Optimising Comprehensibility in Interlingual Translation: The Need for Intralingual Translation

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The increasing demand for citizen engagement in areas traditionally belonging exclusively to experts, such as health, law and technology has given rise to the necessity of making expert knowledge available to the general public through genres such as instruction manuals for consumer goods, patient information on medication and tax information. Such texts are often written by experts and received by lay people, and, in today’s globalised world, they are often translated as well. In these functional texts, the receiver is not a mere recipient of information, but s/he needs to be able to act upon it. Action requires understanding, and these texts consequently need to be optimally comprehensible. The aim of this paper is therefore to provide a framework for optimising comprehensibility in translation. In order to do so, the concept of intralingual translation is argued for as a useful starting point. It is argued that Plain Language writing is a type of intralingual translation as it involves rewriting or translating a complex monolingual text into comprehensible language. Based on Plain Language literature, a comprehensibility framework is elaborated, which is subsequently exemplified through the functional text type of Patient Information Leaflet. Finally, the usefulness of applying the principles of Plain Language and intralingual translation for optimising comprehensibility in interlingual translation is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTranslation and Comprehensibility
EditorsKarin Maksymski, Silke Gutermuth, Silvia Hansen-Schirra
Number of pages32
Place of publicationBerlin
PublisherFrank & Timme
Publication year2015
ISBN (print)978-3-7329-0022-0
Publication statusPublished - 2015
SeriesTransÜD. Arbeiten zur Theorie und Praxis des Übersetzens und Dolmetschens

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