The Intricacies of Translation

November 26th, 2009
As the title suggests, translation is a very intricate and complicated process. Under the many kinds of human translation types, it's also one of the most difficult, just right next to literary translation and legal translation. Translation studies have long tried to provide the professional translation industry valid, logical, and systematic concepts to manage the communicative equation. Most certainly, translation services would be greatly improved if such an equation were to exist. However, there's a slight hitch in that sentiment; communicative events are hardly as determined and clear as mathematics, because communication is all about negotiating meaning with people in order to get a cooperative goal and convince others that the underlying message of a text is worth reading and may contribute to the improvement of the art. On that note, if human translation is considered a particular communicative process, the privileged notions for it are as follows:
  • Functional and/or semantic equivalence
  • Socio-communicative function
  • Semantic and/or pragmatic and rhetorical meaning
Factors that Affect Translation Regardless of whether or not you put it in the translation context, meaning signifies the cause, intention, message, and purpose as well as gives sense to a message's purposes. Professional translation agencies and freelance translation services regularly work to bring about this type of meaning in their work, such that meaning serves as their anchor between localization and equivalence. Moreover, this definition of meaning is much closer to the New Rhetoric School written about by luminaries like Bazerman, Miller, Medway, and Freedman than of the Paris School that's promulgated by Seleskovitch and Lederer because it is considered in this perspective an expression of personal intentions in a specific procedure through collective objectives. As for equivalence and how it affects translation, many experts believe that the traditional meaning behind this concept has nothing to do with linguistics, and that equality only attains rhetorical effect. As such, proper translation that works within the boundaries of language shouldn't be done by writing text that's identical or transliterated from the source document; it should instead be a dynamic process based on the combination of the following elements: rhetorical moves, cultural context, target audience, intentions, meaning, grammar, and so on. The practice of reading, interpreting, and translating a source text to a target text is also related to genre, which is not a formal mold external to text, but instead represents the text in its context. As such, genre affects the context, interpretation, and structure of a source text, which gives valuable information to translators when it comes to translating the work based on extratextual parameters.

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