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equivalent/equivalenceAdj. equal or interchangeable in value, quantity, significance, etc. having the same or a similar effect or meaningN. the state of being equivalent or interchangeableLogics/maths: the binary truth-function that takes the value true when both component sentences are true or when both are false, corresponding to English if and only if. Symbol: º or « , as in --(p Ù q) º --p Ú --q, = biconditional
TE ‘Unity in difference’ ‘Sameness in diference’ R. Jakobson 1957
What is equivalence? Concepts of sameness & similarity SIMILARITY (logics): Not necessarily symmetrical This copy of M. Lisa is incredibly like the original The M. Lisa is incredibly like this copy of it. Not reversible Richard fought like a lion ?The/A lion fought like Richard Not necessarily transitive If A is similar to B and B is similar to C, it is not logically implied that A is similar to C
SIMILARITY – cognitiveaspects Two entities are similar Two entities are are thought of as similar Objective vs similartity ‘in the mind’ Models of similarity in cogn. science: Mental distance model (concepts located closer to each other in the mind- proximity of values) Feature or contrast model Degree of overlap of features (shared and distinctive)
Two entities are similar if they share at least one feature Two entities are the same if neither has features that the other lacks Salience / Relevance (with respect to some purpose), Similarity-as-attribution Similarity judgements (e.g. in poetry)
Hamlet: Do you see yonder cloud that’s almost in shape of a camel? Polonius: By the mass, and ‘tis like a camel indeed. Hamlet: Methinks it’s like a weasel. Polonius: It is becked like a weasel. Hamlet: Or like a whale? Polonius: Very like a whale.
Similarity (Sovran 1992)divergent & convergent: The ‘oneness’ starting point: A A’, A’’, A’’’, ... The seaparateness staring point: A B Chesterman, p. 13-15
Recap.: The concept of similiarity is Janus-faced (In art he is depicted with two heads facing opposite ways, C16: from Latin, from janus archway). It simultaneously refers to a relation-in-the-world and a perception in the mind. The element of subjective perception is always present. Two entities are percieved to be similar to the extent that their salient features match Two entities count as the same within a given frame of reference if neither is percieved to have salient features which the other lacks Assessment as to what counts as a feature and how salient it is are both context-bound (purpose of assessm.) and assessor-bound Assessment of similarity are thus constrained by relevance Degree of similarity correlates inversely with the extension of the set of items judged to be similar Two main types of similarity relation: divergent and convergent
‘Why is a raven like a writing-desk?’ (Alice in Wonderland) LINGUIST: they both begin with /r/ sound (FORMAL) LITERARY SCHOLAR : they can both serve as a source of inspiration for poetry CARROLL: ‘Because it can produce a few notes, to they are very flat’ (HOMONYMIC) OTHERS: ‘because Poe wrote on both’; because it slopes with a flap; because they both stand on legs’, etc. (SEMANTIC, FUNCTIONAL)
TRANSLATION THEORY vs CONTRASTIVE ANALYSIS Notion of equivalence - primarily a translation theory concept Sameness is understood differently in TR and CA Contrastiveness – a CA concept, also useful in TR Langue vs parole; competence vs performance
Equivalence in TR theory1. The equative view2. The taxonomic view3. The relativist view
1. The equative view classical view, Jerome, Erasmus; the Holy Script; (Kelly 1979, Renner 1989): A = A’ A A + A’ A = A, A’ , A’’, A’’’ A A, A’ , A’’, A’’’
2. The taxonomic view Jerome: non-sacred texts should be translated more freely that sacred ones G. Mounin (1958) Jakobson (1959): denotative eq. is always possible (denied by other theorists) Nida (1964) – formal equivalence & dynamic equivalence Catford (1965) formal correspondence between SL & TL categories when they occupy, as nearly as possible, the ‘same’ place in the economies of the two languages – maximal closeness, not true identity. Koller (1979, 1992) Denotative, connotative, text-normative, pragmatic, formal/aesthetic eq. Ivir (1981) formal correspondence and translation equivalence Newmark (1985) semantic vs communicative eq. Snell-Hornby (1986) TE practically irrelevant issue (cf. 58 types of Aequivalenz in German studies)
3. The relativist view – campaignagainst equivalence Snell-Hornby (1988): rejects identity assumption; equivalence is an illusion Holmes / Toury (1988, 1980): three main lines of arguments: Reject samenes as a criterion for any relation betwee SLT and TLT Equivalence is to be replaced by a more relative term: similarity, matching, family resemblance (a number of resemblances) Translator’s rationality is descriptive (more than one possible solution); using norms TLR is to find the most suitable solution Chesterman (1997): introduction of the relation norm governing professional translation behaviour Pym (1992): eq. is fundamentally an economic term (=exchange value in a particular situation), (Eq. depends only on what is offered, negotiated and accepted in the exchange situation)
Gutt (1991): eq. depends on the utterance itself and the cognitive state of the interpreter (e.g. TR of the Bible – for two time-distant recipents) Toury (1980, 1995) – comparative literary studies: TL culture is the starting point, not SL culture: start with existing translations and study the resemblances existing betweeen these and their SL texts; deduce what TR strategies have been used (throughout history); establish various constraints & norms impinging on the TLR’s decision-making (Lefevere 1992) Vermeer / Reiss / Nord (1984, 1993) – skopos theory: do not seek to achieve the same skopos as the original, but what the skopos of the translation is (e.g. poetry, purpose, ets) Relativist views on TR go hand in hand with the relativist view of language, as opposed to universalist views
