The Linguistic Aspects of Translation: Semantics and Pragmatics
1. Introduction: Linguistic Aspects of Translation
The purpose of this essay is to explore the linguistic aspects of translation. In particular, it will focus on the role of semantics and pragmatics in translation. The essay will also discuss the work of Jakobson on linguistic functions in relation to translation.
2. Theoretical framework
There are a number of different theories that have been proposed in relation to the linguistics of translation (see, for example, Chesterman 1997; Munday 2001). However, for the purposes of this essay, I will focus on two key approaches: semantics and pragmatics.
Semantics is concerned with the meaning of words and phrases, while pragmatics is concerned with the use of language in context. Both of these approaches are relevant to the study of translation, as they can help to explain how meaning is conveyed in a new language.
In order to investigate the role of semantics and pragmatics in translation, I will firstly consider a range of different examples. I will then discuss these examples in relation to Jakobson's theory of linguistic functions.
One way in which semantics can be relevant to translation is through the process of word-for-word translation, or "literal translation" (see Chesterman 1997). This is where words from the source text are translated directly into the target text, without taking into account their meaning or context.
This type of translation can often lead to problems, as the meaning of the source text may not be accurately conveyed in the target text. For example, consider the following sentence from English: "I’m going to bed". If this were translated directly into Spanish, it would be "Voy a dormir". However, this would not be an accurate translation, as it would suggest that the speaker is going to sleep immediately, when they may just be going to bed (to read or watch TV, for example).
This example illustrates how word-for-word translation can lead to problems with meaning. In order to avoid such problems, it is necessary to take into account the meaning of words when translating them. This can be done by using a dictionary or by understanding the concepts behind the words.
4. 2 Pragmatics
Pragmatics is also relevant to translation, as it can help to explain how meaning is conveyed in a new language. For example, consider the following sentence from English: "Can you please turn off the light?" If this were translated directly into Spanish, it would be "¿Puedes apagar la luz por favor?" However, this would not be an accurate translation, as it would not take into account the polite context in which the sentence is spoken. In order to convey the same level of politeness in Spanish, it would be necessary to use a different phrase: "¿Podrías apagar la luz por favor?" This illustrates how pragmatics can be used in order to convey meaning in a new language.
In conclusion, it can be seen that both semantics and pragmatics are relevant to the study of translation. These two approaches can help to explain how meaning is conveyed in a new language. In particular, they can help to avoid problems with word-for-word translation.