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Е.А.Доценко. – Астана, 2008. Том 1. – 342 с.; Том 2 – 272 с. Jonh Amor and Nick Sandars FIRST ENGLISH-LANGUAGE TRANSLATION OF DR BEISENOVA`S DOCTORAL THESIS
Summary This article describes the translation of the text of the dissertation research professor Beisenova ZH.S on the problems of terminology and terminography. Also focuses on the features and requirements of the correct translation of academic text. Аңдатпа Бұл мақалада терминография және терминология мәселесіне арналған профессор Ж.С.Бейсенованың докторлық диссертациясының мәтінінің аудармасы туралы айтылған. Сонымен қатар академиялық мәтіннің дұрыс аудармасының ерекшеліктеріне және қойылған талаптарына назар аударылған. Аннотация В данной статье рассказывается о переводе текста научной диссертации профессора Бейсеновой Ж.С., посвященной проблемам терминологии и терминографии. Также уделяется внимание особенностям правильного перевода академического текста и требованиям к нему.
It is a great pleasure to introduce the first English-language translation of Dr Zhainagul
Beisenova`s doctoral thesis. We have worked under the auspices of the Aitmatov Academy. The
Academy is a London-based Charity, dedicated to promoting Central Asian culture, primarily through
presenting translations of Central Asian academic and literary texts to the English-language readership
of the UK and beyond.
An English-language translation of Dr Beisenova`s research comes at a particularly
appropriate time in the University’s and Kazakhstan’s calendar, as it joins with all 47 Member States
of the Council of Europe to celebrate the European Day of Languages. This transnational festival,
celebrated each 26 September, brings together millions of people who take part in activities to
promote linguistic diversity and the ability to speak other languages, and encouraging people
everywhere to learn more languages throughout their lives, develop their multilingual skills and
reinforce inter-cultural understanding. It is a perfect day to launch a translation, which itself is a study
of the multilingualism that underpins so many aspects of Kazakh society. The thesis
Dr Beisenova`s thesis itself takes up three fundamental positions. It first posits the existence
of a `natural` or `universal` language that connects all language, echoing research traditions that date
back tj the very beginnings of comparative linguistics and philology. A theory is proposed that the
formation of all words is motivated, which can be proved if their etymology can be traced far enough
back in time. The theory is finally exemplified through an analysis of veterinary terminology in
Kazakh and Russian.
The three positions are considered in more detail in each of the three chapters of the thesis.
Chapter 1 outlines the general typology of subject-specific terminology, then moving on to
specific examples of these terminologies within Russian and Kazakh linguistics. Beisenova then lays
out the background and rationale behind how subject-specific terminology is formed. She focuses on
where terminological variation can arise from and why, as well as the impact of terminological
dichotomies, including normativity versus description, detail versus brevity, lexical versus
Chapter 2 probes more deeply into the central elements of the thesis in a consideration of the
functional and motivational nature of specialised terminology. Beisenova starts by introducing the full
range of functional status found in Russian and Kazakh terms, including nominative, definitive,
communicative and heuristic functions, and focusing in particular on the classificatory function. The
enables the concept of Motivation to be introduced and related the systemic approach to describing
and defining veterinary terminology. The second half of the chapter explores the extent to which
national and cultural characteristics can be discerned in the motivation of terms related to animal
disease (zoonosis) in both Russian and Kazakh. The study combines linguistic classification with a
classification of animal disease pathology, according a range of criteria derived from veterinary
terminology as proposed by professional terminologists. This leads to the derivation of a potential
model of how Russian-Kazakh motivation-based dictionaries might start to be developed. The model
derived proposes ten motivations with the basis in factors covering the genus and species of a
bacterium through to colour, geographical incidence and historical factors such as eponomy.
The third chapter concludes the study with a consideration of what further work is needed
across the world of terminology, lexicography and linguistics more widely in order to combine a
research-based and diachronic tracking of the evolution of subject-specific terminology with a more
prescriptive-leaning element of terminological systemisation and harmonisation of terminologies,
which, the study posits, should increase the accuracy and level of professional specialisation across
disciplines within the Russian- and Kazakh-speaking research community and beyond. A translator`s perspective
As Dr Beisenova is director of the translation department at Astana University, it seems fully
appropriate to dwell for a moment on the actual process of having translated her research: on our
approach, the theory we drew on, the practical tools we made use of and the wider pleasures,
challenges, and surprises.
Our approach drew primarily from the functionalist school of translation theory, developed
and championed perhaps most actively by Christiana Nord and Hans Vermeer. It centres on the the
translator’s first duty is to identify what the translation he or she is being commissioned to produce is
destined to be used for. The new ground being broken by the Aitmatov Academy and Astana
University in this project presented an exciting set of challenges in defining our skopos or overall
translation objective, which involved coming to a professional judgment based on a triangulation
between information derived from interviewing our commissioners, web-based research and the
application of translation theory from Vermeer and Nord, through to Newmark and Venuti.
