AWEJ Special Issue on Literature No.1, 2013 Pp. 248- 263
The Importance of Connotation in Literary Translation
Asim Ismail Ilyas
Arab Open University, Jordan
Meaning in literary texts is somehow different from meaning in a technical or scientific text in which the main meaning is denotation (or referential meaning) rather than connotation, as the main function of scientific texts is to carry or transfer information. In literary texts, in which the main function is artistic, connotation acquires additional prominence. This implies that connotation has to be carefully attended to when translating literature. This paper tackles denotation/connotation transactions, and presents a number of authentic translated examples (from Arabic into English and vice versa) that are analysed in order to highlight some translators’ errors in rendering connotatively-charged texts. It highlights the importance of connotative meaning in literary translation, which has to be carefully attended to.
Keywords: connotation; denotation; connotative equivalent; associations; function; culture