Translation is a mean of interlingual communication. The translator makes possible an exchange of information between users of different languages by producing in the target language a text which has an identical communicative value with the source text. This target text is not fully identical with the source text as to its form originality content due to the limitations imposed by the formal and semantic differences between the source language and target text.
National coloring of the work is one of examples of these differences. Now it is one of important themes to be studied/ During many years the USSR’s confines were closed and we had not much opportunity to interact with many foreign countries. Of course, we had a great number of foreign books but most of them were either classic books or books of working class. So we had not opportunity to value all the literature of foreign countries. the same case was in the foreign countries when they could not get all the variety of Russian literature. They also preferred to read our classics. The result of it was that they could know only archaic coloring of the works and they had little information about national coloring of Russia. And now then USSR does not exist any more every state that was a part of the USSR can perform its own literature and hence national coloring.
The author of this course paper considers that every literature work has its own national coloring. Every work is written in the conditions of the country where the author lives. Therefore the country with its language, mode of life, political, historical, economical atmosphere and many other factors influence on the work and it acquires the national coloring of the country even if the author does not think of creating of any work that would be nationally colored.
The author of this course paper considers the preservation of national coloring to be one of the most difficult tasks for translator. National coloring is the property of the country or its part. Every nation is proud of its history; traditions and it would consider an offence if the translator does not manage to convey the national coloring or if he conveys it wrong. That is why the translator must be very attentive and careful with any kind of literary work.
Dialectics of national coloring in the translation.
Any literary work appears on the national ground, reflects national problems, features and at the same time the problems common to all mankind. Passing from one nation to another literature enriches and extends the notion of peoples about each other.
It is one of the most difficult cases to convey national coloring. Owing to the translation very important literary works were able to appear in many other countries and became available for people speaking other languages. The translation helps mutual knowing and peoples' enrichment.
National coloring must be reflected adequately in the translation.
Dialectics of national coloring reveals itself specifically in different fields of spiritual culture of people and thus in various types of translation.
In the scientific and technique literature the national psychological categories are less expressed. The contents of such translations is valuable for all nations in spite of their national specific.
Thus, for example, concerning natural sciences Darwin's theory or classic physics of Newton or modern physics of Einstein or Bore have the same meaning for all the countries and nations. The original texts of natural-scientific works and their translations do not differ much from this point of view.
Here there is another case in the field of social-political literature. It is closely connected with the ideological society of the country with its history and its historical specifics and it can never be separated from country peculiarities and demands, political conditions, the events of its time and it is changed by the factors that reflect the notion development. National peculiarities, problems and interests put impress both on the contents and style of any author. In general the translation of social-political literature is more similar with scientific literature.
Comparing the works of J. Steinbeck, J. Austin and others we shall see the specific of author's personality and country specific.
The national beginning of one or another country reflected in its literature culture and in written culture that is especially interesting for us from the translation point of view is the aggregate of characteristic peculiarities and features that are specific for this nation and the constant historical development of this nation.
It also has common to all mankind, international character to which historical conditions give its own national coloring, its self-expression. That is why we speak about national specific character that was formed in the certain historical, social, geographic and other conditions of this country. This specific character has enough concrete expression where one or another sign is predominant and that is seen in one or another nation form. There is national originality reflected in the literature and other fields of social science and it has the more significance the more it is rich in content, progressiveness, brightness: other nations are enriched meeting with it discovering something new, interesting, useful and important for them in this specific character.
The difficulties while translating are connected most of all with conveyance of national character of one or another work: the brighter it reflects national life the more illuminate characteristic situations the more difficult for the translator to find adequate functional figurative means.
