In this entry I would like to discuss the differences between Connotation and Denotation and how will it affect the interpretation of meaning.
a word's connotation is things or attributes that the word brings to mind, any idea or notion suggested or associated with the word
a word's denotation is its reference to the things it designates, its direct, explicit meaning.
Why do we need to know about these two words when we want to translate a text, an article or any written forms? Well, basically when we use certain dictionary to translate from one language to another; let's say we want to translate from English to Bahasa Malaysia, we are using the denotation approach.
But when we translate some words (from English to BM too) using the Connotation approach, we need to be aware of the cultures, customs or even the current slang in the intended language- BM.
I reckon I better use some examples to give a clearer picture here. Let's say we want to translate this sentence: She has a slim figure and a nice smile.
Original sentence: She has a slim figure and a nice smile.
Denotation: Wanita tersebut mempunyai badan yg ramping dan senyuman yang menawan.
Connotation: Perempuan itu mempunyai badan yg ramping dan senyuman yang menawan.
The word "She" can be translated into the neutral tone word or the negative tone word. As "wanita" and "perempuan" are both refering to "she" but "perempuan" sometimes has negative connotation.
Thus, it is quite important for us to know which meaning is suitable in which context. If we try to do the literal translation or the word-per-word translation, we will end up with the funny meaning and the grammar will also be atrocious.