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The use of componential
Analysis in Translation
• Componential analysis is a way proposed
by the structural semanticists to analyze
word meaning. The approach is based
upon the belief that the meaning of a
word can be dissected into meaning
components, called semantic features.
• This is parallel to the way a phoneme is
analyzed into smaller components called
• /b/ [+PLOSIVE,+BILABIAL,+VOICED]
• Componential analysis provides an
insight into the meaning of words
and a way to study the
relationships between words that
are related in meaning.
• The second term emphasizes that the aim of
componential analysis is to decompose the
meaning of the word into its sense-components.
The objectivity and importance of componential
analysis stem from the fact that it goes far beyond
the cultural and linguistic differences between
languages and focuses on the components of the
word that can be called universal.
• For example, both “forgive” and “pardon” share common
components including absence of punishment, the authority of
the sender over the receiver, display of mercy, forgiveness,
kindness and prevention of pain.
• PARDON: means to forgive someone without blaming him.
• FORGIVE: means to forgive someone with the possibility of
• The first and most obvious use of CA is
in handling words that donate
combination of qualities or
combinations of actions and qualities,
that appear to show up a lexical gap in
the target, language.
• The second use of a componential analysis is in
translating cultural (and institutional )words
that the readership is unlikely to understand;
whether the CA is accompanied by an accepted
translation (which must be used in all but the
most informal texts). Transference, functional
equivalent, cultural equivalent etc. will depend,
firstly, on the particular text-type.
Secondly is the readership or the client,
who may also disagreed the usual
characteristic of the text-type; and
thirdly, on the importance of the
cultural word in the text
• Synonyms are words that are similar or have a
related meaning to another word. Adjective are
generally seen as synonyms. There is a certain
skill involved in choosing the most appropriate
synonym, as not all are created equal. It is
important to consider the ‘connotation’ of the
word because some synonyms can inject a
different meaning than the one intended.
• For example, one synonym of sad is "gloomy"
however, this word carries quite a negative
connotation. Depending on the circumstance
you can use it, but if you just want to say that
someone is "down," then another synonym
such as "blue" or "unhappy" would be more
• Here is a list of adjectives and their synonyms that are
commonly used to describe people.
• Beautiful: Attractive, Pretty, Lovely, Stunning
• Happy: Content, Joyful, Mirthful, Upbeat
• Honest: Honorable, Fair, Sincere, Trustworthy
• Intelligent: Smart, Bright, Brilliant, Sharp
• Mean: Unfriendly, Unpleasant, Bad-tempered, Difficult
• Strong: Stable, Secure, Solid, Tough
• Unhappy: Sad, Depressed, Melancholy, Miserable
• Lucky: Auspicious, Fortunate
• Positive: Optimistic, Cheerful, Starry-eyed, Sanguine
• Bossy: Controlling, Tyrannical
• Here are more examples of English synonyms:
– "buy" and "purchase"
– "big" and "large"
– "quickly" and "speedily"
• "on" and "upon"
• SETS AND SERIES
• Neologisms are perhaps the non-literary and the professional
translator's biggest problem. New objects and processes are
continually created in technology. New ideas and variations on
feelings come from the media. Terms from the social sciences, slang,
dialect coming into the mainstream of language, transferred words,
make up the rest. It has been stated that each language acquire 3000
new words, annually, but in fact, neologisms can not be accurately
quantified, since so many hover between acceptance and oblivion
and many are short-lived, individual creations. In other
words, Neologisms are new words, word-combinations or fixed
phrases that appear in the language due to the development of social
life, culture, science and engineering. New meanings of existing
words are also accepted as neologisms. A problem of translation of
new words ranks high on the list of challenges facing translators
because such words are not readily found in ordinary dictionaries
and even in the newest specialized dictionaries
• Neologisms can be either loan words in the form
of direct loans and loan translations, or newly
coined terms, either morphologically new words
or by giving existing words a new semantic
• Example of neologism:
• Prushnajë (neologjizëm e Ismail Kadares si
zëvendësim i fjalës së huazuar "kamin" dhe asaj
• Dhe-shkronjë (neologjizëm e Naim Frashërit si
zëvendësim i fjalës së huazuar "gjeografi")
In the novel ‘Kronikë në gur’, the author is
trying to replace the word ’kasaphanë’,
orientalism, with ‘thertore’, which is a
relatively old albanian neologism
Është e qartë se “Vakancat” është
fjalë e huaj, madje nuk do ta quaja
as italianizëm, meqë nuk është
huazuar ende në sistemin e shqipes,
pavarësisht se është transkriptuar në
PUSHIMET E HUAJA, August 7, 2009
by Pishak Zhgaba
Words as myths
• The first myth is often seen in the
translation of religious texts wherein
we are tempted to copy and shadow the
source text vocabulary and structure.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Ciceronian motto non verbum e
verbo, sed sensum experimere de
sensu sums up perfectly what
translators should focus on, that is the
sense and not the words.