Finally, it might be interesting to expand upon what
makes a factor relevant, obligatory or optional. This
qualification of factors is at least as interesting as
defining their quality. It seems to me that some form of
stylistics has to be called upon to reach that goal.
Translating by Factors provides a sound basis to
build upon as far as translation factors are concerned. It
is one of few methodical inventories of the many aspects of
the ubiquitous concept of factors, although a few passages
deserve to be rephrased in terms of factors (p.113-114,
p.185-197) and shift focus from what the various nuances
mean to how factors can be invoked to explain asymmetric
variants. Such a radical application of factor theory
appears as a promising stepping stone for further studies.
It appears that the next logical step is to specify a
gradient of factor priority as it purports to the
translation of discrete items other than modals: between
unavoidable and binding constraints, syntactic and lexical,
to those that become more diffuse as we approach more
modulated influences (p.5), and those that might be invoked
as idiosyncratic options and deploy stylistic selection
processes. Identification factors are qualitatively
different from compensation factors, and do not operate at
the same stage of the translation process. Indeed, the
determination of a hierarchy of factors appears bound to
grapple with truisms (p.29, p.285), as well as with very
thorny questions (see the exciting discussion of Eton,
The compact format of Gutknecht and Rölle's study
deserves mention, for it provides a unique abridgment of a
translation methodology which will make it successful beyond
German-English translation milieus. Furthermore,
Translating by Factors is a handy compendium of
figures of the authors' own making and from other sources.
Their terminology is rigorously explained, with a brief
general survey of knowledge in the field. The final 18 pages
of bibliographical references &emdash; a triumph of
selectivity &emdash; offer an impressive federation of
today's linguists: grammarians Leech, Quirk, Palmer,
Matthews; translatologists Toury, Wilss, Snell-Hornby, Gutt,
Delisle; and theorists Austin, Teun van Dijk and Eve
Sweetser. The bibliography is followed by a very thorough
subject index. It will no doubt provide good "inspiration"
Other book reviews online:
Juan Bosco Camón, Teaching English as a Second or
Foreign Language, vol. 3, no. 2 (March 1998).
Manfred Prokop, Zeitschrift für Interkulturellen
Sean Golden, "Review: Gutknecht & Rolle: Translating by
factors", The Linguist List 8.757: 1-4 (1997).