GRAMMATICAL TRANSFORMATIONS IN TRANSLATION
In the course of translation, it is always necessary to perform various grammatical and lexical changes of transformations to achieve translational equivalence. These transformations can be divided into four types: (1) transpositions; (2) replacements; (3) additions; (4) omissions
TRANSPOSITIONS What is known as transposition is a change in the order of linguistic elements, such as words, phrases, clauses and sentences, the division of the sentence into two main parts from the point of view of communication: “the known” or “theme” and “the new” or “rheme”, in Russian this division of the sentence is usually expressed by means of word order: what is already known or supposed to be known to the receptor (usually from the preceding context), the “theme” is placed at the beginning of the sentence whereas what is new, communicated for the first time and , therefore, what forms the semantically most important part of the message (“rheme”) is placed at the end. In English the word order is arranged, on the whole, along the same lines; however, in certain cases the “theme” is placed at the end and the “rheme”, at the beginning due to the fact that the “rheme” is marked differently, namely, by the use of the indefinite article (or, with plural forms of nouns and with uncountable nouns, the “zero article”) with the noun which is the subject of the sentence. Therefore, in Russian the word order in such cases must be reversed, that is, the sentence subject which is the “rheme” of the sentence must be placed at the end. Cf.:A boy came in – Вошел мальчик.But: The boy came in – Мальчик вошел.
REPLACEMENTSReplacements are by far the most common type of grammatical transformations. Replacements can affect practically all types of linguistic units: word forms, part of speech, sentence elements, sentence types, types of syntactic relations, etc.(a) Word formsReplacement of word forms are quite common in translation. He said he knew the man – Он сказал, что знает этого человека.(replacement of Past by Present)The door was opened by a middle-aged woman – Дверь отворила пожилая женщина.(replacement of Passive by Active). (b) Parts of SpeechThis type of replacement is also fairly common. Especially typical is the replacement of English nouns, derived from verbs and denoting actions (“Nomina Actionis”) by Russian verbs:It is our hope that... Мы надеемся, что…She is a very good dancer (ib.) - Она очень хорошо танцует. (c) Sentence elements
This is sometimes referred to as syntactic restructurings of the sentence in the process of translation. It consists in changing the syntactic functions of words in a sentence, a process which is usually due to the same tendency as is observed in transpositions, viz., preserving the functional sentence perspective. He was met by his sister – Его встретила сестра.He was given money – Ему дали денег.The new film is much spoken about – О новом фильме много говорят. (and other passive-active transformation; see above)В комнате установилась тишина – The room turned silent, (d) Sentence typesA very common transformation is the replacement of a simple sentence by a complex one and visa versa.:I want you to speak English – Я хочу, чтобы Вы говорили по-английски.
ADDITIONSAdditions are caused by various factors. Very often they are necessitated by what may be called “lexical incompleteness” of certain word groups in the source language. Thus, in English in many cases words are omitted that can be easily restored from the context, while in Russian their actual presence in the word is necessary, which calls for additions in translation; compare: pay claim – требование о повышении заработной платы;gun license – удостоверение на право ношения оружия; oil talks – переговоры по вопросу о нефти;
OMISSIONSOmissions are the reverse of additions and are used to ensure a greater degree of what is called “compression”, that is, reducing the redundancy of the text by omitting words which can be easily restored from the context. Thus, the following sentence from J. Salinger's novel: “So I paid my check and all. Then I left the bar and went out where the telephones were” is translated by R. Rait-Kovaleva as: «Я расплатился и пошёл к автоматам».The words “left the bar” are omitted because of their redundancy (the bar was mentioned in the preceding context and “leaving” is implied by the subsequent use of “went out”). Note also other transformations here, such as unification of sentences and replacement of a complex sentence by a simple one, all of which greatly reduce redundancy of the original text.
Concretization is a most frequent device in translation from English into Russian. There is a large group of English words of wide semantic volume (слова с широкой понятийной основой). These words belong to different parts of speech; nouns, adjectives, verbs, e.g. thing; point, stuff, stunt, affair; nice, fine, bad; to say, to go, to get, to come, to involve. As the meaning of such words is relatively vague they can be used in different contents, and their valency is therefore extremely broad. In fact they are sometimes used as mere prop-words. So a context, at least a microcontext (a minimal stretch of speech), is necessary to determine their meaning.He came in signt of the lodge, a long, low, frowning thing of red brick (A. Wilson). – Он увидел домик привратника, длинное, низкое, хмурое здание из красного кирпича.In the first example the decemantized word “thing” was concretized and translated by a word of full meaning – здание,
This device is the reverse of concretization. Still there is a tendency in the English language for differentiation where the Russian language uses a more general word, e.g. “рука”, hand and arm; “нога” leg and foot; “палец” fingers and toes.Antonymic TranslationAntonymic translation is a kind of grammatical and lexical transformation which substitutes an affirmative construction for a negative or vice versa with some accompanying lexical change, usually substituting the antonym for the original word.Keep the child out of the sun – He держите ребёнка на солнце.Metonymic TranslationMetonymic translation is a lexical transformation based on the substitution of correlated concepts.The advantages of sound have nowhere been better understood or utilized than on the Third Programme. (Ved Mehta, John Is Easy to Please)Преимущества радио особенно хорошо использовались Третьей Программой Би-Би-Си. London in July with the sun for once continually shining had become а mad place, stiffing, enclosed, dry В этом году Лондон под палящим июльским солнцем стал невыносимый – удушливый, пыльный, давящий.Paraphrasing Paraphrasing is rendering of the meaning of some idiomatic phrase in the source language by a phrase in the target language consisting of non-correlated lexical units, e.g.Good riddance – скатертью дорога; In for a penny, in for I pound – назвался груздём – полезай в кузов; взялся за гуж – не говори, что не дюж.A phraseological unit is rendered by a corresponding Russian phraseological unit expressing the same idea in different words.
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