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A term is a word or expression denoting a concept in a particular activity, job, or profession. Terms are frequently associated with professionalisms.156

Terms can be single words: psychology, function, equity; or they may consist of several words: computer aided design system – система автоматического проектирования.

Terms are considered to have one meaning in one field. Therefore, they are context-free words, whose meaning does not depend on the context: cod – треска, herring – сельдь, squid – кальмар in any context.

Contrary to this belief, terms may have more than one meaning, since they can be understood differently in various schools and varies technologies: e.g., the grammatical term verb is considered to belong to morphology in the Russian school of linguistics, so it is translated as глагол. In the American school of linguistics it is often understood as a syntactical concept expressing a part of the sentence; therefore, in this case it corresponds to the Russian сказуемое. This gives rise to the problem of term unification. A translator must be very careful about terms expressing the same notion in different languages. One notion should be designated by a single term throughout the whole text.

Different fields of knowledge ascribe different meanings to one and the same term. For example, лист in the publishing field corresponds to the term sheet (author’s sheet); in biology, it is a leaf; in technique, it is a plate; in geology, it is lamina. Similarly, the term drive is equivalent to different Russian terms, since it has different meanings in various fields: привод (in mechanics), органы управления (in the automobile), сплав (in forestry), горизонтальная горная выработка (in mining), дисковод (in the computer), etc.

Term homonymy is sometimes due to the fact that words of general stock assume a technical meaning, thus becoming terms: for instance, memory – память, cell – ячейка памяти, driver – драйвер, управляющая программа (in computers). Also, terms of one field are borrowed by other fields, like variant and invariant were borrowed into linguistics from mathematics.

Such term homonymy challenges translation. A translator must know the exact meaning of term in this or that field, as well as its combinability, for the nearby attribute or another word may specify the term and affect its translation: антикоррозийное покрытие – corrosion-resistant coating, дерновое покрытие – sod-matting, дорожное покрытие – road pavement, покрытие крыши – roofing, маскировочное покрытие – camouflage cover, пенное покрытие – foam blanket.

To do accurate translation, it is necessary not only to know the meaning of the terms but also to link them with other words in speech. Erroneous word combination can cause difficulties in understanding the text. For example, the word combination прозвонить цепь cannot be rendered by its calque *to ring through the line. Its equivalent is to test the line. Therefore, translators always put high value on dictionaries containing word equivalents along with phrases and illustrating sentences.157

Terms in dictionaries are usually arranged in alphabetical and keyword order. To find a word combination, it is necessary to look up a keyword, which is usually a noun. For example, to translate a compound term barking machine, it is necessary to look up the term machine. Its vocabulary entry will give the attributive group corresponding to корообдирочный станок, корообдирка.

Term translation may also depend on the regional character of the language. For example, антенна corresponds to aerial in British English, to antenna in American English; ветровое стекло (автомобиля) – windscreen (British English), windshield (American English); багажник (автомобиля) – boot (British), trunk (American).

Term form depends on the people using it. P. Newmark suggests three levels of term usage:

1) Academic. This includes transferred Latin and Greek words used in academic papers (phlegmasia alba dolens);

2) Professional. Formal terms used by experts (epidemic parotitis, scarlatina);

3) Popular. Layman vocabulary, which includes familiar alternative terms (mumps, scarlet fever).158

In science, terms are neutral, non-expressive. Medical students feel no particular ways, whatever terms they use. But when a term is transferred to another register, it takes on a stylistic and emotional coloring. In common everyday situations, people feel abhorrence for pox, in Russian called дурная болезнь, and other things.

Term translation depends on the register it is used in. In science, translators tend to translate as precisely as possible. Absolute equivalence of terms is a requirement in scientific translation. In other registers, term translation depends on the receptors background, and on the function the term plays in the text.

23)TRANSLATION TECHNIQUE.The main ways of translating terms are as follows:

1. Transcription (for loan terms): display – дисплей, algorythm – алгоритм, phenomenon - феномен. Care should be taken not to overuse this technique. Terms may not survive in the borrowed form, as happened with the computer term hardware whose loan equivalent хардвер is no longer used in computer science, but has given way to its explanatory substitution: электромеханическое оборудование, техническое обеспечение.

2. Transliteration: carbide – карбид, function – функция. Normally, terms are transliterated or transcribed when a target language lacks a certain notion and borrows it a short foreign form.

Many international loan terms are of Greek or Latin origin. This facilitates mutual understanding among specialists: arthrogryposis – артрогрипоз, osteodystrophy – остеодистрофия, hematoma – гематома.

However, when using this technique a translator should be aware of ‘false friends’, that is words similar in form but different in meaning, for example: benzene in chemistry is equal to бензол, not бензин, the latter corresponding to benzine, gasoline. Likewise, мутиляция = отторжение части тела или органа - rejection, mutilation – увечье, калечащее повреждение; hemeralopia – дневная слепота (ухудшение зрения при дневном свете), гемералопия = ночная (куриная) слепота – nyctalopia.

A translator of science texts must use only standard terms, avoiding slang or colloquial words. For instance, brown coal – бурый уголь (not *коричневый уголь); natural gas – природный газ (not *натуральный газ); airplane – самолет (not аэроплан); машинное масло – engine oil (not *machine oil).

3. Calque, half-calque: this technique is often applied to translating compound terms or term phrases: preanalysis – преданализ; structural system analysis – структурный системный анализ; address field – поле адреса; one-dimensional – одномерный.

This translation technique, even more than transcription or transliteration, may be detrimental to the correctness of the meaning, for it can lead to “false friends”: letter-of-credit is not письмо доверия but аккредитив; песочные часы – not *sand clock but hour-glass; цветные металлы – not *colored metals but non-ferrous metals. Transparent inner form of the word can cause no less trouble with translation equivalents: gooseberry – крыжовник (not гусиная ягода), quicksilver – ртуть (not быстрое серебро), bear’s onion – черемша (not медвежий лук).

4. Translating a word and using it as the term: mouse – мышь, net – сеть, memory – память. Gradually, specialists get accustomed to these terms and use them widely in speech.

5. Explicatory (descriptive) translation and expansion. This technique is used for verbalizing new objects, not existing in the target language, for example, open housing – жилищная политика равных возможностей, tripos – экзамен для получения отличия в Кембридже. It is desirable that a translator avoid translating a descriptive by a transliterated (technical) term for the purpose of “showing off” knowledge. However, the descriptive technique is justified by the lack of an appropriate technical term in the source language. In English-to-Russian translation, a more explicit character of the Russian language can necessitate the descriptive technique: radarproof – защищенный от радиолокационного обнаружения, conflict of interest – злоупотребление служебным положением.

6. Reduction takes place when one word or a smaller number of words verbalizes a notion: computer engineer – электроник, счет прибылей и убытков компании - earnings report. To make sure that the term is standard, it is necessary to consult the dictionary as often as possible.

7. Analogue substitution: cold cereal – сухой завтрак, play school – детские ясли. This technique is used for a receptor’s convenience when corresponding similar standard terms exist in the target language.



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