TRANSLATION IN TEACHING OF FOREIGN LANGUAGES
Translating as a means of teaching foreign languages has no independent value of its own for it is impossible to teach all aspects of a language in their complexity by means of translation only. Nevertheless translation in foreign language teaching (and learning) can not and should not be ignored altogether since in many a case it remains
not only the most effective but also the only possible teaching means in achieving the necessary aim. That is why translation is often resorted to in the process of teaching and presenting some important aspects of a foreign language.
Translation in teaching is employed by the teacher both at the initial, at the intermediary and at the advanced stage of learning/ teaching foreign languages. But irrespective of the level at which the foreign language is studied or taught, translation is both helpful and indispensable in the following cases:
1. When introducing even simple abstract lexemes or notions, which can not easily be explained in a descriptive way or by actions (gestures): think, hate, love, actual, invincible, generally, peace, turn, friendship, image, dream, consider, feeling, firstly, immensely, at last, gray, immense, strongly, beautifully, haggis, lordship, ladyship, etc.
2. In order to save time and avoid diverting the attention of students by lengthy explications of the meaning of words, various, word-combinations or sentences in the process of reading or listening to an unfamiliar passage.
3. When checking up the comprehension of the lexical material (new words, expressions) and in order to avoid the unnecessary ambiguity which may arise in the process of teaching through «pictures», since a picture of a tree, for example, may be understood as «a tree» or as a kind of tree (oak-tree, birch-tree, pine-tree, etc.).
4. While introducing at the lesson (usually at the initial stage of teaching/learning) the new grammar/phonetical material, especially the phenomena which do not exist in the native tongue (e.g. the continuous or the perfect forms of the verb, different passive constructions, infinitival, gerundial, and participal constructions (secondary predication complexes).
5. When revising the lexical or grammar material studied at the lesson/at previous lessons or answering questions like: 'What is the Ukrainian for the «gerund», sequence of tenses, the «progressive/ perfect form» of the verb?' etc.
6. While discriminating the meaning of synonyms or antonyms of the foreign language, for example: explain the difference between greatand large, smalland tiny, tall and high, cleverand unwise, etc.
7. When checking up the knowledge of students in written and oral tests on lexical or grammar material.
8. When introducing idiomatic expressions which is mostly impossible to teach and learn otherwise than on the basis of translating
(cf. Hobson's choice, to play hooky, look before you leap; when at Rome, do as the Romans do; the game is worth the candle, etc.).
9. Before learning any text by heart (poems, excerpts of prose
or the roles of characters in plays).
10. When dealing with characteristic national figures of speech
(metaphors, epithets, similes, hyperboles, etc.) in the process of read
ing or translating the belles-lettres passages even at the advanced
stage of studying a foreign language.
11. When comparing the expressive means in the system of
the source language to those in the target language, etc.
Translation helps the student to master the expressive means in the source and in the target language. In the process of translating the student establishes sets of equivalent substitutes in the target language for the correspondent lexical, grammatical or stylistic phenomena of the source language. No wonder that the student at any stage of learning a foreign language, when not understanding some word, word-combination or sentence always resorts to intuitive translating it into his native language.
WAYS OF TRANSLATING
Translating is unseparable from understanding and it goes along with conveying content and sometimes even the form of language units. As a result, the process of translation, provided it is not performed at the level of separate simple words, involves simultaneously some
aspects of the source language and those of the target language. These are morphology (word-building and word forms), the lexicon (words, phraseologisms, mots), syntax (the means of connection and the structure of syntaxemes), stylistics (peculiarities of speech styles, tropes, etc.).
The level or the degree of faithfulness of translation is mostly predetermined by some factors, which may be both of objective and of subjective nature. The main of them are the purpose of the translation to be performed, the skill of the translator/interpreter, the type of the matter selected for translation, etc. Depending on these and some other factors, the following methods of translating are traditionally recognized in the theory and practice of translation:
1. Literal translating,which is to be employed when dealing with separate words whose surface form and structure, as well as
І Слгиі-иггий ІГГПЖЯЯНИЙ І
their lexical meaning in the source language and in the target language, fully coincide. These are predominantly international by original morphemes, lexemes/words, rarer word-groups having in English and Ukrainian (and often in some other languages too) a literally identical or very similar presentation and identical lexical meaning: administrator адміністратор, director директор, region реґіон, hotel/motel готель/ мотель, hydrometer гідрометр, Tom Том, etc.
