teaching critical thinking one must not only know-how to think critically, but also must be inclined to do so on appropriate occasions. Knowing how involves possession of certain skills (as for analyzing arguments) and related knowledge of strategies, methods, heuristics, concepts, and principles. Elder (2005) supports the idea that essential component of critical thinking is developing the attitudes and disposition of a critical thinker. It is of no value to learn a variety of critical thinking skills if you never use them. Developing a critical thinking attitude is at least as important as developing thinking skills. Students will not develop intellectual standards that discipline their thought if they do not grasp what intellectual standards are or understand their importance.
Taking the idea that critical thinking is teachable through instruction; the question of how to implement it arises. Wright (2002) proposes several ways of organizing for instruction in critical thinking: teach a separate course or unit, infuse critical thinking into what we teach, or we can use a mixed approach.
The first approach of separate course or unit requires materials that teach specifically for critical thinking dispositions, skills, and knowledge. Infusion, the second possible approach, requires that critical thinking be taught as an integral part of all subject areas. The benefits here are that critical thinking is not viewed as an “add on,” and that all content is taught about critically, rather than being treated as a set of insert facts to be memorized. The benefits of combining the two basic approaches should be obvious, but whatever approach is taken needs to be adapted to the context.
According to Bessick (2008) developing and improving critical thinking skills through instruction that is not course-specific may result in several positive changes for students and universities. It can improve academic achievement; facilitate the acquisition of a greater repertoire of skills employers desire; maximize the tutoring experience; improve research abilities.
Bailin (2002) holds firmly to the idea that becoming proficient at critical thinking involves, among other things, takes the acquisition of certain kinds of knowledge. Knowledge of critical concepts such as ‘premise’, ‘conclusion’, ‘cause and effect’, ‘necessary and sufficient condition’; knowledge of methodological principles; and knowledge of the criteria for critical judgment. Such knowledge is not simply raw material but is very much part of what is involved in thinking critically. Thus what is involved in thinking critically is closely tied to various kinds of knowledge in the particular area.
Paul (1990) divides cognitive strategies into macro-abilities and micro-skills, most elementary skills of critical thinking (the micro-skills), the fundamentals: What an assumption is, what an implication is, what an inference and conclusion are, what it is to isolate an issue, what it is to offer reasons or evidence in support of what one says, how to identify a contradiction or a vague sentence.
Wright (2002) as well believes that in teaching critical thinking mastering the following concepts is crucial:
a)cause and effect
b)premise and conclusion
c)point of view
18.104.22.168. Critical Thinking and Inferences
Paul and Elder (2004) think making an inference is an essential part of comprehension. Writers can’t make all the information explicit in a text. It is relied on reader to make necessary inferences in each case.
22.214.171.124. Critical Thinking about Points of View
Paul, Elder, and Bartell (1997) state that we recognize that critical thinking, by its very nature, requires that all reasoning occurs within points of view and frames of reference. Wright (2002) furthermore argues that a point of view leads us to frame questions and problems in particular ways. Our questions regarding critical thinking are influenced by our background in philosophy and social studies education; we must know how a question is framed by our point of view.
Having a point of view means having a particular goal as Wright (2002) maintains “for what purpose is our thinking directed” (p. 71).
Santrock (2008) states that critical thinking involves thinking reflectively and productively and also evaluating the evidence. The claims which are made by ourselves or others must be supported by sufficient evidence.
Wright (2002) argues that the fundamental to any point of view is a set of basic beliefs about the nature of the people, truth, morality, religion, and so on. Thus, we have to identify the fundamental beliefs that drive our own, and others’, point of view.
126.96.36.199. Conclusions and Decisions
According to Wright (2002) all points of view lead to the drawing of conclusions and as a result taking of actions.
So much of what we think, say, and do is based on assumptions about how the world should work and about what counts as appropriate, moral action. “Assumption is seemingly self-evident rules about the reality that we use to help us seek explanation, making judgments, or deciding on various actions” (Brookfield, 1987, p. 44). When we think critically, we start to research these assumptions for the evidence and experiences that inform them.
