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Applied Strategies and Difficulties in English-French Translation

Introduction

The translation may be defined as the complex process of text transformation from one language into another one. There are a substantial number of peculiarities connected with the difference of languages that should be familiar for a competent translator. Two texts in the English and French languages were translated, and this paper represents the analysis of the English-French and French-English language pairs in order to identify applied translation strategies and translation difficulties as well.

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Translation Strategies

In the present day, the world is characterized by globalization and international communication is highly essential. Despite the fact that according to recent researches, “the use of translation to enhance English-language abilities was negatively correlated with English language proficiency,” translation plays an immeasurably significant role in information exchange between languages (Tan, 2015, p. 55). For a professional and effective conveying of the meaning from one language into another, a competent translator should have some specific skills that may be defined as translation strategies (Baker, 2018).

In general, translation strategies are marked by particular features – they are applied to the translation process consciously and involve text manipulation. In addition, translation strategies are cultural-sensitive, goal-oriented, inter-subjective and problem-centered (Olalla-Soler, 2018). They consider authorship, intercultural and interlingual inequality and unspecified audience (Kazakova, 2015). A prevalent number of translators use strategies when they detect a specific issue, and literal translation cannot be applied.

Various scholars identify and examine translation strategies and general translation procedures from different perspectives. Vinay and Darbelnet define translation procedure as “a process that comes into play when shifting between languages” (as cited in Gambier & Doorslaer, 2013, p. 413). Investigating translation from the communicative perspective, Nida introduces the term “techniques of adjustment” to explain the processes that aim “to produce correct equivalents” (as cited in Gambier & Doorslaer, 2013, p. 413). In general, there are two fundamental translation strategies – foreignisation and domestication (Tardzenyuy, 2016).

Foreignisation also referred to as source-text-oriented or literal translation, is a strategy that focuses on adequacy regardless of acceptability and appropriacy. It is traditionally characterized by “close adherence to the source text structure and syntax” (Tardzenyuy, 2016, p. 48). A foreignizing writing style does not simplify the language of an original text in order to make it more understandable for foreign readers (Ghafarian, Kafipour, & Soori, 2016). However, this translation strategy may be beneficial as it helps them to get acquainted with some extent with the author’s language, style and culture. The techniques used by translators who choose foreignisation include literal and word-for-word translation, calque and borrowing.

In turn, domestication or target-text-oriented translation is a strategy that focuses on the minimization of the target text’s foreignness. It aims to use a fluent, invisible and transparent style with respect to the norms of a target text (Fuadi, 2016). Translation techniques within domestication include explicitation, transposition, expansion, modulation, reformulation, cultural equivalence, omission, synonymy, dynamic equivalence and local and global adaptation.

In translational practice, the use of only one translation strategy is substantively limited. A competent translator should consider the peculiarities of source and target languages even if he or she aims to leave and express the distinctive features of the author’s writing style. That is why the appliance of such techniques as reformulation, omission, synonymy or cultural equivalence is inevitable.

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From a personal perspective, the translation of both texts, English and French, requires the combination of foreignisation and domestication in different proportions. In addition, the choice of translation strategies is determined by the style of an original text. The source text in the French language was predominantly translated with the use of foreignisation as it represents the literary style, and the author’s expressions were decided to be saved: Longtemps, les dieux avaient favorisé la famille, nous avaient baignés de leur douceur. – For a long time, the gods had favored the family, had bathed us in their sweetness.

However, as was already mentioned, the translation process cannot be limited by one strategy and domestication was applied for the translation of this text as well to make grammatical constructions more familiar for English readers. For instance, the passive voice in this sentence from the source text was replaced by the active voice (nous avaient baignés de leur douceur – (gods) had bathed us in their sweetness).

Concerning the source text in the English language, there is no predominant strategy for its translation. On the one hand, the text represents informal style, and both languages have their own set expressions for correspondence. However, the word-to-word translational technique was additionally applied as the author expresses their emotions in his own distinctive manner: I hope you don’t mind me addressing you as Dr. Cummings – J’espère que ça ne vous dérange pas que je vous adresse en tant que Dr Cummings.

