In the presented scientific article the main aspects of technical translation are described. Particular attention is paid to its methods (automated and manual). Four main stages of technical translation are given, the translation of special terms is analyzed, and the causes of typical errors in translation and ways to prevent them are given.
Key words: technical translation, methods of translation, translation stages, special terms, errors in translation.
В представленной научной статье описываются основные аспекты технического перевода, представляются его методы (автоматизированные и ручные), даются четыре основные стадии технического перевода, анализируется перевод специальных терминов, а также приводятся причины типичных ошибок при данном переводе и способы их предотвращения.
The development of scientific and technological progress, along with the increasing complexity of the flow of technical information, led to an increase in the requirements for professional scientific and technical translation, thus indicating the need to find new approaches for its study.
Qualitative translation of technical documentation assumes great responsibility, since the type of translation has a certain specificity. This specificity consists in the fact that technical texts are created to describe certain technological processes, as a result of which inaccuracy, which may include the translation of this technical documentation, often leads to very bad consequences. That is why it is important that the technical translation of documents convey the meaning of the original as accurately as possible. Translation of various technical literature, even the most complex, should eventually be understandable for perception and, naturally, have semantic certainty.
Technical translation is the translation of technical and specialized documentation. It is one of the most complex types of translation, which requires a special approach. The technical translation isn’t free translation, it doesn’t include any emotional statements and assessments in it. The high-quality technical translation requires to keep the style of the original document. All scientific and technical documents have the main features: a clear and concise nature of the presentation, strict observance of technical terminology, a clear logical sequence of information, unambiguousness and concreteness in interpreting the facts [3, p. 23].
Technical translation requires the translator to have knowledge about the topic of translation and free orientation in terms. This is due to differences in the meaning of the same terms applied to each of the areas of scientific and technical knowledge. You need to be an expert in the field to which the text to be translated relates, with the appropriate education or a certain length of service in industry, translator should freely operate with special terminology. The translator should not only understand the text well, but also accurately state it as the standards of documents require. Therefore, it is necessary to have excellent command of both the original text language and the target language [1, p. 15].
General concept of technical translation
There is a widespread view that technical translation is a «translation» of technical texts. But the concept of «technical» text is very vague. Scientific popular text can not only describe technical characteristics, but also affect, in addition to scientific, economic, political or other points. An important feature of scientific and technological progress is the mutual penetration of a special terminology-from one area of knowledge to another. And this means that for the translation of technical literature and documentation, for example, on communication systems, it is necessary to simultaneously use sectoral and explanatory dictionaries for telecommunications, radio electronics, microelectronics,engineering, etc. No less a problem in the process of technical translation of the new terminology is being introduced. Especially acute issue with the new vocabulary is in those areas where our lag is calculated not for one decade or more .
The methods of translation are divided into automated (with the help of computer) and manual. Due to the fact that to date it has been developed. A large number of programs — «translators» and there are sites, precadents try to apply machine tools for technical translation of texts. However, this experience often can not be called successful.
To the services of an electronic translator it is possible to turn to solve the problems of translating a specific word, however large the dictionaries, it is impossible to make all the cases of correct translation in them, and first of all it concerns technical terms. The phrase, if for its understanding does not need a context, can also be translated by the machine adequately. There may be inaccuracies in the details, which can be very significant in technical translation, especially for documents or instructions, in the translation of which, even misuse of the preposition will lead to a distortion of the meaning of the source text.
As for the translation by means of a computer of coherent text or phrases meaning the context, most often the quality of the received translation leaves much to be desired. The inability to transfer the associative series and inadequate analysis of the context of phrases is one of the main and practically unavoidable shortcomings of the «electronic translator». It gives a literal translation, because hit is not able to determine the portable meanings of words or to choose a suitable translation from several suitable ones according to normal signs. As a result, errors occur, in larger or less distorting the meaning of the text.
There is another one — a compromise — the method of translation: first the text is translated by machines, and then obvious defects are corrected «manually». But the main problem of electronic technical translation is not even that the program in some places distorts the meaning (this is just can be eliminated) — it is hopelessly kills the style, and the internal links of the text, which then can not be restored [3, p. 102–104].
Literal translation means the transition from the source language to the translation language, which leads to the creation of a correct and idiomatic text, and the translator observes only the observance of the compulsory norms of the language.
