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  1. A) Full Translation Equivalents
  2. B) Partial Translation Equivalents
  3. Ex.8. Find in the text English equivalents to the following words and word
  4. Ex.8. Find in the text English equivalents to the following words and word combinations.
  5. Ex.8. Find in the text English equivalents to the following words and word combinations.
  6. Ex.8. Find in the text English equivalents to the following words and word combinations.
  7. Exercise 3. Find English equivalents.

This Lecture:

- outlines basic factors that influence the choice of translation equivalents, i.e. context, situation and background information;

- defines context varieties and their influence on the choice of translation equivalents;

- shows the role of cultural background in equivalent selection.

From the previous lectures and your own translation experience you know that the choice of translation equivalents depends on the context, situation and background information. This lecture presents more detailed information on the role these and some other important factors play in the process of translation equivalent selection.

Thus, the main factors are context, situation and background information. They are well-known, but, regrettably, their definitions by various scholars substantially differ.

To start with, let us define the context.

* For the purpose of practical translation we shall call the context the length of speech (text) necessary to specify the meaning and translation of a given word.

Also for the purpose of practical translation we shall distinguish between immediate and general context.

Immediate context is a sequence of syntactically and semantically related words that determines the meaning and syntactic function of a given word and forms the basis for its translation.

Note the words 'forms the basis' in the above definition - these words are critical indeed, because immediate context is seldom sufficient for the proper choice of equivalents. Usually immediate context is limited to a sentence, though in many cases a length of text shorter than a sentence is sufficient as an immediate context.

However, to get all information necessary for translation one should take into account the general context as well.

-► General context is the source text as a whole.

To feel the difference compare the translation of the following two examples.

After becoming involved in city politics, he was rewarded for his services to the King by being made Lord Mayor of London, serving four terms between 1397 and 1420.

Він став брати активну участь у політичному житті міста, і король відзначив його заслуги перед короною, призначивши лорд-мером Лондона. На цій посаді він залишався чотири строки - з 1397 по 1420 рік.

The hope that we can still pare down our choices to a list of essentials is the other faith, besides religion, that we need to survive as the new millennium rushes toward us - the illusion that we can stop the clock and somehow, even at this late date, master space and time.

Сподівання, ніби-то ми все ще в змозі відмовитися від усього зайвого і обрати найсуттєвіше, - це своєрідна віра, яка нам потрібна, окрім релігії, щоб вижити у час, коли нове тисячоліття летить прямо на нас; це ілюзія, що ми ще можемо зупинити годинник і знайти спосіб, навіть у цю останню мить, щоб підкорити простір і час.

Perhaps, you will agree that in the first instance the immediate context is all that one needs for translation whereas to translate properly the text of the second example one will need broader context and, probably, some additional background information as well. This brings us to the first conclusion:

The choice of translation equivalents depends both on immediate and general context.

Any source text, however, consists of words and word combinations which you are to translate to finally end up in a target text. And to say the least, words and word combinations are very different as to the problems they present for translation.

Compare, for example, words and word combinations in the left and right columns of the Table below.

organization insider
society power-broker
territory mainstream
development hot button
region marginal

It is easy to note that the entries in the left column present no problem for translation whereas to find proper equivalents for those in the right column one needs at least broad context and desirably also a piece of background information.

The explanation lies in the fact that unlike those in the left column the right column words are relatively new language formations standing for also relatively new phenomena of the American culture. Then the next conclusion may be:

-* The choice of translation equivalents for individual words and word combinations depends on the translator's awareness in the underlying cultural background.

To get a better idea of the above equivalent selection factor consider an example:

The conservative commentator David Brooks argues in «Bobos in Paradise» that the old bourgeoisie and the old bohemians have in the last generation morphed into what he calls «Bobos» - bourgeois bohemians. The longhaired, tie-dye-shirted, sandal-shod free spirit is now in the corporate boardroom, and the things that seemed to divide the counterculture from the business culture have largely disappeared as a result.

These Bobos are obviously far less inclined than their Rotarian predecessors to fight the prudish battles against popular culture. They are products of that culture, and they like it.

Консервативний коментатор Девід Брукс у своєму есе «Бубо у раю» стверджує, що стара буржуазія і стара богема в останньому поколінні переродилися у те, що він називає «бубо» - буржуазна богема. Колишні патлаті носії вільного духу в сандалях та яскравих сорочках сидять зараз у респектабельних офісах, і в результаті зникло все те, що, здавалось би, відділяло культуру протесту від бізнес-культури. На відміну від членів Ротаріанських клубів, місце яких вони зараз посіли, «бубо», очевидно, менш схильні до пуританських хрестових походів проти попкультури, бо вони самі є продуктом цієї культури, і ця культура їм до вподоби.

You will get more of such texts in the exercises after this lecture that,prove the final conclusion:

To select proper equivalents one needs to be aware of the cultural background underlying the source text being translated.


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3. Комиссаров В. Н. Лингвистика перевода. - М, 1981.

4. Корунець І. В. Теорія і практика перекладу. - Вінниця, 2003. - 448 с.

5. Мірам Г.Є. Дейнеко В. В. Основи перекладу. - К., 2003.

6. Мирам Г. Е. Переводныe картинки. Профессия: переводчик. - К., 2001.

7. Мирам Г. Е. Профессия: переводчик. - К., 1999.

8. Нелюбин Л. Л. Переводческий словарь. - М., 1999.

9. Федоров А. В. Основы общей теории перевода. - М., 1975.


1. What are the basic factors that influence the choice of transformation equivalents?

2. What is immediate context? How does it influence the choice of translation equivalents?

3. What is the general context? How does it influence the choice of translation equivalents?

4. What are the factors that influence the choice of translation equivalents of individual words and word combinations?

5. What is the role of cultural background in the finding proper translation equivalents?

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LANGUAGE SYSTEM: PARADIGMS AND SYNTAGMAS | Elements Activated in the Sentence | Lecture 2. Сommunicative aspect of translation. | TRANSLATION DEFINITION | And shows both the strength and limitations of each. | TRANSLATION RANKING | Lecture 4. TRANSLATION EQUIVALENCE AND EQUIVALENTS | A) Full Translation Equivalents | B) Partial Translation Equivalents | Lecture 5. TRANSLATION AND STYLE |

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