Implicit Information in Literary Translation: A Relevance-Theoretic Perspective
Summer Institute of Linguistics
As an instance of human communication, literary translation operates by certain laws and principles assumed to be built into our human make-up. These 'natural laws' of communication give rise to implicit information and are responsible for its special characteristics, such as graded strength of communication and its correlates, including poetic effects. They furthermore determine the interdependence of text, context and successful communication, and limit communicability in incompatible contexts. One important contextual factor consists in what kind of interpretive resemblance the audience expects between translation and original. The ultimate test for a translation is whether or not it achieves with the target audience what the translator intended it to achieve, rather than whether it conforms to some translation-theoretical notion of equivalence.
One of the striking characteristics of literary texts is their density. The art of the author often shows itself in the ability to communicate a richness of ideas, feelings and impressions that are not necessarily expressed in words, but communicated implicitly.