TRANSLATION: Definition, Kinds of Translation and Equivalence

  1. Translation
  1. The Definition of Translation

There are some definitions of translation. Nida states that translation consist of reproducing in the receptor language the closest natural equivalence of the source language message, first in terms of meaning and secondly in terms of style[1]. Newmark in Rudi Hartono states that translation is rendering the meaning of a text into another language in the way that the author intended the text.[2]

From the definition above the translation has the same term “equivalence”. The meaning, context, though, or message of both source of reproducing in the receptor language, the closest natural are equivalent to the message of source language. The first is meaning and secondly is style. The message of source language must equivalent. The reader of translation who knows the target language only will be confused if the target language is influenced by the source language.

Meanwhile the result of translation must be transferring the meaning of the source language clearly. In order to make the clear meaning of source language, it is expected that the meaning of target language can be understood by the readers. So, the result of translation must be readable. In target language, readability is needed, because it makes the readers easier to catch the content of the translation text, conversely when the translation text is not readable. It will make the readers difficult to understand the content of the text well.

Based on many definitions above, the writer assumes that the translation is a process of transferring thoughts and message from the source language to the target language, in the form of written or spoken.

  1. The kinds of translation

Practically, there are some kinds of translation that have their own characteristics and forms. Some kinds of translation are found because of the differences and similarities of the source structures, different kinds of text that are going to be translated and different purpose of translation. Newmark states that translation methods relate to whole texts, translation procedures are used for sentences and the smaller units of language.[3]

Roman Jakobson in Hatim and Munday makes a very important distinction between three types of written translation[4]:1)Intralingual translation,translation within the same language, which can involve rewording or paraphrase, 2) Interlingual translation,translation from one language to another,3)Intersemiotic translation,translation of the verbal sign by non verbal sign for example music or image.

Nababan differentiates kinds of translation, such as word for word translation, free translation, literal translation, dynamic translation, pragmatic translation, aesthetic-poetic translation, ethnographic translation, linguistic translation communicative translation and semantic translation[5].

  1. The Process of Translation

The process of translation can be defined as the activity of translation. The translation process usually is used by a translator as a guide in translating text from the source language into the target language.

The process of translation consists of three steps, analyze texts of source language, transfer, restructuring[6]

 

 

 

Figure 1. Process of translation

(Nida and Taber)

 

The first stage is analysis, translator analyzes about grammatical relationship and meaning of the word. In the transfer stage, translator analyzes material of source language and target language that is transferred base on the mind of translator. The material that has analyzed (X) is transferred to receptor text (Y), and then it is restructured to make final message that is acceptable in receptor language.

 

  1. Translation Equivalence

Base on oxford dictionary equivalence is equal or interchangeable in value, quantity, significance, etc.[7] Vinay and Darbelnet as cited in Munday, stated that “equivalence refers to cases where languages describe the same situation by different stylistic or structural means”[8].

Equivalence consists of the concept of sameness and similarity; it has the same or a similar effect or meaning in translation.

There are types of equivalence defined by Nida, which are also called two basic orientations of translation[9]:

  1. Formal correspondence

It focuses attention on the message itself, in both of form and content. Once is concerned that the message in the receptor language should match as closely as possible the different elements in the source language.

  1. Dynamic equivalence

It is the principle equivalent effect, where the relationship between receptor and message should be substantially the same as that which existed between the original receptor and the message. The goal of the dynamic equivalence is seeking the closest natural equivalent to the source message. This receptor oriented approach considers adaptations of grammar, of lexicon, and of cultural reference to be essential in order to achieve naturalness.

Vinay and Darbelnet view that equivalence-oriented translation as a procedure which ‘replicates the same situation as in the original, whilst using completely different wording’. Equivalence is therefore the ideal method when the translator dealing with proverbs, idioms, clichés, nominal or adjectival phrases and the onomatopoeia of animal sounds.[10] According to Jakobson’s theory, ‘translation involves two equivalent messages in two different codes’.  Jakobson goes on to say that 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.[11]

An extremely interesting discussion of the notion equivalent can be found in baker who seems to offer more detail list of conditions upon which the concept equivalent can be defined at different levels as follow:

  1. Equivalence that can appear at word level. Baker gives a definition of the term word since it should be remembered that a single word can be regarded as being a more complex unit or morpheme, and it discuss about lexical meaning.[12]
  2. Above word level equivalence, when translating from one language into another. In this section, the translator concentrates on the type of lexical pattering, they are collocation, idioms, and fixed expression.[13]
  3. Grammatical equivalence, when referring to the diversity of grammatical categories across languages. Baker focuses on number, tense and aspects, voice, person and gender.[14]. In the process of translation; such differences between SL and the TL often imply some change in the information content. When the SL has a grammatical category that the TL lacks, this change can take the form of adding information to the target text. On the other hand, if it is the target language that lacks a category, the change can take the form of omission.
  4. Textual equivalence when referring to the equivalence between a SL text and a TL text in terms of thematic and information structure.[15] She also adds the discussion in this section about cohesion.[16]
  5. Pragmatic equivalence, when referring to implicaturs and strategies of avoidance during the translation process.[17]

Vinay and Darbelnet, Jakobson, Nida and Taber, Catford, House, and finally is Baker. These theorists have studied equivalence in relation to the translation process, using different approaches.

