Статья 'Ways of translating non-equivalent units in the “Russian-English Dictionary of Phraseological Euphemisms”' - журнал 'SENTENTIA. European Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences' - NotaBene.ru
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Ways of translating non-equivalent units in the “Russian-English Dictionary of Phraseological Euphemisms” / Cпособы перевода безэквивалентных единиц в «Русско-английском словаре фразеологизмов-эвфемизмов»

Арсентьева Юлия Святославовна

ORCID: 0000-0002-0214-7642

кандидат филологических наук

доцент, кафедра романо-германской филологии, Казанский Федеральный Университет

420008, Россия, республика Татарстан, г. Казань, ул. Кремлевская, 18

Arsentyeva Yulia Svyatoslavovna

PhD in Philology

Docent, the department of Romano-Germanic Philology, Kazan Federal University

420008, Russia, respublika Tatarstan, g. Kazan', ul. Kremlevskaya, 18

juliarenat251@gmail.com
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DOI:

10.25136/1339-3057.2022.2.37238

EDN:

XCOHNO

Дата направления статьи в редакцию:

30-12-2021


Дата публикации:

06-07-2022


Аннотация: В статье рассматривается проблема адекватного представления английских соответствий русских фразеологических эвфемизмов в составленном нами «Русско-английском словаре фразеологических эвфемизмов» - первом двуязычном словаре эвфемистических единиц обоих языков. Особое внимание уделяется сохранению сигнификативно-денотативного компонента значения русских фразеологизмов-эвфемизмов при передаче их на английский язык. Предметом исследования являются возможные пути адекватной передачи семантики безэквивалентных русских переосмысленных эвфемистических единиц. Цель исследования - определить и представить возможные способы перевода безэквивалентных русских фразеологических эвфемизмов на английский язык: правая часть словарной статьи находится в стадии изучения. Методы исследования: метод сплошной выборки, сопоставительный метод, метод фразеологического описания, разработанный А.В. Куниным, дефиниционный анализ, компонентный (семный) анализ. Новизна исследования: впервые обсуждаются возможные способы перевода безэквивалентных фразеологических эвфемизмов, сочетающих в себе характерные черты как фразеологической, так и эвфемистической номинации. Эти типичные особенности находят свое отражение в правой части словарной статьи. Результаты исследования подтверждают тот факт, что существует четыре способа перевода безэквивалентных фразеологических эвфемизмов: с помощью переводческих заимствований, лексического, описательного и комбинированного перевода, последний из которых является наиболее важным в предоставлении необходимой информации об эвфемистической направленности русских фразеологических эвфемизмов. Делаются выводы о необходимости включения дополнительной информации об особенностях эвфемистической номинации русских фразеологизмов-эвфемизмов в виде дескриптивного перевода на английский язык в отличие от способа представления перевода безэквивалентных фразеологических единиц в существующих двуязычных фразеологических словарей.


Ключевые слова:

фразеологизм-эвфемизм, эвфемистическая номинация, двуязычный словарь, безэквивалентные фразеологизмы-эвфемизмы, соответствия, способы перевода, калька, лексический перевод, дескриптивный перевод, комбинированный перевод

Abstract: The problem of adequate presentation of English counterparts of Russian phraseological euphemisms in the “Russian-English Dictionary of Phraseological Euphemisms”, which is the first bilingual dictionary of euphemistic units in both languages is presented. Saving significational-denotational component of meaning of Russian phraseological euphemisms while translating them into English is crucial. The subject is possible ways of adequate transmitting of non-equivalent Russian transferred euphemistic units' semantics. The aim is to determine and present possible ways of translating non-equivalent Russian phraseological euphemisms into English: the right part of the dictionary entry is under study. The research methods are: the method of continuous sampling, the comparative method, the method of phraseological description, developed by A.V. Kunin, the method of analyzing dictionary definitions, component (seme) analysis. The novelty of the research: for the first time possible ways of translation of non-equivalent phraseological euphemisms which combine the characteristic features of both phraseological and euphemistic nomination are discussed. The results prove that there are four ways of translating non-equivalent phraseological euphemisms: with the help of translation loans, lexical, descriptive and combined translation, the last one being most important in providing the necessary information on the euphemistic orientation of Russian phraseological euphemisms. Conclusions are made about the necessity to include additional information about the features of the euphemistic nomination of Russian phraseological euphemisms in the form of descriptive translation into English, in contrast to the way of presenting the translation of non-equivalent phraseological units in existing bilingual phraseological dictionaries.


