Meaning and Translation

Kirsten Malmkjær

in The Oxford Handbook of Translation Studies

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199239306
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Meaning and Translation

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  • Linguistics
  • Translation and Interpretation
  • Semantics



Translation is an activity that aims at conveying meaning or meanings of a given linguistic discourse from one language to another. Translation can be defined in terms of sameness of meaning across languages. According to some researchers, there can be no absolute correspondence between languages and hence no fully exact translations. Translation at some level is always possible, however, there are times when interlocutors are aware that they do not mean the same by particular phrases. Meaning is formed on each occasion of linguistic interaction and is therefore unique and not replicable. Therefore, a translation can never ‘mean’ the same as the source text. But this does not matter, because practice ensures that translators ‘get away with’ translating sufficiently well sufficiently often.

Keywords: meaning; linguistic discourse; interlocutors; linguistic interaction; source text; sameness

Article.  6799 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Translation and Interpretation ; Semantics

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