The Decency of Translation Strategies: Fidelity
With regard to the diverse range of translation strategies, fidelity, the most time honored controversial topic in translation, is concentratively inquired into so as to vindicate the pressing strategic orientation toward intercultural ethics.
Fidelity and visibility of a translator
Fidelity is recurrently perceived as an indicator of a translator’s humble or reverent allegiance. The bilingual and bicultural transfer should remain verbatim. If not, the writing’s authority might be misplaced. Accordingly to Warren, a translator ought to make a bid for replication “as the shadow of the original”.
The emphasis on translator as servants, however, should not be pushed to an extreme, since a translator’s excessive obedience may result in insipid or obscure expressions. A translator is treated as a traitor deviating from the author’s creatively furnish a new appearance of the original. It is considered unnecessary to reproduce the original in that a translator can not jump off his own shadow”.
Textual visibility narrates a translator’s “strategic and conscious” subjectivity regarding linguistic and stylistic transfer, paratextual visibility refers to a translator’s agency “outside or in the margin of the actual text” and extratextual visibility displays his or her social position.
Similar positions are held by quite a few Chinese theoreticians. Qian Zhongshu’s studies are orientated characteristically at inevitable erroneousness of translation. As a typical interface between two or more linguistic and cultural realities, a translation cannot escape distorting the original meaning, tone, style, syntax, design, etc., hence the errors and the author’s less primacy.
The viewpoint that translation might surpass the originals backs up a translator’s inevitable visibility as well. Theoretically, translation should be neither superior nor inferior to the original, but a number of literary translations turn out to be better than the original.
On many occasions when a translator is faced with a dilemma where the original cannot be welcome by receivers, the power of fidelity need be reconsidered. Some scholars wake up to a translator’s flexible decision making right according to other subject’s intention.
Language layers for fidelity
Fidelity is also linked with the selection of different language layers. There is a pronounced applause of word by word fidelity. Fidelity is not confined to literal translation. Many statements in favor of fidelity are demonstrably advanced with semantic, stylistic or structural concerns. Smooth representation of the style of the original was supportively designated by as sublimity.
Degrees of fidelity
Appropriate degrees of fidelity are given considerable prominence in the bids to context absolute fidelity. Though it is recognized that a translator has the right not to copy word for word in view of distinctive sociolinguistic systems, we must see it clear that free translation should not be overrated. A translator has the right not to copy word for word in case the spirit in the original is lost, but the decency of freedom is indispensable.
We should “entirely and perfectly comprehend the genius and sense of his author, the nature of the subject, and the terms of the art or subject treated of”. Certain linguistic features are also dwelled on to bring fidelity up to scratch. Also, there is the consciousness of the decency of fidelity for particular text types.
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Fidelity to the truth
There exist reflections about fidelity to the truth. For instance, August Wilhelm von Schlegel stressed, fidelity should be considered in terms of both the foreigness of the original and the truth. For him, it is necessary to get away from the notion of literal precision so commonly associated with fidelity, because truth must be the translator’s highest, indeed virtually his only mandate.
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