It will be enough to recollect the difficulties that the translator faced with translating wonderful works of outstanding American writer John Steinbeck. Steinbeck is not only a deeply national, original writer but also a modern writer. His creative work could appear only in our days. Many translators mark out originality of his feature world and that is why the originality of his language and style and the specific usage of popular speech and dialectisms. For example: It’s the grapes! – Вот это жизнь! Got to blow town. – Mне пора сматываться из города. Steinbeck often uses parallel literary words and its dialect synonyms. For example: dish also translated into Russian as красотка, деваха, jazz is translated as болтовня, брехня, болтология.Therefore, the translator must determine national peculiarities of the contents and the form (that is language peculiarities, melodies, rhyme and so on) and substitute national figurative means (realias, poetic images) for others that are equivalents to the firsts in their national determination to convey its national contents. The task of the translator is to find and rail the essence of national peculiarities and specific character. Correct conveying of these nationality elements opens the way to reveal internationality in the work. The popular speech, dialectisms, social coloring, realias in Steinbeck’s works do not only total the basing of his original stylistics but also express certain over-text or behind-the-text peculiarities of his work, modern feelings system, the exclusive rich fantasy, deep thoughts, piercing visible and spiritual words, plastic gift and ability of transformation. All of these are united into complete combination of original artistic picture of life together with unique intellectual foreshortening of views on it. For example: Don’t you have a silly bone in your body? - Неужели у вас нет ни капли юмора?
Therefore it is not possible to create only conveying realias, social coloring and so on to display of national character while translating. It can be got only if the translator is able to create the combination of varied forms of national character in the creative work of one author or another in his works. National coloring is not an appendix in the work but it is one of its main parts that total the work structure.
Originality and specific character do not show that the work cannot be translated but they show the creative character of the translation process. World literature knows many examples when translators managed to convey all the originality of works and these translations became masterpieces as their originals. Originality, national coloring of the work is not lost in the succeed translations and that is one of the main principals of creative translation activity. National coloring like everything in the world is in the constant movement. Here the translation ‘s role is enriched with one positive moment. His task is to carry this constantly changing stability to readers of other nations. It is interesting that for some works this process lasts more than ten years till the form is adopted and reconstructed.
Reconstruction of national coloring in the translation very often depends on the prevailing methods used in different literary schools.
The volume of the translation is not underlining of national specifics of origin text but it is the creation of its truly wholeness, finding of adequate concrete form that is to help to show the unity of national and common to all mankind coloring in the origin.
Translator must convey adequately the national character connected with the real representation of life. It means that he must know social conditions and nation development whose literature he translates, he must know and understand the specific spiritual way of life, find explanations of problems caused with peculiarities of this nation and originality of his development. For example, the figure of Marullo in John Steinbeck’s novel The winter of our discontent is a collective figure of one of the representatives of Italian emigrant in America who became rich in the period of 20-s years. Such figures were in many other works of that period and like them Marullo is the bearer of common for native Americans problems but at Steinbeck’s work this figure differs with his national and artistic originality, caused by peculiarities of American emigrants development at that period.
What does every translator imply and what kind of tasks are in front of him? Why does he begin to translate works from another national literature?
At first he must know and understand the individuality, unique of figures. Every artistic figure is unique according to its nature and irrespective of its national origin.
Secondly he must know and understand the essence of figures and ideas of works of social class.
Thirdly he must take into account the national originality reflected in the work: its plot, form, images, style, language etc.
Fourthly he must reveal international coloring of the work that is significant for different countries, states and nations elements.
Fifthly he must reveal elements common to all mankind irrespective of their belonging to any country, epoch, and nation.
National and international, folk and common to all mankind activities are tightly connected with each other and perform the complicate dialectic unity.
Translation is not only outward form of these mutual relations; it is also dialectic unity of the national and international coloring of its essence.
The point of the translation is a bridge between national and international coloring. That is why its main function is the turning of spiritual values of one nation into the property of other nations; translation is transmission assisting to mutual penetration and influence of national cultures. In our days we can be witnesses of the powerful aspiration to mutual knowing, intellectual and spiritual communication. Every nation culture goes out the limits of its own country. Its relations with cultures of other nations development on multilateral basis, they become more and more all embracing, acquiring bigger significance.
It is easy to note that major part of themes and problems in the different national literature coincide. But treatment to these themes and solutions of these problems are various and original in the works of different cultures. For example the theme of Motherland in three poems of A. Block, R. Burns and I. R. Beher.
Common to all mankind theme of Motherland these three poets express in different ways: their lyrical characters express their feelings differently and have different notions of Motherland. Ideal of Motherland in these poets' minds was formed in the different nations and spiritual environment. Originality of their attitude and artistic representation, originality of expressive means are the result of environment and other factors.
