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Translatioin of Political Literature

Вчера в Вашингтоне состоялась пресс-конференция.

The essence of the information is пресс-конференция – which is expressed by the noun located at the end of the sentence. Nevertheless, this word-order is not obligatory, ex:

Премьер-министр выступил вчера по телевидению.

Here we find the main essence at the beginning of sentence.

In English, according to fixed word order, the noun of the sentence stands at the beginning of clause. One of the prominent English linguists, Halliday marks that, usually (but not always) a starting point is intrinsic to English sentences.

Still in many cases the English sentence happens to be the center of informative message, compare A Press Conference was held in Washington yesterday. Usually it happens when the noun of the sentence is expressed with an indefinite article. Something, semantically new has got to be expressed in the sentence, and the earlier one should be opposed to the new one, which is being expressed. Therefore the indefinite article functions represents this new information, introduces it.

A smash-and-grab raid on two of the most important nationalized industries is being organized by the Tory Party.

Консерваторы собираются обрушиться на две самые значительные национализированные отрасли промышленности.

(the metaphor smash-and-grab has not been preserved in translated version)

Nevertheless, similar word order in English and Russian sentences are also evident.

A meeting of firemen’s and employers’ representatives scheduled for today has been postponed.

Намеченная на сегодня встреча представителей пожарников и предпринимателей была отложена.     

A Catholic priest in South Africa told of the malnutrition, disease and starvation there.

Один католический священник из Южной Африки рассказывал о существующем там недоедании, болезнях и голоде.

Transposition is required when the English sentence contains a large group of nouns with indefinite article and then it is natural that they, being the center of informative message are placed at the end of the sentence. Besides, a short, compared with the noun predicate can not bear the emphatic sense of a large group of nouns.

A big wave of actions by all sections of workers – skilled and unskilled, men and women, manual and non-manual – for higher wages and equal pay, for shorter hours and a greater say in shaping the environment at work is rising.

Сейчас нарастает огромная волна забастовок трудящихся всех категорий – квалифицированных и не квалифицированных, мужчин и женщин, работников физического и умственного труда – за повышение зарплаты, за равную оплату женского труда, за сокращение рабочего дня, за улучшение условий труда.

It is very frequent when grammatical and lexical transformations demand supplementation or omission of some words or elements. Therefore omission and supplementation are frequently combined with other types of grammatical transformations and more frequently with substitution of parts of speech. Supplementation of parts of speech are characterized by several factors: difference in structures of the sentences and that short English sentences demand spread translation in the Russian language. Absence of some corresponding word or lexical-semantic variant in both languages is also one of the reasons of applying additional words in translation.

The American troops were thought to be heading toward Saigon, but no one seemed to be aware of fierce resistance of the nation.

Полагали, что американские войска направляется на Сайгон, но казалось, что никто не знал о жестоком сопротивлении местного населения.

The construction Nominative + Infinitive with two omitted elements (which was) was given in object clause plus introductory sentences… который, как полагали раньше, движется… Thus, the difference in the structure of sentences demanded supplementation in the given translation.

In the following example, supplementation was caused by absence of corresponding word in Russian to English conservationists.

The actions of Congress and of North Carolina and Tennessee statesmen, aided by gifts of wise conservationists, have set this land aside as Great Smoky National Park.

Эта местность на берегу реки Смоки-Хилл была превращена в Национальный парк благодаря усилиям Конгресса и государственных деятелей штатов Северная Каролина и Теннеси, а также благодаря пожертвованиям любителей природы, понимающих всю важность её сохранения.

While translating this sentence besides transposition we have made many other transformations and as a matter of the first importance we should mentions the supplementation we have accomplished. In regard to the absence on corresponding word in the Russian language to the English conservationists we have rendered it by two words любителей природы; and taking into consideration the combinability of the attribute wise we have translated it by adverbial modifier applying introductory words like понимающих всю важность её сохранения, the noun сохранения renders all the essence of the given sentence which is contained in conservationists. To make the perception of the sentence easier we have we added the words штатов, на берегу реки. The last supplementation was made on the basis of its spread context. The passive participle aided was rendered by preposition благодаря. We should also point to lexico-grammatical transformation: have set this land aside – эта местность …была превращена.

Ellipsis involves the omission of an item. In other words, in ellipsis an item is replaced by nothing. This is a case of leaving something unsaid which is nevertheless understood. It doesn’t include every instance when the hearer or reader has to supply missing information, but only those cases where grammatical structure itself points to an item or items that can fill the slot in question. Here are some examples of ellipsis:

The United States donated two millions dollars and Britain one and a half millions pounds.  (omitted item: donated in second clause ).

Here are four strategies. Choose any of them. (omitted item strategy)

 Use of synonymy pairs is characterized to all styles of written speech of English language. Preserving such synonymy pair is accepted as pleonasm and it is absolutely superfluous even when translating official documents that demand preciseness. For example:

The Treaty was declared null and void.

Договор был объявлен недействительным.

Condemned by almost all members of the United States, and regarded as an outcast and criminal system by the vast majority of mankind, it (apartheid) is able to exist and defy censure solely because of the aid and support given to it by the Western imperialist countries.

