For many scholars, the true mark of a field of study is its possibility for statistical quantification. The Scientific Method, first postulated by Alhazen and later moulded by Francis Bacon into the Empirical Method has become a yardstick for all scientific fields. A strictly logical approach is the only basis for attaining watertight conclusions.
Translation has been practised by some of the greatest minds in history: Marcus Tullius Cicero, Saint Jerome, Desiderius Erasmus, John Dryden, Alexander Pope, Ignacy Krasicki and Roman Jakobson. However, it still remains an intangible field where descriptions of translation range from the sublime to the ridiculous.
Attempts have made to make translation a more exact science by using a variety of tools, such as the ISO quality standard mentioned in the previous post, or various attempts to measure quality. The same can be said of the use of corpus tools or machine translation in the translation process, however, a strict form of notation could also be used to pin down equivalence in translation.
It might be helpful for translation researchers to put to use the following symbols: ≠ ≈ = ≡ where:
≠ signifies is not equal to
≈ signifies is approximately equal to or corresponds with
= signifies is equal to
≡ signifies is identical to
Obviously, this does not cover the whole range of equivalence open to the translator but it does allow us to be somewhat more specific in our description of the equivalence of certain terms. For example:
(a) Na szczęście nie ma już Układu Warszawskiego
(b) Układ Słoneczny jest czasami dzielony na oddzielne strefy
(c) Jest tu jakiś dziwny układ
(d) Podpisaliśmy Układ o Ograniczeniu Zbrojeń Strategicznych
(a) układ ≡ pact & układ ≠ system
(b) układ ≡ system & układ ≠ pact
(c) układ ≈ (communist) network & układ ≠ treaty
(d) układ ≡ treaty & układ ≠ network
Perhaps the use of such notation could make life much easier for translation scholars, researchers and trainers alike.