Difference between modulation and equivalence?
Thread poster: Cryptorchid
May 19, 2013

Is there anyone who could tell me the difference between modulation and equivalence, as presented by Vinay and Darbelnet? I just don't get it... both strategies seem to be about changing form and/or meaning in order to have the most idiomatic solution in the target language (still ending up with the same message in the end)..? Sure, there are some very clear-cut examples of modulation vs equivalence, but when it comes down to actually determining what's what in a translation, i find that the definitions of the two are insufficient... Is there anyone that can help me out here??? Thanks.

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Masoud Kakoli
Local time: 16:47
English to Persian (Farsi)
+ ...
Modulation vs Equivalnce Jul 11, 2013

The important point in modulation is that you change your point of view.
Imagine that you are going to translate this sentence: il est facile de demontrer (literal translation: it is easy to show) and you translate it as such: it is not difficult to show.
In this example you completely change your point of view. You change "easy" with "not difficult".
But equivalnce is when two languages describe the same sense by different words and it is used for translation of idioms and provebs. In equivalne you do change your point of view, you just substitute one proverb in SL with its equivalnce in your TL.

Example is taken from " Introducing Translation Studies" book.

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Thank you! Jul 15, 2013

I think I get it: the focus is different between the two, so that modulation is all about changing view point, whereas equivalence is about being idiomatic. It's just that there's quite a bit of overlap... It's very clear when it comes to idioms and proverbs being translated with their idiomatic equivalents, or to optional modulation such as the one you give an example of, but what about other cases? Such as changes that do entail a change in viewpoint, but that are made in order to retain idiomaticity rather than because we want to look at things from a different point of view? Then what are we dealing with: equivalence or (obligatory) modulation?

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Difference between modulation and equivalence?

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