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The Language Aspect of Communication Essay

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Updated: Jan 20th, 2021

Explain how the knowledge of psycholinguistic levels can help translators in producing an equivalent discourse in the process of translation

The language aspect of communication has to be examined for the efficient delivery and reception of information. The need for people to pick up, use, and comprehend language necessitated the demand to study the psychological aspect of language, which is referred to as psycholinguistics. The discipline digs into the neurological and psychological features of language in a bid to identify the factors underlying it from a scientific point of view. In this case, the knowledge of the various levels of psycholinguistics is necessary for professionals who translate one language into another without distorting the intended message.

From the neurological perspective of understanding language, the translators understand the importance of cognitive engagement and connectionism. The knowledge of the two aspects of translation enables the translators’ brain to read the source information and translate it instantly without errors. The psychology of language entails the application of some syntactic rules that govern the organisation of information received before it is translated. In this view, language is presented in the form of symbols and strings that need to be processed in a digital like manner. Therefore, before translating any language, the translator engages his/her left hemisphere actively whereby a series of analyses take place for the extraction of the right words. This technique of translation is further enhanced by the local serial principle (LSP) that provides for the sequential processing of symbols before translation. In this regard, information received by the translator has to undergo some serial processing before the symbols are translated to avoid the distortion of information.

In order to understand the text information from the source, the translators need to connect well with their intuition. By knowing this aspect of language, the translators would be in a position to think and translate according to the context simultaneously. For this reason, the translators use their common sense to comprehend the literary piece of information intuitively as presented to them before converting it into the preferred language. Knowledge of the connectionism concept equips the translators with the essential techniques of linking objects with the discourse. Thus, the engagement of the brain not only enhances the clarity of the discourse, but also puts it into the right context, thus resulting in better comprehension.

Knowledge in psycholinguistics adorns the translators with a well-structured framework for purposes of information processing. Understanding the systematic change of standard speech gives the translators an edge, and thus they engage their memory in processing the source text or sounds in their approach. Before interpreting the sentences and clauses semantically, the translator firstly divides the speech into natural linguistic groups comprising of clauses and sentences. Equivalent translation then proceeds after engaging the memory and systematic processing in the brain.

Therefore, psycholinguistics is essential for the enhancement of the translation process concerning connecting the symbolised ideas in the literary text through connectionism. In this regard, the neurological aspect of communication becomes a primary factor for consideration in a bid to engage in an efficient discourse. This aspect ensures that grammatical and orthographic errors are avoided whereby comprehensiveness of the information in the target language is achieved. In this light, translators can deliver translations that do not welcome the suspicion that they have been translated into, thus resulting in the delivery of quality literary works of translation.

Discuss how the translation of discourse and culture can be a challenge while translated from one language into another

The translation of language and discourse can be a threat to the efficient translation of one language into another. Literary texts of historical and cultural importance require a lot of effort from the translator to avoid falling victim of cultural variations in translating. Since language is a primary aspect of culture, it is significant to uphold it since it is a tool that is used for socialisation through discourse. Discourse entails the use of names and episodes that have substantial meaning to a particular culture whose language is subject to translation. Therefore, the translator needs to maintain the original context of the translation that could have a similar comprehension when the translated literary text is presented to people of a different culture.

The problem of translating unique names has troubled translators for a long time. In literary materials, characters are given names that go in line with their attributes in a particular culture. The need to translate the names correctly without interfering with the cultural context is thus essential for efficiency. For instance, a good number of the character names in the Harry Potter series had to be translated into other languages considering the context and accuracy. This aspect implies that the new names given to the characters have to consider the culture of the new language that it is being translated to in a bid to gain relevance in the new setting given that Harry Potter is an aesthetic piece of literature. In this regard, the need to bring out the artistic attributes of the story has to consider the translated names’ impact in the new context based on the culture. For this reason, cultural diversity challenges translators especially when character names have to maintain their meaning.

