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Grammatical, textual and pragmatic equivalence


While the original text is determined by the SL grammatical norms, the TT (equivalence) is determined by the grammatical norms of the TL. However, grammatical systems in two languages may also by different. Problems with grammar equivalence may occur because of the absence of certain grammatical categories or different application of these categories (e.g. limited usage, using lexical means instead, etc) - no direct equivalence or non-equivalence in grammar. Differences may occur with different use and distinctions in: number (Here's the news; information, police, money, Chinese, measles), gender (student, doctor, but actor - actress, host - hostess; author – authoress; interlocutor - interlocutress), person (you, they), tense and aspect (I'm writing, I write, I have been writing, I wrote ...), verbal voice (Peter was asked), etc. The same can be said about textual equivalence and pragmatics.

Textual equivalence is concerned with the organization (structure) of a text - information structure, textual unity (cohesion and coherence). Information structure is connected with functional sentence perspective (theme, rheme; given and new; communicative dynamism) and with word order in both languages. Textual unity manifests itself at different levels. The text is linked by grammatical and lexical means which suggest to the readers interpreting them that they belong together. This is called grammatical and lexical cohesion (based on tense, voice, definiteness ... or repetition, synonymy, antonymy ... respectively) or lexico-grammatical cohesion (negation, modality). (Compare Gramley 2002, Tarnyiková 2002). Cohesion is a close relationship based on grammar or meaning, between parts of the text (of a sentence or a larger piece of writing, LED). It is the network of relations "which provides links between parts of the text. ... It's a surface relation - it connects together the actual words and expressions." (A. Baker 1982). For example: The 12 year-old British girl who fled her mother's home in Scotland to go to live with her father in Pakistan has been told by a Pakistan court that she must return to the UK. (The Week). Problems with textual equivalence often rest in: gender, person, tense, voice, restrictions of word order, change of meaning according to word order.

Pragmatics is the study of how words and phrases are used with special meanings in particular situations (study of language in use), in other words: "the study of the relationships between linguistic forms and the users of those words" (Yule, 1998, 4). It pays attention for example to: explicitness, implicitness (implicature), coherence, presupposition, inference, genre and text-type (See also next chapters).

"Explicit" (literal) means something expressed in a way that is very clear and direct, while "implicit" (non-literal) means something suggested or understood without being stated directly. "Implicature refers to what the speaker means or implies rather than what s/he literally says" (Grice 1975 in: Baker 1982).

Implicatures go beyond the literal and conventional meaning of an utterance and they depend on their interpretation. "Where are you?" (It conveys the meaning: I am curious, I am looking for you, or you are late). Translator's aim is to comprehend the particular implicature and avoid "giving rise to unwanted implicature."

Coherence is also a network of relations which organize and create the text, i. e. when a text is easy to understand because its parts are connected in a clear and reasonable way (LED). It is a network of logical/conceptual relations which underline the surface text. Cohesion is objective, while coherence is subjective. Coherence involves "a deeper, semantic level" which refers to the "continuity of subject matter" (Compare A. Baker 1982, Gramley 2002)

In maintaining the coherence of the TL text and solving the above discussed problems, translators are recommended to:

• Change the word order by "puzzling" with words and clauses until they "fit".

• Use adding, explicitation, principles of analogy, reorganizing the text

(sentences and paragraphs) until it sounds natural, i.e. until it fulfils the

readers' expectations about the organization of the target language.

Some of the above mentioned problems are illustrated by the following examples:

He s writing his homework - Pнše si domácu ъlohu. He writes his homework every day - Domácu ъlohu si pнše každý den; každý den pнše domácu ъlohu.

There were boys playing on the road - Na ceste sa hráli chlapci.

I like being asked - Som rád, ked'sa ma pýtajъ

I wish you were - Kiežby si tu bol; škoda, že tu nie si

A bomb exploded - Vybuchla (nмjaká) bomba. The bomb exploded - Bomba vybuchla.

He left home when he was 16- Odišiel z domu, keпmal šestnásќ (rokov).

I'm sorry we re not on the phone - Bohužiaн nemáme telefon

He had his hair cut - Dal si ostrihat' vlasy.

I am cold/hot - Je mi chladno/teplo.

The house is haunted - V dome strašн

A letter from Peter - list od Petra.

A letter from London - list z Londýna)

How did you enjoy it? - Ako sa ti to páčilo? Ako si sa zabával? Ako si sa mal? Here's the news - Vysielame/nasledujъ správy.

English teacher - učitel' angličtiny, anglický učitel'


Suggestions for further reading

Baker 2003 (1982), Bázlik 2001, Knittlová 2000, Tárnyiková 2002, Yule 1998

3 Translation procedures and shifts


3.1 Translation procedures

Looking at equivalents from different angles, coming from the translation process and focusing on the translation product, regardless of their obligatory or optional character, there are various types of procedures used in translation. Individual scholars (theorists, translators) use different approaches, typology and terms, some of which may overlap. For example:

Vinaye and Darbelnete (1958, 1995) speak about direct translation (borrowing, calques, literal translation) and oblique translation (transposition, modulation, equivalence and adaptation);

G. Vázquez-Ayrora (1977): transposition, modulation, equivalence, adaptation, amplification, exploitation, omission, compensation;

J. L. Malone (1988): equality, substitution, divergence, convergence, amplification, reduction, diffusion, condensation, reordering, etc.; P. Newmark (1988): transference, naturalization, cultural equivalent, functional equivalent, descriptive equivalent, synonymy, through-translation, modulation, compensation, reduction and expansion, paraphrase...etc. Newmark (1998, 81) states that, "while translation methods relate to whole texts, translation procedures are used for sentences and smaller units."

Some scholars, including Gramová (2003), pay systematic attention to/categorize procedures from the point of view of translator training (e.g. principle procedures are: reordering of words, change of structure/construction, omission, and addition). Chesterman (1997) speaks also about grammatical translation procedures (e.g. transposition, change in grammatical structure, literal translation...), semantic translation procedures (synonymy, antonymy, hyponymy...) and pragmatic translation procedures (naturalization, exotization, explicitness - implicitness, stylistic choice...).

The following examples illustrate some relatively frequent types in more detail, regardless of their obligatory or optional character.

Explicitation (amplification, expansion, addition)

Explicitation is a pragmatic procedure in which the translator expands the target text by inserting additional words, frequently filling gaps in the readers' knowledge, or introducing information into the target language which is present implicitly in the source language and which can be derived from the context or the situation. For example: "The Judges grandfather had fought with Forrest at Shiloh ... and to him no figure in history was more revered". (J. Grisham). "Sudcov starý otec bojoval s Forrestom pri Shiloh ... Vamerickej historii nebola postava, ktorъ by si Sudca vačšmi vážil." (A. Redlingerová). There are different types of explicitation, caused for example by missing categories, different culture and norms, etc.

Simplification (reduction, omission)

It is a change based on reducing or omitting some parts of the original text at word level or sentence level, caused by a different system, or an individual approach to translation. There are different types of simplification, such as: simplification of complex syntax (e.g. by replacing non-finite clauses with finite ones - syntactic simplification); replacing phraseology with shorter collocations, and reducing or omitting repetitions; breaking up long sentences (stylistic simplification), or at word level for example using a word that is more general (superordinate) than a given word (lexical simplification), etc. For example: So now you know as much as I do - Teraz vieš tol'ko čo ja It was a quiet charming bistro on 56th Street on the East Side. (S. Sheldon). Bolo to tichй bistro na East Side". (J. Kot)

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