Corps de l’article


In translation, in the field of education, we meet the notorious-problem-area (P. Kussmaul 1994: 1-13) of institutional terms. The Greek terms ptixio, eparkia, metaptixiako diploma, and didaktoriko diploma have similar core but different edges in relation to their potential equivalents in Spanish and to some extent in Italian.[1] In the category of academic titles of studies, around the fuzzy edges,[2] some features of the above mentioned terms are not qualitative but quantitative.[3] In an academic context, meanings around the fuzzy edges of such categories have to be rendered by Greek translations.[4]

In my discussion, I examine the relevance of two semantic models for the comprehension of the translation process of: i) three translations of the Greek academic terms lektoras, monimos lektoras, epikuros ka8ijitis, monimos epikuros ka8ijitis, anaplirotis ka8ijitis, ka8ijitis, ii) some translation units such as pedagojiki eparkia, metaptixiako diploma, activated in a notorious number of official translated documents on the occasion of the election of a Spanish teacher in a Greek Department. The two semantic models are:

  1. prototype semantics: In Kussmaul, prototype semantics “is based on the idea that when comprehending and producing linguistic utterances we think in holistic notions which are determined by our experiences and they have a hard core and fuzzy edges.” The Greek academic institutional terms for teaching and research stuff, such as lektoras, monimos lektoras, epikuros ka8ijitis, monimos epikuros ka8ijitis, anaplirotis ka8ijitis, ka8ijitis have a common feature such as “ability to teach and do research.” This common core does not answer questions such as “what about epistimoniki sinergates[5] or 407?.”[6] Epistimoniki sinergates or 407 are not prototypical members of the category teaching and research stuff but belong to the fuzzy edge of the category “academic teaching stuff” and are often researchers. In the group of terms lektoras, monimos lektoras, epikuros ka8ijitis, monimos epikuros ka8ijitis, anaplirotis ka8ijitis and ka8ijitis all represent members of the category teaching and research stuff. But a lektoras cannot become a tutor in the space of postgraduate studies if he or she is not a monimos lektoras; a lektoras and epikuros do indeed teach but do not have permanent positions unless they are monimi; and only an anaplirotis and ka8ijitis are able to assume administrative roles in their departments, faculties and universities. How do we interpret “teaching staff and research staff”? That “teaching and reserch” staff is a quantitative category becomes clear from the fact that the required qualifications for the memberhip in such professional categories vary in different countries and are regulated by law. Researcher too is a quantitative category regulated by law (when can a person be identified as researcher?). The terms lektoras,[7] monimos lektoras,[8] epikuros ka8ijitis,[9] monimos epikuros ka8ijitis,[10] anaplirotis ka8ijitis[11] and ka8ijitis[12] are where the fuzzy edges of meanings become visible and where culture influences meaning.

  2. scenes-and-frames semantics:[13] In Kussmaul “this psycholinguistic model starts from the basic idea that in process of comprehension linguistic forms activate meaning stored in the listener’s/reader’s memory. The scenes and frame model help to describe the interplay between potential experiential meaning of words or other linguistic forms and the context or situation in which they are used and which modifies or enlarges or changes their potential meaning. When translating we find that words are used in an unexpected, new or unknown sense.”

1. Problem identification

The focus of my discussion is the problem of translating and sometimes adapting Greek academic information to the Italian target culture and Spanish institutional academic terms to the Greek target culture[14] as international institutional academic terms: Again in Kussmaul these terms a) often overlap only in the core but not at the edges, b) there are word meanings with clear-cut edges, c) there is no standardized international academic terminology aiming at precision, a situation that causes incongruence due to non-equivalences.

2. Problem description

In order to define rational behaviour choices (W. Wilss 1994: 131-150) in bilingual Greek < > Italian or Spanish < > Greek translation of academic terms we must confirm whether a translation satisfies the following four basic requirements: a) verifiability (pragmatic dimension), b) plausability (thematic dimension), c) situational adequacy (functional dimension), d) value-orientedness (target-language/text readership).

3. Information collection

The decision-making behaviour of the translators is demonstrated by the textual facts of any resultant translation. In Wilss, decision-making behaviour in the translation and, in our case, in the translation of academic institutional terms is described in terms of an interaction between the following factors: “a) activation of linguistic, referential, sociocultural and situational knowledge-based systems, b) specification of text-type-problem space.”

