13. Translation of culture-bound vocabulary
When we come to non-equivalents we should determine what we really mean by non-equivalents. In fact these are the words of the SL which either have no equivalents in the TL or no equivalent denotator in the TL culture.
There are 2 groups:
1. Realia-words / culture-bound words (denote objects, features of national life, customs, habits, etc) E.g.: cricket, drive-in, валенки
2. Words that have no equivalents in the TL for some linguistic reason. (“Conservationist – специалист по охране окружающей среды, readership – круг читателей, glimpse – беглое знакомство”)
In the translation of culture-bound words the challenge is in situation itself, not in traditions. The cultural situation creates phenomena that are not typical of any other country. The translator has to consult different sources concerning the country’s culture.
*Drugstore – аптека + закусочная
*Sorority – a group of females living together, a kind of society with certain rules, no man is allowed.
*Fraternity – the same for males.
Culture bound words occur when a TL concept is not known in the SL.
*прописка- mandatory registration
If we deal with culture-bound words we have to consider the words that don’t have an equivalent in the TL because they haven’t been invented yet, and the words that cannot have any equivalent because they don’t present in the TL culture.
*Sputnik – satellite (later) – the case is psychological not linguistic.
*A TV-dinner – еда из полуфабрикатов (реклама по ТВ)
When we deal with words denoting places, flora and fauna we usually loan words. Transcription is the best of presenting the idea. E.g. “jungle, prairie, steppe, tundra (= a marshy plain or Siberian swamp). The realia are also words denoting dances, musical instruments:
*Былина – a folk legend
*Божба – swear words, an oath.
There are 3 ways of rendering their meanings.
1. Direct borrowing (transliteration or transcription) “mayor – мэр, know how – ноу хау, impeachment - импичмент”. Some of them are used in official documents which means the word has entered the vocabulary stuff. But we shouldn’t use such borrowings very often. It’s often better to resort to some kind of definition. (teach-in – собрание студентов и преподов универа для выражения критич мнений по соц и политич вопросам) Besides some of them may not be understood by a general reader (трайболизм – племенной строй)
2. Translation loan. (e.g.: back bencher = заднескамеечник, Houses of Common – Палата Общин, brain-drain – утечка мозгов). Often such occasional formations are adopted by the members of the TC and get the status of regular equivalents.
3. Descriptive or interpreting translation. using explanations. Free-word combinations. They are used to translate all sorts of realia, by explaining their meanings. They serve to explain the cultural peculiarities in which the realia is used. (баба-Яга – an old witch from Russian fairy-tales, landslide – победа на выборах с огромным перевесом, wishful thinking – принимание желаемого за действительное)
There are also neologisms. They may be old words, which acquire new meaning, or new words: coined or loan words. Neologisms are not registered in dictionaries. We analyze the structure and the context to understand the meaning of the word.