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CONTEXT RETENTION

Assignment in Translating and Editing of Text


Submitted by: Nikki T. Sia

A. Principle of Equivalence
Vinay and Darbelnet and their definition of equivalence in translation
viewed equivalence-oriented translation as a procedure which 'replicates the
same situation as in the original, whilst using completely different wording'
They also suggest that, if this procedure is applied during the translation
process, it can maintain the stylistic impact of the SL text in the TL text.
Equivalence is therefore the ideal method when the translator has to deal
with proverbs, idioms, clichs, nominal or adjectival phrases and the
onomatopoeia of animal sounds.

With regard to equivalent expressions between language pairs, Vinay and


Darbelnet claim that they are acceptable as long as they are listed in a
bilingual dictionary as 'full equivalents'.
They conclude by saying that 'the need for creating equivalences arises from
the situation, and it is in the situation of the SL text that translators have to
look for a solution'.
Indeed, they argue that even if the semantic equivalent of an expression in
the SL text is quoted in a dictionary or a glossary, it is not enough, and it
does not guarantee a successful translation.
They provide a number of examples to prove their theory, and the following
expression appears in their list: Take one is a fixed expression which would have as
an equivalent French translation Prenez-en un. However, if the expression appeared
as a notice next to a basket of free samples in a large store, the translator would
have to look for an equivalent term in a similar situation and use the expression
chantillon gratuit.

Jakobson and the concept of equivalence in difference


introduced the notion of 'equivalence in difference'.
On the basis of his semiotic approach to language and his aphorism 'there is
no signatum without signum', he suggests three kinds of translation:
Intralingual (within one language, i.e. rewording or paraphrase)
Interlingual (between two languages)
Intersemiotic (between sign systems)
Jakobson claims that, in the case of interlingual translation, the translator
makes use of synonyms in order to get the ST message across. This means
that in interlingual translations there is no full equivalence between code
units.
According to his theory, 'translation involves two equivalent messages in two
different codes'.
Jakobson goes on to say that from a grammatical point of view languages
may differ from one another to a greater or lesser degree, but this does not
mean that a translation cannot be possible, in other words, that the
translator may face the problem of not finding a translation equivalent.
'whenever there is deficiency, terminology may be qualified and amplified by
loanwords or loan-translations, neologisms or semantic shifts, and finally, by
circumlocutions'.
Jakobson provides a number of examples by comparing English and Russian
language structures and explains that in such cases where there is no a literal
equivalent for a particular ST word or sentence, then it is up to the translator to
choose the most suitable way to render it in the TT.

Nida and Taber: Formal correspondence and dynamic equivalence


Nida argued that there are two different types of equivalence, namely formal
equivalencewhich in the second edition by Nida and Taber (1982) is
referred to as formal correspondenceand dynamic equivalence.
Formal correspondence 'focuses attention on the message itself, in both form
and content', unlike dynamic equivalence which is based upon 'the principle
of equivalent effect'. In the second edition (1982) or their work, the two
theorists provide a more detailed explanation of each type of equivalence.
Formal correspondence: consists of a TL item which represents the closest
equivalent of a SL word or phrase.
Nida and Taber make it clear that there are not always formal equivalents between
language pairs. They therefore suggest that these formal equivalents should be
used wherever possible if the translation aims at achieving formal rather than

dynamic equivalence. The use of formal equivalents might at times have serious
implications in the TT since the translation will not be easily understood by the
target audience (Fawcett, 1997). Nida and Taber themselves assert that 'Typically,
formal correspondence distorts the grammatical and stylistic patterns of the
receptor language, and hence distorts the message, so as to cause the receptor to
misunderstand or to labor unduly hard'.
Dynamic equivalence: is defined as a translation principle according to which a
translator seeks to translate the meaning of the original in such a way that the TL
wording will trigger the same impact on the TC audience as the original wording did
upon the ST audience.
They argue that 'Frequently, the form of the original text is changed; but as long as
the change follows the rules of back transformation in the source language, of
contextual consistency in the transfer, and of transformation in the receptor
language, the message is preserved and the translation is faithful'.

Catford and the introduction of translation shifts


preference for a more linguistic-based approach to translation and this
approach is based on the linguistic work of Firth and Halliday.
His main contribution in the field of translation theory is the introduction of
the concepts of types and shifts of translation.
Catford proposed very broad types of translation in terms of three criteria:
The extent of translation (full translation vs partial translation);
The grammatical rank at which the translation equivalence is
established (rank-bound translation vs. unbounded translation);
The levels of language involved in translation (total translation vs.
restricted translation).
We will refer only to the second type of translation, since this is the one that
concerns the concept of equivalence, and we will then move on to analyze the
notion of translation shifts, as elaborated by Catford, which are based on the
distinction between formal correspondence and textual equivalence.
Rank-Bound Translation
an equivalent is sought in the TL for
each word, or for each morpheme
encountered in the ST

Unbounded Translation
equivalences are not tied to a particular
rank, and we may additionally find
equivalences at sentence, clause and
other levels

One of the problems with formal correspondence is that, despite being a useful tool
to employ in comparative linguistics, it seems that it is not really relevant in terms
of assessing translation equivalence between ST and TT.

