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Hi is linked to the theory of “generative transformational grammar” by Chomsky. The most

important idea of Nida is that a word hasn’t meaning without the context.

NIDA: The old terms such as “literal ore free translation” or “faithful translation” are discarded

by Nida, in favour of two basic orientations or types of equivalence (formal and dynamic


Formal equivalence: Focuses attention on the message itself, in both form and content.

Dynamic equivalence: Is based in what that Nida calls “the principle of equivalent effect”,

where the relationship between receptor and message should be the same as that which

existed between the original receptors and the message. The message has to be tailored to the

receptor’s linguistic needs and cultural expectation and aims at complete naturalness (the

closest natural equivalent to the source language message) of expression.

For Nida the success of the translation depend of:

1 Making sense

2 Conveying the spirit and manner of the original

3 Having a natural and easy for of expression

4 Producing a similar response


The most basic of such structures are Kernel sentences, which are simple, active, declarative

sentences that require the minimum of transformation. Kernel are to be obtained from the

source language surface by a reductive process of back-transformation (Nida). This involves

analysis using generative – transformational grammar’s four types of functional class:

- events

- objects

- abstract

- relational

Kernels are the level at which the message is transferred into the receptor language before

being transformed into the surface structure in 3 stages: literal transfer, minimal transfer and

literary transfer.


He give the definition of “semantic and communication translation”. The literary translation is

the best approach in both semantic and communication translation.


He gives 5 different types of equivalence:

1 Denotative equivalence

2 Connotative equivalence

3 Text normative equivalence

4 Pragmatic equivalence (Nida dynamic equivalence)

5 Formal equivalence

Chapter 4

The translation shift approach

After 1950 the translation of source language to target language approach changes. In

particular with 3 linguistic:

Vinay and Darbelnet: Analysis of French and English in direct translation and oblique

translation. Direct translation includes 7 procedures: Borrowing, Calque, Literal translation,

Transposition, Modulation, Equivalence and Adaptation. These seven procedures are operated

on 3 levels:

1 The lexicon

2 Syntactic structures

3 The message

A list of five steps that the translator have to use is:

1 Identify the units of translation

2 Examine the source language text, evaluating the descriptive, affective and intellectual

content of the units

3 Reconstruct the metalinguistic context of the message

4 Evaluate the stylistic effects

5 Produce and revise the target text

When we can’t use the literally translation we must use the oblique translation.

Catford : He create the term “shift” in the area of translation. Catford makes an important

distinction between formal correspondence and textual equivalence. He consider two kind of


Shift of level that expressed grammar in one language and lexis in an other;

Shift of category (that most of Catford’s analysis divides in 4 kinds: structural, class, unit and


Levy: He gives an important attention to the expressive function or style of text. (Attention to


Van Leuven-Zwart: His model is intended for the description of integral translation of fiction

text and comprises two different model:

1 Comparative model: Divide in textual unit, define the architranseme (core sense),

estabilished the relation between two transemes.

2 Descriptive model: Is a macrostructural model, designed for the analysis of translated


Chapter 5

Functional theories of translation

Text Types

Katharina Reiss created 3 main kinds of categories which classify the texts: Informative,

Espressive (Aesthetic) , Operative (Persuasive), there is also another fourth category:

Audiomedial texts such as visual and spoken multimedia instruments.

Each kind of text we know can be classify on a certain type of the 3 we have just talked about,

for example a Poem is clearly an Expressive text while an Electoral Speech is an Operative one

etc…some texts can also be classified as hybrids of two categories, such as a Sermon which is

either Informative and Operative.

As we have different kinds of texts we also have various ways to translate them from a ST into

a TT, it is clear that

 An Informative Target Text should transmit all the information in a simple and clear


 An Expressive Target Text should preserve the artistic form of the Source Text

 An Operative Target Text should try a good method to create an equivalent effect

among the Target Text readers

During the translation of these texts the translator must keep on mind that there is a wide

range of elements which should be considered, these elements are Intralinguistic

(lexis,grammar…) and Extralinguistic (time,place,receiver…).

Translational Action

The translational action is a model made up by Holz-Manttari which has the aim of provide

students, scholars and translators in general with a set of guidelines suitable for a wide range

of situations.

According to this model while analyzing a source text the translator should consider a series of


 The initiator: the first person (company or individual) who requires a text to be


 The commissioner: who contact directly the translator

 The ST writer: who wrote the original text

 The TT user: the person who will receive the TT text (libraries or shops)

 The TT receiver: who finally read the book for personal interest or study

As we have just told the Translational Model aim to create a TT which is suitable and clear for

the TT reader, this kind of result is supposed to be achieved by adapting the text to the target

context and not by totally following the ST.

