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Translatioin of Political Literature

Like single words, idioms and fixed expressions may be culture-specific. Formulae such as Merry Christmas and say when which relate to specific social or religious occasions provide good examples.

Basnett-McGuire (1980: 21) explains that the expression say when 'is ... directly linked to English social behavioral patterns' and suggests that 'the translator putting the phrase into Russian has to contend with the problem of the non-existence of a similar convention in either culture'. Less problematic, but to some extent also culture-specific, are the sort of fixed formulae that are used in formal correspondence, such as Yours faithfully and Yours sincerely in English. These, for instance, have no equivalents in Arabic formal correspondence. The same mis­match occurs in relation to French and several other languages but in Russian we have similar expression Ваш верный!

Idioms and fixed expressions which contain culture-specific items are not necessarily untranslatable. It is not the specific items an expression contains but rather the meaning it conveys and its association with culture-specific contexts which can make it untrans­latable or difficult to translate. For example, the English expression to carry coals to Newcastle, though culture-specific in the sense that it contains a reference to Newcastle coal and uses it as a measure of abundance, is nevertheless closely paralleled in Russian by в Тулу со своим самоваром. Both expressions convey the same meaning, namely: to supply something to someone who already has plenty of it. 

(b) An idiom or fixed expression may have a similar counterpart in the target language, but its context of use may be different; the two expressions may have different connotations, for instance, or they may not be pragmatically transferable. To sing a different tune is an English idiom which means to say or do something that signals a change in opinion because it contradicts what one has said or done before.   To go to the dogs ('to lose one's good qualities') has a similar counterpart in German, but whereas the English idiom can be used in connection with a person or a place, its German counterpart can only be used in connection with a person and often means to die or perish.

(c)  An idiom may be used in the source text in both its literal and idiomatic senses at the same time. Unless the target-language idiom corresponds to the source-language idiom both in form and in meaning, the play on idiom cannot be successfully reproduced in the target text. 

(d) An idiom or fixed expression may have a similar counterpart in the target language, but its context of use may be different; the two expressions may have different connotations, for instance, or they may not be pragmatically transferable. An idiom may be used in the source text in both its literal and idiomatic senses at the same time. Unless the target-language idiom corresponds to the source-language idiom both in form and in meaning, the play on idiom cannot be successfully reproduced in the target text. 

Using idioms in English and American politics is very much a matter of style. Languages such as Arabic and Chinese which make a sharp distinction between written and spoken discourse and where the written mode is associ­ated with a high level of formality tend, on the whole, to avoid using idioms in written texts. Fernando and Flavell   discuss the difference in rhetorical effect of using idioms in general and of using specific types of idiom in the source and target languages and quite rightly conclude that 'Translation is an exacting art. Idiom more than any other feature of language demands that the translator be not only accurate but highly sensitive to the rhetorical nuances of the language’.

§ V. Samples of translation.

Blitzkrieg   молниеносная война.

Comprehensive Programme of Disarmament n  Всеобъемлющая программа разоружения.

International Nuclear Information System n  международная система ядерной информации.

National Guard n  Национальная гвардия.

abet resistance v  оказывать поддержку движению сопротивления (vi) .

abrogated a treaty v  расторгнул договор (vi) .

1. abrogating a convention n  расторжение договора.

2. abrogating a convention v  расторгающий договор (vi) .

absolute rule n  самовластие.

absolute war n  решительные боевые действия.

accelerate upon an agreement v  ускорять достижение соглашения (vi) .

1. adhering to treaty provisions n  соблюдение положений договора.

2. adhering to treaty provisions v  соблюдающий положения договора (vi)

adjustment of disputes n  урегулирование разногласий.

administration of peace-keeping operations n  осуществление операций по поддержанию мира.

bar the way to war v  преграждать путь к войне (vi) .

basic war plan n  основной стратегический план.

beam the opposition v  подавлять сопротивление (vi) .

brush blaze n  локальная война.

brush fire war n  местная война.

call to the colors v  объявлять мобилизацию (vi) .

carried the day v  одержал победу (vi) .

challenge to the world community n  вызов международному сообществу.

change in a policy n  смена политики.

chemical warfare agreement n  соглашение о запрещении химического оружия.

circumvention of an agreement n  обход соглашения.

claims to world superiority n  притязания на мировое господство.

comparison of military expenditures in accordance with international standards n  сопоставление военных бюджетов по международным стандартам.

compensation allowance n  денежная компенсация.

competitive co-existence n  сосуществование в условиях соперничества.

completion of talks n  завершение переговоров.

compliance with commitments n  соблюдение обязательств.

conduct an arms race v  вести гонку вооружений (vi) .

conduct diplomacy v  проводить дипломатию (vi) .

conduct of disarmament negotiations n  ведение переговоров по разоружению.

consolidation of peace n  укрепление мира.

construction of all-embracing system of international secutity n  создание всеобъемлющей системы международной безопасности.

consultative board n  консультативный совет.

contending nation n  воюющее государство.

contest the air v  оспаривать господство в воздухе (vi) .

control agency n  орган управления.

convene a meeting v  созывать совещание (vi) .

convene the UN Security Council v  созывать Совет Безопасности ООН (vi) .

conventional armament n  обычное вооружение.

desperate situation n  отчаянное положение.

detentist n  сторонник разрядки международной напряженности.

deterioration of resistance n  ослабление сопротивления.

deterioration of resistance n  ослабление сопротивления.

diminished international tension n  спад международной безопасности.

diplomatic attack n  дипломатическая атака.

diplomatic co-operation n  дипломатическое сотрудничество.

diplomatic decision n  дипломатическое решение.

disarmament issue n  проблема разоружения.

disarmament negotiation n  переговоры о разоружении.

disaster control n  меры по ликвидации последствий нападения.

1. drafting an agreement n  составление текста соглашения.

2. drafting an agreement v  составляющий текст соглашения (vi) .

ease international tension v  смягчать международную обстановку (vi) .

entered into alliance v  вступил в союз (vi) .

established an organization v  создал организацию (vi) .

financial service n  служба финансового довольствия.

graves registration service n  похоронная служба.

1. heading off the arms race n  воспрепятствование гонке вооружений.

2. heading off the arms race v  воспрепятствовавший гонке вооружений (vi) .

implement a goal v  осуществлять цель (vi) .

in-depth assessment n  глубокая оценка.

isolationist posture n  изоляционистская политика.

large-scale production n  крупномасштабное производство.

1. leading to positive solutions n  приведение к положительным результатам.

2. leading to positive solutions v  приводящий к положительным результатам

legal branch n  юридическая служба.

ligitimate rights n  законные права.

maintain mastery v  удерживать господство в воздухе (vi) .

maintain neutrality v  соблюдать нейтралитет (vi) .

maintain stability v  поддерживать стабильность (vi) .

maintained a status quo v  сохранил статус-кво (vi) .

making demands v  выдвигающий требования (vi) .

1. managing non-compliance n  урегулирование вопроса о несоблюдении.

2. managing non-compliance v  урегулировавший вопрос о несоблюдении

mandatory embargo n  обязательное эмбарго.

meet an aggression v  отражать нападение агрессора (vi) .

meet the demand v  отвечать требованию (vi) .

militarese n  военный язык.

military high court n  верховный военный суд.

mounting of international tension n  усиление международной напряженности.

moved a resolution v  предложил резолюцию (vi) .

mutual co-operation n  взаимное сотрудничество.

mutual commitment n  взаимное обязательство.

mutual deterrence n  взаимное сдерживание путем устрашения.

mutually acceptable agreement n  взаимоприемлемое решение.

mutually advantageous treaty n  взаимовыгодный договор.

mutually beneficial reductions of armaments n  взаимовыгодные сокращения вооружений.

mutually beneficial treaty n  взаимовыгодный договор.

negotiated treaty text n  согласованный текст договора.

negotiating atmosphere n  атмосфера на переговорах.

negotiating forum n  форум для переговоров.

negotiating parties n  договаривающиеся стороны.

negotiating priority n  приоритетный вопрос на переговорах.

negotiating process n  процесс переговоров.

negotiating stalemate n  тупик на переговорах.

negotiations behind the scene n  закулисные переговоры.

new mentality n  новая психология.

no-cities strategy n  стратегия избежания поражения крупных городов.

noble goal n  благородная цель.

non-aligned status n  статус неприсоединившегося государства.

non-alignment with military blocs n  неприсоединение к военным блокам.

non-armament agreements n  соглашения о невооружении.

non-governmental expert n  неправительственный эксперт.

non-interference in internal affairs n  невмешательство во внутренние дела.

non-strategic a  нестратегический.

nuclear co-operation agreement n  соглашение о сотрудничестве в ядерной области.

observed a status v  соблюл статус (vi) .

observer status n  статус обозревателя.

1. observing a truce n  соблюдение условий перемирия.

2. observing a truce v  соблюдающий условия перемирия (vi) .

1. observing to treaty provisions n  соблюдение положений договора.

2. observing to treaty provisions v  соблюдающий положения договора (vi) .

occurrence of nuclear war n  возникновение ядерной войны.

offensive-arms agreement n  соглашение о наступательных вооружениях.

offer co-operation v  предлагать сотрудничество (vi) .

1. overcoming the deadlock n  выход из тупика.

2. overcoming the deadlock v  выходящий из тупика (vi) .

overcontrol n  чрезмерная централизация управления.

overhead expenses n  накладные расходы.

prolongation of a treaty n  продление договора.

1. putting a stop to the arms race n  остановка гонки вооружения .

2. putting a stop to the arms race v  останавливающий гонку (vi) .

putting in jeopardy v  ставящий под угрозу (vi) .

random surprise verification n  выборочная внезапная проверка.

range of measures n  комплекс мер.

1. re-establishing equilibrium n  восстановление равновесия.

2. re-establishing equilibrium v  восстанавливающий равновесие (vi) .

reduction of military budgets n  сокращение военных бюджетов.

1. rendering assistance n  оказание содействия.

2. rendering assistance v  оказывающий содействие (vi) .

severe contraction n  резкое сокращение.

system of declaration n  система объявлений.

tables of information and characteristics n  информационно-характеристические таблицы.

1. tabling for consideration n  представление на рассмотрение.

2. tabling for consideration v  представляющий на рассмотрение (vt) .

tactical program n  программа оперативно-тактической подготовки.

take a series of unilateral steps v  предпринимать серию односторонних шагов (vi) .

take-it-or-leave-it approach n  бескомпромиссный подход.

1. taking the strain off n  разрядка напряженности.

2. taking the strain off v  разряжающий напряженность (vi) .

tangible progress n  ощутимый прогресс.

throwdown v  1) свергать (vi) ; 2) свергать (vt) .

top level forum n  высокий форум.

top priority n  высший приоритет.

top secret adv  секретно.

top-priority a  первоочередной.

topical problem n  актуальная проблема.

topicality of proposals n  актуальность предложений.

treaty assessment n  оценка действия договора.

treaty of unlimited duration n  бессрочный договор.

turn down a resolution v  отклонять резолюцию (vi) .

turn out data v  выдавать данные (vi) .

turned down a resolution v  отклонил резолюцию (vi) .

ultimate truth n  истина в последней инстанции.

ulterior motive n  скрытый мотив.

ultimate reply n  решительный ответ.

unacceptable conditions n  неприемлемые условия.

unacceptable damage n  неприемлемый ущерб.

unacceptable terms n  неприемлемые условия.

unattainable goal n  неосуществимая цель.

unavailing efforts n  тщетные усилия.

unbridled escalation of the arms race n  неконтролируемая гонка вооружений.

unchangeable status quo n  неизменный статус - кво.

uncontrollable situation n  неуправляемая ситуация.

under the agreement adv  по соглашению.

under the conditions of glasnost adv  в условиях гласности.

under the conditions of openness adv  в условиях гласности.

under the conditions of peace adv  в условиях мира.

under the eagis of the United Nations adv  под эгидой ООН.

under the treaty adv  согласно договору.

undermine an agreement v  подрывать соглашение (vi) .

undermine stability v  подрывать стабильность (vi) .

1. undermining a meeting n  подрыв совещания.

2. undermining a meeting v  подрывающий совещание (vi) .

unit veto n  всеобщее вето.

universal annihilation n  всеобщее уничтожение.

unofficial meeting n  неофициальная встреча.

unproductive conference n  безрезультатное совещание.

unswerving supporter n  непоколебимый сторонник.

urgent demand n  настоятельное требование.

urgent problem n  неотложная проблема.

vote for a resolution v  голосовать за резолюцию (vi) .

voted-down draft n  отклоненный проект.

1. waging operations n  проведение боевых действий.

2. waging operations v  проводящий боевые действия (vi) .

1. wandering away n  уклонение.

2. wandering away v  уклоняющийся (vi) .

wanton aggression n  ничем не вызванная агрессия.

wanton interference n  ничем не вызванное вмешательство.

war by proxy n  война чужими руками.

war diplomacy n  дипломатия войны.

war of annihilation n  война на уничтожение.

war of attrition n  война на истощение.

war of liberation n  освободительная война.

war preparedness n  готовность к войне.

war propaganda n  пропаганда войны.

war-time diplomacy n  дипломатия военного времени.

widening of international ties n  расширение международных связей.

won with wide recognition v  получил широкое признание (vi) .

working language n  рабочий язык.






In the given Qualification Paper we have investigated various translation methods of political literature from English into Russian. We tried to give a detailed study of the features of translation of Political literature for it is one of the types of translation that has not been studied in details in our country up to this time.  

Moreover, we’ve studied the translation methods of Political literature and political terms at a deeper level, the types and ways of translation of Political literature; we’ve also considered the function of political literature in everyday life of the humanity. 

The aim of this work was to introduce the translation approach to Political literature so that to make it easy to perceive for those willing to keep up their educational and scientific carrier in the science of translation, it was purposed to broaden their view on translation studies and peculiar features while translating Political literature.

In this work we’ve completed the following tasks:

-         we’ve reviewed all the sources of Political literature

-         methods of translation of Political literature have been carefully studied

-         the grammatical, lexical, stylistic and phraseological difficulties of translation of political literature were discussed

The originality of this work is in its creative approach to the study of methods of translation, besides, it contains a detailed review of ways and methods of translation.

The given Qualification paper contains introduction, two chapters, and samples of translations of political set expressions, conclusion and bibliography list.



Most translators prefer to think of their work as a profession and would like to see others to treat them like professionals rather than as skilled or semi-skilled workers. But to achieve this, translators need to develop an ability to stand back and reflect on what they do and how they do it. Like doctors and engineers, they have to prove to themselves as well as others that they are in control of what they do; that they do not just translate well because they have ‘flair’ for translation, but rather because, like other professionals, they have made a conscious effort to understand various aspects of their work.

Unlike medicine and engineering, translation is a very young discipline in academic terms. It is only just starting to feature as a subject of study in its own right, not yet in all but in an increasing number of universities and colleges around the world. Like any young discipline, it needs to draw on the findings and theories of other related disciplines in order to develop and formalize its own methods; but which disciplines it can naturally and fruitfully be related to is still a matter of some controversy. Almost every aspect of life in general and of the interaction between speech communities in particular can be considered relevant to translation, a discipline which has to concern itself with how meaning is generated within and between various groups of people in various cultural settings. This is clearly too big an area to investigate in one go. So, let us just start by saying that, if translation is ever to become a profession in the full sense of the word, translators will need something other than the current mixture of intuition and practice to enable them to reflect on what they do and how they do it. They will need, above all, to acquire a sound knowledge of the raw material with which they work: to understand what language is and how it comes to function for its users.

In this research work we have completed the following tasks:

-         we have reviewed all the sources of Political literature

-         we revealed the methods and ways of translation of Political literature

-         and we have also investigated grammatical, lexical, phraseological and stylistic difficulties of translation of Political literature.

In this Qualification paper we have reviewed almost all the grammatical, lexical, stylistic difficulties of translation of Political Literature.

While reviewing the grammatical changes we considered the following transformations: substitution, omission, transposition and supplementation.

Substitution is one of the grammatical relations among the parts of the sentences. In substitution, an item (or items) is replaced by another item (or items), ex:

I like Politics.                             And I do.  or

Will the United Stated start the war against Iraq? – No one knows.

The words like do, one, the same are usually used in substitution.

Omission, as you know is when an item is replaced by nothing. This is a case of leaving something unsaid which is nevertheless understood.  The example is:

In the World War II the Soviet Union lost over 70 millions of life. And the United States less than 10.

A hearer will easily infer what happened to the United States during the war.

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.

Supplementation happens to be very frequent when translating texts on International politics because we do not always have corresponding words for some English or American notions like:

During the World War II one of the basic changes in the US military bases was the construction of emergency hangars in case of sudden attack.

Одним из немаловажных перемен в военных базах США во время Второй Мировой Войны была разработка конструкции ангаров для срочного вылета в случае внезапной атаки.   

There is no corresponding word in Russian military system for emergency hangar therefore we had to make use of supplementation.

Thus, we have come to conclusion that the above mentioned changes are necessary while processing a translation of Political literature from English into Russian.

While discussing the lexical problems of translation we considered lexical-semantic features of both languages and investigated such cases as difference in word volume, word combinability, generally accepted tradition of word usage, we have also considered contextual meaning of words in the process of translation. In addition we investigated the emotional coloring that plays an important role while processing a translation of Political Literature. We have studied the translation of international words and unexpected usage of word combinability that makes the translation task harder.

A very interesting contextual meaning of exploitation was 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 is the 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.

The use of words of abstract meaning strongly differs in various languages. Therefore arises 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.

In the study of stylistic transformation during translation we found, that 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.

Still, studying the difficulties of translation of Political literature we have come to conclusion that the most difficulty to a translator represent set expressions and phraseological units that are widely used in American and English politics. In most cases we do not have corresponding notions in Russian or have some words that do not sufficiently cover the whole meaning of the word in question: for example:

The Cold War last for more than forty years.

Холодная война длилась более сорока лет.

In this case we used word for word (verbatim) translation for we do not have any words that would convey the sense the Americans put in this expression.

Therefore a translator, majoring in the translation of Politics should have a good command not only of English itself, but should know the principles of International politics and other Political sciences.

To wind up this discourse, we would like to remind you, that while our country is rapidly integrating into the International community, the need of highly experienced translators of Political literature will be evident to make the International Events easily accessible to general public.


(information sources)

1.     Fathy A. Osman. Senior interpreter/translator, IMF, Washington, DC

2.     In other words – a course book on translation.  Mona Baker, London and New York, 1992.

3.     The Craft of Translation, John Biguenet & Rainer Schulte, The University of Chicago Press.

4.     Translation features, Basnett-McGuire, New York Publishing house 1980.

5.     A course book on Military Translation, Ministry of Defense of the USSR, Moscow 1962.

6.     Translation difficulties, T.R. Levitskaya & A.M. Fitterman, “International Relations” Publishing house, Moscow 1976.

7.     Difficulties of translation from English into Russian, Zrajevskaya L.M. & Belyaeva, Moscow Publishing House, 1972.

8.     Translation and linguistics, Schweitzer A.D.

9.      English Grammar, L.S. Barhudarov & D.A. Schteling, Moscow 1965.

10.  Exercise book on translation of humanitarian texts, Malchevskaya, Saint Petersburg 1980.

11.  America and Russian and the Cold War, Walter LaFeber, 6th Edition,  Cornell University 1991.

12.  Comparative Politics, Washington State University, 1996.

13. International Conflict Cooperation and Management, Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania, 2000.

14. www.worldtranslationservice.com

15. www.translateweb.org

16. www.monabaker.trans.com

17.  www.chicagopress.com

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