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Regarding Their Idiomaticity and Difficulty Hierarchy

  • The Journal of Translation Studies
  • Abbr : JTS
  • 2020, 21(1), pp.115-138
  • DOI : 10.15749/jts.2020.21.1.005
  • Publisher : The Korean Association for Translation Studies
  • Research Area : Humanities > Interpretation and Translation Studies
  • Received : February 10, 2020
  • Accepted : March 11, 2020
  • Published : March 31, 2020

Ahn Mi-Young 1

1제주한라대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Ahn, Mi-young (Cheju Halla University) Based on a contrastive study regarding English and Korean, this paper examines the phrasal verb construction to find how their different levels of idiomaticity affect such constructions’ difficulty hierarchy, causing difficulty in translating these phrasal verbs into Korean. After collecting items from a list containing approximately 2,000 phrasal verbs, the study limited its analysis to a sample of these verbs that belongs to three different levels of difficulty hierarchies (Prator, 1967), depending on their idiomatic levels (Shin, 2008). First, some phrasal verbs that can be literally translated into Korean without transforming the SLT structure are grouped into the transfer stage of phrasal verbs. Second, other phrasal verbs whose idiomatic meanings must be reinterpreted into different meaning units to fit the Korean semantic structure are categorized as the reinterpretation stage. Third, the remaining phrasal verbs, whose highest level of idiomaticity requires the highest level of translators’ interventions because they need a transformation of their syntactic and semantic structure of SLT for use in Korean, are classified as the split stage. This study found that the more idiomatic the phrasal verbs become, the more polysemous they become, making it more difficult to translate them into Korean. In conclusion, this study emphasizes the need for translators to develop competences to literally translate the first group; to reinterprete the idiomatic expressions of the second group; and to split the polysemous meanings into the relevant Korean semantic structure for the third group.

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