What “the Semantic Sieve” Determines in the Process of Translation

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“Semantics is meaning communicated through language” (Saeed I.J.). Semantics is the study of relationship between words and their meanings; it is directly linked with the conceptual meaning of words, and the associative meaning. Semantic sieve as a concept is an innovative phenomenon. This linguistic phenomenon is a process whereby a word is dispersed through a semantic tunnel which in some cases produces different meaning. This is explained through different models. The ‘semantic sieve’ is related to translation, where the deep structure of words differs from the surface structure. There are some concepts and words in Akan and English that are absent in Russian, others are known in Akan but virtually absent in the English language.

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1. Introduction Semantic Sieve as a Concept The study is about semantic sieve in the translation process even though semantic sieve has been mentioned in the work of Julian Szymanski, Henryk Krawezyk, and Marcin Deptula. The article is about an algorithm called semantic sieve which is applied for refining search results in texts documents. Semantic sieve is also mentioned in the works of Ying Liu, Dengsheng Zhang and Guojun Lu entitled “SIEVESearch Images Effectively through Visual Elimination”. In their approach, text-based image search results for a given query are obtained first. Then the Sieve is used to filter out those images which are semantically irrelevant to the query. This aspect of the semantic sieve deals with information technology spearheaded by Monarch University Technology (www.infotech.monash. edu). The Semantic Sieve in these two documents has been mentioned purposely to alert readers of the fact that this study is not mentioning Semantic Sieve for the first time. It is important to know that the Semantic Sieve in the Translation Process which this paper concerns itself with has no relation with the two instances where Semantic Sieve has been mentioned. The author sees it as a mere coincidence. Methodology The method used is quantitative and qualitative. Translation theory was employed, specifically Roman Jacobson’s theory of equivalence and Nida’s dynamic equivalence. The Purpose of Study The study concerns itself with the relationship between translation and semantics. The aim of the study first is to confirm the semantic meaning of lexical items in the context of the conceptual meaning and then compare it to the translated text and see whether there is a matching or a mismatching. It is to establish the concept ‘Semantic Sieve’ and unfold how it operates in the translation process. Semantics is the study of words and their meanings. Semantics which is an aspect of a branch of linguistic is the study of meaning of linguistics expressions (1. Richmond H. Thomason. http//www.cecs.umich.edu.1-rthomuso/documents/general/whatis’semantics.html). Semantics has a direct relation with the dictionary. The dictionary suggests a number of meanings of a particular word. This gives an insight into the semantics of a particular word. In a nutshell it is the study of relationships. It is important to note that before one constructs a sentence that needs to be explained in the course of teaching a language, there is the need to concentrate on the semantic meaning of the specified words, more especially on its syntagmatic relation. According to Thomason, in assigning meanings to sentences, one need to know the substance of the sentence. Syntax as an aspect of linguistics is to provide rules that show how these sentences and other expressions are built up out of smaller parts, and eventually out of words. The syntactic make up of a sentence is equally important as the words it contains. For instance, these modal words in Russian, должен (doldzen), нельзя (nelzya), невозможно (nevoz modzna), means or explains compulsion, or obligation, prohibition and impossibility. They can be expressed at the level of phrases or sentences “Ты должен йдти” (Ti doldzen idti) - You have to go, you must go. Нельзя говорить (Nelzya gavarit) - Speaking or talking is not allowed here, or here speaking is prohibited. Невозможно читать (Nelvozmodzna chitat) - It is not possible to read. Semantically there is no difference, between the Russian “нельзя”, “невозможно” and “должен” and the English. “It is not done, ‘don’t do that’, then ‘невозможно’ and the English” it is not possible, “должен”, and the English, must. The intention of the speaker is realized through the sentence, these words in isolation cannot mean anything. So while dealing with semantics the syntagmatic and the paradigmatic relations of words are crucial to understanding fully the noun. In Akan, we also have the same modal words, “esese” meaning ‘have to’, but just a letter is added to “esese” to change the meaning to the opposite side “ensese” you don’t have to, the two words have acted confrontationally. In Russian the contrast is realized in a sentence and not in the addition of a letter. Russian “Ты не должен” “You don’t have to” is contrasted with Russian “Ты должен”-you have to. This is expressed in a phrase and not a single word, “Нельзя” is expressed in Akan “yenye no sa”, “enyesa”, “yekyi” “akywadee”. Here the meaning is expressed through two phrases and two words. Special phrases such as “The secrets of good health” and “God father”, “секреты здоровья” (Sekreti Zdorovia) and “крестный отец” (Krestni Otets) in Russian maps with that of the English language, while translation consists of changing of the form of one language to another without changing the meaning, the exceptional case in this semantic sieve phenomenon is that the English and Russian maps with each other in certain cases while the meaning in Akan in some cases is totally removed from the meaning of the source language (SL). While in translation the meaning of the receptor’s language does not change but rather the form, there are exceptional cases in Akan as this paper will unfold in the subsequent pages. This contradicts Larson’s position which states that any translation that changes the form and meaning of both the semantic and surface structure deviates from the standard norms of translation [1]. What is Translation Translation is defined as changing from one form or state to another. Translation is the change of form. In the linguistics sense, form of a language is referred to words, phrases, clauses and sentences. Translation is basically the transfer of meaning