Laurent Seychell: Il-Lingwa Tagħna – Our Language, Companion Series of Ilsienna. La traduction spécialisée: l’exemple de l’Énonciation en linguistique française, Book I (429pp.), Book II (371pp.); It-traduzzjoni speċja-lizzata: L-Eżempju tat-Tlissina fil-Lingwistika Franċiża, Volume 2/2011, Universitatsverlag Dr Brockmeyer, Bochum, Germany.
This publication by Laurent Seychell, head of the Department of French at the University of Malta is a two-volume study in linguistics and theories of translation.
The presence of the author guiding the reader is felt throughout- Cecilia Borg
The author provides a practical example of what he understands by professional translation. He carries out the exercise on a work by French linguist Dominique Maingueneau and translates Chapter 3 of the first edition of this work. This is done to present a comparative study regarding the changes the French author carried out to this chapter in his second edition of L’énonciation enlinguistique française, Hachette Supérieur, 1999 (1994).
Seychell describes his work as two books intertwined into one. Not happy to limit himself to the translation of the work by Maingueneau, he includes the original version in French and presents annexes that reflect the research he carried out and clarifications which provide additional help to the reader.
The publication is bilingual. This decision was taken because the target audience is the Maltese student reading a BA course and aiming to take up translation as a profession.
This structure is also advantageous for scholars with limitations in either of the languages as they are not excluded from consulting it.
The subject can prove to be of interest to those interested in the Maltese and French languages or in the subject itself.
The presence of the author guiding the reader is felt throughout. The richness of notes is the result of personal reflections and they provide further clarifications of what is being discussed.
Seychell is aware that at times Maingueneau might take for granted what the student and the non-specialist reader would find difficult to follow.
An experienced pedagogue, he wants to ensure the reader is following the line of thought of the master, so he provides references to research publications and theories of other translation researchers.
Seychell also tries to expound further the theories Maingueneau pre-sents and guides the reader towards further studies thus compiling a very important bibliography.
To my knowledge, it is the first time this type of translation of a study in French linguistics utterance and discourse has been carried out in Maltese.
In no way is Seychell trying to adapt the Maltese model to fit in the French structure.
In the field of translation studies, as in any other domain of linguistics, new ideas call for new forms of expression. The researcher encounters enormous difficulties when he comes to the mode of expression as he finds he has to coin new words or to give new meanings to existing lexis to be able to describe his innovative thought.
Seychell is very much aware of this and he acknowledges his debt by referring to works published by Maltese authors as an invaluable source for his mode of expression.
In the present field Seychell has applied the same tools he acquired in his research of the French language to his native Maltese, rightly assuming that though each language is unique, nothing hinders the researcher from adopting similar methods in his work.
Seychell is in debt to research works published by Maltese linguists in Maltese with reference to this language, which he clearly acknowledges. But this source is unfortunately very limited and when it failed him he has had to look elsewhere or resort to periphrases.