What Is Translation And Translation Studies


02 Nov 2017

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The present dissertation is largely based on research in the field of translation. Translation is an influential valid feature of our society, and it symbolizes one of the most important aspects in shaping the upcoming course of the planet. The translator’s tasks are complex and refer to his abilities of dealing with every aspect of the process of translation. The power of translator lies in his responsibility for his end product.

Translation is defined in many ways and may be understood differently by people. By the people who are not translators, translation is seen as a text, but by the translators, it is seen as an "activity".

Translation is one of the diverse means of communication and, I can say, the most important one. This is mainly because it sets up an association between at least two languages and their culture. Through translation, are also transferred the characteristic elements from one language into the other.

Translation has a great effect on our everyday life. We can define it as being a process or even being a product, as well. Therefore, it covers different perspectives. Translation focuses on the translator’s role from taking a source text and turning it into one in another language, but also concentrates on the specific product created by the translator.

In Susan Bassnett’s book, Translation Studies, we find translation defined as the transfer of meaning.

Translation involves the transfer of "meaning" contained in one set of language signs into another set of language signs through competent use of the dictionary and grammar; the process involves a whole set of extra-linguistic criteria also. (Susan Bassnett, Translation Studies, pg 21)

Russian linguist and literary theorist Roman Jakobson declares that there cannot be complete equivalence through translation.

Translation Studies is the academic discipline which studies the theory and practice of translation.

The older concentration in translating was the structure of the message, the ability to reproduce stylistic subjects: rhythms, rhymes, parallelism and unusual grammatical structures. The new focus has passed to the response of the receptor to the translated message. The response must afterward be compared with the way in which the original receptors seemingly reacted to the message when it was written in its original form. The translator must aim now to make sure that the average receptor is very unlikely to misunderstand the message.

Primarily, the translator must discover and eliminate the expressions which are likely to be misunderstood and the ones which are difficult and "heavy" concerning grammar and the vocabulary. This is to make sure he is not discouraging the reader to try to understand the content of the message. The translation is not considered logical if a high percentage of readers misunderstand the interpretation. It is also essential to understand that each language has its own intellect; it holds a variety of distinctive characteristics, such as unique configuration of phrase order or markers of discourse.

Unfortunately, sometimes translators tend to "reconstruct" a language. One example can be a missionary from Latin America who tried to introduce the passive voice of the verb into a language where this form of the verb does not exist. (Theory and Practice of Translation, Eugene Nida).

As all languages differ in form, in order to preserve the content, the forms must be changed. The level to which forms must be changed in order to conserve the meaning will depend on the linguistic and cultural distance between the languages.

As Eugene Nida said in his book "Theory and Practice of Translation, when translating, one must establish several essential groups of priorities:

Contextual consistency has priority over verbal consistency (or word-for-word concordance), dynamic equivalence has priority over formal correspondence, the aural (heard) form of language has priority over the written form and forms that are used by and acceptable to the audience for which a translation is intended have priority over forms that may be traditionally more prestigious. (Theory and Practice of Translation, pg 14)

The above priorities represent four different perceptions, translation regarding the linguistic form, translation regarding the reactions of the readers, translation regarding "the typical circumstances of communication" and translation concerning the problems of translation from the point of view of the types of audience. (pag 14)

From the grammatical point of view, there are two different systems of translating. The first depends on introducing several rules which are planned to be applied strictly in order and are designed to indicate exactly what should be done with each item or combination of items in the source language in order to select the suitable corresponding form in the receptor language. This language into which the source is translated can be a natural one or a completely artificial one.

The second system of translation contains a more complex structure, consisting of three stages:

Analysis, in which the message given in the source language is analyzed from the point of view of grammatical relationships and the meaning of the words;

Transfer, in which the analyzed message is transferred in the translator’s mind from the source language into the receptor language;

Restructuring, in which the transferred material is restructured as to make the final message completely understandable in the receptor language.


Localization is a new domain for language experts. Related to digital media, it is a subject where technology is very much involved. Localization has become known as a profession linked to translation. According to the Localization Industry Standards Organization, Pierre Cadieux and Bert Esselink

localization involves (a) translation of textual content into the language and textual conventions of the target locale; and (b) adaptation of non-textual content (from colors, icons and bitmaps, to packaging, form factors, etc.) as well as input, output and delivery mechanisms to take into account the cultural, technical and regulatory requirements of that locale. (Perspectives on localization, Keiran J. Dunne, pg 4)

Furthermore, it cannot be completely understood without being contextualized in reference to globalization, internationalization and translation.