of the source language into the receptor language. The meaning is transferred from the source language or the first language to the receptor language also referred to as the second language. The form of the source language is replaced by the form of receptor language after the translation process [1]. Definition of translation represents the perspective and attitude to translation theory, which is the basis and starting point of relative translation studies, so deep understanding to definition will deepen the recognition to the theory. According to Nida and Taber in The Theory and Practice of Translation, “Translating consists in reproducing in the receptor language the closest natural equivalent of the source-language message, first in terms of meaning and secondly in terms of style” [2]. There are Chinese translations from Tan Zaixi, Li Tianxin and Ma Huijuan, and Ma thinks equivalence is the closest possible approximation”. Whatever the translation is, the original definition is the same, so the discussion seems a little confusing and useless. In fact the problem is the two words “closet” and “equivalent”, which lead to absolutization and indeterminacy of meaning from perspective of philosophy. Translation is a process and a product. According to Catford [3], translation is the replacement of textual material in one language (SL) by equivalent textual material in another language (TL) [3. P. 20]. This definition shows that translation is a process in the sense that is an activity. Performed by people through time, when expressions are translated in to simpler ones in the same language (Rewording and para-phrasing). It can be done also from one language into another different language. Translation is, on the other hand, a product since it provides us with other different cultures, to ancient societies and civilization life when the translated texts reaches us [4]. According to Brislin [5. P. 1] translation is a general term referring to the transfer of thoughts and ideas from one language to another, whether the language is in written or oral form, whether the languages have established orthographies or not; or whether one or both languages is based on signs, as with signs of the deaf. Another expert, Wilss [6. P. 3], states that translation is a transfer process which aims at the transformation of a written source language text (SLT) into an optimally equivalent target language text (TLT), and which requires the syntactic, the semantic, and the pragmatic understanding and analytical processing of the source text. Syntactic understanding is related to style and meaning. Understanding of semantics is meaning related activity. Finally, pragmatic understanding is related to the message or implication of a sentence. This definition does not states what is transferred. Rather, it states the requirement of the process. 2. Discussion What the Semantic Sieve Determines What is a Sieve? A sieve according to the Cambridge International Dictionary of English is to put something through a tool counting of wood, plastic or metal frame with a wire or plastic net fixed to it. You use it either to separate solids from liquid or you rub larger solids. A semantic sieve based on the conceptual meaning of sieve will mean how semantics is determined through the context. The sieve will be fixing the same word into different meanings. Semantic Sieve In one language the same word could be given a different meaning. Some of these meanings could be detected through the context. Thief is somebody who steals. It is not a good linguistic expression. 1) You are a thief; you stole the teachers note book. 2) I will pay you a surprise visit like a thief in the night. An analogy is being made between a real thief and a metaphorical thief 1) Who asked you to be the watchman over this girl? Are you interested in her or you are just watching over her for somebody. 2) The watchman raped the student while she was coming from the Balme Library. In the first sentence, the action is about a real thief, but in the second sentence an analogy is made. The second sentence or the action is being referred to a watchman who indeed raped a student in a university campus. The clear picture is unveiled, a noun, the name of a person who provides some decency or who watches over something to ensure that those objects are preserved. In the first sentence the watchman is being referred to as a person acting like a watchman. His action does not depart entirely from the conceptual meaning of a watchman. This confirms the position of Yule that in semantics there is always an attempt to focus on what the words conventionally mean, rather than on what a speaker might want the words to mean on a particular occasion. In these two cases, we are concerned with the conceptual meaning and the associated meaning to determine the behaviour of the determinant instrument. The determinant instrument determines the meaning of the target language at the next stage of the sieving process. For example in Russian language 1) Ты ее охранник;Are you her security? Охраник (Ohrannik) in Russian which emanates from the infinitive охранить means to watch over, to protect. Tы ee Охраник implies are you her security, meaning again that your attitude calls for suspicion, are you in love with her? 2) “Охранник убил вора” (Ohrannik ubil Vora). The security man killed the thief. Here the security man is referring to the first semantic meaning of the word security. There is an analogy between a security man (Охраник) and a thief (Vor) The determinant instrument brings out two meanings, the conceptual and associative. 1) “Я тебя убью” - I will kill you “Ты меня убил” - You have killed me “Ты меня убил, сказав, что я самая красивая девушка в мире” - You have killed me by saying that I am the most beautiful girl in the world. In Akan the same analogy could be applied 1) Mato ntoma ama wo maame Meaning, (I have bought a cloth for your mother) And your mother responds “Kwame waku me”, (You have killed me) It doesn’t mean that Kwame really killed the mother, but he has given a present so precious to her. But if it is said in one of the Twi statements in Ghana that ‘Abrantee bi akum omaame wo wuram’, a gentleman has killed the mother in the bush. The news becomes national, amplified and frightening. This refers to a real killing and for that matter the first semantic meaning or the conceptual meaning is applied. 2) Oman Panin Abenfo mu Akunin Atta Mills aye Dr. Abrompa Mensah a oye okyerekyerefo wo Legon suapon no mu no nanan musi ni a owo Engrisi aburokyire. 