What is translation? It includes conversions between language and non-language signs in a broad way. In here, I am not intending to spread this topic over expanded, what I really incline to focus is simply the language. Therefore, I am going to discuss how to converse a language (which originates from language activities) into another new language.
Technically, translation should be included conversions of different variants within a certain language. Such as, translating ancient poets created by Qu Yuan into temporary poets, translating Chinese ancient pieces into vernacular Chinese.
Because this kind of translation encounters obstacles in regards to space and time, for ancient Chinese and vernacular Chinese are quite different from each other over thousands of years. However, no matter what kind of translation, intralingual or interlingual, the core part is how to express the original meaning.
We could define translation as ”express the meaning from original texts into translation”.
This sounds like a easy and simple thing, actually, it is not that easy.
The trouble that we meet is about “meaning”. “There is a book on the table”, this sentence can be translated straightly. But some of sentences cannot be translated in a straight way or it will result in a blurry meaning. Some of sentences’ meanings are closely related to form of a language, which force the translator to express the form of that language into the translation.
In the beginning of Pride And Prejudice: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. In this sentence, “a truth universally acknowledged” and “that” subordinate clause have to be changed, for this arrangement can cause an ironic tone. The hidden meaning behind this sentence is: Although this is not a universal truth, the social conventions of money and marriage are such that a lot of people go about behaving as it were true.
In fact, all the obstacles that we have encountered can be generated as expressing meanings, but in practice, a great number of issues will pop out. However, these issues are objects of study for scholars. These issues are generally about:
a. Literal Translation vs. Free Translation
b. Functional Equivalence vs. Formal Correspondence
c. Form vs. Content
d. Source- oriented vs. Target-oriented
e. Author-centered vs. Reader- centered
f. The Purpose of the Author vs. the Purpose of the Translator
In the next blogs, I am going to discuss all of these issues in detail. In the end, it may be treated as guidance for our daily translations, which aims to upgrade our translation levels and skills.
In a nut word, I expect this can be a beacon in the way of translation and benefit all of us.