Translation and Culture

From the beginning, translation was seen as the way to improve one’s own language and culture. While in the past the best translation may have been that which flawlessly passed over cultural and linguistic difference, today significant intellectual expectations are credited to the introduction of the foreign to domestic culture.

Schleiermacher’s essay On the Different Methods of Translation, in which he differentiates between translation and interpretation, was considered to be the first methodical examination of translation in the modern times.

He affirms that:

Interpreting belongs to the realm of business, commerce and science where the communication of facts over the use of language and the subjectivity of the author is emphasized. Translation rests primarily in the realm of philosophy and literature, where the use of language and notions of style and intention are of paramount importance (Translation and Culture, Kathering M. Faull, pg 15)

He is one of the first theorists of translation to imply that a translator cannot simply find an equivalent in the target language, but he must keep the linguistic and cultural context from the original text in the translated one "as great an extent as possible". He insists that aspects of the original language to be included in the target language, in order to improve it.

Also, in Schleiermacher’s opinion, the translator must either concentrate to move the reader towards the author or must try to move the author towards the reader. He is aware of the fact that it is impossible to have a perfect translation for every word, but the translator must try to reproduce the particularities of the original text and its musicality.

Of course, the "foreignizing" method of translation proposed by Schleiermacher is a dangerous method and can make the translated text more impossible to be understood by the reader, but, unfortunately, this is a risk that culture must face. The critic Antoine Berman, a translator of Schleiermacher supports this idea saying that:

The very aim of translation- to open up in writing a certain relation with the Other, to fertilize what is one’s Own through the meditation of what is Foreign- is diametrically opposed to the ethnocentric structure of every culture, that species of narcissism by which every society wants to be a pure and unadulterated Whole (Trans and Culture, pg 17)

The way we translate is determined mostly by how we view the original text which is also determined by the value the text will have for the target reader. When translating a text, the translator must take into consideration the political and cultural influence of the translation as well. Translation, like every cultural practice, includes the creation of values, may them be linguistic, religious, political, commercial or educational.

Lately, there has been a change in translation studies, from linguistically oriented methods to culturally oriented ones. In Germany, linguists show their concerns with viewing translation less as a linguistic process and more as a cultural one. Other linguists, on the other hand, argue that language is viewed as rooted in culture in such a way that the meaning of any linguistic entry can be correctly understood only with reference to the cultural context enveloping it. Therefore, translation cannot be fully understood without making reference to cultural aspects.

During 1960s Translation science began to be considered a discipline in the countries with German speakers. It would concentrate completely on the linguistic characteristics of the translation process and product. In 1963, the scholar Otto Kade introduced the term Translation as referring to both translation and interpretation.

In The name and nature of translation studies, James Holmes developed six main kinds of translation theories. One of them, "the medium-restricted translation studies" were subdivided into theories of translation "as performed by humans, as performed by computers and as performed by the two in conjunction" (trans studies:perspectives on an emerging discipline, pg 7opt) acolo am ramas


Advertising is the method through which merchandise and services are promoted to the public. The advertiser is the one who has to increase sales by drawing people’s attention to the goods and services and showing them in a positive light. During the years, advertising grew into a complex business with a big army of people behind, people with skills in marketing, public relations, photography, graphic design and writing.

In the 19th century, the most important means of advertising were the posters, handbills and the "sandwich men" carrying along the street poster boards tied to their bodies. By the middle of the century, newspapers and magazines started to gain their importance in advertising and in the 20th century, radio and commercials in television were fast becoming the most important source of advertising. However, today, we bump into advertisements at every corner. In the newspapers we can see advertisements written in bold, trying advertise the products and services of well-known products. There is also the junk mail filling our mailbox with any type of advertisement every day, the eye-catching advertisements that flash on our computer screen every time we try to access a webpage, people giving us flyers in front of many shopping centers trying to direct us to a certain store and also many ads that we can spot on walls, busses and even taxis.

The birth of the advertising agency

At first, whoever wanted to advertise their products had to design their own advertisements and then give them for publication to the means of advertisement through which they wanted to promote them. In a short period of time, though, design, creation and promoting other people’s products became an opportunity of earning money. Therefore, advertising agencies were born. A team of specialists in all characteristics of advertising is hired to create the advertisements for the products the client needs and then place them in a large variety of different media.

