THE TRANSLATION FROM SEMANTICS MEANING OF COLOURS SYMBOLS IN “MECARU”
(TRADITIONAL BALINESE OFFERING CEREMONY)
PUTU AGUS BRATAYADNYA
TRANSLATION STUDIES IN APPLIED LINGUISTICS
SCHOOL OF POST GRADUATE STUDIES
1. 1. Background
1.1.1. The understand of Semantics
Semantics, the study of meaning, stand at the very centre of linguistic quest to understand the natural of language and human abilities. Why? Because expressing meanings is what languages are all about. Every think in a language-words, grammatical construction, intonation pattern-conspires to the realize this goal in the fullest richest, subtlest way. To understand how any particular language works we needs to how its individual design work to fulfill its function as an intricate device for communicating meanings. Equally, semantics is crucial to the Chomskyan goal of describing and accounting for linguistic competence, that is, the knowledge that people must have in order to speak understand a language. Semantic competence is a crucial part of overall linguistic competence.
Another concern of semantics is to shed light on the relationship between language and culture, or more accurately, between languages and cultures. Much of the vocabulary of any language, and ever, part of the grammar, will reflect the culture of the speakers. Indeed, the culture-specific concept and ways of understanding embedded in a language are an important part of what constitutes a culture. Language is one of the main instruments by which children are socialized into the values, belief systems, and practices of their culture.
1.1.2. The understanding of translation
The study of translation has been dominated, and to a degree still is, by the debate about its status as an art or a science, so we shall begin with this issue.
The linguist inevitably approaches translation from a ‘scientific’ point of view, seeking to create some kind of objective description of the phenomenon and this will be the fundamental orientation of this book. It could, however be argued that translation is an ‘art’ or a ‘craft’ and therefore not amenable to objective, ‘scientific’ description and explanation and so, a fortiori, the search for a theory of translation is doomed from the start.
It is easy to see how such a view could have held sway in the last century, when scholars-for the most part, dilettante translators engaging in translation as a past time-were preoccupied with the translation of literary texts and, in particular, Classical authors; Latin and Greek. Not untypical is the description, by a contemporary, of the Scottish peer, Lord Woodhouselee (1747-1814) as:
a delightful host, with whom it was a memorable experience to spend an evening
discussion the Don Quixote of Motteux and of Smollett, or how to capture the
aroma of Virgil in a n English medium, in the era before the Scottish prose Homer
had changed the literary perspective north of the Tweed.
It also understandable that the attitude should have continued into the present century, during which both translation and translation theory have been dominated at less until very recently, by Bible translation (especially Nida)
What is less comprehensible is that the view should still persist in the closing decade of the twentieth century, when the vast proportion of translations are not literary texts but technical, medical, legal, administrative and the vast majority of translations are professionals engaged in making a living rather than whiling away the time in an agreeable manner by translating the odd ode or two on winter evenings.
Nevertheless, the supposed dichotomy between ‘art’ and science’ is still current enough to form the title of a book on translation theory published in 1998: The science of linguistics in the art of translation, where (even though care is taken to distinguish ‘pure’ linguistic from applied linguistic) the main emphasis is still on literary translation since, we are told: ’The quintessence of translation as art is, if anything, even more patent in literary texts.
‘Translation’ has been variously defined and, not infrequently, in dictionaries of linguistics, omitted entirely and the following definitions have been selected (and edited) partly because they are, in some sense typical and partly because they raise issue which we will be pursuing in detail later.
- Traiduire c,est énoncer dans une autre langage (ou langue cible) ce qui a été énoncé dans une autre langue source, en conservant les equivalence sémantiques et stylistiques. Translation is the expression in another language (or target language) of what has been expressed in another, source language, preserving semantic and stylish equivalences. [my translation]
There are , in spite of the differences, common features shared by the two
definitions we have given so far, the notion of movement of some sort between language, content of some kind and the obligation to find ‘equivalents’ which ‘preserve’ features of the original. It is this notion of ‘equivalence’ which we are about to take up.
1.2. Scope of problem
- The translation from semantics meaning of colours symbols in “mecaru”
(Tradition Balinese Offering Ceremony)
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