Equivalence in the Translation of Phraseological Units. An Empirical


  • Germán Darío Mira Álvarez Universidad de Antioquia




phraseological units, translation, equivalence, contrastive analysis


This article presents a contrastive analysis of the translation of a sample of phraseological units taken from the novel Rosario Tijeras and from its English version. Firstly, the elements affecting the equivalence in the translation of this kind of units are determined; secondly, each procedure used in the translation is identified; lastly, the degree of adequacy obtained is evaluated and the conclusions of the study are presented. The objectives included making a contrastive analysis which characterizes the type of equivalence achieved in the translation of the units in the corpus, identifying the kind of procedure used in the translation, evaluating the adequacy of the translation in each of the procedures used and proposing a method to evaluate the degree of adequacy in the translation of phraseological units. The method involved firstly, identifying the units in the source and target text and extracting them. Then, checking the phraseological status of the units against a series of lexicographic works and electronic corpora of reference, both in Spanish and English. The next step was determine the kind of semantic, morphosyntactic and pragmatic information that would characterize each unit and its English language counterpart to create the individual filing cards. This information was electronically stored in a lexicographic database, so it could be systematized and later analyzed. The results showed that loss or change of sense in the translation of phraseological units occurs when some components that make up the sense of the original units are not kept, when there is a wrong interpretation of the sense of the unit, or when the translator fails to recognize its presence. The procedures leading to this kind of loss have also been identified. On the other hand, some strategies have been identified which do not keep the elements that make up the sense of the unit, but which constitute appropriate translation equivalents in their context. The translation of phraseological units is particularly complex because with the procedures used it is not always possible to keep their pragmalinguistics and sociocultural components, which results in a significant loss of sense. Due to this complexity, some strategies and procedures for the translation of phraseological units should not be aprioristically considered as the most or least appropriate, and should only be evaluated in the context in which they are used. The results of this empirical study can be regarded as a method to evaluate the translation of phraseological units.

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Author Biography

Germán Darío Mira Álvarez, Universidad de Antioquia

Germán Darío Mira Álvarez is a professional in Languages ​​from the University of Antioquia. Master in Linguistics and professor at the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the same university.


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How to Cite

Mira Álvarez, G. D. (2011). Equivalence in the Translation of Phraseological Units. An Empirical. Íkala, Revista De Lenguaje Y Cultura, 16(1), 105–131. https://doi.org/10.17533/udea.ikala.8657



Empirical Studies

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