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Dynamic equivalence and formal equivalence are two approaches to translation. The dynamic (also known as functional equivalence) attempts to convey the thought expressed in a source text (if necessary, at the expense of literalness, original word order, the source text's grammatical voice, etc.), while formal attempts to render the text word-for-word (if necessary, at the expense of natural expression in the target language). The two approaches represent emphasis, respectively, on readability and on literal fidelity to the source text. There is, however, in reality no sharp boundary between dynamic and formal equivalence. Broadly, the two represent a spectrum of translation approaches.[1]

The terms "dynamic equivalence" and "formal equivalence" are associated with the translator Eugene Nida, and were originally coined to describe ways of translating the Bible, but the two approaches are applicable to any translation.

Theory and practice

Because dynamic equivalence eschews strict adherence to the original text in favor of a more natural rendering in the target language, it is sometimes used when the readability of the translation is more important than the preservation of the original wording. Thus a novel might be translated with greater use of dynamic equivalence so that it may read well, while in diplomacy the precise original meaning may be the uppermost consideration, favoring greater adherence to formal equivalence.

Completely unambiguous formal translation of larger works is more goal than reality, if only because one language may contain a word for a concept which has no direct equivalent in another language. In such cases a more dynamic translation may be used or a neologism may be created in the target language to represent the concept (sometimes by borrowing a word from the source language).

The more the source language differs from the target language, the more difficult it may be to understand a literal translation. On the other hand, formal equivalence can sometimes allow readers familiar with the source language to see how meaning was expressed in the original text, preserving untranslated idioms, rhetorical devices (such as chiastic structures in the Hebrew Bible), and diction.[2]

Bible translation

The concept of dynamic equivalence, applied to Bible translation, was developed especially by the linguist Eugene A. Nida.[3]

Translators of the Bible have taken various approaches in rendering it into English, ranging from an extreme use of formal equivalence, to extreme use of dynamic equivalence.

Extensive use of formal equivalence
Formal equivalence
A balance between dynamic and formal equivalence
Extensive use of dynamic equivalence

See also


  1. ^ Kasparek, Christopher (1983). "The Translator's Endless Toil". The Polish Review XXVIII (2): 83–87. The Polish Review. 
  2. ^ Kelly, L.G (1979). The True Interpreter: a History of Translation Theory and Practice in the West, Lecture notes in mathematics 1358. St. Martin's Press. 
  3. ^ Nida, Eugene A.; Charles R. Taber (1969). The Theory and Practice of Translation. Brill Publishers. ISBN 9004132813. 
  4. ^ THIS REPORT: The Hebrew/Phoenician History called the Bible
  5. ^ amarielfamily - Guinness World Records Member
  6. ^ Igbo Interest World Wide- BOOKS
  7. ^ Barker, Kenneth L. "The Balanced Translation Philosophy of the TNIV" (HTML). Retrieved on 2007-11-29.

External links


Published - October 2008

Information from Wikipedia is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

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