Re: Aktionsart vs. Aspect (+ translation)

From: Don Wilkins (
Date: Mon May 12 1997 - 16:01:38 EDT

At 11:20 AM 5/10/97, roland milanese wrote:
>I would agree, Don, that in order to justify a translation, we need to
>evaluate each construction correctly, pointing out when the translation
>succeeds as well as when it fails. The question then is, how? It seems to me
>the translator must have a sufficient understanding of the semantic elements
>that make up the grammatical and lexical structures (and other structures as
>well) in BOTH (emphasis) the source and receptor language in order to
>determine an appropriate translation. And if this is so, we as English
>speakers need to work on English grammar just as much as on Greek grammar.
>Hmmm. But at the same time I still think there is an intuitive and informal
>grasp of language which enables people to become bilingual and capable of
>translating, even though they may not have any formal understanding of
>grammar and may themselves therefore be unable to justify their translation.
>So I suppose we need to work at developing our language instincts too ...

I couldn't agree more, I don't think. This is why, for example, Wycliffe
Bible Translators have the policy of using "informants" in field
translation who will go over the translators' work and tell them when a
particular construction does or doesn't work in the target language. It is
also the main reason why I keep complaining about ex cathedra statements
from my friends in linguistics when those statements contradict standard
theories and principles. (I also complain about colleagues in Greek who
insist on critiquing this or that text when they may not have read enough
or done enough research to establish viable criteria.)

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:15 EDT