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ELEMENTARY, MY DEAR COLLEAGUE! - EDUCATING OUR STUDENTS' GUESSES

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ELEMENTARY, MY DEAR COLLEAGUE! - EDUCATING OUR STUDENTS' GUESSES
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  ELEMENTARY, MY DEAR COLLEAGUE! 1  - EDUCATING OUR STUDENTS'GUESSES 2  By Sergio Viaggio, UN  To Dr Leon Chattah, with whom I learned so muchabout translation in general, and life in particular. Sigmund Freud (into whose Viennese stud Dr !atson has tric"ed Sherloc" #olmes$% 'Who am I?'  #olmes% 'Beyond the fact that you are a brilliant Jewish hysician who was born in !ungary and studied in "aris, and that some radical theories of yours ha#e alienated the resectable medical community so that youha#e se#ered your connections with #arious hositals and branches of the medical fraternity $ beyond the fact that you ha#e ceased to ractice medicine as a result, I can deduce little% &ou are married, ossess a sense of honour, enoy laying cards and reading Sha(eseare and a )ussian author whose name I amunable to ronounce% I can say little besides that will be of interest to you%'   &icholas 'eer, *he Se#en$"er$+ent Solution , p. )*+. It is b now an aiom that translation and interpretation are forms of mediatedinterlingual communication, whereb both analsis of the srcinal and production of the target tet are go-erned b hpertetual (in the  s(oostheorie  sense of the term$and macrotetual analses based upon the rele-ant features of the situation.  crucialcomponent of such analses is the structure of eplicatures and implicatures and,more rele-antl, the wa that, within the limits of his rhetoric competence, awriter/spea"er chooses his eplicitations as a function of what he assumes is a$ not necessary  to ma"e eplicit, b$ not advsa"e  to ma"e eplicit *and #ice #ersa . Theauthor is counting on his addressees to put the two the read/hear and the two the"now/assume/can infer together in order to apprehend his intended sense (see Viaggio01 forthcoming$. Ideall, the translator/interpreter should ha-e access to both twos%the linguisticall eplicit b the author, and the rele-ant "nowledge/assumptions/inferences brought to bear b the addressees, lest he will not be able to come up withthe needed four and, failing full to apprehend sense himself, fail also to con-e itade2uatel. In other words, the translator/interpreter needs access to the rele-ant bitsof shared "nowledge between author and addressees in order to be able himself to bring to bear in general and specificall at each time the same sets of  presuppositions + . In face*to*face -erbal communication, man of the assumptions are based on shared situationalit, which is the main reason wh interpreters demand being there  with full -iew of and access to the participants, the meeting room, therele-ant bac"ground documentation, etc.s the realit of professional practice would ha-e it, though, interpreters as arule do not ha-e all the rele-ant pieces of information a-ailable from the outset, butmust tr and build the picture of the situation in situ  and on the go, searching, as itwere, for all manner of clues as to 3what it is all about3. ware that the linguisticalleplicit meaning of an utterance is but circumstantial e-idence of the spea"er3s 0 The aficionado  will find that these pages are interspersed with #olmsian 2uotations. ) 4ublished in *he Interreters' Newsletter   5, 01, pp.65*5). + s mediator, the translator/interpreter needs more, howe-er% #e must be aware of the wa presuppositions,assumptions, "nowledge and inferences ma d##er  between spea"er and addressees (be it of the srcinal or of the translation$, in order to introduce, if apt from the  s(oos  perspecti-e, the necessar $%d#ca&%ns  inhis target tet. Let us alwas remind our students that meinen  and #erstehen , meaning (in the sense of  #ouloir dire $ and understanding are d##eren&  * different processes, with different ob7ecti-es, that followdifferent strategies (#8rmann 051$.  ) intended sense, their main 2uest is for the latter. In this light, the essential tas" is thegradual inference of the implicit "nowledge and assumptions that the participants are bringing to bear in communicating with each other. For this, induction and deduction*i.e. insightful con7ecture (what Cherno- 059 and 095 calls  robability rognosis $ based on a constant interpla of retrospecti-e and prospecti-e analsis* are of theessence. It is here that the interpreter3s intelligence plas its decisi-e role. 