The concept and feature of literary translation

The lexical problems of literary translation from English on the Russian language. The choice of the word being on the material sense a full synonym to corresponding word of modern national language and distinguished from last only by lexical painting.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
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Язык английский
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The urgency of a theme of research follows that translation of art texts is one of the most complicated problems of translation. Prominent feature of fiction is display in each case of an individual art manner of the writer. Thus the manner of the writer is caused by its outlook, influence of an aesthetics of an epoch and literary school, lexical and grammatical (in particular, syntactic) means of language and their parities with each other.

Individual style of the writer includes use of the certain speech styles of public language. Its unity gives in to a partition on elements already by way of the stylistic analysis (both the original, and translation in its parity with the original). The specific area within the limits of fiction is made with the poetry having the genres.

Specificity of each of literary genres with characteristic for them speech styles is reflected in requirements to translation. The big role is played with conditions of speech style of that language on which translation is done. If while translating the structure of a phrase and a dictionary - material word meaning in dialogue of the novel or a drama too precisely corresponds to the original, very easily there is an impression of much more book painting of speech, than it actually takes place in the original.

In the given work we shall put some lexical questions of art translation, i.e. questions which arise only in relation to translation of fiction, and we shall show on their example language specificity of this kind of creative work.

While translating fiction there is a task to reproduce an individual originality of the original. This feature makes related, the literature art and political.

Studying of translations of fiction assumes the deep stylistic analysis of a material which would allow showing in what its individual originality consists.

By this analysis the originality of a manner of the author, shown in its product becomes clear that, is connected to specificity of the literature as arts.

For the literature as for art as which material language serves, directly close communication between an artistic image and a language category on the basis of which it is under construction is characteristic special, frequently. Searches in translation of direct figurative conformity to the original frequently are, are impracticable or result in formalistic decisions.

The purposes of course work to consider lexical problems of literary translation from English on the Russian language.

Tasks of course work:

- To analyses concept and essence of translation of fiction;

- To consider features of translation from English on the Russian language using translational receptions.

lexical translation synonym literary

1. Concept and feature of literary translation

Problems of literary translation

Problems of art translation are solved on the basis of transfer of the original as the whole on which background separate elements are reproduced in compliance with the role.

One of properties of the fiction, it from other products of a book word, its semantic capacity is distinguishing. It is shown in ability of the writer to tell more, than speaks direct sense of words in their set, in its skill to force to work both ideas, and feelings, and imagination of the reader. The semantic capacity of a literary work is shown or in forms of realistic typification, or in allegorical meaning, or in the general diversity of art speech.

One more characteristic feature of fiction is a strongly pronounced national painting of the maintenance and the form. It is important as well close communication between historical conditions and images of product reflecting it. On all these features, characteristic for fiction, also the individual manner of the writer comes to light.

Specificity of a question on translation of fiction is defined by a variety of speech styles, plurality of the lexical and grammatical elements subject to transfer and demanding functional conformity in language of translation. There is also an acute problem of the language form, the language nature of an image and art - semantic function of language categories in studying art translation.

Images of fiction are based on language categories, and communication between them is close and direct. It distinguishes fiction from the literature of the scientific, business documentation, the newspaper information where the language form serving for expression of concept, plays less active role or is neutral. In fiction the language form can enter extremely active interaction with the maintenance of an image or all system of images, causing character of their judgement.

In fiction the choice of the word being on the material sense a full synonym to corresponding word of modern national language and distinguished from last only by the lexical painting can play the big semantic and expressive role. It grows out accessories to the certain layer of dictionary structure (to number of archaisms, dialecticisms, loans). However in stylistic painting much is made very much - for example, author's irony, irony of the character in relation to itself or to other character, historical color, the instruction on local features in an image of a character, etc.

Use of archaisms concerns to number of difficult problems and in general speaking another language (in relation to the text of the original) words by which in language of translation direct formal conformity with the same stylistic function or conformity can be not always found on the basis of other formal category.

Special translational difficulty do not cause separate retorts meeting in some literary works on foreign (in relation to the original) language, the whole speaking another language offers, word-combinations or syntactic the detached words. They - just by virtue of their isolability - can be easily transferred in the text of translation without any changes and can be explained in the interlinear note. Complication can arise only while translating on that language from which the given words or phrases are taken.

