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On Equivalence Principle in Translation

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A. F. Tytler: “A good translation is that in which the merit of the original work is so completely transfused into another language as to be as distinctly apprehended, and as strongly felt, by a native a country to which that language belongs as it is by those who speak the language of the original work.” It indicates that the equivalence is an important and also basic principle during our translation.

 

It’s essential to achieve the equivalence during our translation. If your target text deviates from your source text, you cannot obtain an excellent work. Without equivalence achieved, the translation will become useless and meaningless. Taking a sentence for an instance, “The financial sector supervisory commission of Luxembourg, the CSSF, published in early 2013 an update of its anti-money laundering regulation”, we shall translate it in accordance with the equivalence principle without necessary information added, omitted or deleted: 卢森堡金融监管委员会,即CSSF,已于2013年初颁布其更新之反洗钱法规。

 

However, exact equivalence between source and target text is not recommended. Sometimes, the equivalence should be applied in a flexible way to avoid extreme straightforwardness and misunderstanding. That is to say, if a close, formal translation is likely to result in a misunderstanding of the designative meaning, certain changes must be introduced. For an instance, “More precisely, the AML due diligences asked by the Luxembourg Law of 12 November 2004 are disclosed as follow in Chapter 2, article 3.(2)”, if we translate the “due diligence” into “尽职调查”, the whole sentence will become difficult to be understood, so it’s recommended to translate it into “尽职调查人员” with addition of “人员”. Then, it’s suggested to translate the sentence into “更精确而言,2004 年 11 月 12 日卢森堡法规要求AML尽职调查人员按照以下之第二章第三款第二节展开尽职调查”.

 

Moreover, to adapt to the context, some addition or deletion is necessary, as will disobey the equivalence principle during our translation. Taking another instance, “This on-going monitoring leads us to ask you updated documents”, supposed we translate it in an exact equivalent way, we cannot understand it totally, so it’s recommended to revert into a flexible way, “通过我方的持续监控,我方发现贵公司提交给我方的非最新文件,因此请提供最新文件给我方”.

 

In a word, during our translation, every principle should be observed by, especially the equivalence principle, but adequate modes and methods shall be applied to finally make our work achieve satisfactory results.

 

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