Keywords:

phraseological euphemism, euphemistic nomination, bilingual dictionary, non-equivalent phraseological euphemisms, counterparts, ways of translation, translation loan, lexical translation, descriptive translation, combined translation

Nowadays there are only four dictionaries of English euphemisms and one dictionary of Russian euphemisms: “Kind Words: a Thesaurus of Euphemisms” [22], “A Dictionary of Euphemisms” [19], “A Dictionary of Euphemisms. How Not to Say What You Mean” [20], “A Man about a Dog. Euphemisms and Other Examples of Verbal Squeamishness” [23], “Dictionary of Euphemisms of the Russian Language” [13]. These dictionaries present different types of euphemistic units: lexical units, variable expressions, phraseological units. That’s why euphemistic units for our “Russian-English Dictionary of Phraseological Euphemisms” [2] were selected from the above mentioned dictionaries as well as other phraseological dictionaries with the help of the method of continuous sampling: “English-Russian Phraseological Dictionary” by A.V. Kunin [8], “Phraseological Dictionary of the Russian Literary Language of the Late 18th-20th Centuries” edited by A.I. Fedorov [16], “Phraseological Dictionary of the Russian Language” edited by A.I. Molotkov [17], “Russian-English Dictionary of Idioms” by S.Lubensky [21].

It is also important to give the definition of phraseological euphemisms. Phraseological euphemisms refer to complex linguistic units that combine the characteristic features of both phraseological and euphemistic units. The characteristic phraseological properties of phraseological euphemisms are as follows: transference of meaning, separability, stability (lexical and grammatical) with the possibility of contextual transformations, imagery and high significance of connotation in the structure of their phraseological meaning. The attribution of these units to euphemisms is determined by the fact that they are units of indirect nomination, the main purpose of the creation of which is to soften and veil taboo or socially and morally condemned real denotations [3].

This article is devoted to the description of different ways of translating non-equivalent Russian phraseological euphemisms into English, which are presented in the right part of a dictionary entry, and detecting the peculiarities of such a presentation caused by euphemistic nomination of some extralinguistic realities, which constitutes the novelty of the research.

The successful and correct construction of the English part in a bilingual Russian-English dictionary mainly depends on the scientific definition of the criteria for identifying phraseological counterparts and methods of translating non-equivalent units from one language to another.

It should be noted that the practice of compiling bilingual dictionaries of phraseological euphemisms has not yet existed, the dictionary compiled by us is the first dictionary of that kind, therefore, first of all, in our work we rely on theoretical research on interlingual phraseological counterparts and methods of translating non-equivalent units with a half-century history. The theoretical foundations laid by well-known native scientists remain the same and are used for the compilation of bilingual phraseological dictionaries of different languages. Bilingual phraseological dictionaries are compiled mainly by our native linguists, that’s why the theoretical principles of translating phraseological units, which have phraseological counterparts in another language, and those, which do not have them are well established.

A detailed review of these studies is already available in a significant number of dissertations and monographic works; therefore, we will very briefly highlight the main achievements in this direction.

From the point of view of E.M. Solodukho, a high degree of phraseological equivalence primarily depends on the coincidence of imagery and lexical components of phraseological units of different languages [15].

A.D. Reichstein singles out the coincidence of the aggregate meaning (full or partial), syntactic organization and component composition as the main criteria for identifying qualitative types of interlingual relations between German and Russian phraseological units [10].

The identity of semantics, stylistic parameters, the image underlying the phraseological transference of meaning, lexical and grammatical levels of the prototypes of the verbal complex are recognized by Yu.P. Solodub as the main typological characteristics in determining the types of interlingual phraseological counterparts of figuratively transferred units [14].

