You are on page 1of 1

Hicham Chibat

A Linguistic Theory Of Translation. John Cunnison Catford. Oxford University Press, 1965. 103 pp. This book, which is based on lectures given in the School of Applied Linguistics at Edinburgh, analyses the process of translation in relation to language. In its fourteen chapters, the book discusses several issues related to translation. Catford emphasized more on the linguistic structure of the ST and TT than the stylistic and cultural aspects. Catford starts first by defining translation which he describes as unidirectional and which is according to him the replacement of textual material in one language by equivalent textual material in another language. He also describes in details the different types of translation in relation to the levels of language. These types include: full, partial, total, and restricted; grammatical, lexical, phonological and graphological. The book gives insight into the concept of equivalence. It discusses the relationship between textual equivalence which is where the target text is equivalent to the source text, and formal correspondence which is where the target text is as close as possible to the source text. In this book, Catford introduced the concept of translation shifts which he defined as the departure from formal correspondence, and he distinguished two major types of shifts. First, level shifts which mean that a SL item at one linguistic level has a TL translation equivalent at a different level. Second, Category shifts which he divided into four: structure shifts, class shifts, unit/rank shifts, and intra-system shifts. The book discusses the importance of defining the variety of the language of the source text in order to translate appropriately choosing a similar variety in the target text language. This book is considered to be the first one that dealt mainly with the linguistic aspects of translation and it is benficial for both, language and translation students, as well as teachers of language. However, Catford has completely neglected the cultural and stylistic aspects of texts which are crucial in rendering the meaning of the source text.