From The Model Reader to the Competent Translator: Theory and Practice of Umberto Eco’s Semiotics in a Literary Translation Class

Author : Sündüz ÖZTÜRK KASAR -- Alize CAN
Number of pages : 280-289


Classroom environment can be considered a sufficient place to practice and improve students’ translation skills. They can be possibly brainstormed and can discuss the problematic points with each other while translating. It can be estimated in the same way in a literary translation class. Students who are supposed to become model readers need to use their background knowledge, vocabulary, and encyclopedia to understand the text properly, to infer the unsaid from the said, and to translate them into a target language without disrupting the structure and taste of the source text because, considering Umberto Eco’s view, the structure of literary texts requires the cooperation of the reader and is sophisticated, and most of the words tend to be used with their connotations. Therefore, becoming a competent translator in order to conduct literary translation can be considered a crucial notion. This study aims at determining whether students, as translating candidates, are future’s “competent translators,” i.e., competent enough for literary translation. To achieve this goal, a case study is carried out in a literary translation class. In this process, we examined translations of 10 sophomore students from Trakya University’s Division of Translation and Interpretation. The students were asked to translate the short story titled “Hopeless Romantic” written by Susan Daitch, into Turkish. To analyze the translations obtained from students, the “Reviewing Model of Competent Translator” was devised with the favor from Eco’s thoughts and experiences in Mouse or Rat: Translation as Negotiation. In this study, through Eco’s thoughts and experiences and through the translation reviews, the applicability of the “Reviewing Model of Competent Translator” will be evaluated. This study will not only shed light on the researches in literary translation but also suggest a new model to examine translators.


competent translator, model reader, literary translation, translation education

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