1. The role of semantic, syntactic and pragmatic relations.

2. The effect of the pragmatic motivation of the original message.

3. Non-uniqueness of the translator’s decisions.

4. The problem of translatability.

1. The role of semantic, syntactic and pragmatic relations.Semiotics (the science investigating the general properties of sign systems) distinguishes the following types of relations: semantic (sign to object), syntactic (sign to sign) and pragmatic (sign to man). One of the most essential requirements, imposed on translation, is that the two texts (the original and its translation) should be semantically equivalent. The goal of translation is to produce a text, bearing the same relation to the extralinguistic situation as the original. Semantic equivalence of messages does not necessarily imply the semantic identity of each linguistic sign. Semantically equivalent utterances include not only those, made up of the semantically identical signs (as, for instance, He lives in Paris - Он живёт в Париже, but also utterances comprising different sets of signs which in their totality add up to the same type of relationship to the extralinguistic world and denote the same extralinguistic situation (e.g. Wet paint - Осторожно! Окрашено.). Semantic relations affect translation both in the initial stage of analysis and in producing the target-language text.

As distinct from semantic relations, syntactic relations are important only at the stage of analysis since relations between linguistic signs are essential for their semantic interpretation (cf. Bill hit John and John hit Bill). But although they may be occasionally preserved in translation, the translator does not set himself this goal. Very often syntactically non-equivalent utterances prove to be semantically equivalent: He was considered invincible - Его считали непобедимым.

Pragmatic relations are superimposed on semantic relations and play an equally important role in analyzing the original text and in producing an equivalent text in the target language. Semantically equivalent messages do not necessarily mean the same thing to the source - and target-language receptors, and therefore are not necessarily pragmatically equivalent. The phrases "He made a fifteen-yard end run" and «Он сделал пятнадцатиярдовый рывок по краю» are semantically equivalent for they denote the same situation but the American reader, familiar with American football, will extract far more information from it than his Russian counterpart who would neither understand the aim of the maneuver nor appreciate the football-player's performance. The pragmatic problems, involved in translation, arise from three types of pragmatic relations: 1) the relation of the source-language sender to the original message; 2) the relation of the target-language receptor to the target-language message and 3) the relation of the translator to both messages.

2. The effect of the pragmatic motivation of the original message. The first type of relations amounts to the sender's communicative intent or the pragmatic motivation of the original message. The translator, in other words, should be aware whether the message is a statement of fact, a request, a command, an entreaty or a joke. Very often the speaker's communicative intent differs from what the message seems to say. "I don't know" may be not only the statement of fact in which case it would be translated as «Я не знаю», but also an expression of hesitation «Да как вам сказать?». "Is Mr. Brown there, please" is not a question but a disguised request «Попросите к телефону м-ра Брауна».

The effect of the receptor-to-text relation

Prof. A. Neubert (DDR) has proposed a classification of texts depending on their orientation towards different types of receptors: texts, intended for "domestic consumption" (local advertising, legislation, home news, etc.), texts, intended primarily for the source-language receptors but having also a universal human appeal (belles-lettres) and texts without any specific national addressee (scientific literature). Typically, in written translation the translator deals with texts, not intended for target-language audiences and therefore subject to pragmatic adaptations. Allowances are made for socio-cultural, psychological and other differences between source- and target-language receptors, particularly differences in their background knowledge. According to E. Nida, snow-white was translated into one of the African languages as "white as the feathers of a white heron".

Pragmatic factors may affect the scope of semantic information, conveyed in translating. Differences in background knowledge call for addition or deletion of some information (e.g. "Part of the nuclear station in Cumberland has been closed down" - «Часть атомной электростанции в графстве Камберленд была закрыта». «Как сообщает журнал Ньюсуик» - "According to Newsweek"). Some cultural realia may be translated by their functional analogues («жандарм американского империализма» - "a watchdog of US imperialism" - from a story about the 7th US Fleet).

Allowance should be made for the receptor's professional status and his familiarity with the subject. In texts, intended for specialists source culture realia are more frequently rendered by transcription or transliteration while in texts for the laymen explanatory or descriptive translation is preferred (e.g. impeachment - импичмент, привлечение к ответственности высших должностных лиц; absenteeism - абсентеизм, уклонение от участия в выборах.)

The effect of the translator's angle of view

Another pragmatic factor, relevant to translation, is the socio-psychological and ideological orientation of the translator himself. As far back as 1936 K. I. Chukovsky wrote that "every translator translates himself, i.e. deliberately or inadvertently reflects his class affiliations. And in doing so he does not necessarily set himself the task to falsify the original". This view may be somewhat oversimplified but it is true that although ideally the translator should identify himself with the author, this is not always the case. What is more, sometimes it is impossible. Therefore, classics are re-translated as each generation re-reads them from its own vantage point.

3. Non-uniqueness of the translator's decisions.Translation is a process, determined by quite a number of factors. In addition to conveying the semantic information, contained in the text, the denotational meanings and emotive-stylistic connotations, the translator has to take into account the author's communicative intent, the type of an audience for which the message is intended, its socio-psychological characteristics and background knowledge.

A process, governed by so many variables, cannot have a single outcome. What is more, the synonymic and paraphrasing potential of language is so high that there may be several ways of describing the same extralinguistic situation, and even though they may be not quite identical, the differences may be neutralized by the context. It should also be remembered that the translator's decision may vary depending on the receptor (cf. the translation of realia for the specialists and for the laymen) and the purpose of translation. Cf. the old and the modernized version of the Bible: a woman... who had an evil spirit in her that had kept her sick for eighteen years - ... a woman who for eighteen years had been ill from some psychological cause. Cf. also the poetic translation of Shakespeare by Pasternak and the scholarly translation by Prof. Morozov.

4. The problem of translatability.Conflicting views have been expressed by linguists concerning the problem of translatability ranging from an entirely negative stand, typical of W. von Humboldt who considered each language an embodiment of national spirit and the nation's world view and therefore regarded translation as an impossible task, to an unqualified positive attitude, found in many contemporary writings on translation. The very fact that translation makes interlingual communication possible is an argument in favor of translatability. Yet it is an oversimplification to claim that every meaningful element of the text is translatable.

In his preface to the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain says that he had reproduced in the book "painstakingly and with the support of personal familiarity" the shadings of number of dialects (The Missouri Negro dialect, etc.). Naturally none of these fine distinctions can be reflected in the translation.

Yet by using low colloquial and substandard forms the translator can give an adequate impression of the character's social and educational status and will thus render the most essential functional characteristics of these dialect features. As compared to the determining semantic and functional properties of the text which are perfectly translatable, the untranslatable elements are marginal and relatively unimportant. Besides, as we shall show in the next lecture, most of the losses can be to some extent compensated for. Therefore, we may speak of sufficient or adequate (though not necessary complete) translatability to permit effective interlingual communication and satisfactory rendering of communicatively relevant information.

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