TRANSLATING THE ATTRIBUTIVE CLUSTER.



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TRANSLATING THE ATTRIBUTIVE CLUSTER.



 

English and Russian attributive groups differ in their vectors. The English phrase is regressive, that is, it develops to the left, with the headword being the final element on the right. The Russian attributive phrase is progressive, it develops mostly to the right, with the attributes used in postposition: US car safety expert – американский специалист по безопасности автомобилей. This is also true of clusters with restrictive apposition: газета «Владивосток» – the Vladivostok newspaper; гостиница «Версаль» – the Versailles hotel.

Thus, to translate a multi-structured attributive group, it is necessary to analyze the meaning of its immediate constituents and then to adapt them to a proper Russian structure. For example, to translate the phrase a life support system control box,136 we single out its head noun, which is on the right and then do a kind of semantic immediate constituent analysis:

a life support system – control box (purpose) – пульт управления,

a life supportsystem control (object) –box пульт управления системой,

a life – support system (characteristics) – control box – пульт управления системой поддержания,

a life support (object) – system control box – пульт управления системой поддержания жизни – пульт управления системой жизнеобеспечения.

Not all attributive phrases are as easily rendered as the above example. Some attributes may refer to either a key noun or another noun attribute. In the phrase a new control system the word new may modify the head noun system (новая система управления) or the noun attribute system (система нового управления).

Care should be taken not to confuse a head word with its attribute, as this misunderstanding may result in a distorted translation: control system – система управления; system control – управление системой; ballot strike – бойкот выборов; strike ballot – голосование по вопросам объявления забастовки..

The same method of immediate constituents is applied to translating attributive phrases from Russian into English: слуги старого короля = слуги короля + король старый → the king’s servants + the old king = the old king’s servants. Contrast this cluster with the following: старые слуги короля = старые слуги + слуги короля → old servants + the king’s servants = the king’s old servants. Here again we follow the rule of joining words: the closer semantically, the closer syntactically (positionally).

Attributive clusters can be translated through modulation, or logical development. For example, council house rents is rendered as плата за муниципальное жилье, since council here implies ‘city council’ or ‘city administration’, corresponding to the Russian ‘муниципалитет’.

Taking into account the more laconic and compressive character of English speech, it is sometimes necessary to extend the structure when translating into Russian: a five-man committee – комитет, состоящий из пяти человек, opinion poll – опрос общественного мнения, peace committee – комитет защиты мира.

Attributive strings are laconic and compressive. They help avoid monotonous prepositional phrases in Russian-to-English translations: регуляция динамики численности популяций should be rendered into English as regulation of population quantity dynamics, rather than dynamics of the regulation of the quantity of the population. Combining attributive clusters and prepositional phrases makes a word group sound more lively and more “English”: новая микропроцессорная система управления двигателями внутреннего сгорания легковых автомобилей – a new microprocessor system for automobile internal combustion engine control.

Since English prefers prepositional attributes, whereas Russian tends to use postpositional modifiers,137 a translator has to substitute an adjective with a noun, which is especially typical of ethnic names: Australian prosperity – процветание Австралии; Russian president – президент России.

There are some rare cases when an English attribute follows the noun: the mannext door – человек, живущий по соседству; сосед. Sometimes the position of the attribute changes the meaning of the phrase: He is a hardworking and responsible employee. – Он трудолюбивый и ответственный работник versus You will be the person responsible if anything goes wrong in the project. – Ты будешь виноватым, если проект не пойдет.I’d like to thank everyone concerned for making the occasion run so smoothly. – Я бы хотел поблагодарить всех имеющих к этому отношение за то, что у нас все прошло так гладко versus Concerned parents have complained about the dangerous playground. – Обеспокоенные родители жалуются на то, что на детской площадке стало опасно играть.

Sometimes Russian attributive groups may correspond to a single English word, so calque translation will seem overworded: официальный орган печати – gazette, папка документов – file.138

Translating attributive quotations (цитатные речения) is another challenging problem. They often have predicative relations between the components and, therefore, resemble separate clauses. For instance, There is a sort of Oh-what-a-wicked-world-this-is-and-how-I-wish-I-could-do-something-to-make-it-better-and-nobler expression about Montmorency (Jerome K. Jerome). Монморенси глядит на вас с таким выражением, словно хочет сказать: «О, как испорчен этот мир и как бы я желал сделать его лучше и благороднее». (Пер. М. Салье) This example demonstrates that attributive clusters like this can be rendered as a comparison, with the extension and direct quotation.

 

 



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