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Equivalence and Translation Strategies

By Thomas Rudd, Hannah Evans, Lauren Pavitt and Charlotte Hedar

Charlotte Hedar

on 13 March 2012

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Transcript of Equivalence and Translation Strategies

Equivalence and Translation Strategies Equivalence and Translation Theory
What Is Equivalence? Jakobson Nida Catford Baker a)Having equality of value, force or importance.
(Oxford English Dictionary)

b)Having similar or identical effects.
(The Free Dictionary)

c) Corresponding or virtually identical especially in effect or function.
(Merriam Webster)

Routeledge; 1992; First Edition Mona Baker In Other Words Baker offers a more detailed list of conditions upon which the concept of equivalence can be defined.
Different levels of the translation process.
Bottom-Up Approach Equivalence above word level:
What happens when words combine to form stretches of language? Equivalence at word level:
Is there a one-to-one relationship between word and meaning?

Role of morphemes? Problems of non-equivalence at word level and strategies for dealing with these issues: Some problems of non-equivalence:

(a) Culture-specific concepts
(b) The SL concept is not lexicalized in the target language
(c) The TL lacks a specific term (hyponym)
(d)The use of loan words in the SL
Strategies for dealing with these problems:

(a)Use of a more general word (superordinate)
(b)Translation by a more neutral/less expressive word
(c)Translation by cultural substitution
(d)Translation using a loan word or loan word plus explanation
Grammatical Equivalence:
If grammatical rules vary across languages what problems does this pose in terms of finding a direct correspondence in the TL? Textual Equivalence:
How does the translator maintain the coherence of the SL text?

- Three factors help us decide how much of the texture to preserve:

a)The target audience
b)The purpose of the text
c)The text type. Pragmatic Equivalence:
How does the translator recreate the author's intention in another culture in such a way that enables the TC reader to understand it clearly?
Collocation – the tendency of certain words to co-occur regularly in a given language.

Problems of non-equivalence above word level and strategies for dealing with these issues:
Collocation problems –

a) The engrossing effect of source text patterning
b) Misinterpreting the meaning of a SL collocation
c) The tension between accuracy and naturalness
d) Culture specific collocation
e) Idioms and their collocated translation
Collocation strategies –
a) Using an idiom of similar meaning and form
b) Using an idiom of dissimilar meaning and form
c) Translation by paraphrase
d) Translation by omission
Back-Translated Idioms Not hanging noodles on your ears: (Russian)
To reheat cabbage: (Italian)
Like fingernail and dirt: (Spanish, Mexico)
An ant milker: (Arabic) Hannah Evans, Thomas Rudd, Lauren Pavitt & Charlotte Hedar 1990 Baker provides both theoretical information and guidance.

Translation is not just about finding an equivalent structure, but also about the use of language in a given social context.

Bottom-up approach is fairly comprehensive and allows us to consider the text as a whole.
Baker - conclusion Équivalence - when something is translated into another language it has the same cultural function
Friday 13th in English-language culture = Tuesday 13th in Spanish-language culture
Procedure which 'replicates the same situation as in the original, whilst using completely different wording'
Ideal method when dealing with proverbs, idioms, clichés, nominal or adjectival phrases and the onomatopoeia of animal sounds

Vinay and Darbelnet Seven general strategies to attain equivalence Translation Strategies 1. LOAN
- Used to overcome a lacuna
- Well-established borrowings such as 'menu' and 'déjà vu' have become part of the English language

- A borrowed expression translated literally
e.g. Adam's apple - Pomme d'Adam
Honeymoon - Luna de miel
Teddy Bear - Teddybär

Literal Translation
- Direct transfer of SL text into a grammatically and idiomatically appropriate TL text
- Most common between languagaes of the same family Direct Oblique Transposition
- Switching of grammatical categories.
E.g. Expéditeur: From:
(noun) (preposition)

- Variation of the form of the message
E.g. Peu profond Shallow

- Use of corresponding proverbs and referents.
E.g. “Aïe” “Ouch.”

Like a bull in a China shop Comme un chien dans un jeu de quilles

- Situational equivalence i.e. referring to different things with loosely equivalent cultural functions
E.g. Tour de France Baseball

Further up the list = closer to the source
Down the list = closer to the target language

Several methods can be used within the same sentence, and some translations come under a whole complex of methods so that it is difficult to distinguish them.

A transposition, a modulation, and a correspondence.
Translation is: "the replacement of textual material in one language (SL) by equivalent material in another language (TL)”

- Source and target texts can be viewed as sets of structures
- Structural differences between translations and their sources may be described as “translation shifts,” "departures from formal correspondence.” John Catford Level shifts
- SL item at one linguistic level (e.g. grammar) has a TL equivalent at a different level (e.g. lexis)
E.g. the French future tense endings are represented in English by the auxiliary verb ‘will’

Category shifts
- A grammatical change between the structure of the ST and that of the TT

- 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

- Changes in rank e.g. longer sentences are broken into smaller sentences for ease of translation

Intra-system shifts,
- Selection of a non-corresponding term in the TL system' e.g. when the SL singular becomes a TL plural.
Translation Shifts
- Relationship between a SL term and a TL term can be expressed as a probability
1 means ‘absolute certainty’
0 means ‘absolute impossibility’

If A is always translated as A’ - one-to-one equivalence e.g. Cat Gato

A probability of less than one indicates variation in the lexical choices made by the translator
e.g. Key Llave/clave/tecla/tonalidad
Roman Jakobson Russian-American literary critic and linguist
Influenced by 'Structuralism' of Ferdinand de Saussure.
Saussure in a Nutshell THE SIGNIFIER: the sound image THE SIGNIFIED: the concept THE REFERENT: the real object referred to Language may be analysed as a formal system of different elements which became the founding idea for structural linguistics. Jakobson... “entire purpose of translation is achieving full linguistic equivalence- the target text must match the source text as fully as possible." Intersemiotic Interlingual Intralingual JAKOBSON'S 3 TYPES OF TRANSLATION the rewording or paraphrasing, summarizing or commenting within a language the traditional concept of translation from source
text to target text


“the shifting of meaning from one language
to another.” the changing of a written text...

