Naturalness of language: On the whole, respondents rated my translation as more natural than either the source text or Ellis’ translation Only one German speaker rated the source text as more natural sounding than my translation and another three rated it equally. All but one respondent rated my translation more natural than Ellis’.This meets my aim of a more accessible text, although it could be argued that there is a consequent mismatch in style between the ST and translation.
Ease of understanding: whilst the new translation is still not an easy text, nobody rated it in the most difficult range and retrieval of pronoun reference was much easier than in either the source text or Ellis’ translation. Sentence length, too, was more easily manageable.
Across all these categories, academic readers found the text easier on the whole than those with a lower level of musical qualification. This would match my primary readership of 3rd year undergraduates and postgraduates. People also commented, though, that the new translation was more accessible across all readership categories. Again this matches my aim of increased accessibility to the text.
I also aimed to prioritise information retrieval over style. Many respondents felt they didn’t have time to summarise the passage, but of those who did, scores on information retrieval were generally quite high. Again, there was a correlation with academic ability, although the relatively small numbers here made it difficult to draw clear conclusions.
Generally readers liked having the German terms included in the text and preferred to have footnotes rather than in-text explanation.
As expected, I could not always match source text style and facilitate information retrieval. some respondents criticised inconsistency of style. I felt this was particularly true in more complex passages. It could be argued that Ellis translation is, in fact, a better match on style.
All but one respondent had a preference for my text, and even that was qualified dependent on the prospective use of the text. It was felt that Ellis translation may give a better feel for the complex syntax and vocabulary of Wagner.
I seem to be fairly much on target with my audience, although I maybe would’ve liked to see a better response for undergraduates. However, I didn’t specify that I was aiming at final year students, so that may explain the result.
All in all, I feel that I was pretty much on target with my aims for the translation and so far have had some good feedback on it. Thanks again to all who have helped.