3) Professor Atta Mills has appointed Dr Abrompa Mensah, a lecturer at the University of Ghana as Ghana’s High Commissioner to Great Britain. 4) Профессор Жон Еванс Атта Мильс назначил доктора Авромпа Менса полномочным Послом Ганы в Великобритании (Russian). 5) Ei ennea waku no The news of his appointment as the Ghana High Commissioner to Britain will contradict the phrase ‘waku no’ in a logical sense. The perception is that somebody has been uplifted. The sound of ‘waku no’ in this sentence or in the news brings out a perception that something good (news) happened. In all the cases, the components of the sentences will assist the reader who understands Akan to determine whether it is a conceptual meaning or an associated meaning. The instrument of determinant (b) will assist us to differentiate between meanings, the features of the sentences will signal the direction of the sieving results. The Semantic Sieve Correlating with Translation According to Larson, “Another way of looking at form and meaning is to think of them as surface structure and deep structure”, he continues to state that “An analysis of the surface structure does not tell all that we need to know about the language in order to translate” [1. P. 29]. The ‘semantic sieve’ is not a visible instrument; it is perceived that before a translation is accomplished there are unseen processes that occur between the source language (SL) (TT) and the translated text. There are lexical, grammatical, cultural processes that occur before the work of the sieve will be visible. Languages have got their own structures and semantically they have their special places in the communicative and written spheres. The idea of in translatability comes in only when the issue is about equivalence and non-equivalence. In nonequivalence the semantic sieve cannot change the form through translation, aside this, semantic structure is universal, even where there is non-equivalence, there could be parallelism. Kremlin in Moscow, White House in the United States and Jubilee House in Ghana are examples of Presidential residents. Concepts in languages are identical but there are instances where translation changes the meaning entirely, departing from the conceptual meaning. There are instances where the relationships are the same, once they have meaning components which are categorized into things, events, attitude, relations (Mildred 1998). The semantic sieve basically deals with words that have to do with events, attributes and relations. E.g. Стул - chair Stool land (English) Nkonya Asaase (Akan) This concept does not exist in Russian, but “chair” which is translated “Стул” (Stul) in Russian exists. To attempt to translate it to Russian, one will not produce any meaningful phrase. A chief dies and in Akan it is translated “Akonya no ato” which literally means the chair is dead. If it is to be translated semantically and literally to a non-Akan speaker, being it English or a Russian. A’ chair’ is a thing, but when “akonya no ato” has been translated into Akan, it takes a different meaning. Nkonya yere - The chair’s wife A wife who is traditionally attached to a monarchy or a palace is referred to as ‘Nkonya yere”. The occupant of the stool until his death marries from that particular family; this marriage covenant between the two lineages is a relation. This relation emanates from a concrete object, chair or stool which is also a concrete object to what is less concrete and just a relation. Russia does not practice this system, therefore contemporary Russia may have to refer to history, Russia had a monarchy, the Tzars, so this concept will not be seen as totally removed from their lexicon in any case. Mildred opines that “meaning is structured and that it is “not an inaccessible mass. It can be analyzed and represented in ways that are unique to the translator”. According to N. Chomsky “Linguistics cannot be expected to specify any reasonable procedure for translating between languages because “an encyclopedia of extra linguistic information would be demanded” (http/www.beaugrande.com/translationsemanticslitan). ‘The semantic sieve’ therefore will be concerned with one-to-one meaning or in the dictionary, it will concern itself with the contextual environment of the word or phrase. ‘The semantic sieve’ will be diagrammatically represented to explain the process of sieving in translation with special reference to semantics. Examples derived from Russian Phrase “Sekret Zdorovia” Here there is going to be an expatiation of the semantic sieve through translation. Examples in Russian transcripted. 1. Секрет здоровья (Sekret Zdorovia) - Это постоянное увлечение спортом. 2. Секрет здоровья (Sekret Zdorovia) - Регулярное употребление витаминов. 3. Секрет здоровья Российской экономики - это пересмотр программы 500 дней. 4. Секрет здоровья межпарламентских отношений СНГ - это обмен информацией. 5. Секрет здоровья российского образования - это повышение качества учебников. 6. Секрет здоровья российско-украинских отношений - это разрешение проблемы Черноморского флота. English Translation 1. The secret of good health is a continuous engagement and interest in sports. 2. The secret of good health is the continuous use of vitamins with higher components. 3. The secret of a healthy Russian economy is the reconsideration or re-analyzing or reappraisal of the programme “five hundred days (500 days). 4. The secret of a healthy relationship between the parliaments in the Commonwealth of Independent States, (C.I.S.) lies in the exchange of information. 5. The secret of a healthy Russian education lies in the improvement of the quality of the text books used in schools. 6. The secret of a healthy relation between the Russians and the Ukrainians is the settlement of the conflict around the black sea fleet in Krim. Akan Translation 1. Ahintansem a ewo apomuoden mune se wobekoso atenefuo wo mpo mu. 2. Ahintasem a ebema Russiafoo asikasem a tu mpon (ate apo) no ne se wobehwehwe asikasem nkosuo nhyehyee a wato ne din nna ahanum. 3. Ahintansem a ewo apomuoden mune se wobe ko so anom nnuro a ebema wahooden agyina bere nyinaa mu, (saa nnurro yi bema wo ahooden a wobenya afari nuane ne nuaba ahodoo mu). 