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Translatioin of Political Literature

And it makes look for similarly accepted word combinations in the target language. The main part combined words usually coincides in translation, but the second one is frequently translated by a word possessing other logical meaning, but performing the same function, as for example, trains runпоезда ходят, rich feeding — обильная пища.

Labor Party protests followed sharply on the Tory deal with Spain.  

За сообщением о сделке консервативного правитель­ства с Испанией немедленно последовал протест лейбо­ристской партии.

The wider is the semantic volume of a word, the wider is its combinability, thus due to this feature it can interact  with various word forms and word combinations. And this features enables the translator to use his creativity in translation.

Along with traditional combinations in languages unexpected combinations are also possible, but they are quite clear, for they follow generally accepted semantic models of word combinability. This phenomenon — the connection of words with completely various semantic features - is peculiar to all languages, but in each language it has various rules and traditions. In English language such unexpected word combinations are formed very easily. It is probably caused by conversion and easiness in formation of new words in various ways, heterogeneity of languages vocabulary and some other reasons. Not only poets and writers, but also journalists frequently create unexpected word combination that makes their statements significantly vivid and original. The unexpectedness of word usage is closely connected with expressiveness of the statement.

Unexpected usage of word combinations hardens the task of translators, for words interrelate in combinations not only with one word, but also with a large number of other words of the sentence, for example:

The use of an adjective sharp in this context is unexpected: none of its meanings given in dictionaries gives the description of a hand. The difficulty of its translation is aggravated by presence of the second definition white, which excludes translation by words костлявый and сухой.

  Белая, сухощавая рука мадам лежала на широком колене Адама.

In the given translation the sense of the sentence has been rendered but the unexpectedness of the used word was lost.

 The last feature of lexical transformation to be discussed in this Paper is traditional word usage for every language and which causes frequent lexical transformations. This traditional usage is to some extent related to another approach to the phenomena of reality. For example:

The military base is built on terraces rising from the lake.

For Russian the traditional use will be:

Военная база построена на террасах, спускающихся к озеру.     

          In this case preposition is omitted in translation because as the originality of the English word usage required complete transformation.

To the traditional word usage can also be referred the so-called clichés — order, and the clichés in wider sense.

Hands up!

Руки вверх!

Long live America!

Да здравствует Америка!

          The assault of the castle was followed by continuous bombing. Loss of life was uncountable.

За штурмом крепости последовала длительная бомбардировка. Жертвы были бесчисленны.

The Commonwealth countries handle a quarter of the world's trade.

На страны Британского содружества приходится четверть всей мировой торговли

As you can see from the examples given above – in translations corresponding Russian clichés are also used.


§ III. Stylistic difficulties of translation 

In the previous chapters we carefully considered the grammatical and lexical transformations that occur while translating political literature from English into Russian. And we have figured out that most of these reasons are rooted in national and cultural settings of both languages.

Practically, stylistic devices in almost all languages are similar still though their functions in speech vary. Identical stylistic devices are used differently in languages; they perform different functions and have different value in stylistic system of their language what actually explains their necessity when transformations in translation occur. The stylistic changes are as necessary as grammatical or lexical ones. While applying some grammatical or lexical transformation in translation the translator is guided by principle of rendering grammatical of lexical meaning. When rendering stylistic meaning of the source text a translator should be guided by the same principle – to recreate in translation the same impression that might be left by the original text.

A translator should not try to preserve the stylistic device given in the sentence, but reproduce its function in the target language.

We should not forget that almost all stylistic devices are multi functional. It is like when polysemantic words in English and Russian languages do not coincide in their lexical-semantic variants and the same is when differ the function of identical stylistic device. Thus when comparing stylistic devices we can easily identify complete correspondence, partial correspondence and even sometimes absence of correspondence and their functions.

To illustration it we can compare alliteration in the English and Russian languages. The function of alliteration coincides in both languages — in this function alliteration is one of the basic devices of poetic speech. However the usage of alliteration for pleasant sounding in prose is more characteristic for the English language, than for Russian. The second function of alliteration is logical. Alliteration emphasizes close relationship between components of the statement. Especially brightly alliteration shows the unity of an epithet with an attributed word. 

