Literal French Translation II

Generalizing and particularizing translation are two techniques frequently used by translators to render literal meaning. Both the techniques are intertwined with hyperonymy and hyponymy in French translation. When a French translator uses hyperonymy, he or she usually creates a target text expression that has a wider range of literal meaning than the source text expression. He or she achieves it by leaving out some of the details of the source text expression. This is known as generalizing translation.

When a French translator uses hyponymy, he or she usually creates a target text expression that has a narrower range of literal meaning than the source text expression. He or she achieves it by adding details to the target text expression that may actually not exist in the source text expression. This is known as particularizing translation. By virtue of their definitions, it is clear that both generalization and particularization in literal French translation are accompanied by some translation loss. The translation loss takes the form of details that may have been left out from or added to the source text message. This kind of translation loss is known as lexical loss. Generally speaking, lexical loss is not an important form of loss in literal French translation.

Generalization can take place under any of the following circumstances: firstly, in the absence of a corresponding target language equivalent; secondly, if the detail left out does not hamper the message, and thirdly, if the detail left out in the target text expression can be conveyed by the surrounding context. Under these circumstances, generalization is an automatic process that is not even worth noticing. For example, the French use the word porte' for the door of a building, and the word porterie' for the door of a car or train. However, the English have only one name for both openings, that is, door, and using it for both the French words will not make much of a difference.

Like generalization, particularization also takes place in the absence of a suidiv substitute in the target language. Besides, the translator must also exercise care to ensure that the added detail neither distorts the message of the source text, nor contradicts the meaning of the source text or the target text in any way. For example, the French expression, on fait une promenade?' has to be translated in one of many ways: {are we going/shall we go/does anyone go/is someone going/are they going} for a {walk/ride/drive/sail}? The translator must allow the context to dictate the correct choice for its literal French translation.

A French translator often combines generalization and particularization to create a technique which is known as partially overlapping translation. This technique simultaneously omits some details in the target text and adds other details to it. It is used because of grammatical and semantic differences between the source and target languages. The English anticlimax' is translated into the French deception' through partial overlap: deception' retains the fundamental meaning of the word, that is a turn of events in which the outcome falls short of what was expected', but it adds the feeling of regret' as a reaction to the turn of events, and omits the idea that the let-down may be a source of humor. The rules that apply to generalization and particularization also apply to partial overlap in literal French translation.

 






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