Equivalence in Translation Essay
Equivalence in Translation
Professionally, however, the term translation is | |confined to the written, and the term interpretation to the spoken (Newmark, 1991: 35). If confined to a written language, translation is a | |cover term with three distinguishable meanings: 1) translating, the process (to translate; the activity rather than the tangible object), 2)| |a translation: the product of the process of translating (e. g. the translated text), and 3) translation: the abstract concept which | |encompasses both the process of translating and the product of that process Bell (1991: 13).
The term ‘translation’ used and discussed | |throughout this paper is confined to the written language, and refers to both the product and process of translating. | | | |The definitions of translation suggested above imply that producing the same meaning or message in the target language text as intended by | |the original author is the main objective of a translator. This notion of ‘sameness’ is often understood as an equivalence relation between | |the source and target texts.
This equivalence relation is generally considered the most salient feature of a quality translation. | | | |2. Problems of Equivalence | | | |The principle that a translation should have an equivalence relation with the source language text is problematic. There are three main | |reasons why an exact equivalence or effect is difficult to achieve. Firstly, it is impossible for a text to have constant interpretations | |even for the same person on two occasions (Hervey, Higgins and Haywood (1995: 14).
According to these translation scholars: | | | |before one could objectively assess textual effects, one would need to have recourse to a fairly detailed and exact theory of psychological | |effect, a theory capable, among other things, of giving an account of the aesthetic sensations that are often paramount in response to a | |text (Hervey, Higgins and Haywood (1995: 14). | | | |Secondly, translation is a matter of subjective interpretation of translators of the source language text. Thus, producing an objective | |effect on the target text readers, which is the same as that on the source text readers is an unrealistic expectation.
Thirdly, it may not | |be possible for translators to determine how audiences responded to the source text when it was first produced (ibid, p. 14). Miao (2000) | |gives a specific example of the impossibility of the equivalence relation: | | | |If an original was written centuries ago and the language of the original is difficult to comprehend for modern readers, then a simplified | |translation may well have greater impact on its readers that the original had on the readers in the source culture.
No translator would | |hinder the reader’s comprehension by using absolute expressions in order to achieve equivalent effect (Miao, 2000: 202) | | | |Because the target text can never be equivalent to the source text at all levels, researchers have distinguished different types of | |equivalence (Lauscher, 2000: 151). Nida (1964) suggests formal and dynamic or functional equivalence. Formal equivalence focuses attention | |on the message itself, in both form and content. It requires that the message in the target language should match as closely as possible the| |different elements in the source language (p.159).
Dynamic equivalence is based on the principle of equivalent effect, where the | |relationship between the receptor and message should be substantially the same as that which existed between the original receptors and the | |message (p. 159). Newmark (1981) makes a distinction between communicative and semantic translation. Like Nida’s dynamic equivalence, | |communicative translation also tries to create the effect on the target text reader which is the same as that received by readers of the | |source language text.
Koller (1997) proposes denotative, connotative, pragmatic, textual, formal and aesthetic equivalence. Munday (2001) | |describes these five different types of equivalence as follows: | |1. Denotative equivalence is related to equivalence of the extralinguistic content of a text. | |2. Connotative equivalence is related to the lexical choices, especially between near-synonyms. | |3. Text-normative equivalence is related to text types, with texts behaving in different ways. | |4. Pragmatic equivalence, or ‘communicative equivalence’, is oriented towards the receiver of the text or message. | |5.
Formal equivalence is related to the form and aesthetics of the text, includes word plays and the individual stylistic features of the | |source text (p. 47). | | | |Baker (1992) classifies various problems of equivalence in translation and suggests some strategies to deal with them. Adopting a bottom-up | |approach, she begins with simple words and phrases and continues with grammatical, textual and pragmatic equivalences. | | | |3. Strategies to solve problems of equivalence | | | |As has been mentioned above, problems of equivalence occur at various levels, ranging from word to textual level.
The equivalence problems | |emerge due to semantic, socio-cultural, and grammatical differences between the source language and the target language. These three areas | |of equivalence problems are intertwined with one another. The meaning(s) that a word refers to are culturally bound, and in most cases the | |meaning(s) of a word can only be understood through its context of use. | | | |Due to semantic, socio-cultural, grammatical differences between the source language and the target language, loss and addition of | |information in translation cannot be avoided.
Basnett-McGuire (1991) states that once the principle is accepted that sameness cannot exist | |between the two languages, it is possible to approach the question of loss and gain in the translation process (p. 30). Bell (1991: 6) | |suggests a similar point that ‘something’ is always lost or, one might suggest, gained in the process, and according to Nida (1975), “all | |types of translation involve 1) loss of information, 2) addition of information, and /or 3) skewing of information” (p. 27). To conform to | |the stylistic demands and grammatical conventions of the target language, structural adjustment in translation is inevitably needed.
These | |possibilities are expanded below. | | | |3. 1 Addition of information | | | |Information which is not present in the source language text may be added to the target language text. According to Newmark (1988: 91), | |information added to the translation is normally cultural (accounting for the differences between SL and TL culture), technical (relating to| |the topic), or linguistic (explaining wayward use of words). The additional information may be put in the text (i. e. by putting it in | |brackets) or out of the text (i.e. by using a footnote or annotation).
