A Brief Look at the Quality of a Translation Essay
A Brief Look at the Quality of a Translation
Abstract The article is an evaluative work on a translation of Faulkner’s Sanctuary by Farhad Qebraii. To do so the standard norms are got from Blum Kulka’s article “shifts of cohesion and coherence in translation” and the level of accepted changes through the translation is considered. The translation by Qebraii is accepted as a qualified one based on the factors analyzed through the paper. Introduction Through the process of translation some changes occur within the form (Surface Structure) and the meaning components (Deep Structure) of the source text. These changes are considered to be inevitable in translation.
Due to the differences in the grammatical structures and linguistic features of languages there seem a logical reason for such a phenomenon . In 1986, Shoshana Blum-Kulka in her article ‘Shifts of cohesion and coherence in translation’ went through the changes (shifts as she calls) in translation. She made a comparison between the structure of the source and that of the target language and elaborated on the logical shifts that may occur through the process of translation. Here, the aim of the evaluation is to assess the quality of the translated version of the work ‘Sanctuary’ by William Faulkner.
To do so, the structural features of both English and Persian language (as SL&TL) should be investigated and based on that and the concept of Blum-Kulka’s article assess the quality of translation. According to what Blum-Kulka says in her article, the negotiation of meaning between different parts of a text is based on the assumption that subsequent turns are related to each other in Coherent ways. This is the covert relationship between the parts, but there is another unity, visible in the surface structure of the text, which is called Cohesion.
These two elements change through the translation process to naturalize the target text. But sometimes the high level of changes brings about some mismatches between TT and ST which lower the quality of translation. The overall purpose of this paper would be detecting these aspects from BlumKulka’s view point. Whether the translation is qualified or not is somehow a subjective matter just because of the unique elements belonging to translation. From the very beginning, there have been conflicts among those who regard translation as a work of art and those with scientific approaches.
There have been too many translations with high level of acceptability and, when checked, no signs of newly arrived norms for translation. These all indicate that in this field there seem not to exist a categorical law and what is taken as a qualified translation in artistic viewpoint may lack the quality of a good work in scientific scope. Methodology To evaluate the quality, there would be one by one comparison between the meaningful units of both ST and TT of the work. These all would be done with regard to linguistic features of both English and Persian.
To do so, in discussion section of the paper there would be a brief explanation about the linguistic features ( specially grammatical points) of both languages to clarify some necessary points. To a further study and in a more precise way there would be several exemplifications and for each enough supporting ideas based on Blum-Kulka’s article. Finally, the conducted work would lead to an eventual conclusion to show the quality of the work based on the factors mentioned within the paper. Discussion Over a long period of time there have been too many discussions on the notion of translation.
Whether it is an art or a science, or maybe a mixture of both has been the fundamental issue of majority of the cases. If the literature is reviewed, there seem to be no clear criterion to clarify the notion of translation. Here, I want to offer my own understanding of the matter. To the best of my knowledge due to the fact that when translating we deal with several subjects such as culture, history, scientific issues, linguistic features of languages, and semantic structures of both ST and TT, the translator should have general knowledge of both source and target language.
This means that for sure translation is partly a science because the translator is supposed to have a complete knowledge of both languages. But there is a significant point here which deals with artistic aspect of the matter. Imagine there is a peace of poem or other sort of literary text which is to be translated. Here the translator is expected to consider both semantic and syntactic structures of the source text along with the unwritten sense and emotions of the poem which are to be instilled by the other elements in the structure of the work.
If the translator loses the artistic sense of the work through the process of translation the final work would be regarded as an ordinary and not highly qualified work because no special attention has been paid to the extra linguistic features of the work. So to evaluate the translated work of a text some fundamental cornerstones should be regarded. First the translator must determine the text. By this he can choose the correct translation method regarding the text structural features. Then and with respect to the method the translator starts the work.
Now the final work must observe some necessary cornerstones of a qualified translation if the steps and the notions are regarded. In this article the main purpose is to look at the translating elements of the work Sanctuary by William Faulkner with respect to Blum Kulka’s article and assess the quality of the translation. To do so first there is a brief look at the structural traits of both Persian and English as two ends of the work and then find some examples from the texts to clarify the notion. At the next step the level of the correctness is evaluated based on Blum Kulka’s article about cohesion and coherence.
Finally the work is evaluated according to the factors mentioned through the paper. In English it is usual to find wide variety of complex sentences with highly descriptive adjectives within different sorts of texts, and specially novels. This is while in Persian due to grammatical structure of the sentences there seem not to be such a case and, except for some high literary texts, in majority of the cases there occur more clearly written sentences in a simple form. This significant difference brings about some mismatches through the process of translation.
More often than not Persian translators try to break the complex structures of the long English sentences into more concise and highly clear sentences in their translation. In the work Sanctuary William Faulkner does not use complex sentences and transfers the intentioned sense by some crystal clear sentences but when checked we can get that Qebraii, the translator, has professionally transferred the original sense by making the most approximate sentence structures which are really like the source ones. Some examples are made here: 1.
His face had a queer, bloodless color, as though seen by electric light; against the sunny silence, in his slanted straw hat and his slightly akimbo arms, he had that vicious depthless quality of stamped tin. ? ???? ?? ??? ????? ????? ???? ???? ?? ???? ?????? ????? ??? ??? ????? ??????? ????.?? ?? ???? ????????????? ?? ?? ???? ????? ?? ??? ??? ????? ?????? ? ??????? ?? ?? ??? ??? ???? ?? ???? ???? ????? ??? ?? ??? .??????? In this part of the translation we can clearly find out that the translator has tried his best not to miss the original surface structure of the sentence by following the form of the English version in Persian structure.
