Krings defines translation strategy as ‘translator’s potentially conscious plans for solving concrete translation problems in the framework of a concrete translation task’,[1]. The translation strategies are equally important as the translation principles and standards (cohesion, coherence, informativity, acceptability, situationality, intertextuality, intentionality). They are closely related to the translator, to its approach or plan of action on a given text, as it is actually a problem of choosing.

In defining the translation strategies, it seems appropriate to mention the linguistic sign as it is important as far as the translation strategies are concerned. The linguistic sign, developed at the beginning of the 20th century by the Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure, relates not only to a single word but also to a complex vocabulary or a non-lexicalized unit, sentence or even paragraph. Saussure says that the linguistic sign is an arbitrary link between a concept – the signified – and a sound-image – the signifier, i.e any sound-image can be used to signify a particular concept. The signified and the sign are the same in all languages. It is only the signifier – sound-image- that differs. However, the French anthropologist Claude Levi Strauss challenges Saussure’s theory and says that the linguistic sign is arbitrary a priori, as a posteriori, through its frequent usage, it acquires other meanings[2]. He gave as an example the word ‘cheese’ which can have two meanings: food and smile. This second meaning is a result of technological progress and culture, and eventually it has been adopted almost all over the world

The translation strategies are traditionally[3] divided into direct translation strategies (literal translation) and indirect translation strategies (oblique translation), according to the presence or absence of a semantic and grammatical reorganization between the source text and the target text.

According to their incidence, we can distinguish syntactic strategies (borrowing, calque, literal paraphrasing, transposition), semantic strategies (condensation, expansion, modulation) and pragmatic strategies (addition, omission, explicitness, implicitness, adaptation, exoticizing).


[1] KRINGS, H.P. (1986). Translation problems and translation strategies of advanced German learners of French, in J. House, & S. Blum-Kulka (Eds.), Interlingual and intercultural communication, Gunter Narr, Tübingen.

[2] LÉVI STRAUSS, C., (1963, 1967) Structural Anthropology, Doubleday Anchor Books, New York

[3] VINAY, JP., DARBELNET J., (1995), Comparative Stylistics of French and English, John Benjamins, Amsterdam