Conclusion: Most scholars in TR theory today reject EQ as an identity assumption in all its forms (formal, semantic, pragmatic, situational...) EQ is theoretically untenable EQ misinterprets what translators actually do The EQ or relevant similarity between SLT and TLT is not given in advance; BUT It takes shape within the mind of the TLR under a number of constraints (purpose of TLT and the act of translation (in an act of communication) Chesterman (1998: 27)
TE - the central issue intranslation Heated controversy : (a) definition, (b) relevance, (c) applicability Key theorists: Vinay and Darbelnet, Jakobson, Nida Catford, House, Baker, Newmark, Ivir, Koller
Three main approaches to TR andTE:1. linguistic approach to TE – BUT translation in itself is not merely a matter of linguistics2. TE - a transfer of the message from the Source Culture to the Target Culture: when a message is transferred from the SL to TL, the translator is also dealing with two different cultures at the same time3. pragmatic/semantic or functionally oriented approachSome translation scholars stand in the middle (M. Baker): equivalence is used for the sake of convenience — because most translators are used to it rather than because it has any theoretical status TE – a technical term, for the lack of a better one
Vinay and Darbelnet: equivalencein translation equivalence-oriented translation - a procedure which replicates the same situation as in the original, whilst using completely different wording (ibid.:342)
Vinay and Darbelnet: this procedure (if applied during the translation process) can maintain the stylistic impact of the SL text in the TL text TE: ideal method when dealing with proverbs, idioms, clichés, nominal or adjectival phrases and the onomatopoeia of animal sounds equivalent expressions between language pairs - acceptable as long as they are listed in a bilingual dictionary as full equivalents: However, (glossaries and collections of idiomatic expressions) can never be exhaustive
Vinay and Darbelnet: Therefore: 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 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
Vinay and Darbelnet: examples (toprove the theory):Take one (a fixed expression) = (equivalent French translation) Prenez-en un) (It. Prendetene uno; Cro. Uzmite!) But, (Take one as a notice next to a basket of free samples in a large store!), the translator would have to look for an equivalent term in a similar situation ... (Probajte!) and use the expression Échantillon gratuit: (Besplatan primjerak/uzorak; Poklon);Take away (to bear off to another place : carry away) Take away (to derogate or detract; as from merit or effect) often to a specified extent : lessen reputation Take away food/pizza
2. R. Jakobson: equivalence in difference , unity in diversity semiotic approach to language (there is no signatum without signum (1959:232) - three kinds of translation: Intralingual (within one language, i.e. rewording or paraphrase) Interlingual (between two languages) Intersemiotic (between sign systems) interlingual translation (use of synonyms in order to get the ST message across): i.e.: in interlingual translations there is no full equivalence between code units
Jakobson: the notion of equivalencein difference: translation involves two equivalent messages in two different codes 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 whenever there is deficiency, terminology may be qualified and amplified by: loanwords or loan- translations, neologisms or semantic shifts, and circumlocutions
R. Jakobson: examples (English and Russian) language structures: where there is no 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 syr: curd – cottage cheese - cheese
similarity between Vinay and Darbelnetstheory of translation procedures and Jakobsonstheory of translation (Translatability!!!) 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 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 conceive the translation as a task which can always be carried, regardless of the cultural or grammatical differences between ST and TT
R. Jakobson: Jakobsons theory - essentially based on his semiotic approach to translation: the translator has to recode the ST message first and then s/he has to transmit it into an equivalent message for the TC
3. Nida and Taber: Formalcorrespondence and dynamicequivalenceTwo different types of equivalence: formal equivalence (Nida 1964) or formal correspondence (Nida and Taber (1969/1982) dynamic equivalence
Nida : Formal Correspondence: focuses attention on the message itself, in both form and content
Nida : Dynamic Equivalence: based upon the principle of equivalent effect (1964:159)
A. Formal correspondence= a TL item which represents the closest equivalent of a SL word or phraseHOWEVER: there are not always formal equivalents between language pairs therefore these formal equivalents should be used wherever possible if the translation aims at achieving formal rather than dynamic equivalence serious implications at times in the TT since the translation will not be easily understood by the target audience Nida and Taber assert that: Typically, formal correspondence distorts the grammatical and stylistic patterns of the receptor language, and hence distorts the message, so as to cause the receptor to misunderstand or to labor unduly hard.
