Grammatical means of translation

Ecaterina bric
gr. 211 mp
Grammatical form is a discrete element, which exists in the
grammatical system of this or that language.
 A form never appears as an existing thing, or as a point in
time, but rather as an event of choosing.
 Thus, the grammatical forms, from the point of view of the
translator, do not 'exist', they 'happen', they develop in time
as a process of making a choice.
 The translator is a linguistic agent whose choices are
governed by the interplay of communicative intention and
expected inference on the part of the recipient interlocutor.
On the other hand, there is a complex of factors influencing
the translator’s choices. These factors constitute a hierarchy
of various degrees of relevance for the final grammatical
 As
an example of a lexical factor partaking in
grammatical action the following parallel
might be taken where the Russian language
prefers the simple past (supported, in its
perfective function, by ‘now’ and ‘here you
are’), whereas in the English translation we
find a ‘pure’ present perfect.
Вот я сейчас из деревни приехал.
(Л. Толстой)
I’ve just come back from the country.
 Traditionally,
the usage of the grammatical
form is correlated with the context.
The context is not given, it is created by the
speaker while conceptualizing and coding his or
her message.
 Due to asymmetry in form and content between
different languages, the translator should take,
as a minimum basic unit of comparison and
translation, a unit smaller than a complete
sentence (which includes at least two
grammatical events), but bigger than a separate
grammatical form or a discrete contextual
 this
optimal unit is defined as a grammatical
contextual complex (GCC) which correlates
with a universal grammatical integral.
 The following formula reflects the structure
of GCC in a particular language:
По небу полуночи ангел летел
One midnight an angel flew over the sky.
 On
this level, the most possible semantic
semilarity between the source and target
sentences is found:
e.g. Every mother loves her children. – Каждая
мать любит своих детей.
this is a word for word translation where
each word and the whole structure
retains its lexical and grammatical
meaning, the situation designated by the
sentences is identical, and the
communicative function of the utterances
is the same.
Transcription, or copying the sound form the source language word by
means of the target language letters: e.g. eau de cologne – одеколон, hake
- хек;
Transliteration or copying the letters of the source language by the
target language letters of another system: e.g. London – Лондон
In the dispute between transcription and transliteration, some factors
should be kept in mind:
- modern and outdated traditions: these days the English great physicist
Newton is known in Russia as Ньютон (transcription), though in the 18th
century M. Lomonosov wrote about Невтон (transliteration).
national traditions: in the source language the form of a name can
follow the spelling traditions of its original country. The target language
form often follows the original pronunciation tradition: Mozart –
Моцарт; Singer – Зингер.
Calque is translation by parts: старовер – Old Believer.
Grammar transformations are morphological or syntactical changes in
translated units. They are subdivided into the following types:
 Grammar substitution, when a grammar category of the translated unit is
-Thus a passive construction can be translated by an active voice verb form.
e.g. The port can be entered by big ships only in tide. –
Большие корабли могут заходить в порт только во время прилива.
-Or there may be substitution of the noun number category, the singular by the
plural or vice versa: e.g. Her hair is fair and wavy. –
У нее светлые волнистые волосы.
 Word order change. English and Russian sentences have different
information structures.
e.g. A new press conference was held in Washington yesterday. It is naturally
equivalent to
Вчера в Вашингтоне состоялась новая пресс-конференция.
 Sentence partitioning is the replacement of a simple sentence in the
source text with a complex sentence .e.g.
I want you to undestand this transformation.
Я хочу, чтобы вы поняли эту трансформацию.
Sentence integration is a contrary transformation. It takes place
when we make one sentence out of two or more, or convert a
complex sentence into a simple one: e.g.
If one knows languages, one can come out on top. – Зная языки, можно
далеко пойти.
Grammar compensation is a deliberate change of the grammar
category by some other grammar means. Compensation takes
place when a grammar category or form does not exist in the
target laguage and, therefore, cannot produce the same impact
upon the target text receptor. E.g.
''Take some of the conceit out of him,'' he gurgled. ''Out of who?'' asked
Barbara, knowing perfectly well that she should have said 'whom' '' «Поубавь немного у него тщеславия,» - буркнул он. «С кого?» –
спросила Барбара, хорошо зная, что ей следовало сказать ‘у
Translating tense and aspect forms. Asymmetry in expressing tense
distinctions in English and Russian.
Если он придет, я дам
вам знать.
If he comes, I’ll let you
Кто съел мой суп?
Who has eaten my soup?
 English
passive is classified into four types of
a) direct passive: A book was given to him. It has a corresponding
Russian passive voice form: Книга была дана ему.
b) indirect passive: He was given the book. This form is translated
by the corresponding Russian active voice verb in the
impersonal sentence: Ему дали эту книгу.
c) prepositional passive: The article was not referred to. – На эту
статью не ссылались. The corresponding Russian impersonal
sentence is also with the active verb.
d) adverbial passive: The room hasn’t been lived in. When
translated into Russian, the passive construction is substituted
by an active one, sometimes a subject of the sentence is
introduced: В комнате никто не жил/не живет.
Thus, only one type of English passive construction has a
direct correspondence in Russian.
In both English and Russian the Subjunctive Mood
expresses a hypothetical, unreal action.
 In Russian, there is only one form: the past form of
the verb + the particle бы: e.g. Я хотел бы пойти
 In English, there are many verb forms to express the
subjunctive mood:
 -synthetic forms be/do, were/did;
-analytical forms should/would, do/have done,
might/could do/have done, may/can do, had done.
e.g. I wish I could help you .
Usage of the English subjunctive forms depends on the
clause structure and semantics of the main verb.
Kashkin V., Choice factors in translation, pp-17.
 Kashkin V.,Grammatical Choice in Translation,
 Proshina Z., Theory of translation, 2008,
Vladivostok, Far Eastern University Press. pp276.