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They say that translation starts where dictionaries end. Though somewhat exaggerated, this saying truly reflects the nature of translation. Dictionaries list all regular correspondences between elements of lexical systems of languages. Translation deals not so much with the system of language but with speech (or to be more exact - with a text, which is a product of speech). So in the process of translating one has to find it by himself which of the meanings of a polysemantic word is realized in a particular context, 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. E.g. no dictionary ever translates the verb "to be" as "лежать", nevertheless it is the best way to translate it in the sentence "She was in hospital" - "Она лежала. в больнице". 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 it one has to resort to some special devices worked out by the theory of translation and known as lexical transformations (or contextual substitutions) (лексические трансформации, или контекстуальные замены). There are several types of such transformations.
1. The first type of lexical transformations is used in translating words with wide and non-differentiated meaning. The essence of this transformation lies in translating such words of SL by words with specified concrete meaning in TL (трансформация дифференциации и конкретизации). When translating from English into Russian they use it especially often in the sphere of verbs. If English verbs mostly denote actions in rather a vague general way, Russian verbs are very concrete in denoting not only the action itself but also the manner of performing this action as well: "to go (on foot, by train, by plane, etc.)" - " идти пешком", " ехать. поездом", " лететь. самолетом", etc.; "to get out" - "выбираться","выходить", "вылезать", "высаживаться", etc. The choice of a particular Russian verb depends on the context. It does not mean, of course, that the verb "to go" changes its meaning under the influence of the context. The meaning of "to go" is the same, it always approximately corresponds to the Russian "перемещаться", but the norms of the Russian language demand a more specified nomination of the action. The same can be illustrated with the verb "to be": "The clock is on the wall", "The apple is on the plate and the plate is on the table" - "Часы висят. на стене", "яблоко лежит на тарелке, а тарелка стоит на столе", though in all those cases "to be" preserves its general meaning "находиться". The sentence "He's in Hollywood" in J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" should be translated as "Он работает в Голливуде", but if "Oxford" were substituted for "Hollywood" the translation would rather be " учится ". This transformation is applicable not only to verbs but to all words of wide semantic volume, no matter to what part of speech they belong: adverbs, adjectives, nouns, etc. E.g. due to their most vague meaning such nouns as "a thing", "stuff", "a camp" are used to denote practically anything, often remaining neutral stylistically. In Russian, however, nouns with so general a meaning are less universal, besides, they sometimes belong to the colloquial register which often makes it impossible to use them in translation (cf. "a thing" - "вещь", "штука", "штуковина"). That is why in every case there should be found a word with a more concrete meaning denoting that particular "thing" or "stuff" which is meant by the author: "... this madman stuff that happened to me" - "идиотская история,которая со мной случилась"; "... all the dispensary stuff" - "все медицинские препараты " or " лекарства "; "toilet things " - "туалетные принадлежности ", "you have never done a single thing in all your life to be ashamed of" - "за всю свою жизнь ты не совершил ни одного постыдного поступка ".
It is necessary to take into consideration not only denotative but connotative meanings as well. The verb "to employ" is usually translated as "нанимать, принимать на работу". But if Mark Twain's character is "accused of employing toothless and incompetent old relatives to prepare food for the foundling hospital", of which he is warden, the verb acquires a shade of negative meaning (he is said to have used his position in order to pay money to his relatives for the work which they could not do properly); so it should be translated by a less "general" verb - e.g. " пристроить ".
The English pronoun "you" deserves special attention. It can be translated only with the help of differentiation, i.e. either "ты" or "вы". The choice depends on the character, age, the social position of the characters, their relations, and the situation in which they speak. One should remember that the wrong choice can ruin the whole atmosphere of the text.
2. The second type of transformation is quite opposite in its character and is usually called "generalization" (трансформация генерализации). In many cases the norms of TL make it unnecessary or even undesirable to translate all the particulars expressed in SL. Englishmen usually name the exact height of a person: "He is six foot three tall". In Russian it would hardly seem natural to introduce a character saying "Он шести футов и трех дюймов росту"; substituting centimetres for feet and inches wouldn't make it much better: "Он 190,5 сантиметров росту". The best variant is to say: "Он очень большого роста".
Generalization is also used in those cases when a SL a word with differentiated meaning corresponds to a word with non-differentiated meaning in TL ("a hand" - "рука", "an arm" "рука", etc.).
