Terminological equivalence in technical translation: A problematic concept?
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Original versionSYNAPS - A Journal of Professional Communication 20(2007) pp.13-25
A St. Jerome’s Day lecture provides a welcome chance to make one of those satisfyingly unexpected links: between Bible and technical translation. The Bible is not generally thought of as a technical text but some of the problems faced by Bible translators, as well as their problem-solving strategies, are still familiar today. Three examples illustrate the fact that establishing terminological equivalence has long been a challenge. Kelly (1979:126) reports that in the 4th century Jerome employed a rabbi as a linguistic informant when translating the Hebrew Old Testament; according to Bassnett (1991:47), in the 14th century the (second) Wycliffite Bible (1380-1384) translation involved ‘counselling “with old grammarians and old divines” about hard words and complex meanings’; and in the 16th century, Luther consulted foresters, gamekeepers and so on, for their knowledge of specialist terminology (Woodsworth 1998:41).