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

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

Part 1: Conveying the Meanings of Language Units at Passage/Text Level

As can easily be ascertained, only through translation of the component parts 1) All day, 2) we had been sitting, 3) in the piano box, 4) waiting, 5) for the rain to stop could the translation of the sentence be fully and faithfully accomplished.

Similarly in the following simple two-member sentence:

There was an old two-storey yellow house on Fielding A venue that year. (W.Saroyan)

Того року на Філдінґ Аве­ню ще стояв старий двопо­верховий жовтий будинок.

This sentence too could be translated faithfully into Ukrainian only after its component parts, which also function as parts of the sentence, were translated one after another, though not necessarily in absolutely the same, as in the source language, succession. Cf.: 1) that year, 2) on Fielding Avenue, 3) was, 4) an old two-storey yel­low house. There is no need to adduce any further proofs in support of the existence of a preliminary stage of translation preceding the final one, i.e., complete and faithful translation of the whole communica­tive sense unit. One must acknowledge, therefore, the existence of translation at all main language levels represented by the correspond­ing sense units. Consequently, one can speak of the existence of some language units having their separate levels of translation. This was already exemplified more than once on the foregoing pages and it will be shown in the process of translating several supersyntactic level units/paragraphs a little further. And yet a language unit in which all possible meanings pertained to other language units, which are hier­archically lower in rank than the sentence and thus function as its componental parts, are fully realized at the level of the communicative unit or text as a whole. There will be more than one chance to ascer­tain in that in the process of the commented translation of an excerpt from D.Parker’s short story Arrangement in Black and White below. Some other excerts representing different language styles and as­signed for independent translation will also testify to the pointed above statements.

The selected passage to be analysed belongs to the belles-lettres style and consequently abounds in various features character­istic of it. Besides it represents a dialogue with many colloquialisms peculiar of spoken American English. The authoress employed many other stylistic means to make the narration lively and the develop­ment of the plot dynamic and interesting. The story is a masterly piece of psychological motivation of each character’s behavior and speech part. The text abounds in many shortened and elliptical sen­tences and other stylistic means which are used to create some prag­matic subtext which the translator has to comprehend and then fully convey with the help of some functionally relevant stylistic, syntactic and lexical/semantic means of the Ukrainian target language.

Before starting the commented translation of the text it is expe­dient to repeatedly make mention of the obligatory stages that should precede the very process of translation. The first of them is to read through the passage/work selected for translation and to analyse it. All attention in the course of this analysis should be paid to picking out the language units whose denotative or connotative meanings present some difficulties for translating. After this all attention must be paid to choosing in dictionaries/reference books the possible se­mantic, structural and stylistic variants for the language units or signs as they are sometimes called, which present difficulties for translat­ing. The second stage implies a regular selection from the chosen variants, which are usually more than one, the most fitting into the given sentence/passage semantic, functional or stylistic equivalents and substitutes. Only when this preparatory work is completed, the translation proper can be started.

It must also be noted that the peculiar sentence structures, the tropes, the prosodic and other means in belles-lettres texts serve the aim of creating the necessary impact on the reader/listener. That is why the regular preparatory work on the text selected for translation always takes some time, the latter being often predetermined not only by the skill and theoretical grounding of the translator but by some other factors as well. These include the ease (or otherwise) of the author’s style, the abundance or absence of difficult for translation linguistic phenomena in his work as neologisms, archaisms, dialectal material or any other obscure places created by some historic events or customs, culturally biased national notions and the like. Because of this the preparatory time needed for a translation proper to begin may vary from text to text. The main methods by which the “resis­tance” of the source language text may be overcome in translation (with particular attention to selecting the means of expression) will be shown further on the pages to come.

And now in accordance with the requirements of the first stage in the preparatory work for translation, read and thoroughly analyse the passage below paying attention to difficult or obscure (if any) places you come across in each separate sentence. Put the picked out sense units down and offer one or some suitable lexical/semantic equiva­lents for each of them. See to it that they also suit in the speech style of the corresponding sentences and in the excerpt of this D.Parker’s story as a whole.