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 Chapter 1 - A Comparative Study of Units of Translation in English-Persian Literary Translations
 Chapter 1 - A Comparative Study of Units of Translation in English-Persian Literary Translations
 Chapter 1 - A Comparative Study of Units of Translation in English-Persian Literary Translations
 Chapter 1 - A Comparative Study of Units of Translation in English-Persian Literary Translations
 Chapter 1 - A Comparative Study of Units of Translation in English-Persian Literary Translations
 Chapter 1 - A Comparative Study of Units of Translation in English-Persian Literary Translations
 Chapter 1 - A Comparative Study of Units of Translation in English-Persian Literary Translations
 Chapter 1 - A Comparative Study of Units of Translation in English-Persian Literary Translations
 Chapter 1 - A Comparative Study of Units of Translation in English-Persian Literary Translations
 Chapter 1 - A Comparative Study of Units of Translation in English-Persian Literary Translations
 Chapter 1 - A Comparative Study of Units of Translation in English-Persian Literary Translations
 Chapter 1 - A Comparative Study of Units of Translation in English-Persian Literary Translations
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Chapter 1 - A Comparative Study of Units of Translation in English-Persian Literary Translations

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  • 1. CHAPTER I BACKGROUND AND PURPUSE1. IntroductionTranslation is a science, an art, and a skill. It is a science in the sense that itnecessitates complete knowledge of the structure and make-up of the twolanguages concerned. It is an art since it requires artistic talent to reconstruct theoriginal text in the form of product that is presentable to the reader who issupposed to be familiar to the original. It is also a skill because it entails theability to smooth over any difficulty in the translation, and the ability to providethe translation of something that has no equal in the target language. A goodtranslation is one that carries all the ideas of the original as well as its structuraland cultural features, so finding TL translation equivalents is of greatimportance. For this reason, we go through translation studies which is a newdiscipline concerned with the study of theory and phenomena of translation. Aclassical concern for translation theory which is frequently mentioned in olderliterature is the level at which equivalence should be established, that is whatunits of translation one should choose during the translation process and that is
  • 2. what we are going to consider in this research. Catford (1965, p. 21) suggeststhat the goal of translation theory is to define the nature of translationequivalence. To him the central problem of translation is that of finding TLtranslation equivalents. The central task of translation theory is that of findingthe nature and conditions of translation equivalents. In translation studies, muchdiscussion in translation literature has focused on what should be equivalent in atranslation. For example with regard to the linguistic form, discussion intranslation literature has focused on whether equivalence is to be pursued at thelevel of words, clauses, phrases, sentences, paragraphs or the entire text.Accordingly, this has given rise to the emergence of the concept of translationunits which is one of the key concepts in translation theory that has exercisedtranslation theorists over a very long period. In the field of translation from theproduct - oriented approach, a translation unit is a segment of a target text whicha translator treats as a cognitive unit. The translation unit may be a single word,or it may be a phrase, a clause, a sentence or even a larger unit like a paragraph.One of the concerns here is to establish the equivalent relationships between thecoupled pairs of ST and TT segments which can pave the way for theidentification and classification of units of translation at different levels. Inearlier work on translation equivalence, Catford (1965, p. 20) defines translationas “the replacement of textual material in one language (SL) by equivalent
  • 3. page 3textual material in another language (TL). He distinguishes textual equivalencefrom formal correspondence, which is respectively called by Nida as dynamicequivalence and formal equivalence. 1.1.1. A formal correspondent is “any TL category (unit, class, structure, element of structure, etc.) which can be said to occupy, as nearly as possible, the “same” place in the “economy” of the TL as the given SL category occupies in the SL”. 1.1.2. A textual equivalence is “any TL text or portion of text which is observed on a particular occasion…to be the equivalent of a given SL text or portion of the text” (ibid: 27).It is worth mentioning, however, that departures from formal correspondencebetween the source and target texts denote Translation Shifts (ibid: 73), theinvestigation of which has a long-standing tradition in translation studies. Inother words, shifts are deviations or changes that occur at every level during thetranslation process as a result of the systemic differences between the source andtarget languages. There has been a great argument among theorists about thelength (size) of unit of translation. From most of them, the length of translationunits is an indication of proficiency, with professional translators working withlarger units (sentence, discourse, or text) and moving more comfortably between Chapter 1