B. Dynamic equivalence= a translation principle according to which a translator seeks to translate the meaning of the original in such a way that the TL wording will trigger the same impact on the Tl audience as the original wording did upon the ST audience.Chomskian influence (TG Grammar): Frequently, the form of the original text is changed; but as long as the change follows the rules a) of back transformation in the source language, b) of contextual consistency in the transfer, and c) of transformation in the receptor language, the message is preserved and the translation is faithful (Nida and Taber, 1982:200). - dynamic equivalence - a more effective translation procedure (cf. esp. in translating the Bible
Nida : CONCLUSION: the product of the translation process (i.e. the text in the TL) must have the same impact on the different readers it was addressing BUT: dynamic equivalence in translation is far more than mere correct communication of information Despite using a linguistic approach to translation, Nida is much more interested in the message of the text, in its semantic quality Therefore: We must make sure that this message remains clear in the target text
4. Catford: translation shiftsa more linguistic-based approach to translation (J.R. Firth and M.A.K. Halliday) main contribution to translation theory – concepts of: types of translation shifts of translation
Catford: Types of translation (based on three criteria):1. The extent of translation (full translation vs partial translation); 2. The grammatical rank at which the translation equivalence is established (rank- bound translation vs unbounded translation); 3. The levels of language involved in translation (total translation vs restricted translation)
Catford: A2. Grammatical rank atwhich TE is established: First dimension of correspondence: In rank-bound translation an equivalent is sought in the TL for each word, or for each morpheme encountered in the ST In unbounded translation equivalences are not tied to a particular rank (i.e. equivalences at sentence, clause and other levels)
Catfords claim: a formal correspondence could be said to exist between English and e.g. French if relations between ranks have approximately the same configuration in both languages problems with formal correspondence: despite being a useful tool to employ in comparative linguistics, it seems that it is not really relevant in terms of assessing translation equivalence between ST and TT
Catford: A2 – Second dimension ofcorrespondence: textual equivalence: occurs when any TL text or portion of text is observed on a particular occasion ... to be the equivalent of a given SL text or portion of text This is implemented by a process of commutation, whereby: a competent bilingual informant or translator is consulted on the translation of various sentences whose ST items are changed in order to observe what changes if any occur in the TL text as a consequence
formal correspondence between SL & TL categories when they occupy, as nearly as possible, the ‘same’ place in the economies of the two languages – maximal closeness, not true identity.
Catford (1965) Textual and translation equivalence – the relation between a text-portion in a SLT and whatever text-portion is observed to be equivalent to it in a given tTLT. Textual equivalents are not defined by TR theory but discovered in practice via the authority of a competennt TLR or bilingual
The condition for TR EQ is ‘interchangeability in a given situation The common ground is found in the situation itself not in the semantics of the sentence: there is no equivalence of meaning since meanings are language-specific (I have arrived – Došla sam) Translated as Došla sam (Ja prišla) not because they ‘mean the same’ but because there is an overlap between the sets of situational features which both utterence select as relevant (the speaker, the arrival, the arrival is a prior event)
Three potential kinds of EQ FORMAL EQ: which can only be approximate SEMANTIC EQ: which is theoretically impossible SITUATIONAL EQ: which is the basis for translation The underlying BELIEF: the situational equivalence actually exists! (at least in the sense of ‘the same features of substance’ present in the SL and TL situations
Catford rejects the movement metaphor: ‘nothing is transferred from A to B in translation. Rather, TR is the process of ‘replacing’ textual material in one langauge with the textual material in another’ (p. 20) Translate – carry accross the river
Catford: Translation Shifts the notion based on the distinction between: formal correspondence & textual equivalence
Catford: Translation Shifts (def)departures from formal correspondence in the process of going from the SL to the TL
Two main types oftranslation shifts : level shifts, where the SL item at one linguistic level (e.g. grammar) has a TL equivalent at a different level (e.g. lexis), and category shifts
category shifts, divided into four sub-types Structure-shifts , which involve a grammatical change between the structure of the ST and that of the TT; Class-shifts, when a SL item is translated with a TL item which belongs to a different grammatical class, i.e. a verb may be translated with a noun; Unit-shifts , which involve changes in rank; Intra-system shifts , which occur when SL and TL possess systems which approximately correspond formally as to their constitution, but when translation involves selection of a non- corresponding term in the TL system (ibid.:80). For instance, when the SL singular becomes a TL plural.
