The concept of equivalence in translation

Classical Indian translation is characterized by loose adaptation, rather than the closer translation more commonly found in Europe; and Chinese translation theory identifies various criteria and limitations in translation.

The concept of equivalence in translation

Between Myth and Reality by Vanessa Leonardi The comparison of texts in different languages inevitably involves a theory of equivalence. Equivalence can be said to be the central issue in translation although its definition, relevance, and applicability within the field of translation theory have caused heated controversy, and many different theories of the concept of equivalence have been elaborated within this field in the past fifty years.

These theorists have studied equivalence in relation to the translation process, using different approaches, and have provided fruitful ideas for further study on this topic.

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Their theories will be analyzed in chronological order so that it will be easier to follow the evolution of this concept. These theories can be substantially divided into three main groups.

The concept of equivalence highlights the relation between the source text and the target text. Translators should aim at transmitting the message as accurately as possible, while evoking the views, attitudes and emotions in the target audience that the source text evokes. The Concept of Equivalence in Translation Posted by Stacey on Mon, 05/26/ - Equivalence is one of the core concepts of translation, and often one of the best places to start when explaining the process of language translation. Equivalence can be said to be the central issue in translation although its definition, relevance, and applicability within the field of translation theory have caused heated controversy, and many different theories of the concept of equivalence have been elaborated within this field in the past fifty years.

In the first there are those translation scholars who are in favour of a linguistic approach to translation and who seem The concept of equivalence in translation forget that translation in itself is not merely a matter of linguistics.

In fact, when a message is transferred from the SL to TL, the translator is also dealing with two different cultures at the same time.

The concept of equivalence can be said to hold a central position in translation studies. Nevertheless, it has been a rather controversial one, causing many heated debates among translators as to. According to Eugene Nida, dynamic equivalence, the term as he originally coined, is the "quality of a translation in which the message of the original text has been so transported into the receptor language that the response of the receptor is essentially like that of the original receptors.". Within translation studies, there remains a certain amount of unnecessary discord concerning the use of the equivalence concept and its relevance for translation theory.

Finally, there are other translation scholars who seem to stand in the middle, such as Baker for instance, who claims that equivalence is used 'for the sake of convenience—because most translators are used to it rather than because it has any theoretical status' quoted in Kenny, They also suggest that, if this procedure is applied during the translation process, it can maintain the stylistic impact of the SL text in the TL text.

With regard to equivalent expressions between language pairs, Vinay and Darbelnet claim that they are acceptable as long as they are listed in a bilingual dictionary as 'full equivalents' ibid.: However, later they note that glossaries and collections of idiomatic expressions 'can never be exhaustive' ibid.: They conclude by saying that 'the need for creating equivalences arises from the situation, and it is in the situation of the SL text that translators have to look for a solution' ibid.: Indeed, they argue that even if the semantic equivalent of an expression in the SL text is quoted in a dictionary or a glossary, it is not enough, and it does not guarantee a successful translation.

They provide a number of examples to prove their theory, and the following expression appears in their list: Take one is a fixed expression which would have as an equivalent French translation Prenez-en un.

On the basis of his semiotic approach to language and his aphorism 'there is no signatum without signum' Intralingual within one language, i. This means that in interlingual translations there is no full equivalence between code units.

According to his theory, 'translation involves two equivalent messages in two different codes' ibid.: Jakobson goes on to say that from a grammatical point of view languages may differ from one another to a greater or lesser degree, but this does not mean that a translation cannot be possible, in other words, that the translator may face the problem of not finding a translation equivalent.

He acknowledges that 'whenever there is deficiency, terminology may be qualified and amplified by loanwords or loan-translations, neologisms or semantic shifts, and finally, by circumlocutions' ibid.: Jakobson provides a number of examples by comparing English and Russian language structures and explains that in such cases where there is no a literal equivalent for a particular ST word or sentence, then it is up to the translator to choose the most suitable way to render it in the TT.

There seems to be some similarity between Vinay and Darbelnet's theory of translation procedures and Jakobson's theory of translation.

Both theories stress the fact that, whenever a linguistic approach is no longer suitable to carry out a translation, the translator can rely on other procedures such as loan-translations, neologisms and the like. Both theories recognize the limitations of a linguistic theory and argue that a translation can never be impossible since there are several methods that the translator can choose.

The role of the translator as the person who decides how to carry out the translation is emphasized in both theories. Both Vinay and Darbelnet as well as Jakobson conceive the translation task as something which can always be carried out from one language to another, regardless of the cultural or grammatical differences between ST and TT.

Formal correspondence and dynamic equivalence Nida argued that there are two different types of equivalence, namely formal equivalence—which in the second edition by Nida and Taber is referred to as formal correspondence—and dynamic equivalence.

Examining Equivalence of Concepts and Measures in Diverse Samples

Formal correspondence 'focuses attention on the message itself, in both form and content', unlike dynamic equivalence which is based upon 'the principle of equivalent effect' In the second edition or their work, the two theorists provide a more detailed explanation of each type of equivalence.

Formal correspondence consists of a TL item which represents the closest equivalent of a SL word or phrase. Nida and Taber make it clear that there are not always formal equivalents between language pairs. They therefore suggest that these formal equivalents should be used wherever possible if the translation aims at achieving formal rather than dynamic equivalence.

The concept of equivalence in translation

The use of formal equivalents might at times have serious implications in the TT since the translation will not be easily understood by the target audience Fawcett, Equivalence Revisited: A Key Concept in Modern Translation Theory By Sergio Bolaños Cuellar Universidad Nacional de Colombia This paper attempts to discuss the importance, relevance and validity of the concept .

From the linguistic and text-theoretical perspective this objective is fulfilled by the concept of equivalence; a translation is defined as a secondary text that stands in an equivalence relation to a .

A literal translation is a useless translation – you have to understand the meaning behind the words.

The concept of equivalence in translation

Equivalence is a powerful tool in service of that goal, but it only works when you have a deep, comprehensive understanding of the process. Within translation studies, there remains a certain amount of unnecessary discord concerning the use of the equivalence concept and its relevance for translation theory.

In the interest of better understanding the various points of view, it seems helpful to consider different perspectives on this concept in light of the varying philosophical assumptions .

Dynamic and formal equivalence - Wikipedia

Abstract: Within translation studies, there remains a certain amount of unnecessary discord concerning the use of the equivalence concept and its relevance for translation theory. In the interest of better understanding the various points of view, it seems helpful to consider different perspectives on this concept in light of the varying philosophical assumptions on which they are based.

According to Eugene Nida, dynamic equivalence, the term as he originally coined, is the "quality of a translation in which the message of the original text has been so transported into the receptor language that the response of the receptor is essentially like that of the original receptors.".

Halverson: The Concept of Equivalence in Translation Studies