  • 4. different unit levels. This controversial argument about the length of unit oftranslation is, according to Newmark (1988, p. 54), a concrete reflection of anage-old conflict between free and literal translation: the freer the translation, thelonger the UT, the more literal the translation; the shorter the UT, the closer tothe word. Therefore despite major shifts of viewpoint on translation, one of theoldest as well as the most conflicts in translation has been the concept of literalversus free translation. In this research, the issue of units of translation isapproached from a product oriented viewpoint to seek answers for the twoquestions mentioned in the following.2. Statement of the ProblemThis study attempts to investigate the most frequent unit of translation as well asfinding the relationship between the UTs and the kinds of translation, i.e. freevs. literal, adopted by the famous literary translators in terms of the occurrenceof unit-shifts. According to Baker (2001, P. 286), the term “unit of translation”,considered from a product-oriented approach, is defined as “the TT unit thatcan be mapped onto a ST unit”. Newmark (1981, pp. 66-68) assumes the maintranslation units to be a hierarchy: text, paragraph, sentence, clause, group,word, and morpheme. According to the most researchers the length oftranslation units is an indication of proficiency, with professional translators
  • 5. page 5working with larger units (sentence and discourse, or group) and moving morecomfortably between different unit levels. Clearly, this does not mean that aprofessional translator never stops midway through a sentence, but only that asentence is processed as a unit, with more local problems tackled on the way.Considering Newmark’s definition, sentence is the most common unit oftranslation; however, it is a controversial issue due to the fact that it is notexactly determined what the unit of translation is. This study attempts toinvestigate the most frequent unit of translation.3. Research Questions and Null HypothesisTo achieve the mentioned purposes, the following two questions are addressed: RQ1: What is the most frequent UT among the professional translators of the famous English novels? RQ2: What is the relationship between the UTs and the kinds of translations free vs. literal, adopted by the professional literary translators in terms of the occurrence of unit-shifts?According the second research question, the researcher formulated a nullhypothesis as follows: Chapter 1
  • 6. H0: There is no significant relationship between the UTs and the kinds of translations (free vs. literal) adopted by the professional literary translators in terms of the occurrence of unit-shifts.4. Definition of theKey Terms 4.1.1. Descriptive Translation Studies (DTS): A branch of translation studies that involves the empirical, non prescriptive analysis of STs and TTs with the aim of identifying general characteristics and laws of translation (Hatim and Munday, 2004, p. 338). According to Munday (2001, pp. 10-11), DTS is a branch of “pure” research in Holmes’s map of Translation Studies and has three possible foci: examination of the product, the function, and the process. 4.1.2. Equivalence: Baker (2001, p. 77) defines equivalence as the relationship between a ST and a TT that allows the TT to be considered as a translation of the ST in the first place. Vinay and Darbelnet view equivalence-oriented translation as a procedure which “replicates the same situation as in the original, whilst using completely different wording” (cited in Shuttleworth and Cowie,
  • 7. page 7 1997, p. 51).4.1.3. Dynamic / textual equivalence vs. formal equivalence: Defined by Nida (1964, cited in Bssnett,1980, p. 33), the former (also known as functional equivalence) is “ the closest natural equivalent to the source-language message”(ibid: 166) and attempt to convey the thought expressed in a source text (at the expense of literalness, original word order, the source text’s grammatical voice ,etc. if necessary); while the latter (also known as formal correspondence) attempts to render the text word for word (at the expense of natural expression in the target language , if necessary). Also defined by Catford (1965, p. 27), the former (also known as textual equivalence) is “any TL text or portion of text which is observed on a particular occasion to be the equivalent of given SL text or portion of text” and the latter is “ any TL category (unit, class, structure, element of structure, etc.) which can be said to occupy, as nearly as possible, the same place in the economy of the TL as the given SL category occupies in the SL".4.1.4. Sentence: According to Richards and Platt (1992, p. 330), sentence is the largest unit of grammatical organization within which Chapter 1
