[Acta Universitatis Sapientiae Philologica] About the Definition Classification and Translation Strategies of Idioms.pdf

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  About the Denition, Classication, and Translation Strategies of Idioms Gabriella KOVÁCS Sapientia Hungarian University of Transylvania Faculty of Technical and Human Sciences, Târgu-Mureş Department of Applied Linguisticskovagabi@yahoo.com Abstract.  In translator training, the process of planning and implementing the teaching process and the design of teaching materials should be dynamic and exible. With the future purpose to design teaching materials for idiom translation, this study proposes to explore those characteristics of idioms which might cause difculties when translating them and some of the various classications of idioms. Some of the relevant factors which might determine the appropriateness and acceptability of idiom translation and some of the translation strategies recommended in the specialized literature will also be presented. We proposed to analyse the idiom-translating solutions and strategies which the literary translator of the novel “A Game of Thrones” chose while translating it into Hungarian. Our aim is to decide whether the novel can be an appropriate source for authentic teaching material. We chose this novel mainly because it has recently become very popular among students, it is rich in idioms, and we believe that different aspects of idiom typology and different strategies used in idiom translation can be exemplied, demonstrated, and practised with the help of different tasks based on the srcinal text and its Hungarian translation. Keywords : translation of idioms, translator trainees, translation strategies, teaching material, task design Introduction Translator-training curriculums may vary and have different priorities based on market demands, the various needs of the trainees, and the languages involved. The process of planning and implementing the teaching process and the design of teaching materials should remain dynamic, always exible enough to be changed and adapted to the latest demands of the market and the students. Translator-training programmes involve a multidisciplinary approach, concentrating not A CTA  U NIVERSITATIS  S APIENTIAE , P HILOLOGICA , 8 , 3 (2016) 85–101 DOI: 10.1515/ausp-2016-0033 UnauthenticatedDownload Date | 10/10/19 1:30 PM  86 Gabriella KOVÁCS only on the procient knowledge and use of the source and the target language  but also on culture-specic aspects, the main features of different text types and genres, and the skills to search and use any available sources in order to produce appropriate and acceptable translations. Experience is a determining factor in this domain and it can be gained only by constant practice.Translating idioms has always been considered a challenging decision-making process for translators, which requires a lot of experience and creativity. Even acknowledged and experienced translators, who ideally have a well-founded knowledge of the target language and its cultural aspects, cannot match the ability of native speakers in deciding when – meaning in what text type or context – certain idioms would or would not be appropriate. A thorough knowledge of the source and target language is indispensable in this process, which also requires creativity and the skill, willingness, and perseverance to search for the  best equivalent. Along their studies and the subsequent years of experience, translators usually develop – consciously or instinctively – different strategies and solutions regarding the translation of idioms. Another important factor contributing to efcient translations is that translators should ideally translate into their native language and not into a second language. It is well known that they possess a more profound knowledge of the linguistic and cultural aspects of their mother tongue than of a second language studied at school or university. Hervey and Higgins point out that translator trainings usually focus on translations into the native language because this way higher-quality works can be achieved as compared to translating into a second language (Hervey & Higgins 2002). Baker also believes that translators should try to work mostly into their native language, one of her supporting arguments being that foreign language speakers’ competence in using idioms almost never equals that of native speakers’ (Baker 1992). Therefore, those who translate into a foreign language can never achieve the sensitivity of a native speaker in judging how and when an idiom should be used. Reiss highlights that translators should make it possible for the target-language readers to understand and see the text in the terms of their own cultural context. However, because of the increasing market demands for translations, translators often have to translate into a second language. In these circumstances, it becomes even more imperative to concentrate on culture-specic elements in translator training and the different strategies that can be applied in dealing with their translation (Reiss 2014).This study aims to discuss some of the relevant factors which might determine the appropriateness and acceptability of the translation of idioms and to present some of the strategies and frequently used techniques recommended in the specialized literature. We also proposed to explore the various solutions and strategies which the translator of the novel “A Game of Thrones” chose while translating certain idioms into Hungarian. The aim of this analysis is to use the UnauthenticatedDownload Date | 10/10/19 1:30 PM  87 About the Denition, Classication, and Translation Strategies of Idioms novel as a source for authentic teaching material regarding the translation