Vertalen in onderwijs en beroep
  • ISSN 0169-7420
  • E-ISSN: 2213-4883
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We may assume that there is a relationship between the various ways in which literary texts can be interpreted, and the strategies that can be applied in their translation. Inevitably, translation strategies only pay attention to a limited number of aspects of the original text. It is, indeed, impossible to preserve all the aspects of a literary text in translation - the whole contents, the exact form, the rhythm, metaphors, puns and so on. This implies that the translator always has to choose so as to keep the features he considers most important, while giving up others.Since translation is a special kind of interpreting and reading, reading and translation strategies are bound to be interrelated. This paper deals with the influence of translating on the reading competence (and vice versa) and shows that when one is translating a text, one becomes more aware of the different ways in which it can be read and interpreted, and this, in turn, makes the translator more conscious of the choices (s)he can make. It is possible, then, to establish a 'hierarchy of priorities' in which the translator can take translation decisions more deliberately.I became aware of this influence of translating on reading attitude when I was leading a translation project at the University of Groningen, in which a group of students translated a number of poems of the Spanish poets Antonio Colinas and Julio Llamazares into Dutch. It appeared that during the classes, while we discussed the first Dutch versions of the poems, the students became gradually aware of a number of features they had not realized before, such as the intentional ambiguity of Colinas' word order, the use and significant position of certain key words, the musical qualities of the poems and the etymology of certain terms. This changing attitude brought about a number of modifications in our translations: the source texts were followed with more precision, importance was given to the preservation of various interpretations and the identification of key terms, the etymology of words was maintained wherever possible, the students tried to keep rhythm and musical effects and became sensitive to word order.This experience shows us that translation can have a useful place in the teaching of foreign languages, in that it sharpens the reading attitude, stimulates the analyzing and interpreting competences, and makes students more aware of the various choices they have when translating, and of the consequences these bring about.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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