 The third function of alliteration in English language – to attract attention of the reader — is widely used  in the names of literary works, newspaper headings and often in articles. 

  The use of alliteration is a convincing acknowledgement that various functions of stylistic devices in different languages do not always coincide in usage.

We have already discussed functional translation  of stylistic devices. But it is extremely important to distinguish in the translated text original and imagined alliterations so that to avoid unnecessary emphasizing  and to keep stylistic equivalence which presents necessary component of adequate translation. there is a constant danger to smooth and de-color the original text or, on the contrary, to make translation brighter and stylistically colored. But sometimes a translator consciously applies some "«smoothing" or neutralization in other words.  

 Repetition as you know is a more widespread stylistic device in the English language, than in Russian. 

In some cases repetition as the stylistic device should be necessarily kept in translation, but for the difference in combinability and various semantic structures of polysemantic words or words of wide meaning in English and Russian languages the translator has to change and replace some of elements. 

 The repetition is widely used with stylistic purposes in newspaper publicity. In these cases the translator is compelled to apply stylistic changes,  make substitution or omission.

A policy of see no stagnation, hear no stagnation, speak no stagnation has had too long a run for our money.

Слишком долго мы расплачиваемся за политику пол­ного игнорирования и замалчивания застоя в нашей эко­номике.

The triple repetition of no stagnation has been omitted in translation, though is partially compensated by the use of synonymic pair at a word (stagnation), but neutralization is evident in translation. The neutralization happened when  translating the phraseological unit to have (too long) a run for our money.

Among stylistic devices used in political literature rather frequent there are synonymic and alliterated pairs. The use of such pairs is traditional for all styles of the English language including business style as well.  When translating official documents such pairs are frequently by one word. For example, the just and equitable treatment of all nations from UN Charter is given in Russian  as  справедливое отношение ко всем нациям, for in Russian there is no absolute synonym for the word just

Metaphor is used in all emotionally – colored styles of speech. However in style of fiction the metaphor always carries original character, whereas in political literature the original metaphor is used rather seldom and basically — copied  metaphors. Nevertheless in advanced clauses of the English and American  political literature, the purpose of which is to assure, to make people believe and to impress the reader, that is to force him to agree with the point of view given in the article, one can often see rather bright and colorful metaphors. 

Sometimes the difficulty of translation of metaphor consists in translating some word combination or a phraseological unit, which does not have figurative equivalent in Russian.

We have already discussed the necessity of neutralization of means of expressiveness when translating English or American politics. Let us consider the problem of extended metaphor. The extended metaphor represents a chain of the logically connected figurative components. Sometimes such components of the extended metaphors pass through the whole clause. The below-mentioned example is taken from clause of the American observer James Reston.

The latest official explanation of the President's Indochina policy is that " he is backing out of the saloon with both guns firing ", but there is a catch to this.

He insists that the guys in the white hats keep control of the saloon before he leaves town. He wants a non-communist bartender, and a non-communist sheriff, and a secure non-communist town before he rides away into the sunset of November, 1972.  

In the final paragraph of the article the elements of one metaphor are partially repeated: but all this is a little more complicated than " backing out of the saloon ".

The images of this extended metaphor are taken from so-called "western" — of film about cowboys in "wild" West. In this case all elements of the developed(unwrapped) metaphor, perhaps, can be kept in translation.

Согласно последнему официальному объяснению политики президента в отношении Индокитая, «он хо­чет выбраться из бара, пятясь к двери и отстреливаясь из двух пистолетов». Но за этим кроется что-то еще.

Он хочет, чтобы парни в белых шапках следили за порядком в баре до тех пор, пока он не уедет из города. Он хочет, чтобы бармен не был коммунистом и чтобы ше­риф не был коммунистом и чтобы город заведомо не был в руках коммунистов. И только тогда он поскачет на­встречу ноябрьским сумеркам 1972 года.

