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Tag Archive | "Explicitation"

What Do You Think Harry Potter Does with the Magic of Explicitation?
Posted on 07 October 2011. Tags: Explicitation, Harry, harry potter & the deathly hallows, implicitation translation technique, ip, Magic, Potter, Think Itrending News - Latest Today 1- Introduction Among different techniques a translator makes use of, in his/ her translation to produce the same effect on the TL reader as was obtained on the SL reader, there is one, named, Explicitation. But to what extent is a translator allowed to make use of it? This is what we will investigate to answer in this paper after defining and stating different types of it. First, let us have a look at some definitions of explicitation offered by some well known figures in the field of translation studies. Explicitation was described by Vinay and Darbelnet in 1958 as the process of introducing information into the target language which is present only implicitly in the SL, but which can be derived from t he context or the situation (1995: 8). Newmark (1988) approves the above mentioned in another way: most of the implicit information of the original is drawn from the immediate context. Nida (1964) looks at the explicitation phenomenon in the translated text as a shift from the implicit to the explicit status that occurs when important semantic elements carried implicitly in the source language may require explicit identification in the receptor language (p. 228; qtd. in Klaudy 1998, p. 81). As you may have noticed, at one end is the explicitation and at the other is, definitely, the implicitation. They will be meaningful if we define one of them by the other. In other words, they are symmetrically arranged, counterpart of each other in a way that the existence of one of them proves the existence of the other. It also assumes that in some sense, whatever is explicitated must have been implicit in the other variant. The visible part (of form and meaning) is called explicit, the invisible part implicit (Linke and Nussbaumer (2000: 435). In Translation, the translator is, most of the time, moving from one of them to get close to the other. Although it is not our main concern in this paper, we are obliged, here, to touch the notion of implicitation, if we do not do it, something will be lacking.
by Ethan Hurd


Implicitation occurs, for instance, when a SL unit of a more specific meaning is replaced by a TL unit of a more general meaning; translators draw together the meaning of several words, and thus SL units consisting from two or more words are replaced by a TL unit consisting of one word; meaningful lexical elements of the SL text are dropped; two or more sentences in the SL are conjoined into one sentence in the TL; or, when SL clauses are reduced to phrases in the TL, etc. (Klaudy and Kroly 2003). Explicitation takes place, for example, when a SL [source-language] unit of a more general meaning is replaced by a TL [target-language] unit of a more special meaning; the complex meaning of a SL word is distributed over several words in the TL; new meaningful elements appear in the TL text; one sentence in the SL is divided into two or several sentences in the TL; or, when SL phrases are extended or elevated into clauses in the TL, etc. (Klaudy and Kroly 2003). A point is good to be mentioned here and it is that while some scholars like Ppai (2004) define explicitation as a translation technique involving a shift from the source text (ST) concerning structure or content, some like Newmark has not talked about it as a translation technique. Because of different language systems, languages are different in the degree of explicitness and implicitness they employ. Some languages are more explicit or implicit than others and this is what the translators should bear in mind before starting a translation project. They should ask themselves from what language system to what language system they are going to translate.

2- Is Explicitation the same as Addition or Redundancy? According to Shoshana Blum-Kulka (1986: 19), the process of interpretation performed by the translator on the source text might lead to a TL text which is more redundant than the SL text. But explicitness does not necessarily mean redundancy. Based on different definition we had so far for explicitation, we understand that the translator does not add anything to the translation which was not said in the original and he does not mix his/ her impression with what was originally said in the SL. He/ she tries his/ her best to transfer just the ideas and propositions from the ST into the TT. Addition is used, for example, when concepts generally known by the SL audience may be unfamiliar to the target language audience and therefore require explanation in translation (Baker, 2001). Since there is not always a one to one correspondence between languages during the translation process, we can not expect the exact number of words in the ST to appear in the TT as the equivalent words, i. e. We can not expect a 50 word text in the SL to be translated into a 50 word text in the TL. For instance a word like fetch does not have a one word equivalence in Persian; In translating it, we should replaced it with three words. Let us take an example: Source: Fetch that book here. 2

