The Catcher In The Rye English Language Essay

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Considering an English novel as the source document and its Persian translations as the target text, we mean to answer this question. Extracting idioms and non-idioms from the first chapter of J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, is the first step to start. Then we made a comparison of gathered information with their Persian translations by Najafi and Karimi for the next stage.

Following compensation strategy by adding target language idioms somewhere in the translated texts by the Persian translators, is an open door to manage the idiomatic loss in their translations.

This indicates that, if in any case it's not possible to translate a source language idiom as an idiom in target language, the translator can compensate the loss of the idiom by adding a target language idiom to places where there initially was a non-idiom.

Key words:

English Idiom, Persian Translation, Translation Strategies, Compensation Strategy, Source Text (ST), Target Text (TT), Source Language (SL), Target Language (TL).

Introduction:

Translation is generally explained as a process in which the translator transfers the meaning of a SL text into TL under the circumstances of preserving the content and accuracy of original text, as far as it is possible.

Where there is no equivalent for a SL idiom in the TL, the translator gets throughout compensation strategy to fill this incurred gap. The more skilled the translator is, the better will be the translation.

If you are enthusiastic to this issue as we are, this is the paper you can refer to and take your answer.

Theoretical Background:

Translation

Bell (ibid.: 6) argues that "a total equivalence between a source language text and its translation is something that can never be fully achieved. "

According to Bassnett-McGuire (1980: 2), the aim of translation is that the meaning of the target language text is similar to that of the source language text, and that "the structures of the SL will be preserved as closely as possible, but not so closely that the TL structures will be seriously distorted." In other words, the source language structure must not be imitated to such an extent that the target language text becomes ungrammatical or sounds otherwise unnatural or clumsy.

Idiom:

Idioms are the major and natural part of all languages as well as a prominent part of our everyday discourse. Idioms are such a normal part of our language use that we hardly even notice how vastly we use them in our everyday speech and writing. English is a language full of idioms, so, learners of English should be aware of their nature, types, and use.

Using many idioms in English language is one of the aspects that makes it somehow difficult to learn for a Persian learner. They can be used in formal style and in slang.

"Idiom is defined as a group of words which have different meaning when used together from the one they would have if you took the meaning of each word individually" (Collins Cobuild dictionary, 1990 edition).

Indeed, the meaning of idiom can only be inferred through its meaning and

function in context, as shown in the examples below (from Fernando, 1996).

"bread and butter, as in `It was a simple bread and butter issue' (see further below); bless you, which is usually used in the context of cordial expressions; go to hell, which indicates that there is a conflict among interlocutors in an interpersonal contact; In sum, which indicates relations among portions and components of a text."

Idioms are a set of phrases have different meaning from its individual parts of the phrases. Sometimes it is hard to recognize the meaning of a phrase just by knowing the meaning of the words including in it e.g. "paint the town red" is a phrase which has a meaning other than the meaning of its words separately, it means "having a good time!"

Some traditional theories of idiomaticity assumed that "idioms are frozen, semantic units that are essentially non-compositional (Hambin & Gibbs, 1999, p.26)." However, "there have been a number of semantic classification systems proposed since 1980 for rating the composition of idioms which basically give differing names to the same concepts (Grant & Bauer, 2004)."

Translating Idioms:

working with English, the translator may easily recognize if an idiom violates `truth conditions', as in `it is raining cats and dogs', `storm in a teacup', 'jump down someone's throat', etc. It may be hard to recognize, if the idiom is not of this nature, and translators may just think of it as an ordinary expression, with the consequence of either losing its tone or losing its meaning.

There are two sources which may cause misinterpretation:

The first possible source is that there are idioms which can mislead readers/users; they do not sound idiomatic at all, but at a closer look, careful readers would find the 'hidden' idioms.

An example given by Salinger in "The Catcher in the Rye" is `got the axe' in the following text:

"The manager warned me, but I didn't notice, so I got the axe."

