Study on the English-Vietnamese translation of terms in the materials for mechanical engineering

In the trend of globalization and dramatic development of science and technology, translation in general and technical translation in particular have become extremely necessary and attracted very much attention from translation theorists and researchers. Like many developing countries in the world, in national industrialization and modernization, Vietnam needs continuously develop its mechanical engineering, one of the most important fields of science and engineering. This means it is necessary for Vietnam to improve international cooperation, translation studies and applications in mechanical engineering. More and more inventions as well as products of mechanical engineering are made in the world. More and more new information and valuable experience in the field of mechanical engineering should be shared and exchanged in order to constantly update knowledge of such an essential field. Meanwhile, English is an international language; it is used in almost fields, in many materials, and on various media. Therefore, the English-Vietnamese translation particularly mechanical engineering term translation plays a very important role in the development of mechanical engineering. In practice, very few English-Vietnamese Mechanical dictionaries are published in Vietnam. These dictionaries sometimes provide Vietnamese different meanings of the same English term and they can not cover all the meanings of mechanical engineering terms. This causes some difficulties for dictionary users to choose the most suitable terms. Besides, translators and researchers sometimes find it difficult to translate a number of English mechanical engineering terms into Vietnamese equivalents. The main reasons are that they do not have enough knowledge of mechanical engineering and that Vietnamese language has not had words that can express or present the meaning of some English terms exactly. In this case, they need study and choose suitable translation strategies to carry out the English-Vietnamese translation of terms in materials for mechanical engineering effectively.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS i ABSTRACT ii APPENDIXES PART A: INTRODUCTION 1. Rationale In the trend of globalization and dramatic development of science and technology, translation in general and technical translation in particular have become extremely necessary and attracted very much attention from translation theorists and researchers. Like many developing countries in the world, in national industrialization and modernization, Vietnam needs continuously develop its mechanical engineering, one of the most important fields of science and engineering. This means it is necessary for Vietnam to improve international cooperation, translation studies and applications in mechanical engineering. More and more inventions as well as products of mechanical engineering are made in the world. More and more new information and valuable experience in the field of mechanical engineering should be shared and exchanged in order to constantly update knowledge of such an essential field. Meanwhile, English is an international language; it is used in almost fields, in many materials, and on various media. Therefore, the English-Vietnamese translation particularly mechanical engineering term translation plays a very important role in the development of mechanical engineering. In practice, very few English-Vietnamese Mechanical dictionaries are published in Vietnam. These dictionaries sometimes provide Vietnamese different meanings of the same English term and they can not cover all the meanings of mechanical engineering terms. This causes some difficulties for dictionary users to choose the most suitable terms. Besides, translators and researchers sometimes find it difficult to translate a number of English mechanical engineering terms into Vietnamese equivalents. The main reasons are that they do not have enough knowledge of mechanical engineering and that Vietnamese language has not had words that can express or present the meaning of some English terms exactly. In this case, they need study and choose suitable translation strategies to carry out the English-Vietnamese translation of terms in materials for mechanical engineering effectively. In addition, translation studies and applications are also important in English language teaching. Translation is really useful for teachers who teach English for mechanical engineering. They can save time and sometimes help their students understand English lessons more profoundly when they translate some English mechanical terms into Vietnamese equivalents. In this case, they do not need analyse or explain English terms by using other English words, which may cause confusion, waste much time, and make their lectures more difficult. Moreover, teachers, students and engineers can understand and translate English materials into Vietnamese more exactly and easily when they apply appropriate translation strategies. It is better when they have the knowledge of English and Vietnamese languages, translation theories as well as mechanical engineering to deal with difficult mechanical engineering terms in English and Vietnamese languages. It can be said that technical term translation in general and mechanical engineering term translation in particular represent one of the most difficult tasks for everyone. In fact, in Vietnam there are not many studies