SOCIOLGICAL VARIATION OF ENGLISH AND ITS REFLECTION IN TRANSLATION
As all languages, English is by so means a homogeneous or monolithic system. It is made up of a multitude of subsystems of territorial and social dialects. What is more, Standard English is not homogeneous either end comprises several varieties - British American, Australian, etc.
The existence of all these subsystems and varieties poses a number of problems for translation.
In dealing with territorial dialects it should be remembered that they cannot be considered purely regional varieties of English In fact, they are socioregional subsystems for the communities of their users are usually defined not only in geographic but also in social terms. For instance, Cockney, the dialect of the East End district of London, is not just a regional, but a socioregional dialect whose speakers belong to the lower and less educated social groups.
In rendering dialect characteristics the translator, as we have already pointed out, blots out purely regional features but conveys the social markets by using common vernacular or other substandard forms of the target language, void of any regional characteristics, Here is, for instance, the way the translator rendered one of the passages in B.Shaw's Pygmalion, where Eliza speaks broad Cockney:
...and what I say is, them as pinched it done her in. - Вот и говорю, кто шляпку спёр, тот я тётку укокошил.
At the same time compensation is widely used in such cases: Of the following instance of a lexical compensation for phonetic dialect markers from the same source:
Nah then, Freddy: look wh'y y' gowin, deah. - Куда прешь, Фредди! Возьми глаза в руки!
...eed now bettern to sprawl a pore gel's flahrzn than ran awy athaht pyin... Разве это дело, раскидал у бедной, девушки всё цветы и смылся как миленький!
The two major varieties of Standard English are British and American. Their distinctive features affect in a different manner the process of translating into English and into Russian. In translating into Russian British-American variations amount to a problem of
properly interpreting the English original. It should be a noted that seemingly identical lexical items may take different denotational meanings in British and American English.
Harvard's faculty led all the rest in this demand "For a Federal Force in Selma" - Профессорско-преподавательский состав Гарвардского университета возглавил кампании за использование полицейских сил федерального правительства в Сельме.
In this example the word "faculty" is used in a specific American sense (the teaching staff). To diagnose the meaning properly the transistor should note the origin of the text. The above passage, for example, comes from an American newspaper. Sometimes differences between the two varieties of Standard English affect not the denotational meaning in its entirety but just one of its components (semes). Such partial semantic divergences are also important for translation. Cf. the following example:
To ship at least a carload of fruit constantly, one needs to have 1,000 to 1,200 trees of each variety in full bearing.
Для постоянной транспортировки, по крайней мере, одного вагона фруктов потребуется от 1000 до 1200 плодоносящих деревьев каждого сорта.
The verb "ship" means "to transport" both in British and American English. But in British English it has an additional semantic component ("by boat"). In American English (and the above text comes from an American source) it means "to transport" without any qualification. Therefore, goods may be shipped (in an American text) not only by boat, but also by rail, track, etc.
Semantic differences between British and American English may affect not only words but also phrases. Thus the phrase "public school" in the US means "a school", usually for primary or secondary grades, that is maintained at public expense". In England it is one of the few exclusive and endowed boarding schools (usually for boys) that prepare pupils for university study or public service (e.g. Harrow, Eton, etc.). Thus the phrase "He went to a public school" would be translated as " Он учился в государственной школе or as Он учился в частном пансионате depending on whether it occurs in an American or English setting.
Essential semantic differences affect the system of numbers. "Billion", used in an American text, is миллиард, but, if it is used in a British text, it should be translated as биллион. Equally important are some differences in the system of weights and measures. Converting some of the American and British units into the metric system, the translator should remember, for instance that the American ton ("short ton") is equivalent to 2000 pounds while the British "long ton" amounts to 2240 pounds.
Lexical differences between British and American English may affect not only denotational but also conotational meanings. Thus the term "politician" is stylistically neutral when it is used in Britain and should therefore be translated as «политик» or «политический». In the United States, however, it may also be деятель, used in a derogatory connotation and imply the use of dubious means to promote political goals. It may be translated in such cases as политикан or политический деятель. On the other hand, the "aggressive" may lose its derogatory connotation in American texts and could be rendered as "напористый", энергичный".
In translating into English the problem is that of selecting the proper variant with due regard for the receptor's nationality.
The choice of a lexical (and sometimes even grammatical) variant in rendering a Russian text into English sometimes depends on whether the translation is intended for English or American readers. It is no coincidence that British readers frequently object to the use of Americanisms in some texts, translated from Russian (e.g to "instructor" instead of "lecturer" for the Russian. -преподаватель ВУЗа, "graduate" instead of "school-leaver" выпускник /средней школы/ "diapers", instead of "nappies" "apartment house" instead of "block of flats" for многоквартирный дом. Americans, on the other hand, object to the use of Briticisms in texts, intended for US readers. They consider unacceptable such items as, for instance, "green-grocery" (instead of "vegetable store" for овощной магазин "spanner" instead of "wrench" for гаечный ключ, "biscuit" instead of "cookie" for печенье etc.
However, in some cases the translator has to produce a text, intended for any English-speaking receptor, regardless of his nationality, The choice of linguistic variants should then be based on different principles. Preference should be given to linguistic forms and units, void of any local colour, over Americanisms, Briticisms, Canadianisms, etc. For instance, the Russian "почтовый ящик" should be rendered in such cases as "a letter box" (a general English term) rather than "a mail-box" (an Americanism) or "a pillar-box" (a Briticism), the Russian коридор as "corridor" (general English), not as "hall-way" (American), the Russian смокинг as "dinner-jacket" (general English), not as "tuxedo" (American). Unfortunately, this is not always possible for a neutral general English term is not always available, and the translator then faces a choice between an Americanism and Briticism. For example, the Russian детская коляска has to be rendered either as "perambulator", "pram" (both British) or "baby-carriage" (American). In such cases the translator cannot disregard the general tradition of the publishing house, news agency, etc. The Progress Publishers normally prefer in such situations the British lexical variant (and, for that matter, British spelling as well).
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