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Translation Competence: Beyond Bilingualism

Megaptche Megaptche Yvan Rudhel, Xu Wen

Abstract: In translation studies, it is sometimes assumed by some scholars that bilinguals are in possession of an innate competence for translating. In this research, aspects of bilingualism and translation competences are investigated. The questions driving the research are: is being a bilingual enough to be a translator? And what are the competences a translator needs to perform a good translation? This article addresses these questions through a comprehensive literature review and a small-scale empirical study. First, relevant literature on bilingualism and translation competence was reviewed. Second, an empirical investigation was carried out in which bilinguals and professional translators translated a source text to generate empirical data on the use of two languages and relevant translation competences. The results have shown that being a translator is more than being bilingual and going to a translation school is not a guarantee to be a good translator. The subject matter knowledge also matters. The research not only yield insights into the description and development of translation competence, but also provides potential avenues for translators’ self-improvement.
Keywords: bilinguals / matters / bilingualism and translation / competences / translation competence / matter knowledge / good translation / research

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