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  1. Exercise 2. Translate the sentences paying special attention to the words that need generalization.
  2. Generalization

Generalization is the procedure opposite to the above-mentioned one, i.e. the use of an equivalent with a more general meaning, which is so common in translation from English into Russian, e.g.: “I packed my two Gladstones” “Я упаковала свои два чемодана.” Gladstone is the name of the company, manufacturing big-sized travelling trunks. Another example: “Water, will you give me a Cleenex, please?” which means “Не дадите ли мне салфетку?”.

For obvious reason the translator preferred a generic name to the specific name of the kind of a suitcase or a napkin that the Russian reader is infamiliar with.

The English usually name the exact height of a person: “He is six feet three tall”. “Он шести футов росту”, “Он 190.5 см росту”. A preferable translation here will be “Он очень высокого роста”, since the indication of the exact figure of the height would be superfluous and inadequate for the. reader.


Consider the following examples “Ronald Reagan has always been a Palm Stream guy”. “Он принадлежал к богатому сословию.” Palm Stream is an exclusive place in California. Basing on that, try your hand at translating the following phrases.

When a youth he was associated with Bellow & Mailer (junior league upper class social group);

John put on a Dunhill suit for that important party ( a very expensive suit);

As rich as Baruch (financier);

To avoid a Lakehurst effect (dirigible was on fire in 1927 – an unexpected collapse);

He was as shrewd as (Edward E.) Murrow ( news announcer);

Her voice was a poor imitation of Lena Horn (a black woman singer with a powerful voice);

Don’t be a Tom Mix (a cow boy movie star);

To think of Valhalla (heaven according to the Viking mythology);

Her voice was a poor imitation of Lena Horn (a black woman-singer with a powerful voice);

He was an average Joe (Joe – cf. Ваня);

Give me some packs of Sweet’n Low (low calorie suger substitute);

He downed the Bourbon (whisky).

For her week-end she took two Ziplocs (brand freezer begs) full of Fannie May(s) (kitchen pure milk fresh chocolate candies) & fudges (помадка, выдумка, стряпня).


Another type of lexical transformations is often called “modulation”. It involves the creation of an equivalent by replacing a unit in SL with a TL unit, the meaning of which can be logically deduced from it and which is just another way of referring to the same object or an aspect of the same situation. It is also called “semantic development”. In these cases the substitute often has a cause–and–effect relationship with the original.

E.g. “He answered the phone.” – “Он снял трубку”.

Here the same action refers to identical reality, as a telephone call cannot be answered unless one picks up the receiver. Both the texts give information about the same, or, as one sometimes says, they express the same idea “using different words”.

“Do you need a window or an aisle?” This means that the booking clerk inquires whether the traveller wants a seat by the window or near the aisle. Also, “We have one corner seat in a non-smoker, facing the engine, one back to the engine”. Try to translate that using modulation.


Finally, there is a group of transformations which ensure the required degree of equivalence by a number of changes of both lexical and grammatical nature. They involve a different point of view and other semantic modifications wherever a direct translation of a SL unit proves impossible . A typical example of such a procedure is the so – called antonymous translation describing the situation, as it were, from the opposite point of view and rendering an affirmative SL structure by a negative TL one or vice versa:

E.g. John, I am not kidding. – Джон, я говорю серьезно. In this particular example we see that the negative structure of the English sentence is transformed into the Russian positive sentence. Cf. “Джон, я не шучу. Also:

The door was not unbolted. – Дверь была на засове.

Businessmen do not cross their fingers. Бизнесмены должны быть верны своему слову.

I don’t dislike you. – Вы мне нравитесь.


In conclusion, there is one more way to achieve adequacy in translation, that is compensation technique which is a deliberate introduction of some additional elements at the same or an earlier stage of the text. For instance, Eliza in B.Shaw’s “Pygmalion” makes a mistake typical of the speech of an uneducated person: “I’m nothing to you – not so much as them slippers ”. And Professor Higgins corrects her saying: “those slippers”. The linguistic error in the episode is untranslatable and its loss makes this dialogue meaningless. But the loss can be compensated for by introducing a mistake and its correction – at a point where everything is correct in the original but where an uneducated Russian speaker is likely to make it. As a result in the translation Eliza says: “Я для вас ничто, хуже вот этих туфлей”. And Pr.Higgins corrects her saying “туфель”.

The compensation method is often used to render the stylistic or emotional implications of the original. Consider the following example: My daddy is coming tomorrow on a nairplane.

When translating the sentence from Mark Twain’s “Kings and Cabbages” “He said he had come for me, and informed me that he was a page.”.

“Go ‘long,” I said, “you ain’t more than a paragraph,”

It is clear that the reply would be meaningless but for the play upon the words: “page” and “paragraph”. The same is true about its translation which will be unintelligible unless the play on words is duly reproduced in TL. “Он сказал, что послан за мною и ¸то глава пажей. – Какая ты глава, ты одна строчка! – сказал я ему”.


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Читайте в этой же книге: NB : Permanent equivalents provide the translator with reference points helping him/her to choose the appropriate translation variants. | There is no hard and fast dividing line between types of grammatical transformations: replacement of parts of speech and the transposition of words. | Don’t build castles in the air | TRANSLATION OF SPECIFICALLY ENGLISH STRUCTURES | PCI 9030 Data Book | Viii © 2002 PLX Technology, Inc. All rights reserved. | Data Assignment Conventions | PCI Target Interface | Bit 60 MHz Local Bus | Експлуатаційні можливості |
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