JoLIE 7/2014

Back to issue page 







Georgiana Reiss

University of Craiova, Romania






The present paper[1] attempts to discuss several cases of source text (ST) words and the target text (TT) equivalent words attributed to them, as well as of their target language (TL) one-to-one equivalents on the basis of componential analysis. This endeavour is focused on identifying the contextual sense components of these words and revealing the distinctive features that have made a certain TT word the most suitable translation of a ST word, although there is not a one-to-one equivalence relation between them. The contexts in which these particular words occur are represented by bilingual English-Romanian examples selected from our bilingual corpus of EU legal documents.

Componential analysis can be used not only to single out the most appropriate translation solution during the process of translation, but also as a means to interpret an already chosen TL equivalent word by determining the sense components that can account for its context appropriateness and functionality, even though this equivalent word may not be the result of a componential analysis carried out by the translator, but merely an intuitive and/or experience-based choice.

From a teaching-oriented perspective, the analysis conducted in this paper might represent a method for approaching componential analysis as translation procedure. By analyzing relevant bilingual examples, attempting to extract and compare the sense components of the ST and their TT equivalent words, as well as of their TL one-to-one equivalents, and determining the reasons why a particular TL equivalent word has been chosen, componential analysis can be more easily understood and put forth by students.

Being part of a larger bilingual corpus-based research study concerned with investigating translation procedures in the official Romanian translations of the English EU legal documents, this paper also provides a quantitative approach as regards the frequency of occurrence of componential analysis as translation procedure in comparison with those of the other translation procedures that were identified and analyzed in the extended research study. 


Key words: Componential analysis; Contextual sense components; Suitable TL equivalent words; Teaching-oriented perspective; Quantitative analysis.





Eesa, M.T. (2006). The Validity of Componential Analysis in Translating Metaphor. Al-Mustansiriya Journal of Arts, 45, 1-16.


Leech, G. (1974). Semantics. London: Penguin.


Newmark, P. (1988). A Textbook of Translation. Pearson Education: Longman.


Nida, E.A. (1975). Language Structure and Translation. Stanford University Press.


Popescu, T. (2013). A Corpus-based approach to translation error analysis. A case-study of Romanian EFL learners. Procedia Social and Behavioral Sciences, 83, 242-247.


Pym, A. (2010). Exploring Translation Theories. Routledge.


Shivaei, R., & Dastjerdi, H.V. (2011). Componential Analysis of Equivalents in Multimodal Translation: A Study of English and Persian Descriptions of Historical Objects in Iranian Museum Captions. Journal of Universal Language, 12(1), 197-242.





Dicționarul Explicativ al Limbii Române (1998). Ediția a doua. București: Univers Enciclopedic.


Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (2003). Pearson Education Limited.


Oxford Dictionary and Thesaurus (2007). Second Edition. Oxford University Press.



Online Resources


DEX online


EUR-Lex: Access to European Union Law



Bilingual En-Ro Corpus[2]


[1]. Selected parts of the consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

        Părți selectate din versiunile consolidate ale Tratatului privind Uniunea Europeană și a Tratatului privind funcționarea Uniunii Europene.


[2]. 2011/278/EU: Commission Decision of 27 April 2011

       Decizia Comisiei din 27 aprilie 2011 (2011/278/UE).


[3]. Commission Regulation (EU) No 445/2011 of 10 May 2011

       Regulamentul (UE) nr. 445/2011 al Comisiei din 10 mai 2011.


[4]. Directive 2011/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011

       Directiva 2011/24/UE a Parlamentului European și a Consiliului din 9 martie 2011.


[5]. Commission Regulation (EU) No 364/2011 of 13 April 2011

       Regulamentul (UE) nr. 364/2011 al Comisiei din 13 aprilie 2011.


[6]. Commission Implementing Directive 2011/48/EU of 15 April 2011

 Directiva de punere în aplicare 2011/48/UE a Comisiei din 15 aprilie 2011.


[7]. Council Implementing Regulation (EU) No 451/2011 of 6 May 2011

 Regulamentul de punere în aplicare (UE) nr. 451/2011 al Consiliului din 6 mai 2011.


[8]. Regulation (EU) No 1077/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011

Regulamentul (UE) nr. 1077/2011 al Parlamentului European și al Consiliului din 25 octombrie 2011.


[9]. Commission Implementing Directive 2011/45/EU of 13 April 2011.

       Directiva de punere în aplicare 2011/45/UE a Comisiei din 13 aprilie 2011.


[10]. Commission Regulation (EU) No 234/2011 of 10 March 2011.

Regulamentul (UE) nr. 234/2011 al Comisiei din 10 martie 2011.


[11]. Regulation (EU) No 211/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 February 2011.

Regulamentul (UE) nr. 211/2011 al Parlamentului European și al Consiliului din 16 februarie 2011.



How to cite this article: Reiss, G. (2014). Componential analysis-based assessment of contextually appropriate equivalent words in the Romanian translations of EU legislation. Journal of Linguistic and Intercultural Education – JoLIE, 7, 161-182. DOI:



For details on subscription, go to:


[1] Acknowledgments: This work was supported by the strategic grant POSDRU/CPP107/DMI1.5/S/78421, Project ID 78421 (2010), co-financed by the European Social Fund – Investing in People, within the Sectoral Operational Programme Human Resources Development 2007 – 2013.

[2] available at (EUR-Lex: Access to European Union Law).