Criticism of the shift aproach :Snell-Hornby (1988): Catfords definition of textual equivalence is circular his theorys reliance on bilingual informants hopelessly inadequate, and his example sentences isolated and even absurdly simplistic the concept of equivalence in translation is an illusion the translation process cannot simply be reduced to a linguistic exercise, since there are also other factors: textual, cultural and situational aspects, which should be taken into consideration when translating linguistics is NOT the only discipline which enables people to carry out a translation, since translating involves different cultures and different situations at the same time and they do not always match from one language to another
5. J. House: overt and coverttranslation in favour of semantic and pragmatic equivalence argues that ST and TT should match one another in function House suggests that it is possible to characterize the function of a text by determining the situational dimensions of the ST In fact, according to her theory, every text is in itself is placed within a particular situation which has to be correctly identified and taken into account by the translator.
After the ST analysis we are in a position to evaluate a translation; if the ST and the TT differ substantially on situational features, then they are not functionally equivalent, and the translation is not of a high quality. a translation text should not only match its source text in function, but employ equivalent situational- dimensional means to achieve that function (ibid.:49).
In an overt translation the TT audience is not directly addressed and there is therefore no need at all to attempt to recreate a second original since an overt translation must overtly be a translation
Covert translation : the production of a text which is functionally equivalent to the ST this type of translation the ST is not specifically addressed to a TC audience
The types of ST that would yieldtranslations of the two categories: An academic article, for instance, is unlikely to exhibit any features specific to the SC; the article has the same argumentative or expository force that it would if it had originated in the TL, and the fact that it is a translation at all need not be made known to the readers (covert) A political speech in the SC, on the other hand, is addressed to a particular cultural or national group which the speaker sets out to move to action or otherwise influence, whereas the TT merely informs outsiders what the speaker is saying to his or her constituency (overt)
Houses theory of equivalence in translation seems to be much more flexible than Catfords: gives authentic examples, uses complete texts and relates linguistic features to the context of both source and target text
6. M. Bakers approach totranslation equivalence Translational equivalence given new discriptions: grammatical, textual, pragmatic equivalence, etc.
conditions upon which the concept ofequivalence can be defined: Baker (1992) offers a more detailed list of equivalence she explores the notion of equivalence at different levels, in relation to the translation process, including all different aspects of translation and hence putting together the linguistic and the communicative approach. Types of equivalence: at word level and above word level
Bottom-up approach to translation :equivalence at word level : the first element to be taken into consideration by the translator: words as single units in order to find a direct equivalent term in the TL definition of the term word since a single word can sometimes be assigned different meanings in different languages and might be regarded as being a more complex unit or morpheme. the translator should pay attention to a number of factors when considering a single word, such as: number, gender and tense
Grammatical equivalence , whenreferring to the diversity of grammaticalcategories across languages: grammatical rules may vary across languages and this may pose some problems in terms of finding a direct correspondence in the TL different grammatical structures in the SL and TL may cause remarkable changes in the way the information or message is carried across These changes may induce the translator either to add or to omit information in the TT because of the lack of particular grammatical devices in the TL itself Amongst these grammatical devices which might cause problems in translation Baker focuses on number, tense and aspects, voice, person and gender
Textual equivalence , when referring to theequivalence between a SL text and a TL text interms of information and cohesion: Texture is a very important feature in translation since it provides useful guidelines for: the comprehension and analysis of the ST which can help the translator in his or her attempt to produce a cohesive and coherent text for the TC audience in a specific context It is up to the translator to decide whether or not to maintain the cohesive ties as well as the coherence of the SL text His or her decision will be guided by three main factors, that is, the target audience, the purpose of the translation and the text type.
Pragmatic equivalence when referring to implicatures and strategies of avoidance during the translation process: Implicature is not about what is explicitly said but what is implied therefore, the translator needs to work out implied meanings in translation in order to get the ST message acros the role of the translator is to recreate the authors intention in another culture in such a way that enables the TC reader to understand it clearly
7. Peter Newmark Nidas receptor-oriented approach is illusory: The gap between SLT and TLT will always remain a permanent problem in both TR theory and practice How can the gap be narrowed?: SEMANTIC vs COMMUNICATIVE translation ... attempts to produce on its readers an effect as close as possible to that obtained on the readers of the original. (cf. Nidas dynamic eq.) ... attempts to render, as closely as the semantic and syntactic structures of the second language allow, the exact contextual meaning of the original.
