Faculdade de Letras da Universidade do Porto Línguas e Literaturas Modernas

INTRODUCTION TO TRANSLATION STUDIES
Power Point 8 24 October 2007

Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

TASK (from Lesson 11)
Search the net to find out more about Bible translation. What was the original language in which the Bible was written? Which language was the Bible first translated into ? Remember to note down the websites where you found your answers.
Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

To achieve his scientific approach to T, Nida resorts to linguistics:

• Semantics (structural semantics) • Pragmatics (language in use) • Noam Chomsky‟s generativetransformational grammar

Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

A NEW CONCEPT OF (BIBLE) TRANSLATING
Old Focus: the form of the message
NEW FOCUS: The new focus, however, has shifted from the the form of the message to the response of the receptor. (. . .) Even the old question: Is this a correct translation? must be answered in terms of another question, namely: For whom? Correctness must be determined by the extent to which the average reader for which a translation is intended will be likely to understand it correctly. (Nida and Taber 1969: 1)
Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

Main innovations:
• Pragmatic view of meaning: a word acquires
• • •
meaning in a specific communication context Referential (denotative or “dictionary” meaning) and connotative (emotive) meaning (emotional response evoked in the reader). Componential analysis (e.g., anthropology: mapping of kinship terms in different cultures) Semantic structure analysis
Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

Noam Chomsky (1928) (MIT)
http://www.chomsky.info/ http://web.mit.edu/linguistics/www/chomsky.home.html

• Syntactic Structures, 1957
Language is a system with underlying universal structures (kernel sentences) which become visible through surface structures. A limited n. of rules creates an infinite n. of utterances (mathematical model) by means of transformations.
Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

Nida and Taber 1969: 39 These restructured expressions are basically what many linguists call “kernels”; that is to say, they are the basic structural elements out of which the language builds its elaborate surface structure. In fact, one of the most important insights coming from “transformational grammar” is the fact that in all languages there are half a dozen to a dozen basic structures out of which all the more elaborate formations are constructed by means of so-called “transformations.”
Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

What interests Nida and Taber, however, is back-transformation, because if we can reduce surface structures to kernel sentences, then the “transfer” into the other language will be easier. “This is one justification for the claim that the three-stage process of translation is preferable (. . .)” (ibidem, p.40)
Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

3 stages: (1) analysis, in which the surface structure (i.e., the message as given in language A) is analyzed in terms of (a) the grammatical relationships and (b) the meaning of the words and combinations of the words, (2) transfer, in which the analyzed material is transferred in the mind of the translator from language A to language B, and (3) restructuring, in which the transferred material is restructured in order to make the final message fully acceptable in the receptor language.

Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

Formal equivalence
“Formal equivalence focuses attention on the message itself, in both form and content … “ Nida 1964: 159 It is “basically source oriented; that is, it is designed to reveal as much as possible of the form and content of the original message” (165)

e.g., gloss translations (T is close to original in terms of structure)
Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

Dynamic equivalent and the principle of equivalent effect
. . . What one must determine is the response of the receptor to the translated message. This response must then be compared with the way in which the original receptors presumably reacted to the message when it was given in its original setting. (Nida and Taber 1969: 1)
Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

Dynamic equivalence is therefore to be defined in terms of the degree to which the receptors of the message in the receptor language respond to it in substiantially the same manner as the receptors in the source language. This response can never be identical, for the cultural and historical settings are too different, but there should be a high degree of equivalence of response, or the translation will have failed to accomplish its purpose. (Nida and Taber 1969: 24)
Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

Criticisms levelled at Nida
• Approach still focuses too much on word
level • Reader response is difficult, if not impossible, to measure (Newmark, House, van den Broeck)

Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

Newmark‟s semantic and communicative translation These T methods are set out in two books: Approaches to Translation (1981) A Textbook of Translation (1988)

Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

SEMANTIC TRANSLATION
Similar to Nida‟s formal equivalence; • SL emphasis; • It takes more account of the aesthetic value of the SL text, compromising on meaning where appropriate; • It is used for expressive texts Newmark 1988: 46-47
Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

COMMUNICATIVE TRANSLATION
Communicative translation attempts to render the exact contextual meaning of the original in such a way that both content and language are readily acceptable and comprehensible to the readership. [It is used] for „informative‟ and „vocative‟ texts. [It] tends to be simple, clear and brief, and is always written in a natural and resourceful style. Newmark 1988: 47-48
Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

HOMEWORK (for 31 Oct.)
Jeremy Munday • Chapter 4 (special attention to Vinay and Darbelnet)

Elena Zagar Galvão - ITS - FLUP 2006

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