on English-Vietnamese translation of terms in science and technology especially mechanical engineering and the need for and important role of studies on the English-Vietnamese translation of mechanical engineering terms are increasing. Therefore, the author decides to carry out a study on the English-Vietnamese translation of terms in the materials for mechanical engineering. Hopefully, the thesis would bring concrete benefits to translators/interpreters, researchers, engineers, teachers, students and so on. 2. Scope of the study There are innumerable English and Vietnamese mechanical engineering terms in many materials for mechanical engineering. The study concentrates on typical English terms and their Vietnamese equivalents in some materials for mechanical engineering. The materials are derived from some books, dictionaries, and the Internet. The study will analyse typical English mechanical engineering terms’ structural features, compare them with Vietnamese equivalents, and then find out common translation strategies that can be applied in the English-Vietnamese translation of mechanical engineering terms. 3. Aims of the study The study is ultimately aimed at: Working out and comparing typical structural features of English terms with that of Vietnamese terms in the materials for mechanical engineering to find out appropriate Vietnamese equivalents for English mechanical engineering terms. Defining common translation strategies that can be applied in the translation of mechanical engineering terms. Giving some suggestions for technical translation especially translation in mechanical engineering, dictionaries editing, English language teaching as well as for the standardization of Vietnamese mechanical engineering terminology. Research question: What are common translation strategies applied in the English-Vietnamese translation of terms in materials for mechanical engineering? 4. Method of the study The study will present a theoretical background based on a number of materials for translation and terminology. Next, it will collect typical English and Vietnamese mechanical engineering terms from some materials for mechanical engineering and analyze their general features and main structural features. In the process, the study will always compare English mechanical terms with Vietnamese ones in order to choose the best Vietnamese equivalents. After that, the study will define common strategies applied in the English-Vietnamese mechanical engineering term translation. A number of general research methods such as qualitative statistics, quantitative analysis, deductive, and inductive method will be applied to carry out the thesis. Besides, observation, contrastive analysis, and description which are usually used to study linguistics will be applied in the thesis. The materials for mechanical engineering are derived from books, bilingual dictionaries and downloaded from the Internet. 5. Design of the study The study includes three main parts, a bibliography, and appendixes. Part A: Introduction It consists of rationales, aims, scope and methods of the study. Part B: Development Chapter I: Theoretical background The chapter provides the theory of terminology and translation. Chapter II: Mechanical engineering term translation The chapter analyses typical structural features of mechanical engineering terms in both English and Vietnamese and draws out main strategies used in the English-Vietnamese translation of mechanical engineering terms. Part C: Conclusion The conclusion summarizes a number of common translation strategies and makes some comments on them. In addition, Part C gives some suggestions for translation, dictionaries editing, English language teaching, and the standardization of Vietnamese mechanical engineering terminology. Finally, the part C suggests further study. References Data sources Appendixes. PART B: DEVELOPMENT CHAPTER I: THEORETICAL BACKGROUND The chapter will provide typical theories on terminology and translation considered a basis for studying the English – Vietnamese translation of mechanical engineering terms. 1. Terminology Many linguists and theorists study terminology in various aspects. The study will present typical definitions and general features of terminology. 1.1. Definition of terminology Valeontis and Mantzari (2006:1) says “terminology has a twofold meaning: (1) it is the discipline concerned with the principles and methods governing the study of concepts and their designations (terms, names, symbols) in any subject field, and the job of collecting, processing, and managing relevant data and (2) the set of terms belonging to the special language of an individual subject field”. In practice, it is more familiar with the second meaning of the term terminology, which is considered “the set of special words belonging to a science, an art, an author, or a social entity”; for example, “the terminology of law” or “the terminology of culture”. In another word, a term, or terminology unit, is the name or designation of a concept in a particular subject field. In Vietnam, many studies on vocabulary as well as terminology have been made by famous linguists such as Nguyen Van Tu, Do Huu Chau, Nguyen Thien Giap, and Nguyen Huu Quynh. Nguyen Van Tu (1968) states that terminology consists of fixed words or phrases which denote concepts of sciences, manufacturing fields, or culture and so on. Similarly, Do Huu Chau (1998) says that terminology includes specialist words used within a scientific