And at the end of clause —  «но все это несколько сложнее, чем пятясь к двери, выбраться из бара».

However there are cases, when the preservation of all figurative components of the developed(unwrapped) metaphor is impossible, as well as preservation of both components of synonymic pair, for it would break the stylistic norms of Russian. 

Being purely linguistic and stylistic device – metonymy is used more and more in political literature, perhaps, even more than metaphor. Metonymy translation presents one of numerous problems for the use of metonymy  significantly differs in English and Russian languages. Due to this fact the translator is often forced to go back to the primary meaning of a word, that is to the meaning that was firstly created by metonymy. 

It is a widespread case of metonymy usage – substitution of concrete notion by an abstract one, which can not always be preserved.

"It (the flood) has hurl us a great deal, " the Pakistan Prime Minister told correspondents last week as he toured the destruction in the flooded provinces. ("Newsweek")

«Наводнение нанесло нам огромный ущерб»,—сказал корреспондентам премьер-министр Пакистана, на прош­лой неделе во время поездки по пострадавшим от навод­нения районам.

Concerning the translation of comparison as a stylistic device, the difficulties arise only if the words of English and Russian languages are various in the semantic structure. We have already considered in the chapter of lexical transformations the question of translation of such terms and now we would like to give the example of stylistic comparison. 

Instant history, like instant coffee, can sometimes be remarkably palatable. At least it is in this memoir by a former White House aide who sees L.B.J. as " an extraordinarily gifted President who was the wrong man from the wrong place at the wrong time under the wrong circumstances ". 

Современная история, как и такой современный продукт, как растворимый кофе, иногда может быть нео­быкновенно приятна. По крайней мере, такой ее пре­подносит в своих мемуарах бывший помощник прези­дента Джонсона, считающий его «исключительно ода­ренным президентом, который был неподходящим человеком, из неподходящего места (штат Техас), в непод­ходящее время, при неподходящих обстоятельствах».

In order to preserve this playing comparison, the interpreters were forced to apply additional words.

We discussed above the importance of articles in translation and now we should mention once again that they can serve in stylistic purposes. 

An expressiveness gets the definite article, before a indefinite pronoun one.

... this is the one way we can achieve success in elections.

...это единственный способ достигнуть победы на выборах.

The given synonyms compensate render the stress contained the original text.

There is another kind of stylistic transformation – actualization – which involves transition of something simple into something unusual, strange. It reveals potential expressiveness put in the lexical morphologic and syntactic means of a language. 

Actualization of the passive form often occurs while translating political literature but it is not as colored as in the translations of fiction.

The General Assembly was gaveled to order by its outgoing President. 

Уходящий со своего поста председатель Генеральной Ассамблее навел порядок в зале, энергично стуча мо­лотком.

The expressiveness and emphasis created by the passive form of the verb that had been formed as a result of conversion are compensated by lexical means. The compressed nature of sentence was lost for the verb to gavel has two semantic components one of action and an instrument that were to be rendered in translation.

Now from everything that has been discussed above we can infer that the usage of some of stylistic devices in English is peculiar – and bears specific national character, therefore their direct translation in many instances is impossible. Moreover, the impression left by some of stylistic device maybe different in both languages, compare soft panic and тихая паника. It can be explained not only by national features of stylistic means and devices of some of the language but by the their multi functioning character also – that do not always coincide – as it was shown on the matter of alliteration. This is the main criteria causing the necessity of stylistic transformations that involve substitution and changes. Therefore we should warn the future translators and interpreters that it is not important to classify the device itself but the point is to be able to realize their ongoing effect and to identify the purpose of their application in the translation they are working on.

