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Theoretical and methodological aspects of translation

Translation has a polysemantic nature. Translation as a notion and subject. The importance of translating and interpreting in modern society. Translation in teaching of foreign languages. Descriptive and Antonymic Translating: concept and value.

Theoretical and methodological aspects of translation


Plan

1 Translation as a notion and subject

2 Significance of translation and interpreting

3 Translation in teaching of foreign languages

4 Descriptive and Antonymic Translating

Conclusions


1 Translating as a notion and subject

Translation as a notion is a polysemantic nature. It may imply the process of conveying the meaning of a word, word- group or sentence/ text from one language into another and also the result of the conveying. “Translation” may also denote the subject taught at school.

Translation can be performed either in writing or in viva voice (orally). Hence the people whose office is to convey some written or spoken/ recorded matter in writing are referred to as translators and the people whose office is to render the meaning of any matter in viva voice are referred to as interpreters. Both the activities are equally important though the aims pursued by each of them are somewhat different. Say, an oral “interpretation” can not ba done otherwise than in writing. As a result the process of a written translation has always a materialized expression in the form of a word, word- group, sentence or passage which is left behind as a testimony to some work performed. The translated matter can sometimes become rather important for a country and enrich its history, literature and culture ( the translation of the Iliad an the Odyssey into Latin by Livius Andronicus in the 3rd century B.C. or Martin Luther’s translations of the Old and the news Testament into German in the 16th century).

There are some terms and notions which are frequently used in the theory and practice of translation and should be clearly distinguished. Since some of them have a different wording in English and Ukrainian it is expedient to give them here in either of the two languages: exact/ accurate translation / interpretation точний переклад; faithful translation / interpretation адекватний переклад; faithfulness of translation / interpretation адекватність перекладу; free adaptation/ free interpretation перелицювання; free interpretation/ interpreting вільний переказ; free translation/ interpretation вільний переклад, consecutive translating/ interpreting послідовний переклад; descriptive translation/ translating описовий перклад; good / successful translation вдалий переклад ( тексту, книжки); interlinear translating/ translation підрядковий переклад/ підрядник; interpreting/ interpreter тлумачення/ тлумач; interpretation/ oral translation усний переклад; literal translation/ translating буквальний переклад, verbal translating/ translation дослівний переклад; literary translation/ translating літературний перклад; literary artistic translation / translating художній переклад, off-hand translation / interpreting, переклад без підготовки; rehash вільна переробка твору ( в перекладі); sight translation/ interpreting at sight переклад з аркуша; the source language мова оригіналу( з якої перекладається), the target language мова, на яку здійснюється переклад, synchronous interpreting/ interpretation синхроннний переклад; versification віршовий ( поетичний переклад); rough translation/ translating робочий варіант перекладу.

There can be noticed a certain ambiguity in the meaning of some terms above concerning translation (cf. “free translation” вільний переклад, вільний переказ). It should be added that the meaning of the seemingly common term “translation” itself is far from monosemantic either. It may denote any sense-to-sense substitution of a source languages unit for its semantic equivalent in the target language: brotherhood братство, to study вчити, quickly швидко, red flowers червоні квіти, to fight for peace боротися за мир, His brother lives in Kiev Його брат живе у Києві.

“Translation” is also referred to any sense-to-sense conveying even if the lexical meanings of the componential parts which make up the language units are not substituted for their equivalents lexical meanings in the target language: penny-in-the slot прилад/ пристрій автомат (торгівля); the land of the golden fleece Австралія; red blood мужність; Let George do it Іван киває на Петра; agonic що не утворює кута (геометрія).

Functional substitution performed at the text level (as in puns) are often treated as “translation” too: There is the tree in the middle…It could bark…It says “Boughwouhg”… “That’s why it is branches are called boughs.”(Carol? Alice in Wonderland). – Он Фікус стоїть!.. Ми тому й прозвали його Фікус, що він кусається.

It goes without saying that the lexical meaning of “tree” is not “Фікус” and “Bough-wough” or “boughs” do not mean “кусатися” which they were substituted for in the Ukrainian translation.

Similarly with the term “interpretation” which can among others denote “the way of presentation” the social or aesthetic, moral etc. background, i.c.the trend of the source language work in the target language.