On the first look, readers may interpret it in terms of a person who took an axe and wanted to do something with it like cut a tree but at a closer look, a careful reader may find out that means "to lose the job".

The second source of misinterpretation occurs when the words in an idiom have equivalents in the target language (i.e. in Persian) but with totally different meaning. Another good example given by Salinger is the idiom:

"for the birds".

"Winter weather is for the birds."

At first it may be understood that this sentence means winter weather is good for the birds but it makes no sense because the meaning is really different and it means "worthless; undesirable".

Strategies used translating idioms

Idioms are culture bound and this is another challenge for the translator to transfer the exact meaning and content of SL idiom into TL idiom perfectly.

For the sake of solving these difficulties the translator may apply a strategy.

Using the appropriate method in this process, the translators can get over the difficulties easily and it is valuable and useful for their works.

Mona Baker, in her book In Other Words (1992, pp. 72-78) ,defines the following strategies for translating idiomatic expressions: 1) Using an idiom of similar meaning and form, 2) Using an idiom of similar meaning but dissimilar form, 3) by paraphrase, 4) by omission.

(1) Using an idiom of similar meaning and form:

The first translation strategy by Mona Baker is translating TL idiom similar in its form and meaning to the SL idiom.

For example: Tooth and nail ((با چنگ و دندان

(2) Using an idiom of similar meaning but dissimilar form:

Another strategy suggested by Mona Baker is translating a SL idiom into TL idiom the same meaning but different form. In this case, the translator does not preserve the lexical items and translate as a semantic equivalent.

For example: Acid tongue in her head. (زبان نیشداری داشتن)

(3) Translation by paraphrase:

The most common strategy in translation of idioms is paraphrase. Translators often cannot translate a SL idioms as a TL idiom, therefore they use the paraphrase strategy by using a word or a group of words in TL exactly related to the meaning of that idiom in SL which may be a non-idiom.

Newmark (1988, p.109) "says that while using this strategy not only components of sense will be missing or added, but the emotive or pragmatic impact will be reduced or lost. Still, paraphrase is usually descriptive and explanatory; sometimes it preserves the style of the original idiom as well."

For example: On tenterhooks. ((مثل اينکه روی تاوه آتش باشم

(4) Translation by omission:

"This strategy is not used very frequently. In fact, it is not approved by many scholars and some of them do not include it among other translation strategies (Veisbergs, 1989)." However, sometimes it's impossible to translate a SL idiom into TL, so the translator may use another strategy called compensation. In this strategy the translator omit an idiom and may put another idiom elsewhere in the TL text by preserving the effect of SL idiom.

Compensation Strategy:

Compensation is a strategy most definitely worth considering, while it can be used as one possible strategy for dealing with idioms and quite an effective one for compensating the loss caused by translating. Therefore, in order to preserve the idiomaticity of the original text and to avoid the mentioned loss, many translators resort to compensation in translating idioms as their final but workable strategy. That is when an idiom is not possible to be translated into TT, a translator's last effort is to compensate an idiom by omitting that and putting an idiom in another place, by preserving the usage effect of idiom in the ST.

"Nida and Taber (1969) mention that, whereas one inevitably loses many idioms in the process of translation one also stands to gain a number of idioms (p. 106)." Baker (1992) indicates that in compensation, a translator may leave out a feature such as idiomaticity where it arise in the ST and introduce it somewhere else in the TT (p. 78).

In support of this idea, Newmark (1991) suggests that "all puns, alliterations, rhyme, slang, metaphor and pregnant words can be compensated in translation." Though he further adds that, "compensation is the procedure which in the last resort ensures that translation is possible" (pp.143‐144).

Theoretical framework

We agree with Lorenzo, M. et al., in that "the first step a translator must take is to clearly define his objective before producing a translation which is as true as possible to the original text." One of the aspects of Hans Vermeer's concept of skopos (1989:227) is "the establishment of a clearly defined objective or purpose for translation;

Any form of translation, including translation itself, may be understood as an action, as the name implies. Any action has an aim, a purpose."