The above factors 3a and 3b enable the translator of academic institutional terms to build up an internal problem representation (W. Wilss 1994: 131-150) which will influence her/his performance, taking account of alternative choices which are an important element in our specific educational and institutional setting.

4. Deliberation of how to proceed

The translation situations under discussion contain an element of risk as they require some form of non-trivial choice. In Wilss, in the cases under discussion, the translator “has to objectify (W.Wilss 1994: 131-150) the translation problem in view of the fact that she/he must take into consideration cross-cultural differences in assessing the given decision-making situation, so that different decision-making strategies may be employed in the same translation situation,” i.e., Table 1. This Table describes decision-making processes and problem-solving operations making clear factors and criteria in the course of the particular translation action under discussion. Again according to Wilss, “in achieving the situationally synchronization of source and target texts, we have to define the linguistic, extra-linguistic and sociocultural resources of the translator when she/he was trying to perform intertextual balancing acts aiming to conform the intention of the source-text author and the expectations of the target-language reader.” In the case of my discussion the translator relies on the cooperation of the source-text author [the SL-author is identical with the TL-author or they communicate in the same professional context]

5. Examples of existing translational choices

In order to solve the specific translation problems under discussion, the translators have activated two types of knowledge (W. Wilss 1994: 131-150): a) Declarative knowledge (= stored-up knowledge and expertise), b) Processual knowledge (= strategic knowledge). The types of knowledge activated by the translators are demonstrated by the textual facts of the translation results in discussion.


Table 1

A=The Study Guide 2000-2001, Department of Italian Studies, AUTH, pp. 9, 74/ B= The Study Guide 2001 - 2002, Department of Italian Studies, AUTH, pp. 11, 88/ C= The Study Guide 2002 - 2003, Department of Italian Studies, AUTH, pp. 9-10, 98.

* There is no equivalence in Italian because the potential equivalent roles are only three[15]: Professore ordinario, Professore associato, Ricercatore universitario.

** Di ruolo as polysemic term even means in permanent position. In the Greek academic context this does not follow the pragmatic requirement of such a translation.

*** Direct loan from Greek to Italian, adopted first by me in 2000.[16]

**** The translation results in column C not reproducing the embodied metaphor of order (Lakoff 1996: 81-84/ 1990: xiv, ) and hierarchy, in term of membership gradience (Lakoff 1990: 13), in Greek academic context.

# Gazzetta Ufficiale della Repubblica Italiana, serie generale, n. 138, p. 44.

## Ricercatore universitario, (Universita’ degli studi di Trento, Legge Istitutiva e Statuto, p. 31).

### improper use of the term fascia because here the result is a non-verifiable scale of gradience.

-> Voir la liste des tableaux


I return to the terms pedagojiki eparkia (Aptitud Pedagogica), “metaptixiako” diploma (Suficienzia Investigadora), activated in a notorious number of official translated documents on the occasion of the election of a Spanish teacher in a Greek Department. Eparkia in the Greek academic context has a negative value and Suficienzia Investigadora is not a title of the MA type. These two translations can produce underestimation or overestimation in the context of an academic election [teaching staff].

6. Evaluation of translation results

For this request we must make the distinction between macro-textual strategies and micro-textual problems in the cases 5a and 5b described here.

Case 5a: The sender is a Greek academic institution, the addressees form a homogeneous group of Italian academics. The wording of the translations is not target-oriented The information as presented is distorted Parallel texts must be used in the future in order to obtain models for direct imitation (M. Snell-Hornby 1988: 116-128).

Micro-textual (K.Kaindl 1999: 263-288) problems including episodic phenomena such as a) adiectio of the terms “di ruolo” for “prof. di I fascia” [Column A], and “professore” for “ricercatore universitario” [Column B], b) deletion of the translation of terms such as “monimos lektoras” and “monimos epikuros,” c) non-successful substitution and for this reason transmutation of the membership gradience scale [Column C] give a translation result which does not satisfy the basic requirements of: a) verifiability, b) plausability, c) situational adequacy, d) value-orientedness.

Case 5b: Micro-textual problems phenomena such as a) repetition (pedagojiki eparkia for Aptitud Pedagogica) and b) non-successful subsitution (“metaptixiako” diploma for Suficienzia Investigadora) produce translations which do not satisfy the basic requirements of: a) verifiability and b) situational adequacy.

The explanatory value of the two semantic models for the translation of Greek institutional terms in the field of education can be used in translation teaching. By making use of the two models in combination with objective translation assessment, we can make our students aware of the comprehension and production processes involved in translation.