Implications for translation pedagogy

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News translation strategies adopted by novice and expert translators

Implications for translation pedagogy

Wan Hu

DOI: 10.4324/9781003032984-11
Introduction

As translation becomes more frequent, essential and necessary in international communications and with the proliferation of translation programmes around the world, the demand for high calibre translators grows. In response to this growing demand, many educators have proposed and developed possible approaches to train future translators with high competency. Their efforts mainly revolve around two key issues: what to teach and how to teach (Kelly, 2005; Kiraly, 1995; Li, Zhang & He, 2015).

In answering the question “what to teach”, professional needs, materials, and methods are suggested to be incorporated in translation and interpreting (T&I) classrooms. For instance, using authentic or quasi-professional materials in the translation classroom has become a consensus among many scholars (González Davis, 2004; Huertas Barros, 2011; Kelly, 2005). Others also stress that the teaching and assessing content ought to be more responsive to the needs of the markets to raise students’ awareness of future job requirements (Abdel Latif, 2018; Anderman & Rogers, 2000; Hu, 2018).

Moreover, with the aim to understand the thinking patterns and work habits of the professional translators and interpreters, researchers have conducted experiments between trainee and professional translators to compare their strategies used in consecutive interpreting and possible reasons for the differences. For example, Wang and Li (2015) have adopted a think-aloud approach in a context of English–Chinese consecutive interpreting and gathered the evidence of interpreting strategies used by student and professional interpreters, respectively. They find that professional interpreters are more proactive in using strategies. With the help of interpreting strategies, professional interpreters are proficient in delivering the critical information of the source text (ST) to the audience. The students, however, tend to treat strategy as a last resort due to their cognitive process constrains. This chapter reports the performative gap between trainee and professional interpreters and suggests that the effective strategies used by professional interpreters should be taught in class to help improve students’ performance.

As regards “how to teach”, educators have been actively seeking innovative approaches in T&I teaching, advocating more student-centred, collaborative-oriented, and realistic, practice-led teaching and learning methods. Differing from the conventional teacher-oriented approach, mainly transmitting knowledge, “student-centred classes will favour interaction and will provide a stimulus for learner autonomy” (González Davies, 2005, p. 70). Students are better involved in learning and then become active participants.

Translation is somewhat a complicated process dealing with languages, clients, authors, readers, and even resources. In this vein, many educators adopt collaborative-based translation projects in translation classrooms (AI-Shehari, 2017; González & Díaz, 2015; Kiraly, 2005, 2012, 2014). This approach aims to provide students with a more dynamic and interactive environment for learning and engage them in the investigation. https://www.openstreetmap.org/user/opinions%203 Within this framework, “students are to accomplish certain tasks under particular time constraints” (Li, Zhang & He, 2015, p. 3). They can “work collaboratively to find their own sub-tasks in these complex situations, and can learn to make their own meanings” (Kiraly, 2014, p. 22).

The realistic, practice-led teaching approach is welcomed and applied in many interpreting classrooms. This approach includes activities such as role-plays, mock conferences, highly simulated consecutive or simultaneous interpreting tasks in the school, dummy booth practice in international organizations, as well as conference observations. These carefully designed real-life activities aim to provide students with opportunities to enhance their interpreting skills and to develop their job-related competences. Most students’ feedback does prove the effectiveness of such activities (Chouc and Conde, 2016; Pan, 2016; Wadensjö, 2014).

The above studies have discussed the changing attitudes and methods of translator and interpreter training and have provided examples on the introduction of professional elements into teaching. However, there has been less research on the comparison of news translation strategies between novice and expert translators. Moreover, the advocated links between translation classroom and the translation profession are not close enough, lacking an integrative model between academia and industry. Further, little attention has been paid to individual differences in the translating process, especially how these differences may affect teaching and learning.

Therefore, this chapter aims to explore how novice and expert translators behave differently when translating business news. Apart from summarizing the shared translation patterns of each group, https://profile.hatena.ne.jp/opinions3/profile this research also analyses learner factors with the help of in-depth interview, seeking to investigate how learners’ prior knowledge, professional experience, subject expertise and motivation affect their translation decision-making processes. It is hoped that the findings from this research will enlighten both translation pedagogy and translation research.

