Functional Theories of Translation

Katharina Reiss’s Text Type
 Systematizing the assessment of
translations according to text type and
 Characteristics of each text type:
 Informative
 Expressive
 Operative
 Audiomedial
(p.73, Table 5.1)
Text type model
reference work
report, lecture
tourist brochure
electoral speech
Criteria of Adequacy of the TT
 Assessment of the adequacy of the TT according
Intralinguistic criteria
Extralinguistic criteria
 Application of criteria according to text type
 Occasions where the TT function differs from the
ST function. (Example: Gulliver’s Travels)
Mary Snell Hornby’s
Integrated Approach
 Attempts to integrate a wide variety of different
linguistic and literary concepts in an integrated
approach to translation.
 A “stratificational model” from the most general to the
most particular
 Study diagram on p.76
Translatorial Action Model
 Translation is purpose-driven, outcome-oriented
human interaction.
 The process of Translation involves the intercultural
transfer of message-transmitter compounds
“ [It] is not about translating words, sentences or
texts but is in every case about guiding the intended
co-operation over cultural barriers enabling
functionally oriented communication”.
(Holz-Mänttäri, 1984)
Translatorial Action (Cont.)
 Interlingual translation is “translatorial action from a
source text” and is a “communicative process
involving a series of roles and players”:
1. The initiator
2. The commissioner
3. The ST producer
4. The TT producer
5. The TT user
6. The TT receiver
Translatorial Action (Cont.)
 In the production of the TT, the ST is analyzed only
for its “construction and function”. Relevant features
are described according to :
 Content: structured into:
1. factual information
2. overall communicative strategy
 Form: structured into:
1. terminology
2. cohesive elements
Skopos Theory
 Meaning of skopos
 Hans J. Vermeer & Katharina Reiss
 Focus : the purpose of the translation
 The purpose determines the methods and strategies
 Aim: to produce a functionally adequate result
 The result is the TT, or translatum (Vermeer)
 Conclusion: Why the ST needs translation & the
function expected of the TT are crucial
Rules of the Skopos theory:
1. A translatum (or TT) is determined by its skopos
2. A TT is an offer of info. in a target culture and TL ,
concerning an offer of info. in a source culture and
A TT does not initiate an offer of information in a
clearly reversible way.
A TT must be internally coherent. (coherence rule)
A TT must be coherent with ST. (fidelity rule)
The 5 rules above stand in hierarchical order, with
the skopos rule predominating
Christiane Nord
Translation-Oriented Text Analysis
 Christiane Nord’s types of texts:
 Documentary translation:
 An instrumental translation: ‘function preserving
translations’ or translations un-preserving function
 Aspects of functionalist approaches useful for
translator training:
 The importance of the translation commission
 The role of ST analysis
 The functional hierarchy of translation problems

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