Апартеид осуждён почти всеми членами ООН, и подавляющее большинство человечества считает эту систему преступной. Апартеид существует благодаря помощи и поддержке империалистических государств Запада.

In this example are used two synonymy pairs: outcast and criminal, aid and support. In the first case преступный sufficiently renders the essence of both synonyms. The lexical meaning of the attribute outcast – изгнанный, отверженный doesn’t fit to this context neither owing to norms of combinability nor to the power of its meaning. The second pair of synonyms can be preserved without any difficulty – помощь и поддержка. The participle given is omitted for its meaning is supplied by case flexion.

The battle was fierce while it lasted.

Бой был жесток.

Time complex object in this in this case functions as a cliché and doesn’t have corresponding equivalent in Russian.

So we can see that in the majority cases of translation some piece of political literature we have make necessary changes. We should remind you that it is not always an English sentence completely corresponds to the Russian one. Very frequently the structure of a Russian sentence absolutely differs from the one English. It has different word order, parts of the sentences and pretty often differs even the order of sentences. In some instances, parts of speech expressed in English are translated into Russian by the help of different parts of speech. You should remember that the compressed way of expression in the English can not be followed in Russian and we therefore have to “decompress” them so that to make the easy to perceive and understand, e.i. we have to add some words or expressions or even sentences in whole. Nevertheless, some differences in usage of some specific features make us leave some elements unsaid while translating the whole. And all these cases are explained by grammatical transformations we have just investigated.

§ II. Lexical difficulties of transformation.

Every word in a language carries some concrete notion. The semantics of a word reflects different signs of the subject and the relation of its meanings to other objects it denotes. The semantics of a word includes word perception characteristic to the studied language, being more precise to the bearers of the studied language. When studying the reality of some object we can identify that its name reveals its functions which finds the reflection in the semantics of the word. Lets take as an example the word glasses – очки. In English it reveals the substance of which the object is made and in Russian firstly it reveals its function – second eyes – очи.

Despite distinguishing all kinds of differences we should say that, both languages sufficiently reflect one and the same perception of reality. Therefore the difficulty stylistic devices represents to a translator is based on word play, if in corresponding words of both languages are featured different signs.

The second reason, causing lexical difficulties to translation of political literature is the difference in the semantic volume of a word. In every language a word exists in a close connection with the lexical-semantic system of a given language. It may have various kinds of lexical meanings (lexical-semantic) variants; it may widen or narrow its meaning and make it more abstract or concrete.

The third reason presenting lexical difficulties in translation the difference in combinability.  Words in languages have some definite relation characteristic only to the given language. It should be mentioned that word combinability is possible if words point to similar objects they denote. This difference of word combinability in various languages is very important; therefore some types of combinability are easily accepted in one of language and are completely unacceptable in other languages.

Last but not the least is the accepted usage of words in a language. It is, of course related to the development of a given languages and formation of its lexical system. Every language worked out its own clichés and some set expressions used by speakers, nevertheless those word expressions are not phraseological units but they possess complete form, which, in comparison with the phraseological units, are never broken by adding some introductory words or substitution of some of its elements.

Translation studies showed that there are cases when due to the distinguished signs a word acquires wider semantic volume and can not be covered by corresponding equivalent in the target language. Let us take teenager for example: etymologically it is related to the numerals from thirteen till nineteen. The Russian подросток does not semantically cover its meaning in complete volume for its is narrower in its meaning. Therefore the word teenager is usually translated by different words подросток, юноша, and in plural as молодёжь.

Difference in the semantic structure of a word represents one of the main reason causing lexical difficulty in translation. These difference are related to peculiar features of separate words or word groups. And it is quite natural that this matter covers a wide range of examples. Practically, even identical words in different languages are not always equal in their meaning, they never correspond completely. Most often is the correspondence of first lexical-semantic variants of such words – their primary meaning – then we have various lexical-semantic variants for the course of development of these words was of different nature.

This is characterized by different functioning of a word in language, different in usage and combinability, but even the primary meaning of an English word maybe wider of the corresponding one in Russian.

The semantic structure of a word predefines the possibility of its contextual use, and the translation of contextual meaning presents a hard task to translators.

Contextual meaning of a word in many instances depends on the character of semantic context, on the semantics of the words combining with it. Occasional meanings, suddenly originated in the context are not always arbitrary – its is based into the semantic structure of the word. In contextual usage of a word in poetry or prose – often point to the author’s penetration into the depth of the word’s semantic structure. For paradigmatic and semantic relations are characteristic to any words and the lexical potential of words can be revealed in both cases. But revealing these potentials of words is closely connected with the specificity of lexical-semantic aspects of every language and here forth we may observe the difficulty of translation of contextual meaning of words. What is possible in  one language maybe impossible in another because of its difference in semantic structure and its usage.

In an atomic war women and children will be the first hostages.