When identifying the linguistic equivalence of phraseological units, N.L. Shadrin focuses on the identity of semantics and significant components of multilingual linguistic units [18].

Yа.I. Retsker distinguishes both phraseological methods of translation using equivalents and analogues in the presence of phraseological counterparts, and non-phraseological methods of translation, while the scientist focuses on the desirability of preserving the foreign language image of phraseological units in the receptor language [11].

A significant role in determining the methods of transferring phraseological units from one language to another was played by the works of the famous Russian scientist A.V. Kunin, who based the definition of phraseological equivalents and analogues on their meaning and figurative basis [8]. To translate non-equivalent phraseological units, the scientist proposes the use of descriptive translation, translation loans and combined translation. The developed theoretical fundamentals were successfully used by him in the process of compilation of the “English-Russian Phraseological Dictionary”.

Scientists of Kazan linguistic school primarily rely on the component theory of identity / difference of the seme organization of the phraseological meaning of multilingual phraseological units developed by E.F. Arsenteva [1]. In addition to the semantic level as the dominant one in determining the isomorphic and allomorphic characteristics of multilingual phraseological units, the structural-grammatical and component levels act as the other two levels. The classification of interlingual phraseological relations proposed by the scientist was successfully used by other researchers of the phraseological material of the Russian, English, German, Spanish, Tatar and Turkish languages [4; 5; 6; 7; 9; 12 et.al.].

As a brief review of the works of predecessors shows, all scientists attribute the semantic level to the main level of determining interlanguage counterparts. When identifying phraseological equivalents and analogues, the most important component is the imagery of phraseological units, a significant role in the creation of which is played by the component composition of phraseological units. The stylistic component affects the functional, temporal and territorial relevance of the compared phraseological units. The grammatical level is also highlighted by all scientists, while it is necessary to take into account the typological features of the compared languages.

Thus, in the English part of the “Russian-English Dictionary of Phraseological Euphemisms” we use two types of phraseological counterparts – equivalents and analogues, and four types of translation of non-equivalent phraseological units – translation loans, lexical, descriptive and combined translation. Let us turn to a more detailed consideration of the indicated types of translation of non-equivalent Russian phraseological euphemisms.

Use of translation loans

Translation loans as one of the methods of translating non-equivalent phraseological units is used rather seldom in bilingual phraseological dictionaries. As a word-by-word translation of the phraseological units of the source language, in our case the Russian language, into the receptor language, i.e. into English, using translation loans is an effective way of transferring the image underlying the phraseological nomination from one language to another. The advantage of this method of translation is also the fact that in this case there is full adherence to the norms of the receiving language. With the help of full translation loans, the image of the original phraseological unit is fully transmitted in the receiving language, with partial translation loans, it is transmitted only partially. One of the requirements of translation loans is the acceptability and comprehensibility of the image in the receiving language for the native speakers. Due to the word-to-word transmission of lexemes – phraseological unit components into another language, both the original phraseological unit and its translation loan have a complete coincidence of the plane of expression and the plane of content, which is expressed in the coincidence of semes by using seme analysis. As noted by A.V. Kunin, the figurative expression obtained by translation loans is rather often enclosed in quotation marks in bilingual phraseological dictionaries to demonstrate the figurative basis of phraseological units [8, p. 5]. Translation loans can be accompanied by other methods of translation, such as the use of a phraseological analogue or descriptive translation for a more complete transfer of meaning of phraseological units of the source language.

The use of translation loans in a bilingual euphemistic dictionary is aimed at preserving the image of a phraseological euphemism transferred into another language, which is of particular importance when translating various types of transformations of euphemistic units based on playing with this image. That is why about 3% of Russian phraseological euphemisms are translated with the help of full or partial translation loans in the “Russian-English dictionary of phraseological euphemisms”.

