Main methods of teaching written translation

Written translation is a more prevalent professional form of translation when memory capacity is limitless. It is a process of translation from one language into another the result of which is recorded in written form. It is also called written in writing which means that two languages are used in written form. Written translation can be perceived as visual written translation that means that written translation of the text is received visually as well. Aurally written translation is another form of written translation of a text that is perceived aurally. This can also be defined as aurally-written translation.

Translation teaching method is a field of pedagogical science that is not enough developed. One of the problems of this type of method is that it does not state clearly the problem of teaching of universal translation skills and abilities that are necessary in all types of translation such as interpreting, written, sequential and simultaneous translations. However, it is obvious that the translation study should be started from the development of certain skills and abilities that serve as fundamental background that require different types of translation.

During the studying of existing methods and recommendations on translation of scientific texts it was noted that they are universal for all types of translation that means that they do not consider the nature of original text and its typological features in full. Taking into account traditional method, translation process was mainly defined as leveled activity. Although in 80-s the main inference in translation theory was that translation activity cannot be fulfilled with the help of universal formulas due to its heuristic nature [Zvilling M.Y., 1982, p. 23]. However, this idea did not take its further development.

Considering that a translator has a limitless time for text apprehension it is evident that written translation is more deliberate and, therefore, complete type of translation as, for example, during interpreting some parts of the text can be omitted due to time limit that interpreter often faces. Contemporary perception of translation method is based on the following principles:

  • original text as an object of translation fully depend on translator (constructed by translator) [Heidegger M, Derrida Zh.]
  • text understanding is transmitted into the text by translator [Bogin G.I., Galeyeva N.L., Sorokin Yu.A.].

While defining the content of translation method some researchers think that the main purpose of translation is to find appropriate translation transformations, predicate change, translation of phrases and others. However, considering the complex nature of translation process translation as a lingual activity cannot be defined as a manipulation made to original text or a change of one text into another but a complex thinking procedure that is based on reflexion method. Thus, translation text is always a process of new text creation but not a reproduction of original one according to traditional translation method view point. Traditional understanding of invariant text substitution is actually "pseudosubstitutional" because during the intrusion of one semiosphere into another one new meaning and information are usually created [Lotman, 1999, p.13].

The skill to perform certain action considers perception of the purpose of incoming result and structuring necessary procedures. In other words, according to Leontyev A.A. there are two parts in psychological activity structure: intensional (what should be achieved) and operational (how it can be achieved [Galskova N.D., 2004, p.123]. The purpose is defined in advance not after the result in translation activity. Basically, it is formed and clarified during the process of translation that is to say its formulation and realization go simultaneously. At the same time the purpose as a form of future result is perceived when optimal variant of translation is found (in translator viewpoint). In other words, goal setting is considerably "overloaded" with procedures relevant to the phase of realization. Therefore, translation exercises or different types of tasks for translation practices cannot be effective enough for goal setting skills development. A student can be trained in translation quite long and cannot obtain necessary skills in choosing appropriate translation variants hesitating in making the decision every time. To some extent these hesitations are normal in translation practices as there are always nonequivalent translation elements in different language systems. However, the latter is acceptable to some extent and only in certain cases, otherwise effective work of a translator is impossible. Difficulties and sometimes inability to defined the purpose of translation work and as a result to differentiate professional translation from nonprofessional one lead to two controversial tendencies that is translation seems to be professional and acceptable or it cannot be made because of lack of understanding how to translate in proper way [Bazalina E.N., 2011, p.2].

Translation theory field plays one of the most important role in the development of goal setting skills. First of all it provides the understanding of common mission of translation (leading motive of the whole translation activity), information about three main requirements to translation procedure (three conditions of translation equivalency) and contradictions among them, information about factors that create lingua-ethnic barrier and the way to avoid them as well as the notion about text as a system of informative elements of different functional relevance that consider different degree of completeness of their reproduction in translation. The question is how to provide this knowledge more clearly and reasonably to students.