of idioms in translator training. We chose this novel mainly because it has recently  become very popular among students and we believe that different aspects and difculties of idiom translation can be demonstrated and practised with the help of different tasks based on the srcinal text and its Hungarian translation. Denition of idioms Before exploring the possible strategies regarding the translation of idioms, it is necessary to describe some of those features which can be responsible for the difculties in their translation. The rst problem would be related to their denition, which, as Cacciari states, is a difcult and controversial task, along with the description of their acquirement and understanding (Cacciari 1993). She mentions several factors which are responsible for these difculties as, for instance, the fact that idiomatization is a process, meaning that structures acquire their idiomaticity gradually; or the fact that they are analysable and holistic at the same time, meaning that they are built of more constituent words, but their global meaning cannot be reduced to the meaning of these words; and the fact that there are different types of idioms, some of them retaining the srcinal meaning of their constituent words, others having a completely different meaning.However, in Longman dictionary of language teaching and applied linguistics , the term idiom  is dened simply as “an expression which functions as a single unit and whose meaning cannot be worked out from its separate parts. For example: She washed her hands of the matter means She refused to have anything more to do with the matter” (  Richards & Schmidt 2010: 270). A similar denition is given  by Seidl and McMordie, who say that “an idiom can be dened as a number of words which, when taken together, have a different meaning from the individual meanings of each word” (Seidl & McMordie 1988: 12–13). Brenner believes that native English speakers simply use idioms without being aware what constitutes them. He points out that in dictionaries certain confusion and disagreement can  be observed regarding the denition of idioms. However, the most common one is “two or more words together that, as a unit, have a special meaning that is different from the literal meaning of the words separately” (Brenner 2003: 4–5). These units sometimes are not only different in meaning from what the words would mean separately but they are also considered more effective or gripping in certain contexts.Baker considers it important to distinguish idioms from collocations. She does this based on the transparency of meaning and exibility of patterning. According to her, while collocations allow variations in form and are more exible patterns of language (e.g. deliver a letter, a letter has been delivered, UnauthenticatedDownload Date | 10/10/19 1:30 PM  88 Gabriella KOVÁCSdelivery of a letter  ), idioms are “frozen patterns of language which allow little or no variation in form and often carry meanings which cannot be deduced from their individual components”. She also adds that there are certain things which under normal circumstances (except jokes or play on words) cannot be done to an idiom: changes in word order, deletion of words from it, adding other words to it, replacement of a word with another, or changes in its grammatical structure (Baker 1992: 63). Classication of idioms McPherron and Randolph states that the majority of linguists, writers, poets, language teachers, and language learners admit that idioms may help to give vivid descriptions and that they prove to be more effective and powerful than literal, non-idiomatic language. However, they also agree with the fact that idioms cannot be easily classied and they are denitely a challenge for language teachers (McPherron & Randolph 2014). The difculties related to their classication are pointed out also by Kövecses, who compares the linguistic expressions called idioms to a “mixed bag” which “involves metaphors (e.g. spill the beans ), metonymies (e.g. throw up one’s hands ), pairs of words (e.g. cats and dogs ), idioms with it   (e.g. live it up ), similes (e.g. as easy as pie ), sayings (e.g. a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush ), phrasal verbs (e.g. come up , as in “Christmas is coming up ”), grammatical idioms (e.g. let alone ), and others” (Kövecses, 2010: 231). Consequently, classication is an important issue regarding idioms. If there are different types of idioms, there might be differences regarding the ways they are understood, learned, and translated. There have been several attempts to categorize them.According to Fernando, there are three sub-classes of idioms. Pure idioms  are conventionalized, non-literal multiword expressions. They are always non- literal; they may be either invariable or may have little variation. In addition, these idioms are considered to be opaque (e.g. to spill the beans  has nothing to do with the beans). Semi-idioms  can have one or more literal constituents and one with non-literal sub-sense. Therefore, this type of idiom is considered partially opaque (e.g.  foot the bill  , which means ‘pay’). Literal idioms  are either invariable or allow little variation. They are considered to be transparent because they can be interpreted based on their parts (e.g. of course, in any case, for certain ) (Fernando qtd in Strakšiene 2009: 14).Seidl and McMordie point out that idioms can have different (regular, irregular, or even grammatically incorrect) structures and different forms. However, the structure does not determine the clarity of meaning. The three main types according to them are: idioms with irregular form and clear meaning (e.g. give UnauthenticatedDownload Date | 10/10/19 1:30 PM
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