Such additional information is regarded as an extra explanation of | |culture-specific concepts (Baker, 1992) and is obligatory specification for comprehension purposes. Native speakers of Batak Tapanuli | |language (the native language of Batak community in North Sumatra), for example, have the word marhusip which literally means ‘to whisper’. | |If the word marhusip is used in the context of discussing marriage within the community in question, its meaning is more than ‘to whisper’.
| |It refers specifically to a situation where family members of the bride meet family members of the groom to talk about the dowry. In the | |meeting, family members of the bride whisper with one another while deciding the amount of dowry they ask from the groom. Family members of | |the groom also do they same thing while deciding whether to accept or reject it. In this context, the word marhusip may be translated into | |’to whisper’, but additional information to clarify the meaning of marhusip is needed to help target readers understand its underlying | |concept.
| | | |Addition of information for specification purposes is also required “if ambiguity occurs in the receptor language formation and if the fact | |that greater specificity may be required so as to avoid misleading reference” (Nida, 1964: 227). It would be misleading, for example, if the| |word men in Tannen is an apologist for men is translated into para pria in Indonesian. The reason is that it does not actually refer to men | |in general but to American men in particular, who became the focus of Tannen’s study on male-female interactions.
It can be argued that | |translators should add the word Amerika to the Indonesian version to avoid ambiguity or to avoid a misleading interpretation of the outcomes| |of the study by Indonesian readers (Nababan, 2003). | | | |Amplification from implicit to explicit status is another factor that requires additions. In relation to this, Nida (1964) states that | |’important semantic elements carried implicitly in the source language may require explicit identification in the receptor language’ (p. | |227).
In a given context, the meaning of the sentence, This rule is to round to the nearest even number, is implicitly stated and can easily| |be understood by readers of the original text (See Nababan, 1989 and 1999) If translated into Indonesian, an addition of information of | |suatu angka yang berada pada dua batas kategori (a number lying between two categories) and alteration of word class (the active verb | |membulatkan into the passive verb dibulatkan) are required to achieve grammaticality and produce an explicit meaning for Indonesian readers.
| |It is by convention the Indonesian transitive verb membulatkan, as the equivalence of to round, needs an object. In such case, that sentence| |should be rendered into: | | | |Target sentence: | |Menurut aturan pembulatan ini, suatu angka yang berada pada batas dua kategori dibulatkan ke angka genap terdekat. | | | |Back-translation: | |According to the rule, a number lying between two categories is rounded to the nearest even number.
| | | |Addition of information may also be required due to the shift of voice and the alteration of word classes to avoid misinterpretation (Nida, | |1964: 227). The word cut in I cut my finger is an active voice. If translated into Indonesian, the word class should be changed into a | |passive one, tersayat (was cut) and the addition of oleh pisau (with knife) is needed if a native speaker of Indonesian means that he or she| |did it by accident. There are also cases where two languages use a different class of words and a different level of utterances to denote | |the same meaning.
The adjective adjustable in I have an adjustable chair is changed or translated into an adjective clause yang dapat | |disetel (which can be adjusted) in which the addition of yang (which) is obligatory to achieve grammaticality. | | | |3. 2 Deletion of information | | | |Baker (1992: 40) refers to deletion as “omission of a lexical item due to grammatical or semantic patterns of the receptor language” (Baker,| |1992: 40). She states further that | | | |this strategy may sound rather drastic, but in fact it does no harm to omit translating a word or expression in some contexts.
If the | |meaning conveyed by a particular item or expression is not vital enough to the development of the text to justify distracting the reader | |with lengthy explanations, translators can and often do simply omit translating the word or expression in question (Baker, 1992: 40). | | | |There are cases where omission is required to avoid redundancy and awkwardness (Nida, 1964: 228) and this strategy is particularly applied | |if the source language tends be a redundant language.
The category of plural in English is both morphologically conditioned (e.g. | |child/children, mouse/mice), and phonologically conditioned (e. g. book/books, box/boxes, pen/pens). In some circumstances, a plural noun is | |also preceded by a determiner showing plurality (some books, three pens). If the ‘double’ expression of such category is reflected in | |Indonesian, redundancy will occur. It is by convention that the category of plural in Indonesian is lexically formed by repetition of the | |noun buku-buku (book-book) or by adding a noun quantifier such as beberapa (some) or tiga (three).
Once a given noun is in the plural form, | |the quantifier has to be deleted. On the other hand, once there exists a quantifier denoting plurality, the noun in question should be in | |the singular form or the repetition of the noun should be avoided. | | | |As implicitly stated by Baker (1992: 40) above, deletion may also refer to pieces of content rather than restructuring for grammatical | |purposes. Such a deletion of expressions or information is debatable in relation to the translation of academic texts, however.
Anyone who | |writes an academic text, for example, will not include unimportant information in his or her writing. Similarly, anyone who reads such a | |text should consider that all information in the text is important. Translators are not an exception; they should read the text as the | |original reader or a non-translator reader reads it. That is to say that this notion of information deletion should not be used as ‘an | |excuse’ to hide the inability of translators to understand and transfer message of the original text. | | | |3.