The word hostage according to different dictionaries has got only one meaning – заложник. But in the given instance the hostage acquired the meaning жертва. Its contextual meaning probably exists in its paradigmatic meaning; any hostage may get killed therefore while translating this example we have to use the word жертва since заложник is not used in the given contextual meaning.

Первыми жертвами в атомной войне будут женщины и дети.

A very interesting contextual meaning of exploitation will be given in the following example:

Britain’s worldwide exploitation was shaken to the roots by Colonial Liberation Movements.

The contextual meaning of the word originated metonymically – any colonial system lives on exploitation, which comprises basis of colonial power. The corresponding Russian эксплуатация can not be used in this contextual meaning, the contextual surroundings of exploitation (worldwide, shaken to the roots) also prevents it. The only possible variant of translation is by means of metonymic transposition – substitution:

Колониальное могущество Англии было подорвано (потрясено до основания) национально-освободительным движением во всех колониях.

Contextual meaning of a word is always effective semantically and stylistically owing to its unexpectedness as well. It often used in stylistic purposes and therefore a translator runs into two obstacles: he should avoid (нивелировка) and at the same time not to break the norms of translation.

The most difficulty presents the translation of emotional coloring that demands lexical changes. There is a wide range of words in a language that besides their logical meaning have emotional meanings or co-meaning. One should not mix emotional co-meaning with the multiple meaning words. Emotional meaning of words usually presents in paradigmatic meanings of words, that is it is objective and but subjective, like in the words: hate, love, friendship. But it is not an exception when emotional meaning originates from contextual usage. Emotional meaning, based in the word is usually created by association – positive or negative – which a word causes and the associations that exist in it despite the context of perception.

A peculiar group of words demanding transformation in translation are the words that possess different volume of meaning in Russian and English languages. To this group belong international words, some words of human perception, mental activity.

But we should mention that the words that belong to these groups are of different semantic structure. International words and the words of human perception, mental activity represents polysemantic words in English.

International words are words that are used in a wide range of languages in one or several forms. These words express scientific and social-politic notions. The volume meaning of these words does not usually coincide (except term-words). Though it is well-known that they comprise the false-friends of translators and the mistakes in their translation are frequent. These mistakes are caused not only by difference in their semantic structure but by the difference of their usage as well which demand lexical changes:

We are told that television this autumn will give a massive coverage to the General Election.

Сообщают, что нынешней осенью передачи по телевидению будут широко освещать парламентские выборы.

The word massive along with the meaning массивный, has other meanings like массовый, грандиозный, огромный, широкий and so on. For example: massive success – огромный успех, massive problems – важные проблемы.

Since international words possess wider meaning volume they are more used in English if comparing to Russian:

Never before in the history of the world have there been so many persons engaged in the translation of both secular and religious materials.

Ещё никогда в истории человечества столько людей не занимались переводом как светской, так и духовной литературы.

Russian words религиозные материалы are absolutely unacceptable in this case because of their different usage. In this instance the usage plays the main role though their meaning is identical in both languages.

 Lexical transformations are also caused by necessity to concretize a word while translating. It is characteristic to English language the availability of words with wide spread meaning. They can be nouns, adjectives and verbs, for example: thing, point, stiff; nice, fine, bad; to say, to go, to come, to get.

Translation of these words depends on the context, which helps to identify their concrete meaning. Usually they are translated by various Russian words that have concrete meaning (importance). Practically it refers to verbs — to verbs of speech and verbs of movement. Concrete lexical meaning(importance), this or that the lexical-semantic variant of a verb depends on structure and lexical meaning of words that distribute them.

At the by-election victory went to the Labor candidate.

На дополнительных выборах победа досталась лейбористам (победу одержал кандидат от лейбористской партии).

           Among nouns of wide meaning a special group comprises abstract nouns, that frequently demand concrete definitions in translation. So, for example, despite the presence of a word президентство in Russian - English word presidency usually refers to the words a пост президента or президентская всласть.

An ageing Speaker cannot take on the burdens of the presidency.

Престарелый спикер не может взять на себя бремя президентской власти (в случае смерти президента).

The use of words of abstract meaning strongly differs in various languages. Therefore follows the necessity of concrete definition in translating.

The Saigon regime used every form of pressure and violence to compel a reluctant electorate to go to the polls.

Сайгонский режим прибегал ко всем видам давления и насилия, чтобы заставить упрямых избирателей принять участие в выборах.

Sometimes it is necessary to concretize some word due to different qualitative distinction (valeur) the generalizing words have in languages. The following words belong to them: meal and трапеза that usually illustrate the this phenomenon and the words limbs and члены, from which limbs is widely common, and Russian word the члены has much narrower usage.

In the given translation, besides concrete definition of руки and ноги, we also had to use fixed word phrase.

The following problem which demands careful consideration in lexical transformations of translation is problem of word combinability. In all languages there are typical norms of word combinability. The concept of norm is relative, on the one hand, with system of language, and on the other hand, it is closely connected with speech, in which the originality of speech formation is displayed.  Each language can form uncountable number new word combinations that will be understood by its bearers. In any language there exists generally accepted tradition of word combinations, which do not coincide with the corresponding tradition of word combinations in the other languages.

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