It is easy to notice that in some words thus translated not only the morphemic but also the syllabic structure can sometimes be fully conveyed (cf. an-ti ан-ти, es-cort ес-корт, direct-or директ-ор, ex-presid-ent екс-прези-дент).
In many a case, however, the lingual form of the source language words is only partly conveyed in the target language. This happens when the common word is borrowed by each of the two languages in question from different source languages or when its lingual form is predetermined by the orthographic peculiarities of the target language: anti-alcoholic протиалкогольний, music музика, constitution конституція, zoology зоологія, atomic weight атомна вага, chemical process хімічний процес, national opera theatre національний оперний театр.
The literal translation in all the examples above provides an equivalent rendering of the lexical meaning of each language unit despite the augmentation in the number of morphemes/syllables in the target language (cf. atomicатом-н-а, alcoholicалкоголь-н-ий).
Close to the literal method of translating or rather reproduction is the so-called way of translator's transcription by means of which partly the orthographic and partly the sounding form of the source language lexemes/words is conveyed: archbishop архієпископ, card картка/карта, European європейський, Muscovite москвич/ москвичка, organized організований, stylized стилізований, therapeutic терапевтичний.
Literal translating, however, can pervert the sense of the source language lexemes or sentences when their lingual form accidentally coincides with some other target language lexemes having quite different meanings: art/sf митець, художник (rarer артист); decoration відзнака, нагорода (and not декорація); matrass колба (and not матрац); replica точна копія (and not репліка), etc. Hence, literal translating has some restrictions in its employment and does not always help to render the lexical meaning of words or even morphemes
having often even an identical lingual form (spelling) in the source language and in the target language.
2. Verbal translatingis also employed at lexeme/word level. But unlike literal translating it never conveys the orthographic or the sounding form of the source language units, but their denotative meaning only: fearful страшний, fearless безстрашний, helpless безпорадний, incorrect неправильний, mistrust недовір'я (недовіра), superprofit надприбуток, non-interference невтручання, weightlessness невагомість etc.
All the words above are practically translated at the lexico-mor-phological level, as their lexical meanings and morphological stems are identical to those of the English words (cf. help-less без-порадний, mis-trustне-дов\р'я, super-profit над-прибуток, etc.).
The overwhelming majority of other words, when translated verbally do not preserve their structure in the target language. That is explained by the differences in the morphological systems of the English and Ukrainian languages: abundantly рясно, bank берег (береговий), cliff бескид (скеля, круча), myself я, я сам/сама; автомат automatic machine/rifle, заввишки high/tall, письменник writer (author), червоніти to get/grow red, etc..
Verbal translating of polysemantic words permits a choice among some variants which is practically impossible in literal translating, which aims only at maintaining the literal form.
Thus, the Ukrainian word автомат can have the following equivalent variants in English: 1. automatic machine; 2. slot-machine; 3. automatic telephone; 4. submachine gun (tommy gun). Similarly, the Englsih word bank when out of a definite context may have the following equivalent variants in Ukrainian: 1. берег (річки); 2. банк; 3. вал/насип; 4. мілина; 5. замет; 6. крен, віраж (авіац.); 7. поклади (корисних копалин). The literal variant/equivalent of the noun ban/fin Ukrainian can be, naturally, «банк» only.
Verbal translating, however, does not and can not provide a faithful conveying of sense/content at other than word level. When employed at the level of word-combinations or sentences verbal translation may often make the language units ungrammatical and pervert or completely ruin their sense, cf: / am reading now is not я є читаючий зараз but я читаю зараз; never say die is not ніколи не кажи помираю but не падай духом; to grow strong is not рости міцним but ставати дужим; to take measures is not брати міри but вживати заходів; first night is not перша ніч but прем'єра, etc.
