Challenging Aspects of Translation | January 2017 | Translation Journal

January 2017 Issue

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Challenging Aspects of Translation

Every translation activity has one or more specific purposes and whatever they may be; the main aim of translation is to serve as a cross-cultural bilingual communication vehicle among peoples. In the past few decades, this activity has developed because of rising international trade, increased migration, globalization, the recognition of linguistic minorities, and the expansion of the mass media and technology. For this reason, the translator plays an important role as a bilingual or multi-lingual cross-cultural transmitter of culture and truths by attempting to interpret concepts and speech in a variety of texts as faithfully and accurately as possible.

Most translation theorists agree that translation is understood as a transfer process from a foreign language—or a second language—to the mother tongue. However, market requirements are increasingly demanding that translators transfer texts to a target language that is not their mother tongue, but a foreign language. This is what Newmark calls "service translation."

There are some particular problems in the translation process: problems of ambiguity, problems that originate from structural and lexical differences between languages and multiword units like idioms and collocations. Another problem would be the grammar because there are several constructions of grammar poorly understood, in the sense that it isn't clear how they should be represented, or what rules should be used to describe them.

The words that are really hard to translate are frequently the small, common words, whose precise meaning depends heavily on context. Besides, some words are untranslatable when one wishes to remain in the same grammatical category. The question of whether particular words are untranslatable is frequently debated. For example, it isn't easy to translate poetry because you need to analyze the words and keep the meaning of the poem in its translation in another language as it was in the original one. Nevertheless, many translators face difficulties and have problems when translating a poem.

According to Hariyanto (no date), poetry translation should be semantic translation for a poem is typically rich with aesthetic and expressive values. a translator of poetry may face the linguistic, literary, aesthetic, as well as socio-cultural problems during his engagement in translation. Linguistic problems may include the collocation and hidden logic, which is also called to be non-standard syntactic structure. As for the translation of the collocations, the translated version of the poem should not look awkward to the reader:

Mr. Hariyanto also claims that certain factors that cause hardship in translating poetry are aesthetic and literary problems. They are related to poetic structure, metaphorical expressions as well as sounds. These aesthetic values do not carry an independent meaning, but they are correlative with the various types of meaning in the text.

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