No less ambiguous remains the term “free interpretation” which is employed to denote any rendering of the essentials of content of some written or oral / recorded matter. Besides, “free interpretation” is used to denote a strongly subjective conveying of the sense, the structural, stylistic or artistic peculiarities characteristic of a source language work/text (i.e. вільний переклад, вільний переказ).

Finally “free interpretation” may denote a free adaptation of foreign literatures works to other national literatures like that of I. P. Kotlyarevsky’s Eneid which has very little in common with Vergil’s work.

2 Significance of translation and interpreting

The importance of translating and interpreting in modern society has long been recognized. Practically not a single contact at the international level or even between two persons speaking different languages can be established or maintained without the help of translators or interpreters.

Equally important is translating and interpreting for the functioning of different international bodies (conferences, symposia, congresses etc.) to say nothing about bodies like the World Piece Council or the United Nations Organizations with its councils, assemblies, commissions, committees, sub-committees. These can function smoothly only thanks to an army of translation and interpreters representing different states and working in many different national languages.

Numerous branches of national economies too can keep up with the up-to-date development and progress in the modern world thanks to everyday translating/ interpreting of scientific and technical matter covering various fields of human knowledge and activities. The latter comprise nuclear sciences, exploration of outer space, ecological environment, plastics, mining, chemistry, biology, medicine, machine building, electronics linguistics, etc. Nowadays translation of scientific and technical matter has become a most significant and reliable source of obtaining all-round and up-to-date information on the progress in various fields of science and technology.

The social and political role of translation/ interpreting has probably been most strongly felt for the last hundred years or so. Since the birth of Marxism in the second half of the 19th century and Leninism in the 20th century translation has acquired an extraordinary significance providing for the dissemination of revolutionary materialistic ideas and philosophy in the minds of proletarian and working masses throughout the world.

Translating is also a perfect means of sharing achievements and enriching national literatures and cultures. The many translations of the best prose, poetry and drama works of world’s famous authors into different national languages provide a vivid illustration of this permanent process. Due to masterly translations the works by W. Shakespeare, W. Scott, G. G. Byron, P. B. Shelley, C. Dickens, W. Theckeray, H.W. Longfellow, Mark Twain, J. London, T. Dreiser and many other authors have become part of many national literatures. The works by Ukrainian authors have also been translated into English and some other languages, the process being increasingly intensified with each passing decade after the Great Revolution. As a result when before 1917 a few poems by Taras Shevchenko were translated and published in English outside our country. Brilliant works by Lesya Ukrainka, Ivan Franko, Mykhailo Kotsyubinskiy, Vasyl Stefanyk, Andrii Holovko, Oles Honchar became available for foreign readers.

But whatever the kind of the matter (belles–lettres, scientific or technical, didactic, etc.) and irrespective of the form in which it is performed (written or oral) the linguistic significance of translation remains unchanged. It promotes enriching the lexicon of the target language. As a result of the unceasing translating / interpreting throughout the world the wordstock of national languages is constantly increasingly. Thousands of words being originally specific national notions only have become an integral part of practically each language’s lexicon. Hence one one can speak of translating/ interpreting as a means of enriching the lexicon of national languages too. But it is not only the wordstock of languages that is constantly (and most evidently) enlarged due to translating/ interpreting. Many stylistic figures of speech, ways of saying and even (though rather rarely) syntactic structures are brought to target languages through translating/ interpreting. It can be proved by the existence of a lot of words and word-combinations having in different languages the same or similar lingual form and identical lexical meaning: leader лідер, box бокс, boycott бойкот, sport спорт, borshch борщ, borzoi борзой, deep gratitude глибока вдячність, black ingratitude чорна вдячність.

Whole sentence structures have been adopted in the process of translating/ interpreting. He laughs best who laughs last – Той сміється найкраще, хто сміється останнім; Strike the iron while it is hot - Куй залізо, доки гаряче.

All that can also be a testimony to the versatile influence of language contrasts. But whatever the origin, the structural identify of word – groups and sentences facilities their translation from English into Ukrainian or vice versa.