Despite this, verbal translation is widely employed first of all at language level, i.e., when the lexical meaning of separate words is to be identified. A graphic example of verbal translation is presented in dictionaries which list the lexical meanings of thousands of separate words. Verbal translation is also employed for the sake of discriminating the meanings of some words at the lessons, with the aim of identifying the meaning of the unknown words (when translating sentences or passages). The student like any other person eager to know the name of an object or action/quality of the object, etc., employs verbal translation too when asking: What is the English for сніп/ відлига? What is the English for нікчемна людина/нікчема, хвалити Бога? What is the Ukrainian for cranberry/mistletoe? etc.
3. Word-for-word translationis another method of rendering sense. It presents a consecutive verbal translation though at the level of word-groups and sentences. This way of translation is often employed both consciously and subconsciously by students in the process of translating alien grammatical constructions/word forms. Sometimes students at the initial stage of learning a foreign language may employ this way of translation even when dealing with seemingly common phrases or sentences, which are structurally different from their equivalents in the native tongue. Usually the students employ word-for-word translation to convey the sense of word-groups or sentences which have a structural form, the order of words, and the means of connection quite different from those in the target language. To achieve faithfulness various grammatical transformations are to be performed in the process of translation and in the translationc itself word-for-word variants are to be corrected to avoid various grammatical violations made by the inexperienced students. Cf. You are right to begin with* ви маєте рацію, щоб почати з instead of Почнемо з того/припустимо, що ви маєте рацію/що ви праві.
3. The interlinear1 way/method of translatingis a conventional term for a strictly faithful rendering of sense expressed by word-groups and sentences at the level of some text. The latter may be a passage, a stanza, an excerpt of a work or the work itself. The method of interlinear translation may be practically applied to all speech units(sentences, supersyntactic units, passages). Interlinear translation always provides a completely faithful conveying only of content, which is often achieved through various transformations
1 «Interlinear» (from Latin interlineare) i.e., written/printed between the lines.
of structure of many sense units. For example, the sentence Who took my book? admits only one word-for-word variant, namely: Хто взяв мою книжку?
In interlinear translation, however, the full content of this sentence can be faithfully rendered with the help of two and sometimes even three equivalent variants: У кого моя книжка? Хто брав/узяв мою книжку? The choice of any of the transformed variants is predetermined by the aim of the translation, by the circumstances under which the translating/interpreting is performed or by the requirements of style (for example, in order to avoid the unnecessary repetition of the same form of expression/structure close to each other).
Interlinear translating is neither bound to nor in any way restricted by the particularities of word forms, by the word order or by the structural form of the source language units, which are usually word-combinations or sentences in the passage/work under translation.
As can be seen, the Ukrainian variants of the English sentence above (Who took my book?) bear no traces of interference on the part of the English language with its rigid word order in each paradigmatic kind of sentences. Neither is there any peculiar English word-combination transplanted to the Ukrainian sentences, as it often occurs in word-for-word translations. Hence, various transformations in interlinear translations, like in literary translations, are inevitable and they are called forth by grammatical/structural, stylistic and other divergences in the source language and in the target language. This can be seen from the following examples: The student is being asked now студента зараз запитують. She said she would come вона казала, що прийде. It will have been done by then на той час / до того часу це буде зроблено. His having been decorated is unknown to me мені невідомо про його нагородження (що його нагородили).
Transformations are also inevitable when there exists no identity in the form of expressing the same notion in the source language and in the target language: a trip коротка подорож; їздити на лижах to ski; to participate брати участь; овдовіти to become a widow/ widower, знесилитися to become/grow weak (feeble).
