Sciences en traduction / Sciences in Translation

Special Issue META, Volume 61, 2016

Maeve Olohan, pp 5–21

Abstract | Against a backdrop of growing interest in historical and sociological approaches to the translation of science, this paper explores the conceptual potential of Andrew Pickering’s ‘mangle of practice’ (Pickering 1992; 1993; 1995; Pickering and Guzik 2008) as a sociological framework for research into the translation of science. Pickering’s approach is situated within a performative idiom of science and seeks to account for the interplay of material and human agency in scientific practice. It sees scientific and technological advances as emerging temporally from a dialectic of resistance and accommodation, metaphorically the mangle of practice. This paper introduces the main tenets of Pickering’s argument, contextualizing it within the field of science and technology studies. It then explores some of the implications of construing translation in these terms. Firstly, this conceptual approach helps to recognize the role of translation in the performance of science and to seek ways of studying translation practices as an integral component of scientific practices. Secondly, Pickering’s posthumanist or decentred perspective focuses on both material and human agency and the interplay between them; a similar approach to the study of translation would foreground the interaction between translator agency and material performativity in studies of translation practices. I conclude with proposals for adopting this ontological shift in translation studies, where it may have the potential to enhance our understanding of translation practices, in particular in relation to tools, technologies and sociotechnical developments in translation.

Lynne Bowker, p. 22–36

Abstract | Most translator training courses focus on encouraging students to reflect fully, to analyze deeply, and to weigh options carefully. However, as they near the end of a translation program, they must also begin preparing for the workplace, where they will need to translate on tight deadlines. Therefore, the addition of authentic and situated learning that tests and improves students’ translation skills under time pressure makes sense. This article describes a pilot project in speed training that took place in a scientific/technical translation course taught during the final semester of a translation program at the University of Ottawa. As part of the experiment, 29 students participated in nine speed training exercises on texts dealing with various scientific/technical subjects. Gamification was introduced as a pedagogical strategy to engage the students during the speed training. The resulting translations were analyzed, the students’ progress was charted over the course of the semester, and they were surveyed about their experience. Though not scientifically valid, the results nonetheless suggest that students can benefit from speed training. Participants reported feeling more confident in their abilities and judgment and less likely to rely blindly on information resources.

Rachel Lung, p. 37–52

Abstract| The Jiangnan Arsenal (1865-1912), a publicly-funded bureau dedicated to the production of military equipment in late Qing China (1664-1911), was established in response to China’s painful defeat in the two Opium Wars (1839-1842 and 1856-1860). The Arsenal’s translation department, staffed by a total of fifty Chinese scholars and nine Westerners at different times, was set up in 1868 to translate and publish translations of Western books and treatises on science and technology. It was the first official unit charged with this task. Its stated pragmatic function was to assist the arsenal technicians in their production of weapons, although the translations were also marketed to outsiders. Viewed organically, the Arsenal’s translation department was in many ways a reflection of the ideological and social transformations experienced by China, the Chinese scribes, and the Western oral translators in the late 19th century. A study of this translation institution is therefore relevant to translation studies in three regards. First, the Arsenal’s four decades of existence and its emphasis on the function of translation suggest the importance of translation to imperial China’s pursuit of modernization. Second, the voluminous translated texts published by the Arsenal reflect the collaborative efforts of Western missionaries and Chinese literati, typical in the second half of the 19th century. Third, the Arsenal’s combined role, encompassing both translation and publication, inspired the emergence of journals that published translated articles on Western science, technology, social sciences, and literature at the turn of the 20th century. China’s modernization agenda was significantly advanced by the resulting broader exposure to Western ideas, even though the direct role played by the Arsenal remained rather limited.

Guillaume Jeanmaire, p. 53–69

Abstract | This paper aims to show, through a diachronical study, how concepts imported from Western civilization were named in South-East Asia, through the help of dictionaries and a huge database of ancient Japanese and Korean texts. This study is part of a research project specializing on Korean, Japanese and Chinese neology. The terminology used in this study is indissociable from the sociopolitical context. Neology, first introduced by the missionaries in the 17th century and continued in the 19th century, led to the creation of religious as well as scientific terms. However, for the sake of modernization, it is Japan who contributed the most to scientific neology, first through its contact with the Dutch, and more thoroughly at the period of “the Opening” to the West at the end of the 19th Century. In addition to Japan, other countries followed a parallel evolution in the creation of neologisms using the same processes of lexical creation, but to lesser extents, especially for religious terms and words related to everyday life. However, for scientific terms, the Chinese, Koreans and Vietnamese borrowed heavily from the Japanese, via translation or retranslation of Western works translated into Japanese.The abandonment of Chinese words in favor of Japanese neologisms not only by the Koreans but also by the Chinese themselves, and the preference of the Japanese for phonetic loans can be attributed to the defeat of China in the Sino-Japanese War (1895) as well as by the innovative and attractive nature of Japanese neologisms. Ultimately, for the sake of linguistic identity, the Chinese, and especially the Vietnamese after 1919, conceived their own neologisms.


“Mysteries divulged”: Philemon Holland’s Paratexts and the Translation of Pliny’s Natural History in Early Modern England


Le traitement de la modalité épistémique dans les traductions françaises de On the Origin of Species de Charles Darwin

Un traducteur médical au XIXe siècle : Gustave Borginon et l’antisepsie

La traduction des connaissances scientifiques en arabe : état des lieux, défis et perspectives