Example Translation Essay

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Translation from a major language into a minor one is very different from translating in the opposite direction.


It has been suggested that minority languages are not even acknowledged in many parts of the world, and where acknowledgement does exist they are defined as uncultured, primitive,simple dialects because they have been suppressed by the more dominant,official languages. Lotman and Uspensky believe the structure of language must be at the centre of every culture for it to survive, describing languages the heart within the body of culture and putting into perspective the distinctions between a language accepted as minor, and that which is a flourishing major language (Lotman and Uspensky 1978, Pages 211 – 32). Research into minor languages, however, reveals a taxonomic sophistication that adequately expressed its speakers’ cognitive requirements synchronically, but has not evolved adequately to incorporate the plethora of technological terminology that dominant languages encompass with relative ease, resulting in many loan words taken from the influence of adjacent major languages.

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Many minor languages die out as their speakers age, but some undergo a revival as enthusiasts propound the benefits of their continued value. The fundamental difficulty within many of the minority languages today, however, continues to be one often minology, described asa semiotic science of cognitive and communicative organisation of knowledge (Myking, 1997) and considered to be the central discipline or the common denominator for all the aspects of a translator’s work (Holljen, Translation Journal, 1999, January). Most minority languages are often not particularly suited to adequate translation in terms of modern concepts and technologies and are more inclined towards maintaining the socio-linguistic aspects associated with those languages, as recognised by Holljen: The scientific aspect of any languages dependent on the vocabulary of that language. The possibility must be retained for people to be able to express themselves in any given field in their mother tongue, no matter on which level of abstraction ( Holljen, Translation Journal, 1999,January). Some of these minority language groups, such as the Nordic languages, are now utilising language planning techniques to standardise their natural languages rather than indiscriminately incorporating loan words from technically advanced languages such as English. As a result, NORDTERM has spearheaded the campaign for a standardisation procedure across Finland, Norway and Sweden, designated the ‘Nordic Terminological Record Format’ (Holljen, Translation Journal, 1999,January), supported by the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages to ‘ protect and support historical, regional and minority languages in Europe ‘ (Part I, Article 1, Council of Europe, https://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/EN.htm).


We cannot yet specify satisfactorily just what we mean by a ‘perfect’ language (Aitchison,1991, pp. 214) Toury noted that Translation is a kind of activity which inevitably involves at least two languages and two cultural traditions (Toury 1978:200). Nida concurred, adding that, if the cultural and linguistic disparity was particularly great the socio-linguistic facet would be more of a problem (Nida,

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