New contexts in discourse analysis for translation and interpretation

  • Jeremy Munday and
  • María Calzada Pérez

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Cover of New Contexts in Discourse Analysis for Translation and Interpretation, Volume 65, Number 1, April 2020, pp. 1-285, Meta

This issue of Meta draws on the presentations given at the symposium on discourse analysis and translation/interpretation organised by the University Jaume I in Castellón, Spain, and held at the University of Alcalá de Henares in November 2018. The original papers presented in that forum have been supplemented by other thematically relevant contributions to create a volume that complements and enhances other recent collections around the topic. The results provide an opportunity to take stock and to examine new contexts and directions in discourse analysis applied to translation studies. It is one of a series of publications in recent years that have sought to highlight the role of discourse analysis in helping to uncover and explain meanings in source and target texts. This goes all the way back to the collected volume edited by Baker, Olohan, et al. (2010), inspired by a special panel of the IATIS conference held in Melbourne in 2009 in honour of Ian Mason. New contexts and new methods are central to this issue. The first section gives room for reflection on discourse analysis from a perspective outside of translation studies. The first paper, by Sara Ramos Pinto and Elisabetta Adami, concentrates on multimodality and should be an important point of reference for those studying the theory and application of multimodality, an area which has been lacking in translation studies but now enjoys increased importance. This is not only because of the growth of audio-visual translation, whether it be subtitling or dubbing, but also because of the increased prevalence of images, audio, video, and hybrids of these with written text or spoken text. While many other forms of text and discourse analysis have been developed for predominantly written texts, there is a glaring lack of a robust analytical model, underpinned by a strong theoretical base. Ramos Pinto and Adami seek to address this gap, bringing together their specialisms in audio-visual translation and in theoretical multimodality in a rare and valued combination. The other paper in this section is by Charlotte Taylor and Dario Del Fante, who bring to the collection an objective evaluation of tools refined for the study of monolingual texts in what is known as corpus-assisted discourse studies. They take a timely look at the methodology of cross-linguistic corpus and discourse research. Computing power has transformed the potential for individual or small groups of researchers to develop their own corpora for even a relatively small study. What is sometimes absent is a thorough theoretical understanding of the appropriate methodologies of corpus-based work and their limitations. This is where Taylor and Del Fante take up the story. They tackle some key questions raised by the need to find comparable units of text in the languages covered, moving from the lexical level to the higher levels of discourse. The second section is entitled New contexts, since it examines a series of specific novel situations in which this discourse analysis takes place. There is continuity with the previous section since the methodology is critical discourse analysis, but the case study examples are new. Thus, Ji-Hae Kang and Jung-Wook Hong look at the way that ‘volunteer translators’ construct their status and identities online. This is rather a controversial issue, as discussed in this paper, because the translators may innocently provide a language service for free, yet the result potentially undermines their own status and risks depriving other translators of work. The boundary has also been blurred between for-profit and not-for-profit motives, and once again the repercussions of this for the translation profession are considerable. This is another example of how the act of translation has often …