3 Translation in teaching of foreign languages

Translation as means of teaching foreign languages has no independent means of translating only. Still translating in a foreign language teacher’s arsenal should not be ignored completely since in many a case it remains not only the most effective but also the only teaching means for achieving the necessary aim. That is why translating is often resorted to in the following cases:

1. When introducing abstract lexical notions which cannot easily be explained in a descriptive way or by actions (gestures): think, hate, love, actual, invincible, generally, peace, turn, etc.

2. In order to save time and avoid diverting the attention of students by lengthily explanation of the meaning of words, word-combinations or sentences in the process of reading or listening to an unfamiliar passage.

3. When checking the comprehension of the lexical material (new words, expressions) and in order to avoid the unnecessary ambiguity which may arise in the process of teaching through pictures since a picture of a tree, for example, may be understood as “a tree” or a kind of tree (oak-tree, birch-tree, pine-tree, etc.).

4. To explain while introducing (usually at the initial stage of learning) the new grammar/ phonetical material especially the phenomena which do not exist in the native tongue (e.g. the continuous or the perfect forms of the verb, the tunes in questions, etc.).

5. When revising the lexical or grammar material studied at the lesson/ at previous lessons in answering questions like “What is the Ukrainian/ English for the “gerund,” the “continuous/ the perfect forms of the verb?”

6. While discriminating the meaning of synonyms or antonyms of the foreign languages.

7. To control the knowledge of students in written and oral tests on lexical or grammar material.

8. When introducing phraseology which is quite impossible to teach and learn otherwise than on the basis of translating.

9. Before learning any text by heart (poems, excerpts of prose, the roles of characters in plays).

10. When dealing with the figures of speech like metaphors, epithets, similes, hyperboles, etc. in the process of reading or translating the belles-lettres passages at the advanced stage.

11. When comparing the expressive means in the source language to those in the target language, etc.

Translating helps the student to master the expressive means in the source language and the corresponding means in the target language. In the process of translating the students establish sets of equivalent substitutes in the target language for the corresponding lexical, grammatical or stylistic phenomena of the source language. No wonder that the students at any stage of learning a foreign language when not understanding some word, word-combination or sentence always resorts to intuitive translating of it.

4 Descriptive and Antonymic Translating

One must bear in mind that it is the notional meaning of the source language unit and not its morphological nature or structural form that is to be conveyed in the target language. As a result the target language unit which equivalently / faithfully conveys the denotative/ connotative meaning of the corresponding source language unit may not necessarily belong to the same stratification level. Depending on the notion expressed by the source language word/ lexeme it may be conveyed in the target language sometimes through a word-combination or even through a sentence i.e. descriptively: indulge робити собі приємність у чомусь, віддаватися втіхам; infamous той (та, те), що має ганебну славу; inessentials предмети не першої необхідності, предмети роскоші; вщерть up to the brim, full to the brim, в’язи the nape of one’s head, the back of the head; окраєць crust of a loaf, hunk of a bread; окривіти(осліпнути) to become lame (grow blind).

Therefore the descriptive way of conveying the sense of language units implies their structural transformation which is necessary to explain their meaning with the help of hierarchically different target language units.

Descriptive translating/interpreting is very often employed to render the content of idioms/phraseologism which has no equivalents in the target language. In English: as(mad) as a hatter цілком божевільний; All my eye and Betty Martin! нісенітниці ( дурниці); like one (twelve) o’clock миттю, вмить, прожогом;In Ukrainian: зуб на зуб не попадати to feel very cold ( to feel freezing); навчить біда коржі з маком їсти hard times make one intentive; наговорити сім кіп/мішків гречаної вовни to say much nonsence.

Descriptive transtating is also often employed when dealing with the notions of specific national lexicon: haggisrerric (запечений вівсяний кендюх, начинений вівсяними крупами впереміш з січений овечим потрухом); porrige порідж, густа вівсяна каша, зварена на воді чи молоці); Senate сенат ( рада університету в Англії; складається переважно з професорів); sweet-meat солодка страва, приготовлена на цукрі чи медові.

Alongside the literal translating the explication of the meaning of specific necessary: вареники varenyky, middle-sized dumplings with curd, cherries; дума, duma, Ukrainian historic epic song; кобзар kobzar, a performer of Dumas to the accompaniment of the bandore or kobza.

Descriptive translating is also made use of in foot-notes to explain obscure places in narration.