Lexical aspects of literary translation

In the theory of translation the question on adequacy is developed rather deeply. Adequate it is possible to count translation in which the maintenance and expressive-stylistic features of the original is completely transferred. For preservation in translation of all features of the original it is necessary to take into account the distinctions existing between two languages.

All lexical conformity can be divided into two basic groups: equivalents and alternative conformity.

Equivalents are words which values always coincide in both languages, irrespective of a context. But with equivalent value it is not enough such words. Here concern: terms, own names and place names.

All other lexical conformity will be alternative, i.e. to one word of the English language there will correspond some values of Russian word, for example:

- supply

1) запас, общее количество товара на рынке;

2) предложение;

3) постановка, снабжение;

4) (тех.) питание (током) и др.

In such cases a choice of value are defined by a context. The context can serve narrow - within the limits of a word-combination or the offer

S.T. - demand and supply

T.T. - спрос и предложение;

S.T. - direct supplies

T.T. - прямые поставки.

S.T. - The supply of raw materials is exhausted.

T.T. - Запасы сырья исчерпаны

The context happens wide when the word meaning can be understood, only having read the whole paragraph, page, or even clause or the book.

Sometimes in language there are no conformity; in such cases resort to loan of words with the help of a transliteration or a transcription, and also tracing (tracing is a translation of a word or a word-combination in parts):

S.T. - Авианосец

T.T. - aircraft carrier;

S.T. - Летающие тарелки

T.T. - flying saucers.

With the help of a tracing-paper realities and neologisms are transferred.

When it is impossible to transfer a word meaning to any of the above mentioned ways, resort to descriptive translation or give the note or a footnote.

So, a combination

политика цен и доходов переводится как incomes policy.

In the English combination there is only a word

Incomes - доходы.

However, as the essence of this policy consists in approach to rights of workers, freezing of wages and a rise in prices, the word «цены» is included in Russian translation.

While translating also there are difficulties of the lexical and grammatical and grammatical order. For overcoming these difficulties it is necessary to use various translational receptions: rearrangements, replacements, additions, omissions.

1) Grammatical when parts of speech or sentence parts are replaced. Such replacements are caused by stylistic norms of Russian:

S.T. - экспорт Англии

T.T. - the British exports;

S.T. - это немедленно сказывается

T.T. -this has an immediate impact

Whereas in the English language as definition nouns are very widely used, such replacements while translating meet enough frequently:

S.T. - страховые сборы

T.T. - insurance charges;

S.T. - банковские сборы

T.T. - bank charges.

2) Lexical:

- Generalization, i.e. replacement of a foreign word with narrow value a word with wider value in Russian.

S.T. - Britain has various dealings with the rest of the world.

T.T. - У Англии имеются широкие экономические связи с остальными странами мира;

Concrete definition, i.e. replacement of the English word with very wide value Russian word with more concrete value. Thus each concrete value is defined by a context.

S.T. - The market is firm.

T.T. - На рынке установились прочные (стабильные) цены.

It is necessary to resort to a way of a concrete definition there where we collide with the words having huge quantity of values, for example:

to come, to get, to go,

Or with such words as:

developments, facilities, где значение определяется сочетаемостью слова:

банковские услуги - banking facilities;

транспортные средства - transport facilities;

Translation of an antonym to which it is necessary to resort when in Russian is not present a corresponding lexical unit. Frequently such translation happens is caused by grammatical structure of the English offer.

S.T. - They failed to fulfill the obligations.

T.T. - Они не выполнили обязательств.

S.T. - They lack the necessary foreign exchange.

T.T. - Им не хватает необходимой иностранной валюты.

Indemnification. It is a way, allowing to transfer the maintenance of the original when norms of Russian do not allow to keep this or that word on the same place on which it costs in the original.

Examples of addition:

отрасли промышленности - industries;

издержки производства - costs;

страны, не являющиеся участниками соглашения (договора, контракта и т.п.) - non-members;

планы, которые сейчас обсуждаются - the plans which are being discussed.

Examples of omission:

In the English language two words worth by a number, having the same value, so-called reception of a tautology rather are frequently used. One of these words falls while translating:

не иметь силы, быть недействительным - to be null and void.

