TRANSLATION OF EPITHETS
Today’s imaginative literature is characterized by the great role of epithet as an ornamental element able to express the author’s attitude to the character, idea and overall narration.270 To convey the author’s intent, the translator must be very careful in selecting words with the same denotative and connotative meanings.
There are some specific problems of translating the epithet. One of them is enantiosemy, or using a word in its paradoxical meaning when the word is capable of carrying two opposite significations. Usually the enantisemic epithets reveal a negative attitude of the speaker.271 He is a fine fellow as ever I saw. He simpers and smirks and makes love to us all. I am prodigiously proud of him. I defy even Sir William Lucas himself to produce a more valuable son-in-law. (J. Austen) The words simpers and smirks show an ironic attitude of the speaker to the character. The epithets valuable and prodigiously proud are understood in the opposite sense. This irony must not escape from a target text reader.
Enantiosemy is characteristic of both English and Russian literature. For example, Откуда, умная, бредешь ты голова? – addressing an ass. In translation the paradoxical meaning can be shown with the help of particles, word order, etc.: My good fellow! – Любезный ты мой! A nice place to live away from. – Ну и местечко! A pretty story! – Хорошенькая же история!
Another problem is the transferred qualifier,oran epithet syntactically joined to a word to which it does not belong logically.272 He ran a tired hand through his hair. (D. Steel) – Устало он провел рукой по волосам. The word tired logically is linked with he, syntactically with hand. In translation the logic disagreement is normally corrected, since the structures of this type are not typical of modern Russian, though it is interesting to note that in the 19th century they were used in Russian fiction: Здесь кажут франты записные
Свое нахальство, свой жилет
И невнимательный лорнет.
(А.Пушкин. Евгений Онегин)
In English transferred epithets are used not only in poetry and prose, but also in journalism and in everyday conversation.
Translation of the transferred epithet often requires word order change: a British breakfast of depressing kidney and fish – наводящий тоску завтрак из почек и рыбы; or extension: He raised a supercilious eyebrow. – Он поднял бровь, и лицо его приняло высокомерное выражение.273 Stock epithets are calqued: her sapphire glance – ее сапфирный взгляд; dumb love – немая любовью
Inverted epithet is a word syntactically functioning as a headword, but semantically serving as a modifier to a dependent noun: a darling of a girl, a bear of a man. This epithet is very expressive and should be rendered in Russian by an appropriate expressive means: прелестнейшая девчушка; не человек, а медведь.
Gradation of epithets, that is a sequence of synonymous epithets, is constructed on a different basis in English and in Russian. In English, gradation is based on rhythmical sequence; in Russian, this device is logic-centered: the word, most important logically, is positioned in the end of the sequence. This inevitably causes word order change in translation: Privacy is viewed as a requirement which all humans would find equally necessary, desirable, and satisfying. – Частная жизнь – это требование, которое абсолютно все люди считают положительным, необходимым и желательным.
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