The antonymic translating is employed for the sake of achieving faithfulness in conveying the content or expressiveness when an affirmative in sense or structure language unit (word, word-combination or sentence) is conveyed as a negative in a sense or structure but identical in content language unit or vice versa: to have quite a few friends мати багато друзів;mind your own business не втручайся не в свої справи; take it easy не хвилюйся, не переживай; not infrequently часто; no time like the present лови момент ( використовуй нагоду); не спитавши броду, не лізь у воду look before you leap; немає лиха без добра every dark cloud has a silver lining.

The antonymic device is employed in the following cases:

1. When in the target language there is no direct equivalent for the sense unit of the source language. For example, the noun “inferiority” and the adjective “inferior” (like the verb phrase “to be inferior”) have no single word equivalents in Ukrainian. So their lexical meaning can be conveyed either in a descriptive way or with the help of the antonyms “superiority,” “superior”: The defeat of the Notts in last season’s cup semi-finals was certainly the result of their physical and tactical inferiorit…(M.Star). Поразка клубу «Ноттінгем Форест» у торішньому півфінальному матчі на кубок була наслідком переваги супротивників у фізичній та тактичній підготовці.

The meaning of some English word groups can also be conveyed in Ukrainian automatically only: Baines was reading a newspaper in his shirt sleeves. – Бейнзсидів без піджака і читав газету. Half an hour ago Walter for his life would have hardly called her by name. – Ще півгодини тому Уолтер нізащо в світі не назвав би її по імені. “Do you mind this?” – Ви не заперечуєте?

2. when the sense unit of the source language has two negations of its own which create an affirmation: In those clothes she was by no means nonelegant. У цьому вбранні вона була досить елегантною. My mother…not to be dislike this character. – Моїй матері …ніби

( здавалось) сподобалась ця думка.

3. in order to achieve the necessary expressiveness in narration: I don’t think it will hurt you, baby. – Думаю, вам воно не зашкодить, люба. A shell fell close. – Неподалік вибухнув снаряд. I hope you’ll stay.- Сподіваюсь, ви не втечете. It makes all the difference in the world. – Ні, не все одно;

4. to avoid the use of the same structure close to each other in a text: Keep your head.- не падай духом/ вище голову. Mr. Stricklandwasawomanofcharacter. – Міс Стрікленд була жінкою не без характеру; тобто була жінкою з характером. Mostofthestaffisnotaway. – Більшість співробітників ще на роботі ( ще не розійшлися). Savina said nothing. – Савіна мовчала; тобто нічого не відповіла.

Conclusions

Translation has a polysemantic nature. It means the process of conveying the meaning of a word or sentence from one language into another language. Translation can be performed in written or oral form. It also referred to any sense-to-sense conveying even if the lexical meanings of the componential parts which make up the language units are not substituted for their equivalent lexical meanings in the target language.

The importance of translating and interpreting in modern society has long been recognized, because not a single contact between persons speaking two languages can be established without the help of translators or interpreters. It helps the student to master the expressive means in the source language and corresponding means in the target language.

There are the following ways of translating: literal translating, verbal translating, consecutive verbal translating, interlinear way of translating and literary translating. Numerous branches of national economies keep up with the up-to-date development and progress in the modern world thanks to everyday translating/ interpreting of scientific and technical matter covering various fields of human knowledge and activities.

Nowadays translation of scientific and technical matter has become a most significant and reliable source of obtaining all-round and up-to-date information on the progress in various fields of science and technology. It is also used to share achievements and to enrich national language and culture. The linguistic significance of translation remains unchanged. It promotes enriching the lexicon of the target language.

Translating helps the student to master the expressive means in the source language and the corresponding means in the target language. In the process of translating the students establish sets of equivalent substitutes in the target language for the corresponding lexical, grammatical or stylistic phenomena of the source language. Depending on the notion expressed by the source language word it may be conveyed in the target language sometimes through a word-combination or even through a sentence i.e. descriptively.

The descriptive way of conveying the sense of language units implies their structural transformation which is necessary to explain their meaning with the help of hierarchically different target language units. The antonymic translating is employed for the sake of achieving faithfulness in conveying the content or expressiveness when an affirmative in sense or structure language unit is conveyed as a negative in a sense or structure but identical in content language unit or vice versa.


A list of literature used

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