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Imagery in Translation. grateful to St. Petersburg Branch of the UTR presided by P

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grateful to St. Petersburg Branch of the UTR presided by P. S. Bruk for the professional and moral support aswell as for the help in collecting the material and working out thede­sign of the manual. My special thanks are alsoto the studentsof St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg Institute of Exter­nalEconomic Relations, Economics and Law and NevskyInsti­tute of Language and Culture who were very creative and toler­antwhile I imposed this material on them as a pilot programme.Finally yet importantly, I acknowledge my particular debt to thelate Professor E. G. Etkind whose lectures, books andrecom­mendations provided the corner stone for developing of my views and skills in the theory and practice of literary translation.

T. A. Kazakova

Imagery in Translation


There can be no argument that the translator of literary rks should achieve a close relationship between the theory and ctice of translation. For one thing, the choice of the principles ranslation may not be purely intuitive because the translator essarily takes into account such matters as the aim of the trans-on, the temporal and geographic gap between the creation of source text and possible readers of the target text, the cultural between the original author and the reader of the translation, kind of reader the target text is intended for, etc. Each aspect vides a problem for consideration and solution in the course ranslating. One of the eternal problems is the choice of the hod of translation.

To distinguish between such methods of translation as lit-', literary and poetic is necessary in examining the way of slating literature. Literal translation is obviously jised when e is a need to observe the rules of the source language and and to present them in their integrity to the target culture. It is lite reasonable approach when we translate for philological ?oses, e.g., ancient epic texts or very unusual texts remote я the target culture. It is quite legitimate when translating most nical texts. Yet even such scholarly texts as those from the I of linguistics may not always be translated literally. I wit-;ed such a communicative conflict when the Russian linguis-erm «номинация» was literally translated as "nomination" i Russian lecturer to an American audience (Princeton Uni-ity). It required some time and bilingual discussion before i the Russian scholar and the audience came to a sort of con-us using the term of "naming", which, in its turn, usually esponds to the Russian «именование» and does not fully co-ie with the Russian term «номинация». Literal translation is

definitely, not the best method to translate most literary works for the wider public. All attempts to pursue this approach inevitably come up against the obvious fact that the literary functions of words do not coincide in the source and target languages. Apart from polysemy, words compatible and comparable in meaning evoke different, if not incompatible, aesthetic and emotional as­sociations and thus have quite different associative force in the source and target languages. The Russian word «белогвардеец» can easily be translated literally as "a white guard" in many in­stances, but not when it is used ironically or with some associa­tive purpose. Translating an ironical passage from The Master and Margarita, Diana Burgin and Katherine Tiernan O'Connor gave a literal substitute for Bulgakov's text:

«Какие-то странные мысли хлынули в голову заболевшему поэту... «Что он сделал? Я не постигаю;.. Что-нибудь особенное есть в этих словах: «Буря мглою...»? Не понимаю! Повезло! Повезло! - вдруг ядовито заключил Рюхин. - Стрелял, стрелял в него этот белогвардеец и раздробил бедро и обеспечил бессмертие...»

Strange thoughts poured into the stricken poet's head. "What did he do? I don't get it... What's so special about the words: 'Storm with mist the heavens covers...'? I don't understand!... He was lucky, lucky, that's all!" Ryukhin concluded with sudden venom. "He was shot, shot by that white guard, who smashed his hip and guaranteed his immortality..."

Something familiar to every Russian from childhood - the line of poetry and death in a duel - is immediately associated with the name of Pushkin, while the word «белогвардеец» used by Ryukhin is no less suggestive of the primitive proletarian writers of the 1920s-1930s. Yet this word does not prompt an average English reader to make the association with Pushkin. The trans­lated text becomes enigmatic and remote, which, presumatly, made its translators supply the reader with a kind of commentary:

_______ Практикум по художественному переводу___

"Ryukhin, a second-rate Soviet poet, broods about why Pushkin got famous ('Storm with mist' is a line from a famous poem by Pushkin, much loved by Bulgakov). Ryukhin is of such primitive culture that he refers to the man who killed Pushkin in a duel in 1837 as a white guard, a contemporary term of abuse, meaning those who fought on the side of the monarchy during the Russian Civil War." One might doubt whether this commentary makes the En­glish text any more comprehensible, or the author's sarcasm about the "proletarian flair for enemies" at least easier to appreciate. Probably, the translation would have acquired more associative power if a different quotation from Pushkin were used, one more familiar to the English reader (perhaps just the title Eugene One-gin) and the circumstances of the notorious duel were elucidated in the text (just the name of d'Anthes or the word "duel").

The term "literary translation" is somewhat vague. In Rus­sian, it is usually opposed to the term «информативный, или документальный перевод» and describes translation as aiming predominantly at the target language rules rather than the source language ones. The Russian term «литературный перевод» would be fitting to define the method in general. This method is defi­nitely a necessary and important instrument for different cultural traditions to communicate and should apply to translating social and political writing or fiction, while the term "poetic transla­tion" as a variety of literary translation is associated with trans­lating poetry and presupposes some inevitable liberties in the choice of the target language substitutes for the source languagl elements. However, we should differentiate between the ideas and principles of literary and poetic methods of translation.


The term poetic translation may be considered to apply to a particular type of translating in which not only linguistic and literary rules but also creative competition and imagery matter. , On the other hand, by literary translation we normally mean just that the target language rules are observed in preference to the ■ source language rules in slavish copy. Poetic translation involves

Imagery in Translation

an unpredictable area of transformations in the probable proj tion of the source text onto the target language through the \ ception of the translator. Some transformations of this leind not determined by interlinguistic relationship but by cultura even personal preferences on the part of the translator. Thus poetic translation the source text acquires probable rather t causal character. Multiple probabilities are a particular featun poetic translation, while another important feature is irreversi ity. From this point of view, poetic translation is what is soi times described as "artistic translation," though the term "ar tic" is too general to apply to textual material. What is to be < cussed and practised in this book is concerned with the met! or, rather, art of poetic translation understood in the meaning the Russian term «художественный перевод».

There is always some debatable polarity in any poetic tre lation. On the one hand, it has to preserve the authenticity of original, that is to say, its foreignness in the target language, wl on the other part, it must be meaningful to the target culturi both form and idiom and thus acquire naturalness. This polai in various terms, has been considered in many works on tran; tion. One of the most famous registers of the dual principle: translation was produced by Theodore Savory who fixed a m ber of oppositions in the list of requirements for a correct tran tion.1

The necessity of keeping both targets in view at the s£ time was firmly indicated by the Czech linguist Jifi Levy,2 also discussed and reformulated by many others. In the Russ tradition many terins have been used to name this quality, oni the best devised was A. V. Fyodorov's «полноценность пере

' Т. Savory, The Art of Translation (London: Cape, 1957). T. Sa considers translation as a way of overcoming barriers in literary commui tion and puts forward a list of contradictory positions and principles ii form of oppositions.

2 Иржи Левый. Искусство перевода. - М.: Прогресс, 1974.

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