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Research questions

This research aims to answer the following two questions:

RQ1: What are the different patterns of news translation strategies used by novice and expert translators, https://www.evernote.com/shard/s381/sh/7a80b2f0-0731-6715-d00a-2844dca94ffd/285bab5a2c675b5a6129c081b2302bd0 respectively?

RQ2: How do individual differences affect translators’ choices of translation strategies in translating specialized news in a collaborative community?

 

 

Participants

Ten students from a national key university in Beijing and one editor from a well-known news agency participate in this study. In the group of student participants, 20% are men, and 80% are women; 30% are year-three undergraduates, and 30% are year-two undergraduates; 40% are master’s students. The reasons for selecting these students are mainly threefold. First, all of them have finished learning the core module of “Translation of Business News”1 before taking part in this research. Second, they were the translators https://www.quora.com/profile/Opinions-3-1 of the selected texts in this research, and they are the representative of the novice translators. Third, student participants who are at the different levels of learning can increase the diversity of the research.

The editor, defined as another group in this research, has been devoted to news reporting and trans-editing in a national news agency for more than ten years. In addition to global news reporting, he is in charge of an online crowdsourcing translation platform. This platform recruits student interns regularly. Before the current role, the editor worked as a translator for the Beijing Olympic Games and a municipal bank.

The profiles of all the participants are presented in Table 7.1, providing details about their educational backgrounds and professional experience.

Table 7.1 Participants’ profile Initials

Gender

Education profile

Professional experience

 

XF

F

Y3; BA Trans

In class translation exercise

https://www.behance.net/opinions3

JZ

F

Y2; BA Trans

Subtitle translation

 

MF

F

Y2; BA Trans

In class translation exercise

 

ZL

F

PG; BA/MA Trans

Intern: news trans-editor

 

CC

F

PG; BA/MA Trans

Scientific and technical trans

 

AD

F

PG; BA Finance/MA Trans

Exam-based trans texts

 

ZH

M

Y3; BA Trans

In class translation exercise

 

YJ

M

PG; BA Food Science/MA Trans

Exam-based trans texts

 

ZS

F

Y2; BA Trans

In class translation exercise

 

YY

F

Y3; BA Trans

Website translation project

 

XW

M

Journalist/Editor: 10 years

In house translator: 5 years

 

Note: Considering the constraints of space, several acronyms are used in the table. Specifically, Y3/Y2 refer to undergraduate year 3 and year 2, PG represents postgraduate, and Trans is short for translation.

 

 

Data collection and analysis

This research uses a qualitative approach to investigate translators’ preferred strategies when translating business news, as well as their differences in the decision-making processes.

The raw data of this research have been obtained from three sources. The primary source is the ten translated business news. The second data source is students’ reflective learning reports. The third data source is one-to-one interviews with 11 participants.

The selected ten news texts cover a broad range of sub-topics in business, including business and management, investment, economic development, trade, and financial markets (see Table 7.2 in Appendix 7.1 for the full list of texts). All these texts have been translated by students (including the participants in this study) as module assignments. They have then been revised by the editor before being published as international news.2 It is, therefore, reasonable to use these texts as samples to identify the different strategies used by students and professionals.

Students’ reflective learning reports include “the entire translating process, the translation challenges encountered and the students’ accompanying strategies” (Hu, 2019, p. 249). Also, students compare their work with the editor’s revisions and analyse the underlying reasons. These are relevant references to understand students’ translating processes as well as their thinking patterns.

The interviews were conducted over the social media WeChat. Compared with face-to-face interviews, the social media-mediated method breaks the restrictions of time and space, and allows the participants to intensively describe their feelings and translation routines. The interview is formed with seven open-ended questions, revolving around the correlation between participants’ prior experience and their choices of strategies in translating financial news. The sample interview questions are presented in Appendix 7.2.

In the following step, the researcher carefully analyses the collected data and marks all the essential content. When coding the interviews, all the participants are anonymous, and their names are replaced with initials, such as XF, CC, or ZS.