3. Structural adjustment | | | |Structural adjustment is another important strategy for achieving equivalence. Structural adjustment which is also called shift (see | |Catford, 1965) or transposition (see Vinay and Darbellnet, 1977) or alteration (see Newmark, 1988) refers to a change in the grammar from SL| |to TL (Newmark, 1988: 85). Similarly, Bell (1991: 6) states that to shift from one language to another is, by definition, to alter the | |forms. The alteration of form may mean changes of categories, word classes, and word orders.
Structural adjustment, according to Nida (1964:| |226), has various purposes, including: 1) to permit adjustment of the form of the message to the requirements of structure of the receptor | |language, 2) to produce semantically equivalent structures, 3) to provide equivalent stylistic appropriateness, and 4) to carry an | |equivalent communication load. | | | |Newmark (1988: 85-87) divides the shift of forms into four types. One type of shift is the change from singular to plural or in the position| |of adjective.
The position of an adjective in English, for example, may occur before a noun (i.e. a difficult text) or before and after a | |noun (i. e. a difficult text available in the library). An adjective in Indonesian always comes before a noun. Therefore, a difficult text | |and a difficult text available in the library should be translated into sebuah teks sulit (a difficult text) and sebuah teks sulit yang | |tersedia di perpustakaan itu (a difficult text which is available in the library or a difficult text available in the library) respectively. | |A second type of shift is required when a SL grammatical structure does not exist in the TL.
In English, for example, cohesive devices such | |as however and nevertheless may be put at the beginning or in the middle of a sentence. In Indonesian, such cohesive devices always occur at| |the beginning of a sentence. The third type of shift is the one where literal translation is grammatically possible but may not accord with | |natural usage in the TL. The English sentence The man to whom she is talking on the phone lives in Jakarta can be translated literally into | |Laki-laki kepada siapa dia sedang berbicara di telepon tinggal di Jakarta. This literal translation is accurate in content but doesn’t sound| |Indonesian .
To conform to natural usage in Indonesian, the structure of the sentence should be adjusted into Laki-laki yang sedang | |berbicara dengannya di telpon tinggal di Jakarta (The man who is talking to her on the phone lives in Jakarta). The fourth type of | |transposition is the replacement of a virtual lexical gap by a grammatical structure (see Newmark, 1988: 87). | |In addition to the types of alteration described above, alterations of word classes (i. e. shifts from one class of words to another or from | |word level to phrase or clause level) are also required due to grammatical differences between the source and target languages.
The | |preposition with in I am married with three young girls is changed into a conjunction dan (and), and the verb mempunyai needs to be added in| |Indonesian. The prepositional phrase in red in The woman in red is my wife is altered into an adjective clause yang berbaju merah (who wears| |the red clothes). | | | | | |References | | | |Baker, M. 1992. In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation. London: Sage Publication. | |Bell, R. T. 1991. Translation and Translating:
Theory and Practice. London: Longman. | |Bassnett-McGuire, S. 1991. Translation Studies. New York: Methuen & Co.Ltd. | |Catford, J. C. 1965. A Linguistic Theory of Translation. London: Longman. | |Hervey, S. , Higgins, I. , and Haywood, L. M. 1995. Thinking Spanish Translation: A Course in Translation Method: Spanish into English. | |
London; New York: Routledge. | |Koller, W. 1995. “The concept of equivalence and the object of translation studies”. Target, 7 (2), 191-222. | |Miao, J. 2000. “The limitations of equivalent effect”. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology, Vol. 8. No. 3, 197-205. | |Munday, J. 2001. Introducing Translation Studies. London; New York: Routledge. | |Nababan, M. R. 2003.
“Translation Processes, Practices and Products of Professional Indonesian Translators. Unpublished Ph. D. Thesis. Schools| |of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. | |_________. 1999. Teori Menerjemah Bahasa Inggris. Yogyakarta: Pustaka Pelajar. | |_________. 1989. “Analisis terjemahan buku Research Methods and Analysis: Searching for Relationship karya Michael H. Walizer dan Paul, W. | |Wienir ke dalam bahasa Indonesia oleh Sadiman dan Hutagaol”. Unpublished Thesis. Surakarta: Universitas Sebelas Maret. | |Newmark, P. 1991. About Translation.
Great Britain: Longdunn Press, Ltd. | |__________. 1988. A Textbook of Translation. New York: Prentice-Hall International. | |__________. 1981. Approaches to Translation. Oxford: Pergamon Press | |Nida, E. 1975. Language Structure and Translation. Standford, California: Standford University Press. | |______. 1964. Towards a Science of Translating. Leiden: Brill. | |Vinay, J. P. and Darbelnet, J. 1965. Stylistique Comparee du Francois et de L’angalis. Paris: Didier. | http://www. proz. com/translation-articles/articles/2071/1/EQUIVALENCE-IN-TRANSLATION%3A–SOME-PROBLEM-SOLVING-STRATEGIES