For Russian poet Alexander Block his Motherland is the most desirable dream, hope that it will be the place of his last rest. In his poem Russia embodies its beautiful nature; for Robert Burns Motherland is associated with the figure of the mother's sadness missing her sons who fight for the freedom and will never come back; in Beher's poem we do not hear cry but anger and appeal to revenge for the outraged and ashamed Motherland. Grief, ache, anger and love are lyrical moods common to these three poets.
But for this specific feature in the expression of common to all people feeling of love to Motherland these poems would lose their concrete character.
International character in spiritual literature does not exist abstractly; in every national culture it acquires concrete forms. It is this dialect that must become ruling principle in the translating activity. The translator must convey truly both components on this unity keeping in his mind the frequent absence of confines between national and international coloring because they interlace with each other.
The translator only conventionally finds and marks out national, social, individual, international, common to all mankind coloring.
They cannot be separated in any artistic work. Their separating leads to the art destroying. if the translator does not manage to convey this floating it means that he has not able to create high-quality authentic translation.
Coloring and erasure of coloring.
The notion of coloring appeared in the literary criticism terminology and meant a special quality of literary work, speech characteristic of personage, a special emotional or linguistic look of separate literary work or an writer’s works, that is all peculiarities and originalities. Coloring of a word shows its belonging to a certain people, country, concrete historical epoch.
National (local) and historical coloring of realia is a new additional meaning to its main signification. A.S. Pushkin uses realias евнух, гарем, гяур, чубук, щербет in Bahchisaray’s fountain; their specific coloring gives an oriental coloring to the poem. According to dictionaries щербет is an oriental fruit soft drink and it differs from lemonade by its regional belonging and it is considered as a coloring. This neutral word turns into realia owing to relation with this region. But if an inhabitant of this region who works in the West faces with this word it gives him an association connected with his motherland, his recollections and feelings.
It makes us consider coloring a part of connotative meaning of a realia.
It is appropriate to compare realias – words with specific national and historical coloring – connotative lexis – with words deprived of such coloring. We may use two words – bird cherry and rook. They are only details of nature: bird cherry is a tree that grows in Northern America, Europe and Asia; and rook is specie of birds from crown family. These words are not realias because of their wide-spreadness and they are not connected with people or country. However associations connected with bird cherry (the height of spring) and rook (expectation of spring) make a heart of Russian man quicken. He connects their connotatively with realia not turning them into realia.
Another example touches up some difficulties translating of the title of famous Russian film Летят журавли into the French language: the French word grue also means silly girl and a woman of easy virtue.
So they had to substitute the word “crane” for the word “stork”.
In these examples connotative words in contradiction to realia have full and significant equivalents.
“Inconvenient” word is often substituted for its functional analogies. Foe example, bird cherry can be substituted for early blooming tree or bush – for England it can be substituted for plum or cherry-tree or even for lilac; instead of rook they can use any convenient bird. The main idea is to evoke a reader of translated text the same associations that has a reader of origin text.
The transmission of connotative word by means of devices that are characteristic feature for the transmission of realia usually leads to an undesirable results: a corresponding word must evoke a definite reaction.
Classifying the realia we noted that realias were allocated according to their place or/and time. It is often happens that realia that means the same or close material notions can be from different places and historical rubric: that is, they differ from each other according to connotative meaning, coloring. For example, supreme organ is called seim in Poland, Supreme Court in Russia, cortes in Spain and Portugal, Public Meeting in Bulgaria, bundestag in Germany, rikstaf in Swiss, storting in Norway, folketing in Denmark, knesset in Israel. All these words mean Parliament and they do not differ much from each other but their traditional names represent characteristic national realia. Each of them has its own features that belong only to it. However, but for these distinctions, national and historical coloring would not allow substitution for another word in translation. Such substitution would destroy all coloring, to be more exact; it would lead to anachronisms and analogisms that can destroy the harmony, so called truth of life.
It is clearly seen when such close in meaning word like хайдутин and клефт are compared. Both of them mean peasant-partisans who fought against Turkish ruling; both of them mainly attacked local Turkish feudalists and representatives of Turkish Administration, and also their landowners who called them “thieves” or “bandits”; both of them acted in the same historical epoch (the time of Osman Dominion on the Balkans). These dates about клефт are related with хайдутин; the only difference is that хайдутин is Bulgarian and клефт is Greek. But it is enough to be impossible to translate хайдутин as клефт.
