Challenges and solutions in translation
  • ISSN 2352-1805
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1813
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As is often claimed, “the central problem of translation practice is that of finding target language translation equivalents” (Catford 1965, 21). Translation equivalence occurs when a source language (SL) and a target language (TL) text can be related to the same substance. Therefore, translation failure occurs when a concept in SL cannot be related to the equivalent in TL. Translation failures can be classified into two cases: those where it is impossible to find linguistic equivalence in TL, and those where it is impossible to secure cultural equivalence in TL. This study focuses on the latter, especially how to establish the equivalence of culturally specific concepts from SL to TL. Nobody can understand the meanings of words in a certain culturally specific domain if they do not understand some social institutions, and some history of social practices, in which these words are interpreted. Japanese words (roughly, surmise) and , (literally, belly art) are examples of those culturally specific concepts. Translating these concepts into a TL text includes the identification of their semantic representation. For this purpose, using frame semantics paves the way. By defining frame elements and relations between them and also by identifying cultural practices, we can have a clear understanding of the concepts, which in turn can be related to the TL terms. It is also worth noting that culture-specific words have varying degrees of untranslatability, which can be defined by comparing synonymous words in terms of the frame semantic approach. This research sheds new light on the method of rendering culturally specific untranslatable concepts exemplified by sontaku and haragei more transparent by drawing on frame semantics.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): frame semantics; haragei; sontaku; translatability; translation equivalence
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