At first, advertising agents only sold space in magazines and newspapers for people who wanted to promote their products. The agents would receive a percentage of the sale from the publications. In time, as the number and the range of publications augmented, the agents started to compete with each other. They offered to write, design and place the advertisement for the client. The number of newspapers and magazines growing significantly and later the development of cinema, radio and television helped advertising industries grow faster and faster.

Starting with the 1940s media became complex, meaning that people who wanted their products and goods advertised needed a large amount of expert help and advice. These factors altogether influenced the development of a more complex agency, which offered an entire variety of services: market research, media research, advertisement design and production, planning campaigns and buying the needed advertisement space in different media.

With the agencies growing in size and complexity, the clients became multinational. As the clients became multinational, the agencies started to follow their example and they started to merge with global agencies abroad. More and more British agencies were bought by American ones and today a small number of big firms control the international market.

By the end of the 20th century, new forms of communication have grown as well as numerous changes in the existing media: digital technology, satellite broadcasting and the development of cable. Powerful computers were cheap enough to make their purchase easier for regular people. Therefore, there was a huge development for the new forms of communication, mostly sending e-mails and surfing the Internet. For the advertisers this was a big opportunity for commercial possibilities. For this reason, the fight for advertising became more intense than ever between the media. Recently, companies have started posting advertisements on social networks such as Facebook or Twitter. Besides posting advertisements, they can even create company profiles. To receive promotions, coupons for discounts or even updates about new products, people must follow them.

Commercials on TV are sold on time period which vary from seven seconds to one minute long, the most expensive being the ones in the evening because at that time it is the biggest audience. Commercials on TV can use a storyline, words, music and mascots in order to get the desired message. To capture the audience’s attention, advertisers have to use catchy words, slogans or even a song.

Radio advertising is done through music or storylines. It is also sold in time periods, which vary from 30 seconds to a minute long.

The numerous forms of advertising existing in the advertising business have been split in two major categories: above-the-line and below-the-line. Above-the-line advertising introduces advertisements placed by the agencies for their clients in the press, on television and at the radio. The media pays commissions to the agency as it acts like a liaison between the client and the media.

Below-the-line advertising targets individuals through letters, brochures and posters sent directly to customers through mail, e-mail and so on. The ones that have something to sell make this kind of advertising themselves or they pay agencies to have it done for them. The difference between the above-the-line and below-the-line advertising is that the former has as a target the mass, appearing in media communication and paying commission to it and the latter has no paid commission and has as a target a specific audience.

Advertising today is part of the marketing process, the producer using advertising to create a brand image for his product. The brand image such as a logo for example, differentiates manufactured goods from other similar products, advertised by rival companies, for example Coca-Cola and Pepsi. The advertisers can be a private person, a small business, major producers, retailers or service providers. They can advertise at local, national or even global level. In the past years has been a great development in the advertising of any type of services, even supermarket chains are now their own label brands. They are now selling products made by them as opposed to the past, when they used to sell only products produced by others.

Advertising pays a great role not only in distinguishing the brands from each other, but also in aiming the right kind of customer for each brand. Because of this, advertisers have to identify the key factors of people’s lifestyle and then try to produce the right brand image for the products they want to sell.

Besides aiming individuals, advertising can take place at a higher level, like industrial, business-to-business or government-to-business. They can buy office equipment raw materials and services. Their goal is to advertise a positive corporate image to become a trustworthy company. This is to gain new customers, maintain the already existing ones, but also to attract investors. Governments, for example, use information campaigns which have as a result preservation of energy, water and so on. This kind of advertising does not involve commercials.

Advertising and translation

Due to Globalization, modern Information and communication have a great impact on our daily lives. Therefore, because of this reason, language transfer becomes more and more important affecting the transmission of knowledge. Language skills have an important role, even in reading texts by the means of mass media and Internet.

Besides the industrial, political, social, administrative, juridical and ethical challenges, there are also cultural and linguistic ones.


Avertising- Julian Petley

Susan Bassnett, Translation Studies

Theory and Practice of Translation, Eugene Nida

Perspectives on localization, Keiran J. Dunne

Translation and Culture, Kathering M. Faull

Advertising by jen greene


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