C.Grammatical Equivalence

Grammar is the set of rules which determine the way in which units such as words and phrases can be combined in a language. Grammar has two main dimensions: morphology and syntax, morphology concern the structure of single words, the way in which their form varies to indicate specific contrast in the grammatical system (example: singular/plural, number, present/past), syntax concerns the grammatical structure of groups of words (clauses or sentence),the linear sequence of classes of words (noun, verb, adverb, adjective, etc).

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.[18]

As far as translation is concerned, the most important difference between grammatical and lexical choices is that the former are generally obligatory while the latter are largely optional. In the process of translation, such different between source language and the target language often imply some change in the information content. When the source language has a grammatical category that the target language lacks, this change can take the form of adding information to the target text. On the other hand, if it is the target language that lacks a category, the change can take the form of omission. grammatical rules may vary across languages and this may pose some problems in terms of finding a direct correspondence in the TL.

  1. Number

Number is the inflection of nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives and determiners to show singular, dual, or plural forms. Distinguished three classes of number: singular (‘one’), dual (‘two’), and plural (‘more than two’).[19] The idea of countability is probably universal, but not all of language have grammatical category of number, even if they might make distinctions at the lexical meaning.

  1. Gender

The term gender, usually attributed to Protagoras in Shery Simon, is derived from a term meaning class or kind and referred to the division of Greek nouns into masculine, feminine and neuter.[20]Gander is grammatical category according to which a noun or pronoun is classified as masculine or feminine.

  1. Person

Morphological category of the verb used to mark the singular and plural finite verb forms as ‘speakers’ (first person), ‘addressees’ (second person), or a ‘person, state or thing’ referred to in the utterance (third person).[21] Subgroup of pronouns which refer to persons is as the speakers (I, we), addressees (you) or other persons/things (he, she, it) (inclusive vs. exclusive).The category of person relates to the notion of participant roles.

  1. Tense and Aspect

English has two way tense systems, so that in place of the past tense form was, we could use the corresponding present tense form is.[22] Aspect is a term used to describe the duration of the activity described by a verb whether the activity is on-going or completed.[23] In those languages which have these categories, the form of the verb usually provides two types of information: time relations and aspectual differences.

  1. Voice

Voice is grammatical category that defines the relationship between subject and verb. It calls the active clauses if the subject have role responsible to performing action, and it call passive clause if the subject is the affected entity.[24]

 

  1. D.    Translation Procedure

Translation procedures or translation shifts are defined as “the smallest linguistic changes occurring in translation of ST (source text) to TT (target text)”.[25]  Translation is a field of various procedures. Translation procedures are use to get equivalence between source language and target language in translation process. There are many kinds of translation procedure, but the writer want to explore some procedure that must be use by translator to conform to the stylistic demands and grammatical conventions of the target language. These possibilities are expanded below.[26]

  1. Additional information

The change can take the form of adding to the target text information which is not expressed in the source language, if the target language has the grammatical category which the source language lacks.[27] Information which is not present in the source language text may be added to the target language text.

  1. Deletion information

Baker refers to deletion as “omission of a lexical item due to grammatical or semantic patterns of the receptor language”.[28] In the process of translating, the change of information content of message can be done in the form of omitting information in the source language, if the target language lacks a grammatical category.

  1. Structural adjustment

Structural adjustment is another important strategy for getting equivalence between source language and target language. Structural adjustment is also called shift, or transposition, or alteration.  Newmark states that “A ‘shift’ (Catford’s term) or ‘transposition’ (Vinay and Darbelnet) is a translation procedure involving a change in the grammar from SL to TL”. There are four types of transposition:[29]

  1. Type 1: the change from singular to plural (and vice versa), or in the position of the adjective.

Example of change from singular to plural:

SL:  a pair of glasses

TL :sebuah kacamata [30]

Example of change in the position of adjective:

SL:  black ink                                     TL: tinta hitam

  1. Type 2: the change in grammatical structure from SL to TL because SL grammatical structure does not exist in TL.

Example:

SL:  Tas situ aku letakan diatas meja

TL:  I placed the bag on the table

This example shows that except for sentences in passive voice or a particular structure, the concept of placing of object in the beginning of the sentence in Bahasa Indonesia (TL) is not recognized in the English (SL) grammar; hence it is transposed into a simple sentence.

