|Re translation and Normative Changes in Finnish Translation of Non - Fiction
|Year of Publication
|Sironen E J
|University of Eastern Finland
This study looks into the normative changes that have taken place in Finnish translation of non-fiction during the last century. This is done by comparing two translations of the same text, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, published in 1913–1917 and 2009. The main goal of the study is to examine whether differences between the two translations can be attributed to changes in translation norms of non-fiction. This is accomplished by analysing the research material for various textual features, and comparing the findings with previous research on translation norms. The present study is based on translation norm research by Toury (1980), Hermans (1991) and Chesterman (1997).
The theoretical background is based on retranslation research and norm-based approaches to translation studies. The purpose of the theoretical background is to give a clear, thorough picture of the fields in question, as well as to justify the need for this research.
The research material consists of selected paragraphs of the two Finnish translations, based on the same sections of the source text. This study utilizes a twofold research method: a statistical analysis based on a morphosyntactic analysis of the research material, combined with a close reading of the same material. The two methods are closely interwoven: the purpose of the statistical method is to uncover differences in the distribution of various textual features, while the textual analysis aims to exemplify and explain the reasons behind these differences, linking the findings to various translation norms of non-fiction.
The analysis shows that the two translations differ from each other significantly in the distribution of certain textual features, including verb infinitive form use, person of verbs, and possessive suffix use. The most striking changes, however, are related to syntax. The older translation features significantly longer, more complex sentences, while the newer translation seems to favour shorter sentences and subordinate clauses. These findings can be reasonably attributed to normative changes that have taken place in Finnish translation of non-fiction. I have linked the most important findings to four main norms of non-fiction translation: objectivity, conciseness, readability, and clarity of information.