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DESCRIPTIVE AND ANTONYMIC TRANSLATING

:
  1. KINDS OF TRANSLATING/INTERPRETING
  2. SIGNIFICANCE OF TRANSLATING/INTERPRETING
  3. WAYS OF TRANSLATING

Descriptive translating. One must bear in mind that it is the notional meaning of the source language unit and not always its morphological nature or structural form that is to be rendered 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 language 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 , ; infamous (, ), ; inessentials , ; up to the brim, full to the brim; ' the nape of one's head, the back of the head; crust of a loaf, hunk of a bread; () to become lame (grow blind). Therefore, the descriptive way of conveying the sense of language units implies their structural transformation which is necessary to explicate their meaning with the help of hierarchically different target language units.

Descriptive translating/interpreting is very often employed to render the sense/meaning of idioms/phraseologisms, which have no equivalents in the target language. Cf. in English:(as) mad as a hatter / ; all my eye and Betty Martin! ! (!); like one (twelve) o'clock , , . In Ukrainian: to feel very cold (to feel freezing); hard times make one inventive; / to say much nonsense.

No less often is descriptive translation employed when dealing with the notions of specific national lexicon: haggis 崴 ( , ); porridge ( ); Senate ( 볿, ); sweet-meat , .

Alongside the literal translating some explications of the meaning of specific national notions becomes sometimes necessary: varenyky, middle-sized dumplings filled with curd, cherries, etc.; duma, Ukrainian historic epic song; kobzar, a performer of dumas to the accompaniment of the kobza (a mandoline-like four string musical instrument), the bandore (a flat multistringed Ukrainian musical instrument).

Descriptive translation is also employed in foot-notes to explain obscure places in narration. Cf. midland , 볿, a spiritual . .

Antonymic translationis employed for the sake of achieving faithfulness in conveying content or the necessary expressiveness of sense units. It represents a way of rendering when an affirmative in structure language unit (word, word-combination or sentence) is conveyed via a negative in sense or structure but identical in content language unit, or vice versa: a negative in sense or structure sense unit is translated via an affirmative sense unit. Cf.: to have quite a few friends () ; mind your own business ; take it easy , ; not infrequently ; time like the present ( ); (..) feel/am perfectly well; look before you leap; , every dark cloud has a silver lining, etc.

The antonymic device is empolyed in the following cases:

1) when in the target languagethere 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 infe rior) have no single-word equivalents in Ukrainian. So their lexical meaning can be conveyed either in a descriptive way or with the help of their antonyms superiority, superior: The defeat of the Notts in last season's cup semi-finals was certainly the result of their physical and tactical inferiority... (The Kyiv Post) (... , ).1

The meaning of some English word-groups can also be conveyed in Ukrainian antonymically only: Baines was reading a newspaper in his shirt-sleeves. (Gr. Greene) . Do you mind this? (M.Wilson) ?

...

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 non-elegant. (S.Maugham) .

3. In order to achieve the necessary expressiveness in narration: I don't think it will hurt you, baby. (E.Hemingway) , , . A shell fell close. (Ibid.) . lurched away like a frightened horse barely

1 See more about transformations of the kind in part IV of this work.

missing the piano stool. (J.London) ³ , , ( ).

4. In order to avoid the use of the same or identical structures close to each other in a text (stylistic aim and means):

Mrs. Strickland was a woman of character.(S.Maugham) ̳ (, ).Most of the staff is not away.(M.Wilson) ( ).Savina said nothing.(Ibid.) ( ).

 

A SHORT HISTORICAL OUTLINE OF EUROPEAN AND UKRAINIAN TRANSLATION

World translation in general and European translation in particular has a long and praiseworthy tradition. Even the scarcity of documents available at the disposal of historians points to its incessant millenniums-long employment in international relations both in ancient China, India, in the Middle East (Assyria, Babylon) and Egypt. The earliest mention of translation used in viva voce goes back to approximately the year3000 in ancient Egypt where the interpreters and later also regular translators were employed to help in carrying on trade with the neighbouring country of Nubia. Thedragomans had been employed to accompany the trade caravans and help in negotiating, selling and buying the necessary goods for Egypt. Also in those ancient times(2400 ), the Assyrian emperor Sargon of the city of Akkada (Mesopotamia), is known to have circulated his order of the day translated into some languages of the subject countries. The emperor boasted of his victories in an effort to intimidate his neighbours. In2100 , Babylon translations are known to have been performed into some neighbouring languages including, first of all, Egyptian. The city of Babylon in those times was a regular centre of polyglots where translations were accomplished in several languages. As far back as1900 , in Babylon, there existed the first known bilingual (Sumerian-Akkadian) and multilingual (Sumerian-Akkadian-Hurritian-Ugaritian) dictionaries. In1800 , in Assyria there was already something of a board of translators headed by the chief translator/interpreter, a certain Giki. The first trade agreement is known to have been signed in two languages between Egypt and its southern neighbour Nubia in1200 .

Interpreters and translators of the Persian and Indian languages are known to have been employed in Europe in the fourth century by Alexander the Great (356-323), the emperor of Macedonia, during his military campaign against Persia and India. Romans in their numerous wars also employed interpreters/translators (especially during the Punic Wars with Carthage in thesecond andthird centuries ). Unfortunately, little or nothing is practically known about the employment of translation in state affairs in other European countries of those times, though translators/interpreters must certainly have been employed on the same occasions and with the same purpose as in the Middle East. The inevitable employment of translation/interpretation was predetermined by the need to maintain intercommunal and international relations which always exist between different ethnic groups as well as between separate nations and their individual representatives.

