The translation is the process of conveying the meaning of a source-language text through an equivalent target-language text.
Although the history of translation is a matter of controversy, it is generally accepted that translation predates the Bible. Since the earliest days of human connection, translation has continued to evolve, allowing for cross-cultural interactions, trade, globalization of the economy, and sharing of knowledge over time.
The world has become more united in terms of understanding because of translation. This, in turn, makes translation a vital service. We’ll walk you through the history of translation from antiquity to the present.
The Early History of Translation
Different theories encompass translation throughout history, which gives insight into how, when, and where translation has been used.
There are a few facts we should be aware of in this situation. To begin, the term “translation” was derived from the Latin word translatio, which means “to convey across or bring.”
Second, “metaphrasis” is an Ancient Greek term that means “to speak across.
“Finally, the word metaphrasis was created to represent “word for word translation.”
It is thought that translation took place during the Mesopotamian era, when Gilgamesh’s “Sumerian poem” was translated into the Asian language. Other ancient translation works discovered included Buddhist monks translating Indian scriptures into Chinese.
Cicero, a Roman writer and philosopher, once stated in his work “De Oratore” or “On the Orator” that translation should not be “verbum pro verbo” (word for word). Cicero, a prominent Greek-LatinGreek Latin translator, considered the translation’s task as similar to that of artists.
Translators, including early translators of sacred and holy texts, have helped shape the very languages into which they have translated.
John Dryden (1631–1700), an English poet and a famous translator described translation as “the judicious blending of two modes of phrasing when selecting, in the target language, “counterparts,” or equivalents, for the expressions used in the source language.”, his own words.
A Few Different Translation Techniques
- Fidelity and transparency:
Fidelity (faithfulness) and felicity (transparency) are dual ideals in translation. Fidelity is the degree to which a translation accurately conveys the meaning of the original text without distortion. Transparency is the degree to which a translation is originally written in that language, is understood by native speakers of the target language, and conforms to grammar, syntax, and idioms. A translation that meets the criteria of fidelity (faithfulness) is called “faithful”; a translation that meets the criteria of (transparency) is called “idiomatic”.
The issue of fidelity and transparency has also been formulated in terms of “formal equivalence” and “dynamic or functional equivalence”. Both methods are applicable to all translations. “Formal equivalence” corresponds to “metaphrase”, and “dynamic equivalence” corresponds to “paraphrase”. However, there is no sharp boundary between formal and functional equivalence. Rather, it represents a spectrum of translation approaches.
● Back Translation:
A back-translation is a translation of a translated text into the language of the original text, created without reference to the original text. Post-translation comparison with the original text is sometimes used to verify the accuracy of the original translation.
When a document survives only in translation and the original is lost, researchers sometimes use ‘back translation’ to reconstruct the original text.
In borrowing, words or phrases are taken directly from the source text and translated into the target language. This technique is often used when there is no equivalent in the target language, such as food or clothing, and can help preserve the cultural context of the source text.
- Calque (Loan Translation):
This is the literal translation of a phrase from one language to another to create a new term in the target language. In other words, it is a literal translation of a borrowed word.
- Literal Translation:
In literal translation, every word is translated directly. The target text should be idiomatic and retain the same word order, meaning, and style as the source text.
This technique may lack nuances in the original text and is only possible with languages and cultures that are very alike.
Transposition means moving from one grammatical category to another while retaining meaning. This translation technique is often required between languages with different grammatical structures.
This includes changing perspectives, adapting what is written to express the same idea, and preserving meaning. Modulation translates the text according to the natural patterns of the target language.
Like modulation, it allows you to save the meaning of a phrase, name, or proverb by finding its counterpart in the target language.
Also known as “cultural substitution”. The cultural component of the source language is replaced by the equivalent cultural component of the target language, making the text more familiar and understandable, especially with units of measurements.
This method compensates for the inability to translate a nuance or phrase in one place by expressing the information elsewhere in the document.
When a translator uses reduction, they decide to remove all words that they consider superfluous in the language in which the text is originally written.
This is the opposite of a reduction. It’s when words are added to preserve meaning. This may be the case of the differences in sentence structure, grammar or terminology.
Translation has been evolving since the evolution of written languages. Until this day dictionaries, linguists and translation techniques have been growing in various directions and ways.
Translators should be able to determine which translation techniques are appropriate for their clients based on the various documents they are given to work on.