Scholarly article on topic 'Literary Translation Learning as an Aspect of Intercultural Communication'

Literary Translation Learning as an Aspect of Intercultural Communication Academic research paper on "Languages and literature"

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{"Translation competence" / "adequate interpretation" / "pretranslatory text analysis"}

Abstract of research paper on Languages and literature, author of scientific article — Elena Ye. Aksyonova, Roman Akhtambaev

Abstract The paper deals with the process of translators’ training in which the intercultural communication is the essential part of it due to the specific nature of translators’ work. The analysis of this training is investigated on the example of literary texts translation. The model for literary translation teaching which includes different stages of pretranslating activities has been worked out on the basis of intercultural communicative approach.

Academic research paper on topic "Literary Translation Learning as an Aspect of Intercultural Communication"

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Procedía - Social and Behavioral Sciences 154 (2014) 333 - 339


CULTURE, 20-22 October 2014

Literary Translation Learning as an Aspect of Intercultural


Elena Ye. Aksyonovaa*, Roman Akhtambaevb

a Scientific Research Center «EUROSCHOOL», Academician Pilyugin Street, 14, Bld. 4, Moscow, 117393, Russia bNational Research Tomsk State University, 36, Lenin Ave., Tomsk, 634050, Russia


The paper deals with the process of translators' training in which the intercultural communication is the essential part of it due to the specific nature of translators' work. The analysis of this training is investigated on the example of literary texts translation. The model for literary translation teaching which includes different stages of pretranslating activities has been worked out on the basis of intercultural communicative approach.

© 2014 Publishedby ElsevierLtd.This isanopen access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of National Research Tomsk State University. Keywords: Translation competence; adequate interpretation; pretranslatory text analysis

1. Introduction

The processes of global integration of modern society which are expressed in the formation of a common educational space, a broad cultural exchange, as well as an intensive study of new technologies in educational practice entail redefining the urgent problems the education system faces. Obviously, the expansion of cross-cultural relations in various fields of communication is not possible without training translators who have relevant expertise.

The accession of Russia to the Bologna Process brought significant changes in the system of learning implying the expansion of cross-cultural contacts. Globalization is having a huge impact on the life and culture of all people, including the life and culture of translators. Translation becomes an increasingly important means that improves

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +7-495-936-1132; fax: +7-495-930-2680. E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of National Research Tomsk State University. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2014.10.159

mutual understanding among the people with different cultural histories. Cultures which a reader traditionally is not acquainted with are becoming more familiar as a result of globalization. At the same time, globalization itself favours to the development of such fields as translation, it brings the cultures together, and each year this process is accelerated.

The training of translators has never been a purely "technical" process. By the very nature of his work, the translator is an intermediary in a contact of two or more cultures; a person who is ready to understand someone else's system of values.

An increasing number of educational institutions prepare graduates majoring as linguists and translators. New models of learning are worked out now, taking into account not only the development of the translation knowledge, skills and abilities, but also the requirements of the market, which means changing approaches to learning itself. To prepare the translator is not enough to teach him to communicate fluently in a foreign language, translator needs to be taught to understand and feel the system of values and the mentality of a foreign culture, and, therefore, to understand implications, shades and nuances. Competent translator must be aware of the impact laid down by a "sender" in the act of communication, and be able to repeat it on the language of translation.

All the aforementioned shows that the training of translators is an urgent problem, which manifests itself most acutely in the translation of literary texts, as many experts still consider literary translation the field of pure art. However, the practice shows that the translation of literary texts can and should be taught. Although, to a certain extent, the translation is based on talent, it also involves the translation expertise and does not exclude searching of a solution for highly difficult problems. Despite the fact that in institutions of higher education the translation is taught for a long time, the issues of translation teaching methods cannot be attributed to a number of sufficiently studied in language education. In addition, many techniques of training for translation focused mainly on the training of professional translators (I. S. Alekseeva, E. V. Breus, T. A. Kazakova et al.) and there are only a few works that touch upon the issues of teaching translation as an aspect of learning a foreign language (see., for example, V. M. Nechayev) by students in the humanities, although the requirements to translation skills have already been stated in university programs for both linguistic and non-linguistic faculties.