'cogniti-e clo:ing and sight*translation eercises (Viaggio 0) and 06$ aimed atde-eloping these analtical s"ills b -ariousl manipulating the respecti-e linguisticsurfaces of the srcinal and target tets. !ith the eercise I am about to present, thesurface is left alone, and all the wor" is strictl at the intended*sense le-el (both directand indirect$ ; . <f all three, this is the one that need not be coupled with production of a tet (whether in the target or the srcinal languages$.I de-eloped it b sheer serendipit. In 'arch 01, I was in-ited b the +entro Internacional de +onferencias , =uenos ires, to teach two one*wee" intensi-eseminars to interpreters see"ing to perfect their s"ills. Loo"ing for material of suitablelength and compleit, I simpl chanced upon a speech in which the spea"er ne-er mentions who he is, or what he is, or what <rganisation he wor"s for, nor does hestate when or where he is spea"ing, and I had it recorded b an merican colleague.' intention was, of course, to gi-e m students all the rele-ant bac"groundinformation> but at the last moment I paused% !hat, I as"ed mself, can an interpreter do when he does not ha-e a hint about the coordinates of the communicati-e act he issupposed to mediate in? !ill an interpreter e-er ha-e to wor" completel blindfolded? I doubt it, but it is m con-iction that, to be maimall effecti-e, thetraining of a soldier ought to be more difficult than war (ecept that it is 2uiteimpossible, since e-en the most strenuous and demanding training is ne-er reallwar$. I tried the eercise for a second time at the SSL' the following month. Thistime around, I had to deal with students of interpretation rather than professionalinterpreters see"ing to upgrade their s"ills, so instead of ha-ing them d%  the speech, I put on the tape o-er the loudspea"ers, stopped it at rele-ant places, and posed2uestions with the aim of prompting and orienting their collecti-e inferences. t timesthese were but con7ectures with -aring degrees of probabilit, at times the all butimposed themsel-es. s sense was being made out, we also anal:ed the redundantinformation in the tet, with a -iew to its e-entual condensation in a the targetlanguage.In both instances, the eperiment pro-ed 2uite successful. &either the professional interpreters in =uenos ires nor the students at Trieste found that the tas" was beond their means, and, to 7udge from their reactions, the actuall en7oed thechallenge and no-elt of it all. t the SSL', se-eral facult members were also present, and I am sure that the will come up with all manner of impro-ements. s an introduction, I described the scene abo-e in &icholas 'eer3s delightful *he Se#en$"er$+ent Solution  *adapted to brilliant effect in the most entertaining film based upon it 6 * which I find most illustrati-e of what the eercise is about% #olmeshas turned into a full*fledged cocaine addict (diluted in a 5@ solution$. larmed, Dr !atson enlists the help of Sigmund Freud and tric"s his detecti-e friend into ; In Viaggio 01 I define intended sense as the o-erall sense *including the intentional secondarillocutionar acts* that the sender wishes to confer to his utterance. !ithin it, I distinguish direct intendedsense from indirect intended sense (for instance, allegorical$. 6 !ith a dream of a cast% #olmes * &icol !illiamson, !atson * Aobert Du-all (B$, Freud * lan r"in,4rofessor 'oriart * Lawrence <li-ier> with Vanessa Aedgra-e, oel ra and Samantha Eggar thrown in for good measureB The scene described is a gem, and #olmes deductions are more than I ha-e consigned.  + following Dr 'oriart3s fa"e trail to Vienna, which leads up straight into Dr Freud3sstud. #olmes, does not "now where he is nor wh, but he can tell a lot about his host b sheer dint of "een obser-ation, unfailing discrimination between rele-ant andirrele-ant details, disciplined induction, bold imagination and cautious abduction (inthe 4eircean sense of inferring a specific case from general rules and a-ailablee-idence 1 $, all go-erned b penetrating intelligence. #is is a feat of minute analsisand creati-e snthesis 5 . This is what thorough understating *of an utterance, of afellow human being, of a phenomenon, of a situation, of the world* demands. This iswhat the booth calls for> and this is what m eercise is meant to help bring forth andde-elop. It consists simpl in plaing Sherloc" #olmes with the spea"er  9 .In order to place the eercise within a plausible real*life contet, I ga-e m(mostl female$ students the following bac"ground% !ednesda morning ou areha-ing brea"fast when the phone rings.  colleague is in distress% she has 7ustrecei-ed a call from the school> her son has had an accident and she is rushing off.Can ou please replace her at the meeting she is doing at #otel  at  o3cloc"? Than" ou. Clic"B Gou loo" at our watch% it is 9%+H. Gou dash out of our home, hail a caband do our ma"e*up at the traffic lights. The car pulls up> ou throw the mone at thecabb, and, without waiting for the change, rush into the room where the meeting is 7ust about to start> ou don the earphones, and before our bottom has full settledinto the seat, the spea"er *whom ou cannot et see* begins his speech. ll ou "now 1 s orle 0; (p. ;H and foll.