4. Ahintasem a ebema mmrahye bedwafoo a ewo aman aman a kanee na won nyinaa wohye Rossiafoo ase na see sei wannya won faahodie no ne se wobedi nkitaho na obiara ate ne yonko asem. 5. Ahintasem a ebe ma Rossia adesua atu mpon no ne se wobema nhoma a wode sua adee no adi mu awie pe ye. 6. Ahintasem a ebema Rossiafuo ne Ukrainifoo ayonkofa no adi mu na awie pe ye no ne se wobesie sie ntatwa ntawa a abeto wo mo ntam. Esa ne nsem nsem bi a efa ahyen a ewo opo tuntum ho wo krim no. Fig. The Semantic sieve and How It acts in the Three Languages in Translation The first chamber is the Russian language (SL). The second chamber is the English Language (RL) and the third chamber is the Akan language (RL). Translation starts with Russian in the first chamber. The sieving process is the process of translation, where all the words pass through the sieve to be silted. The instrument that determines the next colour of the language is the determining or determinant instrument. This instrument determines the end product after the sieving. In this diagram, we have classified the groups into three categories, where the translation process starts from Russian then to English then to Akan. It is our own classification and that the sieving process could start from Russian to Akan and then to English. This is to suit the taste of the majority of Akan speakers. The English language is the official language in Ghana where Akan is spoken. If the second sieving should take place in the second chamber then there will be the need for another instrument of determinant in the second chamber which is the English language. Linguistically Russian and English are closer to each other and that once English is the language used in the official circles in Ghana, it is appropriate that we translate to Akan from chamber two. If the language analysis is being operated strictly within the cultural perspective, then Akan could be in the second chamber. Though culture plays a role in this translation process, it is however not our focus. In chamber A, in the first and the second examples the word “Zdorovia” or health has been used in the first semantic sense in the English language, Russian and Akan. It was possible to use “Секреты здоровья” or “The secret of good health” in the first and second examples in the English language but couldn’t be used in the other four examples. The two examples in Akan match that of the English and Russian in the semantic sense but not in the structural sense. In translation the English and Russian seems to have lexical and semantic identity. This has a direct relation with field theory which is essentially concerned with paradigmatic relations. Health and Sports, Health and food, Health and vitamins, Zdorovia and sports, Zdorovia and vitamin in Russian are all medical or health terminology and therefore in the semantic field the paradigmatic and the syntagmatic relations could be easily established [7]. In the lexico-semantic plan it will be inappropriate to use the secret of good health or Sekrety Zdorovia in the other cases. In translation it is observed that meaning and equivalence have been established in the first and second examples before the semantic sieve was divided into two zones or two chambers. This involves two equivalent messages in two different codes [8]. The translation process can be divided again into two zones within the framework of translation. The source language(s) which is the Russian is termed as the first zone, the English language is the second zone and Akan is the third zone. This differs from the first diagram which also mentions first and second chambers. In the first two examples, 1) Секрет здоровья - увлечение спортом. 2) The secret of good health is a continuous engagement in sports. The semantic structures of the two languages are almost the same. The universality of semantic structure makes it easier to translate the source language to the other language. Even though generally semantic structures are universal than grammatical structures, here the appearance of international lexis like, secret, sports, put into phrases like “The secret of good health” Sekriti zdorovia comparatively matches well with one another. In the other four examples the word ‘health’ changes to “a healthy” to suit the grammatical conditions of the English language. In the second chamber which is the English language, the semantic structures are still identical with the Russian, especially with examples 2 and three. The task of the semantic sieve is made easier. In the third chamber which is the Akan language, the task of the (SS) semantic sieve becomes more difficult. In examples 3, 4, 5 and 6 words like “Rossiafoo” (Russians), “Ukrainefoo” (Ukrainians), Krim are the only universal words used, they are without equivalents, they cannot be translated. The translated text in Akan is more detailed because of the linguistic distance between Russian and Akan, between English and Akan. The diagram shows that the linguistic distance between English and Akan is quite closer. The meaning of the sentences in Russian and English have been restructured, and have been analyzed and represented in ways that are convenient to the Akan speaker. The semantic units in the two foreign languages are represented in various ways in Akan. The translation is from English to Akan though the original source language is Russian, the table depicts that the English language is the second chamber. In Akan the first and second examples also reflects on the first conceptual meaning. Jacobson opines that concepts may be transferred by rewording without, however attaining full equivalence. His position is linked with the theory that deals with lexical and grammatical differences between languages [8]. In Russian and in English, the phrase Sekrety Zdorovia and the secret of a good health have been used metaphorally in the other four examples (2, 3, 4, and 6). In Akan “Ahintasem a ebe ma mmrahye bedwafoo…’’ There is a semantic agreement in word order, from Russian and the English variant. There is some level of structure consonance between Russian and English, almost a syntagmatic or textual equivalent. In Akan all the four sentences starts with ahintasem but the process that goes on in the transfer of lexical grammatical units in Akan is more detailed and involving. This confirms the position of Susan Bassnett that “translation involves more than replacement of lexical and grammatical items between languages, the process may involve discarding the basic linguistics elements of the SL text so as to achieve Popovic goal of expressive identity between SL and TL text” [9. P. 24]. The form of composition in the SL changes to different form of TL or the Receptor’s language. Because of the development of the mass media in Ghana with Akan being the dominant language after the English language, Ghanaians are very closer to these interpretations. The political culture in Russia does not differ widely from the political culture in