In this paper I will discuss the phenomenon of excessive translation into mother language as it can be observed in Europe and especially in Italy. From a point of view of (foreign) language acquisition psychology this phenomenon can be attributed to culturally induced foreign language anxiety. European cultures are known to be essentially monolinguistic. Since the European state building in the 17th century, in which linguistic uniformity has been a key component, an immense social practice of translation aims to fit every kind of foreign text into the hegemonial discourse, i.e. the national language standard. The book translation industry, film dubbing and the recent tendency to “localize” internet sites and search engines are examples. These practises undoubtedly leave little space to authentic confrontation with different languages and cultures. On the individual level you can consequently observe serious difficulties in approaching foreign languages. The majority of Italian university students affirm to feel themselves “denied”, to feel “embarrassed” to interact in foreign languages, to “need first a good grammar book”. In the language classrooms as well as in every day live, in Italy, you can experience a high level of what authors like Guiora or Horwitz theorize as foreign language anxiety. In such condition of lack of language ego permeability (Guiora), governed by the fear of discomfort in the encounter with the other, mother language remains the only possible reference point for interpreting the world. Any different phonological or morphosyntactical language structure is ignored or rejected and spontaneously adapted to mother tongue rules: the English [‘hip hop] is transformed in [i’pop?], car radio in radio car. In the same way, on the lexical-semantic level, foreign language anxiety induces to ignore or reject the uncomfortable notion that one word or expression in one language does not necessarily “mean” one word or expression in the other. Even in communicative classroom settings, where students are asked to exercise foreign language patterns without any mother language interference, they hardly resist questioning: “What does it mean? How can I translate it?” Translating into mother language secures psychological ease, preventing foreign language anxiety. This practice is therefore overused, in an almost compulsive manner, especially in environments which, as the Italian (and generally the European) culture, are particularly affected by foreign language anxiety. Translation, in that case, may be an excellent business, but it definitely hinders any serious intercultural encounter and communication.
Scheda prodotto non validato
Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo
|Titolo:||Translation as a Result of Foreign Language Anxiety|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2010|
|Appartiene alla tipologia:||04b Atto di convegno in volume|