While translation studies continues to grow as a field, with benefits being felt not only in applied linguistics2 but also in the world-
The question was first suggested to me by my good colleague, Dr Tapir-
Since different languages use different words to describe things, they must be describing different things. The world I perceive will therefore differ from the world you perceive. Since we inhabit different, mutually exclusive worlds, communication between them is impossible.4
In order to unpack this convincing statement we must provide concrete examples. After all, we do not want to find ourselves in the place where we have a theory which is not backed up with firm, authoritative evidence.5
Let us begin then with a well-
It is evident then that English speakers inhabit a world where sheep graze on grass and mutton is served in pies. French speakers therefore inhabit a world where “moutons” graze on grass and are also served in pies. These two positions are irreconcilable and thus, translation between the two is impossible. To posit “sheep” as a translation of “mouton” would impose a distinction which is nonexistent in the source language. Similarly, to posit “mouton” as a translation of “mutton” would mean ignoring the distinction made in English.
This problem has concerned translators for years. German scholar, D. Mann, for example, stated that “the problem of the non-
The first strategy is the most cunning. This involves the creation, maintenance and publication of hundreds of spurious “dictionaries” and “word lists” each year. By this philological slight of hand, “equivalence” is created between the lexical stores of two or more languages. Thus, if we search for the French word “mouton” in one of these lists, we are very likely to find a forced equivalence with the words “sheep” and “mutton.” The very fact that two “equivalents” are posited for a single word should be enough to dissuade this practice, but sadly it is not.
The problems associated with this strategy cause workers to adopt an alternative strategy, that of displacement. In this strategy the goal of translation shifts from being the creation of equivalence (however artificial) to the creation of a new document to serve some purpose. It is this pseudo-
Obviously, this reduces translation to a mere profession. It also extends the limits of translation so far as to allow definitions of the practice that are well outside the scope of this essay. Since skopos theory would insist that translation is possible by the mere fact that it exists, nothing more need to be said.
In conclusion, the evidence is clear
|Continuing Contributions to Things You Didn’t Know You Didn’t Know—Madalena Cruz-Ferreira|
|Graphophonetics—The Science of Transcription and Personality—Þrúðr Óðinsmeyjar|
|SpecGram Vol CLVIII, No 2 Contents|