Ghana. Translating S.N.G to C.I.S is easier; the two abbreviations when expanded are semantically and linguistically equivalent, but it will need a long explanation in Akan. Highly educated persons in Akan are closer to this concept where the uneducated or semi-educated will need the detailed explanation. Within the frame work of translation, there is no other way than to say “aman aman a na kanee wo ne Rossiafoo nyinaa aka abo mu aye oman baako no a seesei won nyinaa anya won faa wo ho die”. The two foreign languages, Russian and English must come to terms with Akan for a common linguistic goal, the end product being clarity of expression in English and then Akan. The difference between the source language and the language of the receptor becomes the bone of contention in translation theory making total equivalence virtually impossible. Grammatical and semantic structures in Russian, English and Akan are widely different especially between Akan and Russian and between Akan and English. The Second Illustration of How the Semantic Sieve Operates This part of the paper focuses on how certain words and phrases have been translated from Russian to English and Akan. Specifically the section deals with how different groups of words have been used in different spheres. In this last instance, scholars have paid particular attention to the differences between languages, particularly on the universality of lexis. In any case, this paper examines the universality and the limitations of certain words in different spheres. There are fundamental features found in every language. Semantic structures in one language differ from the other grammatical designs as well. It has been mentioned by Charles F. Hockett that within the frame work of language design, semantic system falls under the peripheral system [10]. To the translator, the central issue is semantics. In our daily communications we observe the swimming of one word to the territory of another language, we also observe the transfer of a word to another conversation terrain with quite different meaning or completely different meaning with a different style of presentation. V.G. Kostomarov, an academic, a renowned linguist, President of the Pushkin State Institute of Languages, and a specialist in the Russian language says that in characterizing our daily conversation practices, it is observed that one word swims to the territory of another language; we also observe the transfer of a word to another conversation terrain with quite different meaning, words that are doubtful in that particular context, words that are freely used, detached from its original meaning. It is observed that barriers are taken away. In most cases speakers use words that suits their taste, sometimes they use words that could be in any language situation. Sometimes there is coincidence of meaning, sometimes there is some comparison in the other language (Kostomarov V.G. 1994). The Impact of the Semantic Sieve on Translation An example 1. God the Father - (English). “Наш небесный отец” (Russia). Шеварнадзе Э.А. встретился с государственным секретарем США Д. Шульцем, который сопровождает прибывшего с официальным визитом в СССР президента Р. Рейгана. В ходе переговоров некоторые политические обозреватели считали, что Шеварнадзе Э.А. - это крестный отец международной политики. (Shervenadze E.A. met with the U.S Secretary of State D. Schuldt, accompanied the president of United State of America Ronald Reagan, who was on a state visit to USSR. During the discussions, some political commentators were of the opinion that, E.A. Shervenadze is the godfather of international politics.) A. Academic Primakov has been described as the Godfather of Oriental Studies. B. If Russia wants to succeed in her market reforms then they should talk to the God fathers of the world economy in Canada next week (G.8).Middle. C. If you want to establish an industry then go and talk to the God fathers at the Ministry of Trade and Industry. God the Father, God father belongs to a particular lexico-semantic group that is it belongs to a group of words that have religious connotation: our Father in heaven, Father in the Catholic Church, Father in the Russian Orthodox Church. It should be noted that God the Father is used exclusively for the only one God “the creator”. If God father or God fathers is used in the political context, definitely they have a different semantic meaning, in the sphere of stylistic they differ with “God the Father” as a religious phrase “God father” is also used in different communicative spheres: sports, economics, medicine etc. etc. 1. Pele is the God father of Modern Football. 2. The late Feodrov an ex-Presidential candidate in Russia was the God father in the treatment of eye disease in the Russian Federation. In the series of sentences we observe the different semantic potentials of the word “God father. The article, ‘the’ distinguishes “God the father” as the only God from the other gods related to traditional religion, occultism, and Spiritism. In any case small letters are used to denote the small god ends, they are normally written “gods” or “god” (“The god of water” for example. The word has the potential of acquiring the usual meaning and it has the potential of acquiring occasional meaning [11]. There is some semantic resemblance that is an object of worship. In this direction the word ‘God’ and ‘god’ relates to one another in terms of the notion of entailment and contradiction. The contradiction comes with the use of small letters for “gods” and the use of capital letters for the only one creator. But there is an entailment, which is worship, an object and a subject [12. P. 103]. Linguistically this is universally accepted that small letters relate to small gods and the capital letter is related to the creator. In Akan “God the father” is translated - Yen Agya a owo soro. It coincides with the Russian “Oтец небесный” which is directly translated “Our Father in heaven”. In all the three languages the only creator is distinguished from the other gods. The following examples will expatiate the concept “God Father” in relation to Akan. 1. Osuafo a ohwe amanone nsem so Owura Shervenadze wagye no atom se wakwadri mu wo aman aman amanyosem mu. In the place of the underlined we can use se akukudanfoo no mu baako wo wiase aman amanman amanyo sem mu. 2. Se Rossiafoo pe se wodi yie wo won adwadie ne won asikasem mu a gye se wo ne ewiase aman man a wowo sika no kasa yie wo Kanada. It could also be expressed “as ewiase aman aman adefoo no. It can also be expressed as ewiase aman