Translation Difficulties

The major difficulties that occurred in the process of the translation of both texts were connected with the conveyance of their styles in target texts. For instance, in the French-English language pair the author’s style was saved: Nous ne savions rien de ces choses mais nous goûtions cette amabilité du sort avec une désinvolture énergique. – We didn’t know anything about these things, but we tasted this kind of fate with an energetic casualness. Despite the fact that the more appropriate meaning of “énergique” in this context is “persistent” as heroes refused to be grateful for their fortune for s long period of time, the word “energetic” was used. In turn, in the English-French language combination, the informal expressions of the source text were paraphrased for the French readers: Mainly, I am just itching to get things done. – Principalement, j’ai la démangeaison pour faire les choses.

It goes without saying that in the process of translation, the grammatical and syntactic peculiarities of both languages were considered. Traditionally, they include:

  • The grammatical gender of nouns and gender agreement in the French language;
  • The position of adverbs in the French language (advertised position – position annoncée; machine physique – physical machine);
  • Double negation in the French language that does not exist in the English language (Nous ne savions rien – We didn’t know anything);
  • The conjugation of French verbs;
  • The contraction of articles and prepositions in the French language (of the – du).

Conclusion

In general, there are two fundamental translation strategies – foreignisation and domestication. However, in translational practice, the use of only one translation strategy is substantively limited. Translation strategies are goal-oriented, inter-subjective, and problem-centered, and they should be applied to the translation process consciously and involve text manipulation. For the English-French and French-English language pairs, the combination of foreignisation and domestication in different proportions was required. The major difficulties that occurred in the process of the translation of both texts were connected with the conveyance of their styles in target texts. In general, both texts were characterized by the author’s distinctive style that was reflected in target texts.

References

Baker, M. (2018). In other words: A coursebook on translation (3rd ed.). Routledge.

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Fuadi, C. (2016). Foreignization and domestication strategies in cultural term translation of tourism brochures. Journal of English as a Foreign Language, 6(2), 171-188. Web.

Gambier, Y., & Doorslaer, L. V. (Eds.). (2013). Handbook of translation studies: Volume 1. John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Ghafarian, M., Kafipour, R., & Soori, A. (2016). Domestication and foreignisation strategies in restaurant menu translation. Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities, 24(4), 1417-1429.

Kazakova, T. A. (2015). Strategies of literary translation. Journal of Siberian Federal University, 12(8), 2842-2847.

Olalla-Soler, C. (2018). Using translation strategies to solve cultural translation problems. Differences between students and professional translators. Perspectives, 27(3), 367-388. Web.

Tan, S. (2015). The relationship between English language proficiency and EFL learners’ use of translation strategies. International Journal of Applied Linguistics and Translation, 1(4), 55-60. Web.

Tardzenyuy, N. C. (2016). Revisiting translation strategies and techniques. International Journal of Comparative Literature & Translation Studies, 4(4), 48-56. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 9). Applied Strategies and Difficulties in English-French Translation. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/applied-strategies-and-difficulties-in-english-french-translation/

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StudyCorgi. (2022, January 9). Applied Strategies and Difficulties in English-French Translation. https://studycorgi.com/applied-strategies-and-difficulties-in-english-french-translation/

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"Applied Strategies and Difficulties in English-French Translation." StudyCorgi, 9 Jan. 2022, studycorgi.com/applied-strategies-and-difficulties-in-english-french-translation/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Applied Strategies and Difficulties in English-French Translation." January 9, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/applied-strategies-and-difficulties-in-english-french-translation/.


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StudyCorgi. "Applied Strategies and Difficulties in English-French Translation." January 9, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/applied-strategies-and-difficulties-in-english-french-translation/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Applied Strategies and Difficulties in English-French Translation." January 9, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/applied-strategies-and-difficulties-in-english-french-translation/.

References

StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Applied Strategies and Difficulties in English-French Translation'. 9 January.

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