The necessity to use generalization may be caused by purely pragmatic reasons. In the original text there may be many proper names informative for the native speakers of SL and absolutely uninformative for the readers in TL. They may be names of some firms, of the goods produced by those firms, of shops (often according to the name of the owner), etc.: Englishmen know that "Tonibell" is the name of various kinds of ice-cream produced by the firm Tonibell, while "Trebor" means sweets produced by Trebor Sharps LTD and "Tree Top" denotes fruit drinks produced by Unilever. Transcribed in the Russian text these names are absolutely senseless for the reader who would not see any difference between "Тонибелл", "Требор", "Три Топ" or even "Тоутал", which is not eatable since it is petrol. An English reader in his turn can hardly guess what they sell in "Динамо" shops (even if it is spelt "Dynamo") or in "Весна" (no matter whether it is rendered as "Vesna" or "Spring"). Hardly are more informative such names as "Снежинка" (a cafe or a laundry), "Байкал" (a drink), "Первоклассница"(sweets), "Осень"(a cake), etc. That is why it is recommended to substitute names (unless they are internationally known or play a special role in the context) by generic words denoting the whole class of similar objects: "Он сдает свои рубашки в "Снежинку" - "He has his shirts washed at the laundry", "Они ели "Осень", запивая ее "Байкалом" - "They were eating a cake washing it down with a tonic"; "... Domes of glass and aluminium which glittered like Chanel diamonds" -"купола из стекла и алюминия, которые сверкали, как искусственные бриллианты". To translate "Chanel diamonds" as "бриллианты фирмы "Шанель" would be a mistake since the majority of Russian readers do not know that this firm makes artificial diamonds. If the text permits a longer sentence it is possible to add this information ("искусственные бриллианты фирмы "Шанель"), which may be useful for the reader's scope but absolutely unnecessary for the text itself. However, the generalized translation "искусственные бриллианты" is quite necessary here.
3. The third type of transformation is based upon logical connection between two phenomena (usually it is a cause-and-effect type of connection), one of which is named in the original text and the other used as its translated version. This transformation presupposes semantic and logical analysis of the situation described in the text and consists in semantic development of this situation (in Russian the transformation is called смысловое развитие). If the situation is developed correctly, that is if the original and translated utterances are semantically connected as cause and effect, the transformation helps to render the sense and to observe the norms of TL: "Mr Kelada's brushes... would have been all the better for a scrub" (S.Maugham) - "Щетки мистера Келады... не отличались чистотой". It may seem that the translation "не отличались чистотой" somewhat deviates from the original "would have been all the better for a scrub". However, the literal translation "были бы много лучше от чистки" is clumsy while "не отличались чистотой" is quite acceptable stylistically and renders the idea quite correctly: why would they have been all the better for a scrub? - because they не отличались чистотой. Another example: "When I went on board I found Mr Kelada's luggage already below" (S.Maugham)... я нашел багаж мистера Келады уже внизу" is not Russian. The verbs "нашел" or "обнаружил" do not render the situation adequately. It is much better to translate it as "... багаж мистера Келады был уже внизу", which describes the situation quite correctly: why did I find his luggage below? - because он был уже внизу.
These two examples illustrate substitution of the cause for the effect (замена следствия причиной): the English sentence names the effect while the Russian variant names its cause. There may occur the opposite situation - substitution of the effect for the cause (замена причины следствием): "I not only shared a cabin with him and ate three meals a day at the same table...." (S.Maugham) - "... три раза в день встречался с ним за одним столом"; "Three long years had passed... since I had tasted ale..." (Mark Twain) - "Целых три года я не брал в рот пива..." In these examples the English sentences name the cause while the Russian versions contain the effect (I ate three meals a day at the same table with him, so Я три раза в день встречался с ним за одним столом; three long years had passed since I tasted ale, so целых три года я не брал в рот пива).
4. The fourth type of transformation is based on antonymy (антонимический перевод). It means that a certain word is translated not by the corresponding word of TL but by its antonym and at the same time negation is added (or, if there is negation in the original sentence, it is omited in translation): "It wasn't too far." - "Это оказалось довольно близко" ("far" is translated as "близко" and negation in the predicate is omitted). Not far = близко.
The necessity for this transformation arises due to several reasons: 1) peculiarities of the systems of SL and TL, 2) contextual requirements, 3) traditional norms of TL.