As far as translation shifts are concerned, Catford defines them as 'departures from
formal correspondence in the process of going from the SL to the TL'.
argues that there are two main types of translation shifts, namely level
shifts, where the SL item at one linguistic level (e.g. grammar) has a TL
equivalent at a different level (e.g. lexis), and category shifts which are
divided into four types:

Structure-shifts, which involve a grammatical change between the


structure of the ST and that of the TT;
Class-shifts, when a SL item is translated with a TL item which belongs
to a different grammatical class, i.e. a verb may be translated with a
noun;
Unit-shifts, which involve changes in rank;
Intra-system shifts, which occur when 'SL and TL possess systems
which approximately correspond formally as to their constitution, but
when translation involves selection of a non-corresponding term in the
TL system'. For instance, when the SL singular becomes a TL plural.

House and the elaboration of overt and covert translation


in favour of semantic and pragmatic equivalence and argues that ST and TT
should match one another in function.
suggests that it is possible to characterize the function of a text by
determining the situational dimensions of the ST.
According to her theory, every text is in itself is placed within a particular
situation which has to be correctly identified and taken into account by the
translator. After the ST analysis, House is in a position to evaluate a
translation; if the ST and the TT differ substantially on situational features,
then they are not functionally equivalent, and the translation is not of a high
quality.
she acknowledges that 'a translation text should not only match its source
text in function, but employ equivalent situational-dimensional means to
achieve that function'.
Overt Translations
the TT audience is not directly
addressed and there is therefore no
need at all to attempt to recreate a
'second
original'
since
an
overt
translation
'must
overtly
be
a
translation

Covert Translations
is meant the production of a text which
is functionally equivalent to the ST.
House also argues that in this type of
translation the ST 'is not specifically
addressed to a TC audience

Baker's approach to translation equivalence


New adjectives have been assigned to the notion of equivalence (grammatical,
textual, pragmatic equivalence, and several others) and made their appearance in
the plethora of recent works in this field.
explores the notion of equivalence at different levels, in relation to the
translation process, including all different aspects of translation and hence
putting together the linguistic and the communicative approach. She
distinguishes between:
Equivalence that
can appear at word
level and above
word level, when
translating from
one language into
another.

Grammatical
equivalence, when
referring to the
diversity of
grammatical
categories across
languages

Textual
equivalence, when
referring to the
equivalence
between a SL text
and a TL text in
terms of
information and
cohesion

, in a bottom-up approach to translation,


equivalence at word level is the first element to be
taken into consideration by the translator
In fact, when the translator starts analyzing the ST
s/he looks at the words as single units in order to
find a direct 'equivalent' term in the TL
gives a definition of the term word since it should
be remembered that a single word can sometimes
be assigned different meanings in different
languages and might be regarded as being a more
complex unit or morpheme
that the translator should pay attention to a
number of factors when considering a single word,
such as number, gender and tense
that grammatical rules may vary across languages
and this may pose some problems in terms of
finding a direct correspondence in the TL
In fact, she claims that different grammatical
structures in the SL and TL may cause remarkable
changes in the way the information or message is
carried across
changes may induce the translator either to add or
to omit information in the TT because of the lack of
particular grammatical devices in the TL itself

Texture is a very important feature in translation


since it provides useful guidelines for the
comprehension and analysis of the ST which can
help the translator in his or her attempt to produce
a cohesive and coherent text for the TC audience
in a specific context
It is up to the translator to decide whether or not
to maintain the cohesive ties as well as the
coherence of the SL text

Pragmatic
equivalence, when
referring to
implicatures and
strategies of
avoidance during
the translation
process

His or her decision will be guided by three main


factors, that is, the target audience, the purpose of
the translation and the text type
Implicature is not about what is explicitly said but
what is implied.
Therefore, the translator needs to work out implied
meanings in translation in order to get the ST
message across.
The role of the translator is to recreate the
author's intention in another culture in such a way
that enables the TC reader to understand it clearly.