akukudam foo a owo sika no. 3. Se wope se wobebue adwuma bi wo oman yi mu a gye se wo ne akukudamfoo a owo asoee a ehwe dwadie so no di nkitahoo. ‘Крестный отец’ is a direct equivalent to ‘God father’ in English. In the lexicosemantic plan they coincide. Translation to Akan could not produce any phrase; sentences have rather been produced in examples one and two. In example 3 akukudamfo is a word and could not match the two forms in Russian and English. It is evident that the concept ‘God father’ or ‘крестный отец’ is absent in the Akan language. In all the cases “God father” has been translated to suit the communicative context of Akan. The alternative form of “God father” in Akan is wakwadiri in example I and it is also synonymous to ‘an experienced person’ in English. The important issue in translation is to interpret the concept through related words and expressions in the receptor’s language. The other way that God father is used is when a child is born. The parents may decide to make some closer friend to the family. “God father” of the child, semantically has no relation with somebody who has been named God father of international politics (Kрестный отец). There is semantic disparity between the two. It is therefore in place to admit Mildred’s position that meaning components are packaged differently in one language than the other and that, this characteristic has a direct bearing on the principle of translation. The concepts are different, the form is the same but the meaning is completely different. So the process has been accomplished using the same word “God father” but it has been translated to a different representation. The meaning cannot be associated to each other. The fact that a form indicates supremacy or authority has been established by naming him “God father” in relation to the child could mean there is some semantic resemblance but there is no class equivalence (http//en.wikipedia.org (wiki) semantic translation. This concept does not exist in Akan, in Akan a child is named after somebody and that does not necessarily means he or she is the God father. It is not prominent in Russia. The Differences between the Three Languages 1. The three languages; Russian, English and Akan are separate linguistic entities. They are languages spoken by people with distinct socio-linguistic backgrounds. 2. Though there could be a slight difference between the source language text (SL) and the translated text (TT), semantic knowledge of the source language text is preserved in both cases. 3. Russian and the English language belong to the Indo-European group of languages and that they have common lexical-semantic identity/features in some cases. 4. There are certain socio-linguistic concepts that are absent in Akan but present in Russian and English. Translation all the same has to transmit a meaning to the receptor in Akan. 5. In certain cases, the first semantic meaning in the source language text differs from the way it is interpreted in certain language context in Akan like убью, kill being the first semantic meaning and “waku me” representing something positive in Akan. It means “waku me” represents a different linguistic knowledge in Akan. A different definition must be attached to the word in Akan. 6. It could be established that there is a difference between the semantic meaning of “kill” which cuts across Russian and Akan and the conceptual meaning of ‘waku me” (He/She has killed me) in Akan. The concept is not based on the universal meaning of “kill or killing” - [“убью” in Russian] “waku me” representing the first semantic meaning in Akan. 7. Секреты здоровья “The sense of good health, sends semantic and lexical information to the receptor in the English language but not the receptor in Akan. 8. The difference between the three languages is that at the level of translation each of the languages can be represented as the source language text but in this paper, Russian language is represented as the source language text. 9. The translated text in Akan is often lengthy because most of the concepts are absent in Akan and needs more detail in the translation, in other words, certain words have to be explained in a lengthy sentence to bring the meaning to the receptor in Akan. QUESTIONNAIRE ON THE “SEMANTIC SIEVE” IN TRANSLATION 1. Are you convinced that there is an unseen process between the source language text and the translated text? a) Yes; b) No; c) There is no need asking such a question; d) Find it difficult to answer. 2. We just have to talk about translation and stop talking about any process between source language text and the translated text a) Absolutely true; b) There is the need to talk about those processes; c) Processes are indirect with translation; d) Find it difficult to answer. 3. All the processes that occur between the source language and the translated text should be determined by the translator a) Absolutely true; b) It must be governed by certain translation principles; c) Translators don’t have such rights; d) Find it difficult to answer. 4. Do you support the claim that both the target language and the translated text play a role in the end product of translation? a) Only the source language; b) Only the target language; c) Both the source language and the target language; d) None of these. 5. We need to explore new areas in science a) We should stick to what has already been carried out by earlier scholars; b) Science is stagnant and it does not need changes; c) Language has nothing to do with science; d) Absolutely true. 6. Translation theory does not permit the development of new ideas and new hypothesis a) Absolutely true; b) Absolutely false; c) New hypothesis are welcome only if they don’t depart from the existing ones;d) Find it difficult to answer. Based on the diagram on the semantic sieve, answer the following questions by ticking or circling any one of them. 7. The semantic sieve should be accepted as a new hypothesis in translation studies Strongly disagree Disagree Agree Strongly agree 8. The Semantic sieve can only be used for bilingual translation 9. The semantic sieve cannot impact the translation process 10. The semantic sieve is just a guess work and has no scientific basis 11. As a result of the sifting process the receptor language is manufactured. 