What is the true nature of literalism? The present article argues that literalism is in fact word translation plus syntax transplantation, imposing SL's peculiar syntax on TL words, treating TL as a syntactically unpatterned system. This true essence of literalism has, for the past two thousand years, escaped people's attention and literalism has been taken by many as faithful translation or, in more recent times, as "formal-equivalence." Since literalism produces, as argued here, a 'hybrid' of TL words and untranslated SL features, it cannot be treated as TL's formal-equivalence and it is no alternative approach to fidelity. To gain a fuller picture, the present article also discusses the cause of literalism and the reason or pragmatic need for its survival.
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