Translating specialized languages: an overview of the key strategies

Background information

St. Jerome was a 4th-century religious scholar, biblical translator and monastic leader. He is considered to be the “guardian angel” of translators since he was one of the first major reputable translators in our cultural sphere. He is known particularly for his translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Latin, creating the template for the Roman Catholic Church's Vulgate bible.  

His feast day September 30 is marked each year by translator environments worldwide.



Translating specialized languages: an overview of the key strategies

Taking as its starting point the variety of language features and genres falling under the umbrella term “specialized languages”, as a result of different disciplinary domains and communicative settings, the lecture focuses on the preparatory and production phases of the translation activity by using process- and product-oriented theoretical models based on experimental approaches and professional experience. In the first phase, the translator identifies translation problems in light of the specific conditions in which the translation activity takes place. In order to achieve a pragmatically successful translation, the two main parameters of ‘intertextuality’ and ‘intended use of the translation’ (translation brief) are used by the translator to choose a macrostrategy for the whole text that will guide her in all the choices at the lower levels of the text. In the second operational phase of the actual reformulation of the source text into the target language, the translator selects the actual strategies to solve the problems identified in the first phase. These strategies descend from the general macrostrategy and are first distinguished into the two main translation methods of ‘literal translation’ and ‘paraphrase’ and then, with a top-down procedure, are analysed from the higher levels of text and discourse to the lower ones of syntax and terminology.

Federica Scarpa page at Researchgate