On Translation

Translation is defined as the rendering of something into another language from another language.

The purpose of translation, as opposed to the general conception, is not to make it accessible to a new reader base or cater it to the people of a different region. It must not limit itself to a mere identification of the substitute words. The purpose is not to translate the literal meaning to the targeted language but to convey the intention. The purpose of translation is to express the commonalities that connects the original language and the targeted language. It’s purpose is to express the relationship between languages. Translation has the potential to convey a ‘pure language’ and to harmonize the languages. The languages are interrelated in what they want to express and the translation has to identify it. Language, like all things, is affected by time and translation helps it evolve from time to time. The perfect translation is like a tangent, it has to touch the original text and move away from it infinitely. Translation has to broaden the targeted language by coming in contact with the original language. Translation is an artistic revival of the mode of intention that the original text intends to convey.

Translation is widely misinterpreted as a straightforward process of substituting words in the original text with equivalent words in the targeted language. It is often seen as an imitative process lacking creativity and a process incapable of conveying the intention of the original text. However, it is to be understood that literal translation of a text (especially literary text) renders the translation useless. The role of a translator is not just substituting words but involves creativity and creative decision making. A good translator has to identify the correct intention of the original text and has to rewrite accurately in the targeted language. A proper process of translation has to find the effect the mode of intention has on the targeted language. Thus, it becomes an echo of the original. Literal translation is not effective as literal words might convey a different meaning. A good translator reveals what is hidden in the languages in his language or translation. The process of translation is derivative, ideational and ultimate and the process is unique. The translator must allow the targeted language to be affected by the original language and broaden his own language. Hence, it can be concluded that translation is a creative activity and not a linguistic imitation.

Equivalence in translation means that the targeted text has to recreate the same effect of the source text. It has to try to achieve optimal equivalence. The problem of equivalence arises because of differences between the original language and the targeted language(especially cultural differences). If a translation ignores equivalence, it can lead to misinterpretation and might not convey the intention of the original text. Equivalence should been seen as an important criteria to evaluate a translation. Ignoring equivalence might result in spoiling the essence of the original text and creating the same effect is sometimes as important as conveying the meaning. Since a language represents its people, history, culture etc… it is important to achieve equivalence. Considering equivalence as a parameter will result in retaining the originality of the source language and helps in better communication. It helps in understanding the contextual meaning of a text. So, equivalence is an important factor in translation.

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