* Translation Equivalence (TE) and Different Theories


paradigmatic expressive axis, i.e. elements of grammar, which Popovic sees

as being a higher category than lexical equivalence.

3- Stylistic (translational) equivalence, where there is functional

equivalence of elements in both original and translation aiming at an

expressive identity with an invariant of identical meaning.

4- Textual (syntagmatic) equivalence, where there is equivalence of

syntagmatic structuring of a text, i.e. equivalence of form and shape.

Interlingual and Intertextual Equivalence

In earlier work on equivalence, theorists made a distinction between

hypothetical mapping between elements of abstract language systems (at level of

langue) on the one hand, and actual observable mappings between elements of

real ST and TT (at the level of parole) on the other. Catford (1965, p.27) used

the term formal correspondence and textual equivalence respectively to refer to

the two categories. Koller (1979, p.183-184) made a similar distinction when he

differentiated between korrespondez, formal similarity between language

systems, and Aquivalenz, equivalence relations between real texts and


Koller then went on to present Aquivalenz as the real object of enquiry in

translation studies. Similarly, Toury (1980, p.24-6) charts the evolution of the

notion of translatability from interlingual phenomenon to an intertextual one.

While relationships established at the level of langue are now largely seen as the

concern of comparative linguistics, formal correspondence continues to have

pride of place in machine translation, where linguistic – knowledge – based

systems using direct or transfer architecture often rely on mapping between the

formal structures of two language.

Indeed Catford’s translation shifts bear real similarities to notions of complex

transfer in machine translation (Hutchins and Somers 1992; Arnold et al. 1994).

Thus Koller (1979) and Pym (1995, p.157-8) believed that the general view

in translation studies soon came to be that equivalence was a relation between

texts in two different languages, rather than between the languages themselves.

They also mention that this step liberated translation studies from debates on

interlingual translatability based on entire language systems with their entire all

their unactualized meaning potential. Such debates had centered on in

compatibilities between the worlds inhabited by speakers of different languages

and on the structural dissimilarities between languages (Dorothy, 1998).

Dorothy also believes that once attention was focused on texts and utterances,

many of the potential multiple meanings and functions of words and structures

in a language system could be eliminated by reference to their context and co

text, making translation not only more tractable, but also more realistic. In the

next section we investigate equivalence from empirical and theoretical concept

that plays important role in this article.

Equivalence as an Empirical and a Theoretical Concept

The narrowing down of the scope of the term equivalence to an intertextual

relation still left plenty of room for competing notions of the concept. Toury

(1980 p. 39) identified two main used of the term: first, equivalence could be ‘a

descriptive term, denoting concrete objects – actual relationships between actual

utterances in two languages (and literatures), recognized as TT and ST – which

are subject to direct observation’. This definition regards equivalence as an

empirical category which could be established only after the event of translation.

Toury contrasted this approach with equivalence as ‘a theoretical term, denoting

an abstract, ideal relationship, or category of relationships between TT and ST,

translations and their sources’. This dichotomy can be problematic, however.

For one, it may not be psychologically plausible. From the translator’s point of

view, it is not clear whether a real distinction can be made between what one

intends to write, and what one actually writes.

Furthermore, equivalence as a theoretical term, a prospective and often

descriptive notion, is responsible for acquiring a bad name for equivalence in

some quarters in translation studies (Dorothy 1998). Gentzler (1993 p.4), for

example, contends that standards of translation analysis that rely on equivalence

or non – equivalence and other associated judgmental criteria ‘imply notions of

substantialism that limit other possibilities of translation practice, marginalize

unorthodox translation, and impinge upon real intercultural exchange’. Newman

(1994, p. 4694), on the other hand, describes translation equivalence as ‘a

commonsense term for describing the ideal relationship that a reader would

expect to exist between an original and its translation’. Newman’s equivalence is

clearly prospective and ideal, although empirical approaches also feature in the

analysis. Pym also speaks about equivalence as a fact of reception and about the

socially determined ‘expectation’ that TT should stand in some kind of

equivalence relation to their ST.

Hutchins and Somers (1992, p.317-22) believe that while Catford view of

textual equivalence may say very little about the nature of equivalence, the

approach has found application in areas such as example and statistics based

machine translation and, more recently, in translation memory system, where

previously translated ST and their TT are stored with a view to recycling old

translations, should the system recognize new input for which it already has an

equivalent target rendering.

Equivalence as an empirical phenomenon has seen perhaps its most powerful

manifestation to date Toury’s (1980, 1995) work. Where as other theorists might

ask whether two text are equivalence according to some predefined, prescriptive

criterion of equivalence, Toury treats the existence of equivalence between TT

and ST a given. This equivalence postulate them allows him to state that ‘the

question to be asked in the actual study of translations (especially in the

comparative analysis of TT and ST) is not whether the two texts are equivalence

(from a certain aspect), but what type and degree of translation equivalence they

reveal’. Toury’s approach and subsequently koller’s (1995, p.196), makes

appeal to historical, relative notion of equivalence.

Non – Equivalence at Word Level

Non – equivalence at word level means that the target language has no direct

equivalence for a word that occurs in the source text. There are many factors to

cause the problems of non – equivalence. Baker (1992) categories some of the

problems of non equivalence at word level which is presented in the following:

1. Culture – specific concepts

2. The source language concept is not lexicalized in the target language

3. The source language word is semantically complex

4. The source and target language make different distinctions in meaning

5. The target language lacks a superordinate term

6. The target language lacks a specific term (hyponym)

7. Differences in physical or interpersonal perspective

8. Differences in expressive meaning

9. Differences in from

10. Differences in frequency and purpose of using specific forms

11. The use of loan words in the source text

12. Differences in propositional meaning

Due to importance of this section, researcher will explain some of the problems

which are presented in table by Baker. According to her cultural – specific

concepts are those SL words may express a concept that is totally unknown in

the target

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Jan 17, 2011 at 4:00 PM

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