Connotations and coloring are part of meaning that means they can be translated equal with semantic content of a word. If a translator managed to convey only a semantic lexical unit the translated text lost its coloring for the reader.
But there are cases when connotation of a realia dies down, erasures. Such erasure logically leads to the turning of realia into common, uncolored word.
To distinguish this phenomenon from loss of coloring in a translation we use a term “erasure” of coloring or connotation (erased reality).
Some exotic words can be adopted by language and lose their exotic character.
To lose its status realia must lose quality that differs it from a common word, that is loss of coloring. Here are some examples.
1. It will take much time to turn proper realia such as Russian пирожок into national uncolored, neutral word entered in the kitchens and languages of many countries and to make people forget its strange origin.
Related to a strange realia it will also take much time to adopt it into a language. It can turn into usual borrowing in the result of intensive usage of this object in private life depriving it both original national coloring and a kind of alliance.
It seems that international and regional realias are to lose their status of realia at first owing to their wide-spreadness. Many international realias go around the world without losing their national originality. For example, the names of money. There is another case with regional realias. Their national coloring is almost equal to national but it is limited by its regional belonging. For example, “the eastern coloring” is close to Syrian, Turkish and Egyptian etc. All above-mentioned regarding to proper realias is equal for national and regional realias.
2. These are the general considerations about coloring erasure or color keeping that depends on peoples and countries. But there are positions where color erasure depends on proper realia and its function in speech.
Often the realias can have an extended meaning in the context.
3. Sometimes a realia can be used in a text not in the direct but in the figurative meaning. For example щербет can be used in Bulgarian language as an adjective in the meaning of something oversweet and it is almost similar with Russian сироп.
In general we may say about realia using in the figurative meaning in all cases of their usage as tropes, metaphor and comparison. When an author says about mushroom’s cap “about two kopecks size” he does not mean a kopeck as a kind of money but only its two signs: its size and its round form, so the kopeck here has only word cover.
For example, when an author describes land that is flat like a pan-cake he takes only one characteristics of a pan-cake: its flatness and plane and Russian reader even does not think about pan-cake as a food but it is only an image that author promoted with the help of trope.
The same with “stone jungles” and “cowboys of cold war” etc.
Some adjectives derived from mentioned realias can be literary comparisons and metaphors. Using such words as богатырский, стопудовый, аршинный, саженный at first we look at their figurative meaning, certain signs but not on their sign as a realia: for example, пудовый means very heavy, грошовый means very unimportant, cheap.
4. Among these examples there were phraseological units and set expressions as well, where realias lose their status more often than in the mentioned cases.
In these four cases realias are to lose their coloring that is the status of ralia is to turn into common language unit. However, if we look more attentively we shall see that a total erasure is not possible. If it happens it will be an exception.
For example, macaroni (international realia) and tyubeteyka (regional realia). Macaroni, also spaghetti entered in the languages by way of transcription. These words appeared in the languages having kept the meaning of national Italian dish. The best example is Italian scornful nickname baked macaroni pudding. Tyubeteyka also did not lose its oriental coloring in spite of its wide-spreadness in the USSR and even on Gorky’s and Kuprin’s heads reminds East.
One should take into account all above-mentioned choosing a translation style in these cases.
The transcription is usual way of translation of such words. Ruble, macaroni, tyubeteyka keep their form after translation.
Another case when realia is wrong used or when it is a part of phraseologism. Right translation is stipulated with finding the most concordant and equivalent words that is usually deprived of coloring in the translation as a usual lexical unit. For example, вершок in Goncharov’s story is translated into the English language as a miserable part. Дюйм translated from English inch is a realia but it also may have an extended meaning.
Realia preservation in trope function (comparison, juxtaposition, metaphor etc.) could mean the volume definition of one thing unknown by author. If, for example, an English faces with two kopecks coin with the help of that we define a size of mushroom cap in Russian translation he would never know the mushroom size. Here a realia almost totally lost its natural coloring: in one language a reader almost does not understand its meaning, seeing only the given quality indicator. Transcription is possible in two languages only as an exception, for example, international realia that indicator is known in both languages. But it is easier to translate a realia as a neutral function equivalent because in the original text realia is used without connotative meaning.