There are two types of translation: direct and indirect. Most often the message in a foreign language is perfectly translated, because it is based either on parallel categories or on parallel concepts. In the translation process, there may be «gaps» (due to grammatical or lexical inconsistencies) that must be filled with equivalent means, ensuring that the translation is the same. But sometimes, due to structural or linguistic differences, some stylistic effects can not be conveyed in the language of translation, without changing to some extent the order of the elements or even lexical units. In this case, an indirect translation should be resorted to .
Translation is a complex process, consisting of several closely related and transitioning stages Figure 1:
- Preparatory stage. It is necessary to read the whole text or at least part of it to form an idea of what is being said, to grasp the basic idea, the general meaning of the message.
- Draft translation. Having explained the general content of this passage, it is necessary to make its semantic analysis. After that, the text marking is performed, difficult terms, grammatical constructions, lexical turns, as well as Anglo-American measures (for recalculation into metric ones) are revealed. It is recommended to write out all the core terms, as they appear in the text, on a separate sheet along with their Russian equivalents and use them throughout the translation process. Then one should proceed to work on individual proposals, dividing each into elements and links, realizing the connections between individual words and groups of words. After the connections between words are established, it is necessary to determine the corresponding values of unfamiliar words in the dictionary, but not in the order in which they occur in the text, but depending on the functions they perform in the sentence. It is necessary to begin with the disclosure of the meanings of the main members of the sentence — the subject and the predicate. This is the frame around which other (explanatory) words are grouped. The title should be translated after the translation of the entire text. A rough translation can be performed both in written, and verbally.
- Working translation. After the rough translation is performed, the sentence (paragraph) of the text of the original translation is compared with the original so that there is a correspondence of each phrase to the source text, the uniformity of the terminology used, the logic of the presentation. The text of the translation is freed from expressions and turns unusual for the Russian language, stylistic and semantic corrections are introduced into it. A working translation is a complete, stylistically literate translation, correctly conveying the content of the original, in which some terminological and stylistic inaccuracies are allowed.
- Final translation. This is the last stage of translation — literary processing and scientific editing. Not looking at the original, relying on correctly revealed meaning with all its shades, it is necessary to convey all its content in the literary Russian language. In this case, if necessary, you can change the order of words, compound sentences into simple ones, and vice versa, simple to develop into complex ones. Such a translation is full-fledged, stylistically literate, it correctly conveys the content of the original and accurately uses special terminology [2, p. 20].
Terminology refers to words and phrases denoting specific objects and concepts used by experts in a certain field of science and technology.
As terms can be used as words used almost exclusively within this style, and special values common words. Coercivity, klystron, microsin — difficult to meet for limits of scientific materials. Dead, ripple, rope, pocket — also have well-known values (pocket — pocket, air hole). In the latter case, it is impossible to draw a clear line between the terms and words of the everyday language (outside the context). The systematization of the existing English scientific terminology is hampered by the fact that the same term has different meanings in different fields of science or even within the same field, and also because a large number of new terms appear.
The main drawback of paper dictionaries is that they do not keep up with the development of science and technology. The term should be exact, i.e. have a strictly defined meaning, which can be solved by a logical definition. For the same reasons, it should be independent of the context. In other words, the term must have its exact meaning, indicated by its definition, in all cases of its use in any text, so that the term used should not be decided every time, in which of the possible meanings it is used here.
In the scientific literature, for the most part, words of Latin and French origin are used. Instead of the verb to say, the verbs to assert, to state, to declare, to reply are used. This is necessary for more precise differentiation of individual processes, as well as for making the scientific literature of a specific language color. In addition, the combination of numerous terms of Latin and Greek origin make the scientific language more homogeneous in composition.
If the terms are new and they do not yet have a match in the language or they are not yet reflected in the dictionaries, it is important to know the root connections of the word and to analyze the possible meanings of the term in the context. Usually the root of the word-term plays no role, but sometimes you can push it away. The final choice of the equivalent is determined not by the requirements of meaning, but by the terminology established in the target language. Such terms are in fact folded definitions that bring the concept to a more general and simultaneously specifying specific feature. The term impendance, defined as «impedance in the AC circuit», is used as the basis for a number of terms that clarify the character resistance or the portion of the chain in which it participates, for example: blocked impendance, vector impendance, surface impendance, etc. Based on such fundamental concepts like «tension, current strength», dozens, and sometimes hundreds of word combinations are created [1, p. 64–66].
