Translation and Language: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Translation and Language

1st Edition

By Peter Fawcett


162 pages

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Paperback: 9781900650076
pub: 1997-09-10
Hardback: 9781138173484
pub: 2016-03-31
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Translation Studies and linguistics have been going through a love­-hate relationship since the 1950s. This book assesses both sides of the relationship, tracing the very real contributions that linguists have made to translation studies and at the same time recognizing the limitations of many of their approaches. With good humour and even­handedness, Fawcett describes detailed taxonomies of translation strategies and deals with traditional problems such as equivalence. Yet he also explains and assesses the more recent contributions of text linguistics, sociolinguistics, pragmatics and psycholinguistics.

This work is exceptional in that it presents theories originally produced in Russian, German, French and Spanish as well as English. Its broad coverage and accessible treatment provide essential background reading for students of translation at all levels.


The author has brought together a wealth of theoretical ideas and concepts, which are synthesized with admirable clarity, and treated thoughtfully. (Sun Yifeng, Translation Quarterly)

… essential introductory reading to novices in translation studies, but … also a very wise choice for both translation scholars and skeptical linguistis. (Sara Oliviera, Cadernos de Tradução)

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

A troubled relationship



Paradigmatic and syntagmatic: word sets and collocations

Sociolinguistics and pragmatics

2. Sub-Word Components



Componential analysis

3. Semantics

Semantic fields

Word relations


Word meaning and translation

4. Translation Techniques

Russian approaches (Shveitser and Retsker)

Translation as 'analogy'

Translation as 'adequacy'


Logical derivation

Antonymic translation


The view from Canada (Vinay and Darbelnet)



Literal translation





An American model (Malone)

Matching: Substitution and Equation

Zigzagging: Divergence and Convergence

Recrescence: Amplification and Reduction

Repackaging: Diffusion and Condensation



5. Equivalence

Catford and textual equivalence

Kida and dynamic equivalence

Komissarov's sharp and fuzzy equivalence

6. Beyond the Word

Generative grammar

Shveitser: translation and rewriting rules

Malone and bridge building

7. Beyond the Sentence: Context and Register


Communicative event and register


Register and language user

Register and language use

Register in paractice

8. Text Structure

Theme/rheme and functional sentence perspective


Cohesion through repetition

Cohesion through ellipsis

Cohesion through reference

Parataxis and hypotaxis


Translation as text

9. Text Functions

Language functions

Text functions and types

Reiss and the monofunctional approach

The multifunctional approach

Function-altering translation

Overt and covert translation

10. Sociolinguistics

11. Pragmatics


Speech acts


12. Psycholinguistics

Relevance theory

Translation strategies

Conclusion and Perspectives

About the Series

Translation Theories Explored

Translation Theories Explored is a series designed to engage with the range and diversity of contemporary translation studies. Translation itself is as vital and as charged as ever. If anything, it has become more plural, more varied and more complex in today\'s world. The study of translation has responded to these challenges with vigour. In recent decades the field has gained in depth, its scope continues to expand and it is increasingly interacting with other disciplines. The series sets out to reflect and foster these developments. It aims to keep track of theoretical developments, to explore new areas, approaches and issues, and generally to extend and enrich the intellectual horizon of translation studies. Special attention is paid to innovative ideas that may not as yet be widely known but deserve wider currency.

Individual volumes explain and assess particular approaches. Each volume combines an overview of the relevant approach with case studies and critical reflection, placing its subject in a broad intellectual and historical context, illustrating the key ideas with examples, summarizing the main debates, accounting for specific methodologies, achievements and blind spots, and opening up new perspectives for the future. Authors are selected not only on their close familiarity and personal affinity with a particular approach but also on their capacity for lucid exposition, critical assessment and imaginative thought. The series is aimed at researchers and graduate students who wish to learn about new approaches to translation in a comprehensive but accessible way.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General