12. The semantic sieve is suitable for multilingual translation 13. The semantic sieve has not respect for Chambers 14. Apart from the source language the two languages can correspond as target languages 15. The semantic sieve brings out differences between meaning components 16. The semantic sieve is a good invention but it must be improved through its working mechanism 17. The semantic sieve is a good representation of the translation process 18. The sifting process indicates the mental activities of the translator 19. The semantic sieve enhances the study of comparative linguistic within the framework of translation 20. The semantic sieve applies to all languages and it enhances cross cultural studies a b c d N/A 1 43 2 2 1 41 2 1 3 16 29 4 6 39 5 1 1 34 9 6 2 39 4 7 5 25 15 8 5 31 7 2 9 14 27 3 1 10 17 27 1 11 3 33 9 12 1 1 26 17 13 19 23 1 2 14 24 21 15 23 22 16 21 24 17 1 17 25 2 18 29 12 4 19 1 12 30 2 20 1 6 37 1 Analysis of the Quantitative Response 45 Senior Members and Graduate Students actively took part in filling the questionnaire above. Primary analysis of the questionnaires indicates the varied opinions on translation with special reference to the employment of Semantic Sieve in the translation process. On the whole respondents agreed to an unseen process between the source language text and the translated text. On question 1, 43 respondents are convinced that there is an unseen process between the source language text and the translated text. This underpins the fact that mental activities goes on to determine the equivalence of the source language. On question number 2, 41 respondents are of the opinion that there is the need to talk about the translation process including the semantic sieve. The 2 respondents who believed there is no need to talk about those processes presumed that once translation as a process is mentioned it implies that the translator or anyone with knowledge in the translation process automatically knows all the translation process. On question number 3, 29 respondents are of the belief that translation must be guided by certain principles. A considerable number of respondents are of the opinion that all the processes that occur between the source language and the translated text should be determined by the translator. On question number 4, 39 respondents are of the view that the source language text and the target language play a role in the end product of translation. This group believes that the end product is derived from the source. Under the two points, the source language and the target language gives meaning to translation. 6 respondents are of the opinion that only the source language determines the end product of translation. This group believes that with the presence of the source language, there will definitely be a source language and that the source language produces the target language. It is important to emphasize on the role of the source language but a translated text comprises of the source language text and the target language. On question number 5, 34 respondents admitted that there is the need to explore new areas in Science, and 9 people did not respond to any of the question. On question number 6, 39 respondents are of the opinion that translation studies permits the development of new ideas and new hypothesis. 4 respondents are of the opinion that new hypothesis are welcomed only if they don’t depart from existing ones. The implication is that new ideas should conform to some extent to the theoretical orientation of translation theory. There is a correlation between B and C. On question 7, 25 people accepted that the sematic sieve should be accepted as a new hypothesis in translation studies. 15 of the respondents strongly agree to this assertion. It implies that they are very passionate about the semantic sieve been accepted as a new hypothesis in translation studies. 5 people expressed disagreement on the semantic sieve been accepted as a new hypothesis in translation studies. On question 8, 31 people agreed to the fact that the semantic sieve can only be used for bilingual translation. They are of the opinion that it can also be used for multilingual translation. Most bilinguals are also multilingual and especially in this context where Russian, English and Akan are been used as the lexical items in the translation process. On question 9, 27 respondents disagree to the fact that the semantic sieve cannot impact the semantic process. Based on the information available to them on the sematic sieve, it can impact the translation process. 14 of the respondents strongly disagree. Much as that is a smaller group, the intense nature of their disagreement is evident. 3 of the respondents agree to this assertion. They believe in the existing fundamental principles and theories in the translation process On question 10, 27 respondents are of the opinion that the semantic sieve cannot be guess work and that it has a scientific base. On question 11, 33 respondents agree to the fact that the receptor language is manufactured as a result of the sifting process. The receptor language is the product of the processes that stems from the source language. 9 respondents are of the same opinion with a strong indication. 3 respondents disagree to this position. On question number 12, 26 respondents agree to the fact that, the semantic sieve is suitable for multilingual translation even though translation proper deals with 2 languages; the Source language text and the Target language (TL). A third language brings in the multilingual factor for the purposes of the working mechanism of the semantic sieve, multilingual translation is suitable for this translation process. 17 people strongly agree to this position. 1 person expresses a strong disagreement and the other person expresses disagreement. On question number 13, 23 respondents opted for B and 19 opted for A. this implies that the sieving process can take place between any of the two languages. Akan could be the source language text or English or Russian. There is an interpretation of the content from one chamber to the other. The sieving process, the instrument to determine how the text is translated in the next stage is not restricted to one chamber. The 19 respondents who indicated that they strongly disagree have no room for argument implying that any of the language could be the tagged as the source language text (SL) or the Target language (TL). On question 14, 24 respondents agree to the fact that one language can be the source language, and any one of the two languages can be the target language (TL). There is a relationship between question 13 and 14. On question 15, 23 respondents adhere to the opinion that there are differences between meaning components, 22 respondents strongly agree to the questions. On question number 16, 24 respondents expresses their strong agreements to the fact that the semantic sieve needs an improvement. As a new language phenomenon in translation theory, much work has to be done on it clearer to many who may not grasp the understanding from the first reading of its nature; 21 respondents agree to this assertion by the 24 respondents. On question number 17, 25 respondents strongly agree to the fact that the semantic sieve is a good representation of the translation process in any bilingual or multilingual translation. Between the source language text (SL) which is in one chamber and the target language which is another chamber, there are unseen natural activities that goes on between the two chambers. The translator is the subject acting to bring a process unto action. This calls for ability to interpret the meaning of the contents in one chamber and be able to translate it into another chamber. 