But even in the third and fourth positions realia is kept. For example, translating comparison we usually substitute a strange realia for ours: it is not always convenient to use such phrases as как блин. The same is with a realia that forms phraseologism.
In conclusion one should notice that translating a realia in one or another means it is wanted to lose a trope and accordingly phraseologism. Trope should be transferred by tropes, phraseologism by phraseologism; only “fulling” will differ from origin one.
5. There are many cases of realia translation in the comparison when the realia not only loses its coloring but also receives excessive connotation and they are wide-spread. An author compares the contents of strange realia with his own realia. And in a translation one notion is happened to be denoted with the two realias: internal and external. What should a translator do to convey the content of realia without coloring losing?
There are some theoretical variants.
At first a translator should transcribe each separate realia. For example, we can face with such translation from the Czech language: “In the evening a young teacher couple … invited us for barbecue. It reminded us our evening by the camp fire where we did not do shpekachkis.” These two words: barbecue and shpekachkis are explanations of one unknown word by another.
At second place a translator can substitute an internal realia for his proper realia. For example, he should substitute shpekachkis - for a regional realia – Caucasus shashlik. As a result a reader would be able to get more clear notion about Australian dish (barbecue is a Haitian word that was taken by the English language from Spanish and then was borrowed by Australian). But a reader would be astonished hearing from Czech about “evenings with shashlik”. Theoretically this variant is more vicious because it leads to mixture of different realias that belong to different nations.
The third possibility is to refuse transcription of both realias and to convey their contents with the help of descriptive translation that approximately can sound so: “… in the evening we were invited for a picnic that reminded us our evenings by a camp fire and we ate meat grilled on a spit.” But this translation deprives the text of Australian coloring.
And, at last, the fourth variant consists in transcription of external realia and conveying internal realia with its functional equivalent. And we shall have the next sentence: “In the evening … a young teacher pair invited us for barbecue. It reminded us our evenings by camp fire when we ate meat grilled on a spit.”
The last variant is considered to be more successful because the translation is true and the translator managed to keep coloring having transcribed main realia.
In Margaret Aliger’s notes “Chilean summer” we face with more difficult case: “… it is possible to eat here, one woman bakes pies – empanados. Empanados is something similar with chebureks, they are very hot, tasty and big.” Here we have three realias: the main external Spanish - empanados that is explained as Russian national pies and one regional Caucasus – chebureks. In the translation one should keep the main realia because it stands in the center of the author’s attention and other realias should be substituted for neutral.
Analogisms and anachronisms.
Let’s suggest that a translator working at a novel about Indian life decides to use only means of his own language, without admitting strange realias and he substitutes pagoda for temple, sari for dress or national suit, akhoby he substitutes for man-launder, etc. As a result of such national coloring extermination specific Indian features of the novel will vanish: it will be possible to consider any place as a place of act or this place is neutral, uncolored, nameless country. This method leads to coloring losing that spoils very much any translation. The mark of this translation is bad.
But it is worse when a translator substitutes origin realias for realias from his own language. Doing it he also substitutes coloring of the translated work for a strange coloring. If we wear a Kazak in Bulgarian aba or anteria, tsarvulis, iamurluk, if we make him drink a wine from buklista and to eat banitsa, a reader will recognize a Sofian shope but not a Kazak.
And it will be the worst translation when a translator conveys original means of motley words of different coloring and when a mixture of realias takes place. For example, translated into Russia novel For Freedom by St. Dichev. A redactor substitutes Bulgarian, Turkish, Greek and other realias for regional and national realias of Soviet Union. Historical realias he substitutes for modern words. Therefore Bulgarian gadulka was turned into Ukraine bandura, gamurluk was turned into Caucasus burka, pastarma was described as dried meat and Bulgarian banitsa was conveyed as Russian pie. Several historical notions closely tied up with Bulgarian culture have totally lost their national content. As a result of such vicious attitude to the realias translation a reader gets unclear, contradictory notions about described reality; the novel loses its cognitive meaning and bright national coloring and considerable part of its literary merits. Here we speak about distortion of original images in the result of substitution of national and historical realias for not characteristic to it realias, in other words, about leading to analogisms and anachronisms in a text. Analogisms and anachronisms are realias that do not correspond to local and time surrounding of origin text.
