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Equivalence of Translations in International Reading Literacy Studies

Arffman’s ‘Equivalence of Translations in International Reading Literacy Studies’ published in 2010 discusses the need for equivalence in translation of all the languages used in education in the international assessment of student’s performance. The main purpose of the study discussed in this article was to explore the problems equivalence that develops as a result of translating writings in international reading literacy studies. The study aimed at offering those performing international reading literacy studies with information on problems faced when translating studies. In addition to the problem information, the study also offered solutions to these problems. One of the main findings of the research identified that there are problems in translation of different languages in grammar. It is therefore important to consider the problems that might arise when translating during international assessment of studies to ensure equivalence.

The reason for carrying out this study is very important to equivalence of translations. This is because assessing the international studies without noting the differences that occur in translating the different languages leads to unfair educational decisions. The main reason why the study discussed was conducted was to increase the validity of translated reading literacy and also improve on fairness and equity through equivalence in translation during international reading literacy studies assessment. According to Hambleton et al (2006), when a test is translated from one language to another, its validity must be identified to ensure fairness to the participants of the test regardless of their cultural background. The reason for the research is very clear and identifies an important issue in translation studies.

The translation of words into a different language involves equivalence. This is because the words may have different meanings when used in the two languages. This is one of the reasons why equivalence is necessary in international assessment. This research topic has been discussed by many researches and although some of these researches are more focused on the cross-cultural comparative studies, many of them have focused explicitly on the international reading literacy (Arffman 2010). The process of identifying equivalence in order to express the same meaning in different languages is often a problem for the translators (Marzban 2010). The author of this article discusses the research gap of this study and explains using previous studies. It is therefore very clear that the problem of translation in international studies need to be fair in assessment in order to make correct national educational decisions.

The number of those interested in international literacy studies has increased in the recent years. However, the assessment on the performance of the student on international basis provides more questions than the solutions it offers. These assessments are the bases of educational decisions by many countries. For instance, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) identified Finnish students as the best readers in the world. The decision to award Finish students the award led worldwide regard to Finland as the reference point when developing schooling in other countries. The research objective of this study is very clear because it tries to identify the problem in translation that could have led to the selection of Finish students as the best readers in the world. This problem could lead to other countries adopting the learning model of Finland without noting the major differences between the Finish language and other languages. The research will therefore help in development of measures and translation procedures by those involved in international literacy studies to make fair assessments.

The problem statement of the research discussed in the article is very clear and is also easily identified. This is because the research problem is explained in the title of the article. The article’s title shows that equivalence translation is necessary in international literacy studies. The explanation through the example of Finland makes the research question clearer. Another reason why the research question is explicit is the fact that the equivalence in the study is explained.

The author of this study article offers very clear literature review. The first notable important aspect of equivalence of translation explained is the different types of differences and problems in translation. The first type of differences identified is the syntactic differences. These are the differences in translation that arise as a result of word order arrangement during translation. For this reason, Marzban (2010) noted that a simple Persian word can be translated into compound form in English. The second major type noted is the sematic differences and problems. These according to the literature review are problems caused by lack of common word when translating some words. Some languages are very stylish in their original forms; however, it might be difficult to express this into the translated language due to the sematic differences between languages. Another importance of the literature review to the study is that it identifies the main cause of the threats to equivalence in international comparative studies. Some of the factors identified as the cause of problems in translation in international literacy studies is the use of poor quality teaching materials. Lastly, the literature review is very important because it recognizes the behavior of the translator in the creation of problems in assessment of international comparative studies.           

The study used comparative linguistic text analysis. This is the best method to analyze the source text comprehensively. According to Nord (2005), this is the most preferred method of analyzing the translation theory for most writers in this field. This is because it ensures that the source text has been fully and correctly understood by the researchers. However, the method might have some limitations in the analysis. This is due to the fact that the study was concentrated on the differences in translation between the Finnish and English languages. Another analysis method used is the qualitative description in order to effectively analyze the equivalence problems in translation. This data analysis method is important because it provides more details on all the problems identified. Also when well utilized it leads to development of other areas of research on the topic and lastly, can create new theories on translation. Given the two methods of research discussed, it is evident that the research was conducted in the best way. Additionally, comparison of the research to other studies previously conducted ensured that the method used was successful as it had been tested and the limitations observed. For this reason this was the best method to use in this research.

Arffman (2010) clearly shows the findings of the study. For instance, all the six types of the problems identified as the main problems in translation of international literacy studies are clearly listed. Though the results are not documented in a systematic manner, it is very easy to identify the main results of this study. Another reason noted to acknowledge the clear manner of representation of results by Arffman (2010) is the fact that each main result is clearly explained. Going through the results alone is enough to give the overview of the whole study. For example, in the research the author identifies the problems of translation caused by translator as interference problem, writing problems and mistranslation of the text source. Lastly, most of the findings had been previously identified by other studies. This means that the research findings were correct.

The conclusion of the article shows that a lot has to be done in order to ensure equivalence in translation. The result of the study had identified six major translation problems. The first problem identified is the language-specific in grammar. Here the author noted that the two languages have differences in the use of grammar in order of word length, and clauses. The author clearly discusses the main differences in the two languages. The research conclusions and discussions reflect on the results. For example, the results identified that one of the main problems of translation of comparative studies is the translator issues. In discussing this issue, the study identifies three main problems under this issue. This clearly shows that the discussions reflect on results.


In order to improve the presentation of this article, several areas must be changed. To start with, the results should be presented first, and then their discussion. The importance of this mode of presentation is that it allows readers to familiarize with the results and interpret the results before noting or comparing what the researchers had obtained. Secondly, the method used needs further discussion on how useful data in the research was analyzed. Finally, in order to improve the quality of the research the limitations of the research must be improved on.

The first limitation identified in this research is the use of only three texts. It would be better if other texts were involved because the quality of translation may vary depending on the country in question. Secondly, the research raised more questions than answers on the identified problem. Therefore, the research should focus more on methods of showing how the translation differences may be used to ensure equivalence in assessment of international literacy studies. Lastly, the texts used in the study must be equally distributed in terms of the original language. This is because two of the source texts used in the study were originally written in English and therefore were difficult to read when translated to Finnish. 


The article discusses a successful study on equivalence translation. The aim of this study was to promote fairness and validity of the translated text. The results identified by the research were clearly reflected in the discussion and the research question of this study guided the whole research. Further, the method used in this research was successful because it presented viable results and it had also been used in other studies. Generally, the various limitations identified in the research should be worked on to improve the quality of the research. The presentation of the research also needs to be changed so as to give the reader room to formulate some discussions.

Custom Equivalence of Translations Essay

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