Someone had told that: “any old fool can learn a language but it takes an intelligent person to become a translator”. In reality, translators have to encounter with many cases that there is no word in the target language which express the same or exact meaning as the source language especially in translating literary work. So it is necessary to list the strategies used to deal with non-equivalence when translating one literary work from English to Vietnamese. In this writing, we list and analyze the six main strategies to deal with non-equivalence at word level. At first, translation by a more general word is one of the most commonly applied strategies. So it is not too difficult to see this strategy in a literary work. For instance:
ST: … reach out to take my hand.
TT: … rồi cô ta nắm lấy tay tôi.
ST: He put his arms around me…
TT: Anh vòng tay ôm tôi…
It is clear that the English words “hand” and “arms” or even “fin” can all be translated by the Vietnamese “tay”. By this way, the meaning of ST is conveyed completely without any incomprehensive of target readers. Second, the strategy of translation by a more specific word is seemingly less popular because it is harder to search for a more specific word than a more general one. Translators have to choose among several different Vietnamese words which have general concept or meaning related to one English word. For example:
ST: Edward pulled away from Seth and look at Sue and Billy. TT: Edward đáp lời, rồi buông Seth ra nhìn sang bà Sue và ông Billy. In this example, the phrasal verb “pulled away” was translated ás “buông” in Vietnamese. In fact, “pull away” means apply force to cause movement, to move away or backward. Thus, there have some Vietnamese words such as “đẩy, thả, buông, dịch chuyển” to describe this action. However, in target text, translator used “buông” because the previous action was hug so using that word is the best suitable one. The third indispensable strategy is translation by...
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