Definition of a translation

Translation, as process, is always uni-directional, namely, it is always performed in a given direction from a source language into a target language. Different writers define translation in different ways. Here are some translation definitions.
  1. Translation is the replacement of textual material in one language ( source language) by equivalent textual material in another language (target language). (catford, 1969)
  2. Translation is made possible by an equivalent thought that lies behind its different verbal expression.(Savory, 1969)
  3. Translation consists in reproducing in the receptor language the closest natural equivalent of source languge message, first in terms of meaning and secondly in terms of style (Nida, 1969)
  4. Translation is aproses of finding a target language equivalent for an source language utterance. (Pinchuck, 1977)
  5. Translation is the rendering of a source language text into the target language so as to ensure that : 1. The surface meaning of the two will approximately similar and the structure of the source language will be preserved as closely as possible but not so closely that the target language structures will be seriously distorted. (Mc Guire, 1980)
  6. Translation is a craft consisting in the attempt to replace a written message and or by statement in one language by the same message and or statement in another language. (Newmark, 1981)
from some translation definition above, we may focus that:
  • The word equivalent is used by Catford, Savory, Nida, and Pinchuck. While Mc GUire uses the word similar which is synonymous to the word equivalent.
  • Textual material(Catford), source language (McGuire), written message (Newmark), and Source Language message (Nida) are synonymous to indicate something to be translated into target language.
  • Replacement (catford) and reproducing (Nida) derive from replace and reproduce which are synonymous. The word replace is used by Newmark.

Thus equivalent, source language text and replacement are the three important elements in translation. Some other element include meaning, style, craft and process.
Translation equivalence could be in the rank of word for word, phrase for phrase, sentence for sentence and so on.
It seems easier to get the equivalent of English words in isolation, but when it comes to phrases and sentences then the knowledge of grammar plays an important role.
Since word sometimes have more than one meaning, their translation equivalent could be a problem unless they are used in context (Phrase, sentence, or paragraph).

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