Translation Studies

Translation Shift

Definition
 According

to Catford (1965:1) translation is an operation performed on languages: a process of substituting a text in one language for a text in another. Clearly, then, any theory of translation must draw upon a theory of language—a general linguistic theory.  Catford defines translation as …

and  system. Halliday theory of language and systemic functional grammar. K. be used in the description of any particular language.  Similarly Catford theory of translation makes use of the fundamental categories of linguistic theory applicable at least to the levels of grammar. a theory about how languages work.  Class. primarily. the latter is. A.Contd  Catford's theory is influenced by and based on M. in turn. including: unit. These categories can. drawn from generalizations based on observation of languages and language-events.  If we compare translation with general Linguistics.  structure. It provides categories. How did Halliday’s theory of language and systemic functional grammar influence Catfords translation theory?  .

clause and group.  The units of grammar in English operate in hierarchies—’larger’ or more inclusive units being made up of ‘smaller’ or less inclusive units. In English grammar we have units such as sentence.Unit  By a unit we mean a stretch of language activity which is the carrier of a particular kind of meaningful grammatical pattern. .  They form a scale of units at different ranks.  For example.

The clause consists of three groups. and so on.Unit  He / ran / quickly  is a sentence consisting of one clause.  The sentence is a unit of higher rank than the clause. the three groups consist of one word each . . . And each clause consists of several groups—the clause being a unit of higher rank than the group.

A (adjunct). Thus. S (subject).  The texts: f/f John / loves / Mary. Each clause has the structure SPC. the elements of structure of the English unit ‘clause’ are  P (predicator). each of which consists of a single clause. f/f  /Il The young man / was writing / a letter. . C (complement).Structure  A structure is an arrangement of elements. I/I  are two examples of English sentences.

which operate at— or as exponents of— P in clause-structure. the class of Verbal Groups.Class  By a class we mean a grouping of members of a unit in terms of the way in which they operate in the structure of the unit next above in the rank scale.  Thus we have. . the class of Nominal Groups which operate as exponents of S or C in clause-structure. etc. in English.

. . for example. etc.System  By a system we mean a finite set of alternants. of the Nominal group (as in English) the terms in the system are themselves sub-groups or sub-classes of the class.  Where number is a system.  An example of a system in grammar might be the article system or number system (Sing/Plur) (Sing/Dual/Plural). among which a choice must be made. of many languages.

Language Scales  There are three scales which are part of the general theory of language. and of languagedescription:  Rank Scale  Exponency Scale  Delicacy Scale .

. The smallest. and every word of one or more than one morpheme. In English grammar we set up a hierarchy of 5 units: The largest. . on the rank-scale is the sentence. By placing these in this order on the scale of rank we mean that every sentence consists of one or more than one clause.the group and . are .the word. . or ‘lowest’. every group of one or more than one word. or ‘highest’.the clause. every clause of one or more than one group.Rank Scale  The rank scale is the scale on which units are arranged in a        grammatical or phonological hierarchy. in ‘descending’ order.Between these. on the rank scale is the morpheme.

consisting of one morpheme.Rank Scale  Identify the ranks of the following sentence:  Yes!  It is a sentence consisting of one clause. . consisting of one word. consisting of one group.

that a unit at any rank operates in the structure of the unit next above. .  We must. however. we make use of the concept of rank-shift. To deal with this. conversely. or.Rank Shift  The normal relation between units in a grammatical hierarchy is that a unit at any rank consists of one or more unit of the rank next below. make allowance for the fact that in all languages we find a unit that may sometimes operate in the structure of a unit of the same or of lower rank.

S P C  The man is my brother .

 The man we met after the concert is my brother  the clause we met after the concert is rankshifted. in fact. This nominal group. in turn. It is. is exponent of S in the clause The man we met after the concert (S) / is (P) / my brother (C).Rank Shift  For example. operating as exponent of Q (qualifier) in the structure of the nominal group The man we met after the concert. but within a Nominal Group. It is not operating directly in the structure of the sentence. .

operating at S or C in clause structure. operating at P in clause structure Nominal. Since morphemes are at the ‘bottom’ of the rank scale they themselves have no structure. (wordstructure are B (base) and A (affix)) The exponents of elements of word structure are morphemes.) The exponents of elements of group structure are words.The Scale of Exponence  Exponence is related to rank in the sense that an element of     structure of a unit at one rank is expounded by—or has as its exponent—a unit or units of the rank next below. The exponents of elements of sentence structure are clauses (free and bound clauses) The exponents of elements of clause structure are groups (Verbal. operating at A in clause structure. and Adverbial.  .

. . if we are going to attribute any structure at all to English nominal groups we must set up three elements: H (head). At a Primary degree of delicacy. n) H (Q. . . etc. is always present.  Our least delicate description of English Ngp structure is thus (M . which are forced upon us by the data. . M (modifier) and Q (qualifier).Delicacy Scale  This is the scale of ‘depth of detail’. we recognize. H. only the minimal number of units or classes. Thus. which means that one element. . and this may be preceded and/or followed by one or more element M or Q. n). or set up.

syntactic. semantic. morphological.The Shift Approach to Translation  By shifts we mean departures from formal correspondence in the process of going from the SL to the TL. pragmatic) has a target language equivalent at a different level. italics. underlining as signs of emphasis .       ‫ وتنهدت نهدة ملؤها الحسرة والندامة‬for Ah! ‫ وصاحت متعجبة‬for Wow! Cleft structures for stress Pseudo-cleft structures for intonation Complete words for emphatics Bold.  According to Catford there are two types of shift:  Level shift: a source language item at one linguistic level (phonological.

clause. morpheme  Inedible. batter. feasible. verbs – nouns. adjectives – nouns. . Class shifts: one part of speech to another. invalid. the jury. grammatical function shift. Unit shifts: sentence. the team was entrusted with. phrase.Category shift    Structural shifts: word order shift.

The following English-Arabic instance is an example of clause-structure shift. structure shifts can Occur at all ranks.   SL text John loves Mary  TL text yuhibuu john mary  SPC PSC  (A back-translation of the Arabic TL text gives us: love john mary .Structural Shift  In grammar.

In translation between English and Arabic for instance. there is often a shift from MH (modifier + head) to HQ (head + qualifier). for example at group rank.Class Shifts  Structure-shifts can be found at other ranks. e g A white house (MH) = ‫( بيت أبيض‬HQ) .

that is.e. for those cases where SL and TL possess systems which approximately correspond formally as to their constitution. however. advice = ‫نصائح‬ news = ‫أخبار‬ applause = ‫تصفيق‬ trousers = ‫بنطلون‬ . i. it quite frequently happens that this formal correspondence is departed from. where the translation equivalent of English singular is Arabic plural and vice-versa. but when translation involves selection of a non-corresponding term in the TL system. within a system.System Shifts  We use the term intra-system shift for those cases where the      shift occurs internally. In translation. e.g.

nil equivalence at one rank implies that equivalence can only be established at a higher rank. can be established only at a higher rank. there is no translation equivalent of the English indefinite article. . we could say that the translation equivalent of the English indefinite article. is the Arabic article zero. then. that the Arabic equivalent of a in this text is nil. The English nominal group a doctor has as its equivalent the Arabic nominal group ‫ . a. then. In the Arabic text. We say. In the present example.دكتورا‬In general. in this example. namely the group. therefore.System Shift  One might describe the system of articles in both Arabic and English as containing a term zero. Equivalence.

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