A Case for Linguistics in Translation Theory

Table of contents

Translation can be, and has traditionally been, viewed as a linguistic operation, meaning one that involves language(s). The popular notion is that a (if not the) prerequisite for translation work is the knowledge of two languages and that the translator's tools include such products of linguistic scholarship as mono- and bi-lingual dictionaries, thesauruses, grammar books and style manuals. Translators have often been trained in language-teaching institutions, relying for the most part on language-teaching methods. Finally, the starting point and end product of translation is text (source text and target text respectively)—an eminently linguistic entity. Also, it was no mere accident that early efforts in machine translation focused almost exclusively on linguistic phenomena, lexical pairing and syntactic parsing, and that the more recent computer-aided packages again cater predominantly for the translator's linguistic needs. Any discussion of translation—either as a process or as a product—inevitably revolves around linguistic issues.

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