AWEJ for translation & Literary Studies Volume, 1 Number 4, October 2017                                     Pp.39 -51

 Pragmatic Aspect of Translation: The Interpretation-Based Inference and Its Implications for Translation

 Rafat Y. Alwazna

Department of European Languages and Literature
King Abdulaziz University
Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


Abstract PDF

The elements of encoding, transferring and decoding are crucial in all processes of communication, however, drawing the appropriate inference from the current context is equally important in communication according to relevance theory (Gutt, 1998, p. 41). Semantic content is not always sufficient to fully comprehend the exact meaning of a particular utterance as the meaning of that utterance may hinge upon the contextual detail with which it is inferentially associated. The success of the process of communication relies on whether or not the recipient makes use of the context intended by the speaker. Failure to do so would give rise to miscommunication (Gutt, 1998, p. 42). Translation, as a communicative act, involves interpretation made by the translator, which takes the context of the target text (TT) reader and his/her knowledge into consideration. The present paper argues that even though the translator, according to relevance theory, is required to reproduce a TT that can stand as a faithful rendering of the source text (ST), the translator, however, needs to make his/her translated text relevant to the target reader. This, in many instances, may demand following certain procedures of explications in the TT to equip the target reader with the relevant contextual information needed to draw the appropriate inferences from the utterance concerned, and therefore make the right interpretation. Such exegesis needs to be added to the target text as what is inferable for the ST user may not be inferable for the TT receiver owing to cognitive and cultural differences.

Cite as:

Alwazna, R. Y.  (2017). Pragmatic Aspect of Translation: The Interpretation-Based Inference and Its Implications for Translation. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies, 1(4).


Rafat Y. Alwazna works as an Associate Professor of translation studies, TESOL and legal
translation at King Abdulaziz University, KSA. He has published a number of research papers
and book chapters, currently serves as an International Advisor for the International Journal for
the Semiotics of Law (Springer) and he is guest editor of a special issue for the aforementioned
journal, entitled: ‘Islamic Law: Its Sources, Interpretation, Its Economics, Finance And The
Translation Between It And Laws Written In English’, which was published in 2016.