NewmarkBUT: TR of Homer: it is impossible to expect to produce the same effect on 20th cent. TT reader as it had on listeners in ancient Greece
SEMANTIC vs LITERAL TR: Respects the context, interprets or explains (e.g. metaphors) Word-for-word in its extreme
NewmarkHowever 1: LITERAL: the best initial approach in Sem and Comm. Approach: - provided that eq. effect is secured (LIT TR – not only the best but the only valid method of TR)However 2: If there is a conflict between SEM and COMM (if SEM TR would result in an abnormal TT or would not secure eq. effect – COMMUNICATIVE TR is the only way out:
Newmarke.g. Bissiger Hund; Chien méchant; Pazi, oštar pas = Beware of the dog! (?dog that bites, bad dog)Criticism: overabundance of terminology (free-lit, formal eq-eq effect, covert-overt, sem – comm) strong prescriptivism – smooth vs qwkwar TR, TR = art (semantic) = craft (communicative) - a good guidance for TR training (abundant examples)
8. Werner Koller:Korrespondenz vs Äquivalenz - Űbersetzungswischenschaft (W. Wills, O. Kade, A. Neubert) - Einfuehrung in die Uebersetzungswissenschaft (1979/89)
Koller Correspondence: (langue, competence: within CA of two language systems formal similarities and differences PROBLEMS: false friends, signs of lexical, morphological & syntactic interference Equivalence: (parole, performance: equivalent items in specific ST-TT pairs and contexts Competence in the foreign language: Knowledge of (formal) correspondences Competence in transaltion: knowledge / ability in equivalences However: ? What exactly has to be EQUIVALENT?!!
Koller: Types of Equivalence: - apossible answer: DENOTATIVE - extralinguistic content, content invariance CONNOTATIVE lexical choices (e.g. in near synonyms), stylistic equivalence TEXT-FORMATIVE related to text types, (cf. K. Reiss) PRAGMATIC communicative equivalence oriented to the receiver of the text message Nidas dynamic equivalence FORMAL related to the form and aesthetics of the text stylistic features expressive equivalence
Research into different types ofequivalences(in TR text analysis) - value for TR theory and practice: choice: a hierarchy of values to be preserved in TR a hiererchy of equivalence requirements (for the text) translationally relevant text analysisQs: How to determine the hierarchy?:
Koller - Checklist: language function content characteristics language-stylistic characteristics formal aesthetic characteristics pragmatic characteristics (see Text Linguistics, Types of texts – Koller, Reiss, Nord)
TE: Koller Koller presented translational equivalence as an argument against theories of general untranslatability (cf. all-embracing debates about linguistic relativity or language universals). Since translational equivalence was seen as existing on the level of translation as language use (parole), it was not reducible to formal correspondences or differences between language systems. The theories that were so lost in language systems that they failed to see the actual pragmatics of translation
TE: Mounin Georges Mounin (following the rediscovery of Saussure and the rise of relativist structuralism): “If the current theses on lexical, morphological, and syntactic structures are accepted, one must conclude that translation is impossible. And yet translators exist, they produce, and their products are found to be useful” (1963: 5). Since translators and translations exist, translation must be possible and equivalence must therefore exist as well.
TE: Koller Koller was writing at a time when a few tons of linguistics, from Hjelmslev to Catford and Searle, could be cited in support of translatability and thus as a basis for equivalence. Koller’s theorizing was and remains an affair of language; there was no need to oppose the whole of linguistics. Theorists of equivalence could moreover be presented as technical engineers interested in the better control of translation as a social practice. Their aim was the regulation and improvement of standards (as explicitly stated in texts like Reiss 1971).
TE – 1970’s Equivalence thus became a piece of scientific capital, stretching out into a general paradigm with a few ounces of institutional power. It provided the foundation for research programmes supposedly useful for both machine-translation and translator training. These fields in turn responded to the rising social and political demand for controllable transcultural communication, particularly in what was then the European Community. Translation studies was made to look like a science worthy of financial support. It was also made to look like applied linguistics. As such, the equivalence paradigm enjoyed a degree of success in advancing the cause of moderately independent research programmes and translator-training institutes.
Yet the 1980s saw linguistic concepts of translational equivalence challenged in at least two ways: equivalence was something automatically produced by all ostensible translations equivalence was only one of many goals that a translator could set out to attain
For the historico-descriptivism of Toury(1980):For Toury equivalence was something automatically produced by all ostensible translations no matter what their linguistic or aesthetic quality. Thus defined, the concept was rendered effectively useless for linguists, technocrats, and anyone else interested in Koller-like legitimation. If equivalence was already everywhere, or almost, it could not be used prescriptively . For Toury, the confidence of linguistic experts should logically give way to detailed descriptive work on actual translations in their historical contexts. If equivalence had upset no more than the occasional belief in untranslatability, Toury’s extension of it at least had the potential to upset prescriptive linguists and pedagogs.
The target-side functionalism of Vermeer:For Vermeer equivalence was only one of many goals that a translator could set out to attain, since translations could serve a range of communicative purposes The determinant on translation was not the source text, as had been assumed by linguistic approaches to equivalence, but the intended function or Skopos of the translation as a text in its own right and in its own situation. This so-called Skopostheorie was also potentially upsetting, at least for linguists and teachers of translation who had never looked beyond source-text criteria.
However: As revolutionary as these two approaches could have been, neither of them denied that a translator could set out to produce one kind of equivalence or another. Nor did they deny scientific objectivity as an essential goal for translation studies. They simply refused to base their scientific status on equivalence. They chose other weapons.
