This chapter investigates the issues that arise when second and foreign language (LX) users include swearwords and taboo words in their speech. Knowing how to use these words appropriately requires considerable pragmatic competence. The difficulties that LX users face can arise from gaps in the semantic and conceptual representations of the LX swearwords and taboo words which leave them unsure about their exact meaning, their emotional force, their offensiveness, and their perlocutionary effects. Paradoxically, perfect knowledge of the LX is no guarantee for successful use of swearwords and taboo words because interlocutors might judge that LX users (identifiable though a foreign accent for example) do not have the right to use their swearwords and taboo words because they do not belong to the ‘in-group’. LX users are generally aware that LX swearing is a linguistic minefield that requires extra caution.
Translation is an activity that aims at conveying meaning or meanings of a given linguistic discourse from one language to another. Translation can be defined in terms of sameness of meaning across languages. According to some researchers, there can be no absolute correspondence between languages and hence no fully exact translations. Translation at some level is always possible, however, there are times when interlocutors are aware that they do not mean the same by particular phrases. Meaning is formed on each occasion of linguistic interaction and is therefore unique and not replicable. Therefore, a translation can never ‘mean’ the same as the source text. But this does not matter, because practice ensures that translators ‘get away with’ translating sufficiently well sufficiently often.
Pedro J. Chamizo Domínguez
If translating is always a difficult art, translating tabooed words or phrases is particularly difficult since the translator has to take into account not only the usual linguistic problems such as polysemy, false friends, ambiguity, or anachronisms. S/he also has to take into account aspects that are not, strictly speaking, linguistic, but cultural and/or political. This chapter analyses how the problems translating not only patent and explicit tabooed words, insults, invectives have been handled in different translations of a single text, but veiled allusions as well. Since the kind of words I am dealing with are susceptible to being considered offensive in the target language, while they are not—or are not with the same intensity—in the source language, it is also shown how, consciously or unconsciously, translators have often softened or censored the exact scope of the original utterances in their translations.
Matters connected with time are pervasive in language, and they are inextricably linked to the knowledge representation that each language offers. Hence, it is hardly possible to discuss translation (and particular examples of translation) without involving, explicitly or implicitly, issues of temporal modeling and tense translation. After some basic considerations on translation and translation studies, and a brief excursion into the closely related area of contrastive studies, this article discusses the translation network. This is a model for formalizing tense and aspect differences across languages, and for making explicit their impact on translation, which is offered here as a tool for developing further insight into both translation and tense and aspect. The article also presents a selection of further themes related to the translation of tense, with special emphasis on machine translation and corpus-based studies. Finally, it examines translation equivalence and untranslatability, the translation of tense and aspect between English and Portuguese, universals of translated text, metaphor, genre, and near-synonyms.