Translation as specific type of lingual (language)
Most translators prefer to think of their work as a profession and
would like to see others to treat them like professionals rather than as
skilled or semi-skilled workers. But to achieve this, translators need
to develop an ability to stand back and reflect on what they do and how
they do it. Like doctors and engineers, they have to prove to themselves
as well as others that they are in control of what they do; that they do
not just translate well because they have ‘flair’ for translation, but
rather because, like other professionals, they have made a conscious
effort to understand various aspects of their work.
Unlike medicine and engineering, translation is a very young discipline
in academic terms. It is only just starting to feature as a subject of
study in its own right, not yet in all but in an increasing number of
universities and colleges around the world. Like any young discipline,
it needs to draw on the findings and theories of other related
disciplines in order to develop and formalize its own methods; but which
disciplines it can naturally and fruitfully be related to is still a
matter of some controversy. Almost every aspect of life in general and
of the interaction between speech communities in particular can be
considered relevant to translation, a discipline which has to concern
itself with how meaning is generated within and between various groups
of people in various cultural settings. This is clearly too big an area
to investigate in one go. So, let us just start by saying that, if
translation is ever to become a profession in the full sense of the
word, translators will need something other than the current mixture of
intuition and practice to enable them to reflect on what they do and how
they do it. They will need, above all, to acquire a sound knowledge of
the raw material with which they work: to understand what language is
and how it comes to function for its users.
Translation is a process of rendering a text, written piece or a speech
by means of other languages. The difference of translation from
retelling or other kinds of transfer of a given text is that that
translation is a process of creating an original unity in contexts and
forms of original.
The translation quality is defined by its completeness and value. “The
completeness and value of translation means definite rendering of the
contextual sense of the original piece and a high-grade
The concept “high-grade functional-stylistic conformity” clearly points
on two existing ways of rendering the form in unity with the meaning:
the first one is a reproduction of specific features of the form of the
original piece and the second one is the creation of functional
conformities of those features. It means when translating the specific
features of an original literature we should rather consider the style
inherent for the given genre but than direct copying the form of an
original. While translating, we should also remember that different
lexical and grammatical elements of an original might be translated
differently if accepted by the norms of conformity to the whole
original. The translation adequacy of separate phrases, sentences and
paragraphs should not be considered separately but along with
achievement of the adequacy and completeness of the translating piece as
a whole because the unity of a piece is created through collecting the
No matter how a translator (interpreter) is talented he should remember
two most important conditions of the process of translation: the first
is that the aim of translation is to get the reader as closely as
possible acquainted with the context of a given text and then second –
to translate – means to precisely and completely express by means of one
language the things that had been expressed earlier by the means of
A translation can be done:
1. from one language into another, kin-language, non-kin,
2. from literary language into its dialect or visa versa
3. from the language of an ancient period into its modern state
The process of translation, no matter how fast it is, is subdivided into
two moments. To translate one should first of all to understand, to
perceive the meaning and the sense of the material.
Furthermore, to translate one should find and select the sufficient
means of expression in the language the material is translated into
(words, phrases, grammatical forms).
There are three, most identified types of translation: literary, special
The ways of achieving the adequacy and completeness in those three types
of translation will never completely coincide with each other because of
their diverse character and tasks set to translator (interpreter).
The object of literary translation is the literature itself. And its
distinctive feature is a figurative-emotional impact on the reader,
which is attained through a great usage of different linguistic means,
beginning from epithet and metaphor up to rhythmical-syntactic
construction of phrases.
Thus, in order to preserve figurative-emotional impact on the reader
while translating a work of art, the translator (interpreter) will try
to render all the specific features of the translating material. That’s
why, on the first place one should reconstruct the specific features of
an original and the creation of functional conformities to the features
of the original play the subordinate role.
The objects of special translations are materials that belong to
different fields of human activities, science and technology. The
distinctive feature of this type of translation is an exact expression
of the sense of translating material, which is attained through wide
usage of special terms.
Thus, in order to render an exact and clear meaning while translating
such materials alongside with the selection of term equivalents, on the
first place one has to create functional conformities to the features of
an original, and the creation of specific features of the original play
the subordinate role.
And finally, the objects of social-politic translations are the
materials of propaganda and agitation character, and therefore a bright
emotional sense abundant with special terms.
Concerning the achievement of adequacy this type of translation
possesses the features of literary and special types of translation as
The translation process of political literature from one language into
another is inevitable without necessary grammatical transformations
(change of structure). It gets great importance while making translation
to add or omit some words since the structures of languages are quite
different. Grammatical transformations are characterized by various
principles – grammatical, and lexical as well, though the principal role
is given to grammatical ones. Very often these grammatical changes are
mixed so that they have lexical-grammatical character.
As you know, English has an analytical character and therefore the
relation between words is mostly expressed by word-order, that’s by
syntactic means, and morphological means play the secondary role. The
priority of the role of syntactical changes appears in many cases but
they do not always have similar conformities in Russian language which
makes the translator make use of various transformations while
translating a piece of political literature. Here we can point to
well-known features of the location of syntactic items in the English,
e.i. the combination of logically incompatible homogeneous part of the
sentence, the essential use of introductory sentences, the break of
logical chain of the sentence, and especially while expressing the noun
and the attribute of the sentences.
