Posts Tagged ‘applied linguistic’


(Kutipan referensi/citation: Jurnal Linguistik terapan Vol 3/1, Mei 2013)

Iwik Pratiwi



by Iwik Pratiwi

SMK Negeri 2 Malang

Master’s candidate in Applied Linguistics at FIB of Brawijaya University



Rantau 1 Muara is the the last novel of the trilogy is the last trilogy of Negeri 5 Menara, written by Anwar Fuadi. The novel settings include, one of them, the unique life of pesantren. Because it is so unique, the translation into English may face problems as many of the concepts talked about are bound to Javanese or Islamic culture. Thus, it can be predicted that some problems should appear. To prove this, the writer translates one chapter and report the problem and how to solve the problems. This “translator reseacher” kind of research shows that the problems of non-equivalence are resulted from not only the author’s uses of local dialects and Arabic Islamic terms also the lexical and semantic field of the source words or expressions. More specifically the problems include cultural specific context, source text not lexicalized in target text, semantically complex source text, source text and target text making different distinction in meaning, differences in expressive meaning, differences in form, and loan words in source text. To make the translation of the text into English readable and relatable as possible, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic strategies, are adopted.

Keywords: Source Text (ST), Target Text (TT), equivalence, semantic field, lexical set, strategies


In Translation Studies, equivalence is an important concept. There are many levels of equivalence, and word level equivalence is the lowest level. Although translators do not normally work on word-for-word equivalence, the discussion may serve as the basic step in dealing with non equivalence found in the source text.


Baker (1992) defines word as the smallest unit of language which we would expect to possess individual meaning. In translation, everything would be easier if there were a one-to-one relationship between words and meaning in the various languages. But it isn’t so.

According to Cruse, in Baker (1992), there are four types of meaning on words and utterances: propositional meaning, expressive meaning, presupposed meaning and evoked meaning. Presupposed meaning arises from selectional and collocational restrictions, while evoked meaning arises from dialect and register variation which covers field, tenor and mode of discourse. All types of the above lexical meaning contribute to the overall meaning of utterance or a text. In case of problems of non equivalence, Baker suggests that it is useful to view the semantic fields and lexical sets of a language. Understanding the semantic field and lexical sets can be useful to appreciate the value that a word has in a given system and to develop strategies for dealing with non equivalence.



General Overview of the Novel

Rantau 1 Muara is the last trilogy of Negeri 5 Menara, written by Anwar Fuadi, whose writing has inspired millions of people. The trilogy is inspired by the author’s enlightening education experience at Pondok Modern Gontor, an Islamic boarding school in East Java The first novel has been translated into English by Angie Kilbane and published in 2011. The translation of the second and third sequels are still in question. Part 17, Maghrib Terhebat, describes Alif’s first meeting with Dinara, the girl he falls in love with. The author of the novel who puts himself as the main character, is a member of Islamic community and spent some years in Islamic boarding school or pesantren. His utterances are mostly informal mixed with Islamic terms. He also uses many highly expressive items in this part, such as : enaknya, sebel, lega, salah sendiri, ini gawat, gombal, hebat juga dia, etc.

Concept of Islamic Prayers

The title of part 17, The Greatest Maghrib, refers to one of five most well-known Islamic prayers performed daily : at dawn (shubuh), midday (zuhur), afternoon (‘asr), sunset (maghrib) and evening (‘isha). At the five appointed times, a muazin announces a call to prayer (azan), traditionally from a mosque’s minaret. Shalat must always be preceded by ablutions (wudu’) of ritually washing the face, hands, and feet. This can be done with sand when water is not available. (Qur’an 5:6; also 2:222, 4:43.) Shalat is always directed in the direction (qiblat) of the Ka’ba shrine in Mecca. It may be performed individually, but it carries special merit when done with other Muslims (jama’ah). A prayer mat (sajada) is commonly used during the shalat.

When performing salat jama’ah at the mosque, worshippers are aligned in parallel rows behind the prayer leader (imam), who directs them through the rak’as (prescribed postures and recitations). Islamic prayer begins in a standing position with a glorification to God which called takbir, then moves through several simple postures until the supplicant is kneeling.

Specified recitations are said in each posture. The content of prayer is glorification of God, recitations of the Qur’an, and blessings on the Prophet. Shalat concludes with the taslima (greeting), “Peace be upon you,” even when praying alone.

Shalat and other Islamic rituals and practices can be easily observed in various aspect of Indonesian culture. As many other Islamic countries, Indonesian selectional and collocational restrictions are also typical and need to be treated carefully to avoid awkward wording in English, since English does not normally have equivalence for: memimpin doa, shalat berjamaah, mengirim doa, membaca tartil, mengambil wudhu, etc.

Differences in the structure of semantic field in Indonesia and English is notably challenging, therefore, assessing the value of given item in a lexical set is always desirable. The word malu in ST, for example, has at least three different meanings in TT: shy, embarrassed, ashamed. Also, while ST differs sholat from doa, TT has a single equivalent: prayer.



This paper is a report of a small research. This is a kind of annotated translation, where the translator reports the translation problems and how to solve them while she was translating. The data are taken from a novel by Anwar Fuadi, namely Part 17 of the novel: Rantau 1 Muara, by Anwar Fuadi, which entitled Maghrib Terhebat. Because the novel is so unique, the translation into English may face problems as many of the concepts talked about are bound to Javanese or Islamic culture. Thus, it can be predicted that some problems should appear. To prove this, the writer translates one chapter and report the problem and how to solve the problems.