B. Back Translation
A "back-translation" is a translation of a translated text back into the language of
the original text, made without reference to the original text.
Comparison of a back-translation with the original text is sometimes used as
a check on the accuracy of the original translation, much as the accuracy of a
mathematical operation is sometimes checked by reversing the operation.
But the results of such reverse-translation operations, while useful as
approximate checks, are not always precisely reliable. Back-translation must
in general be less accurate than back-calculation because linguistic symbols
(words) are often ambiguous, whereas mathematical symbols are
intentionally unequivocal.
In the context of machine translation, a back-translation is also called a
"round-trip translation."
When translations are produced of material used in medical clinical trials,
such as informed-consent forms, a back-translation is often required by the
ethics committee or institutional review board.
When a historic document survives only in translation, the original having been lost,
researchers sometimes undertake back-translation in an effort to reconstruct the
original text.
An example involves the novel The Saragossa Manuscript by the Polish aristocrat
Jan Potocki (17611815), who wrote the novel in French and anonymously
published fragments in 1804 and 181314. Portions of the original French-language
manuscript were subsequently lost; however, the missing fragments survived in a
Polish translation that was made by Edmund Chojecki in 1847 from a complete
French copy, now lost. French-language versions of the complete Saragossa
Manuscript have since been produced, based on extant French-language fragments

and on French-language versions that have been back-translated from Chojeckis


Polish version.
Similarly, when historians suspect that a document is actually a translation
from another language, back-translation into that hypothetical original
language can provide supporting evidence by showing that such
characteristics as idioms, puns, peculiar grammatical structures, etc., are in
fact derived from the original language.
For example, the known text of the Till Eulenspiegel folk tales is in High German but
contains puns that work only when back-translated to Low German. This seems
clear evidence that these tales (or at least large portions of them) were originally
written in Low German and translated into High German by an over-metaphrastic
translator.

C. Fidelity Vs. Transparency


Fidelity (or faithfulness) and transparency, dual ideals in translation, are often at
odds. A 17th-century French critic coined the phrase "les belles infidles" to suggest
that translations, like women, can be either faithful or beautiful, but not both.

Fidelity

Transparency

Faithfulness is the extent to which a


translation accurately renders the
meaning of the source text, without
distortion

Transparency is the extent to which a


translation appears to a native speaker
of the target language to have
originally been written in that language,
and conforms to its grammar, syntax
and idiom

A translation that meets the first criterion is said to be "faithful"; a translation that
meets the second, "idiomatic". The two qualities are not necessarily mutually
exclusive. The criteria for judging the fidelity of a translation vary according to the
subject, type and use of the text, its literary qualities, its social or historical
context, etc.
The criteria for judging the transparency of a translation appear more
straightforward: an unidiomatic translation "sounds wrong"; and, in the extreme
case of word-for-word translations generated by many machine-translation
systems, often results in patent nonsense.
Nevertheless, in certain contexts a translator may consciously seek to produce a
literal translation. Translators of literary, religious or historic texts often adhere as
closely as possible to the source text, stretching the limits of the target language to
produce an unidiomatic text. A translator may adopt expressions from the source
language in order to provide "local color".

In recent decades, prominent advocates of such "non-transparent" translation have


included the French scholar Antoine Berman, who identified twelve deforming
tendencies inherent in most prose translations, and the American theorist Lawrence
Venuti, who has called on translators to apply "foreignizing" rather than
domesticating translation strategies. Berman further insists on the need for a
translation project to perform translation criticism afterwards.
Many non-transparent-translation theories draw on concepts from German
Romanticism, the most obvious influence being the German theologian and
philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher. In his seminal lecture "On the Different
Methods of Translation" (1813) he distinguished between translation methods that
move "the writer toward [the reader]", i.e., transparency, and those that move the
"reader toward [the author]", i.e., an extreme fidelity to the foreignness of the
source text. Schleiermacher favored the latter approach; he was motivated,
however, not so much by a desire to embrace the foreign, as by a nationalist desire
to oppose France's cultural domination and to promote German literature.
Current Western translation practice is dominated by the dual concepts of "fidelity"
and "transparency". This has not always been the case, however; there have been
periods, especially in pre-Classical Rome and in the 18th century, when many
translators stepped beyond the bounds of translation proper into the realm of
adaptation.
Adapted translation retains currency in some non-Western traditions. The Indian
epic, the Ramayana, appears in many versions in the various Indian languages, and
the stories are different in each. Similar examples are to be found in medieval
Christian literature, which adjusted the text to local customs and mores.
D.

Equivalence

The question of fidelity vs. transparency has also been formulated in terms of,
respectively, "formal equivalence" and "dynamic [or functional] equivalence". The
latter expressions are associated with the translator Eugene Nida and were
originally coined to describe ways of translating the Bible, but the two approaches
are applicable to any translation.
Formal equivalence
corresponds to "metaphrase
"literal" translation
) attempts to render the text
literally, or "word for word" (the
latter expression being itself a
word-for-word rendering of the
classical Latin verbum pro verbo)
if necessary, at the expense of
features natural to the target
language

Dynamic equivalence
corresponds to "paraphrase"
"functional equivalence"
conveys the essential thoughts
expressed in a source text if
necessary, at the expense of
literality, original sememe and
word order, the source text's
active vs. passive voice, etc.