 

 

Different translation strategies between novice and expert news translator

As demonstrated in many studies on English–Chinese news translation strategies, the frequently used strategies are: selective translation, omission, addition, generalization, and specification (Cheng, 2011; Qin and Zhang, 2018). Different from these content analyses on the published news, this study attempts to investigate how news translators in various stage of expertise choose their translation strategies. After undertaking a textual analysis of the target text (TT) produced by students and the editor, as well as reading carefully about students’ reflective learning reports, it is summarized that the differences are mainly structured around the following three perceptions: translating words, translating sentences and paragraphs, and translation quality.

 

 

Perceptions of translating vocabularies

At the word level, students pay much attention to technical terms, polysemy and paraphrased usage. First, students take serious account of terminologies in the broad areas of business and finance. They often consult dictionaries, official websites or experts to understand their meanings. However, due to the lack of understanding context and business jargon, the vocabularies are sometimes mistranslated by students. For example, in a news report regarding the UK’s economic trends, the author quotes the economists’ opinions from the “City of London” but writes a shorter form “City economist” in the article. Many students did not recognize the connotation of the term “City” in this context, resulting in translation errors.

In some cases, students can translate English technical terms correctly into the Chinese language, but fail to give further explanation, which might cause clumsiness in meaning. The phrase “test of relevance” is such an example. In a piece of business news reporting the development route of two Asian companies: AIA and Prudential, the journalist says that these two groups “pass the key tests of relevance”. The vast majority of the students use the strategy of literal translation, and translate this sentence into “他们通过了重要的关联性测试” (back translation: They have passed the crucial tests of relevance). However, the readers, especially those who have little knowledge in financial services, might be curious about the type and content of the tests and the reasons why they are relevant. In fact, “test of relevance” is a performance evaluation of a company’s financial position. It is often conducted in the merger and acquisition activities or evaluated for strategic development. Therefore, in order to help target readers better understand the full story, both the editor and the teacher advise students to use the translation technique of compensation, adding a “bracelet” with an explanation of the test to make this phrase clearer and more explicit to understand.3

Second, it is noted in the students’ reflective learning reports that polysemy in financial news should be carefully dealt with when rendered in the target text. They argue that some familiar words may have their unique meanings in economic news. In this context, these words cannot be translated into their ordinary purposes. Students report that in rendering such terms, the frequently used strategy is to consult the bilingual dictionary to grasp the meaning of words. Some students also claim that they would read the whole passage to check the meaning of these words in context. For instance, the term “weaker” in “the weaker pound” cannot be rendered into “not good enough”, but specifically refers to “the slide of currency”. Examples like this should be carefully dealt with according to students.

Third, different cultures have different linguistic styles, structures and writing conventions, and these are essential elements for translators to consider how to adapt them in the target culture (Holland, 2013). For example, using the definite article “the” plus different words to repeat previously written events or people is a typical English journalistic style. For instance, in the news covering Starbuck’s business strategy in the Chinese market, the journalist uses “the world’s largest coffee chain store operator” to indicate “Starbucks”, and uses “the Shanghai outlet” to replace Starbucks’ high-end brand “the Shanghai Roastery”. Translators are therefore faced with challenges of rendering these paraphrases accurately and appropriately in the target texts. Students report that they usually treat these different sayings of the same issue carefully and try to translate them into the original names. But they also admit that they cannot successfully recognize all of them, and this sometimes inevitably result in translation errors.

Unlike student translators, linguistic constraints and financial knowledge are not a significant issue for the editor. As the editor’s areas of expertise are finance (including fintech), corporate acquisition and stock market analysis, he is familiar with the terminologies in these areas and is good at rendering them accurately and professionally. Additionally, his work experience in both translation and journalism sectors make him skilful in “interpreting the underlying semantic relations of a text” (Hu, 2018, p. 182). According to the editor’s revision principles demonstrated in a previous research project,4 it is clear that the editor pays equal attention to accuracy and readability. But in the final analysis, he prefers to tailor language to readers to have more effective communication with the target audience. When making linguistic corrections, the editor changes factual errors or significant mistranslations. The prerequisite for such corrections is that the pursuit of the fluency of the linguistic forms should not change the meaning, or cause contradiction.