The Persian translation: . The back translation: go, take and bring that book here. Fetch should be replaced by go, take and bring. Addition in this sense occurs in translation a lot. The meanings are embedded in the words, conveying them by the words of another language system can not be possible by the exact number of word as were in the ST. Redundancy refers to the degree to which a message contains more information than is needed for it to be understood (Richards, J. C & Schmidt, R., 2002). For example, in English, plural may be shown on the demonstrative, the noun, and the verb, as in: These books are expensive. However, if the s on books is omitted, the message would still be understood. Therefore, the s is redundant in this context. 50% of normal language is said to be redundant. In introducing different types of explicitation while speaking about optional explicitation we will talk about the addition of connective elements but that would be different from addition of propositions by translators. 3- Why Explicitation? There is a great tendency towards using explicitation in translations but what motivates translators to make use of it in their translations? Translators tend to use explicit texts for their translations; one reason could be, because they feel the word, sentence or text they are going to translate is left implicit in the original language. As mentioned in the previous part, the diversity of language systems is one of the main reasons of occurrence of explicitation and implicitation. The author of the original text writes it for the users/ speakers of his language and those users/ speakers may get the point of what is implicitly said in the original text simply and with no problem. Such a text when translated into another language should be explicit because there may be a tendency towards explicitness in the very target language. According to Sguinot (1998), explicitation happens not only because what was said in the translation was proposed implicit in the ST but also when an element in the ST is given greater importance in the translation through focus, emphasis, or lexical choice. Another point that we should add here is that applying such techniques as explicitation is for the sake of the audience, it seems, because in contrast to authors who leave some points unsaid in their writings and abandon the their readers, puzzled, in uncertainty about the result, in some cases, the 3

translator tries to reveal the secrets of the texts and simplifies it. This simplification is an important factor in translating childrens stories. (To have a better comprehension of the definition and application of explicitation, we will provide some examples from the Persian translation of Harry Potter in the following part) It seems that explicitation is used by those translators whose texts are reader oriented. The translator explicitates the implications entered in the SL. These translators have their readers in their mind rather than the writer. They intend to communicate with people via translation, so they will do whatever they can in their renditions to make their audience comprehend what the author of the original work had planned. 4- Types of Explicitation 4-1 Houses classification House distinguishes between three types of explicitation, depending on whether it relates to the ideational, interpersonal or textual functional component. In each of these types, explicitness can take three different forms: elaboration, when the clause or part of it is elaborated upon by using other words, specifying, commenting or exemplifying; extension, when there is expansion via the addition of a new element, provision of an exception, or offer of an alternative, enhancement, when some circumstantial, temporal, local causal, or conditional element is used to embellish or qualify the clause. 4-2 Klaudys classification Klaudy (1998) distinguishes between four different types of explicitation: obligatory, optional, pragmatic and translation-inherent. Obligatory explicitations are dictated by differences in syntactic and semantic structures between the SL and the TL. These kinds of explicitation are obligatory because they are applied in order to construct grammatically correct sentences in the TL. Here is an example for this kind of explicitation: When translating from English to Persian, sentences having the word although have the semantic and implicit meaning of but in English; While which this but is not allowed in English Grammar, it is obligatory in Persian Grammar. Let us take an example: Source text: Although I was sick, I went to the party. 4

The Persian translation:

Back translation: Although I was sick but I went to the party. As you may consider the insertion of but is obligatory in Persian but not allowed in English. To understand it better, let us take another example. There are some verbs in Persian which take particles but their corresponding verbs in English do not, such as etc., their corresponding verbs are: help, and let or permit and discuss. Let us examine them in the sentences. Source: We discussed it before. The Persian translation: . Back translation: We discussed about it before. Source: I helped her. The Persian translation: her. Source: my father let me go to that party The Persian translation: . Back translation: my father let to me go to that party. The additions of such particles are obligatory in the Persian language. It is neither redundant nor optional. The meanings of the particles are inherent and present in English Language that should be explicitated in the Persian translation. As we mentioned above, if obligatory explicitation is not applied, grammatically correct sentences can not be achieved. Optional explicitations are dictated by differences in text-building strategies and stylistic preferences between langauges (op cit). Examples are the addition of connective elements to strengthen cohesive links, the use of relative clauses instead of long, left branching nominals, and addition of emphasizers to clarify the sentence perspective. They are not obligatory in order to construct grammatically correct sentences in the TL, but if they are not applied, the resulting TT as a whole will appear clumsy and unnatural ( Vehmas-Lehto 1989). For example, in translating from English to Persian, a long sentence in English should be break into smaller sentences in Persian connected by connective elements to be more understandable by a Persian reader. Another example can be the optional insertion of pronouns in Persian: Take this example: Source: I go to university every Tuesday and Thursday. 5 . Back translation: I helped to

The Persian translation


The Pronoun ( )which has come between the parentheses shows that the insertion of the pronouns in Persian is optional while obligatory in languages such as English. The insertion of pronouns in the Persian sentences, mostly, looks redundant except for case that the subject of the action should be mentioned emphatically to show that the subject under discussion had done something not someone else. Such a case is applicable for other pronouns in Persian. To construct grammatically correct sentences, the application of optional explicitation is not obligatory but if they are not applied, the TL will appear unnatural and clumsy. Pragmatic explicitations are dictated by differences between cultures, involving, for instance the translators inserted explanations of source culture specific concepts. There are a lot of examples for this kind of explicitation in translation from English to Persian and vice versa because there are some cultural notions in Western English speaking countries that are not allowed to be rendered into Persian translated texts, or sometimes they exist in a different way in Persian that it is the role of the translator to adjust them so that they are understandable for a Persian reader. Finally, translation-inherent explicitations are attributed to the nature of the translation process itself, and are explained by one of the most pervasive, language independent features of all translational activity, namely the necessity to formulate ideas in the target language that were originally conceived in the SL. Using this kind of explicitation seems, to show how much a translator is competent. If we look at translation from an artistic view, if are those who think translation is an art, application of this kind of explicitation shows us those translators as artist. Because this kind of explicitation has nothing to do with the language, this is what the translation feels in the translation process; what to explicitate and what not. 5- Explicitation for Whom? Does it make any differences? The audience is of great importance in making use of explicitation or any other types of translation strategies. One point, surly, simply, comprehended by adults would be hardly ever caught by children. Most of the times, the matters should be explained more for children than for adult. Broadly speaking, as we talk to children differently than adults in our native language, we should bear in mind such a point when translating different novels for children. Explicitation is of those kinds of strategies that should be used in the right place and whenever needed in childrens stories. By explicitation, lengthy, hard grasping sentences can be broken into smaller chunks, to be more easily, understood by the children. 6

A novel like Harry Potter is written but it has different audience around the world; Adults and children both enjoy reading it; so in its translation, the translators should make use of different translational strategies to satisfy their intended audience. 6- The Material and Procedure Now the time has come to apply what we have learnt about explicitation and different types of it. Our material in this is study is the Persian translation of Harry Potter (part four: Harry Potter and the order of the phoenix: 2003) written by J. K. Rolling and translated by Vida Eslamieh (2004). We will identify the types of explicitation used in this translation according to what Klaudy has suggested. For this matter, some sentences are extracted from the original book accompanied by their translations and back translations. If we want to analyze all the sentences in the book, another book should be written on this, so we suffice to 15 sentences extracted form the book. 6-1 The study Here are the extracts:

