Audience and Purpose as a Guide to Improve Acceptability and Readability of Technical Translation

Rhetoric, equivalence, translation, audience, and purpose


  • Pinfan Zhu
    Full Professor, English Department Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas,78666 United States of America
July 30, 2021


Equivalence theory in translation, which is source-text focused, has always been an influential guideline for translators. However, recently, scholars argue that equivalence in translation is not totally possible, and in the author’s opinion, it is not even necessary in many cases in technical communication. In this article, the author tries to approach technical translation guidelines from a different angle, which is purpose an audience-focused. The paper discusses how to improve and evaluate the acceptability or readability of technical translation in terms of the expectations of the audience and the need for the translation purpose. Taking a Traditional Chinese Medical website as an example, the author points out that only by targeting the audience’s needs at the semantic, syntactic, textual, and content levels can a technical translator produce effective technical translations accepted and appreciated by readers.