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Translation and Equivalent Effect

Striving to remain one of the leading translation providers in the United States, Translators USA is carefully following the developments in the field of translation studies and encouraging our language specialists to participate in continuous professional development. The goal is to ensure that all translations are done by incorporating the latest concepts and the best practices. And one of such practices is the so-called equivalent effect or equivalence concept.

What is Equivalent Effect?


Equivalent effect isn't a new concept and it isn't universally accepted as one of the key approaches to translation. The term refers to a theory which strives to achieve the same effect as the original text. This means that translated text must arouse the same response, feelings, emotions, etc. as the source text. Therefore, the emphasis is on the meaning, similarly as in sense-for-sense translation.

Criticism of the Equivalence Concept

Not all scholars and theorists accept the equivalence concept. According to some, it is “equivalent” to the concept of sense-for-sense translation which seeks to convey the exact same message while giving translation a more “natural” flow as well. But as closer examination of both concepts reveal, the equivalence concept focuses above all on the response of the target audience. Sense-for-sense translation, in contrast, seeks to make the translated text read more “naturally”. It may or may not achieve the same response as the source text.

Other critics of the equivalence concept point out that there are many equivalences and reject it as poorly and imprecisely defined. Instead of striving to achieve an equivalent effect, they suggest adjustment of translation to the target culture. Indeed, theorists have identified several types of equivalence. Even the leading theorists of the “equivalence school” distinguish between the so-called formal equivalence and dynamic equivalence, with the former focusing on the message/meaning and the latter on the effect on the target readership/audience. But there are also scholars who have identified as many as eight types of equivalence.

The last but not the least important reason why some scholars and theorists reject the equivalence concept is because sometimes, it is impossible to achieve the exact same effect as the source text. Translation can achieve a high degree of equivalence but the effect may not be exactly the same.

Translators USA Approach

We at Translators USA are aware of the weaknesses of the equivalence concept. However, we also believe that it is important to achieve the highest level of equivalence possible, especially when translation is supposed to arouse a particular response from the target audience. We are therefore very proud that our highly trained and experienced translators are able to handle even the most challenging translations in virtually any field and industry, in over 150 languages.

For more information about our translation services, please contact us through our website or by phone on the number 888-790-8872. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have, 365 days a year.

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Wednesday, 17 January 2018
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