Reclaiming the Place of Translation in English Composition and Technical Communication: Toward Hospitable Writing
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The defining characteristic of a pedagogy informed by philosophical cosmopolitanism is a focus on the dialogic imagination: the coexistence of rival ways of life in the individual experience which incites us to interrogate common sense assumptions on culture, language, and identity, and combine contradictory certainties in an effort to think in terms of inclusive oppositions while rejecting the logic of exclusive oppositions. One of the goals of the Trans-Atlantic and Pacific Project (TAPP), an educational network of bilateral writing-translation projects that establishes links between students in different countries, is to invite students to mediate between languages, cultures, and rhetorical traditions with the goal of transcending differences and find common ground. Students who participate to TAPP understand what is at stake when they write for a global audience by cultivating an attitude of openness that invites hospitable communication practices. The goal of the explorative study illustrated in the second part of the dissertation is to identify regularities of translation strategies in the genre of technical instructions. The dataset consists of a corpus of 40 texts compiled by pairing up 20 instructions written in English by students majoring in different areas of engineering in an American university and their translations into Italian (19,046 words), completed by students majoring in English in an Italian university. The research questions are: With reference to the translation strategies explicitation, implicitation, generalization, and particularization, what evidence is there of uniformity of practice in the translation of instructions from English into Italian? What are the most typical causes of zero shifts? Why do translators resort to rhetorical shifts? Results show that nonprofessional translators tend to resort more to implicitation than explicitation, and more to particularization than generalization. Due to the limited size of the corpus, it was impossible to identify typical causes for zero shifts, but further studies should focus on how writers can facilitate translation by using the topic/comment structure. Finally, translators resort to rhetorical shifts for reasons that have to do with cultural appropriateness in the target locale. The most common type of rhetorical shifts are context-related shifts in emphasis.