...into a different form...

such as art or dance... Interlingual Signifier, e.g. "teddy" ACTIVITY! "cool cat" Draw the 'signified' concept in your groups. Between words of different languages there is usually no full equivalence between code-units. Cheese (English)
Cottage Cheese Käse (German)
Queso (Spanish)
Requesón Tvarok Sand (English)
Sand (German)
Arena (Spanish)
Sable (French)
песок (Russian)

Sky (English)
Himmel (German)
Cielo (Spanish)
Ciel (French)
небо (Russian)
Cloud (English)
Wolke (German)
Nube (Spanish)
Nuage (French)
о́блако (Russian) Sea (English)
Meer (German)
Mar (Spanish)
Mer (French)
мо́ре (Russian) Palm tree (English)
Palme (German)
Palmera (Spanish)
Palmier (French)
па́льма (Russian)

Parasol (English)
Sonnenschirm (German)
Parasol (Spanish)
Ombrelle (French)
зо́нтик (Russian)

Deck chair (English)
Liegestuhl (German)
Tumbona (Spanish)
Transat (French)
Jakobson: cross-linguistic difference centred around obligatory grammatical and lexical forms. They differ on the level of: GENDER of words: 'sea' is neuter in English and German, feminine in French and masculine in Spanish. ASPECT: in Russian the verb morphology varies according to whether the action has been completed or not. SEMANTIC value: Friday 13th in English means unlucky day, but in Greece, Spain and Latin America this would have no sense as their unlucky day lies on a Tuesday. Jakobson says from a grammatical point of new languages may differ from one another to a greater or lesser degree but this does not mean that a translation is not possible.
He says: "wherever there is a deficiency, terminology may be qualified, amplified by loanword and loan-translations." Where there are gaps in languages, languages often borrow words from other languages, where there is an existing equivalent. LOAN WORDS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE FRENCH
Déja vu
faux pas
haute couture GERMAN
poltergeist Albino
Chile con carne
opera Other languages also borrow English words.
For example: German currently has 5000 English words in it's vocabularly.

Not only does the English word replace a semantic gap, English words carry a 'signal function' - they signalise technical know how, group identity, modernity and youth. ENGLISH MARKETING GONE WRONG... "Come in and find out!" CRITICISM OF EQUIVALENCE 3.In a postmodern age, equivalence presupposes that things are stable. 2.Equivalence presupposes that there are 2 separate sides that are equal value. 1.Equivalence does
not always get
through the idea of functionalism (cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr Skopos Theory Asymmetry between cultures Indeterminacy the act of observation is not neutral because the observer influences the thing observed and because it is not possible to observe everything at once. Quine: 'gavagai!'- How can we be certain that this means 'rabbit'?
Nida 'The Science of Translating' Toward a Science of Translating - 1964
Dynamic & Formal Equivalence Meaning and equivalence Vinay & Darbalnet 1950 OR OR Probability Syr Helped to translate the Bible into more than 200 languages
Idea was to incorporate native culture and idiom into the Bible story
With this the meaning and intentions are conveyable into any language
The Theory and Practice of Translation (co-authored with Charles Taber) - 1969 Linguistic Meaning Nida's 'scientific approaches to meaning' Referential Meaning Emotive Meaning (Based on Chomsky's theory) ('Dictionary meaning') (connotative meaning) Dynamic Equivalence Formal Equivalence Dynamic & Formal Equivalence Nida's concepts which replace the classic 'literal', 'free' and 'faithful' approaches to translation the message in the receptor language should match as closely as possible the different elements in the source language formal equivalence aims to translate a text word-for-word 'formal correspondence' 'functional equivalence' Nida calls it 'the principle of equivalent effect' orientated towards ST structure, which exerts strong influence in determining accuracy and correctness "A translator of a text involving significant cultural differences is like a juggler trying to catch and toss a variety of objects all at the same time. Accordingly, a translator must establish certain priorities:(1) contextual consistency should have priority over purely verbal consistency, (2) dynamic equivalence has priority over formal correspondence, (3) orality has priority over purely scribal forms, and (4) expressions that are useb by and are acceptable to the intended audience have priority over expressions that may be traditionally more prestigious" Nida & Taber (1969): the message is tailored to the recptors linguistic needs and cultural expectation Nida claims 'naturalness' is key aim for any translation recptor-orientated approach which aims to convey the message of a source text while considering adaptations to grammar, lexicon and cultural references Lefevere (1993)- overly concerned with word level Criticisms to this approach van den Broeck (1978) & Larose (1989) - quesions surrounding the plausability of equivalent effect Gentzler 'Contemporary Translation Theories' (2001) - heavily critical of Nida's approach on equivalence French:
Qui veut gagner des millions
Who wants to win millions Who Wants to be a Millionaire? Polish:
Millionaires Who wants to be a Millionaire? Vietnamese:
Ai là triệu phú
Who is the millionaire Who wants to be a Millionaire? Dutch:
Weekend-Lotto-Millions Who wants to be a Millionaire? German:
Wer wird Millionär
Who becomes (a) millionaire Russian:
Who wants to become a millionaire Signified concept Conclusion Which of the theoretical approaches discussed today are you most likely to adopt?

Why is equivalence an important concept for translation theory?

Think of 5 English words for which it would be difficult to find an equivalent term for in your target language.
Discussion Points:
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