Source: On Translation: an expanded Edition, by Jin Di and Eugene A Nida, City University of Hong Kong Press, 2006.
P.15: Etienne Dolet (1509-1546) summarised the fundamental principles of translation under five headings:
- The translator must understand perfectly the content and intention of the author whom he is translating;
- The translator should have a perfect knowledge of the language from which he is translating, and an equally excellent knowledge of the language into which he is translating;
- The translator should avoid word-for-word renderings, for to resort to these would be to destroy the meaning of the original and to ruin the beauty of expression;
- The translation should employ the forms of speech in common usage;
- For his choice and order of words, a translator should produce a total overall effect with appropriate “tone" (Cary, 1955)
PP.98 – 99:
Some translators have the mistaken impression that a dynamic equivalent translation is a relatively easy one to produce, since it seems to imply considerable freedom. On the contrary, a dynamic translation is much more diffcult to produce than a literal or one which is erratically free. A dynamic equivalent translation can simply nott be produced unless the translator has a profound understanding of all the factors which enter into the meaning of the source language text. It is not enough, for example, for a translator to recognize the various rhetorical features of a text — he must at the same time understand the functions of such features. It is impossible to duplicate rhetorical devices, but one can normally aim at a rendering which reflects somewhat the same function. Furthermore, in producing a dynamic equivalent translation one must be constantly aware of the capacity and motivation of receptors.
To arrive at a satisfactory dynamic equivalent translation one cannot merely make compromises between literal and free renderings, nor can one succedd by merely simplifying the grammar and restricting the number of words in a vocabulary. One must (1) weigh all the factors involed in the communication, (2) produce various alternative renderings, especially of complex passages, and (3) test the acceptability and intelligibility of such renderings with receptors.
In some situations a number of different contextual factors combined to indicate the appropriate interpretation. Or one may say that it is possible to arrive at an appropriate interpretation on the basis of different kinds of data. The following text is taken from Aldous Huxley’s novelette, The Gioconda Smile:
“Dr. Libbard thinks I ought to go to Llandrindod Welss this summer."
“Well, go, my dear–go, most certainly… I am sure it will do you good, my dear."
“I was wondering if you’d come with me, dear."
“But you know I’m going to Scotland at the end of the month."
Mrs. Hutton looked up at entreatingly. “It’s the journey," she said. “The thought of it is such a nightmare. I don’t know if I can manage it. And you know I can’t sleep in hotels. And then there’s the luggage and all the worries. I can’t go alone"
Misunderstanding often arises when one does not grasp the logical and emotional force involved in a definite article, such as in the sentence “It’s the journey." Evidently, on the basis of such a misunderstanding one Chinese translator rendered the text as 這是一次旅行, as if the sentence were “it’s a journey" — a simple equational statement. Note, however, the many clues in the context which point to the emphatic nature of the utterance “it’s the journey." The adverb “entreatingly" suggests that the statement would be uttered with special intonation and tone of voice. The following statement “the thought of it is such a nightmare" emphasises this same aspect of the utterance and this is even further highlighted in the statement “I don’t know if I can manage it," after which come details to support strong negative feelings about such a journey. One may analyse the intent of the statement “it’s the journey" in terms of the lexical setting of the preceding and the following words, or in terms of the rhetorical highlighting into which the statement is embedded, or in terms of the syntactic structure, based either on omission of some such expression as “that bothers me" or “that I can’t stand," or as the first part of essentially a paratactic structure such as “it’s the journey: the thought of it is such a nightmare." At any rate, the simple equational statement misses the point, which does come through in a second rendering, 就是旅途麻煩, which might be translated back as “It’s the journey that bothers."