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Descriptive Translating of Idiomatic and Set Expres­sions



The meaning of a considerable number of idiomatic as well as stable/set expressions can be rendered through explication only, i.e., in a descriptive way. Depending on the complexity of meaning con­tained in the source-language idiom, it can be expressed in the target language in some ways:

1) by a single word: out of a clear blue of the sky раптом, зненацька; to pall and peel (to peel and pall) грабувати/оббирати; poor fish йолоп, бевзь, нікчема; red blood мужність, відвага, хоробрість; to sell smoke піддурювати, підманювати; to set a limit to smth. обмежувати, стримувати; to set at large звільнювати (випустити на волю); to go aloft померти;

2) undoubtedly the most frequent is rendering the sense of idi­omatic/phraseological expressions with the help of free combinations of words as in: to run amock нападати зненацька на першу-ліпшу людину; school miss школярка, соромлива, недосвідчена дівчина; to sell someone short недооцінювати когось; to sham Abraham удавати з себе хворого (прикидатися хворим); to shoot Niagara вдаватися до ризикованих дій, short odds майже рівні шанси; to sit above the salt сидіти на почесному місці; the sixty-four dollar question найважливіше, вирішальне питання; a stitch in time своєчасний захід/вчинок, своєчасна дія; to go to rack (wrack) ruin


загинути; зовсім розоритися; to go wesW/est пропасти, зникнути, ми і и зі сцени (переносно);

3) when the lexical meaning of an original idiomatic expression la condensed or when it is based on a nationally specific notion/struc­tural form alien to the target language, the idiomatic expression may be conveyed by a sentence or a longer explanation: a wet blanket і иодина або обставина, що розхолоджує; well day (well-day) день, коїіиу хворого не погіршувався стан здоров'я (час між приступами гарячки, малярії тощо); wise behind млявий, що погано міркує; white elephantподарунок, якого важко позбутися (те, що приносить більше турбот, ніж користі); yes man (yes-man) людина, що з усіма згоджується, тільки підтакує (підтакувач); to cut off with a shilling ІіЛишити без спадщини; fight like Kilkenny cats битися до І «ємного знищення; to accept (the Stewardship) of the Chiltern Hundreds (Parliament) скласти з себе обов'язки члена британського парламенту.

It must be added in conclusion that some English idiomatic/set expressions have a rather transparent lexical meaning and are easy for our students to translate into Ukrainian: to treat one like a lord щедро частувати (як лорда) когось, цяцькатися з кимось; with all one's steam/with all speed щодуху, дуже швидко; with a founded air ображено, з виглядом ображеного; with flags flying/with flying colours іріумфально, переможно; with a good reason не без підстав, не даремно; to be ла/f way between something посередені (бути на середині між чимсь), іти назустріч комусь/чомусь; not bom yesterday досвідчений (ужитті).

Depending on the speech style of the passage/work, in which the idiomatic/phraseological expressions are used, and taking into account the nature of them (literary, colloquial, historical) some modi­fications of the above-given methods of translations and even new variants of translation may be suggested by the translator. Neverthe­less, the aim of translation will always remain the same, viz. to fully render in the target language the lexical meaning and where possible also the structural peculiarities, the picturesqueness, the expressive­ness, and the connotative meaning (if any) of the source language idiomatic or stable expressions and this is far from always easy or oven possible. How and with what means it can be achieved will be shown on some examples of rendering the meaning of several na­tional idioms.


 




TRANSFORMATION OF SOME IDIOMS IN THE PROCESS OF TRANSLATING

As has already been pointed out, some phraseological expres­sions singled out by Acad. V. Vinogradov as unities and having mostly a transparent meaning may reflect various national features of the source language. The latter may be either of lingual or extralingual nature, involving the national images, their peculiar picturesqueness or means of expression with clear reference to traditions, customs or historical events, geographical position of the source language na­tion. Such phraseological expressions are often of a simple or com­posite sentence structure. Being nationally distinct, they can not have in the target language traditionally established equivalents or loan variants. As a result, most of them may have more than one transla­tor's version in the target language. It may be either a regular sense-to-sense variant (an interlinear-type translation) or an artistic literary version rendering in which alongside the lexical meaning is also the aphoristic nature, the expressiveness, the picturesqueness, the vivid­ness, etc. of the source language phraseologism/idiom.