Antonymous translation

As well as in all other cases described above, so-called antonymous translation pursues the purpose of the translation of expression of idea of the original most adequate and natural to language. So, translating, say, the offer:

S.T. - The troops shall not be used except for emergency.

On the Russian language, we can offer the following variant:

T.T. - Войска должны использоваться лишь, в крайнем случае,

The second variant of translation, as against the original, contains denying (shall not be used), though the same idea is transferred, as other lexical elements (only in the first case, except for in the second) play as though «a leveling role» depending on use or not uses of denying not.

Therefore antonymous here - only conditional: from the point of view of expression of the general idea any antonymous is not present. Appreciably such antonymous arises due to the various ways of expression of this or that action ratified in languages. It is easy to be convinced of it by the following comparisons:

S.T. - Hang on, please!

T.T. - Не кладите трубку!

S.T. - Keep off the grass!

T.T. - Не ходите по газонам!

S.T. - Stay out of the sun!

T.T. - На солнце лежать нельзя!

S.T. - Authorized personnel only.

T.T. - Посторонним вход воспрещен.

S.T. - Keep clear of the door!

T.T. - К двери не прислоняться!

Researchers mark, that while translating on Russian antonymous frequently consists in replacement of a negative design affirmative.

S.T. - She wasn't looking too happy.

T.T. - Вид у нее был довольно несчастный.

S.T. - I couldn't think of anybody to call up.

As a matter of fact, this reception is in this case necessary; if to it to not resort, translation will be not exact. Really, unless in Russian such phrase competently sounds:

«Она не выглядела слишком счастливой


«Я не мог думать о ком-либо, чтобы позвонить?»

Therefore on offered by the translator variants should affect feeling of language, knowledge of features of language of translation and, the most important, a context, the semantic maintenance of the original.

2. Syntactic problems

Distinctions in a word order in English and Russian languages frequently demand reorganization of the offer while translating. In the huge majority of cases discrepancy of a grammatical system of Russian and English of languages is shown in construction of the offer. The usual order of members in the English offer the following: a subject, a predicate, addition, circumstances.

In Russian, in comparison with English, a word order more free. However, it is necessary to mean, that freedom of an arrangement of sentence parts in Russian is relative. The word order always submits to the certain norms and always carries out those or other grammatical, semantic and stylistic functions.

In Russian the subject expressed by a noun or anyone substantial by a part of speech, is usually before a predicate.

Circumstances of a place and time can stand both before a predicate, and after it. If circumstances of a place and time cost{stand} in the beginning of the offer the predicate usually is located directly behind them, and the subject follows a predicate.

In the Russian offer of circumstance are often taken out on the first place if on them, the semantic accent does not become then, and the predicate follows it - a subject and addition. While translating therefore often it is necessary to reconstruct the offer according to syntactic norms of Russian. For example:

S.T. - A press conference was recently held in Essen. (D.W., 1956)

T.T. - Недавно в Эссене состоялась пресс-конференция.

While translating on Russian the English offer has undergone to full reorganization: adverbial modifiers of time and places stand in the offer beginning, and the predicate precedes a subject.

More difficult example:

S.T. - United States and Chinese negotiators held the fifth session of their talks on the problem of civilian repatriation at U.N. headquarters in Geneva today. (D.W.)

Transfer of this offer has demanded radical reorganization: 1) all three adverbial modifiers of time and places are put in the offer beginning; 2) the subject of the English offer with its definitions (United States and Chinese negotiators) is transferred by definition in the genitive case, concerning a subject: «заседание представителей США и Китая»; 3) the direct object - the fifth session of their talks - became subjects: «пятое заседание»; 4) the predicate, as well as in the previous example, faces to a subject: «cостоялось»; 5) to a word «talks» - on the problem of civilian repatriation - repatriation of civilians was necessary to translate definitions as «репатриация гражданских лиц», for to an English adjective «civilian» in Russian there corresponds a combination of a noun to an adjective - «гражданское лицо».

Compound sentence reorganization is sometimes caused by that in Russian logic communication of elements of the offer demands other word order, than in English. For example:

S.T. - He started back and fell against the railings, trembling as he looked up. (W.M. Thackeray, Vanity Fair).

