Translating: the constructive way


  • Hans G. Hönig


Why are so many people dissatisfied with translations? Why are so many translators frustrated by their work? For two essential reasons: • Most translators are not really aware of what they are doing (and for whom); • Most translators are not allowed to develop the self-confidence necessary to do their work well. In many cases neither side - translators or users - is willing to accept, leave alone understand, that translation processes are very complex from a psycholinguistic and a sociolinguistic point of view. And rarely is it recognised by either side that a good translation is the result of a co-operative effort and a constructive attitude. Laypersons and, alas, many translators have been deceived by illusions of symmetry which superficially seem to define the relatedness of source and target texts. Quite often metaphors like that of the navigator who successfully negotiates the narrow and dangerous straits which separates the shores of two cultures and languages are used (quite recently (1993) so in the Festschrift für Katharina Reiß, entitled TRADUCERE NAVEM).