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Does Meta Matter? Some aspects of the use of metalanguage(s) in translation studies

  • van Doorslaer, Luc; 10046;
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2007
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Every scholarly discipline at certain stages in its development is confronted with the limitations and irregularities of its metalanguage. Problematic variations of usage and conceptualization also exist in the theory and practice of translation. This issue directly relates with the central topic of this conference, since it raises a set of questions about the role of translation and translation studies, the influences from other disciplines, the ‘mapping’ of translation concepts, the consistency of metalanguages, the usefulness of a metadiscourse, the possible contribution of a metalanguage to the social status of translators, etc. Through the compilation of anthologies, dictionaries, bibliographies and encyclopaediae, Translation Studies has already dealt with the phenomenon of metalanguage(s). Nevertheless, all of these publications are based on models and criteria, sometimes implicitly, sometimes explicitly. They have all supported the visibility of the discipline, but what have been the consequences for the readability und the understandability? This presentation will focus on several aspects of the conceptualization and the metadiscourse in the field of translation studies for several types of interaction. • Translation scholars have different backgrounds, sometimes they use the same terms but with different meanings. For example, does ‘text’ mean the same to researchers in translation, interpreting, media studies or linguistics? Do the same problems occur in a transdisciplinary situation, communicating with non-translation scholars • To what extent does the academic situation (working in networks, in scholarly communities, through journals and conferences) require an ‘appropriate’ terminology? • How can experts in a training or teaching situation meet the expectations of the trainees to use a ‘clear’ language? Is quality improved by the standardization of concepts? • How does the metalanguage influence the bidirectionality in scholar-to-practitioner communication? Do we need a ‘common’ language for the attempts to correlate evaluation and quality? • What metalanguage do/can scholars use in their contacts with decision makers, like publishers or bureaucrats deciding on grants or subsidies? • Is there a need for a conceptual potential to popularize the discipline, since journalists, literary critics etc. ask for appropriate concepts when they refer to questions of translation? What can be the role of metaphors in the popularization? • What are the consequences of the use of English as a lingua franca in international fora for the metadiscourse in other languages and how can this be dealt with? • How do new technologies and new media affect and/or mark the metalanguage of translation studies? / status: published

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