By Sari Pietikäinen, Alexandra Jaffe, Helen Kelly-Holmes, Nik Coupland
Sociolinguistics from the Periphery "presents a fascinating book about change: shifting political, economic and cultural conditions; ephemeral, sometimes even seasonal, multilingualism; and altered imaginaries for minority and indigenous languages and their users"
Date: Mon, 28 Mar 2005 20:51:56 +0200 From: Ingrid Mosquera Gende Subject: Translation and Globalization
AUTHOR: Cronin, Michael TITLE: Translation and Globalization PUBLISHER: Routledge (Taylor and Francis) YEAR: 2003
Dr. Ingrid Mosquera Gende, Department of English Philology, University of A Coruña, Spain
Michael Cronin, Dean of the Joint Faculty of Humanities and Director of the Centre for Translation and Textual Studies at Dublin City University, is the author of this book, which is addressed both to people devoted to professional translation, as well as to a general audience who will find answers to many questions related to the importance of translation and its relation to contemporary global societies and economies.
The book includes an introductory section of Acknowledgements in which one can already notice the diversity of sources consulted in order to carry out the research and study revealed in the book, in terms of multiculturalism - a very relevant aspect to take into consideration due to the central position of the issue of globalization in the text.
After this, there is a brief introduction, three pages long, subtitled Echolands: Translation Now. In this section the author poses major questions about translation, opening a great range of possibilities that he develops in the subsequent chapters. Cronin underlines that he will mainly deal with non-literary translation, since it has always been given less importance, from his point of view, and he does not agree with this, much less in the global world of today. This introduction ends with a description of the issues tackled in each of the chapters, explaining the reasons for their importance. The whole section is enriched with different references to books and authors that are used to exemplify his approaches.
The body of the volume comprises five chapters: 1. Translation and the Global Economy; 2. Globalization and New Translation Paradigms; 3. Globalization and the New Geography of Translation; 4. Globalization and the New Politics of Translation; 5. Translation and Minority Languages in a Global Setting. Each of these chapters is divided into subsections of about one page long, which makes it easy to read and follow the text. At the same time, these subsections' titles are very explicit in content and ideas, so that with just one quick look it is possible to get an idea of the themes dealt within each of them.
Then, there follow a couple of pages dedicated to notes on the chapters. There are not too many, a perfect complement that does not involve fundamental content but provides an exemplification of some of the points treated.
At the end of the book there is a relatively extensive bibliography, useful for further reading about the relationship between globalization, translation and new technologies, including many titles published recently. Although it could be taken for granted, it is also important to underline the presence of a thorough Index by which one can easily find references to authors as well as to relevant themes dealt within the book.
Chapter 1 and 2 These first chapters share common points. For instance, most of their subsections start with questions that stimulate curiosity in the reader. In both chapters, as in the rest, we find many citations from other authors; in the first one there is one author that is worth mentioning due to his continuing presence, Manuel Castells, and in the second one it is Wattenberg.
Apart from that, the five chapters share the same way of starting by introducing historical anecdotes, related, in one sense or the other, to the themes that the writer is later to develop.
Regarding those two first chapters, it is very important to underline how some relationships are being establish and explained: "the relationship between translation and things" (9), "the relationship between translation and the technosphere" (10), "the self and the net" (12), "the relationship between techne and cultural development" (28), "the relationship between translators and tools" (29), "the relationship between translation and the nation-state" (56), "the relationship between translation and diversity" (73).
These two chapters are also used in order to define terms that we are going to find in the rest of the book. The author introduces specific and complex terms in a gradual way, so one understands them, gets familiar with them and then, without noticing, one is already using them as part of his/her own vocabulary. In this sense the book is very enriching. Many of those words are presented as dichotomy pairs, although not always. Some examples of relevant terms introduced in these chapters are the following, apart from the ones included in the relationships mentioned above: informational society / information society, global economy, internationalization / localization / elocalization, cognitive content / aesthetic content, translation as communication / translation as transmission, message as the medium, tools / material support / products, globalization / anti-globalization, networks and networking, gatekeeper / switch, database, economics of attachment, market utopianism, Americanization, development state, politics of translation, agency, neo- Babelianism, localization / translation, translators as mediators, transmission, fidelity, time, mnemonic time in translation / instantaneous time, intralingual / interlingual.