It is important to make the right choice between two terms, i.e. between word from native and foreign language. In this connection it is necessary to distinguish the following types of borrowing:
- Justified and useful. They can be replaced by words of the native language, which have already entered into its vocabulary composition (internationalism). In the language there are incomplete synonyms, for example: articulation ≠ pronunciation, because the latter is broader in meaning.
- Acceptable in a certain context. They are more concise than the corresponding synonymous means of the native language. One borrowed word = word combination from the native language, for example: consonantism — a system of consonants. Such borrowing is often resorted to when one component is often repeated.
- Unnecessary, redundant. They make understanding difficult, because there is a term of the native language, for example: bilabile = labial labial consonant.
Terms in their structure are divided into simple (consisting of one words and usually contained in terminological dictionaries) and complex (consisting of two or more words).
The causes of typical mistakes are the desire to «translate» individual words or phrases; violation of the logical connection between the parts; inability abstracting from specific forms of words and inability to use the context to clarify their meaning. It is necessary to be distracted from concrete forms of words and learn to use the context to clarify their meaning. No single word of the original should be translated into translation, except for the words (and expressions) of another foreign language interspersed with the original. It should be borne in mind that old words sometimes get qualitatively new meanings. Individual words outside the context do not have a specific meaning and therefore can not be translated. Not words are translated, but what they express [2, p. 21–22].
To avoid mistakes in translation, the following points should be considered: do not use complex constructions in the translation process (variants of compound and complex subordinate clauses), as it can be resorted to forms of passive voice, which is most typical for scientific literature, as well as the competent use of reference literature and dictionaries. This approach allows you to avoid numerous mistakes and as accurately as possible to convey the meaning of the original, creating not only an accurate, but also a competent translation.
So, it's not a matter of what is being translated, but of how it is translated and for what. First of all Technical translation is the translation used for special purposes, namely for the exchange of special information, incoming and perceived in different languages.
The main characteristics of scientific and technical texts are:
‒ highly specialized;
- abbreviations which, when translated, should be deciphered and given in full meaning;
- use of compound prepositions;
- use of words of Roman origin;
- presence of attributive complexes;
- deployed syntactic structures.
For the translation of any technical literature, including the operating manual, there are a number of recommendations that help improve the quality of translation both at the stage of the actual translation and at the stage of post-translation editing.
During translation of technical texts, it is recommended that:
‒ Rely on logic and context to a greater extend, and then on the vocabulary, since definitions in the dictionary in different contexts can acquire different connotations and shadings of meaning.
‒ Analyze the sentence not only on the syntactic, but also on the logical level, in order to correctly place the accents. This is necessary to ensure that there is no shift in the logical stress.
‒ Split long sentences. Long sentences containing complex logical connections make it difficult to perceive and understand.
‒ Eliminate obvious synonyms. When translating instructions, the most important thing is to preserve the unity of terminology, so replacing the same term with synonyms is a mistake. If the term is repeated in the original text, then in translation it should also be duplicated.
‒ Decipher abbreviations.
‒ Translate the text, referring to figures, graphs and tables.
‒ Translate the headings last.
‒ Observe the style of presentation (do not allow the splitting of the predicate, the accumulation of passive forms of the verb, participles, as well as nouns in the genitive and verbal nouns, the pronoun «this» and the preposition «for»).
‒ To finish the work with own editing: the meaning is clarified, the terms are unified, omissions are detected, the style is polished.
‒ When translating technical literature is not recommended:
‒ Translate literally (ie translate a word in a word, copy a syntax, forget about different combinations in two languages and about different controls).
‒ The original text can also contain errors and misprints, so it is necessary to carefully monitor the consistency and accuracy of the information presented.
‒ When translating technical literature, it is forbidden:
‒ To supplement the author and explain in brackets the thought of the author.
‒ Enter quotes and the words «so-called» in the original.
‒ Self-introduction of synonyms-terms in order to avoid repetition.
‒ Dismantle unintelligible fragments.
‒ Leave an incomprehensible and translated at random fragment of the original, without trying to consult with a specialist and warn the customer, highlighting this passage with color.
Among the typical errors in translating the texts of instructions from English into Russian, it should be noted, first of all, a literal translation. Moreover, such a mistake occurs both in the transfer of terms, and in the transmission of grammatical constructions. Another common mistake in translation is the violation of the unity of terminology, as well as the stylistics of the language of translation and logic. However, all these errors are corrected at the post-translational analysis stage.
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- Bassnett, Susan. Translation Studies 3rd Edition. 1980. New York: Routledge, 2002.
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