Example of Journal Review

Systemic Functional Linguistic Approach To Translation Studies

LIU Ming

Yohana Ekky P



There are many students of both linguistics and translation field that never think that Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) can be used as an approach to translation studies. They usually think that SFL is only for linguistics and translation has its own theories to be applied as the approach. Through this journal, LIU Ming discovered a great applicable way of SFL as an approach to translation studies.

According to Halliday, Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) is an approach to linguistics that considers language as a social semiotic system. It means people use language to accomplish purposes by expressing textual meaning within society. Meanwhile, translation is defined by Catford as “the replacement of textual material in one language (Source Language) by equivalent textual material in another language (Target Language)” (Catford 1965, p.20).

Language is used by everyone, because everyone needs to communicate. Therefore, there are many variations of choices in using it to express anything in the world. It is just the same with the systemic theory which is defined by Halliday as a theory of meaning as choice which is essentially consumer oriented. As a note to keep in mind, people from around the world have their own languages and cultures. Therefore, the appropriate translation is needed to keep communication takes place.

However, many famous scholars based on linguistics once found that there were linguistic differences between the source and the target language. In this journal, the example given is in ancient Chinese poem which was found had different translated version. It surely affected the meaning intended. In 1960s, they began to develop linguistic approach to translation studies. Linguists from around the world that came afterward developed more approach based on linguistic theories including SFL. It is shown in this journal that SFL is applicable to the translation studies.

There are three metafunctions identified by Halliday which are the ideational or ‘reflective’, interpersonal or ‘active’ and textual metafunction. They take important role in SFL approach to translation studies.

The ideational metafunction focuses on the propositional content of the message. It is divided into experiential and logical function. Experiential function refers to grammatical choices that enable people to make meaning about everything through transitivity and voice system. Logical function refers to grammatical choices that enable people as speakers to build complex grammatical units. Therefore it can evaluate the translated text from SL to TL whether it can be said good or bad translation.

The interpersonal metafunction focuses on the interaction between the addresser and the addressee. It enables addresser to set the complex and various interpersonal relations through messages sent to the addressee. The grammatical system of it constitutes Mood, modality and evaluation as the important parts.

The textual metafunction focuses on how text is constructed. It constitutes three semantic systems which are thematic system, information structure and cohesion system. Thematic system identifies to how message is conveyed in two ways, Theme and Rheme. Information structure is divided into parts which are the New and the Given. Information structure identifies predictable or unpredictable things and known or new things. Cohesion system identifies how text should be cohesive or hang together. Textual metafunction aims so as there is no change in rendering the message from the source text into the target text.

In summary, linguistic theories have important role in translation studies. Nevertheless, from all linguistics theories, SFL is the most suitable to be used as an approach to translation studies because it is constructed to analyze text.

Through this journal, I find it easy to learn about SFL and its approach to translation studies. The texts constructed in this journal which are English way and have no error help to understand easily. LIU Ming has done a great job in discovering the linguistic approach to translation studies with the examples given, though I believe languages around the world have their own characteristics in their relation with English. I suggest everyone, both who takes linguistics and translation field to read this journal to understand SFL approach to translation studies better.

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