  1. Type 3: an alternative to when literal translation of SL text may not accord with natural usage in TL. Such alternatives include:

1) Noun/noun phrase in SL becomes verb in TL.

Example:

SL: …to study their history for better understanding of their behavior. {Noun phrase}

TL: …mempelajari sejarah mereka untuk lebih memahami perilaku mereka. {Verb}

2) The joined form of adjective participle (i.e. adjective formed from a verb) and noun, or noun phrase in SL becomes noun + noun form in TL.

Example:

SL: engineering technique {adjective + noun}

TL: teknik perekayasaan {noun + noun}[31]

3) Clause in the form of participium (i.e. verb form sharing the functions of a noun) in SL is expressed into its direct form in TL.

Example:

SL:  The house designed by my father is being built.

TL: Rumah yang dirancang oleh ayah saya sedang dibangun.

  1. Type 4: the replacement of a virtual lexical gap by a grammatical structure.

The emphasis in SL is shown through TL regular grammatical construction.

Example:

SL:  This is the book I’ve been looking for all this time.

TL:  Buku inilah yang kucari selama ini.

There are many kinds of translation procedures. Translation procedures will make easily to get grammatical equivalence between source language and target language in the process of translation.

 

 

 

E.  Assessment in Translation Studies

Assessment in translation therefore goes beyond the evaluation of particular translations and must take into account other instruments. In this research, the writer uses the form of equivalent assessment according to Nababan:[32]

Scale

Definition

Category

3

The meaning of word, phrase, clause and sentence of source language can be transferred to the target language accurately, there no found distortions in meaning.

 

Accuracy

2

Large section the meaning of word, phrase, clause and sentence of source language had be transferred to the target language accurately, but there still found any distortions in meaning or ambiguity translation which influences message.

 

Almost accuracy

1

The meaning of word, phrase, clause and sentence of source language can be transferred to the target language inaccurately or deletion

 

Inacurasy

Table 1.  Assessment of Equivalence

 


[1]Nida,Eugene A and Taber. The Theory and Practice of translation.Leiden:E.J.Brill.1969.p16

[2]Rudi Hartono.Op.cit.p2

 

[3] Rochayah Machali. Pedoman Bagi Penerjemah..Jakarta:grasindo.2000.p48

[4] Munday, jeremy and Basil Hatim.Translation an advanced resource book. Newyork: Routledge. 2004. p5

[5] Rudolf Nababan.Teori Menerjemah.Yogyakarta:Pustaka pelajar. 2008.p30

[6] Nida,Eugene A and Taber. Op.Cit. p33

[7] A S Homby Oxford. 1995. Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of current English (fifth edition).OxfordUniversity press: Oxford.p.389

[8] Munday, J. Introducing Translation Studies.London: Routledge.2001.p.58

[9]Nida,Eugene A and Taber.Op.Cit. p22

[11]Munday,Jeremi.Op.Cit. p37

[12]Baker, Mona . In Other Words: a Coursebook on Translation, London: Routledge.1992. p.12

[13]Ibid.p.47

[14] Ibid.p.84

[15] Ibid.p.119

[16] Ibid.p.173

[17] Ibid.p.218

[18] Baker, Mona  . In Other Words: a Coursebook on Translation, London: Routledge. 1992. p.86

[19]Charles F. Meyer. Introducing English Linguistics. Cambridge University Press:UK.2009 .p27

[20] Sherry Simon. Gender in Translation Cultural Identity and The Politics of Transmission.London: Routledge.1996.p.16

[21] Bussman,Hadumod. Routladge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics. Routladge: London.1996.p.883.

[22] Radford, Andrew et.al.  Linguistics An Introduction Second edition.CambridgeUniversity Press:UK.2009.p250

[23] Ibid.p.252

[24] Mona Baker.Op.Cit. p.102

[25]Munday,J.Op.Cit.p.55

[26]/http:www.proz.com/doc/2071. October 25,2011

[27] Baker, Mona.Op.Cit.p.86

[28] Ibid.

[29] Newmark,Petter. A Textbook of Translation.New York: Prentice-Hall International. 1988. p85

[30] Rochayah Machali.Op.Cit. p.64

[31]ibid.p.67

[32] repository.usu.ac.id/bitstream/123456789/7392/1/09E01836.pdf

 

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