Native Siberian folklore.If is no easy task to translate folk tales of the peoples of Siberia into English. Siberian folklore traditions differ greatly from those4of European tales. For one thing, these tales include many strange names and words that are not present in many English dictionaries. In the tale «Чориль и Чольчинай» the opening formula runs as follows: «Еще тогда, когда нивховмного было, жили на Тромифе-острове Чориль из рода Тахта и Чольчинай из рода Чильби.» То translate it, we should find an English substitute for the nationality — нивхи; since it does not appear in a dictionary, it may be transliterated as Nivkh(i) or Nywkh. More complicated is the case of Тромиф: if it is transliterated as Tromif or Tromyph, this produces a non-geographical term, for no such island exists on the map; the reader may take it for a fairy-tale, imaginary place. But, this is the Nivkh word for Sakhalin, a proper geographical term, and a real island off the Far East coast of Russia. Probably, the method that would allow us to avoid unnecessary comments is parallel naming: "ои the Tromif—Sakhalin — Island.'"
There are also other names and images in Siberian folklore; such supernatural beings as Морской Старик, Соболиный Хозяин, Боко (Болотный дух), Какзаму-Горный человек, andothers. Variants are possible; for example, Соболиный Хозяин may become Chief Sable, or Sable Spirit, or Sable Man or Great Sable. Anyhow, the chosen substitute must match the context, its style and rhythm, as well as the other names and formulas.
To translate Siberian folklore texts means first of all to leai a
some basic ideas about their cultural peculiarities. In a Siberian
Практикум по художественному переводу
folk tale it is important to distinguish the following poetic features:
1) its archaic nature;
2) special names and allusions to places and rites;
3) the colloquial style of the narration.
The archaic roots of the Siberian folklore can be traced in many images and illogical formulas that prove the shamanist and animist nature of the fairy-tale picture of the world. In some tales ancient mythical images appear, such as the celestial brother and sister, cultural heroes, who ride a fair red horse and live in a silver abode close to the sky. Such stories may include many anachronisms like guns, paper, tobacco or iron, but their core is the myth of the sun and moon siblings.
Many of the stories deal with animal transformations, when a girl is transformed, into a hare, or a boy becomes a bear. Sometimes strange motifs appear; such as желтая собака. The word желтая does not simply mean "yellow"; it definitely has a strong symbolic power, as yellow is one of the sacred colours in Siberian folklore, and refers to the spirits of earth or, sometimes, of the sun. Anyhow, when any yellow characteristics is present in the text, it introduces there the idea of a mythical hero or rite. A yellow dog may be a guardian of the sun spirit; but it also may be a sign of a fiery revenge on those who break the law; or it may appear as a shape-shifter, a guide to some sacred place, etc. The Golour may be represented by many variants as copper, golden or brimstone — yet they will all be yellow in respect of the functions mentioned above. In translation such a feature is not easy to save, because the association between the yellow colour and its magic and mythical functions is not easily recognised by European folklore traditions, and the text in translation may seem more illogical than it really is. So in some cases it may be necessary to add either the word "yellow" to some golden or copper coloured objects, or to expand the "yellow" epithet with some additional component, for example, "a yellow (magic) dog."
Special names and allusions in Siberian folk tales may be 292
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