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The absence of regular equivalents does not imply that the meaning of an equivalent-lacking SL unit cannot be rendered in translation or that its translation must be less accurate. We have seen that words with regular equivalents are not infrequently translated with the help of contextual substitutes. Similarly, the translator, coming across an equivalent-lacking word, resorts to occasional equivalents which can be created in one of the following ways:
1. Using loan-words imitating in TL the form of the SL word or word combination, e.g. tribalism — трайбализм, impeachment — импичмент, backbencher — заднескамеечник, brain-drain — утечка мозгов. As often as not such occasional formations are adopted by the members of the TL community and get the status of regular equivalents.
2. Using approximate substitutes, that is TL words with similar meaning which is extended to convey additional information (if necessary, with the help of foot-notes), e.g. drugstore — аптека, witchhunter — мракобес, afternoon — вечер. The Russian «аптека» is not exactly a drugstore where they also sell such items as magazines, soft drinks, ice-cream, etc., but in some cases this approximate equivalent can well be used.
3. Using all kinds of lexical (semantic) transformations (see Part I, Ch. 4) modifying the meaning of the SL word, e.g. "He died of exposure" may be rendered into Russian as «Он умер от простуды» or «Он погиб от солнечного удара».
4. Using an explanation to convey the meaning of the SL unit, e.g. landslide-победа на выборах подавляющим большинством голосов, brinkmanship — искусство проведения политики на грани войны, etc.
This method is sometimes used in conjunction with the first one when the introduction of a loan-word is followed by a foot-note explaining the
For a more detailed discussion of the problems involved in the translation of English attributive groups see Part II, Ch. 2 (2.1).
meaning of the equivalent-lacking word in ST. After that the translator may freely employ the newly-coined substitute.
There are also quite a number of equivalent-lacking idioms. Such English phraseological units as "You cannot eat your cake and have it", "to dine with Duke Humphrey", "to send smb. to Coventry" and many others have no regular equivalents in Russian. They are translated either by reproducing their form in TL through a word-for-word translation or by explaining the figurative meaning of the idiom, e.g.: People who live in glass should not throw stones. — Люди, живущие в стеклянных домах, не должны бросать камни; to see eye-to-eye with srnb. - придерживаться одних взглядов.*
Equivalent-lacking grammatical forms give less trouble to the translator. Here occasional substitutes can be classified under three main headings, namely:
1. Zero translations when the meaning of the grammatical unit is not rendered in the translation since it is practically identical to the meaning of some other unit and can be safely left out. In the sentence "By that time he had already left Britain" — К этому времени он уже уехал из Англии the idea of priority expressed by the Past Perfect Tense needn't be separately reproduced in TT as it is made superfluous by the presence of "by that time" and "already".
2. Approximate translations when the translator makes use of a TL form partially equivalent to the equivalent-lacking SL unit, e.g.: I saw him enter the room — Я видел, как он вошел в комнату. The Russian language has no complex objects of this type but the meaning of the object clause is a sufficient approximation.
3. Transformational translation when the translator resorts to one of the grammatical transformations (see Part I, Ch. 4), e.g.: Your presence at the meeting is not obligatory. Nor is it desirable — Ваше присутствие на собрании необязательно и даже нежелательно (the syntactical integration).
As has been emphasized, equivalents are not mechanical substitutes for SL units but they may come handy as a starting point in search of adequate translation. The translator will much profit if he knows many permanent equivalents, is good at selecting among variable equivalents and resourceful at creating occasional equivalents, taking into account all contextual factors.
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