Every text has its challenges, as the translator engages in the business of transferring meaning
appropriate to the agreed function of the target text, while seeking to retain key aspects of the source
text. Our text presented an exciting array of challenges. Following Mona Baker`s helpful tripartite
approach to translation problems, we have picked out one issue at word level, phrase level and text
level, which we hope will be an insight into the pleasures and surprises we encountered along the way.
At word level, the clearest challenge was that of the specialised terminology itself.
At the phrase level, we found that accurate transfer to the norms of an anglophone academic
readership necessitated a readjustment of the level of certainty used to describe theories, empirical
observations and conclusive findings. Whereas in source text, the norm appeared to be a more
categorical style, involving phrases such as “without doubt” or “these people possess a deeper knowledge of reality” a target text which retained an equivalent level of credibility would need to use renderings such as “few doubts remain” or “some claim/have suggested a deeper knowledge for these people”.
Finally, at the text level, we were introduced to a range of interesting issues cultural
specificity. For example, the target text appeared to presuppose that a language is co-terminus with a
nation (eg: “Every language forms its own conceptualisations of the world driven by its history of the nation.”). This notion was problematised within the target text itself by references to Russian, both in
the context of the lingua franca of the USSR and as a national language of at least two existing
countries of the CIS. In transfer to the source language and anglophone academic cultural norms
(insofar as they exist), we needed to consider how the elision of language and nation might resonate
against cultural norms of languages crossing national borders, and of the place of minority languages
within one or more countries. This led to formulations such as “linguistic community” and de-
emphasising of the notion of nations and borders.
At the outset, we noted that this was the first translation of Dr Beisenova`s thesis – which
logically begs the question why a second or subsequent version might be necessary. As translators,
particularly having taken a functionalist approach to our work here, we are very aware of the need for
different audiences, generations and subject specialists to re-translate according to their own
requirements. Perhaps this will be the start of a rich vein of translation and re-translation academic or
investigation and research from central Asia. For now, it is but a first step, which we hope you will
enjoy as much as we did. Martin Wooding THE FUTURE OF INTERPRETATION IN KAZAKHSTAN
It has been a privilege for me to spend three weeks teaching conference interpreting at the
Kazakh University of Humanities and Law in Astana. Thanks to the dynamism and initiative of the
University, but also to the directives of the government, it is possible to envisage considerable
potential for the interpreting sector in Kazakhstan. The purpose of this brief paper will be to estimate
this potential and assess what needs to be done to develop it.
Demand for interpreting arises from the international contacts of a country. Kazakhstan is a
large and dynamic country at the centre of the Eurasian region, with a very broad and developing
network of international political and commercial relations. It is a member or observer in around 60
international organisations, beginning with the UN, and specialised agencies of the UN family like the
UNDP, UNEP and UNESCO, as well as UN regional groupings in both Europe and Asia, like
UNECE and ESCAP. It works with the IMF, the World Bank, the IAEA and the OSCE. It is also an
active participant in regional organizations like the CIS, EurAsEc, the Shanghai Cooperation
Organisation, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia and the North
Atlantic Cooperation Council, as well as cultural groupings like the Organisation of Islamic
It is necessary to stress the ambition of Kazakhstan to go beyond mere membership of
organisations and to play an active role on the world stage in keeping with the country's size and
strategic position. It has already held, in 2010, the annual chairmanship of the OSCE, and has recently
won the right to host the 2017 World EXPO.
In addition, Kazakhstan enjoys bilateral diplomatic and commercial relations with countries
in East and South Asia, the Middle East, Europe and North America. Members of the Mazhilis
regularly meet with parliamentary colleagues from around the world. Kazakhstan's geographic
situation makes it crucial to international transport projects like TRACECA. The country's economic
potential has attracted a great many foreign companies (the American Chamber of Commerce alone
represents nearly 200 in 30 different sectors of industry). This is not to mention extensive cooperation
between universities and academics.
It is notoriously difficult, in any country, to measure statistically the number of international
meetings, but this picture of external relations indicates that contacts with speakers of different
languages, especially in the capital Astana, will be frequent. Most of the meetings are likely to be
bilateral rather than multilateral. Encounters with citizens of the CIS can be conducted in Russian,
which Kazakhs speak fluently. However, those with citizens of other countries are likely at present to
be handled by officials or employees with imperfect mastery of the required language, or by untrained
interpreters. There are but few professional interpreters.
Unfortunately the arguments for employing a trained interpreter are often not obvious to
decision-takers. Those who would not hesitate to insist upon a trained doctor in matters of health, or a
trained lawyer in matters of law, are happy to entrust their affairs to chance when it comes to
international communication. Let us consider the reasons why it is preferable to employ professional
The first and most obvious is precision. An professional interpreter strives to convey meaning
as exactly as possible, which helps both parties to understand each other better. A second reason is
negotiating advantage. When using his own language, through an interpreter, a speaker can employ
the full range of arguments which he would not express so well in a foreign language. Thirdly, there is
the consideration of comfort. You feel more relaxed when speaking and listening to your own
language. Finally, but certainly not least of all, there is the question of prestige. A speaker who
employs his own language, through an interpreter, commands respect for his cultural identity and his
country. This aspect is very important in the political context. For all these reasons, it is just as vital
for a country to train interpreters as doctors or lawyers.