For example, full translation loans were used to translate the following Russian euphemistic units: “двойной стандарт <поведения>” – “double standard ”, “безвременная кончина” – “untimely death”, “знаете (знаешь) кто (что, какой, куда, почему и проч.)” – “do you know who (what, where, why, etc,)”, “изменилась ситуация” – “the situation has changed”. However, in most cases, explanations related to the indication of the euphemistic nomination are also used: “всë сделать” – “to do everything. Used instead of direct denomination of some blameworthy action”, “всë кончится” – “everything will come to an end. Used instead of direct denomination of some condemned or forbidden to be named event”, “ëлки точëные” – “chiseled Christmas tree! Used instead of a rude expletive”. The Russian euphemistic unit “выдавать индульгенцию, выдать индульгенцию” has a borrowed component in its composition, as a result of which the translation loan gives the English user a completely understandable and familiar image “to issue an indulgence”. The translation loan is accompanied by the descriptive translation “to give permission to do smth which is blameworthy”.

Cases of translation loans are not enclosed in parentheses in our bilingual dictionary, but are placed at the beginning of the English part of the dictionary entry.

Lexical way of translation

Compilers of dictionaries resort to using the lexical method of translation when transferring non-equivalent phraseological units that have a semantic counterpart in the receptor language in the form of one lexeme or a set of several separate lexemes. It is quite understandable that the plane of expression is characterized by complete divergence in such a case. At the same time, a complete transfer of the semantics of the unit being translated is possible if the lexical unit (or lexical units) have the same meaning (the same seme composition) in the receptor language. An inevitable drawback of the lexical method of translation is the loss of imagery, since lexical units only nominate some object or phenomenon, in our case requiring a euphemistic designation.

The following Russian euphemistic expressions are conveyed in the “Russian-English Dictionary of Phraseological Euphemisms” with the help of one lexeme: “благородная вольность” – “impudence”, “божья милость” – “lightning”, “братская помощь” – “intervention”, “бывший в употреблении” – “second-hand”, “вряд ли пригодный” – “bad”, “два метра” – “grave”, “дядя Миша” – “bear”, “живая вода” – “vodka” etc.

Two or more lexical counterparts are indicated in the right part of the dictionary entry for such Russian phraseological euphemisms as: “бахчисарайский фонтан” – “vomit; vomiting; puke”, “великость духа” – “coarseness; rudeness”, “дары Вакха” – “alcohol; liquor; spirits”, “душевная болезнь” – “madness; craziness; insanity; nuts; lunacy”, “известный предмет туалета” – “trousers; pants; underpants”. At the same time, the functional-stylistic, temporal, territorial affiliation and emotiveness of Russian units are not transferred into English, but only indicated in the left part of the dictionary entry after the Russian phraseological euphemism: “живая вода” прост., “дядя Миша” ист., “душевная болезнь” устар., “вызывать Ватсона” разг.-прост., ирон., “дары Вакха” возв., книжн. речи etc. In general, no more than 3% of Russian euphemistic units have been transferred into English using only lexical translation.

Descriptive translation

Descriptive translation is often presented in bilingual phraseological dictionaries. The essence of this type of translation lies in the transfer of phraseological units of the source language using phrases, free structures. Like other types of translation of non-equivalent phraseological units, descriptive translation has its advantages and disadvantages. Its advantages include the complete transfer of the meaning of the phraseological unit to another language. The disadvantages of descriptive translation include the loss of figurativeness of the original phraseological unit, as well as its emotiveness in the presence of an emotive seme in the connotational meaning of phraseological units. Despite the indicated shortcomings, a number of Russian phraseological euphemisms can be transmitted into English only with the help of descriptive translation.

For example, only a descriptive translation is presented in the right part of the dictionary entry of the following Russian phraseological euphemisms: “виртуальная зарплата” – “very low, almost unreal salary”, “возраст элегантности” – “middle age and early old age”, “дозированная информация” – “intentionally incomplete information which is provided in small pieces”, “группа коррекции” – “group of schoolchildren with psychical deviations, developmental delay (difficulties)”, “войска специального назначения” – “troops for suppressing internal resistance in the country”. The impossibility of transferring the functional and stylistic affiliation of Russian linguistic units, which is presented only in the left, Russian part of the dictionary entry, is also an inevitable loss: “все там будем” разг. – “people are mortal and everybody will die sooner or later”, “без ля-ля” разг.-прост. – “without lies and deception; without cheat”, “беловоротничковая преступность” публ. речи – “bureaucratic crime; crimes committed by officials or executives who use public office for the purpose of private gain”.

