The last decade saw considerable headway in the development of the linguistic theory of translation. A number of fundamental contributions to this theory have been recently made both in our country and abroad.
Theoretical studies in translation have kept abreast with the recent advances in linguistics, which provided some new insights into the mechanism of translation and the factors determining it, however most translators and linguistics still argue concerning various problems in translation, in particular, to find adequate equivalents in target language, to translate phrases and idioms preserving intercultural competence. The aim of translation is not only to convey the idea, but also to let the readers feel in from their own cultural point of view. In other words, sometimes, translator has to create a new concept not avoiding main idea. In this article, taking into consideration abovementioned factors we would like to analyze most widespread problems that translators face up and find possible solutions by giving the useful instructions to avoid the mistakes.
In order to attain equivalence, despite the differences in formal and semantic system of two languages, the translator is obliged to do various linguistic transformations [1, р. 312]. Their aims are to ensure that the text imparts all the knowledge inferred in the original text, without violating the rules of the language it is translated into. Lexical transformations change the semantic core of a translated word. They can be classified into the following groups:
Lexicalsubstitution or putting one word in place of another. It often results from the different semantic structures of the source language and target language words. Thus polysemantic word young is not always translated as молодой; rather, it depends on its word combinability: молодойкартофельis equal to new potatoes. This translation equivalent is predetermined by the word combination it is used in. Deliberate lexical substitution as a translation technique of words can be of several subtypes:
- Specification or lexical transformation of words with a wider meaning with words of a narrower meaning: Will you do the room? — Тыуберешьсяв комнате? I’ll get the papers on the way home. — Я куплюгазетыподорогедомой. The underlined English words have larger scopes of meaning than their Russian counterparts and their particular semantics is recognized from the context;
- Generalization or lexical transformation of words of a narrower meaning with those of a wider meaning: People don’t like to be stared at. — Людямненравится, когдананихсмотрят. If we compare the semantic structure of the English and Russian verbs, we can see that the English verb stare specifies the action of seeing expressed by the Russian verb. The Russian смотреть can imply staring, facing, eyeing, etc. The specific meaning in the Russian sentence can be expressed by the adverb пристально.
- Differentiation is a rather rare technique of lexical transformation. It takes place when we substitute word by another one with parallel meaning, denoting a similar species: bamboo curtain — железныйзанавес. Both bamboo and железо (iron) are materials known for their hard nature. They are used figuratively to denote the barriers between the Western and Communist countries. There are no hyponymic relations between the notions of bamboo and iron (though the referential area of железныйзанавесis of course much wider than that of bamboo curtain).
- Modulation is a logical development of the notion expressed by the word: But outside it was raining. – Нонаулицешелдождь. The primary equivalent of the word outside is снаружи. But it is impossible to say in Russian Носнаружишелдождь. By means of unsophisticated logical operation the translator finds another equivalent: наулице. Thus he takes into consideration a tradition of the word combination and acceptability of collocation. He is aided in this by the metonymical closeness of word meanings based on contiguity of the two notions.
- Lexical compensation is a deliberate introduction of some additional element in the target text to make up for the loss of a similar element in the source text. The main reason for this transformation is a vocabulary lacuna in the target language. For example, one of the Galsworthy’s characters was called aleopardess. But there is no one-word equivalent of the same stylistic coloring in Russian. Therefore, the translator compensated the word by using the word тигрица to characterize the lady.
- Metaphoric transformations are based on transferring the meaning due to the similarity of notions. The target language can re-metaphorize word or a phrase by using the same image Don’t dirty your hands with that money! — Не марай рук этими деньгами! or a different one Он вернет нам деньги, когда рак свистнет. — He will pay us our money back when hell freezes over. The source language metaphor can be destroyed if there is no similar idiom in the target language: Веснауженапороге. — Spring is coming very soon. Or, on the contrary, the target text is metaphorized either to compensate a stylistically marked word or phrase whose coloring was lost for some reason, or merely to express a source language lacuna: Онрешилначатьжитьпо-новому. — He decided to turn over a new life.
Translation the idioms correctly and in proper way has very significant importance. Well, can they be translated completely? The simplest answer to this question is “no”. This is an area where languages can be very different. Sometimes you can translate an idiom from one language to another, but most often this is not possible. For example, there is an English idiom to let sleeping dogs lie. The German and Italian equivalents also speak of sleeping dogs, but not the French or Spanish.
It is important that you are very careful if you have to translate idioms. Never translate an idiom word for word. You must translate the whole expression. Sometimes you will be able to translate the English idiom into an idiom in your own language. However, there may be no idiom and you may just have to explain the meaning. One of the reasons idiomatic language is difficult to translate is because it is the area of language closest to culture. The metaphors of one culture will be different from those of another .
Cross-cultural competence refers to the knowledge, skills, and affect/motivation that enables individuals to adapt effectively in cross-cultural environments. Cross-cultural competence is defined here as an individual capability that contributes to intercultural effectiveness regardless of the particular intersection of cultures. Although some aspects of cognition, behavior, or affect may be particularly relevant in a specific country or region, evidence suggests that a core set of competences enables adaptation to any culture.
Cross-cultural competence is not an end in itself, but is a set of variables that contribute to intercultural effectiveness. Whereas previous models have tended to emphasize subjective outcomes, by focusing primarily on adjustment, outcomes of interest here include both subjective and objective outcomes [4, р. 7].
Overall, in the field of translation each specialist should be aware of cultural background alongside language knowledge. Otherwise, reader can be confused instead of understanding the gist. Generally, in translation, especially, in translating of idioms and phrases, abovementioned factors should be taken into consideration.
- Catford I. C. A. Linguistic Theory of Translation. — New York: Harper and Row, 1975.
- John Wright. Idioms organizer. Thomson Heinle. 2002.
- Бреус Е. В. Основы теории и практики перевода с русского на английский: Учебное пособие. — М.: УРАО, — 2000.
- Зайцева В. А. (collector of the manual). Перевод и межкультурная коммуникация. 2014.
- John Galsworthy — The Forsyte Saga. — London: Headline Book Publishing, 2000.