The Concept of Function of Translation and its Application to Literary Texts

Roda P. Roberts

Abstract

Many translation theorists have adopted a functional approach to translation in an attempt to guide and explain the difficult choices a translator must make. This paper argues that it is the function of the translation, and not the functions of language or the function of the source text, that is the translator's guiding force. Having defined the function of translation as the application or use which the translation is intended to have in the context of the target situation, various functions that a literary translation may serve are examined. Finally, using the criteria of functions of language, functions of (source) text and functions of translation, an attempt is made to show that the type and degree of coincidence between the formal manifestations of the functions of language in the source text, the function of the source text and the translation depend on the precise function of the latter.

Table of contents

The dilemma of the translation of literary texts, brought out by many translation theorists over the centuries, has been expressed in the following words by Pavel Toper:

Full-text access is restricted to subscribers. Log in to obtain additional credentials. For subscription information see Subscription & Price. Direct PDF access to this article can be purchased through our e-platform.

References

Blais, Johanne
1981André Gide et la traduction. Ottawa: University of Ottawa. [Un-published M.A. thesis.]Google Scholar
Baudelaire, Charles
1964Les Paradis artificiels. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
1973Correspondance. Paris: Gallimard, “Bibliothèque de la Pléiade”.Google Scholar
Bühler, Karl
1965Sprachtheorie. 2nd ed. Stuttgart: Fischer.Google Scholar
Crystal, D. and D. Davy
1969Investigating English Style. London: Longman.Google Scholar
De Quincey, Thomas
1962Les Confessions d'un opiomane anglais, suivies de Suspiria de Profundis et de la Malle-Poste anglaise, tr. Pierre Leyris. Paris: Gallimard, “Collection NRF”.Google Scholar
1964The Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, tr. Françoise Moreux. Paris: Aubier, “Collection bilingue des classiques étrangers”.Google Scholar
[ p. 16 ]
Halliday, M.A.K.
1973Explorations in the Functions of Language. Victoria, Australia: Edward Arnold.Google Scholar
1978Language as Social Semiotic. Baltimore: University Park Press.Google Scholar
Harley, Anthony
ed. 1959The Penguin Book of French Verse 4. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
House, Juliane
1977A Model for Translation Quality Assessment. Tübingen: Gunter Narr.Google Scholar
Jakobson, Roman
1960 “Closing Statement: Linguistics and Poetics”. Th.A. Sebeok, ed. Style in Language. Cambridge, Mass.: M.I.T. Press 1960 350–377.Google Scholar
Leyris, Pierre
See De Quincey 1962 .
Lyons, John
1968Introduction to Theoretical Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.   CrossrefGoogle Scholar
Moreux, Françoise
See De Quincey 1964 .
Musset, Alfred
1960Œuvres complètes en prose. Paris: Gallimard, “La Pléiade”.Google Scholar
Newmark, Peter
1981Approaches to Translation. Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
Nida, Eugene A. and Charles Taber
1969The Theory and Practice of Translation. Leiden: E.J. Brill.Google Scholar
Pichois, Claude
1964Introduction to Charles Baudelaire, Les Paradis artificiels . Paris: Gallimard 1964 7–21.Google Scholar
Porché, F.
1944Baudelaire. Paris: Flammarion.Google Scholar
Reiβ, Katharina and Hans J. Vermeer
1984Grundlegung einer allgemeinen Translationstheorie. Tübingen: Niemeyer.Google Scholar
Sager, Juan Carlos
1983 “Quality and Standards—the Evaluation of Translations”. Catriona Picken, ed. The Translators Handbook. London: Aslib 1983 121–128.Google Scholar
Taillefer, André
1981Les Traductions françaises des Confessions of an English Opium-Eater de Thomas De Quincey: considérations historiques, linguistiques et psycholinguistiques. Ottawa: University of Ottawa. [Unpublished M.A. thesis.]Google Scholar
Toper, Pavel
1978 “The Achievements of the Theory of Literary Translation”. Paul Horguelin, ed. Translating, A Profession: Proceedings of the Eighth World Congress of the International Federation of Translators, Montreal 1977. Montreal: CTIC 1978 41–47.Google Scholar
Toury, Gideon
1980In Search of a Theory of Translation. Tel Aviv: The Porter Institute for Poetics and Semiotics.Google Scholar
1984 “Translation, Literary Translation and Pseudotranslation”. E.S. Schaffer, ed. Comparative Criticism 6. Cambridge University Press 1984 73–85.Google Scholar
1989 “Well, What About a LINGUISTIC Theory of LITERARY Translation?” Bulletin CILA 49. 102–105.Google Scholar
Zola, Émile
1923L’Assommoir. 2 vols. Paris: Charpentier.Google Scholar
1971Le Roman expérimental. Paris: Garnier-Flammarion.Google Scholar