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Approaches to Evaluating the Quality of a Translation (2)

2. Linguistically-oriented Approaches Among approaches the source text, its linguistic and textual structure and its meaning potential at various levels (including the level of context of situation in a systemic framework), is seen as the most important, indeed constitutive factor in translation. Linguistic-textual approaches cover many different schools, the most promising for the development of model of translation assessment being those that encompass pragmatic, socio-cultural and discoursal meanings. That it is possible to firmly base one’s approach to translation on a linguistic model which includes textual, situational and cultural aspects of translation was demonstrated twenty years ago in the model the revision of which is the major content of this book. 3. Translation Quality Assessment and Translation Equivalence The fundamental characteristic of a translation is that it is a text that is doubly bound: on the one hand to its source text and on the other hand to the recipient’s communicative conditions. This double-binding nature is the basis of what has been called in many linguistic-textual approaches the equivalence relation. In other words, the equivalence relation equals the relation between a source text and its translation text. It is an important5 aim of linguistic-textual approaches to specify, refine, modify and thus to try to operationize the equivalence relation by differentiating between a number of frameworks of equivalence, e.g., extra-linguistic circumstances, connotative and aesthetic values, audience design and last but not least textual and language norms of usage that have emerged from empirical investigations of parallel texts, contrastive rhetoric and contrastive pragmatic and discourse analyses. The following is the “frame of reference”: (1)    The extralinguistic referents to which the text relates. The concept of equivalence, which orients itself to the extralinguistic referents is called “denotative equivalence”. (2)    The connotations conveyed through the specific means of the verbalizations present in the text. The equivalence relation constituted here is called “connotative equivalence”. (3)    The linguistic and textual norms of usage that characterize a particular text. (4)    The recipient (the reader) of the translation, for whom the translation is “specially designed”, such that it can fulfill its communicative function. This type of equivalence that relates to the addressee is called “pragmatic equivalence”. Certain aesthetic, formal and idiosyncratic characteristics of the source text. The concept of equivalence that relates to these characteristics of the source text is called “formal-aesthetic equivalence”.

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