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Local strategies &

Annotating local strategies

• In this chapter,
• - we will learn how to annotate our translations and comment on
• - Further, we will be familiar with a number of classifications of
local strategies and shifts proposed by different scholars,
• J. P. Vinay & J. Darbelnet )1958/1995 (
• J. C. Catford (1965)
• J. L. Malone )1988(
• M. Baker )1992/2011(

•How to annotate?
• In fact, annotation is a subjective exercise, depending on
the person and his/her competences. However, translation
students who have no experience can follow this, but they
do not have to:

• State their local strategy, as in:

• I (have) opted for …
• I (have) resorted to …
• I (have) translated … into …
• I (have) used …
• I (have) added …
• I (have) deleted …

• State the reason, as in:
• This is because …
• The main reason behind this is …

• State the type of the local strategy or shift, as in:
• This is an example of ‘translation by addition’, ‘translation by
omission’, ‘translation by paraphrase’, etc.
• This is an example of ‘class shift’, ‘unit shift’, ‘intra-system shift’,
‘level shift’, etc.

• Elaborate if they can ….

• Referring to another researcher’s opinion in order to make their
own annotation externally coherent, as in:
• In this regard, Dickins et al (2002: 59) state that ….
• In this respect, Baker (1992/2011) holds that …
• By way of explanation, let us consider the following example
(Ghazala 2012: 10):

• ST:
• No one is sure whether, from Israel’s current perceived position of
strength, he genuinely wants a lasting peace that would give the
Palestinians a proper state. He leaves room for maneuver. He is flexible
to a point of opportunism.

• TT:
‫ فال أحد يعرف‬،‫• وفي ظل سطوة الموقف اإلسرائيلي في الوقت الراهن‬
‫بشكل قاطع ما إذا كان حقًاً يريد سالماً دائماً يمنح بموجبه الفلسطينين‬
‫ إذ إنه عادة ما يترك باب المناورة مفتوحا فهو مرن إلى‬.‫دولةً حقيقيةً أم ال‬
.‫حدً االنتهازية‬
• Annotation:
• Local strategy I have opted for the addition of the phrase ‫عادة ما‬
'usually’. Why This is to make the text read smoothly on the one
hand, and lay emphasis on the regularity and frequency of the
action as a matter of routine on the other. Elaboration It is worth
noting that unlike English that has to express the regularity and
frequency of an action grammatically, Arabic can express them
lexically when they are relevant (cf. Baker 1992/2011). Languages
differ widely in the way they map various aspects of world
experiences. In this regard, Baker (1992: 84) rightly comments:
coherence Languages which have morphological resources for
expressing a certain category such as number, tense, or
gender, have to express these categories regularly; those
which do not have morphological resources for expressing
the same categories do not have to express them except
when they are felt to be relevant.
Local strategies

•Local strategies are problem-motivated

strategies adopted by translators to solve
the problem they face in dealing with
segments of the text.
Different classifications
• - J. P. Vinay & J. Darbelnet )1958/1995 (
• - J. C. Catford (1965)
• - J. L. Malone )1988)
• - M. Baker )1992/2011(

• In this course, we will focus on only two classifications,

namely J. P. Vinay & J. Darbelnet )1958/1995 ( and J. C.
Catford (1965).
J. P. Vinay & J. Darbelnet )1958/1995
Strategies, or procedures as Vinay and Darbelnet
(1958/1995: pp. 84-91) label them, are divided into
seven types, namely: ‘borrowing’, ‘calque’, ‘literal
translation’, ‘transposition’, ‘modulation’,
‘equivalence’ and ‘adaptation’.

• The first three types of strategies are labelled as

‘direct translation’, whilst the other four strategies
named ‘oblique translation’
Another example
• A girl gestured with her hand at the window
overlooking the garden, like a dumb person, unable
to speak. She was followed by another girl, then by
the others …. (Starkey 2008: 1

‫ بيدها للنافذة المطلة على الحديقة ال‬،‫ كالخرساء‬،‫• أشارت فتاة‬
.... ‫ ثم الباقيات‬،‫ تبعتها األخرى‬.‫تستطيع النطق‬
• (Samīra al-Māni‘ 1997: 7)
• Comment:
Here, a structure shift, which involves a grammatical
change between the structure of the ST and that of the
TT, occurs. The translator has replaced the active voice
expressed by ‫ ثم الباقيات‬،‫ تبعتها اآلخرى‬with a passive
voice in the TT expressed by ‘she was followed by another,
then the others’. In this regard, Catford (1965: 73) argues
that there are two main types of translation shifts,
namely: 1) ‘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 2) ‘category shifts’ which are divided
into four types: ‘structure-shifts’, ‘class shifts’, ‘unit shifts’
and ‘intra-system shifts’ (for more details, see Catford
1965: 73-80; Munday 2008: 60-61; Almanna 2014: 34-35).
• By way of illustration, let us consider the following example (quoted from
Alqunayir 2014: 21-22):

• ST:
• Contrary to what many think, this does not prove that the West has become
a godless civilization. Rather, it confirms, as Cox argues, the changing nature
of being religious in a post traditional world.

