Part 4: Lexico-Semantic and Structural Analysis of Language Units of the Excerpt

Part 4: Lexico-Semantic and Structural Analysis of Language Units of the Excerpt

Part 1: Lexico-Semantic and Structural Analysis of Language Units of the Excerpt
Part 2: Lexico-Semantic and Structural Analysis of Language Units of the Excerpt
Part 3: Lexico-Semantic and Structural Analysis of Language Units of the Excerpt

Probably one of the most interesting structural transformations must be performed to achieve faithfulness in translation in two utter­ances that follow the previous one. Neither of the two, when trans­planted, as they are placed in the original passage, would well fit semantically into a good Ukrainian literary version. Cf.:

“I talk to him like I don’t know what. I get so excited”.

1. “Я розмовляю з ним, як не знаю хто”. 2. “Я так збуджуюсь”.

When translated, however, beginning with the second utterance, with the substitution of some words for a more common Ukrainian way of saying, the target lan­guage literary variant becomes more natural and more expressive, and thus more acceptable to Ukrainian colloquial speech style:

1. “I talk to him like I don’t know what. 2. I get so excited.”

Hence, it must be transposed into:

2. “Я як розійдуся/розпалюся, і то такого йому наговорю, що й сама не знаю, що”.

This kind of transformation through the change of placement in the row of utterances makes the Ukrainian version more logically and stylistically grounded, because the woman, as anybody else in her place, got excited first and only then talked to him (Burton) “like no­body knows what”. In view of this, her very mild reproach, instead of the naturally expected strong words of accusation or indignation, is much milder and weaker, and contrary to that, which might have been expected: “Oh, don’t be so silly”. These words disclose the double-dealing conduct of this woman character, who only wanted to camou­flage her false inside.

This can also be clearly seen from the Ukrai­nian variant of the utterance: “О, не говори нісенітниць,” – кажу я йому. These words, of course, are far from expressing any threat or strong reproach, as the woman character pretended.

Other utterances of this block containing peculiar features, which are important to know and still more to translate for a student and future translators, are as follows:

1. “he’s heaps broader-minded” (hyperbolized), which will be more expressive and more faithful when translated antonymically as “він не такий обмежений”;
2. “Southerners” can be translated faithfully only in a descrip­tive way as вихідці/жителі Півдня (південних штатів США);
3. “this regular old nigger (contemptuosly) mammy” should be translated as його стара нянька-негритоска;
4. “he just simply loves her” і він не те що, а просто-таки справді любить її;
5. “he does really to this day” і так до сьогоднішнього дня/ донині.

Always important for the translator is to keep in memory the already solved problems concerning the rendition of some peculiari­ties of the source language or of the target language, as in the follow­ing two utterances: 1. “АІІ he says is, he says, he hasn’t got a word to say -“; 2. “The only thing he says, he says he wouldn’t sit down with one, -” both these italicized colloquial structures have an identical translation: єдине, що він каже, то це каже…

A very interesting structural transformation has to be performed on two clauses of one sentence, which follows the above-analyzed ones. Namely: “He’s always doing things for them – giving them clothes and I don’t know what all”.

When translated without any change of placement of its clauses, the utterance will be structurally clumsy in Ukrainian: “Він завжди щось робить для них – дає їм одежу і сама не знаю що ще.” By changing the placement of its clauses, the utterance acquires the following form: “І чим він їм тільки не допомагає – і одежею, і сама вже не знаю, чим.” Thus, the transformation through the change of placement of some parts of the sentence makes the utterance sound absolutely Ukrainian (stylistically natural) and semantically trans­parent.

The choice of a lexico-semantic equivalent may sometimes cause trouble even in a seemingly explicit utterance. Cf.: “You make me sick talking like that,” where “sick” is semantically associated with sea-sick. At any rate, this meaning may prompt the hard think­ing student-translator to use the verb нудити, which perfectly substi­tutes the English word-group “таке sick” in the utterance above. Hence, the faithful Ukrainian version of it may be only: “Ой, мене вже нудить від твоїх розмов/балачок.”

The beginning translator must be aware of some peculiarities of the source language, which may have no equivalents or even analo­gies for some sense units in the target language. Among these are not necessarily the culturally biased national notions, dialectal, ar­chaic, idiomatic or other elements. These may be simple grammar or phonetic mistakes/corruptions in a text/speech of characters often causing barriers for inexperienced translators, as in the following ques­tion of the woman character: “Aren’t I terrible?” (instead of “Аm I not terrible?”).

It goes without saying that irregularities of the kind may be observed only in speech of small Ukrainian children and almost never in speech of our grown-ups. That is why the utterance can only be translated in a literary (correct) form: 1. “Може я не права?” or 2. “Скажи, я не маю рації ?” 3. “Невже я не маю рації?” Any other, even slightly corrupted Ukrainian versions are next to impossible to suggest in this case (like in other cases). As a result, the speech irregularity remains not completely expressed in Ukrainian. The short reply of the host (“Oh, no, no, no. No, no”.) can also have some interesting versions, which may be suggested by the translator:

1. “Ні, ні, ні. Де там, ні”.
2. “Та ні, зовсім ні”.
3. “Вважаю, що ні”.

It may be even more difficult to select the right/faithful variant for the utterance, in which the woman character objects to her being not “terrible” to her husband and insists on the contrary: “I am”, she said. “I know, I am” (i.e. “terrible”). This emphatically pronounced and rather assuring utterance in her own support can not be trans­lated word-for-word as “Я є, я знаю, що я є (така)”. The translator here must again resort to a structural transformation of the utterance in Ukrainian in order to make it sound absolutely natural for the read­ers. In this case the device of extension may be useful for “I am,” she said. “I know, I am.” Namely: “І не кажіть (і не перечте)”, – випалила вона. “Я знаю, що я жахлива (з ним)”. This transformation through extension of the complex sentence in the second part of the utter­ance, as well as the replacement of the verb “am” by “не кажіть/не перечте” makes the whole reply absolutely literary and quite natural for young as well as for old Ukrainian readers.

Similar transformations are necessary in the succeeding highly emotional utterances of the woman character. These utterances, though seemingly simple and easy to comprehend, are not so easy for inex­perienced students to translate. Thus, the first utterance “Роог Bur­ton!” is not simply “Бідний Бертон!” which will not fully express the high emotion of the woman character. Stylistically more fitting here would be “Бідолашний мій Бертон!” or “Бідний, бідний Бертон!” or “Бідний, бідний мій Бертон!” The latter would sound also more Ukrai­nian. The other two emphasized and emotionally pronounced utter­ances of the block that follow:

1. “Now me, I don’t feel that way at all.
2. I haven’t the slightest feeling about colored people.”) are not less expressive.

Hence, their Ukrainian versions may be as follows:

1. “Ось хоча б я.” or 2. “Взяти хоча б мене.” 3. “Візьмемо ось/ хоча б мене.”

Each of these semantically synonymous versions of the English utterance is emphatically charged, and can be best ex­pressed through the modal particles хоча б plus the corresponding intonation. As to the second utterance (“I don’t feel that way at all”), it can also be translated into Ukrainian by at least one of the following four synonymous substitutes, each of which being equally accept­able:

1. “Я зовсім не така”.
2. “Я зовсім не так думаю”.
3. “Я абсолютно так не вважаю” or even 4. “У мене зовсім інше ставлення до кольорових”.

Part 5: Lexico-Semantic and Structural Analysis of Language Units of the Excerpt