A target text should convey the same information as the source text and produce the same impact on the receptor as does the source text.215 To get full information from the text, the receptor must have adequate background knowledge. This knowledge may not be enough if the receptor is not well acquainted with the source language culture. New realia, habits and customs are usually commented upon by a translator.* Sometimes a translator uses commentary notes in the text, but they are inconvenient, as they distract the reader’s attention. It is also possible to place a commentary in the footnote. But most typically, explication is given after the text or, more rarely, before it.

Besides extended commentaries, a translator can use a technique of explicatory translation: вчера мы купили коробку «Птичьего молока». – We bought a box of candies “Bird Milk” yesterday. Irrelevant information can be reduced from the text or generalized, if its explanation distracts the reader’s attention: “I’m very busy,” Ollie answered as he sat in a worn Naugahydechair. (Grisham) – «Я очень занят,»- ответил Олли, сидя в потрепанном дерматиновом кресле.

Substitutions, the aim of which is to make the text closer and more comprehensible for the receptor, are not infrequent in translation. A good example of substitution is provided by V. Nabokov’s Аня в стране чудес, a translation of Alice in Wonderland by L. Carroll. Addressing the tale to a young reader, Nabokov replaced some English realia with their Russian analogues (for example, when Alice grew so tall that her feet seemed to be almost out of sight, she started planning how she would send them presents to the following address: Alice’s Right Foot, Esq.


near the Fender;216

Nabokov simulated a Russian address:

Госпоже Правой Ноге Аниной,

Город Коврик

Паркетная губерния217),

and changed the names into Russian (Alice – Аня, Mary-Anne – Маша, Pat – Петька). He even used Russian poetry allusions instead of English nursery parodies written by Carroll:

“ ‘You are old, father William,’ the young man said,

‘And your hair has become very white;

And yet you incessantly stand on your head –

Do you think, at your age, it is right?’

“ ‘In my youth,’ Father William replied to his son,

I feared it might injure the brain;

But now that I’m perfectly sure I have none,

Why, I do it again and again.’ ” (a parody on R. Southey)

These lines are generally unfamiliar to a Russian child. To make a Russian reader enjoy the parody, Nabokov alluded to Lermontov lines, known by every Russian schoolchild:

- Скажи-ка, дядя, ведь недаром

Тебя считают очень старым:

Ведь, право же, ты сед

И располнел ты несказанно.

Зачем же ходишь постоянно

На голове? Ведь, право ж, странно

Шалить на склоне лет!

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