The concept of ‘Adaptation’ in translation

Adaptation is a free form of translation technique. It has been used for centuries especially during the 17th and the 18th centuries.

 What is Adaptation?

Two French linguists, Jean-Paul Vinay and Jean Darbelnet, defined adaptation in the year 1958, as a procedure which can be used whenever the context referred to in the original text does not exist in the culture of the target text, thereby necessitating some form of re-creation.

Adaptation as a translation technique

Adaptation as a translation technique is accepted in translating meta-linguistic texts including dramas and children theater.

The translation technique of adaptation is also used in the fields of advertising and subtitling where acoustic or visual factors have to be considered.

Criticism of using Adaptation as a translation technique

Many translators have criticized the use of adaptation as they feel that adaptation leads to distortion and is a kind of betrayal to the original author.

When should a translator make use of Adaptation

While professional translators take into account all sorts of constraints when adopting a translation technique, there are certain situation where translators commonly resort to adaptation. For example if the target language doesn’t have any lexical equivalents or if the context in which the original text was written doesn’t exist in the target language, translators often use adaptation as a translation methodology.

Types of Adaptation

The two main types of adaptation are Local Adaptation and Global Adaptation. The point of distinction between these forms of adaptation are whether the issue lies in the original text, in which case it becomes Local Adaptation, or in factors outside the original text when it becomes Global Adaptation.

In Local Adaptation the technique of Adaptation is applied to only specific parts of the original text while in Global Adaptation the technique is applied on the overall text.

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