The Method of Equivalence and Its Applications

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It would make little sense to explore each and every contribution here, and so, in the interests of space, I will limit my focus to a few of the more important theories, and how they can be practically applied to Japanese to English translation. In place of these terms, he posits his dichotomy:.

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Nida, , p. Given the vast remove between Japanese and English grammatically and syntactically, applying this method to the translation of Japanese texts into English yields mostly nonsense semantically , and would only really be of use to linguists who wish to parse the Japanese text, or to students of Japanese seeking to understand its formal structural conventions. Nida and Taber recognize this problem themselves, suggesting that the end-users of such a translation might experience unnecessary difficulty when attempting to assimilate the target text, or might fail to understand it completely.

To render these lines in accordance with the basic criteria of Formal equivalence produces the following English:. LT: This dream object marker saw. Crossed arms object marker do beside at sitting, lying on back woman topic marker , quiet voice with already die say. This is by no means the only way of observing Formal equivalence for this sentence, but the results would be very similar however you approached it, namely, failing to make semantic sense.

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TT: I had a dream. I was sitting with my arms crossed by the bedside of a woman. She was lying on her back. In a most gentle voice she said that she was about to die.

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In effect, he has translated in line with Dynamic equivalence. In fact, it would be no exaggeration to suggest the overwhelming majority of English translations of Japanese texts are, in some way, in line with the requirements of Dynamic equivalence. While not dissimilar to Dynamic equivalence, the idea is expressed more matter-of-factly. They also furnish this definition with a list of seven translation solution descriptors.

Borrowing: This is when the word in the source language is brought over to the target language largely unchanged aside from orthographically when the target language requires it.


In addition to the three common nouns listed above, there are well known adjectives kawaii , proper nouns Tokyo and many others. TT: In ancient China, I heard that followers who helped their lords by aptly handling political affairs were called Enbai no shin retainers of salt and plum.

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These sorts of explanations, whether inside or outside the text as footnotes, are essential when bringing a hitherto unknown Japanese term across into English for the first time. Calque: A very specific type of borrowing where a word or phrase is literally translated into the target language. Literal translation: For Vinay and Darbelnet , Literal translation means simply translating word-for-word following the syntax of the source language. As mentioned above, this method is not suitable for most Japanese to English translation, excepting for the purposes of analysis, or perhaps artistic creativity.

Transposition: This is the process of substituting one part of speech for an entirely different one e. This solution has some application when translating from Japanese to English. Modulation: The term modulation covers a broad range of adjustments Vinay and Darbelnet list no less than ten ways it can be applied that can be made to translations that may be grammatically correct, but present as clumsy, awkward or unsuitable.

Murray, , p. A practical albeit unlikely example of this might be where references to the Japanese custom of bowing upon meeting someone in source text, are replaced with a western handshake in the target text. These strategies are subsumed under three distinct taxonomies: Grammatical, Pragmatic and Semantic. Literal Translation: In contrast to Vinay and Darbelnet's definition, Chesterman suggests a grammatically correct translation as close to the source text as possible.

Loan, Calque: A type of borrowing where a word or phrase is translated into the source text mostly unchanged. The syntax of the target text flows that of the source. Transposition: Replacing one part of speech with another. See Vinay and Darbelnet's definition above.

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Unit shift: A shift that occurs between different units, e. Phrase structure change: This refers to the changes that occur within the internal structure of a noun or verb phrase. Clause structure change: Changes that occur to the integral parts of the clause. Cohesion change: A changes that may include intertextual reference, substitutions, ellipsis, substitution, etc.

In Japanese sentences where the subject has been omitted, e. Level shift: This refers to a shift that occurs between phonology, syntax, morphology or lexis. Scheme change: For use in translating rhetorical schemes which may include parallelism, repetition, alliteration, etc. Cultural filtering: A domesticizing strategy where culture specific items are replaced with corresponding cultural items from the target culture.

One could readily imagine a reference to Japanese folklore hero Momotaro being comfortably replaced with a reference to Tom Thumb given the similarity of both characters' size, heroic deeds and supernatural nature. Explicitness change: A change to the target text wherein information is either omitted or appended in line with target language norms.

Information change: Same as P2 except the omitted or appended information in the target text is not implicit in the source text. Interpersonal change: A shift in register or a change in the general style of the source text. Illocutionary change: A change of the speech act, e.

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Also from direct to indirect speech. A fairly literal translation might be "I asked him when he'd come back" My translation , whereas Murray changes from an indirect to a direct voice: "When will you come back? Coherence change: A change in the ordering of information within a sentence. The fact that Japanese and English syntax runs in opposite directions much of the time means that any sense-for-sense translation is usually one where coherence change has taken place.

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This could be considered a default strategy. Visibility change: Using footnotes or glosses to increase or decrease the 'visibility' or either the author of the source text or its translator. An example of Intratextual gloss can be found under Vincent and Darbelnet's notion of borrowing above. Synonymy: Replacing a word with a synonym or closely related word. This is less desirable in English, so synonymy is sometimes called for. Hyponomy: A shift to a more general or more specific term. For Cartan, the primary geometrical information was expressed in a coframe or collection of coframes on a differentiable manifold.

See method of moving frames. Specifically, suppose that M and N are a pair of manifolds each carrying a G-structure for a structure group G. This amounts to giving a special class of coframes on M and N. An equivalence problem has been "solved" if one can give a complete set of structural invariants for the G -structure: meaning that such a diffeomorphism exists if and only if all of the structural invariants agree in a suitably defined sense. The first step in the Cartan method is to express the pullback relation 1 in as invariant a way as possible through the use of a " prolongation ".

The most economical way to do this is to use a G -subbundle PM of the principal bundle of linear coframes LM , although this approach can lead to unnecessary complications when performing actual calculations. In particular, later on this article uses a different approach. But for the purposes of an overview, it is convenient to stick with the principal bundle viewpoint.

The second step is to use the diffeomorphism invariance of the exterior derivative to try to isolate any other higher-order invariants of the G -structure. Basically one obtains a connection in the principal bundle PM , with some torsion. The components of the connection and of the torsion are regarded as invariants of the problem.

The third step is that if the remaining torsion coefficients are not constant in the fibres of the principal bundle PM , it is often possible although sometimes difficult , to normalize them by setting them equal to a convenient constant value and solving these normalization equations, thereby reducing the effective dimension of the Lie group G.

If this occurs, one goes back to step one, now having a Lie group of one lower dimension to work with. The main purpose of the first three steps was to reduce the structure group itself as much as possible. Suppose that the equivalence problem has been through the loop enough times that no further reduction is possible.

The method of equivalence and its applications

At this point, there are various possible directions in which the equivalence method leads. For most equivalence problems, there are only four cases: complete reduction, involution, prolongation, and degeneracy. Complete reduction. Here the structure group has been reduced completely to the trivial group. The problem can now be handled by methods such as the Frobenius theorem.

In other words, the algorithm has successfully terminated.