In order to lay the foundation for our work in translation, this chapter will introduce basic terminology and the fundamental units of any linguistic act. (The following definitions include mainstream perspectives on general terms central to the field of translation studies.)

Source text (ST) – the beginning point for the act of translation, the text to be translated;

Target text (TT) – the goal of the act of translation, the text that results from translation;

Source language (SL) – the language of the source text;

Target language (TL) – the language of the target text.

The term text, while having an intuitive definition (like that of a mathematical “set”), also has more well-defined definitions within the field of translation studies. The important point to keep in mind about any text is that it was conceived by one or more authors who worked with a specific linguistic code in some culturally defined context and had both an audience and certain goals in mind. We propose the following COMMUNICATIVE ACT MODEL (CAM) to serve as the template for orienting the student in consistently identifying a minimum set of features crucial to the translation process of any text:

Author(s) (including intention, purpose/goal).

Audience (including the addressee(s) and intended/unintended participants).

Contexts (including referent(s) and the more general socio-historical and cultural contexts) – this category always has two levels of context.

Code (including the language, register, dialect features where relevant, diachronic placement if other than standard contemporary language).

Message (as content AND as aesthetic).

Channel (including mode of contact and how contact is initiated and/or maintained).

CAM is based on the Jakobsonian speech act model and later versions of this model given in the semiotic works of Thomas Sebeok and Yury Lotman (Jakobson 1960/1987: 62–94; Sebeok 1991: 29; Lotman 1990: 21–33). 1