Very often transformations become also necessary in order to overcome divergences in the structural form of English syntaxemes which are predominantly analytical by their structural form, whereas their Ukrainian word-groups of the same meaning are mostly synthetic and analytico-synthetic by structure: books of my fatherзнижки мого батька; Kyivstreet traffic regulations правила дорожнього руху
міста Києва; but: a task for next week завдання на наступний тиждень.1
Interlinear translating is widely practised at the intermediary and advanced stages of studying a foreign language. It is helpful when checking up the students' understanding of certain structurally peculiar English sense units in the passage under translation. Interlinear translations of literary works, when perfected by regular masters of the pen, may become good literary variants of the original. But interlinear translations do not convey the literary merits/artistic features and beauty of the original. While performing the interlinear translation the student tries to convey completely the content of a source language sentence, stanza or passage. He quite subconsciously analyses the passage, selects in the target language the necessary means of expression for the allomorphic and isomorphic phenomena/sense units unknown to him and only after this he performs the translation. The interlinear method of translating helps the student to obtain the necessary training in rendering the main aspects of the foreign language. Thus, he masters the means of expression pertained to the source/ target language. In the example below, taken from P.B.Shelley's poem The Masque of Anarchy, the interlinear translation conveys only the main content of the poetic stanza:
Men of England, Heirs of Glory, Люди Англії, спадкоємці слави,
Heroes of unwritten story, Герої (ще) не написаної історії,
Nurslings of one mighty mother, Сини однієї'могутньо)'матері-вітчизни,
Hopes of her and one another! її надії і надії кожного з вас!
From this interlinear translation the reader can obtain a fairly correct notion of what the poet wanted to say in the stanza as a whole. But this translation does not in any way reflect the artistic beauty of Shelley's poem, i.e., the variety of its tropes, the rhythm and the rhyme, the musical sounding of the original work. Despite all that it still ranks much higher than any word-for-word translation might ever be, as it faithfully conveys not only the meaning of all notional words but also the content of different sense units, which have no structural equivalents in Ukrainian. Due to this the method of interlinear translation is practically employed when rendering some passages or works for internal office use in scientific/research centres and
1 See more about transformations of the kind on pages 376-387 of this book.
laboratories, in trade and other organizations and by students in their translation practice; it acquires some features of literary translation.
4. Literary Translatingrepresents the highest level of a translator's activity. Any type of matter skilfully turned into the target language, especially by a regular master of the pen may acquire the faithfulness and the literary (or artistic) standard equal to that of the source language.
Depending on the type of the matter under translation, this method of performance may be either literary proper or literary artistic.
Literary artistic translation presents a faithful conveying of content and of the artistic merits only of a fiction/belles-lettres passage or work. The latter may be either of a prose or a poetic genre (verse).
Literary proper translation is performed on any other than fiction/belles-lettres passages/works. These may include scientific or technical matter, didactic matter (different text-books), business correspondence, the language of documents, epistolary texts, etc. In short, any printed or recorded matter devoid of artistic merits (epithets, metaphors, etc.). But whether literary proper or literary artistic, this translation provides an equivalent rendering not only of complete content but also of the stylistic peculiarities of the passage/work and its artistic merits/beauty, as in belles-lettres style texts.
Literary translations are always performed in literary all-nation languages and with many transformations which help achieve the ease and beauty of the original composition. The number of phrases and sentences in a literary translation is never the same as in the source language passage/work, neither are the same means of expression or the number and quality of stylistic devices per paragraph/syntactic superstructure. All these transformations are made in order to achieve faithfulness in rendering content and expressiveness of the passage/ work under translation. Transformations are also used to convey the features of style and in still greater measure the genre peculiarities of the works/passages under translation.