17 respondents agree as well to the facts on this position. There were no responses from 2 people. On question number 18, 29 respondents agree to the facts that the sifting process indicates the mental activities of the translator. The process of sifting is synonymous to the sieving process. The sifting represents the efforts being made by the translator. This represents the bilingual or multilingual competence of the translator. The creation of a logical relationship between the source language text (SL) and a translated text (TL). 4 people didn’t respond to this question. On question 19, 30 respondents strongly agree to the fact that semantic sieve enhances the study of comparative linguistics. The study brings various benefits to the students of translation studies. A comparative study within the framework of translation brings out lexical semantic specifics of the three languages and this enhances the study of comparative linguistics. There were no responses from 2 people. On question 20, 37 respondents agree to the fact that semantic sieve applies to all languages. It means that 2 languages can be compared and at the same time 3 languages can be compared. Translation is a cross cultural activity. The efforts to make sure that meaning components in one chamber are meaningfully transferred to the other chamber implies the semantic sieve enhance cross cultural studies. 6 people expresses the same opinion and there were no responses from 1 person. 3. Conclusion Semantics deals with the study of words and their meaning. Before one assigns meaning to a sentence one needs to know the substance of the sentence. The semantic sieve unfolds a linguistic philosophy. Although semantics is the central theme of the paper it is equally important to note that the syntaсtic make up of a sentence is equally important as the words it contains. While attention needs to be showered on the semantic specifications, the paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations of words cannot be divorced from semantics. The semantic sieve as a process may obscure the results of the sifting process through translation. There could be identical results in two languages but completely different from the other language. In some cases English and Russia will have identical results after the sieving process. The meaning after translation does not reflect any distortion of facts rather they reflect the linguistic realities of the translated text. In the case of “God Father”, and “крестный отец” in Russian, we observe a linguistic parallelism whereas the concept is not popular in Akan, the understanding is existent in the Akan language but the phrase per se is not existent. Translation into Akan will require detailed explanation probably and extra linguistic means to explain the meaning. Translation as a linguistic concept within the frame work of the semantic sieve is not stagnant. Translation as a linguistic concept implies transferring the meaning of the source language into the receptor language. By way of a semantic structure the form of composition of the source language changes to a different form of composition in the receptor’s language. The meaning should be constant while the form changes. In the case of the semantic sieve concept, the source language could differ from the translated text. In a case where “kill” was used as a positive word in Akan after an upliftment or favor. The word “waku me” indicating that a favor has been done to one is completely at war with words like “избран” (izbran) and “uplifted” or appointed in Russian and English respectively. It can be expressed in a different way in Akan. Oman panin “aye me yie”, Waye me papa” but in Akan “waku me” vividly expresses the person’s appreciation. Semantically these words in English and Russia are not consonant to “waku me”, in Akan if translation from the source language to the receptor’s language were to be measured in terms of semantic accuracy or semantic structure then it is a complete opposite, indeed they are semantically incompatible. The communicative situation of a given phrase or sentence in a given language will have an important bearing on translation. There are instances where the reconstructing of the source language using the lexicon and grammatical structure which are suitable and appropriate in Akan or English yields perfect results. That is, the source language and the receptor language agree, the meaning is preserved in the translated text. The semantic sieve displays uniformity, example in its results. For example where “ “Cекреты здоровья” is used the translation in English conforms to the Russian text in the sense that while all the sentences in Russian begins with “Sekriti Zdorovia” in the translated that in English also starts with “The secret of good health” in “Ahintasem” also starts with all the sentences. There is cordiality in the paradigmatic relation in all the three languages; there are close paradigmatic and syntagmatic relation between Russian and English. There is even some closeness with Akan in the Paradigmatic and the syntagmatic sense, except that Russian and English are indo-European languages. The semantic sieve can produce clear results after the sifting process in translation while it can obscure the meaning in the same language, in this perspective the Akan language can be obscured from a semantic point of view in some cases as the paper upholds.

About the authors

Albert Antwi Boasiako

Department of Modern Languages, University of Ghana

Author for correspondence.
Email: aaboasiako@ug.edu.gh
P O Box LG 207, Legon

Doctor of Modern Languages Department of University of Ghana


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