1). The necessity to resort to antonymic translation may be caused by various peculiarities of SL and TL lexical systems: a) in Russian the negative prefix не coincides in its form with the negative particle не, while in English they differ (un-, in-, im-, etc. and the negative suffix -less on the one hand and the particle "not" on the other hand); so it is quite normal to say "not impossible" in English, while in Russian "не невозможно" is bad; b) groups of antonyms in SL and TL do not necessarily coincide: in English the word "advantage” has an antonym – “disadvantage," while in Russian the word "премущество” has no antonym, in English there are antonyms "to arrange - to disarrange", while in Russian there is only "систематизировать", etc.
2). Sometimes antonyms become the most adequate way of rendering the contextual meaning: "a murderer is only safe when he is in prison" - "убийца не опасен, только когда он в тюрьме". The word "safe" taken separately is easily translated as "безопасный", but in this context the variant "не опасен" is preferable since it is not "безопасность" of the murderer that is meant here but the fact that he is "не опасен" for the others. This shade of meaning is better rendered by the antonym.
In a particular context this transformation may help to render emotional and stylistic coloring of the text: "He's probably thirsty. Why don't you give him some milk?"- "Наверное, он хочет пить. Может, дать ему молока?". "Direct" translation "Почему бы не дать ему молока?" is not colloquial, while the characters of P.G.Wodehouse speak in a highly informal way.
3). Finally the transformation is often necessary for the purpose of observing the traditional norms of TL: "I only wish I could. I wish I had the time" (S.Leacock) - "Мне очень жаль, что я не могу. К сожалению, у меня нет времени". Generally speaking the English construction "I wish smb + Past Tense form of verb" should always be translated "жаль, что... не". The variant "Я бы хотел, чтобы я мог (в прошлом)" is not Russian. "Not... (un)till" corresponds to the Russian "лишь, только...тогда-то". "He won't be back till tomorrow night, will he?" "Он ведь вернется только завтра к вечеру, правда?".
5. The fifth transformation is usually called "compensation" (компенсация). To be exact, it is not so much a transformation but rather a general principle of rendering stylistic peculiarities of a text when there is no direct correspondence between stylistic means of SL and TL. This transformation is widely used to render speech peculiarities of characters, to translate puns, rhyming words, etc. The essence of it is as follows: it is not always possible to find stylistic equivalents to every stylistically marked word of the original text or to every phonetic and grammatical irregularity purposefully used by the author. That is why there should be kept a general stylistic balance based on compensating some inevitable stylistic losses by introducing stylistically similar elements in some other utterances or by employing different linguistic means playing a similar role in TL. Suppose a character uses the word "fool-proof" which is certainly a sign of the colloquial register. In Russian there is no colloquial synonym of the word "надежный" or "безопасный". So the colloquial "fool-proof" is translated by the neutral "абсолютно надежный" and the speech of the character loses its stylistic coloring. This loss is inevitable, but it is necessary to find a way of compensation. It is quite possible to find a neutral utterance in the speech of the same character that can be translated colloquially, e.g. "I got nothing". Taken separately it should be translated "Я ничего не получил" or "Мне ничего не дали", but it allows to make up for the lost colloquial marker: "Я остался с носом (на бобах)". It results in getting one neutral and one colloquial utterance both in the original and in the translated texts.
There is another variety of compensation which consists in creating the same general effect in TL with the help of means different from those used in SL. A combination of phonetic and grammatical mistakes is used by G.B.Shaw to show that his character is an uneducated person: "Old uns like me is up in the world now". It is impossible to make the same mistakes in the corresponding Russian sentence: "Такие старики, как я, сейчас высоко ценятся". Nevertheless, speech characteristics are very important for creating the image of Beamish, so it is necessary to make him speak in an uneducated manner. In Russian mistakes in the category of number would hardly produce this effect, they would rather be taken for a foreign accent. One also can't omit sounds in any of the words in the sentence. That is why it is better to achieve the same result by lexical means, using words and their forms typical of popular speech (просторечие): "Старички-то навроде меня нынче в цене!". Another example: "You can't have no rolls" (G.B.Shaw) Since double negation is the literary norm in the Russian language it doesn't help to render the effect of illiterate speech; it is necessary to make a typical Russian grammatical mistake. The most widespread mistakes are connected with case formation in Russian, so something like "А булочков-то не будет" may serve the purpose.
With the help of these five types of transformations one can overcome practically all lexical difficulties.