Literary proper/literary artistic translation of a larger passage/ work often requires linguistic, historical and other inquiries in order to clarify the obscure places (historic events, notions of specific national lexicon, neologisms, archaisms, etc.). Sometimes even the title of a work may require a philologic or historic inquiry. So, «Слово о полку Ігоревім» in a verbal or word-for-word translation would be *A Word about Ihor's Regiment which does not in any way correspond to the real meaning of this title, since the author meant under «Слово» story,
tale, saga, song. The word полк did not mean the military unit of today's armies (regiment) but troop, host, army. Therefore, the meaning of полк would be in Ukrainian дружина and the whole title would sound in contemporary translation as The Tale of the Host of Ihor, which corresponds to the real meaning of the title (оповідь, повість, пісня про Ігореве військо, i.e. дружину). That is why there exist today different translations of the title of this brilliant work. Among them are the following: 1) The Tale of the Armament of Igor. Edited and translated by Leonard Magnus. Oxford University Press, 1915. 2) The Tale of Igor. Adapted by Helen de Verde. London, 1918.3) Prince Igor's Raid Against the Polovtsi. Translated by Paul Crath. Versified by Watson Kirkonnell. Saskatoon. Canada, 1947. 4) The Song of Igor's Campaign. Translated by Vladimir Nabokov. New York 1960. As can be seen, none of these titles conveys the meaning of the title fully, completely equivalents and faithfully, though some are close to it, especially that one suggested by Paul Crath (Prince Igor's Raid against the Polovtsi) and the V.Nabokov's variant The Song of Igor's Campaign.
In Soviet times this old Ukrainian literature masterpiece had an unchanged title The Lay of Igor's Host (suggested by a Georgian linguist). This translation does not differ greatly from the two mentioned above for «lay» is the Middle English poetic word for «song».
A similar approach aimed at a possibly fullest expression of the poetic content, i.e., flavour of the title can be seen in S.Garry's translation of M.Sholokhov's novel «Тихий Дон» sounding in English as rhythmic lines of a song - And Quiet Flows the Don or The Don Flows home to the Sea. The former title was used in the New York publication of the novel (1944) and the latter in its London publication that same year. It goes without saying that a verbal or word-for-word translation of the title as *The Quiet Don or *The Still Don would not convey the poetic flavour of the original title, which is strongly felt in its source language variant.
This poetic subtext of the Russian title is really expressed only in each of the two S.Garry's variants which could have been suggested by the translator only after a deep inquiry into the novel's content, into its main idea, and into the whole system of literary images of Sholokhov's work (as with the work mentioned before). It is no less difficult to convey the meaning and functions of colloquial, conversational, dialectal and other kinds of lexical units often used by many authors in their belles-lettres works. To translate them faithfully,
one must consult reference books, dictionaries and often even the native speakers of the language, e.g.: dafosfer-dialectal for знавець/ фахівець; daisy-slang for something or somebody nice, beautiful, first-rate (першосортне); put up (adj.) is colloquial for задуманий зазделегідь; спланований; ab ovo- Latin for від самого початку (Горацій), букв, «від яйця». Constant inquiries of all kinds are also necessary to convey the expression side of the source language matter. It becomes especially imperative in versification which is explained by the condensed nature of poetic works in which thoughts and ideas are often expressed through literary means. To achieve the necessary level of faithfulness the translator has to render fully the picturesqueness, the literary images, the rhythm and the rhyme (vocalic or consonantal), the beauty of sounding of the original poem, etc. An illustration of this may be D.Palamarchuk's versified translation of W.Shakespeare's sonet CXV:
Those lines that I before have write do lie, (10) Even those that said I could not love you dearer: (11) Yet then my judgement knew no reason why (10) My most full flame should afterwards burn clearer. (11) Збрехав мій вірш, колись тобі сказавши: (11) «Моїй любові нікуди рости». (10) Я думав - ріст її спинивсь назавше, (11) Найбільшої сягнувши висоти. (10)
The Ukrainian variant of the stanza reveals its almost complete identity with the original in the rhythmic and rhyme organization and in the number of syllables in each line. Though in the original their number alternates in reverse order (from 10 to 11) and in the translation - from 11 to 10. But this is in no way a rude violation, since the interchange takes place within the same stanza, though the translator could not fully reproduce the alternate (acbd) rhyme, which is feminine in the first (a) and third (c) lines and masculine in the second (b), and in the fourth (d) lines.
Most striking, however, are the syntactic alternations, there being no single line structurally similar to that of the original verse. All that becomes necessary because of the predominantly polysyllabic structure of Ukrainian words the number of which in the translation is only 19 as compared with 35 words in the source language. Besides, the Ukrainian stanza consists of notional words only, whereas in the original work there are also functionals (have, do, that, most, not, etc.). The notionals form the artistic images and ideas the number of
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