Equivalence has long been considered the central issue in translation studies by many scholars. Naturally, the problem of non-equivalence emerges which troubles most translators, particularly in literary translation because in texts of literature a translator often encounters culture-specific, period-specific terms, buzz words, or concepts that are not lexicalized at all in the target language. Therefore, this paper aims at studying the problem of non-equivalence at word level because according to Newmark (1988), the chief difficulties of translation are lexical, not grammatical. Specifically, through the case-study approach, the focus of the paper is on studying how strategies for dealing with non-equivalence at word level are applied in literary translation, with specific examples for illustration taken from the English translation of the Vietnamese satirical novel “Số Đỏ” (Dumb Luck), written by Vũ Trọng Phụng, translated into English by Nguyễn Nguyệt Cầm and Peter Zinoman. The theoretical framework of this paper is largely based on Mona Baker’s classification of non-equivalence at word level as well as strategies to deal with it. Finally, the paper attempts to evaluate the effectiveness of each strategy in dealing with non-equivalence at word level in a Vietnamese-English literary translation. Overall, words denoting culture and period-specific concepts prove to be most challenging, and six strategies as proposed by Baker are employed with approximately equal frequency but their effectiveness varies by each specific case.
Translation Studies, Non-Equivalence, Literary Translation