The concept of translation as appeared on Jeremy Munday

The concept of translation is the very first heading we see when starting to read Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications from Jeremy Munday, which deals with how translation is defined and what is a translation. Munday on this heading first sets out the aim of the book. Since we are designing a comprehensive course on this book, we try to follow the exact order and points set out by Munday himself. So let this be our Lesson One in pursuing the complete coverage of this precious book.

The full summary of ‘the concept of translation’

(Heading 1.1, Chapter 1, Main Issues of Translation Studies, Introducing Translation Studies: Theories and Applications)

For Munday, the aim of this book is to introduce the major concepts and models of translation, which, for the reasons of space and vast research done on translation studies field, the focus is on the written translation, not oral (interpretation). Interpretation is defined by Otte Kade as a form of Translation (in the wider sense) in which (a) the source language text is presented only once and thus cannot be reviewed or replayed, and (b) the target language text is produced under time pressure, with little chance for correction and revision.

The English term translation, first attested in around 1340 derives either from Old French translation or more directly from the Latin translatio (‘transporting’), itself coming from the participle of the verb transferre (‘to carry over’). Translation today has several meanings:

  • The general subject field or phenomenon
  • The product
  • The process of producing the translation

The process of translation involves the changing of an original written text (ST) in the original verbal language (SL) into a written text (TT) in a different verbal language (TL). Because there are situations like where there is no clearly defined source text, there are multilingual versions of the same text, or because there is an ‘unstable’ source text that is subject to constant updating or adaptation (e.g. a multilingual website), this conceptualization should be broadened. The traditional ST-TT configuration is the most prototypical of interlingual translation, one of the categories of translation described by Roman Jakobson (1896-1982) in his paper ‘On linguistic aspects of translation’ (Summarized), based on semiotics.

The full paper of Roman Jakobson regarding this division is summarized and provided as our second recommended article (or second step) on our way to covering this book.

Much of translation theory has until recently also been written from a western perspective and initially derived from the study of Classical Greek and Latin and from Biblical practice, Maria Tymoczko discusses the very different words and metaphors for ‘translation’ in other cultures, indicative of a conceptual orientation towards translation.

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Introducing Translation Studies - Theories and Applications by Jeremy Munday Book Cover

This article is a part of a series we started on Introducing Translation Studies by Jeremy Munday. For more summaries and more elaborations on subjects of this book, please refer to the portal.

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