Terms Fundamental to Italian Translation

A translation is a version of a text in a language that is different from the original language in which the text was written. Maintaining equivalence of meaning, or communicating the message of the original text in the translated language with accuracy and without adaptation, is the crucial benchmark of a good Italian translation. In order to complete his task satisfactorily, the translator must acquaint himself with the source language and culture; a mastery of the target language and culture is taken for granted.

Some of the terms fundamental to Italian translation are:

1. Text: A text consists of printed or written words that make a meaningful and

logical whole. Since it is equally possible to convey meanings through single words as it is through thousands of words, texts exhibit flexibility in length.

2. Source Text and Target Text: Source text refers to the original text that is

going to be translated into another language. It can be Shakespeare’s plays requiring Italian translation, or Petrarch’s sonnets requiring English translation. Target text refers to the product which results when the original text has been translated into another language; for example, it is the Italian version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, or the English version of Dante’s Inferno.

3. Source Language and Target Language: The former refers to the language in which

the original text is spoken or written; it is the language that will undergo translation, for example, the English of Shakespeare. The latter refers to the intended language of translation, that is, it is the language that will be used in translating the original text, for example, Italian, if Shakespeare is going to be translated into Italian.

4. Strategy: Lexically speaking, strategy is a careful plan or method; as a term

fundamental to Italian translation, it refers to the decisions the translator makes after first reading the source text. The decisions will be made with respect to the methods he wishes to employ in the translation process. In the long run, once he starts the actual task of translation, the decisions may or may not be implemented.

5. Strategic decisions: In Italian translation, they refer to a detailed breakdown

of the strategies that the translator has initially considered to be suitable. They will comprise the methods that will enable the translator to achieve his goal. They will take the form of answers to questions about the message of the source text, its linguistic another language; for example, it is the Italian version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, or the characteristics and their functions, its intended audience, and so on.

6. Decisions of detail: They refer to a further breakdown of strategies,

particularly in respect to issues such as syntax, vocabulary, rhetorical devices and grammar. Decisions of detail come to the forefront during the actual translation process,
and may lead to a reformulation of the strategy as initially thought out by the translator.

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