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Lecture 5. Basic translation theories

1. What interrelated operations does one fulfill in the process of translation?

The basic theoretical approaches to translation transformational, denotative and communicational.


2. What is translation according to the transformational approach?

Translation according to the transformational approach is viewed as the transformation of objects and structures of the source language into those of the target. According to the transformational approach translation is a set of multi-level replacements of a text in one language by a text in another governed by specific transformation rules? According to this interpretation a transformation starts at the syntactic level when there is a change i.e. when we alter the word order during translation. In the transformational approach we shall distinguish 3 levels of substitutions:

a. morphological equivalencies (morphemes of the target language are substituted for those of the source),

b. lexical equivalencies (words and word combinations of the target language are substituted for those of the source)

For example, room is transformed into or or Zimmer

c. Syntactic equivalencies (syntactic structures) and/or transformations.

regular equivalent

Examples: The sea is warm tonight (equivalence between the original sentence and its translation is regular and the concept pertaining to the whole sentence can be divided into its individual components).


3. What are the steps involved in translation according to the denotative approach?

Translation according to the denotative approach is based on the idea of denotatum. According to denotative approach the process of translation is not just mere substitution but consists of the following mental operations:

Translator reads (hears) a message in the source language

Translator finds a denotatum and concept that correspond to this message

Translator formulates a message in the target language relevant to the above denotatum and concept

The relationship between the source and target word forms is occasional rather than regular.

Occasional equivalent -

Example: staff only , (equivalence between the original sentence and its translation is occasional and the concept pertaining to the whole sentence cant be divided into individual components)


4. What are the principal differences between transformational and denotative approach?

The principal difference between the two approaches is


5. What is translation according to the communicational approach? What is the key to successful translation according to this approach?

Communication may be defined as an act of sending and receiving information, which is called a message. In order to formulate a message we use our system of interrelated data, which is called thesaurus. There are 2 kinds of thesauruses in verbal communication: language thesaurus (is a system of our knowledge about the language which we use to formulate a message) and subject one (is a system of our knowledge about the content of the mes.).

the message sender formulates the mental content of his or her message using subject thesaurus, encodes it using the verbal forms of language thesaurus, and conveys it to the message recipient, who decodes the message also using language thesaurus and interprets the message using subject thesaurus as well. the thesauruses of message sender and recipient may be different to a greater or lesser degree, and that is why we sometimes do not understand each other even when we think we are speaking one and the same language.

In translation, we have three actors: sender, recipient, and intermediary (translator). The translator has two language thesauruses (source and target one) and performs two functions: decodes the source message and encodes the target one. Communicational theory of translation describes the process of translation as an act of special bilingual communication in which the translator acts as a special communication intermediary, making it possible to understand a message sent in a different language.

According to the communicational approach translation is a message sent by a translator to a particular user and the adequacy of translation depends on similarity of their background information rather than only on linguistic correctness.

Example: Several new schools appeared in the area.

the message sender, being a fisherman and using relevant subject thesaurus, by schools meant large number of fish swimming together rather than institutions for educating children, and the correct translation then had to be:

whereas the translator who presumably did not have relevant information in his subject thesaurus translated schools as institutions for educating children:

Which naturally lead to misunderstanding (miscommunication).

Highlights is a very important aspect of translation


Date: 2014-12-29; view: 1711

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