$ eplains, if deduction is merel the application of general rules to particular cases, and induction is generalising from a number of cases, abduction is instincti-e reasoning,meant to formulate and adopt certain hpotheses on which further to build the argumentation. Deduction pro-es that something must be > induction shows that something actually is  operati-e> abduction merelsuggests that something may be . For 4eirce, abduction is the sheet anchor of science * the tentati-eeplanation of a pu::ling fact obser-ed. 5 #ere is *-er much shorn of wonderfull insightful detail* #olmes eplanation% 'I ne#er guess% It is anaalling habit, destructi#e of the logical faculty%  ri#ate study is an ideal lace for obser#ing facets of ahuman character% When a man is interested in religion he generally (ees all boo(s on such a subect in one lace% &our editions of the -oran, the -ing James Bible  Jbut how come Dr Freud has an English King amesrather than a erman Luther bible, m dear #olmes? S.V.  , and #arious other wor(s of a similar nature are searate from your handsomely bound coy of the *almud and the !ebrew Bible% *hese, therefore, constitute some secial imortance on their own% &our studies in .rance are to be inferred form the great manymedical wor(s you osses in .rench% /edicine is comle0 enough already and not to be studied in a foreignlanguage for one's ri#ate amusement% It is a longer shot, but the articularly dog$eared aearance of those wor(s of +harcot ma(es me #enture to suggest that he was your teacher1 either that, or his writing had  some secial aeal for you, connected with the de#eloment of your own ideas% *hat you read Sha(eseareis to be deduced from the fact that the boo( has been relaced uside$down% &ou can scarcely miss it, but the fact that you ha#e not adusted the #olume suggests to my mind that you no doubt intend ulling it out again in the near future, which leads me to belie#e that you are fond of reading it% s for the )ussian author 23ostoie#s(i4, the lac( of dust on that #olume roclaims your consistent interest in it%*hat you are a hysician is ob#ious1 that you no longer ractice medicine is e#ident by your resencehere at home in the middle of the day% &our searation from #arious societies is indicated by those saces on the wall, clearly meant to dislay additional certificates% Some ositio n ou ha-e ta"en hasdiscredited ou in their ees and the ha-e in response as"ed ou to lea-e. Therefore I ta"e the libertof postulating some sort of radical theor, too ad-anced or too shoc"ing. That is not certain. Gour marriage is, howe-er, from our ring. Gour accent hints at #ungar. Gour sense of honour I inferredfrom the fact that ou bothered to remo-e the testimonials of those societies that ha-e ceased torecognise ou. s to our lo-e of cards, that is a point of greater subtlet still and I will not insult our intelligence b describing now how I came to "now it.3 JI ha-e loo"ed and loo"ed for the clues, but Istill cannot fathom how can Freud3s lo-e of cards be inferred from the data a-ailable to #olmesB S.V.9 s Dr Freud himself remar"s, his methods and #olmes3s are -er similar. s someone thoroughl eposedto pschoanalsis, I can -ouch for that and more% m own de*construction of sense into ob7ecti-e, directintended, indirect intended and deep (Viaggio 01 forthcoming$ is but a b*product of such an eposure.  ; as ou hear him sa 3 5ood morning ladies and gentlemen 3 is that he is a man... ndfrom this moment on, the game3s afootB 6I areciate the oortunity to address some of the matters before the Board%6  So it is the meeting of a %ard . =ut what =oard? !hat "inds of institutionsha-e boards? Companies, of course. ll the students follow the same seeminglcorrect line of reasoning% the meeting, I said (wrong bac"ground information, meacula $, ta"es place at a #otel, therefore, it must be some "ind of pri-ate mar"etgathering. ll, ecept one. Shl, as if she were afraid to be caught cheating, she-entures that since I wor" at the M& in Vienna, and all the other speeches ha-e comefrom there, this one must come from there too. IndeedB nd that was not cheating atall% her onl real clue about the spea"er is that it is I  who brought the tape.ElementarB Ges, a Vienna speech alright> but what M& sstem agencies meet inVienna? !ho would the members of the =oard be? nd, last but not least, who isaddressing it? (&eedless to sa, some students had a better idea than others *especiallthe Italians, who b now ha-e been -er eposed to speeches descending upon themfrom Vienna* but for some reason, nobod could guess it until later.