T.T. - Взглянув наверх, он отпрянул и, весь дрожа, прислонился к ограде.

Excitement of Rodin is caused by that he has looked upwards and has seen, that drawing room windows in its house are brightly shined. It causes an arrangement of elements in the Russian offer. In an English variant the subordinate clause costs after the main thing that is undesirable in Russian as it would break norms of syntactic construction in the Russian offer where it is frequent as in this case, logic communication and a subordinate clause dominates the consequence faces to the main thing as it expresses the reason, instead of.

It is necessary to notice also, that in English language in a subordinate clause previous the main thing, the subject often happens is expressed by a pronoun, and in the main thing - a noun. In Russian, it is logically impossible.

S.T. - When she entered the room, the teacher saw the students writing.

T.T. - Когда учительница вошла в комнату, она увидела, что студенты пишут.

If while translating to keep a pronoun for subject expression in the first offer, and a noun in the second the impression would be made, that it is a question of two persons: «когда она вошла в комнату, учительница увидела…».

Such order speaks that in English language the syntactic principle dominates: the pronoun is a subordinate clause subject, and a noun - the main thing.

Offer reorganization is required also while translating when the big group with many definitions, which tear off it from a predicate, expresses the subject:

S.T. - An important landmark in the creation of fraternal unity between the youth of Britain and of the colonies in Asia, Africa and America has been reached.

T.T. - Был достигнут важный этап в создании братского единства между молодежью Англии и молодежью английских колоний в Азии, Африке и Америке.

Necessity of reorganization of this offer is while translating caused by one more reason: the short predicate rhythmical does not maintain such heavy subject phrase.

For English language construction of the offer round any element which is as though its semantic centre is characteristic. Such difficult construction of the offer usually for style of short messages and correspondence of English newspapers. Authors of such messages aspire to include as much as possible sensational details in one offer. For example:

S.T. - Thousands of Algerians tonight fled from the «dead city» of Orleansville after a twelve-second earthquake had ripped through Central Algeria, killing an estimated one thousand one hundred people.

The semantic centre of the given offer is the subordinate clause subject (earthquake), instead of a main clause subject (thousands of Algerians). Round this semantic centre all other elements of the offer are grouped - where there was an earthquake as long it proceeded, how many the person was lost. While translating this offer is better for breaking into two or even three separate independent offers:

T.T. - Сегодня ночью тысячи алжирцев бежали от землетрясения из «мертвого города» Орлеанвиля. Землетрясению, которое продолжалось двенадцать секунд, подверглись центральные районы Алжира. Как полагают, погибло тысяча сто человек.

Sometimes, on the contrary, it is necessary to unite offers in one or to rearrange offers, in particular when it is demanded by a logic system of the offer:

S.T. - We were overjoyed - there was about a week to go - until we saw the «premises». Our faces fell, our hearts sank.

T.T. - Мы ликовали, ведь оставалось всего около недели, но когда мы увидели помещение, лица у всех вытянулись, настроение упало.

Parenthetic clause transfer to transfer by a parenthetic clause is undesirable, since it would break semantic communication. Therefore the subordinate clause «но когда мы увидели помещение…» to unite with the second.

In English language cases when the new offer or even the paragraph closely connected with previous, begins with the union «for» «for» «as» are very extended. For Russian not so usually to begin the offer or the paragraph with these unions.

In Russian the offers entered by the unions «так как», «ибо», as a rule, separate from previous not a point, and a comma (that testifies to more close connection between them). For example:

S.T. - She wanted the three Indian jugglers arrested immediately; for they knew who was coming from London and meant some harm to Mr. Franklin Blake.

T.T. - Она хотела, чтобы немедленно арестовали трех индийских фокусников, так как они знали, кто должен был приехать из Лондона и замышляли что-то недоброе против мистера Франклина Блейка.

In this example, the close causal relationship between offers is very clearly felt, and in a Russian translation, they can be separated only by means of a comma.

In the following «for» the new paragraph begins the union:

S.T. - Sheik Abdullah al Salim al Sabah and his family who rule Kuwait by a feudal dictatorship, would not be the only ones to fear a change.

For they draw income amounting to some Ј150 million a year from royalties out of the oil produced by two companies, one British, the other American, who jointly own the Kuwait Oil Company.

