THE NATURE OF TRANSLATING Basically, there are three types of translation: Literal Translation Free Translation Dynamic Translation
Literal translation Literal translation is sometimes called word-for- word translation (as opposed to thought-for- thought translation). A more accurate, but less well-known, label for this approach is formal equivalence translation. Because literal translation focuses on forms of language, it sometimes misses some of the meaning of those forms, since meaning is found not only in the forms of individual words, but also in relationships among words, phrases, idiomatic uses of words, and influences of speaker- hearer, cultural, and historical contexts.
Words often have different meanings in different contexts, but a literal translation often does not account for these differences. So literal translation often is not the most accurate form of translation. This is one of the difficulties with literal word-for-word translation. “The food we ate yesterday was out of this world.”
Free translation Free translation reproduces the matter without the manner, or the content without the form of the original. Usually it is a paraphrase much longer than the original, a so-called “intralingual translation”, often prolix and pretentious, and not a translation at all. Another type is the idiomatic translation that reproduces the “message” of the original but tends to distort nuances of meaning by preferring colloquialisms and idioms where these do not exist in the original.
Free Translation It is based on the personal opinions or interpretation of the translator. Interpretive translation may refer to a translation which is considered to include interpretation of the meaning of the source text, rather than simply the translation of that text. Original sentence: ‘Terjadi di suatu kota kecil yang punya seorang dokter.’ Translated message: “It happened at a small town with sparse population which had only one doctor.”
Dynamic Translation “Translating consists of reproducing in the receptor language the closest natural equivalent to the message of the second language, first in terms of meaning and secondly in terms of style.” (Eugene A. Nida)
Dynamic Translation The “source language” is the language from which a translation is made, whereas the “receptor language” means the language into which a translation is made. In translating from English into Bahasa Indonesia for instance, English is the source language and Bahasa Indonesia is the target language.
In all situations under the term “equivalence” there is actually no exact equivalence. No corresponding two words in two different languages ever have identically the same meaning. The problem is not one of finding absolute equivalent but of finding relatively close equivalent. There can be no absolute standard of conformity. It must always be a matter of degree. Nevertheless there should be a basis of communication. It depends only upon how far the cultural and linguistic distance is between the languages. English and Dutch, for instance, which represents the same cultural setting, have a more common basis for mutual communication than English and Indonesian.
Approaches to Translating When one enters this maze of terminology and methodology, bewilderment can soon take over. Note Eugene Glassman’s listing of various titles of books and articles reflecting both the complexity and the subsequent negativism about translation work.4 Yet in spite of the hurdles, one must pres on toward understanding what is taking place in the act of translation and whether or not this produce is a worthy fruit of such action.
Two Basic Methods An inquiry into translation methodology will uncover two basic approaches which are modified in many different ways. Several terms have been used for these two methods but those employed here will be: Form-Oriented Translation and Content- Oriented Translation.
Form-Oriented Translation In this approach the primary emphasis is upon maintaining the form of the Source Language in the Receptor Language. The presupposition is that the grammatical structures of both languages are at least enough alike so that the translator can move directly from one language to another. Thus in the process of translation basic attention is given to the Source Language. Most translations through the nineteenth century followed this approach. This method is sometimes labeled as ‘formal equivalence’, ‘formal correspondence’ or ‘literal’.
Content-Oriented Translation In this approach major attention is placed on the Receptor Language. Does the reader/hearer understand what the passage is saying? The objective is to reproduce in contemporary readers/hearers the same reaction to the message that the original author sought to produce in the initial readers/hearers. The form of the Source Language is important but not nearly as important as the meaning. The communication of accurate, clear meaning is the overarching aim. This approach rests on several presuppositions concerning both the Source Language and the Receptor Language.
Source Language: (1)The languages of the text are subject to the same limitations as any other natural language. (2)The writers of the text or books are expected to be understood. (3)The translator must attempt to reproduce the meaning of a passage as understood by the writer.
Receptor Language: (1)Each language has its own genius. (2)To communicate effectively one must respect the genius of each language. (3) Anything that can be said in one language can be said in another, unless the formal is an essential element of the message. (4) To preserve the content of the message the form must be changed. The extent of change depends upon the linguistic and cultural distance between SL and RL.