$ 6I am lea#ing some items to be introduced by the 3euty 3irectors 5eneral,but I should li(e to begin, myself, commenting on the financial situation of the gency%6  So it is the =oard of an institution that ob-iousl calls itself an A(ency . Thespea"er is lea-ing the n&r%d)c&%n  of other items to De*)&y Drec&%rs Genera" ,while he is going to refer to some matters, among which finances. !e are, thus, at the-er beginning of a meeting, where items are being introduced> this is, apparentl, thefirst such item, and it is being introduced b some one ran"ing a%ve  Deput Director eneral le-el, otherwise he would ha-e referred to $y #e""%+  DDs, or %&er  DDs.!ho pec"s down on Deput Directors eneral? !h the Director eneral $se"#  ,whence the myself   abo-e * our first sheerl linguistic clue. !e ha-e also heard thetitle, or &e$e , of the first part of the speech% *he gency's financial situation . Mntilfurther notice, all that is to ensue will be but a se2uence of re$es  to that maintheme. 6*he gency remains financially afloat $ but not more%%%6  Is that good or bad? =oth * with pros and cons, possibl with heroes of thehalf*sal-aging and culprits of the half*sin"ing, li"el to be mentioned or hinted atlater, together with details of both phenomena. 6If we had not ta(en stes at the beginning of the year to reduce e0enses for 7889 by 7:;, the gency would ha#e been in crisis%%%6  !ho is +e ? #ow long since the beginning of what ear? !hat crisis waslooming? Through whose fault? !hoe-er +e  is, the are the heroes, and the spea"er clearl places himself among them. The, headed b the spea"er, ha-e been in a position to reduce the genc3s epenses, ergo  the are its managers% it is thus thedministration who is now inter-ening before the =oard. The dministration has  6 sa-ed the genc from a crisis (that is wh the latter is still afloat$ that would ha-eotherwise caused it to go under. =ut the ship is still not full seaworth> therefore, thecrisis, though contained, is still lur"ing. If the dministration is to be than"ed for thesal-aging, who is to be blamed for the sin"ing? Either eternal circumstances (ade-alued MS dollar? an unepected growth in obligations?$ or internal disarra(mismanagement? lac" of co*operation from membership?$. 'ismanagement would place the blame bac" on the dministration3s shoulders, so it is the least plausiblehpothesis * if not to be totall discarded out of hand% a self*criticism ma still besomewhere in the offing. s to the date, at the latest end, the speech is being deli-eredin 'arch/pril 01 (when our eercise is actuall ta"ing place$, and, at the earliest,either late 0) (the figures would not ha-e been read otherwise$ or earl 0+.Since it is unli"el that nothing worth mentioning happened in 0+, 0;, and 06,the earlier dates are the safest bet. 6*he cuts ha#e ine#itably had a detrimental effect on rogrammeimlementation% *hrough our early reaction and through imro#ements in the ayment atterns of some /ember States, uncontrolled disrutions of the gency's acti#ities ha#e been a#oided%%%6  In other words, do not blame )s  (administrators$ for such negati-e impact, butmainl s%$e %# y%)rse"ves  ('ember States$. 'atters would ha-e been much worsehad we not reacted earl, and had not s%$e  of ou $*r%ved  our pament patterns.!e now ha-e the culprits% the 'ember States that ha-e not impro-ed their pament patterns. So in their and others3 cases pament patterns left room for impro-ement inthe first place. #ow can pament patterns be in need of impro-ement? !hen debtorsfail to pa n #)""  and/or %n &$e . Some 'ember States ha-e been punctual * thoseand the dministration are the heroes. Some ha-e been mending their was * those arethe partiall redeemed sinners. Some are recalcitrant * those are the real -illains of the piece. nd +e  "now who y%)  areB Can the students ma"e an educated guess (  ace Sherloc" #olmes$ as to who these -illains m be? 6We now e0ect some encouraging news% I understand that the 5o#ernor for the )ussian .ederation will inform the Board that )ussia intends to ay the gency art of its arrears already before the end of this month and remaining arrears later% *his will, indeed, be helful, and I want to e0ressareciation%6   &otice the roundabout announcement% the spea"er is telling that he has beentold that Aussia is going to tell. It is ob-ious that the whole thing has been coo"ed up before the meeting, and the spea"er is not reall informing his audience aboutAussia3s intention to pa (it would be improper of him to do so$> onl for theinterpreters is this a genuine information% both spea"er and audience "new it * now theinterpreters "now it too. =e that as it ma, Aussia is redeeming herself and is now to pa her arrears, part now, part later. The part to be paid now is the A(ency *ar& . Theremaining arrears, therefore, do not correspond to the genc part. =ut then to whichone(s$? !e are tal"ing, after all, about the genc3s financial situation and nobodelse3s. Let us per" up% we ob-iousl lac" crucial information. In an e-ent, is the factthat Aussia will pa the genc part important? #ow much, relati-el spea"ing, canthe arrears of a countr such as Aussia be? !h has such a countr not paid full and promptl in the first place? (=oth answers, I submit, should be ob-ious to anbod
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