Currently, the ability to translate is not considered to be the destiny of a few "elite" professionals with a special talent and the ability to possess the so-called natural translation. Translation can and should be taught and training issues of translation as an aspect are already marked in the training system of Teachers of Russian Language (Aksyonova, 2006).

2. Methodology

2.1. Stages in the course of literary translation teaching

There are different points of view on translation expertise and especially on its component structure in the methodical literature on translation learning (Serova, Rutskaya, 2012). The formation of cross-cultural and philological components of translation competence comes to the fore on the basis of professional orientation on training literary translation; it allows the cultural and linguistic personality to go beyond their own culture and to acquire qualities of a culture intermediary. This is primarily due to the fact that in modern translation studies translation is considered as a bilingual intercultural communication, in which the translator has to deal with two texts in different languages, belonging to two different cultures. It should also be taken into account that texts in FL and TL are created in different situations and in different cultures, so the addressee and the recipient of information have different background knowledge, which may not be the same, and therefore, some information may be left "off-screen".

Thus, in teaching literary translation should be noted that:

• the translation of an original text is not a formal reproduction from one language to another, and it takes into

account both linguistic and extralinguistic factors;

• a central figure in the chain of adoption of spiritual values between an author and a reader is a translator, from whose competence depends how successful the development of this reality will come (Fig. 1);

• formation of translation competence can only be based on a specially developed model of training, which includes a specially designed system of exercises;

• learning translation in general and the system of exercises in particular should take into account all the peculiarities of translation, including its characteristics as a process and as a product of this process, accordingly, these exercises should form and develop skills for performing the process of translation, as well as for design and evaluation of its product - the translated text.

Fig. 1. The process of spiritual understanding of reality in a bilingual communication.

In addition, the translation learning involves the gradual formation of the students' knowledge and skills, and is defined by:

• peculiarities of the translation process itself (its division into stages);

• conditions of education (number of hours devoted to the subject, program and learning model);

• language proficiency of students (Aksyonova, 2006; Komissarov, 1997).

The purpose of the course "Literary Translation Teaching" is to form in the future translators' basic, specific and special components of translation competence, defined as a combination of knowledge, skills and abilities that allow the translator to solve their professional problems successfully in terms of the literary text (Latyshev, & Provorotov, 2001).

At the same time, exactly on the terms of translating works of art, students learn to move away from a literal translation and begin to understand the need for possession not only foreign but also the native language. In literary translation the translator must not only know two languages, but to know them along with the rules and conditions of the transition from one language units to units of another, from one culture to another (Komissarov, 1990). For this he should be able to use the technique of using the adequate means of expression of the author's thoughts and, therefore, it is required that there are a set of competencies, taking into account both linguistic and extra-linguistic factors. It should be remembered that the problem of literary translation is not so much to convey the contents, but to be able to create and convey the image created by the author, and interpretation of the image may be different in the original and receiving cultures. Thus, the problem of interpretation comes to the fore and, consequently, one should begin the work on a literary translation with it.

When translating works of art the understanding of them helps reveal their relation with the personality of the writer, with his social environment, epoch and allows a deeper insight into the artistic intent and the ideological direction of the author. It facilitates correct perception of the work and begins with the fact that the translator draws attention to the unclear pieces of text that cause difficulty.

The last stage of translation refers to the editing of translated text, where skills that rely on native language are practiced in writing.

Thus, the work with the exercises for literary translation teaching can be divided into three stages, respectively to the stages of translation:

• preparatory stage, which forms the core component of the translator's competence and in which students receive the necessary theoretical knowledge before performing translation (begins with a lecture course);

• stage 1 - the stage of pretranslatory analysis and interpretation of text including the performing of pretranslatory exercises; its goal is to develop students' ability to find and identify a better variant of translation; it creates the conditions for successful implementation of translation;

• stage 2 - implementation of the translation itself, includes translation tasks and exercises, forms a specific and special components that are implemented in the basic skills of producing translation and transformation and to perform the methods and techniques of translation;

• stage 3 - editing, removal and correction of semantic and stylistic errors in translation.