 

 

Perceptions of translating sentences and paragraphs

At the levels of sentences and paragraphs, the most frequent translation strategies used by students are semantic translation, addition and modulation. Students prefer to transmit the semantic meaning of every single word of a sentence in order not to omit any information. They, in many cases, follow carefully with the writing styles and syntax of English news. Therefore, their forms of the target language look more complex and detailed, tending to focus on the accuracy of the reproduction of the meaning of the source text (Munday, 2016, p. 72). One possible risk of such preferences is that the connections between sentences or paragraphs are overlooked. The following short section is such an example:

ST: A person involved in the discussions said Yahoo Japan, an internet portal affiliated with SoftBank Group Corp., and Line Corp. were likely to reach a merger deal this month. The companies confirmed merger talks and said nothing has been decided.

TT: 一位参与讨论的人士称,作为隶属于软银集团的门户网站,雅虎将在本月和Line达成合并协议。两家公司证实了合并商谈一事,但表 示尚未做出任何决定。

 

 

The first sentence of this paragraph is long and complicated. It contains several layers of information. The assigned student group who translate this sentence into Chinese make two small adjustments, and mostly follow the original structural relations. One change is to move the parenthesis “an internet portal affiliated with SoftBank Group Corp.” to the front of Yahoo Japan, which is more in line with the Chinese writing conventions. The other adjustment goes to “The companies”. Students decide to make the phrase “The companies” more explicit and then translate it into “The two companies”, referring clearly to Yahoo Japan and Line Corp.

However, a piece of important information is not identified by students, that is “a person involved in the discussions”. In this news report, “the discussions” are not general activities in which people talk about something, but specifically refer to the business negotiations between Yahoo Japan and Line Corp regarding their plan of merger. Considering coherence and readability in the TT, “the discussions” in the English text are then advised to be rendered explicit in Chinese: “据参与合并谈判的人士透露” (back translation: a person involved in the discussions of a merger plan).

Another frequently used strategy by students is addition or amplification. The addition includes typically principles, ideas or background information. In preparing business news, market analysts or managers are often interviewed to express their opinions or commentaries. Both their views and their affiliations are included as quotes in the news stories. Students report that they pay special attention to these affiliations, trying to add a brief introduction to each one. For example, in translating the quote: “… said Ryotaro Sawada, an analyst at Ace Research Institute”, students add a short phrase to explain the business scope of Ace Research Institute. The same is true with “IHS Markit”. Students add “a consultancy firm” in Chinese to further explain the profile of this organization.

Due to the differences of structural means and journalistic norms between the ST and the TT, some students also demonstrate that they sometimes use the method of modulation to change “the semantics and point of view of the ST” (Munday, 2016, p. 90). The following paragraph is an example of modulation:

AIA was founded in Shanghai in 1919 by an adventurer called Cornelius Vander Starr, and went on to be folded into AIG, a huge, rogue American financial conglomerate that got bailed out in 2008. AIA was spun out in 2010.

 

In rendering this paragraph, students make small changes of the ST, restructuring and recomposing this paragraph in the TT according to the timeline (underlined parts “in 1919”, “in 2008”, “in 2010”). They believe that stressing the timeline can show the time and order in which these events have happened. It provides target readers with a clearer picture of the development of AIA, which is also more explicit in connecting previous and later parts.

In contrast, the editor prefers to use the strategies of reformulation, abridgement and synthesis. Unlike students, the editor’s translating process has not been affected too much by the syntactic structures of the ST. If the potential target text seemed to be awkward, clumsy, or illogical, the editor would adjust or recontextualize the ST sentences to the target text norms. For example:

ST: TOYOTA, Unilever, Barclays, Amazon, Tata. (1) There are 71,000 listed firms in the world (2), but only a few hundred that many people know at least a little about (3).