The word skopos is a technical word for the aim or purpose of translation.

Nida's Dynamic Equivalence

In the process of translating idioms, the translator may face many difficulties which is not a simple task to overcome.

The major problem is the lack of equivalence in the process of translation. It would be desirable if a translator could find a TL idiom which is the same as that in structure and content of SL idiom. Anyway every language, both source and target, has its own idioms and it may be hard to find the precise source equivalent in the target language.

The definition of dynamic equivalence is initially given by Eugene A. Nida in his book "Toward a Science of the Translation" (Nida, E.A., 1964:161). Nida is an American translator, scholar, teacher, leader, influencer, conceptualizer, innovator, and influential theoretician. Nida argued that there are two different types of equivalence, namely formal equivalence-which in the second edition by Nida and Taber (1982) is referred to as formal correspondence-and dynamic equivalence. Formal correspondence "focuses attention on the message itself, in both form and content", unlike dynamic equivalence which is based upon "the principle of equivalent effect" (1964:159).

Dynamic equivalence connects the target language and culture in order to make messages comprehensible to target language receptors. For instance, if we translate a phrase like ' two hemorrhages apiece ' literally into Persian, it will produce a nonsensical meaning for the Persian receptor. Idiomatic expressions may not seem understandable when translated from one language to another. In such cases the equivalence counterpart " " خونروش دو قبضه can be used to make it understandable to the receptor. In this view the translator has brought an equivalent which the original author most likely meant.

Method:

Corpus:

The study is based on a contrastive comparison between the two Persian translations of

The Catcher in the Rye by Muhammad Najafi and Ahmad Karimi. In this study we tried to achieve which of these translators has followed the compensation strategy in his own translation, and whether they have been successful in this process or not.

Gathering the data:

Collecting the data, of course, is as important as other stages (like conclusion) and even more important. Because the more accurate the gathered data is so, the more favorable the result will be.

Focusing on the process in this study, we long to explain the steps in data collecting, respectively. At the earliest step, we extracted English idioms and non-idioms from the first chapter of the novel, then found their Persian equivalents from two Persian translations by Najafi and Karimi of the same novel. We aimed to know whether English idioms are translated into Persian idioms or not and whether English non-idioms are translated into Persian idioms or not. Then we read the aforementioned translated chapter by two translators several times to clarify if they may be idioms. We looked up English idioms in Idioms Oxford Dictionary, although we had difficulty in recognizing the exact idiom at first.

On the other hand, as we are Persian students, it was not hard to find Persian idioms as difficult as English idioms, anyway. But on non-idioms, we considered the most English phrases or sentences which translated as idioms in TL.

Maybe you ask why we chose this novel. As you know, of course, this novel is rich in idioms and it makes the work for researcher to access the idealistic results easier.

Then we counted the idioms and non-idioms in both original text and its Persian translations by two translators.

Table 1. Total Number of Idiomatic and Non-Idiomatic Translations of the Salinger's Idioms

J.D. Salinger's Idioms

Total

Translation

Najafi

Karimi

44

Idiomatic

22

18

Non- Idiomatic

22

26

In this table, we calculated the total numbers of English idioms (N=44) which is translated by translators, either idiomatic or non-idiomatic. As you can see, here, Najafi translated more English idioms (N=44) into Persian idioms (N=22) than Karimi. We guess, this table will confirm our claim that Najafi has translated much more skilful than Karimi, because he got use of compensation strategy by adding more Persian idioms than Karimi. Anyway, our purpose is not to compare persons and is just to determine if there is any use of compensation strategy in each of these translations.

