Conveying the Meanings of Language Units at Passage/Text Level

Conveying the Meanings of Language Units at Passage/Text Level

The text as a term is in the true sense of the word a segment of written/oral speech or a whole work consisting of grammatically and logically arranged language units forming with their meanings its gen­eral content. Text as a speech unit may be smaller or larger, but irrespective of its dimension it always remains a macrostructure, which is not an indivisible monolith but a harmonious unity of different lan­guage units. A larger text usually falls into several constituent parts -supra-phrasal units and different types and kinds of sentences. All of them due to their communicative completeness and logical succes­sion constitute something of a semantic and structural backbone of any text. These parts together with their various meanings make the general contextual stream of the text, whose content can be fully and faithfully conveyed only when all contents of each block are fully and exaustively expressed. As the blocks/supra-phrasal units are made of sentences, hence, the necessary degree of faithfulness in any trans­lation of texts/passages can be achieved only through faithful transla­tion of all types of their ingredient sentences.

It must be emphasized, however, that it is not only content (the semantic plane), in other words, not only the lexical meanings of various sense units, that have to be fully and faithfully transplanted in the process of translation. No less important is to fully convey apart from many denotative meanings of language units also their connota­tive characteristics, as well as their stylistic and structural peculiari­ties. A faithful translation of supra-phrasal units or passages/text of any speech style, therefore, presents a complex process, which in­volves a full and faithful expression in the target language of all the main constituent parts forming the semantic, structural, stylisitic and other planes of a text. In view of all this it will be expedient to empha­size that all characteristics (nothing to say about the denotative and the connotative meanings of words and the means of expression in general) are identified, as a rule, by way of a thorough analysis of the original text. This analysis inevitably involves apart from the particu­larities of content also the pragmatic toning/orientation, which can be exhaustively established, however, only at deep level structure of the communicative units.

It must also be added that despite the differences in their actu­alization, the planes of a text are impossible to separate from each other, since they are closely interconnected and form the surface and the deep structures complexity of any text. Hence it follows, that the characteristic features of each plane manifest themselves and are fully realized at text level, which can sometimes be restricted, as has been said, to a supersyntactic unit/paragraph reflecting its main struc­tural, stylistic, pragmatic and other peculiarities. These peculiarities should be rendered in the faithful variant of the target language text/ passage as well, though usually by other than in the target language means of expression.

But whatever the divergences in the means of expression of the source language and of the target language, and irrespective of the fact that far from all the characteristic features of any text are fully reflected in its main componental parts, the translation of a text can be succefully performed only on the basis of its constituent sentences. This is because all syntactic level units are endowed with predication and modality, they have mostly a stuctural and sense completion, they are stylistically and pragmatically in full conformity with the whole text. In view of all this only the sentence can fully meet the require­ments laid before a unit of translation, when the object assigned to translation is a text which usually consists of different types and kinds of sentences joined in supra-syntactic structures.

Since a faithful translation of any passage/text is performed sentence after sentence, their ideas/thoughts, the main structural, stylistic, genre and pragmatic characteristics are mostly conveyed in a consecutive succession too. Their constituent words, word-groups and set expressions/idioms functioning as different parts of the sen­tence or forming constituent elements of the latter (or even being in­dependent elements in the sentence) are all first translated as single units. In other words, prior to translating the sentence as a whole (provided it is not a one-member sentence, like Winter. Bitter frost. Evening time), its parts and functionally independent elements are to be translated as separate sense units. E.g.:

All day we had been sitting in the piano box waiting for the rain to stop. (E.Caldwell)

Цілісінький день ми просиділи в ящикові з-під піаніно, чекаючи, доки перестане дощ.

Part 2: Conveying the Meanings of Language Units at Passage/Text Level