Toury & Vermeer Toury and his followesr have invoked systems, hypotheses, empirical testing, and the search for probabilistic laws. Vermeer has developed a rich assortment of technical-sounding names for various aspects of translation, combining discursive precision with metalinguistic elitism. One of the curious outcomes is that whereas Toury helped develop a mode of corpus-based research where “a translation is any target-language utterance which is presented or regarded as such” (1985: 20), Vermeer’s influence fits in with the fact that prospective students at Heidelberg are told that the institute’s German term Translation (not Übersetzen) does not correspond to “the translating and interpreting that unthinkingly duplicates linguistic forms and structures” (“das unreflektiert Sprachformen und -strukturen nachvollziehende ‘Übersetzen’ und ‘Dolmetschen’.”) (1992: 2).
Toury & Vermeer For historico-descriptivists, translation is anything people commonly think it is (social practice can’t be wrong). For the Heidelberg text, translation is precisely not what people commonly think it is, especially if they imagine it is a matter of producing equivalents for source texts (social practice can be correctively engineered). In the first case, science is empirical investigation; it goes out into the world and can advance on the basis of the material it analyzes. In the second, science is a matter of knowing what others have to find out; students come to you and advance on the basis of your theoretical expertise (and if social agents don’t always know what a translation really is, they too can become your students). Clearly, neither of these approaches needed a strong concept of equivalence, which soon seemed unable to objectify anything of interest about translation. Having become either too large (for Toury et al.) or too small (for Vermeer et al.), the concept gradually lost its status as scientific capital. It became a dirty word.
What really happened here?The dates could be misleading. Koller published in 1979, but his text survived through four editions to 1992 and is still worth reading. Toury was published in book form in Israel in 1980, but his work has taken years to filter through to some kind of general recognition. The writings of Vermeer and friends, published mostly in German and often in small university editions, have been so slow to catch on that the group still feels revolutionary more than ten years after the Grundlegung einer allgemeinen Translationstheorie of 1984. The space of European translation studies is spread so thin and remains so fragmented that these various paradigms have mostly managed to co-exist in tacit ignorance of each other. There is no evidence of any catastrophic debate being resolved one way or the other. the general trend was away from equivalence and toward target-side criteria. Of course, this was more or less in keeping with the movement of linguistics toward discourse analysis, the development of reception aesthetics, the sociological interest in action theory, and the general critique of structuralist abstraction.
The 1980s: the social and historicalrelativity of translational equivalence Many of the linguistic categories that had previously been considered objective could now have been seen as largely subjective constructs. Beyond the restricted field of specialized terminology, theorists could no longer be sure that a given source-text unit was necessarily equivalent to a specific target-text unit. Such a relation could only be norm-bound or probabilistic (for Toury) or subordinate to wider target-side considerations (for Vermeer). There would always be at least residual doubt about general claims to equivalence.
Critic views of‘translation equivalence’ Almost ten years after Koller’s Einführung, Mary Snell-Hornby’s “integrated approach” of 1988 sought to bring together and systematize the work that had been done to that date. the underlying assumption was that a certain compatibility was there; it just needed to be “integrated.” The package was once again made to look faintly scientific, this time privileging American panaceas like prototypes and scenes- and-frames, along with a potpourri of common sense, gratuitous critique, and a disarming propensity to self-contradiction (notably with respect to the status of linguistic approaches). One of the most remarkable aspects of this “integrative” exercise was the list of effectively excluded approaches.
Snell-Hornby: dismissed two thousand years of translation theory as an inconclusive “heated discussion” opposing word to sense (one finds the same inconclusiveness in theories of God, or love, and yet we keep talking). dispatched historico-descriptivism because it had avoided evaluation (but hadn’t it discovered anything?). Not surprisingly, she also forcefully discarded equivalence as being “unsuitable as a basic concept in translation theory” None of these excluded approaches “have provided any substantial help in furthering translation studies” However, unlike Toury or Vermeer, Snell-Hornby tried to indicate precisely where the equivalence paradigm had gone wrong. This is where translation studies could have become truly upsetting.