TT: 全球有71000家上市公司 (2),为人所知的却只有几百家 (3),如丰 田、联合利华、巴克莱、亚马逊和塔塔。(1)

 

The underlined sentence in the ST illustrates five well-established examples of listed firms worldwide, but the logical relation between this part and the other two sentences is not clearly presented. In rendering this into Chinese, the editor re-organizes the sequence of this paragraph and uses “for example” to clarify the relationship between TOYOTA and, for example, Unilever, Barclays, Amazon and Tata and the 71,000 listed firms.

As reported in a previous research project, “highlighting the key points while removing secondary information” is another preferred strategy used by the editor (Hu, 2018, p. 182). This strategy is not only evident in deleting extra or unnecessary explanations to achieve conciseness, but is also frequently used to allow the target readers to relate what they have already known to the knowledge presented in the text. The translation of the following paragraph is a case in point:

Vanke Service Co., Ltd., a leading provider of property management services in China, has launched a standalone sub-brand for its commercial property management services, as part of the company’s growing effort to make headway in this booming sector in China.

 

This paragraph is the second part of a news article reporting the new business strategy initiated by Vanke Service. As the profile of Vanke Service and its launch of a new sub-brand have just been mentioned in the news lead (the first paragraph), the editor then deletes these descriptions to avoid repetition and to adjust the English item to a proper length. Further, as many Chinese readers know that Vanke Service is a leader in China’s property management industry, there is no need to repeat this information in the target text. This selective translation method allows the editor to obliterate the information he deems irrelevant or not important. Moreover, the selected part may accentuate target readers’ concern over the recent efforts and achievements made by Vanke Services (Cheng, 2011, p. 225).

Some business news reports may include the comparison of the economic performances between different countries or conduct competitors’ analysis between companies. For example, in a news article issued by The Guardian covering Britain’s economic activity, the reporter wrote about the estimates for GDP in 2017 for four comparable countries, including the UK, US, France, and Spain. In addition to countries and figures, the reporter also made comments on each country’s economic growth prospect. In rendering this type of information, the primary strategy adopted by the editor is synthesis and re-composition. To be more specific, he splits the countries into different groups with their estimated GDPs and the economic growth rates and re-organizes them in Chinese without altering the meaning of the ST. The aim of translating in this way is to make this comparison clearly and logically presented, and to produce “suitable” and “acceptable” target texts to meet the target readers’ expectations (Chen, 2009, p. 203).

 

 

Perceptions of the translation quality

From the perspective of accuracy, students’ target texts demonstrate good comprehension of the source text. They can correctly transfer the information of the source text in most cases, paying particular attention to words and grammatical units. However, their translations contain occasional distortions in rendering the implicit source text meaning due to their lack of the subject matter or technical terminologies. In terms of translation quality, students’ translations can be deemed acceptable and usable by target readers, although some editing and revision would be required to bring them to a more professional standard.

It can be identified from students’ translating process that they are striking a balance between using translation to generate a product and as a language learning tool. As nearly all the translation learners have been, and still are, language learners, it is not surprising they focus on the details and language points (such as words, terminologies) when they are translating.

The target texts produced or revised by the editor provide evidence of in-depth familiarity with the sense and materials of the source texts. As evident in the students’ reflective learning reports, they all thought highly of the revisions made by the editor. They believe that his work could be regarded as excellent by the target newsreaders, reading like an original target-language text. More importantly, there is always a logical thread running through the text.

The editor, following the guidelines of his news agency and journalistic translation norms, goes beyond word-for-word replacements between the ST and the TT but is concerned more about target audiences’ responses as well as the target news organization’s conventions (Chen, 2009; Valdeón, 2014). In this sense, he adopts the essence of communicative translation, using the strategies of translating, adapting, rewriting and editing (Tsai, 2009).

 

 

Individual differences in translating business news

The previous findings have summarized that the individuals in similar groups may have shared patterns when translating business news. However, beyond these standard features, there will be significant differences between people, not only their age or learning levels (Scrivener, 2011). Learners’ or professionals’ perceptions of translation and corresponding strategies are, in fact, shaped mainly by their previous learning or work experience (Ashwin and Trigwell, 2012). Therefore, this section is designed to find out what the individual differences are when translating business news, and to what extent can these differences affect translators’ decision-making processes.