These stages are considered to be the basis for a model of translation teaching creation. This model will be presented in section 2.3.

2.2. Types of translation exercises

These difficulties should be eliminated at the stage of pretranslating exercises that are essential for fulfilling the process of translation itself. Their purpose is "to create the conditions for the success of the translation process, to create the necessary communicative setting, check up the students' language and background knowledge, show them how experienced and highly qualified translators solve typical translation problems" (Latyshev & Semenov, 2003).

According to Latysheva and Provorotov (2001), at the stage of pretranslating exercises it is necessary to develop skills of goal setting, which is then converted into automated skill. Tasks and exercises for development of goal setting skills aimed at finding the best translation option, revealing errors in translation. In other words, they aim to assess the translation text and prepare to perform the translation itself. It also includes the ability to analyze the source text (ST) on pretranslating stage. These skills relate to specific skills of writing translation and, therefore, they are necessary for the translation of literary texts, as those are much more complex and relate to the text of higher complexity. In addition, the requirements of quality for performing the translation is much higher because all the imperfections of translation are visual and therefore more susceptible to criticism. In order to avoid most of the translation errors, one must be able to analyze the text at this stage, and here we can recommend the following tasks:

• predict the idea of a text by its title;

• define the genre of ST, analyze its features;

• by the title of the text define its basic semantic content, find and write down culturally marked words (realities, etc.) explain them;

• find in the text proper names, classify them into groups (geographical names, names of literary characters, etc.).

Exercises on pretranslatory text analysis can be referred to intermediate ones between pretranslatory and translatory. They are a kind of "bridge" that prepares the actual translation without carrying it out in corpore. Thus, it is advisable to divide all the training activities in translation study into 2 large groups: pretranslatory and translatory.

At the same time translation exercises are aimed at solution of specific translation problems, and they are difficult to "drive" in any certain limits. Actually translation exercises can be divided into:

• language exercise, forming and developing the ability to solve translation problems connected with the peculiarities of the semantics and the use of certain types of language units in TL (subdivided into lexical, phraseological, grammatical and stylistic);

• operational exercise, working out the ability to apply various transformations and translation techniques;

• communicative exercise, forming the ability to perform the necessary communicative actions included in the translation process (Latyshev & Semenov, 2003).

Language exercises are directly related to language translation problems, which are based on differences between the systems of FL and TL and which have been described in detail by linguistic theories of translation, they primarily include following exercises:

• exercises on translation culture-specific vocabulary;

• exercises on translation of translator's "false friends";

• exercises on identifying contextual meanings;

• exercises on translation of collocations;

• exercises on translation phraseological units;

• exercises on the choice of grammatical correspondences.

Operational exercises form the skills of practical use of knowledge acquired by students from a course of lectures on the theory of translation, their goal is to develop the ability to recognize and use certain techniques of translation. These include exercises such as:

• exercises on identifying of the method or receiving used in translation;

• exercises used to assess the method used (appropriateness or inappropriateness);

• exercises on the use of specified method of translation;

• exercises on the formation of skills required to select and apply the technique of translation which is necessary. Communicative exercises require you to perform separate speech acts and are divided into several types:

• exercises to compile series of synonyms in FL and TL;

• exercises on the identification and discussion of translation difficulties in the proposed text;

• exercises on paraphrasing the text, correcting violations of norms.

In general, translation exercises are performed on the stage of the translation itself and have theoreticly-applied and practical character.

The main purpose of the translatory stage is to teach students to perform basic methods and techniques of translation required for the translation of texts from English into Russian. Exercises are directed mainly to develop operational skills (Latyshev, & Provorotov, 2001). It should be noted that these exercises are directed to perform one single operation, although they may combine several. Ideally, each exercise should include one translation difficulty, however, in practice this is not always feasible. Exercises are performed in writing in the classroom or at home, it is recommended to discuss in detail the exercises in the classroom, commenting and explaining the solving of translation problems. The group of translation exercises refers to bilingual ones and it is the most important one in the course of translation training. In the second stage students solve specific translation difficulties, and here the ability to perform various transformations on the level of vocabulary, grammar and syntax is formed.