Religion is an important feature of culture whereby locations or names given to characters in the source text may have spiritual meaning. The religious context in which the names appear in the original text needs to be acknowledged by the translator in a bid to uphold the spiritual relevance that they possess. For example, the Islamic culture values names that have religious sense, thus leading to the commonality of names such as “Abdullah” and “Mohammed”. Translating these names from the Arabic context to a language of different culture poses problems in case the other culture does not have names that symbolise the religious attributes of the characters. The use of proper names in the Arabic culture portrays the conservative nature of their culture that might be contrary to other religions in which the text needs to be translated. Muslims have a unique way of conducting their greetings, thus implying that the discourse of the translated greetings might have different implications for other cultures. Social functions embedded in religion in the form of greetings characterised by self-ingratiation, humility before God, gratitude, and expressions of philanthropy tend to pose contextual challenges in translation.

Some communities use two languages at the same time for different reasons. Sociolinguistics refers to this situation as diglossia. For instance, discourse in the Arabic culture is characterised by diglossia that in turn could pose problematic cases when translating. The highly used vernacular (H) may prove to be easier to translate as compared to the lowly used vernacular (L), thus causing difficulties in translation. For instance, in the Arabic culture, “H” is used for formal purposes while “L” is common in colloquial or informal discourses. In this light, the application of lowly used vernacular tends to inhibit accurate translation since evoking the reactions intended could be relatively hard in another culture.

“Comprehension begins with the perception of sounds” Discuss this notion by providing an analysis of the speech organs and how they produce sounds: consonants and vowels

The reception of sounds during communication elicits different perceptions that affect the comprehension of the intended message. Speech perceptions from the psycholinguistics point of view entail picking the relevant information presented by the source whereby the linguistic capabilities of the listener are put to the test. The speech signal is usually given in the form of sounds that incorporates consonants and vowels. The production of speech is facilitated by various speech organs that undergo precise mechanisms as one speaks. Understanding how the organs of speech function provides one with valid information that could be used to understand foreign languages and enhance correct interpretation. Therefore, the way vowels and consonants are uttered influences the first impression and comprehension in the process of communication.

Speech organs above the lungs facilitate the production of speech in the form of consonants and vowels whereby air from the lungs is modified into sounds. The significant organs in this process include the nose, tongue, glottis, pharynx, and the lips. When these organs are closed or narrowed, air from the lungs is regulated, thus resulting in the production of vowels and consonants in the form of sounds that can be recognised by the listener. Therefore, the listener identifies the individual sounds that form words that build meaningful sentences regarding the topic that is being discussed. The listeners comprehend the sounds better through maintaining eye contact with the lips movement, hence sending signals to their brain, thus creating different perceptions in the process.

The frequency at which the listeners hear a word from the speaker enhances the right comprehension of the communicated message. The regular pattern of words uttered by the speaker implies that the listener perceptions are enhanced, hence efficiency in communication. The aspect of frequency in the reception of the regular consonants and vowels is psychological in nature, thus indicating that the neurological framework is tuned according to the context. Therefore, listeners are highly accurate in sound recognition and interpretation when the stimuli they hear is from the same speaker since they are familiar with their voice.

The lexical neighbourhood of a word also plays a vital role in its perception. Consonants and vowels forming words that have many similarly pronounced words tend to create difficulties in comprehending the actual intended meaning. For instance, in English, the word “cat” has a number of neighbouring words that tend to delay the comprehension of the sounds uttered by the speaker. For this reason, consonants and vowels produced to form words that do not have many lexical neighbours tend to be comprehended fast according to the context.

Listeners ‘translate’ the speech that they hear according to their understanding. Some listeners encode the sounds received in idealised or symbolic forms. In most cases, this aspect depends on the listeners and the speakers’ genders. For this reason, recorded vowel stimuli tend to evoke different perceptions of the message when the gender of the speaker is concealed. The accent too has a bearing on the interpretation of vowels and consonants. Speakers that are not fluent in the language they are communicating in may face accent problems, thus affecting the comprehension of sounds among listeners. Consequently, different perceptions of the sounds emanate thereby challenging comprehension.

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