field, a profession or any technological field. Besides, Nguyen Thien Giap (1999) defines it as a part of special lexis of a language. It consists of fixed words or groups of words which accurately name concepts and subjects belonging to different specialized fields of human beings. In addition, for scientific terminology, Nguyen Huu Quynh (2007:104) defines a scientific term as a word or a phrase which designates a concept in fields of science (social science, natural science, technical science). He also states that generally a scientific term has a certain phonetic form and designates a concept with one meaning (monosemy) which is not the same as the meaning of other terms. From the above-mentioned definitions, terminology can be considered fixed words or phrases which accurately denote concepts of particular subject fields. 1.2. General features of terminology There are different ideas about features of terminology. In general, many linguists have common agreement about the following general features of terminology. They are systematic, accurate, international, and national. 1.2.1. Systematic This is the most important characteristic of terminology. In one terminology system, each term is dependent on others. The characteristic helps terms define their positions in one terminology system. Terms name things, events, phenomena, activities, and concepts…which exist objectively and have relations with other terms in a particular system with disciplines controlling their existence and development, so their concepts can be easily comprehended (Nguyen Thien Giap, 1999). 1.2.2. Accurate Nowadays, science and technology have dramatically developed, and terminology plays an important role in building a specific theory. To understand the theory, it is necessary to know the terms which are used to present the theory. To help the reader thoroughly comprehend any scientific and technical objects, terms must have functions of exactly naming and correctly define the objects without confusion. Therefore, terminology is featured with accuracy. 1.2.3. National Each nation should use its own language’s terms to express scientific concepts and avoid abusing foreign terms. Luu Van Lang (1977:58) states that terminology in any scientific fields or specific fields must be part of one national language, so terminology must be national and have the national language’ features. 1.2.4. International Besides national charateristic, terminology is international. This seems to be contradictory, but in fact it is very logical. The vocabulary system of each language brings the typical features of a nation which uses that language but science is the common fortune of human beings. Theories or concepts of mathematics, physics, and biology… are universally used. It is impossible that theories on biology in Vietnam are different from that in England, Japan…As it is stated by Nguyen Thien Giap (1999:275), if the content of terminology is noticed, it is agreed that international characteristic of terminology is important; it distinguishes terminology with other parts of vocabulary. Terminology is a special part of vocabulary which denotes common scientific concepts for all people speaking different languages. Therefore, the unification of terminology among languages is necessary and useful. This makes terminology bear international characteristic. In addition, terminology has other features particularly mono-meaning. Terms should be fixed words or phrases which have only one meaning. Terminology should not denote more than one concept simultaneously. Many linguists agree that there should not be more than one term which denotes one scientific concept. 1.3. Formation of terminology According to Valeontis and Mantzari (2006:5), the following term formation mechanisms applied in the English language are recognized and applied in other languages: Creating new forms: The mechanism consists of derivation, compounding, and abbreviated forms, e.g. Derivation: phosphor + ous = phosphorous, co- + education- + al = co-educational Compounding: member country, biological + electronic = bionic Abbreviated forms: Court of Justice of the Justice of the European Communities - Court, page - p., United Nations – U.N. Using existing forms: The mechanism consists of terminologization, transdisciplinary borrowing, conversion, and semantic transfer within a special language. Terminologization: a word or phrase from general language is transformed into a term designating a concept in a special language, e.g. ‘circuit’ General language: a line enclosing a surface Electric or mechanical engineering language: an arrangement of devices or media through which electric current can flow Transdisciplinary borrowing: as internal borrowing, it refers to situations where a designation from one specific subject field is used in another one to represent a different concept. The general features making up the intension of both concepts in both subject fields are often comparable and analogous, e.g. ‘Reaction’ In Chemistry: interaction among two or more chemical elements or compounds, resulting in the creation of another chemical compound. In Physics: force of equal magnitude and opposite direction, developed due to action of any given force. Conversion: as the morphosyntactically differentiated usage of a single form, e.g. Input (noun) – input (verb), intake (noun) – intake (verb) Semantic transfer within a special language: An existing term in a special language is used to designate a different