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Translatology, translation studies and certified translation


First of all, perhaps the best thing to do is to start by defining what translatology is and how it differs the closely related concept of translation.

Both translation and translatology have similar lexical constructions, which often leads to confusion between the two; however, they are completely different concepts.

Translatology (also known as translation studies) is the discipline that systematically studies the theory, description and application of translation and interpretation, both individually and as a whole.

Translation is the activity of understanding the meaning of a text in one language, called the source text, in order to produce a text with equivalent meaning, in another language, called the target text. The result of this activity, the translated text, is also called the translation.

In other words, translatology is the discipline that studies and analyses both the theory of translation and the translation process. Translatology encompasses many areas of knowledge such as philology, linguistics, terminology and comparative literature that apply to different theories of translation.


Translation, on the other hand, focuses on the written expression of a given text in a source language into a target language, maintaining at all times the meaning of the original text, and translating as far as possible any relevant cultural concepts.

As we can see, these two words are closely related, but at the same time are very different.

Translation is an activity that has been exercised throughout history, going back far as the written word, as we have discussed in previous articles. Despite this, translation studies is considered to be a new discipline, but one which is growing quickly in terms of the numbers of those involved and the body of literature on the subject.

According to the doctrine, translation studies first came about in the 1950; a period characterized by the theorization of disciplines and by being highly descriptive and also explanatory.

It was at this time that there was a very revolutionary movement in the world of translation due to the rise of translations of the classics of universal literature. This was a time when there was a marked change of mentality and a greater attention to written texts. The movement attributed to the writer of Russian origin; Gorky. It is at this moment when translatology, in one of many names - translation science, translation theory, translatology, translemics, linguistics applied to translation - but, in summary, they all refer to the study of translation.

It was so revolutionary that it was recognized that translatology has an intense relationship with other disciplines - philosophy, hermeneutics, anthropology, linguistics, psychology, pedagogy, sociology - to name a few. It has undoubtedly become a multidimensional discipline.


James Stratton Holmes (May 2, 1924 - November 6, 1986) was the pioneer of modern translation.

The most representative article by Homes dates from 1972, and is called "The Name and Nature of Translation Studies", which has been considered the founding text of translatology, and undoubtedly boosted the development of translation studies at the professional and academic level. Of course, he was followed by other scholars in this discipline.

According to Holmes' proposal, translation is divided into three branches: theoretical, applied and descriptive.

As this discipline has progressed and developed, certain essential elements of translation analysis are contemplated in modern translation.

The translational equivalence: the quality of a translation in which the message of the original text has been transferred into the receiving language, so that the response of the recipient is essentially the same as that of the original recipients (Nida, 1969). Its motivation is the fidelity of the original text in relation to its translation.

The unit of translation: This is the minimum textual segment that can be translated in a unitary way.


The invariable translation: it is a conception that determines the nature of the link, which is what remains the same at the moment of translation. In modern translation, we speak of the unity of thought, which is a very ambiguous concept, so that the most used is the "sense", since it is the most predominant: it has a non-verbal, contextual, dynamic and functional character.

The translational method: this is the way in which the translator faces the whole of the original text in order to develop the so-called translation process.

Translation techniques: this refers to the different translation strategies used to obtain the equivalences in textual microunits. These will depend on the context. Among the most used are: adaptation, linguistic extension, tracing, compensation, linguistic comprehension, discursive creation, description, elision, coined equivalent, generalization, modulation, particularization, borrowing, substitution, literal translation, transposition and variation.

Translation strategies: these are used to understand the original text, to differentiate types of discourse, to identify structures, to differentiate main and secondary ideas, to apply logical reasoning, etc. These are individual procedures, conscious and unconscious, verbal and non-verbal, internal and external.


Translation problems: this refers to the particular multidimensional difficulties that a translator has in carrying out his or her professional translation work. They are classified as: linguistic, textual, extralinguistic, intentional and pragmatic.

Translation errors: Delisle (1993) classifies this notion according to: false sense, contradiction, nonsense, addition, omission, hypertranslation, overtranslation and subtranslation. They are inappropriate and/or false ideas regarding translation equivalence.

Being bilingual is not enough to be a professional translator. In order to be able to develop the translation process for questions of knowledge, skills and ethics, it is essential to study, to have a thorough knowledge of the language as a communicative system, to respect it and to have lots of experience. This is all doubly true when certified translations are involved, as there is an absolute necessity for accuracy.

With today's demands and the development of this discipline, translators must develop different additional aspects - skills and attitudes - that allow them to offer more services and better quality and thus enhance their chances of successfully entering the job market whether they decide to work as freelance certified translators or by contacting companies or translation agencies. They must also be in constant training. Translation is something you learn. You can't improvise and expect to be a translator overnight.


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