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Original scientific paper

Proverb Translation vs. Proverb Equivalence and Relevance Theory

Anca-Mariana Pegulescu

Full text: english pdf 163 Kb

page 367-380

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Translation, viewed as a multi-faceted task, can lead to different types of difficulties. The equivalence refers to the identity relation between two units having the same denotation and connotation and dis-playing the same meaning in two different languages.
Proverbs have been considered special patterns, displaying sometimes hidden meanings or suggesting morals issuing from a particular example. These paremic units—the proverbs—convey feelings, states of mind, behaviors or ‘metaphorical descriptions of certain situations’ (Krikmann).
Starting from Savory’s list of pair-wise contradictory translation principles, I intend to prove that the link between different ‘forms’ and their ‘contents’ lies in the principle of relevance when referring to proverbs. Even if relevance theory is not a theory of linguistic structure—and many translation problems imply structural mismatches—relevance theory offers insights about contextual information.
Proverbs are seen as texts in themselves. My analysis will target the ethnofields of ‘to buy’ and ‘to sell’ in English proverbs and their Romanian corresponding versions.


context; ethnofield; equivalence; focal area; meaning; principle; proverb; Romanian; structure; translation

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