Successful completion of the exercises is based on the use of transformations, which constitute the essence of translation process. However, their use is not regulated by a precise system of rules and is based mainly on the experience and intuition of a translator. The last stage of translation refers to the editing of translated text, where skills that rely on native language are practiced in writing.

3. Research and discussion

Thus, the technique of training linguists and translators is based on a gradual training system and a system of exercises designed to establish and improve certain skills. The main types of exercises and activities in accordance with the selected phases are represented in the Table 1.

Table 1. Model of the process of translation teaching Stages of teaching translation Examples of tasks

Preparatory stage

Stage 1

Stage 2

Stage 3

Writing of a short reference about the author translated.

Choosing of the best variant of title from a few proposed.

Choosing of the best translation of an extract from a text from a few proposed.

Choosing of the best variant of text translation.

Finding errors in translation (based on extracts from literary texts).

Classification (by type of translation difficulties).

Identification of the genre of text and of its associated features (linguistic, stylistic, etc.).

Analysis of a short advertisement text with identification of the features of advertising.

Translation of a text title with the arguments.

Prediction of text ideas by its title, your own version of title.

Filling in the blanks with suitable words \ phrases.

Completion of unfinished utterances (prompted and unprompted).

Selection for matching (beginnings and endings of sentences, questions and answers).

Composing of the event sequences in the text in order.

Compilation of a detailed plan of text.

Determination of a short plan of text.

Translation of words (phrases) with a dictionary.

Translation of international words.

Translation of translator's "false friends".

Translation of phraseology.

Translation of words derived from a certain root.

Translation using specified methods of translation(synonymic antonymic translation generalization, compression, etc.).

Translation without the specifying of translation methods. Identifying of method for translation of realities.

Translation of realities with the use of the translation transcription \ transliteration, commentary, descriptive translation.

Translation of proper names with explanations.

Translation of sentences with certain grammatical difficulties (gerund, modal verbs, etc.). Translation of specified paragraphs of text. Full translation of text in writing.

Find in translation the normative errors in the use of the Russian language, correct them. Find in translated text cases of disagreement, correct them, comment on their corrections. Change the order of the words in the following sentences. Edit the text, explaining your corrections.

Compare your translation with your mates' translations in your group, figure out what is the difference between your translations.

Exchange translations with your neighbor, correct each other's mistakes, comment on their corrections.

Compare your translation with the translation of a professional translator, find and analyze the differences.

Select the best translation in the group, justify your choice.

Table 1 shows that, in addition to traditional exercises for translation, exercises for translation of literary texts have a number of features. It is noteworthy that they start and end with the exercises aimed at creating monolingual skills in native language, because only an impeccable mother tongue can convey the image created by the author without distortion.

4. Conclusion

Having analyzed different aspects of literary translation learning we worked out the model of teaching which includes several stages directed to the formation of translators' basic, specific and special components of translation competence and to the development of students' ability to find and identify a better variant of translation. So, the stages of translation teaching comprise: the preparatory stage, which forms the core component of the translator's competence, the stage of pretranslatory analysis and interpretation of text including the performing of pretranslatory exercises, the stage of translation implementation, including translation tasks and exercises, and the stage of editing, removal and correction of semantic and stylistic errors in translation. Thus, when teaching translation, mastering of translation in the written form becomes important for future translators as it helps form both monolingual and bilingual skills.


Aksyonova, E. E. (2006). Teaching of writing translation ofphilological texts from English into Russian. Moscow. Komissarov, V. N. (1997). Theoretical foundations of methodology of teaching translation. Moscow: Rema. Latyshev, L. K., & Semenov, A. L. (2003). Translation: Theory and Methods of Teaching. Moscow: Academy.

Latyshev, L. K., & Provorotov, V. I. (2001). The structure and content of training translators in language high school. 2nd ed. Moscow: NVI THESAURUS.

Serova T.S., Rutskaya E.A. (2012). Listening training for future interpreters in early stage, Language and Culture, 4 (20), 105-114.