 

 

The relationship between prior learning/work experience and translation strategy choice

In reviewing all the participants’ answers towards their learning, translation and professional experience as well as re-checking their translated texts, this study shows that both students and the trans-editor have their translation habits or routines when translating business news. These habits can consciously or unconsciously influence translators’ strategy choices.

One student (JZ) reports that she has practised translating short literary texts in other modules before learning business news translation. When translating literary texts, she seeks to communicate the same impression in the TT from what she received from the ST and tries to achieve the aesthetic effect in translation. Such translation strategies for literary texts have also been transferred in the business news, although she has an awareness of different routines in translating news. One prominent example is that she tries very hard to find and use elegant Chinese words to represent the English equivalents. This method, sometimes, causes the problem of “over translation”.

JZ’s fellow student MF has echoed her strategy. MF claims that her prior learning experience has had an impact on translating business news:

I am good at translating poetries in my class. I also like translating prose because I can feel the sense of creation. My frequently used translation strategies for these two texts include transposition, modulation, reformulation, addition, and omission. I think these methods are appropriate for nearly all the documents, including business news. One tiny difference is that business news requires attention to language style and terminology translation.

(MF)

 

As observed from her translation assignments, she is skilful in translating long and complex English sentences into Chinese and is good at using connectors to make renditions logical. Her translated news is also concise and neat. Her performance demonstrates that the practice of translating poetries and proses has a positive impact on other text types.

Another student (YJ), who had no direct translation experience before enrolling the module of business news translation, believes that considering readers’ response is the most important factor for translation:

In terms of financial news translation, the prerequisite is to convey the information precisely. Once this has been achieved, I will consider readership: let readers comprehend the news and be willing to read the stories. Therefore, I try to produce readable financial news, naturally or [even] unconsciously.

(YJ)

 

Although this student has not received enough training for translation skills, his understanding of translation provides justifications for his choices of strategy.

It is apparent in this research that personal experience also influences translation choices for professional translators. The trans-editor (XW) who participated in our study prefers to “make use of the theory of communication and the audience-based purpose theory in news trans-editing, while translating is used as a tool to collect necessary materials”. According to him, translating business news requires much more know-how of economics and finance than translation strategies and skills. These preferences may be strongly related to his career path: first as a professional translator in the language services industry, then an in-house financial translator in a state-owned bank and now an expert in charge of business news reporting. Such work experience enables him to consider much about the readers’ responses and the translation quality. Furthermore, as he explains in the interview, his accumulation of knowledge in the financial sector makes him proficient in translating or writing a stock-market analysis and corporate news. Therefore, it is not surprising to find out that, in many cases, his revised versions of students’ translations “can be directly used as news reports from a foreign source” (Hu, 2018, p. 183).

 

 

The role of subject area knowledge in the translating process

From the interview answers given by ten student participants, it is clear that subject area knowledge plays a crucial role in producing specialized news translation. 80% (8 out of 10) of the participants argue that the most challenging parts of translating business news are terminologies and subject area knowledge:

There are many terminologies in business news. In some cases, there might be slight differences between languages, but for us students, we find it challenging to identify these differences. When we are translating, we may use the term in an opposite way or in a way that was not intended.

(CC)

 

Some words or terminologies have different meanings in the area of business, finance and economics. Without checking dictionaries or prior knowledge, it would be prevalent for us to mistranslate these words. For example, “float” has a meaning of “starting selling shares in a business or company for the first time”, which is quite specific in the chosen text. But many of us mistranslated this word into “fluctuate”, referring to the change of a company’s share prices.

(ZS)

 

Regarding financial news, the translator may face the problem of lacking background information, and this may cause many problems and difficulties in the translating process.

(XF)

 

They also agree that the sufficient acquisition of knowledge in business, finance and economics will help them make better choices in the translating process, improve translation accuracy and increase professionalism:

Mastering financial knowledge will be helpful to my choices of vocabularies and fixed expressions, which will then make my translations professionally expressed.

