Translation Approaches

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  • Topic: Translation, Russian language, International Herald Tribune
  • Pages : 16 (5305 words )
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  • Published : December 20, 2009
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Translation as a social phenomena

Translation Problems in Modern Russian Society

The development of trade and industry has always given rise to changes in the evolution of communities, bringing about new social forms and stratification of society. This in its turn accelerated the appearance of businesses and factories, arrival of new professions, and urbanization. Since the times of Perestroika (which was started in 1989 by Mikhail Gorbatchev) Russian society has been experiencing dramatic changes that affected the country's politics, economy and social life. In the past 15 years people's attitudes to certain things have changed gradually but profoundly. We have gotten so used to these new attitudes that it's hard to believe it hasn't always been like this. With the arrival of the 21st century we have experienced changes in the economic, legal, technological and other areas which affect our everyday lives. Social changes entail linguistic transformations. Russians in their everyday life got used to certain terms to the point that they no longer consider them "terms"—ATM machine (банкомат); deposit (депозит); account (счет); contract (контракт); download (загружать); etc. "The terminology of international development is constantly evolving as new socioeconomic concepts emerge. In over 10 years ... the writer has witnessed the appearance of a number of neologisms, either entirely new terms or established terms used with a different meaning ..."1. In different societies this process may take different directions depending on the needs and wants of its people. In Russian society an explosive growth of terms pertaining to the economic and computer areas can be observed. Russians largely borrow these terms from the languages of countries with a longer capitalistic and technological tradition (like the USA, for example), thus bringing English words and expressions into the language. Though some of these borrowings have corresponding equivalents in Russian, the English terms are being extensively used by the population, as further evidence of the social changes that have taken place in the country (a similar process would have been inconceivable in the cold war period). Translation is undoubtedly a social phenomenon. Translator's choices are influenced not only by the source language text and the peculiarities of the target audience, but also by the era to which the translator belongs—in translating for the modern reader it is necessary to take into consideration creative traditions, literary norms and conventions that are familiar to the reader of a certain society. Nowadays, due to various political changes and dynamic economic and technological growth, the Russian language has acquired numerous terms, which very quickly migrate from the class of neologisms to the category of familiar and frequently used words. Few of these words (computer terms, for example) do not possess the corresponding equivalent in Russian; many of them do have a Russian (very often explanatory) equivalent. For instance, such nouns as brand, merger, summit, default, deposit, site, spam, tuner, web surfing and adjectives as local, creative, top have equivalents in Russian, but the new "foreign" word is usually preferred (the tendency as a rule is started by the mass media). this may be explained by the fact that a borrowing often has a semantic "compactness," whereas a Russian equivalent has a descriptive character—in some cases a whole sentence must be used. So translators have to deal with the problem of either choosing a "popular" borrowing or go with the equivalent already existing in the language. Translators of a "new generation" prefer not to translate so-called Americanisms and foreign food names, as they are familiar to people of all countries, and "the translator no longer has the absolute need to always find a translation of a term in the target language if this would make the target-language text lose credibility. This is ... called...
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