Translating Texts: from Theory to Practice

Margherita Ulrych

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Recent developments in translation studies reflect the ever-increasing interest in cross-linguistic and cross-cultural studies, an offshoot of broader international cooperation. Translation is the principal means of surmounting the language barrier and of enabling communication to take place effectively and efficiently between individuals and organisations using different languages. In this sense, translation goes a long way towards developing intercultural communication skills and cross-cultural awareness as well as understanding between nations. It can almost be said to be a pre-condition for the creation and the development of political, commercial, scientific, cultural, and social relations between nations. The main aim of Translating Texts: from Theory to Practice is to provide intermediate and advanced trainee translators and language students with the rationale that lies behind the translation process so that they will be able to tackle all text-types. Each chapter deals with a specific aspect of translation from both a theoretical and a practical perspective. Chapter 1 provides a brief overview of traditional and current issues central to translation. It also examines the changing role of the translator and prospects for the future. The pragmatic aspects of translation are introduced in Chapter 2, which investigates how language forms and functions interact within and across language boundaries. It focuses on the appropriateness of the linguistic form to the function of the utterance in relation to the addresser's intentions and underlying communicative motivations. The importance of pragmatics to translation is further explored in Chapter 3, which stresses the need to interpret the source text as an integral part of its socio-cultural context in terms of both the context of situation and the context of culture. Such variants of communication as participants, their shared background knowledge, and the relationship of meaning to the extralinguistic environment and its appropriateness to the speech situation are discussed in detail. Chapter 4 reviews the ways writers use language to achieve stylistic effects in a variety of text-types and offers practical advice on how to handle stylistic choice when translating. Chapters 5, 6 and 7 deal specifically with co-textual features of translation: the way discourse is constructed within and beyond sentence boundaries to produce a unified and meaningful text. Textual organisation, in terms of thematisation, information focus, sentence structure, punctuation, tense and aspect, is covered in Chapter 5, while Chapters 6 and 7 deal respectively with grammatical and lexical cohesive devices: reference items, ellipsis, substitution, conjunction, and lexical organisation. The various aspects of translation discussed in these chapters are drawn together in Chapter 8, which offers guidance on the actual translation process. Translation is seen as a problem-solving activity which stimulates learners to build up their self-confidence and powers of reasoning. Sample translations with detailed comments are provided in Chapter 9. Suggestions are made on how best to cope with the problems that present themselves at various language levels with specific reference to translating texts from Italian into English. Authentic texts covering a variety of discourse types, including politics, psychology, literature and the arts, history, sociology, economics, medicine, the environment and current affairs, are included in Chapter 10 for further practice. Each chapter contains a further reading section and a comprehensive list of references is given at the end of the book. Translating Texts: from Theory to Practice can be used either as a course book, or as a self-study manual. The guiding principle underlying the book is that translation can be taught. The acquisition of translation skills should, however, be approached objectively and analytically through the study and practice of structural, fun
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages381
ISBN (Print)88-7754-070-2
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • Didattica della traduzione
  • Manuale di traduzione
  • Teaching of translation
  • Teoria/pratica
  • Textbook of translation
  • Theory/Practice
  • Traduzione
  • Translation


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