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Translation as a notion and subject. Interpretation





1. Translation as a notion and subject. Interpretation.

2. The object of translation theory, the problems which the translation studies.

3. Interrelation with other disciplines.

4. Stages of translation process.

5. Types of translation/interpretation.

6. Pragmatic adaptation.

7. Linguistic and extralinguistic aspects of translation.

8. Context.

9. Translation in teaching of foreign languages.



List of literature used and recommended


1. Бідасюк Н. В., Бондар Р. В. Практикум перекладу. – В.: Нова книга, 2003. –431 с.

2. Карабан В.І., Борисова О.В. Попередження інтерференції мови оригіналу в перекладі, – В.: Нова книга, 2003.

3. Карабан В.І. Translation from Ukrainian into English. – В.: Нова книга, 2003. –607 с.

4. Комиссаров В. Н. Теория перевода. – М.: Высшая школа, 1990.

5. Коптілов В. В. Теорія і практика перекладу. – К.: Видавництво Київ. ун-ту, 1982.

6. Корунець I. В. Теорія і практика перекладу. – В.: Нова книга, 2001. – 446 с.

7. Нойберт А. Прагматические аспекты перевода// Вопросы теории перевода в заруб. лингвистике. – М.: Международные отношения, 1978.

8. Рецкер Я. И. Теория перевода и переводческая практика. – М.: Международные отношения, 1974.

9. Gentzler E. Contemporary Translation Theories. – London and New York. Routledge, 1993.



Translation as a term and notion is of polysemantic nature. The first common and most general meaning is associated with the action or process of rendering the content (meaning) of a source language word (SL), word-group, sentence or passage in the target language (TL) or with the result of the process of rendering. “Translation” is also used to denote the subject taught or studied (I have to pass translation tomorrow) or the title of the theoretical work on the subject (I bought Translation by Ivanenko).

No less ambiguous is also the term “interpretation” which is synonymous to “translation” and is used to denote the way of presenting the idea of the work in translation orally. The thing is that “interpretation”, unlike “translation”, admits some freedom of the translator in his treatment of the matter. Hence, the existence of free versification (переспіви) and free adaptation (перелицювання, вільна переробка) which are rightly treated as new creations. The famous free interpretations of Virgil’s Aeneid in Ukrainian by I. Kotlyarevskyi, Shakespearean masterpieces, Byronean writings are interpreted according to our national literary tradition.

There are some other terms in the theory of translation. These terms are: faithful translation, faithfulness of translation, equivalent translation/interpretation, accurate translation, free interpretation/ translation, free adaptation, translation at sight, off- hand translation, rough translation, rehash, etc. Terms and notions “faithful translation” and “equivalent translation” are synonymous if not identical by their general meaning thought not without some difference between them. The term “faithful translation” (адекватний, вірний) is used to denote the highest degree of rendering the denotative or connotative meanings of words, the content, the expressiveness, the pragmatic intention of works of the SL to the TL. The term “equivalent translation”- the same, but also includes the necessity of quantitative and qualitative representation of all elements, parts of the SL units in the TL.


2.The object of translation theory, the problems which the translatology studies.

Translation is a mean of interlingual communication. The translator makes possible an exchange of information between the users of different languages by producing in the TL a text, which has an identical communication value with a source text. As a kind of practical activity translation is a set of actions performed by the translator while rendering source text (ST) into another language. Translation as any observable phenomenon is the object of scientific study aimed at understanding its nature, its components and their interaction as well as factors influencing it.

The science of translation is concerning both with theoretical and applied aspects of translation. Theoretical research is to discover what translator is to find out, what objective factors underlie the translator ‘s intuition, to describe the ways and methods by which the communicative identity of the communicative value of ST and TT is achieved.

The theory of translation provides the translator with the appropriate tools of the analysis and synthesis, makes aware of what she/he is to look for in the original text, what type of information he must convey in TT and how he should act to achieve that goal. In the final analysis translation remains an art for science, gives the tools but it takes brains, intuition and talent to use the tools accordingly.

The translatology studies the problems:

1) The theory of equivalency aimed at definding semantic relationships between ST and TT.

2) The study of the ST and TT units which can be replaced by each other in the process of translation.

3) The translation process itself, that is the operations required for passing over from ST to TT.

4) Pragmatic aspects of translation.


3.Interrelation with other disciplines.

Many aspects of translation have been covered by other disciplines, such as: linguistics, the study of literature, sociology, philosophy (especially it is concerned with methodological aspects of translation. The question on interrelation of philosophy and translation was developed by G. Gachecheladze). Of course translatology is related to history, to history of translation, psychology, exact sciences (mathematics, theory of information, cybernetics).


4.Stages of translation process.

Psychologically viewed translation process includes two mental processes:

-understanding (1);

-verbalization (2).

4.1. The translator understands the content of ST, first reading the passage selected for translation, and analyzing it. All attention in the course of this analysis should be paid to picking out language units, which denotative or connotative meanings present some difficulties. After that the translator chooses in dictionaries and reference books possible semantic, structural and stylistic variants for the units.

4.2. The second stage implies a regular selection from the chosen variants the most fitting one into the given context or uses functional stylistic substitutions.

The problem is that translator’s mental processes are not directly observable and we don’t know much of what program is and how the reduction and development operations are performed. Yudgin Nayda suggested that translation process may be described as a series of transformations. It is presumed that the work is done in three steps:

4.3. Analysis. She/he transforms the original structures into the nuclear structures.

4.4. The stage of translation proper. She/he replaces the source language nuclear structures with the equivalent TL structures.

