The text under study describes translation criticism as an ambiguous sphere of translation theory. In the author’s opinion many critics have no workable concepts of equivalence and there are no strict rules of carrying out criticism on translation. So their evaluations cannot be called objective; critics often make sweeping generalizatios and express only their personal opinions.
The headline “Translation Criticism” is very informative and attracts the readers' attention at once. We understand that the text is about translation and its critical aspects. The text has a clear structure. It is divided into a number of paragraphs, which are numbered. It is characteristic of the scientific style in English editions.
The translator’s task is to provide the reader with accurate information and to convey the author’s ideas clearly. This task may be achieved by giving proper equivalents for the terms and proper names: competence – компетенция, translation studies –теория перевода, linguistic theories – лингвистические теории and so on.
As I have already mentioned, the composition of the text is very logically organized and presents no difficulty for the translator to be transmitted. The initial paragraph gives the readers some information about the necessity to create a basis for translation evaluation. The bulk of the text and the final paragraph contain a review of key theoretical papers, they summarize the accumulated experience of methodological approaches to the translation criticism and offer the author’s approach to a specific evaluation method for translation criticism of poetry.
When translating the text we come across some difficulties and problems of translation on different levels. We should always break up our complex translation task into smaller ones and consider all the difficulties on the level of lexis, grammar and style in a more detailed way.
Central translation problems are as usual concentrated on the level of lexis. Despite the fact that the lexis of the text is mainly neutral and literary, we should be very attentive while selecting equivalents in the target language. For example the word “poetic” may be regarded as translator’s false friend. Poetic translation may mean not only «поэтический перевод», but «художественный перевод». We cannot always translate “criticism” and “critics” as «критика» and «критики» throughout the text. I used the words «оценка перевода», «теоретики перевода» and so on.
Proper names present another translation problem. The name of the author may be translated with the help of transliteration or transcription: Robert De Beaugrande – Роберт де Боугранде. But as we read an extract from his book in our classes I know that the accepted variant is Робер де Богранд. Some other famous linguists are also mentioned: Katharina Reiss – Катарина Райс, Karl Buhler – Карл Бюлер. I know how to convey their names in Russian because they are well known in Russia.
One more peculiarity of scientific literature is presented in the text by clichés of scientific discourse: thus far – до настоящего момента, to derive evidence – получить данные, descriptive techniques – описательный метод, sample translation – образец перевода, little consensus exists about – нет согласия относительно, in recent years – в последнее время.
There are also some difficulties from the point of view of grammar. The syntax of the chapter under consideration is quite elaborate – it contains rather many complex and compound sentences, so the translator’s goal is to preserve the syntax in the target text as well, as Russian syntax in scientific papers is also very complex.
While translating this text we may resort to different kinds of grammar transformations. For instance, translating the final sentence we have to replace the plural form “…rendering their evaluations” by the singular one: «…делает их оценку». We also have to resort to antonymic translation to make the sentence more clear for the Russian audience. I translated the sentence “that no criticism of a translation should be undertaken without consulting the original” as «критика перевода должна осуществляться только с учетом текста оригинала».
The text is crowded with Passive Voice structures, it is one of the most well-known features of scientific writing. Passive voice is frequently used in scientific papers to create an impersonal narration. We should not always preserve the passive voice while translating. For example, I translated the expression we are told by Kenneth Rexroth… as по словам Кеннота Рексрота…
The author also uses some hedging devices not to sound very categoric, for example he uses modal auxiliaries such as (may, might, can, etc.): In this fashion, we might have a basis to undertake the criticism and evaluation of translations – «Таким образом, мы можем получить основу для осуществления критики и оценки переводов».
In conclusion I may say that in spite of the fact that the text under study refers to scientific style it was very interesting to read and rather easy to translate. It contains not just bare facts and data, but also the narrator’s judgments and some examples.
It is certainly hard for me to evaluate my own translation however I think I was able to achieve general translation adequacy and solve all the translation problems. I have used a wide range of the Russian language means to preserve the scientific style and convey the main idea of the text.
Let me read my translation of the beginning of the chapter: