Genre and style requirements.

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Genre and style requirements.

English-speaking journalists are knownto conjoin severalideas in one sentence (which is especially typicalof the lead sentence). When translated into Russian, these sentences are usually partitioned: The 23 foreign ministers are due to meet on May 11-12 at the end of the conference when it had been hoped that they would sign an accord allowing surveillance flights over each other’s territory. – 23 министра иностранных дел должны встретиться 11-12 мая, к концу работы конференции. Предполагалось, что они подпишут неофициальное соглашение о взаимных контрольных полетах над территорией своих государств.

Weather forecasts in English newspapers are usually expressed by long sentences. In Russian, the style and genre require short sentences, with the loss of expressiveness typical of an English forecast. For example,

Mist and coastal fog patches over Scotland will also thin to offer a bright start, but with more general clouds, and occasional rain will arrive from the west by late morning. – Туман на побережье Шотландии и морось рассеются. Ожидается солнечный день, временами облачно. К полудню на западе возможны кратковременные дожди.




It is difficult to overstate the importance of proper punctuation in written translation. Readers of translation evaluate not only the content but also the form of the translation. A translator’s accuracy, neatness, efficiency and carefulness are assessed by the completed translation. Moreover, a firm’s reputation can depend on the accurate and neat documents prepared by the translator.

The semantic role of punctuation is crucial when a comma can decide vital things (remember the Russian joke: Казнить нельзя помиловать. Or the analogous English phrase: Some time after the actual date was set.)

English and Russian punctuation “provide a fresh challenge”144 for both Russian and English students because it is based on different principles in both languages. In Russian, punctuation is, first and foremost, structurally dependent, which means that specific structures (such as parallel (homogeneous) parts of the sentence, participial phrases, subordinate clauses etc.) are singled out in the sentence. Russian punctuation is regulated by syntactic rules - for many Russian schoolchildren syntax is associated with punctuation. English punctuation is logically and communicatively bound. It depends much more on semantics and intonation; therefore, it is likely that Russian students consider it to be more subjective. Optional information segments and rhythmic groups are normally separated by a comma: At the back of good English dictionaries, there is usually a list of current abbreviations. Also, we noticed that the salaries declined after the first year. In general, the principle of English punctuation can be formulated as follows: the closer semantic bonds, the closer the word position should be. The more optional information is, the more separated (by punctuation marks) the sentence parts are.




In an English sentence, the comma is generally used to separate an adverbial phrase or clause preceding the main clause: By then, early estimates of as many as 250 fatalities had begun to look far too high. – К тому времени оказалось, что прежние сообщения о 250 жертвах землетрясения были значительно преувеличены. If you feel seasick, take one of these pills. – Cf. Take one of these pills if you are seasick (no comma before a postpositional adverbial clause).

With postpositional adverbial clauses the comma is used only in clauses of reason introduced by the conjunctions for, as, since: She remained silent, for her heart was heavy and her spirits low.

In the attributive (relative) clauses, usage of the comma depends upon the completeness of the sentence. If the information conveyed by the relative clause is very important and without it the sentence seems incomplete, the comma is never used: The bicycle that won the race weighed only 12 pounds. (Semantically, clauses introduced by that are always closely connected with the main clause. Therefore, they are never separated by the comma.) Compare: The winning bicycle, which weighed only 12 pounds, was made in France. Here the information conveyed by the relative clause is optional, so the clause is separated by commas.

No comma is used to separate the subject and predicate clauses: What he said was not what he thought. (The exception to the rule is when two similar linking verbs happen to conjoin: What he is, is not known.)

The comma may be omitted in short compound sentences in which the connection between the clauses is close: She understood the situationandshe was furious.

In English asyndetic (without a conjunction) coordinate clauses are considered bad style. They are usually partitioned into independent sentences or separated by a semicolon: Кончился дождь, защебетали птицы. – It stopped raining. Birds started chirping. Or It stopped raining; birds started chirping.

In sentences with three or more homogeneous parts, the comma separates the conjunctions and / or from the final item: She asked for paper, pencils, and a ruler. –Она попросила бумагу, карандаши и линейку.Would you rather have ice cream, cake, or pie for dessert? – На десерт ты будешь мороженое, торт или пирог?

The comma is essential to the meaning, and this is reflected in translation: I’m studying English literature and painting. – Я изучаю английскую литературу и английскую живопись. Here the attribute English is common to both literature and painting written without comma. In translation, the attribute is repeated to avoid ambiguity. I’m studying English literature, and painting. – Я изучаю живопись и английскую литературу. In this sentence, the word English refers only to literature; therefore, the parallel nouns are separated by the comma. To render this meaning in Russian and avoid ambiguity, we have to change the noun order so that the first noun is used without any modifier.

The comma sets off parallel parts and a governed element of the sentence if this element is common to all the parallel parts having different prepositional government: The comments on, and criticism of, the article provide considerable food for thought. – Комментарии и критические замечания к этой статье дают значительную пищу для размышлений. There were people in all the countries who thought of, and strove for, that aim. – Во всех странах мира были люди, думавшие об этой цели и стремившиеся к ней.

Participial and gerundial constructions are separated by the comma in case they are positioned before the modified noun or are optional for the meaning and structural completeness of the sentence: Working there, he becomes more and more efficient. Two men, working there,talked about the accident. But The men working there were not very friendly. (Compare with Russian Работавшие там люди были недоброжелательны. Люди, работавшие там, были недоброжелательными.)

The comma sets off short quotations and is used after the author’s words: Franklin said, “In this world nothing is sure but death and taxes.” “In this world,” said Franklin, “nothing is sure but death and taxes.” Compare: Франклин сказал: „В этом мире можно быть уверенным только в смерти и в налогах”. „В этом мире, – сказал Франклин, - можно быть уверенным только в смерти и в налогах”


In English punctuation system, the dash is perhaps the strongest marker.

It indicates a sudden break or abrupt change in continuity, which in Russian is usually marked by ellipses:

Well, you see, I ─ I’ve ─ I’m just not sure.

Видите ли, я … я был … я просто не уверен.

Well, then, I’ll simply tell her that ─

Ну, тогда я просто скажу ей, что …

The dash sets apart an explanatory or defining phrase: Foods high in protein – meats, fish, eggs, and cheese – should be a part of one’s daily diet. Продукты, богатые белками: мясо, рыба, яйца и сыр – должны входить в ежедневный рацион человека. We suddenly realized what the glittering gems were – emeralds. Неожиданно мы поняли, что это были за сверкающие камни: изумруды.

There is no dash introducing dialogue in English. Instead, quotation marks are used. Compare:

- Вот ваша зарплата. За то, что вы бездельничаете в конторе по 7 час. в день. - Простите, - восемь часов. “Here’s your pay for loafting in the office seven hours a day.” “Excuse me - eight hours.”

In English there is no dash introducing the author’s words after direct quotations: «Я скоро вернусь», – сказал он. “I’ll be back soon,” he said.


There are two types of quotation marks in English – double and single quotation marks. Double quotation marks enclose direct quotations, single ones are used within quotations: Mary said, “I heard the thief yell, ‘Quick! Let’s get out of here!’ ” Or “I heard the thief yell, ‘Quick! Let’s get out of here!’ ” said Mary. Or “I heard,” said Mary, “the thief yell, ‘Quick! Let’s get out of here!’ ”

Care should be taken to put commas and periods within quotation marks. Exclamation points and question marks are also put inside if they are part of the matter quoted.

Beside direct speech, in Russian quotation marks always enclose the titles of books, movies, etc. In English, quotation marks can also be used in this case; otherwise, the title is underlined or italicized: e.g., For further information, readers may wish to consult the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. For further information, readers may wish to consult the “MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers”.

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