concept, by an analogous extension. These are some main modes of semantic transfer: Simile: this is usually expressed by means of suffixes (–like, -style, -type…), e.g. Noise-like error, ethernet-like interface, bus-type interface. Synecdoche: this is the most productive technique of utilizing existing forms, which is referred to as systematic polysemy in the contemporary linguistic theory of semantics, e.g. ‘Screen’ Concrete: the part of a computer on which information is displayed Abstract: the information displayed on this computer part. Interlingual borrowing: Terms existing in one language can be introduced into another language by means of: Direct borrowing: e.g. English: diameter, spiral (from Ancient Greek) Loan translation: The morphological elements of a term or whole words from the source language are translated literally (“word by word”) to form a new term in the target language, e.g. German: die nische (from ‘niche’ in French). 1.4. Words and neologisms In translation, it is necessary to distinguish terms with neologisms and words. Newmark (1988b: 140) defines neologisms as “newly coined lexical units or existing lexical units that acquire a new sense”. He proposes twelve types of neologisms including words, collocations, new coinages, derived words, abbreviations, eponyms, phrasal words, transferred words, acronyms, pneudo-neologisms and internationalisms. A term in a specialized language is distinguished from a word in general language by its single-meaning relationship (called monosemy) with the specialized concept that it denotes and by the stability of the relationship between form and content in texts with this concept (called lexicalization). 2. Translation theory 2.1. Definition of translation Translation has a long history and it has received more and more attention from translation researchers and theorists. However, up to now “What is translation” is still a difficult question. Many different definitions of translation have been made. Newmark has made an important contribution to the development of translation. Newmark states (1988a:7) “translation is a craft consisting in the attempt to replace a written message and statement in one language by the same message and/or statement in another language”. Catford (1965:20) considers translation “the replacement of textual material in one language (source language) by an equivalent textual material in other language (target language)”. Hartman and Stork (1972:713) also give a similar definition of translation, “translation is the replacement of a representation of a text in one language by a representation of an equivalent text in a second language.” Hatim and Mason (1990:3) say translating is a communicative process which takes place within a social context. The above-mentioned different definitions of translation prove translation is a complicated process. 2.2. Translation methods There is argument about different translation methods which can be appropriate to this context but inappropriate to other contexts. Newmark (1988b) presents eight main methods of translation including each method’s features and applications. Word – for- word translation The method is often considered interlinear translation with the TL immediated below the SL words. Newmark (1988b:45) states: “The SL word – order is preserved and the words translated singly by their most common meanings, out of context. Cultural words are translated literally. The main use of word – for – word translation is either to understand the mechanics of the source language or to construe a difficult text as a pre-translation process.” Literal translation As it is stated by Newmark (1988b:46), “the SL grammatical constructions are converted to their nearest TL equivalents but the lexical words are again translated singly, out of context. As a pre-translation process, this indicates the problems to be solved”. Faithful translation The method tries to reproduce “the precise contextual meaning of the original within the constraints of the TL grammatical structures” and “it attempts to be completely faithful to the intentions and the text-realization of the SL writer” (Newmark, 1988b:46). Semantic translation Newmark (1988b:46) distinguishes semantic translation with faithful translation. The method is different from “faithful translation” “only in as far as it must take more account of the aesthetic value…of the SL text, compromising on “meaning” where appropriate so that no assonance, word-play or repetition jars in the finished version. Semantic translation is more flexible, less dogmatic than faithful translation and admits the creative exception. Adaptation According to Newmark (1988b:46), the method is the freest form of translation; it is mainly use for poetry, songs and plays. The method preserves the theme, plots, and characters. The SL culture is converted to the TL culture and the text rewritten. Free translation Newmark (1988b:46) says the method reproduces the matter without the manner, the content without the form of the original. It is usually a paraphrase much longer than the original, a so-called “intralingual translation”. Idiomatic translation In Newmark’s opinion (1988b:47), the method reproduces the “message” of the original. It prefers colloquialisms and idioms which do not exist in the original. Communicative translation As it is stated by Newmark (1988b:47), the method attempts to render the exact contextual meaning of the or
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