Sokendai Review of Cultural and Social Studies


The Problem of Quality in Translation:
A Vietnamese Version of Natsume Sōseki’s Kokoro

MẠNH Bùi Hùng

(Master’s Program, Hanoi Universiy)

TOKUNAGA Mitsuhiro

(Professor, Fukuoka Institute of Technology)

Key words:

translation, translation model, translation quality assessment, theoretical frameworks for translation, translation quality standard, translation process, equivalence, Vinay and Darbelnet, Eugene Nida, Natsume Soseki, Kokoro, Nỗi lòng

Translation activity began in ancient times. In modern society, the need for multi-language communication is great. These days anyone can easily obtain a translation from a foreign language. These days anyone can easily take a language course or a translation course. This means that almost anyone can participate in the work of translation. Accordingly, there are many texts that have been translated with diverse shades of meaning and different degrees of quality.

Assessment of translation quality based on research into translating methods is indispensable. However, due to the lack of an appropriate methodological framework, current translation assessment mostly focuses on things like fixing vocabulary and syntax or analyzing errors, rather than evaluating the translation work in general.

Thus, the problem for the evaluation of a translation is to identify an appropriate methodological framework. And the key to the methodological framework is “objectivity” in the assessment. Although many theoretical models have been put forward, translation assessment is still mostly concerned with matters such as how to reduce the subjective factors of translation and the establishment of criteria by which the assessment could look at problems correctly from many different directions.

Scholars today can build on the research achievements of predecessors such as the view of “dynamic equivalence” of Eugene Nida, the seven translation methods of Vinay and Darbelnet, and the quality assessment model of Juliane House. In this essay, the authors examine some of the issues related to translation models and translation quality assessment. They propose some objective measures for assessing a translated document. In the final section of this essay, they apply the assessment criteria they proposed earlier (in the third section) to analyze and demonstrate how their model works in an actual investigation. The authors present an analysis of problems with the translation of Natsume Sōseki’s novel Kokoro into Vietnamese, in the hope the translation assessment criteria that they offer will be seen as useful in developing a theoretical framework for the translation field and will become accepted as the basic theory for translators, helping them to avoid unnecessary mistakes.