The SAT Reading Comprehension: Basic Principles
In This Article:
- In lines 3–8 ("I think translation . . . translators.") the author expresses the opinion that translation scholars
- should have practical experience in their field
- should have open minds about the opinions of others
- are brilliant and perceptive, if somewhat academic
- should be less concerned with theories of translation
- should have more than one degree, and ideally in different fields
- In lines 8–15 ("As an editor . . . novels."), the author
- displays the scope of his erudition on multiple topics
- reveals conflicting attitudes about the work of translators
- elaborates on the source of his irritation with theories of translation
- summarizes the breadth of his background and perspectives on the subject
- confesses that he lacks the academic qualifications of typical translation scholars
- In lines 25–28 ("To render such . . . misleading.") the author says that it would be misleading to so translate the English statement because
- in Italian there are two equally valid ways of translating the words
- the word-for-word translation would not have the same sense
- an English character would not speak in Italian
- in Italian there is no equivalent idiom
- the Italian translations use far more words than does the original version
- In line 34, "figure" most nearly means
- In lines 38–40 ("Thus, only by . . . text."), the author
- raises a question
- employs an idiom
- poses a paradox
- proves a theory
- introduces a metaphor
- In referring to the "ambiguities" (line 46), the author
- admits that two translators might very well differ regarding their determination of the sense of a text
- points out that words can often have more than one meaning
- criticizes translators who offer only one version of a work
- rejects the commonsensical notion that literal translations are ineffective
- anticipates the possible objection that translations cannot be as clear as the original work
- What is the author's view of the concepts mentioned in lines 53–56?
- These concepts are not useful in understanding the translation process
- These concepts are theoretical, and refer to things that do not actually exist
- These concepts do not adequately reflect the tradeoffs translators must weigh in practice
- These concepts are outdated, and should be replaced by new ones
- These concepts unnecessarily distort the meaning of translations
- It can be inferred that the author mentions "encyclopedias" (line 69) rather than dictionaries because unlike dictionaries, encyclopedias
- are revised frequently, making them more up-to-date
- are compilations of contributions from individual experts in many fields
- do not contain literal definitions of words, making them more reliable
- contain cross-referenced indexes, affording translators easy comparisons
- contain the cultural contexts and connotations of the original and the new language
- Based on the passage as a whole, the author's approach towards translation, as contrasted with that of theoretical translation scholars, can best be characterized as
Discussion: This was an easy question. Some students select choice B. Of course everyone should have an open mind about the opinion of others; unfortunately, this is beside the point the author is making in these lines.
Discussion: This was a relatively easy question. Some students select choice B, but the author does not say and does not imply that he has conflicting attitudes about translation. Consider why the author is mentioning his background. He begins the passage by teasing translation scholars for not having any practical experience in translating (the subject of question 1). He cites his own background, then, to demonstrate that he has plenty of experience translating.
Discussion: This was a relatively easy question. Some students select choice A which is a true statement, but which does not answer the question!
Discussion: This was a medium question, although many students get snookered by choice C. If we convert the question into a sentence completion, with the word "figure" as the blank, the answer becomes fairly obvious. If we refer back to the passagewhich you should do as often as necessary, especially on this type of questionwe see that the author mentions "inventing . . . a figure." There's only one choice that can be invented: an expression.
Discussion: This was an extremely difficult question. Some students select choice A, but the author does not raise any questions with this statement (though of course anything anyone says can raise a question in somebody's mind). Many students select choice D, but this choice is far too extreme. The author of any passage can make a case for his or her point of view, but he or she can't prove it. Even though the answer contains a moderately difficult wordparadoxstudents who use process of elimination rigorously are able to identify the answer even without knowing the meaning of the answer. (A paradox is a seemingly contradictory statement that may in fact be true; a self-contradictory yet possibly true statement.)
Discussion: This was a difficult question. Some students select choice E but the author is not discussing whether or not translations can be as clear as the original works on which they are based. Many students select choice B, which does seem to answer the question. While ambiguous words do have more than one meaning, that is not why the author refers to ambiguities. If we refer back to the passagewhich again we should do frequentlywe see that the author first claims that translators should focus on the sense of the work's words rather than their literal meaning. The author then says that these senses might involve some ambiguities, not the words meanings.
Discussion: This was a very difficult question. Many students were attracted to choices A and B. Choice A is too extreme. The author does not say that these choices are not useful; if he did, he would say that they should be scrapped altogether. Choice B is incorrect because although the concepts themselves are theoretical, they refer to aspects of the translation process that do exist.
Discussion: This was a fairly difficult question. Some students select choice B, but while this choice is true, it does not answer the question! Many students choose choice Cperhaps because they are attracted to the word "literal" in this choicebut C is wrong on at least two counts. First, encyclopedias do contain literal definitions of words. Second, this choice misses the point of the passage, which is that translators need to consider numerous aspects of the original and new languages. Encyclopedias are more likely to contain different perspectives than are dictionaries, which are primarily confined to definitions.
Discussion: The difficult vocabulary words in the choices made this a fairly difficult question. Choice C was probably the easiest of the choices to eliminate because the author was arguing against literal translations. If you weren't sure of the definitions of the other choices, you should still have guessed among them. Remember that every blank you leave lowers your potential maximum score by 10 points. The answer, pragmatic, is an important SAT word, and means practical. Mercenary means motivated by money (which, if you knew what it meant, you should have eliminated). Untenable means unjustified or hard to maintain (which, if you knew what it meant, you should have eliminated). Rhetorical means relating to the use of language, especially persuasive language (which, if you knew what it meant, you should have eliminated).
Summary: As I mentioned, this passage was slightly harder than average but some of the questions were extremely difficult. As a rough performance measure for this passage only use the following formula:
Reading Score = 800 – 60 (blanks) – 70 (errors)
So someone who left two questions blank and got two wrong would lose 120 points for the blanks and 140 points for the errors, for a roughvery roughscore of 540.
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From The RocketReview Revolution: The Ultimate Guide to the New SAT and the PSAT by Adam Robinson. Copyright © 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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