On the linguistical definition of translation

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On the Linguistic Definition of Translation
Yaroslav V. Sokolovsky*
Siberian Federal University
82а Svobodny, Krasnoyarsk, 660041 Russia
Received 9.04.2010, received in revised form 16.04.2010, accepted 23.04.2010
This paper sheds some light upon the problem of linguistic definition of interlanguage translation.
The author analyzes several famous definitions of translation, uses them asa theoretic base to single
out constitutive traits of translation activity (CTTA) and makes an attempt to propose a general
linguistic definition of translation. Separate attention is paid to the relationship between the definition
of translation and the translation category of correspondence (TCC).In addition to that, the article
contains general comparison of translation and other typesof interlingual mediation.
Keywords: linguistic definition of translation, translation, equivalence, adequacy, isomorphism,
adaptive transcoding, interpretation, constitutive traits of translation activity (CTTA), translation
category of correspondence (TCC).
* Corresponding author E-mail address: sokol_rus@hotmail.com
© Siberian Federal University. All rights reserved
Ambiguity ofDefinitions
It is well known that the relations between
the original text and translation text are quite
complex. Ch. Nord points out «the deplorable fact
that the eternal discussions about faithfulness
or liberty in translation have got us absolutely
nowhere» [22: 25]. I. Levy also considers the
problem of translation fidelity to be «one of
the cornerstones of translation theory andpractice…» [11: 8]. In a certain way this situation
is determined by the fact that the taxonomic traits
of translation have not been fully described yet,
which can be proved by dozens of translation
definitions. Once some fundamental framework
of constitutive traits of translation activity has
been worked out the researcher can proceed with
the problem of identity betweentranslation and
original. The term «problem of identity between
translation and original» refers to objective
impossibility of translation to convey all amount
of information, which is contained in the original
text. In different terms this problem is analyzed
in various recent works [1; 5; 6; 9].
Before thorough examination of some wellknown linguistic definitions of translation, it
isworth remembering the types of translation
suggested by R. Jacobson in his famous article
«On Linguistic Aspects of Translation» [20: 114].
He classifies translation into three categories:
«1) intralingual translation or rewording is an
interpretation of verbal signs by means of other
signs of the same language; 2) interlingual
translation or translation proper is an interpretation
ofverbal signs by means of some other language;
3) intersemiotic translation or transmutation is an
interpretation of verbal signs by means of signs
of nonverbal sign systems.» In this article we use
the term «translation» in its second meaning, – 286 –
Yaroslav V. Sokolovsky. On the Linguistic Definition of Translation
used by R. Jacobson, i.e. interlingual translation.
Bearing this inmind, we can try to propose our
own classification of the following definitions of
1) translation is a process:
• A. Lilova: «Translation is a specific oral or
written activity aimed at the recreation of
an oral or written text (utterance) existing
in one language into a text in another
language, accompanied by keeping the
invariance of content, qualities of theoriginal and author`s authenticity» [12:
• R. K. Minyar-Beloruchev: «Translation
is a type of speech activity, aimed at
transmitting a message, doubling the
components of communication in those
cases, when there is a discrepancy
between codes used by the sender and the
receiver of the message» [13: 226];
• A. Popovic: «Translation is recoding
of a linguistic text,...
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