For example, we face with the word guillotine in the Bulgarian translation of Sheakspear’s work: “Essex slowly mounted the guillotine.” The mistake is not very grave from temporal point of view. There already existed the machine for execution in XVI – XVII centuries in Italy and Scotland and also in France where Duke de Monmorancy was beheaded with the help of such machine. The mistake is that famous doctor Josef Ignak Giyoten invented his machine that got his name only 200 years later. Here we see the translator’s history unknowing. Of course, the word scaffold should be used there. We can see it from the context: “ He slowly mounted…” One can never mount the guillotine but only scaffold.
The reason of such mistakes regarding national and historical coloring is connected with author’s or translator’s personality, his unknowing of real facts and historical situation and sometimes their unknowing of some principal positions of theory translation, for example, about bad results of strange realia substitution for a realia from translator’s native language.
In 1827 Goethe wrote that translating labor was and remains one of the most important and worthy matters connecting the entire universe together. These words characterize translator as creative person who carries works beyond the limits of one national culture and who serves to people giving these fruits of this culture, created in new language form or vice versa, including achievements of other nations in his national science and culture. It is one of the evidences of the huge human role of translation in the history of human civilization.
Every national culture solving its problems carries its contribution in treasuring house of literature creating something that belongs only to it, has significance for all nations and proves that there are not small or big nations or inferior languages.
Extending of national culture confines with the help of translation has a great positive and enriching influence on the language. It is true that together with the translation many new ideas, discoveries, notions and so on penetrate in the language and it leads to the appearance of new language elements and figurative meanings. This fact is very important while translating from literary language that is not fully developed. Therefore the literary language enriches figurative possibilities, national culture, and spiritual development of this nation. Creative beginning of translation is premise of creative attitude to native language, its source of faith in its possibilities and beauty. Concerning this point the translator also has another task to defend his native speech from borrowings-parasites that clog and make it ugly, from strange forms that artificially could crowd out its own national coloring.
The task and mission of the translator especially the translator of feature literature is defense of the riches and beauty of the native language, its unlimited abilities to convey all that is kept in the greatest masterpieces of world literature.
Translated literature can also be the indicator of condition, degree of development of national language. Poetical translation of Shakespeare’s works by Boris Pasternak that are very rich, refined and expressive in language might not appear if Russian language of his time remained on the same level of development. In this case concrete condition of our national language at the times of B. Pasternak can be put as condition and factor of development of poetical and translating talent and vice versa Pasternak's works are great contribution in the development of Russian language.
The level of translated literature, the quality of translation also assists to the development of national beginning in the literature of nation.
"National beginning of literature, - I. R. Beher wrote, - is defined with the fact of preservation, proceeding and creative development of other literatures. The choice of elements that adopt it from literature of other nations shows its own character and is judged if its indeed national originality no."
Влахов С., Флорин С. Непереводимое в переводе. Реалии. "Министерство Перевода". Сборник статей. 1969. М., "Советский писатель", 1970.
Лилова А. Введение в общую теорию перевода. "Высшая школа" М., 1985.
Бархударов Я. С., Рецкер Я. И. Курс лекций по теории перевода. М., Изд-во I МГПИПЯ, 1968.
Комиссаров В. Н. Слово о переводе. М., "Международные отношнния". 1973.
Комиссаров В., Рецкер Я., Тархов В. Пособие по переводу с английского языка на русский. Часть I М., Изд-во литературы на иностранных языках, 1960; Часть II М., "Высшая школа", 1965.
Левицкая Т.Р., Фитермян А. М. Пособие по переводу с английского языка на русский. М., "Высшая школа", 1973.
Толстой С.С, Основы перевода английского языка на русский, М., 2957.
Фёдоров А.В. Русские писатели и проблемы перевода. Л., 1960.
Левик В. "Мастерство перевода", М., 1959.
Гачечиладзе Т. Художественный перевод и литературные взаимосвязи. М., "Советский писатель", 1972.
Бархударов Л. С. Язык и перевод. М., 1975.
Комиссаров В. Н. Теория перевода. М., "Высшая школа", 1990.
Фёдоров А. В. Основы общей теории перевода. – М., 1983.
Швейцер А.Д. Теория перевода. – М., 1988.
Латышев Л.К. Курс перевода (эквивалентность перевода и способы её достижения). – М., 1981.