T.T. - Шейх Абдулла аль Салим аль Сабах и его семья, правящие Кувейтом при помощи феодальной диктатуры, не единственные лица, которые боятся перемен, так как они получают доход в размере почти 150 миллионов фунтов в год, выплачиваемых им двумя нефтедобывающими компаниями - одной английской, другой американской, которые совместно владеют «Кувейт Ойл Компани».

Very close logic communication between these two offers does necessary merge of two paragraphs while translating.

Association of offers and even two paragraphs while translating not only quite probably, but even is natural, when the same thought develops in them. Such offers usually are a part of the difficult syntactic whole. Under the difficult syntactic whole the piece of the statement consisting of several offers and representing structurally-semantic unity means.

The simple sentence sometimes demands reorganization also in connection with discrepancy of types of a predicate in English and Russian languages. For example:

S.T. - Their summits are bare and windswept.

T.T. - На их обнаженных вершинах гуляет ветер.

Transfer of this offer as follows: «Их вершины обнажены и обдуваемы ветром» would be literal (it would copy structure of the English offer) and consequently it is not comprehensible. The variant of translation where the first predicative member is transferred by definition, and the second - subject and simple predicate, is correct.

The compound predicate with a link-verb «to be» in transfer is sometimes replaced with a simple predicate, thus the nominal part is usually translated by an adverb. For example:

S.T. - He was loath to come.

T.T. - Он неохотно пришел.

S.T. - Traffic was in chaos

T.T. - Уличное движение было полностью нарушено.

S.T. - The Executive Board has been quick to realize that it must bring a number of problems to the fore.

T.T. - Исполнительный Комитет быстро понял, что должен выдвинуть ряд вопросов.

The verb to «be» in present time in Russian, as a rule, falls. However in scientific, official or journalese prose it is often translated by verbs «являться», «составлять», «входить», «оказываться», «находиться», «есть» etc.

S.T. - The terrestrial globe is a member of the solar system.

T.T. - Земной шар входит в солнечную систему.

The turn «there is», «there are» too represents known difficulties while translating, and offers with this turn demand reorganization. For example:

S.T. - And there is the famous lime-tree in front of the City-Hall supported by stone pillars.

T.T. - И перед ратушей стоит знаменитая старая липа с каменными подпорками.

The design with entering «there» informs something new on a subject or the phenomenon, about its presence silt absence, therefore and possibility of its transfer by a simple predicate depending on a context is not excluded. For example:

S.T. - There was Penelope flying after me like mad. (W. Collins, The Moonstone)

T.T. - Я обернулся и увидел Пенелопу, которая летала за мной, как безумная…

While translating the offers beginning with this turn, on the first place the adverbial modifier of place or time either is put, and the predicate falls, or is replaced with a simple predicate.

S.T. - There were differing views yesterday about the procedure which will rule today's discussion.

T.T. - Вчера высказывались различные точки зрения относительно процедуры, под знаком которой будет проходить сегодняшнее обсуждение вопроса.

The special kind of a predicate in English language represents so-called «a group-verb predicate». The predicate of this type is formed of combinations of the most common verbs (to have, to take, to give, to get, etc.) with a noun. It is necessary to notice, that the nouns, which are a part of such predicate, are often formed by conversion. For example:

S.T. - He had a wash and a smoke.

T.T. - Он умылся и закурил.

S.T. - He gave the coat a brush and a shake.

T.T. - Он почистил пальто щеткой и встряхнул его.

S.T. - He took the bellrope in his hand and gave it a brisk tug.

T.T. - Схватив шнурок звонка, он резко его дернул.

The predicate of this type is usually translated into Russian by a simple predicate, but sometimes it is necessary to enter an additional word: выкурил папиросу, почистил щеткой etc. This word transfers value of a nominal part of a group predicate.

Further, it is necessary to stop on transfer of so-called attributive groups which are so typical for modern English language.

The attributive group is the definition consisting of several elements, for example, from nouns in the general case and adjectives, sometimes from the whole phraseological unity or even the whole offer.

Syntactic formation of definitions is prominent feature of modern English language, as well as a word formation by conversion. Both that and another often has not constant character, and is the use or word formation on the given case.

