Work Papers of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of North Dakota Session




Source—Meaning—Receptor (SMR) theories of translation, such as "dynamic equivalence" and "meaning-based" theories, shifted focus from the equivalence of FORM to the equivalence of MEANING. SMR theories were a significant advance and have been the basis for many modern English translations.

However, SMR theories were formulated when the dominant theory of communication was the code model. Consequently they presumed that meaning was determined almost entirely by a text (utterance) itself. This theory is now rejected in favor of theories that understand interpretation as the inferential product of the interaction of the text with (mind-mediated) context. These newer theories shift the focus from meaning, largely a semantic notion, to the pragmatic/rhetorical dimensions of the text.

It is thus natural to wonder if there is evidence that a SMR approach to translation leads to pragmatic/rhetorical oversights that have negative effects on translations. Here I will propose some candidates, drawing them from various modern English translations.

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