2.6. Evaluation of the Quality of Translation
In recent years, assessment has become an up and coming research topic within the field of translation studies (Garant, 2001,p.5).A number of studies on translation assessment theory (e.g. Newmark, 1988;Kussmaul, 1995; Wills, 1996; House,1997, cited in Garant, 2001) provide models for evaluating translation performance. Various terms have been used interchangeably to refer to the quality of translation, such asevaluation,assessment, criticism and analysis.According to McAlester(2000), the definition of translation assessment is generally regarded as a complex term for a threefold translation procedure: (a) translation evaluation (the placing of a value on a translation), (b)criticism (stating the appropriateness of a translation), and (c) translation analysis(a descriptive study of translation as a production or a translation as product).Munday (2001) says that translation quality assessment is an academically endeavor“where a more expert writer (a marker of a translation examiner or a reviser of a professional translation) addresses a less expert reader (usually a candidate for an examination or a junior professional translator)” (p. 30).
The concept of equivalence has always had a significant role in translation quality assessment (henceforth: TQA). Because of the subjective nature of translation, scholars have given different comments on TQA.
Van den Broeck (1985, cited in Guillermo, 2005, p.130) argues, “Translation assessment can be an objective account if it is based, at least implicitly, on systematic description”. Van den Broeck (1985, cited in Guillermo, 2005, p.130) furthermore e believes that “a complete description demands not only the text structures but also the systems of texts to be involved in the comparison”. In evaluating translations, the main problem is, according to William (1989, cited in Guillermo, 2005, p.130), “applying evaluation criteria consistently to an intellectual product that is often of uneven quality and heterogeneous in form and content may imply at some point making arbitrary choices”. Moreover, Farahzad (1992) believes that
Today translation courses are offered at many universities and institutions worldwide; course syllabuses are designed to help train efficient translators in a wide variety of fields, and there are excellent textbooks for such courses. Yet little work has been done in the field of assessing student’s (or trainee’s) achievements at the end of the courses, presumably because improvement is taken for granted. (p. 271)
Obviously great interest is paid to the contents to be thought in translation courses rather than theoretical studies to analysis the criteria used to evaluate the translations of texts. Newmark (1998) states that:
There are as many translations as there are of texts. But the fact that there is a small element of uncertainty and subjectivity in any judgment about a translation eliminates neither the necessity nor the usefulness of translation criticism, as an aid for raising translation standards and for reaching agreement about the nature of translation. (p.192)
Farahzad (1992) mentions that:
“Critics often judge translations in terms of personal taste, rather than concrete criteria. But this subjective approach cannot be used by a teacher of translation who has to evaluate and score student’s work on the basis of concrete criteria during a course and at the finals”. (p. 271)
The concern of all debates in translation studies is what should be held as the criterion for TQA. House (2001) believes that the question: what a good translation is?.should be “one of the most important questions to be asked in connection with translation” (p. 243). House believes that the answer to the question when a translation is good lies at the heart of all concerns with translation criticism, not only as a means to assess the quality of a translation but also as the main concern of any theory of translation, i.e. the crucial question of the nature of translation or, more specifically, the nature of the relationship between a source text and its translation text. She emphasizes that translation quality is a problematical concept if it is applied to the purpose of judgment only.
In other words, judgments of the quality of a translation depend on many factors that enter into any social evaluative statement. However, it must be stressed that despite all these external influences, translation is at its core a linguistic-textual phenomenon, and it can be legitimately described, analyzed, and evaluated as such. House (2001) maintains that linguistic description vs. social evaluation model forbids any facile generalization, simply because the achievement of functional equivalence varies from translation to translation. Moreover, Newmark (1998) in this regard claims that:
Translation criticism is an essential link between translation theory and its practice. Translation criticism is an essential component in a translation course: firstly, because it painlessly improves your competence as a translator; secondly, because it expands your knowledge and understanding of your own and the foreign options, it will help you to sort out your ideas about translation (pp.184-185).
