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Abstract

The main role of a translator is to transform information from one language to another.
The translator must consider the purpose of the translation, as what was the purpose behind the
writing. In addition, the translator has to be involved in an intense learning process that includes
learning highly complex concepts in law, science, technology, business and many other fields.
That process is crucial to their ability to convey these concepts across language barriers. For
decades, translators’ emotions or thoughts were not to interfere in the translation process
(‘translation’ is used for both processes of translation and interpretation). A translator’s emotions
or beliefs were not as valuable as the writer’s, who is the main persona, regardless of their
importance. As the Roman poet Virgil said describing his and other translators’ work, “But
slaves we are, and labor on another man’s plantation; we dress the vineyard, but the wine is the
owner’s.” (Virgil, 2001)

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Nowadays many recent scholars have stressed the importance of the translator’s role. For
example, Bassnett (1996, p. 22) argues that “translation once considered a subservient,
transparent filter through which a text could and should pass through adulteration, the translation
can now be seen as a process in which intervention is crucial.” Alvarez and Vidal, (1996, p. 5)
believe this intervention is choices that the translator makes according to their ideological
backgrounds, history and socio-political milieu which represent a culture.

Introduction

Translation can be affected by the translator’s life experience, personal background and
socio-political milieu. Furthermore, another factor that can affect the translation is gender, which
has a great impact on one’s way of translating. As Rosemary Arrojo (1994, p. 147-148) says:

While tradition has generally viewed translation as a transparent, impersonal activity
which is expected to recover — and to be blindly faithful to — the supposedly stable
meanings of an author, contemporary, postmodern theories of language are beginning to
recognize the inevitable echoes of the translator’s voice in the translated text. At the same
time, an increasing awareness of the impact of gendered related issues to the production
of meaning and knowledge.

In this literature review, we analyze the study in which it attempts to tackle unintentional
spontaneous differences in translation caused by gender variation. The researcher was able to
find just one study in the field. The study was conducted by Leonadri, titled: Gender and
Ideology in Translation: Do Women and Men Translate Differently? A Contrastive Analysis
from Italian into English. This study compared translation between Italian and English, whose
aim was to discover whether translation rendered by women was different from that rendered by
men (Leonadri, 2007:19).

Discussion

In this literature review, we focus on the difference in how men and women think and
handle things. The difference can be caused by the expected and accepted roles and norms
attributed to them by society, and the dominance imposed on them. There were number of
studies that attempted to relinquish these norms and stereotypes about women and their position
in society.

As for language usage, numerous women express their feelings and thoughts in ways
different than men do, because they did not have the same experiences and treatment from their
society. The researcher usage of terms like “inferior/superior” or “dominant” are not to imply
that women are less important or that they are weaker, they are just common terms. Moreover,
another factor that affects the language usage of both gender is the various activities that each
gender practice. There are certain activities that men practice exclusively that can affect the kind
of vocabulary (language) they learn.

There are three books that have been crucial to the sociolinguistics of gender, these books
are: Robin Lakoff’s Language and Woman’s Place (1973/1975), Mary Ritchie Key’s
Male/Female Language (1975), and Barrie Thorne and Nancy Henley’s Language and Sex:
Difference and Dominance (1975).

There are a great number of scholars that tackled the linguistic differences between
female and male. For instance, Wardhaugh (2005) stated that women use different vocabulary,
have different intonations, and use different paralinguistic systems like gestures. Moreover,
women are thought to be more emotional than men, although it is until now scientifically
controversial. It might be related to the social norms which can affect both genders. These norms
can be shown by taking crying for example. Women are thought to have learnt that expressing
their emotions and thought is natural, as opposed to men, men learn through social norms that
crying is not masculine, therefore, they do not often show their emotions by crying.

As the main aim of translation is communication, just like writing and speaking, the
differences that are found in speech are bound to be found in translation. “The translator is not
the sender of the ST message but a text- producer in the target culture who adopts somebody

else’s intention in order to produce a communicative instrument for the target culture, or a target-
culture document of a source- culture communication.” Nord (2005, p. 13) stresses the point that
translation is a recreation of the source text which causes the translator to embrace a different
culture:

The translator is not the sender of the ST message but a text- producer in the target
culture who adopts somebody else’s intention in order to produce a communicative
instrument for the target culture, or a target-culture document of a source- culture
communication.

Numerous of scholars agree that the translation process is affected by ideology. Fawcett
(1998, p.107) states that translation has been always directed “by people’s belief to produce a
certain effect in translation.” Venuti (1998) has introduced the terms of domestication and
foreignization which can be affected by gender background. According to Venuti, domestication
refers to “an ethnocentric reduction of the foreign text to target-language cultural values, bring
the author back home,” while foreignization is “an ethnodeviant pressure on those (cultural)
values to register the linguistic and cultural difference of the foreign text, sending the reader
abroad.” (Venuti 1995, p. 20)

Coates (1986, p. 1) “speech is an act of identity: when we speak, one of the things we do
is identify ourselves as male or female.” This is related to the issue of gender identity, which
means that men and women have different purposes to communicate and they communicate their
thoughts differently. Although women and men share the same culture in the same society, they
have different experiences and roles to play based on gender in their lives.

Conclusion

In this literature review, we examine whether gender ideology leads to rendering different
translations or not. The researcher has conducted two studies: Study I which is an experimental
study and is used as a reference, and Study II based on the first one. This study compares female
translation to male translation of specific types of texts: historical/plain texts, hostile/ aggressive,
and romantic texts, in order to highlight the differences and similarities in expressions and word
choice.

One promising finding of the study is that in most cases female translators are more
willing to express their feelings in romantic texts, while males show more engagement in the text
when translating violence. 

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