Multiple french translations for just one english form: the case of translating tense and aspect between the two languages
The study set out to investigate the problems encountered by translators in the translation of tense and aspect from English to French in the light of the fact that for one English verb form, multiple French equivalents exist. Using two existing English-French parallel text pairs, an analysis of the manner in which the translators had translated the English simple past, the past progressive, the present perfect and the past perfect verb forms, which carry both tense and aspect, to French was carried out. Verb phrases headed by each English verb form being studied were first identified in the English text and tabulated. Corresponding French translations for these phrases were identified in the French text and also tabulated. Possible sources of difficulty to the translator were noted. It was confirmed that English verb forms had multiple French translations. Non translation was frequently used as a translation strategy where source text elements were found to be unnecessary for inclusion in target message and where the elements were culture specific and not translatable to target language, while change of voice (modulation) and transposition were used where stylistic differences between the two languages so demanded. These strategies were noted as possible sources of difficulty to the translator. The study concluded that the challenges created in the application of the strategies of transposition, non translation and change of voice (modulation) called for acquisition of linguistic as well as literal and cultural knowledge with regard to both target and source texts.