Snell-Hornby: finds that in the course of the 1970s the English term “equivalence” became “increasingly approximative and vague to the point of complete insignificance,” and its German counterpart was “increasingly static and one-dimensional” there was in fact no radical rupture between those who talked about equivalence and those who preferred not to (Toury accepted the English-language trend; Vermeer fell in with the German-language usage of the term). Snell-Hornby concludes that “the term equivalence, apart from being imprecise and ill-defined (even after a heated debate of over twenty years) presents an illusion of symmetry between languages which hardly exists beyond the level of vague approximations and which distorts the basic problems of translation” Some kind of equivalence could be integrated into its appropriate corner (technical terminology), but the equivalence paradigm should otherwise get out of the way
Snell-Hornby: But, if the term “equivalence” were really so polysemous - Snell-Hornby elsewhere claims to have located fifty-eight different types in German uses of the term (1986: 15) -, how could she be so sure it “presents an illusion of symmetry between languages”? The term apparently means nothing except this illusion. And yet none of the numerous linguists cited in Koller ever presupposed any “symmetry between languages.” had she looked a little further, Snell-Hornby might have found that concepts like Nida’s “dynamic equivalence” presuppose substantial linguistic asymmetry. More important, Koller’s actual proposal was based on studying equivalence on the level of parole, leaving to contrastive linguistics the entire question of symmetries or dissymmetries between language systems
Snell-Hornby “The narrow and hence mistaken interpretation of translational equivalence in terms of linguistic correspondence is in our opinion one of the main reasons that the very concept of equivalence has fallen into disrepute among many translation scholars.” (1994: 414). (A. Neubert) One can only suppose there was more than logic at stake in Snell-Hornby’s critique of equivalence. An element of power, perhaps? Snell-Hornby’s Integrated Approach has indeed had influence, and may yet find more. It was the right title at the right time, lying in wait for the massive growth of translator-training institutions that took off at the end of the decade.
Neubert Yet this is not the story of just one person. There is more at stake in the movement away from equivalence. Strangely, while European translation studies has generally been expanding, a center of strong equivalence-based research at Leipzig, closely associated with Professor Neubert, has been all but dismantled by west-German academic experts. Further, the one west-European translation institute that has been threatened with reduction - Saarbrücken - is precisely the one that, through Wilss, is most clearly aligned with linguistics and the equivalence paradigm. This is not to mention the numerous east-Europeans who still - heaven forbid! - talk about linguistics and equivalence, awaiting enlightenment from the more advanced western theorists. The institutional critique of equivalence surreptitiously dovetails into facile presumptions of progress, and sometimes into assumptions of west-European superiority. Perhaps we should take a good look at the bandwagon before we hop on.
UnderstandingEquivalence - A. Pym Although the 1980s critiques of equivalence-based prescriptivism opened up new terrain, they mostly failed to understand the logic of the previous paradigm. Little attempt was made to objectify the subjective importance of equivalence as a concept. It is one thing is to argue that substantial equivalence is an illusion, but quite another to understand why anyone should be prepared to believe in it. Illusions are not illusory. Yet when Snell-Hornby talks about “the illusion of equivalence” (1988: 13), she does so precisely to suggest that it is illusory and should be dispensed with. The main alternative to this strategy is to understand and explain the illusion. Ernst-August Gutt, defines a “direct translation” as an utterance that “creates a presumption of complete interpretative resemblance” (1991: 186). True, Gutt does not name equivalence as such - it is a taboo word -, but he certainly describes what equivalence would seem to be doing when a translation is read as a translation. More important, this “presumption of resemblance” does not describe anything that would enable a linguist’s tweezers to pick up two pieces of language and declare them of equal weight. Comparable considerations enter Albrecht Neubert’s recent comments on equivalence. A translation, says Neubert, “has to stand in some kind of equivalence relation to the original,” which means that “equivalence in translation is not an isolated, quasi-objective quality, it is a functional concept that can be attributed to a particular translational situation” (1994: 413-414, italics in the text).
From the semiotic perspective, Ubaldo Stecconi expresses a similar mode of thought: “Equivalence is crucial to translation because it is the unique intertextual relation that only translations, among all conceivable text types, are expected to show” (1994: 8). Such “expectation” is certainly an affair of social convention rather than empirical certainty, but it has consequences for the actual work of the translator. In Stecconi’s terms, “B had never been equivalent to A before it appeared in a translation: using inferences of the abductive kind, the translator makes the two elements equivalent” (1994: 9) Pym (1992) argues that “equivalence defines translation,” and talks about non-relativist and non-linguistic “equivalence beliefs” as part of the way translations are received as translations.
Solutions without Equivalence Gutt, Neubert, Stecconi, and Pym (there could be more names) have something else in common. Their arguments recuperate the very important idea that translation and non-translation are conventionally distinguished, since the making of this distinction is one of the functions of equivalence itself. They thus have a certain interest in defining translation in a restrictive way; they are not afraid to distinguish translation from non-translation.
the critiques of equivalence In contradistinction to the four authors above, none of the theorists that oppose equivalence appears to have advanced a restrictive definition of translation. There are certainly many descriptions; they all say what a translation should look like and should do. Try, for example, Snell-Hornby’s description beginning “Translation is a complex act of communication in which...” (1988: 81). Nowhere in the page or so of text that follows is there anything about what translation is not. There are no definitions of non-translation. Everything can be fitted in; everything is potentially translative; so translation studies might as well encompass cultural studies, literary studies, the entire humanities, and more, if it would make anyone happier or more powerful. The rejection of equivalence quickly leads to a peculiarly uncentered conceptual expansion, the nature of which is still far from clear.