Then, the writer discusses the problems of non-equivalence at word level in the translation she did as well as some strategies for dealing with them. The discussion of the translation is mainly referring to equivalence presented by Baker (1992) in her book, In Other Words, providing the background knowledge and approaches related to non-equivalence before contrasting some typical conceptual and lexical semantic fields to prove that there is a considerable linguistic gap between Indonesian and English. The proposed strategies for dealing with problems of non equivalence are mainly adopted from Chesterman (1997) in Hariyanto (2013). Finally, the writer also presents the result of the translation to show the different side of pesantren that are not widely seen by people throughout the world, especially in the post 9-11 world, when pondok or pesantren often gets unfairly stereotyped.



Problems of Non Equivalence in the Translation

The local dialects and the uses of Arabic widely used in the novel are the main challenge due to non equivalence at word level in the translation of the text into English, that is to say that the TT has no direct equivalent for a word which occurs in ST. The followings are the problems of non equivalence found in ST, referring to Baker’s classification:

  1. Cultural specific context, i.e.: kampungan, bukan basa basi, mengirim doa, membaca secara tartil, sandal jepit, etc.
  2. Source Text (ST) is not lexicalized in Target Text (TT), i.e.: shalat, azan, wudhu, mukena, etc.
  3. The ST is semantically complex, i.e. : saling menjajaki, gombal, enaknya, etc
  4. ST and TT make different distinction in meaning, i.e. : malu (may means shy, ashamed or embarrassed in TT)
  5. Differences in expressive meaning: menambat hatiku, mencuri pandang, bergelung etc.
  6. Differences in form : narasumber, berpikir ulang, kampungan, malasmalasan, etc.
  7. Loan words in ST : Maghrib, tartil, jamaah, (borrowed from Arabic)



To deal with the above problems of non equivalence, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic strategies, following Chesterman (1997) in Hariyanto (2013), are adopted to make the translation of the text into English readable and relatable as possible. The discussion is presented in a table of three columns consisting strategy, hint and example of language item found on ST. The examples are provided with the line number of the language items to provide easier review on the text development. Although only strategies used for dealing with non equivalence at word level will be presented,  a full linguistic account of its meaning is somehow desirable.

Syntactic Strategies

Following Chesterman (1997) ten syntactic strategies which involve pure syntactic changes 1) literal translation, 2) loan: Calque, naturalization, 3) transposition, 4) unit shift, 5) phrase structure change, 6) clause structure change, 7) sentence structure change, 8) cohesion change, 9) level shift and 10) scheme change), the translation of the text applies the followings:

Table 1: Samples of Syntactic Strategies

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Semantic Strategies

Chesterman suggests changes mainly related to lexical semantics and sometimes aspects of clause meaning such as emphasis which includes:  1) synonyms, 2) antonyms, 3) hyponyms, 4) converses, 5) abstraction change, 6) distribution change, 7) emphasis change, 8) paraphrase, 9) trope change and other semantic changes.

Table 2: Samples of Semantic Strategies

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Pragmatic Strategies

Unlike the previous strategies which manipulate meanings, these strategies manipulate message and tend to involve bigger from the ST, and typically involve syntactic and /or semantic changes as well. Chesterman (1997) categorizes pragmatic strategies into : 1) cultural filtering, 2) explicitness, 3) information change, 4) interpersonal change, 5) illocutionary change, 6) coherence change, 7) partial translation 8) visibility change, 9) transediting, and 10) other pragmatic changes.

Table 3. Samples of Pragmatic Strategies

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The translation of part 17 : Maghrib Terhebat, under the principles of equivalence is basically aimed at producing the English version of the text that is equivalent with the source text which is written in Indonesian. The problem of equivalence in translating this novel into English is quite significant not only because the author uses a lot of local dialects and Arabic Islamic terms in his novel, but the lexical and semantic field of the ST also has all kinds of non equivalence. Retaining it as much of the original flavor would be impossible without adequate insight about culture and ability to choose the most equivalent language items.

Although the strategies dealing with the problems of non equivalence is adopted for word level, the discussion of sentence level is unavoidable, since translators are not normally looking at every word in isolation and always expected to present the translation with a full linguistic account of meaning. Other strategies and differences between the ST and TT are preferably studied for further discussion.


Baker, M. 1992. In Other Words: A Coursebook on Translation. Routledge: London.

Grundy, P .2000 Doing Pragmatics. Oxford University Press: New York

Halliday, Mathiessen, 1985. Systemic Functional Linguistics.Hodder Education Publisher, New York. Halliday, Mathiessen. Systemic Functional Linguistics.Hodder Education Publisher, New York.

Hariyanto, Sugeng.2007. Globalization and Web Site Translation. Paper presented at the national Seminar and Workshop on Translation in the Globalized World. Politeknik Negeri Malang, 8 December 2007)

Hariyanto, Sugeng.2013. Translation Theoretical Overview and Practical Pointers. Unpublished Handbook.

Fuady, Anwar. 2011. The Land of Five Towers. Translated by Angie Kilbane. Gramedia Pustaka Utama.Jakarta.

Fuady, Anwar. 2013. Ranau Satu Muara. Gramedia Pustaka Utama. Jakarta




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