The need to indicate the features of the euphemistic nomination is also presented in the right part of the dictionary entry with the help of additional descriptive translation: “Бог послал кого, что” – “what brought smb here? About smb or smth unpleasant, annoying”, “в короткий срок” – “during a short period of time. Used instead of a definite datе”. The use of only descriptive translation in the English part of a dictionary entry is presented in about 7% of cases.

Combined translation

Combined translation combines two or more types of translation discussed above. In our dictionary, we turned to this type of translation most often (about 74% of cases) in order to present various ways of translating Russian phraseological euphemisms for English dictionary users. Thus, the descriptive translation “bald head” and the lexical translation with the help of one lexeme “calvity” are presented as English equivalents of the Russian phraseological euphemism “божий дар”.

Unlike bilingual purely phraseological dictionaries, it is necessary in some cases to provide the necessary information on the euphemistic orientation of the Russian expression in the “Russian-English Dictionary of Phraseological Euphemisms”. This information, as a rule, is given additionally in the form of a descriptive translation: “всего понемногу (понемножку)” – “a bit of everything; badly. Used in the situation of exchanging etiquette replicas”, “Боже мой!” – “Goodness gracious! Oh, Lord! Used to express one’s indignation, disturbance”, “в кавычках” – “so-so. Used as a signal of euphemistic use”.

In a number of cases, both translation loans of the Russian phraseological euphemism and its other counterparts are presented in the right part of the dictionary entry, which leads, in general, to the use of a combined translation: “двойная мораль” – “twofold morality; double standards”, “дипломатично говоря” – “diplomatically speaking; to put it mildly”, “домашняя работница” – “domestic worker; housekeeper; hired girl”, “достоин лучшего применения” – “smth deserves better use; smth is misused; smth is mercilessly exploited”.

Thus, a combined translation is represented in our dictionary by a combination of various types of translation, in some cases with clarifying information. Such information is especially necessary when transmitting Russian national and cultural realities into English that are not characteristic of native English speakers. For example, a phraseological euphemism “в схемах и таблицах”, which has entered the euphemistic fund of the Russian language since the beginning of the 20th century and means a cheat sheet, can be difficult to be understood, by native speakers of English. In order to avoid the difficulty, the right side of the dictionary entry presents the lexical method of translation, as well as descriptive translation that reveals the essence of such textbooks: «crib. It denotes the additional inscription on text books delicately encrypting that in reality this text book is a crib».

In conclusion, when compiling a bilingual dictionary, the right side of the dictionary entry plays a significant role, since it is it that is designed to give a foreign-language user the most adequate ways of transmitting a Russian-language transferred expression by using the linguistic means of another language. In the “Russian-English Dictionary of Phraseological Euphemisms”, both phraseological and non-phraseological methods of translating Russian phraseological euphemisms into English are presented. Non-equivalent Russian phraseological euphemisms are transmitted into English with the help of translation loans (full or partial), lexical, descriptive and combined translation. The significant role of combined translation (about 74%) is due to the desire to present all possible ways of translating Russian phraseological euphemisms into English. In such a case the translator / interpreter will be able to choose the most suitable option when translating Russian phraseological euphemisms in context. The euphemistic feature of the nomination also manifests itself in providing, in some cases, additional information in the form of a descriptive translation in the right part of the dictionary entry, which presents the peculiar feature of euphemistic dictionaries not mentioned by compilers of bilingual phraseological dictionaries and researchers of phraseological counterparts of different languages. We hope that “Russian-English Dictionary of Phraseological Euphemisms” will be of use not only for Russian users but also for English speaking users as it continues the practice of studying euphemistic units which is well developed in the USA and Great Britain. Native and foreign researchers may benefit from the results of the study as it presents all possible ways of translation of non-equivalent units with transferred meaning based on euphemistic nomination.

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