 § IV. The difficulty of translation of set phrases and idioms

As far as idioms and phraseological units are concerned in translation, the first difficulty that a translator comes across is being able to recognize that s/he is dealing with an idiomatic expression. This is not always so obvious. There are various types of idioms, some more easily recognizable than others. Those which are easily recognizable include expressions which violate truth conditions, such as It's raining cats and dogs, throw caution to the winds, storm in a tea cup, jump down someone's throat, and food for thought. They also include expressions which seem ill-formed because they do not follow the grammatical rules of the language, for example trip the light fantastic, blow someone to kingdom come, put paid to, the powers that be, by and large, and the world and his friend. Expressions which start with like (simile-like structures) also tend to suggest that they should not be interpreted literally. These include idioms such as like a bat out of hell and like water off a duck's back. Generally speaking, the more difficult an expression is to understand and the less sense it makes in a given context, the more likely a translator will recognize it as an idiom. Because they do not make sense if interpreted literally, the highlighted expressions in the following text are easy to recognize as idioms (assuming one is not already familiar with them):

This can only be done, I believe, by a full and frank airing of the issues. I urge you all to speak your minds and not to pull any punches.

Provided a translator has access to good reference works and monolingual dictionaries of idioms, or, better still, is able to consult native speakers of the language, opaque idioms which do not make sense for one reason or another can actually be a blessing in disguise. The very fact that s/he cannot make sense of an expression in a particular context will alert the translator to the presence of an idiom of some sort.

There are two cases in which an idiom can be easily misinterpreted if one is not already familiar with it:

(a)      Some idioms are 'misleading'; they seem transparent because they offer a reasonable literal interpretation and their idiomatic meanings are not necessarily signalled in the surrounding text. A large number of idioms in English, and probably all languages, have both a literal and an idiomatic meaning, for example go out with ('have a romantic or sexual relationship with someone') and take someone for a ride ('deceive or cheat someone in some way'). Such idioms lend themselves easily to manipulation by speakers and writers who will sometimes play on both their literal and idiomatic meanings. In this case, a translator who is not familiar with the idiom in question may easily accept the literal interpretation and miss the play on idiom. 

 (b)    An idiom in the source language may have a very close counter­
part in the target language which looks similar on the surface but has
a totally or partially different meaning. For example, the idiomatic question Has the cat had/got your tongue? is used in English to urge someone to answer a question or contribute to a conversation, particularly when their failure to do so becomes annoying.  

Apart from being alert to the way speakers and writers manipulate certain features of idioms and to the possible confusion which could arise from similarities in form between source and target expressions, a translator must also consider the collocational environment which surrounds any expression whose meaning is not readily acces­sible. Idiomatic and fixed expressions have individual collocational patterns. They form collocations with other items in the text as single units and enter into lexical sets which are different from those of their individual words. Take, for instance, the idiom to have cold feet. Cold as a separate item may collocate with words like weather, winter, feel, or country. Feet on its own will perhaps collocate with socks, chilblain, smelly, etc. However, having cold feet, in its idiomatic use, has nothing necessarily to do with winter, feet, or chilblains and will therefore generally be used with a different set of collocates.

The ability to distinguish senses by collocation is an invaluable asset to a translator working from a foreign language. It is often subsumed under the general umbrella of 'relying on the context to disambiguate meanings', which, among other things, means using our knowledge of collocational patterns to decode the meaning of a word or a stretch of language. Using our knowledge of collocational patterns may not always tell us what an idiom means but it could easily help us in many cases to recognize an idiom, particularly one which has a literal as well as a non-literal meaning.

          Once an idiom or fixed expression has been recognized and inter­preted correctly, the next step is to decide how to translate it into the target language. The difficulties involved in translating an idiom are totally different from those involved in interpreting it. Here, the question is not whether a given idiom is transparent, opaque, or misleading. An opaque expression may be easier to translate than a transparent one. The main difficulties involved in translating idioms and fixed expressions may be summarized as follows:

(a) An idiom or fixed expression may have no equivalent in the target language. The way a language chooses to express, or not express, various meanings cannot be predicted and only occasionally matches the way another language chooses to express the same meanings. One language may express a given meaning by means of a single word, another may express it by means of a transparent fixed expression, a third may express it by means of an idiom, and so on. It is therefore unrealistic to expect to find equivalent idioms and expressions in the target language as a matter of course.

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