The history of European translation, however, is known to have started as far back as280 with the translation of some excerpts of The Holy Scriptures. The real history of translation into European languages, however, is supposed to have begun in250 in the Egyptian city of Alexandria which belonged to the great Greek empire. The local leaders of the Jewish community there decided to translate the Old Testament from Hebrew, which had once been their native tongue, but which was no longer understood, into ancient Greek, which became their spoken language. Tradition states that 72 learned Jews, each working separately, prepared during their translation in 70 days the Greek variant of the Hebrew original. When the translators met, according to that same tradition, their translations were found to be identical to each other in every word. In reality, however, the Septuagint (Latin for seventy), as this translation has been called since then, took in fact several hundreds of years to complete. According to reliable historical sources, various translators worked on the Septuagint after that, each having made his individual contribution to this fundamental document of Christianity in his national language. The bulk of the Septuagint is known today to have been aslavishly literal (word-for-word) translation of the original Jewish Scripture. Much later around 130 AD another Jewish translator, Aguila of Sinope, made one more slavishly literal translation of the Old Testament to replace the Septuagint.

There were also other Greek translations of the Old Testament, which are unfortunately lost to us today. Consequently, only the Septuagint can be subjected to a thorough analysis from the point of view of the principles, the method and the level of its literary translation.

Much was translated in ancient times also from Greek into Egyptian and vice versa, and partly from Hebrew into Greek. The next best known translation of the Old Testament into Greek, but performed this time meaning-to-meaning/sense-to-sense, was accomplished by Simmachus in the second century . Later on, with the political, economic and military strengthening of the Roman Empire, more and more translations were performed from Greek into Latin. Moreover, much of the rich literature of all genres from ancient Rome has developed exclusively on the basis of translations from old Greek. This was started by the Roman-Greek scholar Livius Andronicus who made a very successful translation of Homer's poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey in 240 , and thus laid the beginning and the foundation for a rich Latin belles-lettres tradition. That first successful translation was followed by no less successful translations of Greek dramas made by two Roman men of letters who were also translators, namely, Naevius (270-201 ) and Annius (239 169 ).

A significant contribution to Roman literature in general and to the theory of translation in particular was made by the outstanding statesman, orator and philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 - 43 ), who brought into Latin the speeches of the most eloquent Greek orators Demosthenes (385? - 322 ) and Aeschines (389 - 314 ). Cicero became famous in the history of translation not only for his literary translations but also for his principles of the so-called sense-to-sense translation, which he theoretically grounded for translations of secular works. These principles appeared to have been in opposition to the principle of strict word-for-word translation employed by the translators of the Septuagint. Cicero held the view, and not without grounds, that the main aim of translators was to convey first of all the sense and the style of the source language work and not the meaning of separate words and their placement in the source language work/passage. Cicero's principles of sense-for-sense translation were first accepted and employed by the outstanding Roman poet Horace (65 - 8 ), who translated works from Greek into Latin. Horace, however, had understood and used Cicero's principles in his own, often unpredictable way: he would change the composition and content of the source language works that he translated. Moreover, he would introduce some ideas of his own, thus making the translated works unlike the originals. This way of free interpretation from the source language works in translation was accepted and further developed in the second century AD by Horace's adherent Apuleius (124 - ?), who would still more deliberately rearrange the ancient Greek originals altering them sometimes beyond recognition. This, perhaps, was the result of an attitude of benign neglect by the Romans towards the culture of the Greeks, which began to be absorbed by the stronger empire. The Roman translators following the practice of Horace, and still more of Apuleius, began systematically to omit all insignificant (in their judgement) passages, and incorporate some ideas and even whole stories of their own. The translators began introducing references to some noted figures. Such a kind of translation made the reader doubt whether the translated works belonged to a foreign author or were in fact an original work. This practice of Roman translators, that found its expression in a free treatment of secular source language works on the part of the most prominent Roman men of letters, little by little fostered an unrestricted freedom in translation, which began to dominate in all European literatures throughout the forthcoming centuries and during the Middle Ages. There were only a few examples of really faithful sense-to-sense translations after the afore-mentioned Greek translation of the Old Testament by Simmachus (second century ) and its Latin translation by Hieronymus (340 - 420) in the fourth century AD. The latter demanded that translation should be performed not word-for-word but sense-for-sense (non verbum e verbo, sed sensum expremere de sensu). Unlike Cicero, who wanted to see in a translation the expressive means of the source language work well, Hieronymus saw the main objective of the translator first of all the faithful conveying of the content, the component parts, and the composition of the work under translation.

Often practised alongside written translation before Christian era and during the first centuries, was also the viva voce translation. Some theoretical principles of interpretation were already worked out by the then most famous men of letters. Among them was the mentioned above poet Horace who in his Ars Poetica (Poetic Art) pointed out the difference between the written translation and typical oral interpretation. He emphasized that the interpreter rendered the content of the source matter as a speaker, i.e., without holding too closely to the style and artistic means of expression of the orator. Interpreters were, for a considerable time, employed before the Christian era and afterwards in Palestinian synagogues where they spontaneously (on sight) interpreted the Torah from Hebrew into Aramaic, which the Palestinians now freely understood.


: 2014-11-24; : 147 |




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