There are a number of effective tasks that teacher can apply in translation lessons. In addition, the comments of more experienced translators about teaching translation can provide more acceptable way to solve this problem. Thus, in order to talk about common mission of translation specific tasks can be used during teaching translation. For example, problem solving tasks can be practiced as well: original texts, translation of this text and its summary are distributed among students and using them they should define the difference between translation and summary. Teacher should talk with students about the condition of common mission of translation and its difference from other types of language mediation. During this talk they can also raise the question why different details and precisions are necessary in translation while a content and basic idea can only be passed into the translating text. According to pedagogical experience in most cases undemanding users of translation usually follow this principle. At the beginning of the talk about the requirements of language norms and usage to the translation text relevant mistakes made by inexperienced translators can be applied. Problem solving tasks are more beneficial. For example, texts with normative and usual deficiencies can be suggested to students and they should also be asked why deficiencies occurred and how they influence on text perception [Latyshev L.K., Semenov A.L. 2003., p.84].

However, general knowledge and perception about translation do not provide the skills to set a goal of translation activity properlyFor this special exercises that are not connected to translation should be applied. The use of these exercises has a theoretical explanation that is based on the idea that optimal variant of translation can be achieved by sequential exception of "nonrelevant material" from temporary (sample) variants. In parallel to this the purpose of translation acivity or image of speech reproduction into target language that should be created is set. Thus, the ability to set a goal in translation is closely interconnected with the ability to see "nonrelevant material" in translation. During teaching translation the following methods are considered to be more effective:

  1. reproductive methods (business role games, students' self-guided work, work with reference literature);
  2. exploratory methods (video lessens, meeting with the representatives from English speaking countries);
  3. perceptive methods (language exercises, "case-study" or analysis of certain situation);
  4. logical methods.

Translation from Russian into English is one of the challenging tasks that involves a set principles that students should follow to make a professional translation. Listening of different variants of translation, critical analysis of the made mistakes, choose of optimal variant of translation suggested to students, and lastly the analysis of discussion provided by teacher are school of practical stylistics of Russian. It is here that future specialists perceive the whole difficulty of correlation of two different language systems. The influence of English collocability results in the literalism in Russian that is to mistakes that need correction. This work on the correction of translation variant trains students to treat their native language cautiously and helps them to learn it better. During the first lessons it is desirable to listen to all variants. After, students can listen to the variants of half of the group if there are no many mistakes. First time teacher corrects mistakes, however, after a set of practices students can start making the correction themselves. This will help them to prove their opinion with reason, to analyze their group-mates' work observantly and to think over translating phrase.

One of the most important role play tests that are worked out in accordance with the task difficulty. In most cases these tests serve as a main criteria of progress in written translation rather than written tasks. The speed and self dependence of the execution of translation can be checked only in class room. Therefore, month control of obtained skills is a necessary form of classroom work on this aspect. After conducting written test a teacher should elaborately check translations that is to write down most typical mistakes into his/her copybook, systemize them and analyze the reason of made mistake with students. Herewith, students should have their cheeked works in front of them so that they could ask a teacher all questions that concern them. Each sentence should be translated by teacher. While analyzing the mistakes teacher should not say such phrases as follows: "It seems inappropriate" or "I do not like it for some reason". Critics should be reasonable and positive to the maximum. Teacher is obligatory to evaluate work in accordance with set criteria without accepting voluntarism.

The goal of translation from Russian into English is to teach students the skills of interpretative translation, to teach them to use dictionary, to search for right phrases and choose necessary word from synonymic row. Students should learn to express different thoughts using various linguistic means. This skill can be obtained only after student's realization that the same thought can be expressed by different linguistic means. The ability to find a way from any difficult situation by changing unfamiliar word into its synonym or by description of this word using different lexical means should be systematically developed in the learning process. It is obvious that if all skills should be developed during the translation from Russian into foreign language as students usually face difficulties during this type of translation then synonyms and descriptive substitutes should be found for separate Russian words in Russian during translation lessons. This usually happens because in most cases during searching for synonyms and descriptive substitutes students' thinking process occurs in native language.

English translations is practiced using newspaper copies. This kind of texts contains significant quantity of translation difficulties and considers elaborate out-of-class preparation for translation discussion. If possible translations should be taken for examination and then mistakes should be discussed. Text ought to contain translation comments providing the information about words, collectability, style of article and stylistic means. Such work on text brings maximum benefit. Teacher suggests his/her variant of translation and requires to write it down. Next lesson he/she suggests to translate this text using unprepared translation. In such a way learnt lexic is reinforced, memory is trained and, moreover, despite the fact that student should reproduce the variant that was worked out last lesson with the help of teacher, he/she also should answer all teacher's questions about synonyms the information about which was provided in comments to translation. Written translation tasks can develop a set of students' skills.

Work on written translation into English helps to systemize the knowledge on speech practice that was gained by students, increases vocabulary (reproductive and receptive), teaches to correlate phenomena of two different language systems. Translation problems that represent certain difficulties in translation into English can be eliminated by a serial of exercises. Such problems include: translation of Russian participle and gerund, translation of the meaning of aspects and tenses of Russian verbs, translation of Russian impersonal and indefinite-personal sentences, translation of proverbs, translation of verbal nouns and others. In last lessons to introduce the works of professional fiction translators to students the translation that was made by them can be analyzed. Comparative analysis helps to show the best way to solve the most difficult translation tasks without wasting too much time, demonstrate close interconnection of all linguistic means in the translation process and, besides, introduce the basics of translation correction to students. With this purpose it is recommended to compare the original edition of translation with its rendition that was corrected by more experienced translators. However, the last type of work cannot be considered the main one. Written translation skills are mainly developed during the translation practice of newspaper copies and publicist writing.

Practical work on written translation should be started from the translation of coherent text that allows to solve tasks more rationally the aim of which is to teach students to overcome lexical, grammatical and stylistically difficulties in complex using context. However, the work on coherent text does not exclude but considers parallel work on special exercises that are composed into separate themes that represent certain difficulty including translation sphere. Thus, the principle gradual introduction is used. The main condition of gradual introduction of more difficult tasks in translation practice is to choose texts carefully and to use a wide range of exercises on translation. The separation of translation teaching into certain stages is explained by the fact that not all phenomena represent similar difficulty in language as well as each type of translation contains new difficulties which students should learn to overcome them gradually.

Considering the need in the translation course that should be worked out in a staged manner two opinions can be distinguished in this regard. Some researches think that it is necessary to follow gradation during introduction of new translation difficulties. Others think that the complex nature of translation does not allow to analyze grammatical, lexical and phraseological and stylistically problems of translation separately. These problems are difficult to separate in translation practice and, therefore, it is complicated to set a certain sequence of inclusion of different translation methods into the range of translation skills. This question is disputable. The decision is probably in compromise combination of abidance of rules on translation difficulties gradation each of which should be trained by a set of special exercises, from one side, and rules of careful choose of texts for translation following gradation principle on difficulty level, from another side.

Translation teaching should be based on deep and integrative comparison of English and Russian phenomena during translation process at language universitiesSpecial attention should be paid to the difficulty of expressing original thought in Russian during the analysis of written translations. Sometimes English phrase that is easily understood without translation is difficult to translate. It would be easier to retell it using one's own words rather than to translate it. Therefore, while choosing a text it is important to consider level of discrepancy between the means of expressing the thoughts in two comparing languages. These discrepancies found in the field of lexis, phraseology, grammar, style should compose the essence of linguistic translation theory.

Gradation of difficulties in teaching grammar can be implemented during concentric work method when almost all phenomena are reviewed several times and each time at higher level. As translation is taught in three senior courses a range of studying theoretical problems and learning new translation techniques are distributed into several courses (on stages). New phenomena for each stage should be in the centre of attention; however, it does not mean that other aspects should be ignored. Concentric method provides continuous rehearsal and deeper acquirement of learnt material each time at higher level.

I stage (II course) provides skills teaching in written translation of informativedescriptive texts and texts with official information into Russian [Latyshev L.K., Semenov 2003.p.90]. Here students should learn the following basics of private translation theory in accordance with the program:

  1. logical prediction and word order during translation, text division and sentence connection in translation, the structure of head sentence of informative article, passive construction translation, infinitive and infinitive complexes translation, gerund and gerund complexes translation, modal verbs translation, multinomial attribute group translation;
  2. Lexical peculiarities in newspaper texts, cliché, contextual meaning, contextual substitutions and methods of their creation (mainly specification, generalization and antonymous translation), translation of specific and geographical names, organizations' name translation, internationalism and "false friends";
  3. Stylistic peculiarities of an informative-descriptive text and materials of official information, stylistic peculiarities of newspaper heads, differences in collocability in different languages, differences in style norms of local and foreign press.
  4. stage (III course) provides the development of obtained skills on the basis of informative texts with publicism elements. Students should learn the following basics of private translation theory:
  5. emphatic inversion and methods of its translation into Russian, characteristics of participle translation, translation of polysemantic conjunctions, causative verbs and constructions with causative meaning, dual control;
  6. translation of free and attributive phrases, analogues, proverb translation, translation of multinomial attributive groups with internal predication, translation of words that do not have lexical compliances using descriptive translation;
  7. characteristics of publicistic style, tropes and their translation into Russian, problem with translation of epithet, transferred epithet, the use of compensation method and sense development, translation of metaphors and comparisons, extended metaphor and its translation, innovation of phraseologisms.
  8. stage (IV course) provides skills development on the basis of newspaper materials of higher difficulty. Students should learn the following basics of private translation theory:
  9. Absolute participle construction and its translation into Russian, negative form, complicated structures, false-comparative construction;
  10. the methods of translation of lexical modality, neologisms and archaisms translation, translation of citations and allusions, method of comprehensive rethinking;
  11. word-play translation, speech characteristics and dialogue speech translation;

Such difficult methods of translation as comprehensive rethinking, sense development, compensation have more characterized features in last stages. Along with that, all grammar and lexical-phraseological phenomena on the first stage are considered here, however, at the last stages of translation preparation they are over elaborated by functional-stylistic and expressive-emotional factors.

The analysis scheme of the main translation difficulties in written translation (on the basis of material of one of the most problem text):

  1. Date and place of translation;
  2. Purpose of translation;
  3. Name, genre, text volume;
  4. Recipient;
  5. Communicative task;
  6. Characteristical peculiarities of this text;
  7. Objective lexical background;
  8. Translation strategy;
  9. Translation difficulties: lexical, grammar, syntactic;
  10. The use of translation transformations: lexical, grammar, compound, practicability of their application;
  11. The level of adherence of the identity of the form of original and target text;
  12. Conclusion.

To conclude, written translation being a more prevalent professional form can be characterized by a number of features that distinguish it from other types of translations. However, considering this separate type of translation there are still some issues that were not researched in detail. Contemporary translation teaching does not fully consider specific skills and abilities that students should have performing written translation. Sometimes nature of original text and its typological features are not considered in full. Moreover, there are also regular problems that students often have during written translation and that should be covered in teaching methods. One of the main problem is considering written translation to be a reproduction of original text while regarding the complex nature of language systems it should be addressed as a process of creation of a new text. Another important aspect to be considered in teaching methods is a goal setting where students should understand that goal is not a future result that is to be gained after translation but an action that goes simultaneously with translation process. Translation theory plays one of the most important role which covers critical issues that students may face during translation. To overcome translation difficulties a number of tasks can be applied in classroom activities. Here a teacher can use a set of techniques to help student to enhance their skills. Considering translation from Russian into English there are certain aspects that teacher should consider during translation teaching. First of all it is all lexical, grammar and syntactical aspects that create certain challenges during the translation from Russian into English. Moreover, besides techniques and methods that should be implemented in the class it is also essential to include tests worked out specifically for students' skills enhancement and development. Considering materials for practice newspaper copies are one of the most effective materials that can be used in the classes. They can provide students with a range of practices that also contain different kinds of genres and text difficulty. Thus, considering complexity of the written translation study it is evident that it should be divided into several stages that are involved in certain courses and that would cover methods and techniques necessary to solve the challenges that students often face.



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