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Applied Linguistics/11

Lecturer : Dwi Maharani, M.Pd

Name : Masmina
Date/Day : Thursday/Des.17th2015


A translated text is made on the basis of a translator’s understanding of another text, which
usually immediatelly present while the translator is translating. Often, the purpose of
translating is to convey at least some of what is conveyed by this immediatelly present text
which will therefore both exercise a major influence on the translation and be evident in it (to
people who have acces to both texts). In other words, there is usually an expectation of strong
semantic similarity between a text and its translation.
With regard to the treatment of cultural and contextual factors in translation, translator
make strategic choice betwen either including cultural and contextual markers from the
original, or adjusting to the norms of the cultural where the translation is to function. This
type of choice has been discussed throughout the history of translation theory, especially
famously in terms of Schleiermacher’s (1838) distinction between taking either the reader to
the text or the text to the reader, and most recently in the guise of Venuti’s (1995) distinction
between Foreignization and Domestication.
A translator’s understanding of the purpose of and the audience for the translation
considerably affects the degree to which the translator decides to comply with the expectation
of semantic commonality between the source text and the translation. For example, it is
probably Mary Howitt’s (1846) desire to produce a set of ‘Wonderful Stories for children’-
and Victorian children at that- which causes her to play fast and loose with the semantic
commonality expectation in examples such as the following:

From Andersen (1839), Storkene (‘the stroks’ my translation)

‘Now we’ll be revenged!’ they said.
‘To be sure’ said the mother strok. ‘My plan is just right!

From Howitt (1846:126-7) ‘the storks’:

‘Now let’s have revenge,’said they.
‘Leave off talking of revenge,’said the mother.’Listen to me, which is a
great deal better.

So, in making a trasnlation, a translator 1). creates semantic resemblance out of linguistic
varience, 2). Select target language norm conforming forms that are as close as possible to
the source text formalities, 3). decides how to deal with cultural and contextual varience, and
4). considers the purpose of and audience for he translation all againts the background of, 5).
his or her understanding of the source text.
Translation is a paradox. One aim of the trasnlator is to produce a text that ‘means the
same’ as the original text. Yet it is clearly impossible for words or sentences in one language
and cultural to ‘mean the same’ as those in another. If two appreant synonyms in one
language (e.g. lady, woman or flat, apartment) are not in fact the same at all, how much less
can two utterances in diffrent languages be anything like the same? in theory, translation
should be impossible.
In this chapter Malmkjӕr makes it clear that a tranlator is always working to find a way of
making the translated text ‘the same’ as the original. The sameriess might be semantic,
finding at least a semblance of similarity of meaning between the two. It might be idiomatic-
finding an expression that is as colloquial, or as strange, or as funny, as one used in the
original text. It might carry the same kind of resemblance to other texts or costums or cultural
artefacts in the target language as the original text does in its own language. It might have a
similarity in terms of sounds ar hythm. It is unlikely that a translated text can be the same as
the original in all these ways at once, and the tranalator is constantly finding a balance
between them all.
At the same time, however, a translator might choose sometimes to avoid semeness and to
emphasize the diffrence of the translated text, to remind the reader that they are reading
something originally written in a foreign language. The reader might be expected to work
harder at interpreting the translation, mimicking perhaps the experience of reading something
in a foreign language and working out what it means.