Newmark (1998) maintains that there are various aspects of translation criticism; one can assess the translation by its standard of referential and pragmatic accuracy. Newmark (1998) emphasizes that, “the evaluation whether in the form of a critique or a graded assessment, is done by comparison between the original and the translation” (p.186).Newmark believes that the challenge in translation criticism is to state one’s own principles categorically but at the same time to elucidate the translator’s principles and even the principles s/he is reacting against (or following). Newmark maintains that now translation has become a profession. The introduction of a scientific method for testing of any hypothesis or generalization by a series of further data or translation examples tends not to eliminate but at least to reduce the range of choices, the extremes of ideology in translation. Furthermore, in text analysis, one assesses the quality of the language to determine the translator’s degree of license assuming for example that s/he can reduce clichés to natural in informative but not in authoritative texts. Finally, Newmark (1998) concludes that “standards are relative; however, much one tries to base them on criteria rather than norms. A good translation fulfills its intention”(p.192).
Halliday (2001, citedinZequan, 2002) argues that it is very difficult to say why, or even whether, something is a good translation. In this regard, House (2001) claims that “throughout translation studies, theorists have attempted to answer this question on the basis of a theory of translation and translation criticism” (p. 127). Nida (1964, cited inZequan, 2002) proposesformal and dynamic equivalence, whereas Catford(1965,cited inZequan, 2002) believes textual equivalence and formal correspondence for having a good translation. Others like Schiaffino and Riccardo Zearo Franco (2007) maintain that quality is defined as meeting the needs and expectations of the customer or user. TQA must apply to both: a) the translated text (the product) andb) The translation process (the process).Hervey and Higgins (1992, cited in sharkas, 2009) adopt the more practical principle of inevitable translation loss, which means that every translation involves a certain degree of loss in meaning. Consequently, the translator’s task is not to seek the perfect or ideal translation but to reduce the translation loss. According to Dickins, Hervey, and Higgins (2002, cited in sharkas, 2009), translation loss is not a loss of translation, but of textual effects; and since effects cannot be quantified, loss cannot be either. It can, however, be controlled by continually asking if the loss matters or not, in relation to the purpose of translation. According to House (1998), TQA presupposes a theory of translation. The theoretical views through the history of translation can represent the views toward the assessment of the quality of translations. Hence, a brief general review of the history of translation studies can give us some clues about the theoretical views toward translation quality assessment.
26.1 The History of Translation and TQA
Berman(1992: 1, cited in Aveling, 2004)considers that because “reflection on translation has become an internal necessityof translation itself…(t)he construction of a history of translation is the first task of a modern theory of translation”. Also Baker (2001) mentions that interest in the history of translation has grown in recent years; conferences have focused on the subject, many books have appeared. D’hulst (1991, cited in Baker, 2001) claims that “it is time to give the history of translation the place it deserves” (p. 100). Baker (2001) asks: “Are historians motivated by a concern for improving the image to translators /translation in the eyes of other members of society?” (p. 100). Lambert (1993, cited in Baker) suggests that “it could be that the writing of history stems from a need to legitimize a new discipline” (101).Moreover, Dhulst (1994, cited in Baker, 2001) maintains that introducing a historical perspective into translation studies can also bring about greater tolerance of different approaches to translation and can provide unity to the discipline. Early examples of historical works include Cary (1960)’s La Traductiondans Le monde modern and Savory(1975)’s The Art of Translation,cited in Baker, 2001). The new classic works by: (Bassnett ,1980, Translation Studies; Kelly,1980, The True Interpreter;Stiener,1975,After Bable,cited in Baker, 2001).Out of these three works, Kelly’s comes closest to a general history of translation, whereas Steiner and Bassnett deal primarily with theories of translation. Baker holds that translation history has paid attention to country, region or linguistic or cultural community. It can also be divided using chronological conventions such as centuries, reigns and dynasties. Work on translation history has generally followed the periodization of cultural history (Antiquity, the Middle ages, Renaissance, etc.).
Avelling (2004),based on ideas developed by the French historian Michel Foucault, divides the history of discourse on translation into four periods: