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Translating Culture-Specific Items: the Legal Terminology of Shakespeare's Sonnet 46 in Russian Translations
Umeå University, Faculty of Arts, Department of language studies. (ryska)
2016 (English)In: Slovo: Journal of Slavic Languages, Literatures and Cultures , ISSN 2001-7395, Vol. 57, 60-77 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

A discussion of how to translate words with cultural implications from the source language into the target language text has been ongoing for a long time. It is well established within Shakespeare commentary that the culture-specific items used by Shakespeare in the Sonnets reflect the range of social institutions in Elizabethan England, for example, the legal system. Legal terminology is used especially frequently by Shakespeare in the sonnet cycle and plays an important role in its imagery. In translations of the sonnets, this particular feature presents Russian translators with specific difficulties. This paper aims to examine those difficulties and looks at the translation strategies applied within eleven Russian translations of Sonnet 46, which employs a great amount of legal terminology.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala universitet, 2016. Vol. 57, 60-77 p.
Keyword [en]
Shakespeare, sonnets, translation, Russian, culture-specific items
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-130388OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-130388DiVA: diva2:1066530
Available from: 2017-01-18 Created: 2017-01-18 Last updated: 2017-05-11Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Shakespeare's sonnets in Russian: the challenge of translation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Shakespeare's sonnets in Russian: the challenge of translation
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets have become the interest of several generations of Russian translators. Overall, after their first appearance in the middle of the nineteenth century, at least thirty-five Russian translations of the complete sonnet collection have been produced so far, though mostly during the last three decades. The overall objective of the present thesis is to examine the evolution of Russian translations of Shakespeare’s sonnets over the years. The thesis is novel in that it offers an analysis of specific linguistic, literary and cultural challenges the numerous Russian translators have dealt with while translating the sonnets, as well as the strategies adopted in an effort to resolve them.

In order to achieve the study objectives, several individual sonnets and a number of their Russian translations have been selected as a sample representing challenging areas that have been more closely investigated in four articles. The method of cross comparison has been applied throughout the study. Both the introductory part and the articles address certain problematic translation issues, such as the sonnets’ formal structure, the pronouns of address, grammatical gender, bawdy language, sexual puns, culture-specific items, and metaphors.

The results provide evidence for seeing translation as a multi-layered and ever-changing process, which, apart from the pure linguistic tasks, combines historical, political and ideological aspects. The findings of the study suggest that translation competence, namely deep understanding of the context and its fundamental cultural and social features, motivates the translator’s interpretation of the contradictions and uncertainties of Shakespeare’s poems. Those include the sonnets genre, relation to Shakespeare’s biography, the order of the poems in the first 1609 Quarto. The analysis also identifies the ways in which the target language’s social and historical context have had an impact on the choices made by the translators.

On the whole, the study’s results do not contradict Mikhail Gasparov’s model describing the pendulum-like movement from “free” to “literal” approaches through the history of Russian literary translation.  

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2017. 123 p.
Series
Umeå studies in language and literature, 37
Keyword
Shakespeare, translation, sonnets, Russian
National Category
General Literature Studies
Research subject
Literature
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-134792 (URN)978-91-7601-681-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-06-09, Hörsal 1031, Norra Beteendevetarhuset, Humanioragränd 5, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-05-18 Created: 2017-05-11 Last updated: 2017-05-22Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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