Types of Equivalents and Ways of Rendering their Meanings

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Types of Equivalents and Ways of Rendering their Meanings

Many SL units have regular equivalents in TL which are used in numerous TT as substitutes to those units. Some of the SL units have permanent equivalents in TL i.e. there is a one-to-one correspondence between such units and their equivalents. Thus London is always rendered into Ukrainian as Лондон, hydrogen as водень. As a rule this type of correspondence is found with words of specific character, such as scientific and technical terms, proper or geographical names and similar words whose meaning is more or less independent of the particular contextual situation.

Other SL units may have several equivalents each. Such one-to-many correspondence between SL and TL units is characteristic of most regular equivalents. The existence of a number of non-permanent (or variable) equivalents to a SL unit implies the necessity of selecting one of them in each particular case, taking into account the way the unit is used in ST and the points of difference between the semantics of its equivalents in TL.

Depending on the type of the language units involved, regular equivalents can be classified as lexical, phraseological or grammatical. Coordinated words in two languages may correspond to each other in one or several components of their semantic structures, while not fully identical in their semantics. For instance, the English word ambitious may denote either praiseworthy or inordinate desires. Its translation will depend on which of these aspects comes to the fore. Thus the ambitious plans of the would-be world conquerors will be translated as честолюбні плани претендентів на роль завойовників всього світу, while the ambitious goals set by the United Nations will give грандіозні цілі, поставлені ООН in the Ukrainian translation.

A variety of equivalents may also result from a more detailed description of the same object in TL. The English word attitude, for instance, is translated as відносини, позиція, політика depending on the variant the Ukrainian language prefers in a particular situation:

1) I don’t like your attitude to your work.

2) There is no sign of any change in the attitudes of the two sides.

3) He stood there in a threatening attitude.

Such an exceptional translation of a SL unit which suits a particular context can be described as an occasional equivalent or a contextual substitute.

Equivalent-lacking words are often found among SL names of specific national phenomena, such as the English words coroner, condominium, impeachment, baby-sitter and the like. However, there are quite a number of ordinary words for which TL may have no equivalent lexical units: fluid, bidder, qualifier, conservationist, etc. Some grammar forms and categories may also be equivalent-lacking (the English gerund, article or absolute participle construction).

Occasional equivalents can be created in one of the following ways:

1. Using loan-words imitating in TL the form of the SL word or word combination, e.g. tribalism – трайболізм, impeachment – імпічмент, backbencher – задньолавочник, brain-drain – витік мізків. Such occasional formations are adopted by the members of the TL community and get the status of regular equivalents.

2. Using approximate substitutes, that is TL words with similar meaning which is extended to convey additional information (if necessary, with the help of foot-notes), e.g. drugstore – аптека, afternoon – вечір. The Ukrainian аптека is not exactly a drugstore where they also sell such items as magazines, soft drinks, ice-cream, etc., but in some cases this approximate equivalent can well be used.

3. Using all kinds of lexical (semantic) transformations modifying the meaning of the SL word, e.g. He died of exposure may be rendered into Ukrainian as Він помер від простуди or Він помер від сонячного удару.

4. Using an explanation to convey the meaning of the SL unit, e.g. landslide –перемога на виборах приголомшливою більшістю голосів, brinkmanship – мистецтво ведення політики на межі війни, etc.


Descriptive translating

The descriptive way of conveying the sense of language units implies their structural transformation which is necessary to explicate their meaning with the help of hierarchically different target language units. Depending on the notion expressed by the source language word, it may be conveyed in the target language sometimes through a word-combination or even through a sentence, i.e., descriptively: indulge – робити собі приємність у чомусь, віддаватися втіхам; infamous – той, що має ганебну славу; inessentials – предмети не першої необхідності, предмети розкошів; вщерть – up to the brim, full to the brim; в'язи – the nape of one's head, the back of the head; окраєць – crust of a loaf, hunk of a bread.

Descriptive translating/interpreting is very often employed to render the sense of idioms/phraseologisms, which have no equivalents in the target language. Cf. in English: (as) mad as a hatter / цілком божевільний; like one (twelve) o'clock / миттю, вмить, прожогом. In Ukrainian: зуб на зуб не попадати / to feel very cold (to feel freezing); навчить біда коржі з маком їсти / hard times make one inventive; наговорити сім мішків гречаної вовни / to say much nonsense.

Descriptive translation is employed when dealing with the notions of specific national lexicon: porridge – порідж (густа вівсяна каша зварена на воді чи молоці); Senate – сенат (рада університету в Англії, складається переважно з професорів); sweet-meal – солодка страва, приготовлена на цукрі чи медові.

Alongside the literal translating some explications of the meaning of specific national notions becomes sometimes necessary: вареники – varenyky , middle-sized dumplings filled with curd, cherries, etc.; дума – duma, Ukrainian historic epic song; кобзар – kobzar, a performer of dumas to the accompaniment of the kobza (a mandoline-like four string musical instrument), the bandore (a flat multistringed Ukrainian musical instrument).

Descriptive translation is also employed in foot-notes to explain obscure places in narration. midland - мідленд, діалект центральної Англії, a spiritual - релігійна пісня афро-америк.


Antonymic translation

Antonymic translation is employed to achieve faithfulness in conveying content or the necessary expressiveness of sense units. It represents a way of rendering when an affirmative in structure language unit (word, word-combination or sentence) is conveyed via a negative in sense or structure but identical in content language unit, or vice versa: a negative in sense or structure sense unit is translated via an affirmative sense unit. Cf.: to have quite a few friends – мати багато (немало) друзів; mind your own business – не втручайся не в свої справи; take it easy – не хвилюйся, не переживай; not infrequently – часто; по time like the present – лови момент (використовуй нагоду); не спитавши броду не лізь у воду - look before you leap; немає лиха без добра - every dark cloud has a silver lining, etc.

The antonymic translation is employed in the following cases:

1) When in the target language there is no direct equivalent for the sense unit of the source language. The meaning of some English word-groups can also be conveyed in Ukrainian antonymically only: Baines was reading a newspaper in his shirt-sleeves. (Gr. Greene). Бейнз сидів без піджака і читав газету. Do you mind this? Ви не заперечуєте?

2) When the sense unit of the source language has two negations of its own which create an affirmation: In those clothes she was by no means non-elegant. (S.Maugham) У цьому вбранні вона була досить елеґантна.

3. In order to achieve the necessary expressiveness in narration: I don't think it will hurt you, baby. (E.Hemingway) Думаю, вам воно не зашкодить, люба. A shell fell close. (Ibid.) Неподалік вибухнув снаряд

4. In order to avoid the use of the same or identical structures close to each other in a text (stylistic aim and means): Mrs. Strickland was a woman of character. (S.Maugham) Місіс Стрікленд була жінкою не без характеру (тобто, була жінка з характером). Most of the staff is not away. (M.Wilson) Більшість співробітників ще на роботі (ще не розійшлися). Savina said nothing. (Ibid.) Савіна промовчала (тобто нічого не відповіла).

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