Vol. 65 (1984) ► pp.79–91
Language Teachers Should Rush in Where Good Translators Fear to Tread
In this paper we will support the basic Saussurian view that every language is an individual and independent system which is exploited in a unique, creative and specific way by speakers of that language, in order to communicate what may be termed as 'language-specific' messages, which may very well be 'untranslatable' from one language to another. Examples from Modern Hebrew will be provided on the word-formation, word, structure and discourse levels of language to illustrate that the process of translation may not necessarily be an automatic 'mapping' of LI linguistic forms and structures to their most accurate, equivalent and fluent L2 counterparts in order to convey the same (or as similar as possible) communicative messages. We will contend that this 'untranslatability' existing between languages, which may be systematically discovered through theoretical linguistic and stylistic analyses, should be applied to teaching foreign language students the unique system of the language they are studying.