(ZL)

 

I have been learning economics, finance, and accounting modules for my Minor Degree Course of Finance. My knowledge of the broad area of business is beneficial for my translation of business news. More specifically, as I’ve learned the meanings of specific terminologies, complicated concepts and theoretical financial models, I have a good understanding of the source texts. I can then find appropriate approaches to deal with the translating process.

(YY)

 

It is worth noting that student participants who had a better understanding of the specialized areas of business and finance perform more professional in their translations. One student participant (AD), who has a BSc in Finance, is very proficient in using the idiomatic expressions of terminologies and business concepts, in particular with the topic of Merger & Acquisition, as well as stories regarding companies’ fiscal reports. She reports that she is good at translating economics-related texts. An important reason is that she is familiar with those technical terms and concepts, so she is not afraid of translating these texts psychologically.

Another student shares similar feelings and presents his translating strategies in dealing with business news:

I like translating business texts, and I am good at explaining them compared with other text types. The reasons are mainly twofold. First, I have many opportunities to learn knowledge of business and finance in my university, not only from my modules and minor degree course but also from my daily accumulation. In this case, I am very familiar with topics covered in business news. Second, unlike literary texts, translating business news are more rule-based. I can formulate my system of translation strategies. My strategies of translating business news include the following steps: 1) I will read carefully about the source text and acquire the background information to achieve a deep understanding of the content; 2) I will try to translate the text in a natural way. When it comes to technical terms beyond my knowledge, I will refer to dictionaries, encyclopaedia platforms, the official websites, or other online resources to search for explanations and relevant expressions; 3) After completing the basic semantic translation, I will then adjust the sentence structure, and strive to express in line with the target readers’ reading habits; 4) I will delete the repetitions [here refers to trans-editing] to make target texts more concise, clear and readable.

(ZH)

 

ZH’s case demonstrates that subject area knowledge does not hinder his translation choices; instead, his keen interest and understanding of relevant topics provide illuminating resources for the whole translating process and play a decisive role in making decisions. Given his translation assignments, the best-performed topics are economic policy and economic trends. It is also clear that he has his own philosophy in translating and problem-solving, such as the order of translational actions and how to deal with unforeseen issues.

The editor, from the perspective of an industry insider, also stresses the importance of subject area knowledge in translating business news:

As a part of the most dynamic sector, financial news could somehow be seen as a branch of finance other than news reporting merely. Then, the financial news reporter is not just a person who finds a way to transfer the information about the financial news to audience but has to offer much more know-how of the finance, especially for the those who are participating in the international financing and trade. Then, it will be a better way to provide more background and more in-depth information in addition to what happens around. Also, economic theories could be seen and even applied to the financial sector. The journalists have to be a kind of expert in the business field. They should be insightful to this field as they can dig out anything valuable for their audience.

(XW)

 

Such understanding is also reflected in the editor’s daily work. As he mentions, he has spent much time learning the knowledge of fintech, banking and the stock market. This knowledge was of great importance when his career shifted from translation services to journalism. As shown in his revisions on students’ translation work, it is evident that he pays much attention to the appropriateness to the style of a newspaper, as well as to the accurate and professional use of terminologies in specific subject areas.

 

 

The impact of practical translation experience on the choices of translation strategy

Another interesting finding is that student participants who have previous experience in translation or journalism are more professional than their peers. One student (ZL) has systematically studied translation-related modules (both theoretical and practical) and has worked as an intern in a well-established news agency before learning business news translation. Her learning and work placement experiences have equipped her with a better understanding of the translation workflow. She has also developed the competence of summarizing theories and strategies from previous practice and then to apply them in current and future assignments:

My previous translation experience and the knowledge of translation theories help me do an excellent job of pre-translating preparation, such as analysing the translation purpose and the features of the source text. In this way, the following translating process could be smoother. Additionally, the specific translation strategies and techniques learned in the translation theory module can be directly used in my practice of translating business news. For example, if my drafted translation cannot give a complete transcript of the ideas of the original text, I would recall some translation strategies and then use them to revise my work. Finally, these learning outcomes have increased my speed of translating news and improved my translation quality.

