Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Lexical Departure from Formal Correspondence in Translation: Semantic and Pragmatic Justification

Academic journal article International Journal of Linguistics

Lexical Departure from Formal Correspondence in Translation: Semantic and Pragmatic Justification

Article excerpt


This paper aimed at justifying the lexical departure from formal correspondence by means of omission, addition or substitution in translation from English into Arabic. A classification of four linguistic (semantic or pragmatic) relationships was developed; such relationships were considered as grounds of justification of lexical departure from formal correspondence in translation. This classification was app lied to the Arabic translations of a number of extracts taken out of sociopolitical speeches delivered by Martin Luther King. The acts of lexical omission, addition and substitution were found to be translational strategies based upon the referential, collocative, connotative o r situational relationships between the SL/TL o mitted, added or substituted lexical units of language and the SL/TL context.

Keywords : Lexical departure (omission, addition and substitution), Formal correspondence, Semantic and pragmatic justification, Translation (English, Arabic)

1. Introduction

Formal correspo ndents in trans lation are the target language (TL) units of language that are formally seen to be the regular and conventional equivalents to the given source language (S L) units of language. Acco rding to Catford (1965: 27), a formal correspondent is any TL category that can be said to occupy (as nearly as possible) the same place in the economy of the TL as the given SL category occupies in the S L. It is also described as the word -for-word translation (Nida, 1964), the formal equivalent of a SL word or phrase (Nida and Taber, 1969) and the formal correspondent (Nida and Taber, 1982). Departing from a formal correspondent by means of omission, addition or substitution should result in textual equivalents. According to Catford (1965: 27), such equivalents are any TL texts or portions of texts that are observed (on particular occasions) to be the equivalents of given SL texts or portions of texts. They are also referred to as the sense- for-sense translations (Nida, 1964; Nida and Taber, 1969; 1982).

Departing from formal correspondence in translation at the lexical level of language has been seen as controversial. It is considered either as a right of the translator or as a k ind of disloyalty or even betrayal to the author' s ideas. It is a right as long as the translator keeps the real sense of the SL text intact as every SL word is taken into account but not necessarily to be rendered (Newmark, 1988: 80). Furthermore, the translator's right of omitting, adding or substituting material should not be in disagreement with the fac t that translation is just an activity that is inferior to creation and the translator is only a cop ywriter (Salines, 1999: 27; Chesterman, 1997: 39) who should be always subservient to the SL text. To translate is not to create; however, it to put every SL unit of language into its own TL place (Newmark, 1982: 137) in a creative manner (Chesterman, 1997: 28 ; S hunnaq, 1998: 33; Dollerup, 1998: 185). Formal correspondents are not always the true translational choices and lexical departure from formal correspondence thus comes to achieve the intactness of the SL real sense and the adherence to the linguistic form that only belongs to the TL.

Deemed also as an error of translation or unjustifiable act of translational treatment, departure from formal correspondence is classified by Altman (1994) into omissio n, addition, inaccurate rendition of individ ual items and distortio n of longer phrases. The same classification is mostly adopted by Barik (1994); however, departure herein is considered to be either constructive or destructive. Barik subcategorizes omission into skipping, comprehension and compounding omission; addition into qualifier, elaboration and relationship addition; and substitution into mild semantic error, gross semantic error, mild phrasing change, substantial phrasing change and gross p hrasing change. On the other hand, to be restricted to formal correspondence or to have erroneous departures fro m it primarily arises from the failure of the translators to interpret the meaning of the given S L text (Abu-Ssaydeh, 2004). …

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