The attributive groups, which are phraseological unities, meet both in fiction, and in oral literary speech:

S.T. - A happy-go-lucky fellow

T.T. - Бесшaбашный парень

S.T. - He greeted him in his usual hail-fellow-well-met manner.

T.T. - Он приветствовал его, как обычно, по-приятельски, со свойственной ему общительностью.

S.T. - «I … never cared for your set-the-Thames-afire gentlemen, who are so much more clever than their neighbours.» (W.M. Thackeray, The Virginians)

T.T. - «Мне… никогда не нравились все эти наши господа, которые хотят удивить мир и считают себя умнее своих ближних».

S.T. - A handful of dates and a cup of coffee habit. (John Galsworthy, Flowering Wilderness)

T.T. - Привычка питаться горсточкой фиников и чашкой кофе.

In spite of the fact that phraseological epithets often consist of many words, they are compressed and compact and while translating introduction of additional words, as in last example often demand: «привычка питаться».


Due to replacements, additions adequate translation also is possible. The statement about impossibility of translation in general which was done{made} by many large philologists - idealists therefore is incorrect. Perfectly asserting{approving}, that the work of art always has strongly pronounced national character and that each language possesses original means of expressiveness inherent only in it{him}, they drew from this a wrong conclusion on impossibility of translation in general. Such point of view large German philosophers - linguists - adhered to G.V. Lejbnits, V. Humboldt, A. Shlegel, being founders of the so-called theory of untranslations.

It is necessary to agree with position of these scientists about an originality of each language and national character of fiction. About it spoke Жуковский and Pushkin, Belinsky and Fet both many other writers and translators. Belinsky wrote in this occasion, that «if Pushkin has undertaken to translate Гёте, we and from him{it} have demanded, that it{he} has shown us Гёте, instead of». Pushkin, quite dividing{sharing} this point of view, wrote:» from translators began to demand more fidelity… Have wished to see Данте, Shakespeare and Сервантеса in their own kind, in their national clothes…».

Our writers realized a national originality of each language. But as against supporters of the theory of untranslation, they drew from this a correct conclusion, considering, that original features of any language cannot serve as an obstacle for translation.

The life has denied the theory of untranslation. It is enough to recollect fine translations - both in Russian, and in the foreign literature, - becoming property of these literatures; for example, V. Zhukovsky, V.S. Kurochkin, N. Bunin, M. Lozinsky, S. Marshak, L. Tika and A. Shlegelja, E. Fittsdzherald, Prospera Merimee's translations and others.

Aspiring to adequacy, the translator should not forget about that, language of translation should be faultlessly correct. Any desire to keep grammatical designs, phraseological combinations or stylistic receptions of the original cannot excuse infringements of norms of language on which translation is done{made}, in this case Russian. However even skilled translators at times suppose infringement of norms of Russian, running in literalism.

Summing up above-stated, it is possible to tell, that in the practical work the translator can lean on the theory of translation in which principles of translation are developed and the most important natural conformity in the lexical, grammatical and stylistic plan are established. The skilled translator widely uses the conformity saved up during the practical work and is able to resort to the established laws. However, work of the translator is not reduced only to skill to use by ready formulas. While translating fiction from the translator skill to use adequate the deputy is required. It should not miss from a kind that translates not separate words, and words and word-combinations in system of the complex whole. The translator should aspire not to transfer of the separate element, a separate word, and to transfer of that semantic and stylistic function which is carried out by the given element. It necessity of misses and additions, replacements of one word with another, replacements of parts of speech, etc. speaks.


1. Апполова М.А. Грамматические трудности перевода

2. Комиссаров В.Н. Вопросы теории перевода в зарубежной лингвистике

3. Комиссаров В.Н. Лингвистика перевода

4. Латышев Л.К. Курс перевода

5. Левицкая; Фитерман Теория и практика перевода

6. Рецкер Я.И. Теория перевода и переводческая практика

7. Федоров А.В. Основы общей теории перевода

8. Чужакин; Палажченко Мир перевода

9. Швейцер А.Д. Перевод лингвистика

10. Швейцер А.Д. Теория перевода

11. Уилки Коллинз Лунный камень (перевод Мариэтты Шагинян)

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