Translating deixis: A subjective experience
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This thesis describes some of the conscious cognitive processes that are inherent in equivalence formation commencing from the transfer of deixis and culminating in the experience of source-to-target and target-to-source indexicality. Its scope is interdisciplinary and the methodology is varied depending on the segment of analysis. It combines a process-oriented analysis with a product based assessment. The stance is also partly subjective because it is based on the personal experience of the translator-researcher of four translating operations. Besides, the structure of the thesis is modular since the main objective is to develop a holistic translation model founded on verbal behaviourism. This approach seeks to put the translator back at the centre of translation theory. All the deictic and indexical aspects of the source-to-target and target-to-source lexico-grammatical, semantico-pragmatic, textual, literary, poetic, discursive, political, ideological and socio-cultural movements are monitored in order to identify the intrinsic cognitive, psycholinguistic and sociolinguistic rules which govern the verbal behaviour of the translator. That is why the focus is on the translator’s parole though without any negligence of the influence of langue. As complex linguistic forms, deictic expressions and indexicalities are closely tracked and examined at different phases of the translating process commencing from the lexico-grammatical segment and moving to higher levels of textuality. The deictic projection of the translator-researcher is evaluated during the appropriation and manipulation of the deictic centre of the implied author. The aim is to unravel how the system-common and systemspecific forms preside over the cycle of equivalence formation starting from the source cue, moving to the intermediate draft versions and culminating in an actual target performance. Taking the standpoint of the anthropological linguist, nearformal correspondence is found to depend on intersystemic coincidence as to the similarities and differences between the content of the source form and the equivalent. Relativities of reading, translating and rewriting are identified as the places where the translator essentially exercises her/his creativity and fulfils her/his subjectivity in terms of competence and intuition. Based on decision theory, the verbal behaviour of the translator is defined in terms of the creation of a source-to-target deictic relationship during an indexical reaction to source cues. As equivalence emerges, it sets an interlinguistic precedence. This latter target form often develops into a socially motivated target icon thanks to the overt and covert intersubjective verbal cooperation between the members of a community of practice. The decision-making operation of the individual translator turns into an act of conscious and, sometimes, subconscious verbal reinforcement of established equivalents. It is also based on the elimination of some viable target options which either collapse from the final target performance during the rewriting phase or remain dormant in bilingual lexicographies. The encounter of the translator with different genres also divulges how bilingual competence, poetic attitude, literary prejudice, political affiliation, ideological conviction and sociocultural assumptions shape the mode of the intersubjective, intertextual, interliterary and intercultural dialogue that is eventually held between two universes of discourse. The target re-contextualisation and by implication the decontextualisation of the source ideological grounding are also explained in terms of the aspiration of the translator to adhere to a set of prevailing target linguistic, literary, poetic and socio-cultural norms. Thus target choice, be it informed or instinctive, grows to be a permanently negotiable verbal process among the active subjectivities of any given community of translators.