Taking into account the aims pursued and the contextual envi­ronment of the idiom, there must be acknowledged at least two main levels of translating the national idioms:

1) the level of the interlinear rendering, i.e., sense-to-sense trans­lation only, which is quite sufficient to faithfully express the lexical meaning of most of these phraseologisms/idioms;

2) the literary/literary artistic level, at which not only the sense but also the expressiveness, the vividness, the picturesqueness and the apho­ristic nature (if any) of the idioms should possibly be conveyed as well.

Faithful translation of national idioms/phraseologisms is mostly achieved via deliberate transformations of all kinds performed by the translator. The transformations are aimed at making the national images, the sense and structure of these phraseologic expressions easier for the target language readers/listeners to comprehend. Such transformations, therefore, adjust in many a case the source language idiom as a sense unit to the requirements of the target language bearers. Here are some examples of translation with the help of transformations of particularly English phraseologisms performed first (1) at the interlinear level which may sometimes be close to artistic level and then (2) at the literary artistic level: the wind cannot be prevented from blowing 1. вітрові не перешкодиш віяти; 2. вітрові не скажеш не


віяти/дути; вітру не затулиш; he that doesn't respect, isn't respected

1. хто інших не поважає, сам поваги не має; 2. поважатимеш інших, поважатимуть і тебе; it's an equal failing to trust everybody and to trust nobody 1. однакова вада -довіряти всім і не довіряти нікому;

2. довіряти кожному і не довіряти нікому - однакова вада; the pleasures of the mighty are the tears of the poor 1. розваги всесильних/багатих-то сльози бідних/знедолених; 2. вельможні скачуть - убогі плачуть; що панські жарти, то людські сльози; they must hunger in winter that will not work in summer 1. той голодує взимку, хто не працює влітку; 2. шукаєш влітку холодок-знайдеш узимку голод, or: лежатимеш на печі - не їстимеш калачі.

No need to emphasize that some successful literary artistic translations/variants of specifically national idioms may in the end become regular translation loans of the target language.1

Transformations become absolutely inevitable when the Eng­lish phraseologisms or mots contain a passive voice structure, the introductory it/there, or some other analytical constructions, as for instance, those with the auxiliary verbs (do, does, etc.). Cf.: there is no love lost between them вони недолюблюють одне одного/глек розбили; Does your mother know you are out? Молоко на губах ще не висохло/ще не доріс. Can the leopard change his spots? Горбатого могила виправить. Though sometimes transformations may become necessary to make the denotative and connotative meaning of idioms/phraseologisms easier for the target language bearers to comprehend. Thus, neither the sense-to-sense nor the literary variant of the proverb the moon is not seen when the sun shines (місяця не видно, коли світить сонце/сяє сонце - місяця не видно) can fully express its connotative (and denotative) meaning when the proverb stands for somebody or something eclipsing with his or its importance (fame, size, etc.) somebody or something meant by the «moon». All in all, however, there are few such sentence-type phraseological expressions which need some additional explication in Ukrainian. More often the content of the kind of phraseologisms/ idioms is clear already at language level, i.e., out of context, which enables their literary translation. This can be observed from a few more examples below: what matters to a blind man that his father could see що з того сліпому, що його батько був зрячим; it is too late to shut the stable door when the horse is stolen пізно зачиняти

1 See more about translation loans in: Зорівчак Р.П. Фразеологічна одиниця як перекладацька категорія. -Львів: «Вища шк.» Вид-во при Львівському ун-ті, 1983.


конюшню, коли коня вкрали; when two ride on one horse one must sit behind коли двоє їдуть на одному коні, комусь/одному з них сидіти/їхати ззаду/двоє не можуть сидіти спереду.





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