4.5. She/he develops the latter into the terminal structures of the text of translation.


5.Types of translation.

The types of translation can be singled out depending on the predominate communicative function, the form of speech involved in translation process. So we can distinguish between literary and informative on the one hand and oral and written on the other. Of course there exists machine translation, the latest development in modern translation practice.

Literary translation deals with fiction or poetry whose main function is to make an emotional and aesthetic effect upon the reader, which should be preserved in translation. Literary works fall into a number of genres, subdivided into that of prose, poetry and drama.

Informative translation is rendering non-literary text the main purpose of which is to convey a certain amount of ideas to inform the reader. We can single out translation of

- Scientific and technical texts;

- Newspaper materials, advertisements;

- Documents, official papers, speeches, etc.

According to the translation mechanism there are the following types: oral and written.

According to the condition of the translator’s work, oralinterpretation is divided into: -simultaneous,


-whispered interpretation/chuchotage.

Consecutive starts after the original speech or part of speech, recording, radio or TV interview has been completed.

Simultaneous is going on while the speaker is producing the original message.

Interpreting is an oral translation of oral discourse. As for chuchotage, it is a kind of simultaneous interpreting without equipment. Interpreters sit next to the people (1 − 3) who do not understand the working language and whisper the translation to them. This is a demanding task as they should control the pitch of their voice.

There are a number of variations and combinations of written and oral translation. Written translation can be made of the original audio/video recordings that can be replayed as many times as is necessary for the translator to grasp the original meaning. The translator can dictate his/her translation of a written text to the typist or a short-hand writer.

Oral translation of a written text is called sight translation or translation-at-sight.

Media/screen translation is a combination of written and oral translation activity used in translating movies and television programs, including subtitling and dubbing.

Liaison interpreting is work of an interpreter who accompanies an individual or delegation around. It usually includes interpreting short passages and may be either formal (translating an interview or a business talk) or informal (translating private talks).

Localization is quite a recent type of translation which includes adaptation of software or other products to a different culture. It is the translation of documents, dialogue boxes, etc., as well as linguistic and cultural changes to make the product appropriate to the target country. It is used in translating advertisement scripts, film scripts; software and homepages.

Translation can be

1) the written from a written matter translating;

2) the oral from an oral matter interpreting;

3) the oral from a written matter interpreting;

4) the written translating from an orally presented matter.


6.Pragmatic adaptation.

The communicants involved in interlingual communication not only speak different languages but also have different general knowledge, social and historical background and belong to different cultures. This fact has a considerable impact on the translator’s strategy since the most faithful rendering of ST content may sometimes be partially or fully misunderstood by the recipients or fail to produce a similar effect. The translator has to assess the possible communicative effect of the TT. In this case the translator makes pragmatic adaptation of the text to the knowledge, critical abilities and emotional characteristics of the T recipients. This may necessitate modifying and expanding of the original message to make it more understandable to the members of different language-communities. The translator may add some words, explicate some notions or make adequate substitutions to provide appropriate feedback.

A great role is played by difference in customs and living conditions. It stands to reason that the natives of a tropical island can hardly be impressed by the statement that something is as white as snow. Thus, the translator should involve a kind of pragmatic adaptation to preserve the original communicative effect.

7.Linguistic and extralinguistic aspects.

Translation is a complicated phenomenon involving linguistic, psychological, cultural, literary and other factors. The most of the research of up-to-date translation has been made within linguistics. The linguistic theory is concerned with translation as a form of speech communication establishing contact between communicants who speak different languages. The basis of this theory is macro linguistics with all new branches such as sociolinguistics, text linguistics and communicative linguistics.

Basically, replacement of ST by TT of the same communicative value is possible because both texts are in human speech governed by the same rules and implying the same relationships between language, reality and human mind.

Communication is made possible through a logical interpretation by the users of the speech units, general knowledge, previous experience, various associations.

Extralinguistic factors also include the conditions of translator’s work, the recipient for whom is the translation made the temporal and space characteristics of the original.


When confronted with the text to be translated, the translator’s first concern is to understand it by assessing the meaning of language units in the text against the contextual situation and the extralinguistic facts. There are two types of context: linguistic and situational.

The linguistic context is made up by the other SL units. It can be microcontext – involving a phrase, macrocontext - sentence or passage, megacontext – a chapter or the whole text.

The situational context includes the temporal, special and other circumstance under which ST was produced as well as all facts which the receptor is expected to know so that he could adequately interpret the message.

It is, only by assessing the meaning of SL units in ST against the linguistic and situational context that the translator can discover what they mean in the particular case and what equivalents should be chosen as their substitutes. Thus, in the following sentences the linguistic context will enable the translator to make a correct choice among the equivalents to the noun “attitude”:

I don’t like your attitude to work.

The photographer caught him in the attitude of prayer.

As often as not the correct substitute cannot be chosen unless the situational context is brought into play. If somebody is referred to in ST as “an abolitionist” the choice of the substitute will depend on the period described. In different historical periods abolitionists were people who sought the abolition of slavery, prohibition laws or death penalty. Accordingly, in the translation the person will be described as “аболіціоніст”, “прибічник відміни “сухого закону”, “прибічник відміни смертної кари”.

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