  • 8. parts of speech (e.g. nouns, verbs, adverbs) and grammatical classes (e.g. word, phrase, clause) function, and a sentence normally consists of one independent clause with a finite verb. Also, according to Frank (1972, p. 220), a sentence is a full, independent prediction containing a subject plus a predicate in the form of independent clause. Elsewhere he defines the independent clause as a full prediction that may stand alone as a sentence. Based on the independent clause(s) consisting sentences, the sentences can be generally classified into two types: simple and compound, both of which contain independent clause as their only building block. So this UT was treated in simple sentences and compound sentences, and the number of both simple sentences and compound sentences is reckoned as indicative of UT as sentence.4.1.5. Shift: As far as translation shifts are concerned, Catford (1965, p. 73) defines them as “departures from formal correspondence in the process of going from the SL to the TL”, i.e. if translational equivalents are not formal correspondent. According to Al-Zoubi and Al-Hassnawi (2001, p. 2), shifts should be defined positively as the consequence of the translator’s effort to establish translation
  • 9. page 9 equivalence (TE) between two different language systems. To them, shifts are all the mandatory and optional actions of the translator to which s/he resorts consciously for the purpose of natural and communicative rendition of an SL text into another language (ibid).4.1.6. Translation Units: According to Baker (2001, p. 286), the term “unit of translation”, considered from a product-oriented approach, is defined as “the TT unit that can be mapped onto a ST unit”. Newmark (1981, pp. 66-68) assumes the main translation units to be a hierarchy: text, paragraph, sentence, clause, group, word, and morpheme.4.1.7. Unit/rank shift: Catford (1965, p. 79) defines unit/rank shifts as those departures from formal correspondence in which “the translation equivalent of a unit at one rank in the SL is a unit at a different rank in the TL”.4.1.8. Literal translation: Literal or word for word translation is defined by Robinson as “the segmentation of the SL text into individual words and TL rendering of those word-segments one at a time” (1998, cited in Bake, 2001, p. 125). A literal translation can be defined in linguistic term as “a translation made on a level lower than Chapter 1
  • 10. is sufficient to convey the content unchanged while observing TL norms” ( Barkhudarov, 1969, cited in Shuttleworth and cowie, 1997, p. 95). In a similar vein, Catford also offers a definition based on the notion of the UT : literal translation takes word for word translation as its starting point, although because of necessity of conforming to TL grammar, the final TT may display group-group or clause-clause equivalence (1965, p. 25 )4.1.9. Free translation: Also known as sense-for-sense translation, it is a type of translation in which more attention is paid to producing a naturally reading TT than to preserving the ST wording intact (shuttleworth and Cowie, 1997, p. 62). Linguistically it can define as a translation “made on a higher level than is necessary to convey the content unchanged while observing TL norms” (Barkhudarove, 1969, p. 11), translated, cited in ibid). In other words, UT in free translation might be anything up to a sentence (or more) even if the content of the ST in question could be reproduced satisfactorily by translating on the word or group level (ibid). Besides, according to Catford (1965, p. 25), it is a prerequisite of free translations that they should also be unbounded as regards the rank (or level) on which they are performed. Free translations are thus generally more TL-oriented
  • 11. page 11 than literal translations.5. Significance and the Purpose of the StudyThe purpose of the study so is to help both the instructors and students oftranslation studies so that they can translate more naturally while they arefaithful to the writer. It should be mentioned here, in researcher view, translationis one of the unexplored areas in applied linguistics that any solid and soundexploration in it would not only bear useful results towards better understandingof the process itself but also lead to and help a better understanding of thecomplicated nature of language use and hence to further explorations in theapplied linguistic issues such as culture and language, language universal,linguistic relativity, etc. This paper may be a short step towards the goal. Thewriter hopes more solid steps will be taken in future the above objectives.6. Limitations and Delimitations of the StudyLimitations: Since many limitations imposed upon our task duringconducting the research such as unavailability of resources andmaterials, we encountered a great deal of difficulties in data collectionprocesses. Unfortunately, we did not allow taking advantage of some Chapter 1
  • 12. existing sources of information cited in academic libraries due to theirlimiting policies.Delimitation: Also data analysis and categorization of informationabout subjects demanded a long period of time, while we greatlysuffered from lack of time, so we had to limit our study to only somepart of selected samples.

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