There is, however, no sharp boundary between functional and formal equivalence.
On the contrary, they represent a spectrum of translation approaches. Each is used
at various times and in various contexts by the same translator, and at various
points within the same text sometimes simultaneously. Competent translation
entails the judicious blending of functional and formal equivalents.[28]
Common pitfalls in translation, especially when practiced by inexperienced
translators, involve false equivalents such as "false friends" and false cognates.

Nida called his theoretical approach to translating dynamic equivalence. His initial
definitions of the term were as follows:
In such a translation one is not so concerned with matching the receptor-language
message with the source-language message, but with the dynamic relationship,
that the relationship between receptor and message should be substantially the
same as that which existed between the original receptors and the message.
A translation of dynamic equivalence aims at complete naturalness of expression,
and tries to relate the receptor to modes of behavior relevant within the context of
his own culture; it does not insist that he understand the cultural patterns of the
source-language context in order to comprehend the message.

E. Understanding Jargon
By definition, it is the language, esp. the vocabulary, peculiar to a particular
trade, profession, or group: medical jargon.
It is also unintelligible or meaningless talk or writing; gibberish. Some may
say, it is specialized language concerned with a particular subject, culture, or
profession or the terminology or idiom of a particular activity or group.
Jargon is the collective name for words that only make sense to certain
people. Jargon is the technical vocabulary of a profession or group. The
word is used as a form of criticism when such terms are used unnecessarily
for communication outside a group.
Jargon can be a useful form of communication between members of the
same group. It acts as a shorthand which eliminates the need for lengthy
explanations. The most important thing about jargon is that it should only be
used when communicating with people in the same group. Some items of
jargon eventually pass into common use because they seem to fill a need.

Terms such as own-goal [from football] or repression [from psycho-analysis]


were once jargon.
Academic study has its own jargon too, depending upon the subject in
question. Terms such as hegemony (political philosophy) discourse analysis
(linguistics) and objective correlative (literary studies) would not be
recognizable by an everyday reader, though they might be understood by
someone studying the same subject.
Whatever the jargon of your own discipline, it should be used with precision,
accuracy, and above all restraint.
INSIGHTS:
Through my research for the assigned topic, Context Retention, I have come
across many ideas and theories which are more often understood roughly by most
people simply because they have a vague idea on what it really means. Take for
example, translation which is quite common to the ordinary person as it is an
adaptation or to say in other words. However, in a linguistic approach, the terms
are often tantamount to formal vs. dynamic equivalence. In usage, the verbatim
translation is quite imperfect since words may carry multiple meaning but both are
considered as ideal and possible approaches in the process of translation.
Translation and context retention may be used by persons for retrieval of lost
information, understanding of the Universal Truth, sharing of beliefs, understanding
and appreciation of culture, bridging cultural barriers, advancements in human
achievement, addressing social needs, social empowerment, binding nations and
development of culture.
In the principle of equivalence wherein there are multiple theories explaining
such, one has to think about what is more practicable and of course, what is more
suitable for the situation. Whenever a linguistic approach is no longer suitable to
carry out a translation, the translator can rely on other procedures such as loantranslations, neologisms and the like. It must be taken into account that when there
are limitations of a linguistic theory and argue that a translation can never be
impossible since there are several methods that the translator can choose. The role
of the translator as the person who decides how to carry out the translation is
emphasize.
In dynamic equivalence as a more effective translation procedure, it should
be noted that the translator should take into account the context of the situation,
and should be able to effectively reach out the different readers the translator is
addressing. This approach, as is it clearly stated, explains that 'dynamic
equivalence in translation is far more than mere correct communication of
information'. However, in the linguistic approach by Catford, considers the concept
of equivalence in translation as being an illusion. In other words, linguistics is the
only discipline which enables people to carry out a translation, since translating

involves different cultures and different situations at the same time and they do not
always match from one language to another.
With regards to jargon, however, it is vital that when communicating with
people outside a group, jargon should be used as little as possible. The term jargon
in its most negative sense describes the use of technical or obscure terms when
addressing a general audience. The specialized terms of the subject should only be
used if you are quite sure of their meaning. Never use jargon to show off or
impress readers as it is likely to create the opposite effect. Jargon terms should be
avoided where perfectly ordinary terms will be just as effective. These simply cause
disruptions in tone and create a weak style.
In conclusion, it is important to note that when translating, context is
essential. An individual word, such as key (to a door? on a keyboard?) cannot be
translated in isolation, unless the target language happens to maintain the same
ambiguity as the source language. However, there is a lesser degree of consensus
on the full extent of what comprises context in the world of translation and who is
responsible for providing it. The effectivity of translation will always depend on how
the translator effectively provides or transmits that meaning from source to target
language.