• TT:
ً‫ًالًتثبتًهذهًالحقيقةًأنًالحضارةًفيًالغرب‬،‫• وعلىًعكسًماًًيظنهًالكثيرون‬
ً‫ًعلىًالطبيعةًالمتغيرةًللتدين‬،‫ بلًتُؤكدًكماًيقولًكوكس‬.‫قدًأصبحتًملحدة‬

• Comment:
• As can be observed, the translator has opted for changing the point of
view when she has translated ‘the West has become a godless civilization’
in which ‘the West’ is the doer of the action into ‫أن الحضارة في الغرب قد‬
‫ أصبحت ملحدة‬where the doer of the action becomes ‫ الحضارة‬and ‘the
West’ becomes part of the adverb of place ‫‘في الغرب‬in the West’. This is
an example of modulation to use Vinay and Darbelnet’s (1958/1995: 89)
• J. C. Catford (1965)
• Following Firthian and Hallidayan linguistic model, Catford (1965) in
his oft-cited book ‘A Linguistic Theory of Translation’ introduces two
types of translation, namely: ‘formal correspondent’ and ‘textual
• Formal correspondent is “any TL category (unit, class, element of
structure, etc.) which can be said to occupy, as nearly as possible,
the ‘same’ place in the ‘economy’ of the TL as the given SL category
occupies in the SL” (Catford 1965: 27).
• Textual equivalent, however, is defined by Catford as “any TL text
or portion of text which is observed on a particular occasion [...] to
be the equivalent of a given SL text or portion of text” (p. 27).
• In a direct link to local strategies resorted to by translators while
dealing with the text at hand, one can touch on shifts that may well
occur as a result of adopting a particular local strategy, or a
combination of many. Catford defines shifts as “departures from
formal correspondence in the process of going from the SL to the
TL” (p. 73). He argues that there are two main types of translation
shifts, namely:
• a) Level shifts
• b) Category shifts

• According to Catford (Ibid), category shifts are divided into four

1) Structure-shifts
2) Class-shifts
3) Unit-shifts or rank-shifts
4) Intra-system shifts
• Level shifts
• They occur when the SL item at one linguistic level (e.g. lexis) has a TL
equivalent at a different level (e.g. grammar).
• For instance, in English to emphasize the frequency of the action as a matter
of routine, one can express it grammatically by opting for a simple present
tense, such as: 'She goes to school with her dad'. However, to emphasize the
frequency of the action in Arabic, the only solution is to resort to lexical
items/expressions, such as ‫‘عادة ما‬usually’, ‫‘غالبا ما‬often’ and so.

• Structure shifts
• They involve a grammatical change between the structure of the ST and that
of the TT.

• Class shifts
• They occur when a SL item is translated into a TL item which belongs to a
different grammatical class. For examples, there are a great number of
adverbs in English that are best substituted with a prepositional phrase plus
an adjective in Arabic as in:
• Unit shifts involve changes in rank, such as translating a
sentence in one language into a phrase, expression, etc. in

• Intra-system shifts occur when SL and TL possess systems

which approximately correspond formally as to their
constitution, but when translators opt for selecting a non-
corresponding term in the TL system.
• By way of explanation, let us consider the following example (quoted along
with its published translation from Air Wick: Oudً‫ العود‬product label):
• ST:
• Do not spray or place on painted or polished surfaces. Keep out of reach of
children. Pressurised containers: Protect from sunlight; do not expose to
temperatures exceeding 50 C.

• TT:
.‫ يحفظًبعيداًعنًمتناولًاألطفال‬.‫• الًيرشًأوًيوضعًعلىًاألسطحًالمطليةًأوًالملمعة‬
.‫) درجةًمئوية‬50(ً‫تزيدًعن‬
• Comment:
• Here, the translator has changed the grammatical structures of the ST from
active, expressed by ‘do not spray’, ‘place’, ‘keep out’ and ‘protect’ into
passive, expressed by ‫ال يرش‬, ‫يوضع‬, ‫ يحفظ‬and ‫تحفظ‬. These are examples of
structure shifts. Structure shifts, according to Catford (1965: 77), occur when
translators resort to arranging lower-rank units (nouns, verbs, adjectives,
adverbs, etc.) that form a larger unit (clause or sentence) differently.
Structure shifts are the most frequent among the category shifts between
Arabic and English. In discussing the translation of an English clause into a
Gaelic clause, Catford (p. 77) shows how those lower-rank units (subject,
predicate, and complement) are arranged differently in the TT, thus resulting
in a structure shift.