1- He was gibbering as he tried to pull away from professor Tofty, who was looking at Harry with much concern after helping him out into the Entrance Hall with the students all around then staring. Translation: . . . Back translation: gibbering, Harry tried to pull himself away from professor Tofty. Professor Tofty who was looking at him with much concern had helped him come into the Entrance Hall and all the students around them were staring at them. Analysis: the insertion of Harry instead of him at the beginning of the sentence shows that if the translator translated he as ,the readers were puzzled which he the translator was talking about. So it is a kind of obligatory explicitation. A close look at the original shows a full stop at the end of the sentence while there are two full stops in the TT. It is a kind of optional explicitation, breaking the original sentence into more sentences in the TT to make the reader comprehend the translation better. Consider the back translation of who was looking at Harry as Professor Tofty who was looking at him with much concern. The insertion of Professor Tofty in the translation as is shown in the back translation is a matter of optional explicitation. 2- Harry found that his voice was shaking, as were his knees. Translation: . Back translation: Harry found that his voice was shaking. His knees were shaking too. Analysis: the original sentence is broken into two sentences. If the same structure was entered into the TT structure, it would be hard for the TT reader to understand the whole meaning so the translator had taken into consideration this point by breaking the original sentence in the TT. 7

3-The question is how were going to get there.

Back translation: Now just it is important that how we are going to get there. Analysis: the insertion of the underlined part shows an example of translation-inherent explicitation. Because the translation felt that this insertion made the TT to be read smoothly by the readers. 4-They are not normal dreams. . Back translation: these dreams are not normal dreams. Analysis: the back translation shows redundancy if it were in the original but such structure is natural in Persian. It is a kind of optional explicitation. They in the original needs a reference in the TT as dreams. 5-We need to establish whether Sirius has left Headquarters. Translation: .

Back translation: we now should know whether Sirius has left Headquarters or not. Analysis: the insertion of now and not in the TT is optional. The Persian reader expects to hear not after sentences in which there is whether like in English whether or not. 6-Well have to use Umbridges fire and see if we can contact him. Translation: . Back translation: well have to use Umbridges fire and see if we can contact him or not. Analysis: the same justification like above is used for insertion of not in the target 7-He yelled and stamped his enormous feet and the centaurs scattered out of the way. Translation: . . Back translation: he yelled and stamped his feet on the ground. The centaurs scattered out of his way. Analysis: the original sentence is broken into 2 sentences in the TT so that the TT would be comprehended more easily. The insertion of on the ground and his way is for the ease of the readers. 8- And he might kill them all. Translation: . Back translation: he might kill all the centaurs. 8 text.

Analysis: the insertion of centaurs is obligatory because if it were not mentioned the reader would be puzzled all of what might have been killed. 9- He did not believe it. .

Back translation: Harry did not believe. Analysis: the verb believe does not need an object in Persian but it does in English so the translator left the object implicit in the TT. 10- Nothing there! he shouted. Back translation: nothing is in my hand.

Analysis: this kind of explicitation in obligatory. The word hand is inherent in the original sentence which should have been explicitated for the target readers or the reader might ask himself/ herself nothing is in where. 11- Still he fought Lupin with every bit of strength he had. Translation: .

Back translation: with the last power he had in his body cells tried to make Lupin away from him. Analysis: in Persian the phrase is more comprehensible for the readers and it is inherent in the original text. It is a kind of translation-inherent explicitation. 12- To Harry it was meaningless noise. .

Back translation: to Harry, all those sounds were meaningless. Analysis: it is a kind of obligatory explicitation because if it were not explicitated as all the sounds, the reader would not know what was meaning less to Harry. 13- Harry laughed again because he knew it would incense her. Translation: . Back translation: Harry laughed again because he knew his laugh would incense her. Analysis: the word it should have been explicitated for the ease of the reader; if it were translated as ,the reader would be puzzled what would incense her. It is a kind of obligatory explicitation. 14- It was his fault Sirius had died. Translation: . Back translation: Harry was responsible for Siriuss death. 9