The syntactic structure of a language imposes restrictions on the way
messages may be organized in that language. The order in which
functional elements such as subject, predicator, and object may occur is
more fixed in some languages than in others. Languages vary in the
extent to which they rely on word order to signal the relationship
between elements in the clause. Compared to languages such as German,
Russian, Finnish, Arabic, and Eskimo, word order in English is
relatively fixed. The meaning of a sentence in English, and in languages
with similarly fixed word order such as Chinese, often depends entirely
on the order in which the elements are placed. (cf. The man ate the fish
and The fish ate the man).
The structural features of English language require structural
completeness of the sentence. One can not omit a word without supplying
another one instead. This criterion is governed by stylistic preference
of the language to prevent word and make the sentence more emphatic.
Even if the repetition is frequent in English its use in most cases is
logically required and stylistically proved to be necessary. Otherwise,
repetition is accepted as unnecessary component of the sentence or one
of the stylistic shortcomings of the translation. The demand of
syntactical completeness of the sentences and others stylistic criteria
explain here the wide usage of structure filling words (слова
заместители). The structure filling words include pronouns (one, ones,
this, that, these, those) and verbs (to do, to be, to have, shall,
should, will, would, can, could, might, may, must, ought, need, dare).
Its quite evident that the structure filling words do not have
denotative meaning, they are absolutely contextual. They should be
related to conforming nouns and the verb form the fill and only
afterwards they acquire lexical completeness. The verb-filling words are
usually divided into two parts: fully filling and partially filling
ones. To the first group belong the verb to do in the Present Indefinite
which act in the role of fully filling word. It can replace the verbs of
function. To the second group belong all other structure filling words.
They act like a part of the whole just like the representative of
compound verb form.
While translating the structure filling words we have to use words with
complete meaning (sometimes pronouns) or make use of some other kinds of
Every word in a language carries some concrete notion. The semantics of
a word reflects different signs of the subject and the relation of its
meanings to other objects it denotes. The semantics of a word includes
word perception characteristic to the studied language, being more
precise to the bearers of the studied language. When studying the
reality of some object we can identify that its name reveals its
functions which finds the reflection in the semantics of the word. Lets
take as an example the word glasses – очки. In English it reveals the
substance of which the object is made and in Russian firstly it reveals
its function – second eyes – очи.
Despite distinguishing all kinds of differences we should say that, both
languages sufficiently reflect one and the same perception of reality.
Therefore the difficulty stylistic devices represents to a translator is
based on word play, if in corresponding words of both languages are
featured different signs.
The second reason, causing lexical difficulties to translation of
political literature is the difference in the semantic volume of a word.
In every language a word exists in a close connection with the
lexical-semantic system of a given language. It may have various kinds
of lexical meanings (lexical-semantic) variants; it may widen or narrow
its meaning and make it more abstract or concrete.
The third reason presenting lexical difficulties in translation the
difference in combinability. Words in languages have some definite
relation characteristic only to the given language. It should be
mentioned that word combinability is possible if words point to similar
objects they denote. This difference of word combinability in various
languages is very important; therefore some types of combinability are
easily accepted in one of language and are completely unacceptable in
Last but not the least is the accepted usage of words in a language. It
is, of course related to the development of a given languages and
formation of its lexical system. Every language worked out its own
cliches and some set expressions used by speakers, nevertheless those
word expressions are not phraseological units but they possess complete
form, which, in comparison with the phraseological units, are never
broken by adding some introductory words or substitution of some of its
Translation studies showed that there are cases when due to the
distinguished signs a word acquires wider semantic volume and can not be
covered by corresponding equivalent in the target language. Let us take
teenager for example: etymologically it is related to the numerals from
thirteen till nineteen. The Russian подросток does not semantically
cover its meaning in complete volume for its is narrower in its meaning.
Therefore the word teenager is usually translated by different words –
подросток, юноша, and in plural as молодёжь.
Difference in the semantic structure of a word represents one of the
main reason causing lexical difficulty in translation. These difference
are related to peculiar features of separate words or word groups. And
it is quite natural that this matter covers a wide range of examples.
Practically, even identical words in different languages are not always
equal in their meaning, they never correspond completely. Most often is
the correspondence of first lexical-semantic variants of such words –
their primary meaning – then we have various lexical-semantic variants
for the course of development of these words was of different nature.
This is characterized by different functioning of a word in language,
different in usage and combinability, but even the primary meaning of an
English word maybe wider of the corresponding one in Russian.
The semantic structure of a word predefines the possibility of its
contextual use, and the translation of contextual meaning presents a
hard task to translators.
Contextual meaning of a word in many instances depends on the character
of semantic context, on the semantics of the words combining with it.
Occasional meanings, suddenly originated in the context are not always
arbitrary – its is based into the semantic structure of the word. In
contextual usage of a word in poetry or prose – often point to the
author’s penetration into the depth of the word’s semantic structure.
For paradigmatic and semantic relations are characteristic to any words
and the lexical potential of words can be revealed in both cases. But
revealing these potentials of words is closely connected with the
specificity of lexical-semantic aspects of every language and here forth
we may observe the difficulty of translation of contextual meaning of
words. What is possible in one language maybe impossible in another
because of its difference in semantic structure and its usage.