Despite the common points in their structure, Chapter 1 deals with modern society and economy, characterising the last as informational and global, and explaining the importance of technology in relation to translation studies and its tools. Chapter 2 focuses on the network and its consequences on translation and society, with examples from all around the world, from the United States of America to Asia, passing via Europe. Special attention is given to the term neo-Babelianism and its implications, and to the role of translators nowadays, for instance taking into account different types of time (see above).
Chapter 3 This chapter presents Ireland as an example of one of the most important centres of translation, as well as a country with a minority language. Taking that into account, the author also comments on the notion of censorship and its different forms. Although this chapter is far more descriptive than the other two, it also contains some new terms and relationships, such as the one between localization and hegemony, and the words polyglossia / heteroglossia, censorship of experience, anthropoemic / anthropophagic and global city.
Chapter 4 This chapter delves more deeply into the status of the translator in the technological era, with a special remark on economical implications in the translator's work, dealing, among many other items, with deadlines and time.
It also describes the different types of machine-aid translation; Michael Cronin gives a detailed classification of them, from cyborgs to automated translation, explaining the relevance of computer-assisted translation (CAT), machine translation (MT) or synchronous, automated translation systems (SATS).
Literary translation also has a place in this chapter in order to explain its situation nowadays in respect to economy, market and other types of translations.
If the importance of time was introduced in other sections of the book before, in this chapter there is a special treatment of the subject, which is called "Chronopolitics"; this theme is explained and developed at this point, introducing essential terms such as incompleteness, metonym or supra-national institutions.
Chapter 5 Here, Michael Cronin takes a closer look to the situation of minority languages and the influences that translation can have on their situation, for instance by means of "translation ecology". He claims that "minority is the expression of a relation, not an essence" (144). From this point onwards the author establishes and studies several dichotomy pairs, as we have already seen in other chapters; in this case: diachronic / spatial relation, target-language intensive / source-language intensive, pragmatic functions / aesthetic functions, intralingual translation differentials / interlingual translation differentials.
The last pages of the chapter are devoted to several classifications related to translation. On the one hand, some points are enumerated as a kind of conclusion about their relevance in relation with translation: training, research, heteroglossia and retreat for language. On the other hand, travel writing in minority languages is explained in three different levels (minoritization of language within travel, minoritization of minority-language travel accounts and minoritization of travel writing on the minority language) and by means of several strategies (mimesis, defamiliarization, periphrasis, exclusion and translation).
Some minor criticism and personal opinions were made in the summaries of the chapters. On the whole, the book is a great, original, necessary and quite novel approach to translation studies from an economic, social, global and linguistic point of view. One possible drawback could be the complexity and density of explanations and terms but, since these are very well introduced, explained and widely repeated, at the end one finds oneself having accumulated a large amount of specific vocabulary. In this sense, chapters 1 and 2 are very well structured while the last three are rather more confusing. In these there lies a greater degree of complexity, deriving from the fact that explanations depend on one another, so if something is not sufficiently clear, it is difficult to understand the following item. However, one just needs a little more concentration to follow the complex and intelligent connections - subsection divisions of the chapters help to achieve this aim.
Michael Cronin effectively describes, explains and defends his proposals about the situation of translation nowadays.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER:
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Ingrid Mosquera Gende teaches at the University of A Coruña, Spain. Her Ph.D. is in English Philology; her Doctoral Thesis is about Edwin Muir: "Early Poetry of a Late Poet: Analysis of First Poems". She has had several research stays in Scotland, supervised by specialists such as Professor Cairns Craig and Robert Crawford. She is a researcher of projects related to Translation Studies, Literature and Education. She has many publications and contributions about Translation, Scottish Literature, as well as other fields of study, including Education, Irish Literature, and Spanish Literature. She teaches courses via the internet in collaboration with The University of Islas Baleares, Spain, and is a reviewer and translator for various universities.