(ZL)

 

Another student participant (YY) once worked as a team leader for the university’s website translation projects before taking up the module of business translation. She believes these activities have provided her with a solid foundation for translating other texts and prepared her to become a more effective junior translator:

The project-based translation activities for the university’s website have provided me with learning and practice opportunities to understand the diversity and complexity of translation activities and to master the necessary skills for doing the translation. The steps involved in the translation projects, such as allocating tasks, translating, editing, and reflecting, can also be transferrable to the process of translating business news. I can quickly get familiar with such work routines. Besides, the previous translation practice has raised my awareness of translation strategies with insight into translation problems and appropriate solutions. This has influenced my way of learning business news translation consciously and actively.

(YY)

 

Based on her professional translation practice, YY distinguishes herself as a competent student translator either in translating texts and in coordinating group projects. The quality of her translation assignments is always at the top level among her fellow students.

As regards the editor, his 15-year experience of working in the translation and journalism industries has empowered him with a comprehensive understanding of the professional characteristics and quality standards in the related industries, including key specialist areas such as business journalism. He is also proficient in applying these principles and techniques to the working environments of translators, trans-editors and journalists. Influenced by his practical experience, his approaches to translation or trans-editing focus on purpose-driven and response-based strategies, as well as the importance of readership, financial knowledge and functional adequacy (Hu, 2018).

To sum up, this section has mapped the participants’ different individual translation strategies. It is interesting to find that even with learners from the same university, their approaches vary. The reasons for these differences are manyfold. First, participants’ academic backgrounds influence their perceptions of financial news translation to some extent, while their previous learning experience in other modules has helped them develop some routines that are difficult to change (see participants JZ and MF). Second, learning motivations can considerably influence participants’ translation attitudes and, consequently, translation outcomes. For example, both participant ZH and the editor are highly motivated learners in the subject knowledge of business and finance. Due to their interests and willingness, it is not difficult for them to make reasoned translation decisions. Third, mastering targeted subject knowledge is proved to be effective in financial news translation. Those who had prior experience in business, economics or finance have a better idea of the conventions of a translated financial news article and are more proficient in proposing terminologies as translation solutions. Last but not least, previous professional translation experience plays a decisive role in translating business news. For example, both participants ZL and YY had relevant experience in translation projects; they are, therefore, developing a stronger awareness of the macro translation strategy than their peers.

 

 

Conclusion

Findings drawn from this empirical study highlight the translation strategies adopted by novice and expert translators when translating business news. Both groups have their shared patterns in translation problem-solving activities. For instance, students use an ST-oriented strategy, seeking to transfer the whole ideas and details of the original texts into the target ones. The editor, on the contrary, uses communicative translation strategies, taking account of the news agency’s guidelines, readers’ responses and translation quality. Even though each group has its preferred translation strategies, it is evident in this research that individual differences in uptake of translation strategies do exist and do matter. Possible factors influencing these differences include academic backgrounds, translation routines, previous learning or working styles, learning motivations, subject area knowledge and professional translation practice.

This study contributes to the literature and practice in translator training. Students’ frequently used translation strategies and their translation products can provide trainers with a clear picture of their strength and weakness. The editor’s trans-editing principles are essential references for both trainers and learners to understand the journalistic translation norms required in professional settings. These acknowledgements will help trainers choose more appropriate teaching materials to balance course plans, professional conventions and learners’ needs. Moreover, the individual differences analysed in this research and the possible reasons for these differences may shed some light on translation teaching. It is identified from the present investigation that the traditional assumption of working with the class “as a whole” may be unsuitable for some members of the course. Therefore, teachers may need to extend or modify the approach of many learners and to take individuals into account (Fry, Ketteridge & Marshall, 2003, pp. 37–38).

Due to the particular context and the limited scope of the present study, more research will be needed. For example, corpus-driven studies on the translation products produced by both students and professionals can be adopted to identify more typical features of their translation strategies. Further, the analysing process of English–Chinese translation strategies can also apply to other language pairs to provide findings in a broader social context.

 

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