Once an idiom or fixed expression has been recognized and interpreted correctly, the next step is to decide how to translate it into the target language. The difficulties involved in translating an idiom are totally different from those involved in interpreting it. Here, the question is not whether a given idiom is transparent, opaque, or misleading. An opaque expression may be easier to translate than a transparent one. The main difficulties involved in translating idioms and fixed expressions may be summarized as follows:
(a) An idiom or fixed expression may have no equivalent in the target language. The way a language chooses to express, or not express, various meanings cannot be predicted and only occasionally matches the way another language chooses to express the same meanings. One language may express a given meaning by means of a single word, another may express it by means of a transparent fixed expression, a third may express it by means of an idiom, and so on. It is therefore unrealistic to expect to find equivalent idioms and expressions in the target language as a matter of course.
Like single words, idioms and fixed expressions may be culture-specific. Formulae such as Merry Christmas and say when which relate to specific social or religious occasions provide good examples.
Basnett-McGuire (1980: 21) explains that the expression say when 'is . directly linked to English social behavioral patterns' and suggests that 'the translator putting the phrase into Russian has to contend with the problem of the non-existence of a similar convention in either culture'. Less problematic, but to some extent also culture-specific, are the sort of fixed formulae that are used in formal correspondence, such as Yours faithfully and Yours sincerely in English. These, for instance, have no equivalents in Arabic formal correspondence. The same mismatch occurs in relation to French and several other languages but in Russian we have similar expression Ваш верный!
Idioms and fixed expressions which contain culture-specific items are not necessarily untranslatable. It is not the specific items an expression contains but rather the meaning it conveys and its association with culture-specific contexts which can make it untranslatable or difficult to translate. For example, the English expression to carry coals to Newcastle, though culture-specific in the sense that it contains a reference to Newcastle coal and uses it as a measure of abundance, is nevertheless closely paralleled in Russian by в Тулу со своим самоваром. Both expressions convey the same meaning, namely: to supply something to someone who already has plenty of it.
An idiom or fixed expression may have a similar counterpart in the target language, but its context of use may be different; the two expressions may have different connotations, for instance, or they may not be pragmatically transferable. To sing a different tune is an English idiom which means to say or do something that signals a change in opinion because it contradicts what one has said or done before. To go to the dogs ('to lose one's good qualities') has a similar counterpart in German, but whereas the English idiom can be used in connection with a person or a place, its German counterpart can only be used in connection with a person and often means to die or perish.
An idiom may be used in the source text in both its literal and idiomatic senses at the same time. Unless the target-language idiom corresponds to the source-language idiom both in form and in meaning, the play on idiom cannot be successfully reproduced in the target text.
An idiom or fixed expression may have a similar counterpart in the target language, but its context of use may be different; the two expressions may have different connotations, for instance, or they may not be pragmatically transferable. An idiom may be used in the source text in both its literal and idiomatic senses at the same time. Unless the target-language idiom corresponds to the source-language idiom both in form and in meaning, the play on idiom cannot be successfully reproduced in the target text.
Using idioms in English and American politics is very much a matter of style. Languages such as Arabic and Chinese which make a sharp distinction between written and spoken discourse and where the written mode is associated with a high level of formality tend, on the whole, to avoid using idioms in written texts. Fernando and Flavell discuss the difference in rhetorical effect of using idioms in general and of using specific types of idiom in the source and target languages and quite rightly conclude that 'Translation is an exacting art. Idiom more than any other feature of language demands that the translator be not only accurate but highly sensitive to the rhetorical nuances of the language’.
Реферат опубликован: 21/05/2007