SEMANTIC MODEL OF TRANSLATION



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SEMANTIC MODEL OF TRANSLATION



 

This model places special emphasis on semantic structures of the source and target texts. According to it, translation is conveying the meaning of the source text by the target text. The two texts can be called equivalent in meaning if their semantic components are close or identical. In order to translate, one must single out the meaningful elements of the original and then choose the target language units that most closely express the same content elements. (This model is sometimes called Content-Text Model.57) For this procedure, a componential (or seme) analysis is widely employed.

Like in the transformation model, the process of translation is subdivided into some phases:

· Analysis: the semantics of the source language units are represented by deep semantic categories.

· Translation: the relevant semantic categories of the source language are made equal to the deep semantic categories of the target language.

· Synthesis: the semantic categories of target languge are verbalized.

This model gives a good explanation of the translation equivalence and of the reasons for translation failures when irrelevant (or not all relevant) semes have been taken into consideration. It explains the mechanism of selecting one variable among synonyms: that synonym is chosen which has the greatest number of relevant semes similar to the source language word.

But the insufficiency of this model is that the process of singling out semes is a very difficult one. It does not explain the cases of situational equivalence - why instant coffee is equal to растворимый кофе, with their semes not coinciding? It also ignores connotations of the word and the function of the text.

 

PSYCHOLINGUISTIC MODEL OF TRANSLATION

 

Translation is a kind of speech event. And it develops according to the psychological rules of speech event.58

The scheme of the speech event consists of the following phases:

· The speech event is motivated.

· An inner code program for the would-be message is developed.

· The inner code is verbalized into an utterance.

Translation is developed according to these phases: a translator comprehends the message (motif), transforms the idea of the message into his/her own inner speech program, then outlays this inner code into the target text.

The point of this theory is that it considers translation among speaking, listening, reading and writing as a speech event. But there is evidence to suggest that translators and interpreters listen and read, speak and write in a different way from other language users, basically because they operate under a different set of constraints.59 While a monolingual receiver is sender-oriented, paying attention to the speaker's/writer's message in order to respond to it, the translator is essentially receiver-oriented, paying attention to the sender's message in order to re-transmit it to the receiver of the target-text, supressing, at the same time, personal reactions to the message.

There are two essential stages specific to the process of translating and interpreting: analysis and synthesis60 – and a third stage, revision, available only to the translator working with the written text. During the analysis stage, the translator reads/listens to the source text, drawing on background knowledge, to comprehend features contained in the text. During synthesis, the target text is produced. Then the draft written translation is revised /edited.

However, the explanational force of this model is very restricted, inner speech being the globally disputable problem in both psychology and linguistics.

 

 

NOTES TO PART I

 

 

PART III. GRAMMAR PROBLEMS OF TRANSLATION

 

Chapter 1. FORMAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN SOURCE TEXT AND TARGET TEXT

Source language and target language texts differ formally due to a number of reasons of both objective and subjective character. Objective reasons are caused by the divergence in the language systems and speech models. Subjective reasons can be attributed to the speaker’s choice of a language form.

Thus, systemic dissimilarity of forms takes place when one of the languages lacks some grammar category and, therefore, has no corresponding form. For example, English possesses the morphological categories of the article or the gerund lacking in the Russian language; whereas in Russian there is a category of adverbial participle (деепричастие) missing in the English language. To translate these forms, one has to compensate them or restructure the sentence. Unique categories in one of the languages can occur at the syntactic level as well. For example, English absolute constructions, complex object and complex subject (with the infinitive and participle), are alien to the Russian language. Therefore, they require special attention from students of English.

On the other hand, there are linguistic phenomena that exist in both languages but differ in some details, which also causes difficulties in translation. For example, passive voice is found both in English and Russian, but in English it is represented by the indirect and prepositional passive construction (He is given a book. He is asked for.) but the Russian language has only the direct passive construction (Книга дана ему).

Objective reasons for formal dissimilarities include differences in word combination norms and models that make up language traditions. For example, in English it is possible to say Table I lists… but in Russian the similar structure is ridiculous (*Таблица 1 перечисляет…). It is much more “Russian” to verbalize the source of information as the adverbial modifier of place: В таблице 1 перечислены…

Similar structures in both languages can be used with different frequency in different types of text. Violation of the frequency rate can lead to awkward language usage. For example, an English scientific text utilizes more simple sentences, whereas in Russian one can find an abundance of complex sentences.

Thus the objective reasons for formal dissimilarities can be classified into those caused by the language system, by norm and by usage.

Subjective reasons for formal alterations in the target text are accounted for by a communicator’s (or translator’s) personal intention, emphasis or preference. These reasons include the communicative structure of the utterance, that is, emphasis on the logically stressed word that can lead to the change of syntactic structure:* A woman entered the room. – В комнату вошла женщина.

They also include pragmatic adaptations of the sentence to the receptor by adding or reducing some information in the utterance (which results in complex rather than grammar transformations): WSU is located in Pullman, WA.Вашингтонскийуниверситет расположен в городеПулман, штатВашингтон.

Translator’s idiolect, or his/her individual language system distinguishing him/her from another person, is also responsible for the difference in formal alterations: He fell a week before Armistice was declared. – Он пал за неделю до того, как объявили перемирие. The translator chose here a complex sentence instead of a simple one (Он пал за неделю до объявления перемирия), perhaps because this structure was more typical for his idiolect than the second one.

Thus, difference in formal structures of the source and target texts can also be accounted for by the communicator’s logical accentuation, as well as by the pragmatic adaptation of the utterance to the receptor and translator’s idiolect. These reasons are of a subjective character, as compared with the first group.



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