Translating modalities

The meanings associated with modalities typically concern notions such as the perceived truth or likelihood of events, orders, suggestions, wishes, intentions, necessity, obligation, moral desirability, politeness, etc. They are extremely subtle, highly frequent and clearly play a key role in human communication.

 

English heavily relies on its modal verbs (can, may, must, etc.) to express such meanings, but the list of actual resources it uses in addition to them is extensive and surprisingly varied. Translating modalities is all the more demanding since equivalent meanings are conveyed in languages through widely differing combinations of methods (moods, modal verbs, particles, syntax, lexical solutions, intonation, etc.).

Content

The purpose of this new one-day workshop is to provide a generic and jargon-free framework which will shed light on key aspects of modal semantics, in terms of properties and mechanisms, and survey the categories of linguistic resources which may express modal meanings. It will then outline a range of possible translation equivalences across languages, using eight main types of procedures and a dozen factors to bear in mind in order to arrive at appropriate solutions.

 

The framework is designed to help translators systematically explore modalities in their working languages.

Workshop features

References and examples in a wide range of languages, in addition to English, including: Arabic, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Persian, Polish, Russian and Spanish.

 

Practical activities throughout the day to provide participants with opportunities to work together on challenging examples in order to discover modal features, translation options and relevant factors to take into account. 

 

Comprehensive handouts to minimize note taking and for future reference: presentation (7,000 words), summary of key points (650 words), material to work on (2,300 words).

 

Follow-up material online: copies of all the handouts used during the day; articles/chapters on modalities; further handouts and material (over 3,000 words), including information about translation corpora and an audio-visual example of modalities.

Feedback

Results out of 35 participants so far:          

Extremely

satisfied  

 Very

satisfied 

Satisfied

  31.5%      50%     18.5%  

 

- Very worthwhile! Presenter was extremely well prepared. The variety of materials and examples was excellent. Extremely satisfied with the content of the course - great framework, ideas and tips (...). Really opened my eyes to modalities. Would definitely recommend this course. Lots to be able to follow up on.

 

- Really interesting, lots of food for thought! Good pace, engaging, excellent explanations. Good discussion / time for looking at the exercises. Really enjoyed the day overall, thank you!

 

- It was very thought-provoking. He provided excellent & comprehensive examples of situations where problems could arise & supplied an excellent framework for recognising & overcoming potential pitfalls. He produced a clear & comprehensive handout and useful notes for future reference. Good exercises to practise on and discuss in class.

 

- I think this topic is very relevant for our work as it helps to bring out the nuances of language. 

 

- Really interesting, fun, dynamic & charismatic speaker, lots of interactivity. Lots of food for thought which I would use in my own work.

 

- It was very useful indeed to study modality in a focussed way rather than as I have in the past where specific constructions have been covered individually without bringing out the unifying feature. This workshop will have a concrete effect on how I approach translation work.

 

- Enlightening course on modalities, how complicated they are and what the implications for translation are.

 

- Theory explained comprehensively and clearly.  (...) Materials and examples were of a very high standard.

 

 - Stimulating and thought-provoking. (...) the English examples were relevant and really pushed us. (...) Open, encouraging trainer. 

 

- Really interesting - makes you think of things in a new way & highlighted things I hadn’t thought of before. Presented in a very accessible way, despite dealing with complicated concepts. Slides had just the right amount of material (...) & good examples from a mixture of languages. Really good handout! Good not to have to make notes so you could concentrate on the presentation.

 

- I really enjoyed the workshop as it encouraged me to think about some of the subtleties of language & try to apply them to my own target language. (...) Crucially it has made me consider more what I may be missing in my source language & thus I will probably work through the examples with a native speaker.

 

- Very comprehensive. Relevant and useful examples. Engaging presentation (...). Helpful solutions given to difficulties. Really useful to have access to so many additional resources. Made me appreciate complexities I hadn’t considered.

 

- Very lively + engaging content and presentation style. Examples really useful + thought-provoking - generated good discussion. Gave me useful tools that will be usable in various translation contexts.

 

 - The chance to consider in depth an aspect of translation which I hadn’t given enough attention to previously. Having a framework which is applicable to many languages will be extremely useful.

 

- Picking apart examples in English was a useful way of getting us to think about examples in our own working languages.

 

- Having been introduced to the issues, I very much enjoyed exploring the strategies in my language.

 

- The slides were accessible with terminology clearly explained, not overly specialist.

 

- Presenter was very knowledgeable. Content was challenging and interesting. 

 

- I found it very interesting and enlightening to consider language in this way. I think the examples were well chosen and gave rise to a number of talking points that are relevant to many languages (...).

 

- A good level of practical examples & content - not too academic, I’ve been able to think about how this applies to my language(s) and work. Excellent resources provided.

 

- Thought-provoking presentation with a good range of different examples. Has made me think about aspects of my target language that I haven’t studied or properly considered in years.

 

- Practical element means that you don’t just read a handout and forget the points the next  day. You practise them. Well researched and presented by J-P, excellent knowledge of English, really made me think!

 

- Engaging, good use of examples to bring abstract academic concepts to grounded status.

 

- I appreciated the flexibility / à la carte nature of the self-study / practical time.

 

- Examples used were excellent. Subject matter was pitched at the right level. Breaks were at appropriate places and right length. Overall, a very stimulating and useful workshop!