Pym (2005): Equivalence, on the other hand, no matter what definition it figured in during the bad old days, always implied the possibility of non- equivalence, of non-translation or a text that was in some way not fully translational. The 1980s thus saw a shift from restrictive to non- restrictive definitions, from translation studies as a focused and unified discipline to translation studies as an area potentially open to all comers .
To produce equivalence is nowadays not the end of the story, neither for the theorist nor for the pedagog.
Komissarov Differs among a number of types and levels of equivalence understood as different linking stages of translation from SLT to TLT: Goals of communcation: the lowest degree of meaningful link between the SLT and TLT on the level of communicatzion goals, Identification of situation: on the level of situation identification contains the additional part of SLT content – and shows the type of source messsage, Method of describing the situation: preservance of general concepts in the TR process by way of the situation being described, level of syntactic meanings: invariant nature of syntactic structures of the SLT and TLT, Level of literary signs: refers to the cases slučajeve when in the translation process all the basic parts of the SLT contents are maintained.
11. Other theories: see also Chesterman, Baker, Bassnett, G. Toury: (DTS) - a move away from prescriptive definition of equivalence: Not A TT is equivalent to its TT but Try to identify the web of relations between the ST and TT Still many insoluble practical problems TE – remains central to the pratice of transaltion, even if TR Studies and TR theory have, at least, recently, marginalized it9 tertium comparationis – the invariant agains which a ST and a TT can be measured to gauge variation
Conclusion The notion of equivalence is undoubtedly one of the most problematic and controversial areas in the field of translation theory. The term has caused, and it seems quite probable that it will continue to cause, heated debates within the field of translation studies. This term has been analyzed, evaluated and extensively discussed from different points of view and has been approached from many different perspectives. The first discussions of the notion of equivalence in translation initiated the further elaboration of the term by contemporary theorists. Even the brief outline of the issue given above indicates its importance within the framework of the theoretical reflection on translation. The difficulty in defining equivalence seems to result in the impossibility of having a universal approach to this notion.
A Summary Since debates over equivalence are not always easy to follow, here is a brief summary of the way I have called the shots: - Structuralist linguistics of language systems (Saussure et al.) overlooked the social existence of translation. - The concept of translational equivalence (Koller et al.) affirmed the social existence of translation and sought to make it a part of applied linguistics. - Historico-descriptive studies (Toury et al.) rejected the prescriptive import of such linguistics and affirmed that equivalence was a fact of all translations, no matter what their quality. - Theories of target-side functionalism (Vermeer et al.) similarly rejected such prescriptivism, limiting equivalence to cases where the translation purpose was narrowly bound by source- text elements.
- Thanks to the above two movements, the notion of equivalence lost its status as a scientific concept (most radically in the work of Snell-Hornby). - Translation studies has thus expanded well beyond the academic space once centered on equivalence. - Final concl.: translation studies unable to offer a restrictive definition of translation and TE, as a result
References 1 V. Ivir (1981) Formal Correspondence vs. Translation Equivalence Revisited, Poetics Today, 51-59 Ivir (1978) Teorija i tehnika prevođenja. Centar “Karlovačka gimnazija” Bell, R. (1991) Translation and Translating. Longman Chesterman, A. (1998) Contrastive Functional Analysis. J. Benjamins Fawcett, P. (1997) Translation and Language. J. Benjamins Munday, J. (2001) Introducing Translation Studies. Routledge Nida, Eugene A. and C.R.Taber (1969 / 1982) The Theory and Practice of Translation, Leiden: E. J. Brill. Catford (1965): A Linguistic Theory of Translation. OUP
References 2 Baker, Mona (1992) In Other Words: a Coursebook on Translation, London: Routledge. Chesterman, A. (1998) Contrastive Functional Analysis. Amsterdam, Benjamins Fawcett, Peter (1997) Translation and Language: Linguistic Theories Explained, Manchester: St Jerome Publishing House, Juliane (1977) A Model for Translation Quality Assessment, Tübingen: Gunter Narr. Kenny, Dorothy (1998) Equivalence, in the Routledge Encyclopaedia of Translation Studies, edited by Mona Baker, London and New York: Routledge, 77-80. Jakobson, Roman (1959) On Linguistic Aspects of Translation, in R. A. Brower (ed.) On Translation, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, pp. 232-39. Leonardi, V. (2002) Equivalence in Translation: Between Myth and Reality. http://accurapid.com/journal/14equiv.htm Nida, Eugene A. (1964) Towards a Science of Translating, Leiden: E. J. Brill.
References 3 Pym, A. (1992). Translation and Text Transfer. Frankfurt/Main: Lang Pym, A. (2000) ’European Translation Studies, une science qui dérange, and Why Equivalence Needn’t Be a Dirty Word’ Vinay, J.P. and J. Darbelnet (1958/1995) Comparative Stylistics of French and English: a Methodology for Translation, translated by J. C. Sager and M. J. Hamel, Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins.