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Доцент Бесєдіна Т.Г.,
GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF ADEQUATE TRANSLATION
One of the main difficulties of translating lies in the fact that the meaning of the whole text is not exhausted by the sum of meanings of its elements. The meaning of a text is made up by words, syntactic meaning of sentences, lexica semantic connections between words and phrases.
Good practical knowledge of the two languages is quite necessary but not sufficient for translating. Besides this knowledge one must possess a number of skills in translation and be guided by a number of principles worked out by the theory of translation. These principles are connected both with linguistic and extra-linguistic aspects. While translating one must keep in view typological characteristics of both the languages and remember that the same idea may be expressed lexically in one of them and grammatically in the other.
Besides purely linguistic difficulties, translation involves a great number of problems caused by numerous extra linguistic factors. The content of any text is based upon extra linguistic reality, the text itself reflects the cultural background of the author and of the whole people speaking the language, it also reflects the history of the people, their habits and traditions, a peculiar national way of thinking, etc. All these things should necessarily be taken into consideration in order to translate the text adequately. Another demand upon a person translating any text is that he should be well acquainted with its subject matter.
If all these principles are taken into consideration there will be no danger of so called "literal" translation, which means a word-for-word translation. This type of translation with all its seeming accuracy ignores both linguistic and extra linguistic factors. It leads to preserving the meanings of separate words and at the same time it distorts the meaning of the whole text (sentence), thus often creates an undesirable comic effects.
Furthermore the problem of adequate translation is closely connected with the stylistic aspect of translation - one cannot reach the required level of equivalence if the stylistic peculiarities of the source text are neglected. Full translation adequacy includes as an obligatory component the adequacy of style, i.e. the right choice of stylistic means and devices of the target language to substitute for those observed in the source text. This means that in translation one is to find proper stylistic variations of the original meaning rather than only meaning itself.
A translator is to distinguish between neutral, bookish and colloquial words and word combinations, translating them by relevant units of the target language. It sometimes is hard to determine the correct stylistic variety of a translation equivalent. But the final decision is taken on the basis of the context, situation and the background information.
As it is known there are different types of correspondences between the elements of the SL and TL lexical systems. The meaning of equivalents practically does not depend on the context, so to translate them one should merely look them up in a dictionary. But the demand to consult dictionaries is essential. No guesswork is allowed in translation: a word should be either known or looked up; otherwise there is always a risk of translation the word "data" as "дата" or "billet" as "билет" or writing some other nonsense of the kind.
It is much more difficult to translate those words of SL which are characterized by partial correspondence to the words of TL. Such words are mostly poly semantic. That is why in order to translate them correctly it is necessary first of all to state which particular meaning of such a word is realized in the utterance. The most reliable indicator in this case is the context in which the word is used.
There is the difference between linguistic context and extra linguistic context (or context of situation). Linguistic context in its turn is subdivided into narrow (context of a phrase or a sentence) and wide (utterance-length context or sometimes context of the whole text). Very often the meaning of a word is revealed in the minimum context, i.e. in a phrase. It is easy to translate the phrases "green trees" - "зеленые деревья" or "green years" - "юные годы"), if one knows the meaning of the word "green" is - зеленый, юный, незрелый. However, there are such cases when we need at least a sentence or a paragraph to see what the word means.
So translation of any word begins with contextual analysis of its meaning. After that it becomes possible to choose correctly the corresponding word of TL. All types of context can help to identify the meaning of words in SL especially if the words have partial correspondence to the words of TL. The context also can help to identify the meaning of words that do not correspond to any words of TL. Translation of the words which have no correspondences in the other language at all causes many difficulties and requires special means.
In the process of translating a translator has to find it by himself which of the meanings of a poly semantic word is realized in a particular context. A translator has to see if under the influence of this context the word has acquired a slightly new shade of meaning and to decide how this new shade of meaning (not listed in any dictionary) can be rendered in TL. Moreover, it has already been said that every language has its specific way of expressing things, a way that may be quite alien to other languages. That is why a literal (word-for-word) translation of a foreign text may turn out clumsy (if not ridiculous) in TL. To avoid ridiculous translation a translator has to resort to some special devices worked out by the theory of translation and known as lexical and grammatical transformations(or contextual substitutions). Lexical transformations are classified as transformation by means differentiation and concretization, transformation of generalization, semantic development, antonymic translation, and compensation. Grammatical transformations deal with transposition, replacements, additions, and omissions.
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