He has done this in a very precise and accurate way and there seem to be only a nuance of difference in the translation version of the work. But it seems that Mr Qebraii has devoted the sense for the surface structure of the work where he misses some pieces of messages in his translations. Look at the part “His face had a queer, bloodless color…” here the translator keeps the original structure remained in the translation but the sense is not transferred thoroughly. Bloodless is translated as “? ”???? ?? ???? which seems not to be an accurate equivalence.
It was better to use more artistic phrase instead of this emotionless correspondence. Here Mr Qebraii has paid too much attention to the structure rather than the message and the sense. Or “sunny silence “ is rendered as “? ”???? ????? ?????? the same story happens here. 2. The other man’s coat was still across his ar. He lifted his other hand toward the coat, out of one pocket of which protruded a crushed felt hat, from the other a book. ? ??? ??? ?? ??? ???? ???? ?? ??? ?????? ???. ??? ????? ?? ?? ??? ??? ??? ???? ?? ??? ?? ??? ???? ???? ?????.?????? ?? ????? ?? ? ?? ??? ???? ??????
The grammatical structure of the source text is remained untouched through the process of translation. We have the most approximate structure in the translated version along with clear understanding of the sentence in which there is the same message as the original. This indicates that the translator has been successful in transferring both the structure and the sense of the source text. At the last part of the sentence we see the phrase “a book” which appropriately is transferred into Persian with the exact surface structure and sense and also the form of the sentence is kept untouched.
In above mentioned examples we can draw the conclusion that with regard to the structural differences between Persian and English and the form of the sentences in these two languages the translator has been so successful in keeping the form of the sentences identical in both versions, the original and the Persian translation of the work. Now we refer to Blum Kulka’s article. According to what she suggests in her article, in a text there are two significant notions; cohesion and coherence by name. Cohesion is an overt relationship holding between parts of the text, expressed by language specific markers.
Coherence, on the other hand, means a covert potential meaning relationship among parts of a text, made overt by listener or reader through the process of interpretation. On the both levels there exist differences between the languages. When a text is translated from one language into another the level of text coherence or cohesion is changed based on the structural features of the target language.
These changes are considered to be logical to some extent. But if the level of shifts are too much the translation would be classified as an under standard translation and the quality would be in a low level. Through the following part the shift in Cohesion and the Coherence of the texts will be detected. Coherence: As pointed out by Hallyday and Hasan (1976) cohesion ties do much more than provide continuity and thus create the semantic unity of the text. Particularly in literature, the choice of cohesive markers can serve several functions in the text. Accordingly the translator is supposed to observe the accepted level of shifts through his translation which is due to language differences.
To some extent the shifts in cohesion is acceptable but if the changes are too much the translation would be of low quality. In this point of the paper we want to take a look at the coherence of the sentences of the work Sanctuary and that of its translation “? ”????? by Farhad Qebraii. As mentioned earlier, coherence is not a clear notion and does not have a visible marker in the text. Any audience or reader will get the semantic relationship between the text components through some sorts of interpretations.
We all know that any component in the text has a relationship with the other components and they all get together to transfer a unified message. Now if the subcategorized elements in the texts are changed due to translation process there may emerge a mismatch between the source and the target text. These changes may occur due to cultural, historic, or lingual differences in languages. In sanctuary there seem to be no cultural factors which cannot be translated into Persian and Qebraii has transferred somehow the all message completely into Persian.
So we can say that this translation is highly qualified from the coherence point of view. Cohesion: On the level of cohesion, shifts will occur through the translation in a way that the translation seems to be more explicit than the original work and this is common in almost all the cases. But for a translation to be of high level of quality the translator should try his best to keep the unwritten messages and covert factors untouched and do not use too much terminology to express the meaning explicitly. In the work Sanctuary the author has made concise sentences to bring about succinctness and beauty in his text.
We see that the translator has kept this factor remained in the target text. As an example, Qebraii has translated the part “The other man stopped his hand. ”it’s a book” to “?. )??? ??? ?? ???? ????. (????? Here we see that Qebraii has not made the translation more explicit rather he has shorten the length of the Persian sentence with regard to the message not be lost through the translation process. Of course in the above example there is a shift in the form of the sentence from active to passive which has exacerbate the quality of the translation because the meaning is not transferred appropriately.
But altogether the sentences are formed in a way that they are similar to the original one. The crux of the matter is that no one can certainly put the label of good or bad translation to any work and it goes without saying that evaluation of translations is a subjective act. But based on the detections it seems that most of the translation criteria are observed in this case and farhad Qebraii has kept the structure and the message along with each other almost through the whole part of the work. Thus his work is ranked among the highly qualified translations even if there are some translation mismatches in his translation.
Implications and Applications The crux of the matter is that, no progression is made when no evaluative research is conducted. Any developed phenomenon has its progressive background through which there has occurred variety of investigations. When checked and have a spectrum of works under control through the time, the deficiencies will be singled out and reformed. No one can claim that his work has been in its recent high position from the very beginning. Hence, there is a none written role of thumb necessitating us to discuss any work and come up with constructive comments on it .
To cover what is said the translation of the ‘Sanctuary’ will be worked on and any weak and strong point will be mentioned through the main paper. It is hoped that such an assessment would influence the translators and make them try their best to create highly acceptable works and we see a developmental process in this field. References Khazaeefar, A. (1388). A textbook of literary Translation. Tehran: Samt Publication Newmark, P. (1988). A Textbook of Translation. Prentice Hall Blum-Kulka, Sh. Shifts of Cohesion and Coherence in Translation.