Table 2. Total Number of Idiomatic and Non-Idiomatic Translations of the Salinger's Non-idioms

J.D. Salinger's Non-Idioms

Total

Translation

Najafi

Karimi

42

Idiomatic

42

26

Non-Idiomatic

0

16

This table also illustrated that Najafi translated 42 English non-idioms out of 42 as idiomatic. On the other hand, Karimi translated 26 English non-idioms out of 42 as idiomatic. This table shows how Najafi and Karimi have functioned in translating non-idioms into idioms. By total non-idioms, we mean those which translated as idioms by Najafi and it will be our criteria for counting Karimi's idioms and non-idioms.

Table 3. Total Number of Different Data Extracted from Both Translations and the Original Text

Data

J.D. Salinger

Najafi

Karimi

Idiom

44

64

44

Non-idiom

42

22

42

Total

86

86

86

This table confirms that Najafi has translated the novel more idiomatic (N=64) than Karimi (N=44).

Classifying the Data:

After extracting and counting the total idioms in both original text and its translations, it revealed that translators had applied 3 different translation strategies for idioms. These strategies were:

Translating English Idioms into Persian Idioms

Translating English Idioms into Persian Non-idioms

Translating English Non-idioms into Persian Idioms

Analyzing the Data:

In this stage, we analyzed the whole collected data and calculated frequency and the percentage proportion of each strategy in the same translations. The results are shown in the tables below;

Table 4. Frequency and Percentage of Idiom's Translation Strategies Applied by Najafi

Strategy

Frequency

Percentage

Translation of idiom with idiom

22

50

Translation of idiom with non-idiom

22

50

Total

44

100

Table 5. Frequency and Percentage of Idiom's Translation Strategies Applied by Karimi

Strategy

Frequency

Percentage

Translation of idiom with idiom

18

40.90

Translation of idiom with non-idiom

26

59.10

Total

44

100

Table 6. Frequency and Percentage of Non-Idiom's Translation Strategies Applied by Najafi

Strategy

Frequency

Percentage

Translation of non-idiom with idiom

42

100

Translation of non-idiom with non-idiom

0

0

Total

42

100

Table 7. Frequency and Percentage of Non-Idiom's Translation Strategies Applied by Karimi

Strategy

Frequency

Percentage

Translation of non-idiom with idiom

26

61.90

Translation of non-idiom with non-idiom

16

38.10

Total

42

100

Table 8. Percentage of each Applied Strategies in both Translations

Strategy

Najafi

Karimi

Translation of non-idiom with idiom

100

61.90

Translation of non-idiom with non-idiom

0

38.10

Total

100

100

Results:

The results show that both translators, Najafi and Karimi, have applied three strategies in translating idioms: translating English idioms with Persian idioms, translating English idioms with Persian non-idioms, translating English non-idioms with Persian idioms, and translating English non-idioms with Persian non-idioms.

One of the translators, Najafi, used more frequently the first and the third (translating English idioms and non-idioms as Persian idioms) strategy in his translation, on the other hand, the latter translator, Karimi, used the second and the last (translating English idioms and non-idioms as Persian non-idioms) strategy more often.

Discussion and Conclusion:

As mentioned before, it's hard to translate a SL idiom into TL idiom regarding the accurateness and the faithfulness of SL into TL.

In this stud, out of 44 extracted idioms from J.D. Salinger's novel, 22 (50%) of the expressions have not been translated as idioms by Najafi. In the same case, Karimi has translated 18 (40.90%) of the idioms with Persian idioms and the remaining 26(59.10%) idioms have been translated non-idiomatically. This imbalance between the total number of idioms and their non-idiomatic translations causes a loss of idiomaticity in the Persian translated texts. Some of these idiomatic losses have been compensated for elsewhere in the text, since the translators have replaced some English language non-idioms with Persian idioms. By this strategy, Najafi has added 42 idioms and Karimi has added 26 idioms to their translations. We recognized that there's not the exact contrast in numbers of idioms in two languages(SL,TL), but it's very common in translation. The translators were somehow successful here in compensating idiom gaps in the TL. Furthermore, they compensated those non-idiom expressions in the original context to function better on their translations.

Compensation strategy is considered here as the best to translate idioms, non-idioms and figure of speech as well.

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