Analysis: it should have been explicitated as Harry for the ease of the readers. It is, again, a kind of optional explicitation. 15- For a long time, neither of them spoke. . Back translation: long time, none of them said no more. Analysis: the insertion of more in the back translation corresponding to "in the Persian translation is a kind of optional explicitation. If it were not explicitated. It would not distort the grammar of the TT. In the second phase of the study, the 15 sentences above were given to 10 graduate students of translation studies; a comparison was made between their renditions and those of the translator of the book to see how Iranian translators make use of explicitation in their translations. Their translations were more or less similar to those of the translator of the book and this process showed that they felt the same need to make explicitations in their translation to make their readers comprehend the translated text. Another point that should be mentioned here is that although there was no obvious pragmatic explicitation in the translated sentences, what was clear was that the whole text was translated in such a way that the Iranian readers could understand most of the cultural factors in the original culture with which were never familiar, with ease and fewer problems, so a total pragmatic explicitation had its shadow on the translated text. In addition, as was mentioned in the definition of translationinherent explicitation, this kind of explicitation has nothing to do with the language, this is what the translation feels in the translation process; what to explicitate and what not; this kind of translation is not easily seen in the sentences, but inherent in whole of the TT. 7- Overall Result After analyzing the translation in relation to the types of explicitation used, a total number of 1163 instances of explicitation were recorded. The results showed that optional explicitation registered 520 instances accounting for 44.5%, obligatory explicitation registered 367 instances accounting for 22.1%, translation-inherent explicitation registered 190 instances accounting for 16.2% and finally, pragmatic explicitation registered 83 instances accounting for 7.1% of types of explicitation used. The results are demonstrated in table 1:

Table 1: Types of explicitation applied in the translation of Harry Potter. Type of Explicitation Optional Obligatory Translation-inherent Pragmatic 520 367 190 83 10 Number of Instances 44.5 22.1 16.2 7.1 Frequency %




8- To Explicitate or not to Explicitate, as Conclusion According to Newmrak (1988), a satisfactory translation is always possible, but a good translator is never satisfied with it. He, again mentions (1988) that translation is an art which distinguished good from undistinguished writing. Since translation involves communication into a context with fewer shared references, it involves greater risks than non-translation, which does not consistently have this feature. It has been suggested that the frequency of explicitation in translation is related to the degree of experience of the translator. Levy (1965) assumes that this is a feature of translators with limited experience, whereas BlumKulka (1986) gives evidence of explicitation from translations made by professional translators as well. Although explicitation is Blum-Kulkas believe that the only result of it is redundancy, the unnecessary repetition of something that is already there, we can say that it is more than a simple repetition. When facing difficulties in the translation process, explicitation is one of the solutions that come to use for the convenience of the translators. Since translation, these days, is relayed on as a business, the translator should be careful in their renditions because some examples have been seen that translators have lost their jobs because of using or not using a simple explcitation in their translations! Punishments are awaiting translators as in other jobs; it is not the time for compliment! Another important factor that affects the usage of explicitation in translation is translational norms or what is an accepted translation in one culture may be unacceptable in another culture. These are some factors that a translator should take into consideration before starting a translation project. Translation is a skill which calls for appropriate language and acceptable usage! (Newmark: 1988)


References : Baker, M. (2001). Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies. London and New York: Routledge. Chung- Ling, Sh. Corpus-based Study of Differences in Explicitation Between Literature Translations for Children and for Adults. Retrived May 10, 2009, From: www. Translationdirectory. Com. Gavioli, L. & Zanettin, F. (1997). Comparable Corpora and Translation: A pedagogic perspective. In G. Aston, L. Gavioli & F. Zanettin (Eds.), Corpus use and learning to translate. Retrieved Dec. 21, 2006 from Klaudy, K. (1998). Explicitation. In M. Baker (Ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Translation Studies (pp. 80-84). London & New York: Routledge. Munday, J. (2001). Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and applications. London: Routledge. Newmark, P. (1988 ). A Textbook of Translation. Prentice Hall International (UK) Ltd.

Saldanha, G. (2008). Explicitation Revisited: Bringing the Learner to the Surface. Retrieved May 4, 2009, From: www. Stjerome. Co. uk. Tsaonline. Seguinot, C. (1998). Pragmatics and the Explicitation Hypothesis. Retrieved May 18, 2009, From: www.

Sahar Farrahi Avval, MA student of translation studies, Islamic Azad University, Shahreza Branch, Isfahan, Iran Article from