Even if this model has taken account of the different important elements in translating a ST it

has the imperfection not to consider the great amount of cultural differences among cultures.

The Skopos Theory

The Skopos Theory were invented by Hans J. Vermeer with the collaboration of Katharina

Reiss, this theory has been greatly influenced by the Manttari’s Translational Action model.

The theory is mainly based on 6 different points ordered hierarchically:

1. A Translatum (or Target text) which is determined by its Skopos (or purpose)

2. A good tranlation of a ST in a TT taking account of the cultural contexts

3. The purpose (Skopos) of a TT could differ from the ST one.

4. The TT must be coherent with the last receiver situation(TT receiver)

5. The translator must be coherent with the original ST

6. The five points listed above are ordered hierarchically with the Skopos rule


Summarizing we can say that this theory considers the text as an entity which necessarily has

a purpose (or Skopos) so the task of the translator is to understand it and try to transpose the

same aim on the TT even if could create any change on the text structure.

This theory has been discussed by some other theorists whose judge the Vermeer’s Work as

not-functional for the literary texts where there’s not a clear purpose and the structure is too

complex to be adapted in a such simple way, in addition they note as the Skopos theory

doesn’t pay sufficient attention to the linguistic level of the ST concentrating excessively on the


Nord and the Translation-oriented text analysis

The model Christiane Nord built is focused on the analysis of the ST, by examining the whole

text understanding the purpose, the style and all the other features she gives different


Nord explained 2 different types of translator according to the text we are going to work on:

Documentary translation: In this kind of translation the TT reader already know that the text

he’s reading has been translated from another language\culture, these are the cases of a text

which the author wants to preserve as “exoticizing” or to maintain some cultural specific lexical


Instrumental translation: Contrary to the previous one, the instrumental translation let the

reader know that the text has never been translated. In addition the translator should try to

turn the translation suitable for the target culture, context and time.

Analyzing the text, the translator needs to compare the 2 profiles in order to see where they

may be different, the main features to pay attention to are: the text function, the sender and

receiver, the target time and place, the way the text will be exposed (speech or writing) and

the purpose for which the text was written and why needs to be translated.

This model is thought to be applicable to all text types and translation situations but actually

there are cases in which the use of a fixed model may create some problems

Chapter 6

Discourse and register analysis approaches

In the 1990s the model of discourse analysis that had the greatest influence is Hallidayan’s

systemic functional model that is based on what he terms systemic functional grammar, is

geared to the study of language as communication, seeing meaning in the writer’s linguistic

choice systematically relating these choice to a winder sociocultural framework.

In this model there is a strong interrelation between the surface-level realizations of the

linguistic functions and the sociocultural framework.

Is a structure extremely complex.


Sociocultural framework



Discourse semantic


House’s model of translation quality assessment

One of the first work to use Hallidayan’s model. The model involves the systematic comparison

of the textual profile of the source and target language.

The concept of overt and covert translation born:

An overt translation is one in which he addresses of the translation text are quite overtly not

being directly addressed.

A covert translation is a translation which enjoys the status of an original source text in the

target culture. The source language is not linked particularly to the source language culture or

audience; both source language and target language address their respective receivers



He does incorporate a comparison of nominalization and verbal forms in theme position in a

scientific report in Brazilian, Portuguese and English. He gives a number of examples from

languages such as Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic. The most important paint of St. Thematic

analysis is that translator should be aware of the relative markdness of the thematic and

information structures.

Baker gives more attention to implicature (what the speaker means rather than what he says).

Baker says that PRAGMATIC is the study of language in use. It’s the study of meaning

manipulated by the participants in a communication situation.

Hatim and Mason (Camus and “L’entranger” passage)

They pay extra attention to the realization in translation of ideational and interpersonal

functions and incorporate into their model a semiotic level of discourse. They consider shifts in

modality (the interpersonal function). They also concentrate on identifying dynamic and

stable elements on the text. These are linked with translation strategy.

Baker and Hatim and Mason bring together a range of idea from pragmatic and sociolinguistic

that are relevant for translation and translation analysis.

Chapter 7

System theories


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Riassunto per l'esame di Letteratura Inglese, basato su appunti personali e studio autonomo del testo consigliato dal docente Translation studies. Nello specifico gli argomenti trattati sono i seguenti: gli studi di traduzione come un ambito di ricerca accademica recente, Roman Jakobson, James Holmes, l'applicazione della traduzione (modalità, apprendimento e criticismo), Martin Luther e i principali autori che hanno contribuito allo studio della disciplina.

Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea in lingue e civiltà orientali
A.A.: 2008-2009

I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher Exxodus di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Letteratura Inglese e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università La Sapienza - Uniroma1 o del prof Morbiducci Marina.

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