Let us now consider the types of action which must be taken by planners in order to meet the
need for professional interpretation. First, training should be organized at university level. The
solution adopted in the EU, which is the world leader in interpreter training, has been to offer a
Masters rather than an undergraduate course. The main argument is that interpreting is a
specialization, and should not be combined with other subjects. In addition, postgraduate students
have had more time to perfect their language knowledge, and have more maturity to deal with stress,
for interpreting is a stressful activity.
Universities will often need to adapt their rules to design a suitable course. Interpreting is an
activity that is performed orally, so the exams by which the students obtain their qualification must
consist of them interpreting oral speeches. Written exams cannot test interpreting skill. Interpreting is
also a practical activity, which improves only through regular exercise. Theory may be interesting, but
you don't need theory to be a good interpreter, so the curriculum should not focus on book learning.
Correspondingly, the best teachers are not academics, but people who exercise the profession.
Interpreting classes should also be relatively small, ideally no more than six to eight. This is
again because the tuition will consist in practice sessions, and only one student practices at a time,
while the others form a critical audience. In a large group, students will be inactive for long periods
and some will risk becoming distracted. Correspondingly, selection criteria, in the form of an aptitude
test, should be applied to candidates before accepting them on a course. The course should not be
open to any student who wishes to apply, irrespective of motivation or aptitude. Moreover,
interpreting students must be granted access to real job experience. For example, if a foreign guest
visits the university a promising student should be allowed to interpret for him. This helps to motivate
the student and allows him to understand the challenge of a real-life assignment.
Many or all of these conditions may require universities to depart from established academic
custom or adapt their statutes. In some cases, there may be obstacles at the level of the Ministry of
Education. Nonetheless, if a country is to train professional interpreters, it must cater for the specific
profile of the trainee interpreter.
It is helpful for training courses to maintain contact with other courses, within the country but
especially beyond its borders. Interpreting is by definition an international business. Both teachers and
students should ideally be able to spend time in other centres. Teacher and student mobility is
practiced a lot in Europe. Another valuable means of contact, which avoids the expense and time of
travel, is videoconferencing. In Europe we have developed a system whereby the video image can be
combined with multiple streamed audio channels, to allow for simultaneous interpreting in several
languages. We use this system for what we call virtual classes, whereby students in different
geographic locations practice with each other.
Potential employers should also be invited to involve themselves in interpreter training. This
enables them to influence training standards and convey to students the demands of real life. They can
also help by providing authentic speeches as practice material for the students. The mutual relations
between an employer and a university may usefully be set out in writing, in the form of a
memorandum of understanding. The European Parliament, for example, as a major employer, has
several such agreements with universities.
University authorities need to appreciate that interpreter training involves certain
expenditure. It has already been mentioned that the ideal teacher-student ratio will be high, and that
outside professionals will need to be hired. A capital outlay is required for the basic equipment, which
consists in a high-quality sound system and booths. A video camera is very useful to record the
students from time to time and let them criticize their performance on screen. We mentioned too that
video conferencing and audio streaming allow virtual classes with other universities.
Another major question is how professional quality is protected on the interpreting market.
Employers need to be presented with some form of certification which will guarantee to them that
they are hiring competent professionals. Where universities comply with the necessary requirements
for training, the degree itself will function as a brand. Beyond that it will be up to interpreters
themselves to form a professional association which ensures quality standards.
A further challenge is to ensure that a country has the conference rooms and the equipment
which will allow it to make proper use of interpretation. The best interpreter cannot perform properly
if the technical conditions are not met. Public employers can take the lead by purchasing or hiring
equipment which meets international standards. One of the facilities which Astana may need as it
prepares for the 2017 EXPO is an international conference centre.
In conclusion, I propose to speculate on some future trends, assuming that conditions can be met for a
regular supply of trained interpreters. In so doing, I base myself upon the experience of other countries
which have gone through the same process.
First, demand will increase with supply. Once employers perceive the benefits of good
interpretation, they will ask for it again. The growth potential, as globalization continues, is huge.
Second, there will be increasing specialization. In the beginning, interpreters may need to combine
interpreting with other tasks, especially translation, but as the market develops they will have more
opportunities to focus on interpreting and in turn improve their performance with experience. Third, in
the early stages interpreters will be employed on the staff of large organisations, be it ministries or
companies, which generate a sufficient volume of work. The Mazhilis, for example, already has its
own staff interpreters. However, as more conference opportunities arise, staffers will obtain
permission from their organisation to accept occasional freelance work. Eventually, true freelances
may emerge who are no longer dependent on any one organisation.
Finally I would be willing to speculate that the state language Kazakh will increase in
importance. I would expect this to be a gradual process, but as professional interpreters emerge it will
be possible for meeting participants to speak Kazakh rather than Russian, and still be understood
I would like to wish success to all those involved in developing conference interpretation in
Kazakhstan: the university teachers, the national authorities, and especially the students who will one
day perform this important role.