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Who Has a Gift to Foresee: Topical Problems and Prospects of Translation Industry

As a result, novel translation and cinema dubbing were done at the first class and the invisible work of professionals was bringing to us the ideas and images of the source text with special care. (To leave out the distortions that were deliberately made by censorship). Today everything is different: on the one hand, the volume of translations has rapidly raised (just take a look at the bookshelves stuffed with detective stories and love-story novels!), on the other hand – the payment for translations in Russia is smaller than for typing (another Russian economic anomaly). That's why crowds of dilettantes took the place of professionals: all those who can't make money working as dockers but whose appetites demand translating 50 pages per day. The great wave of slapdash that crashed upon Russia resulted in that a reader has often to deal with the puzzles of the foreign culture on his own.


For example, as thoughtful action movie fans from Russia (I guess, such people exist) could detect, the name "Roger" appears on the screen suspiciously often. "I approach the target, Roger," - the first pilot reports. "Head on you, Roger," - replies to him the second. Though, in other episodes of the movie the names of the same characters change, they can even be women! What's the matter? The explanation is simple: American soldiers use the word "roger" to signal that the message is received or the command is clear. But a slapdash translator doesn't care about it: Roger is Roger, and names are untranslatable.

In fact, the translator's task is much wider than choice of lexical equivalents. In relation to belletristic literature it is more or less obvious that literal translation would in many cases distort the author's message. For instance, while translating a love-story novel we can translate the phrase "with all her flesh she felt the male nature which pierced her through" into Russian word for word, but if we do so and write specifically – as in the source sentence – what was pierced through and by what, then such literal translation can repulse romantic readers who don't want to shake with voluptuousness while reading medical-like naturalistic descriptions.

What is less obvious, the same situation established in the sphere of technical translations. One would think, a TV set is just a TV set, so the translation of its (or any other device's) manual should be as literal as possible. But everything is not so simple. The fact is that different countries have different standards of information presentation and divergence from that standards leads to unpredictable consequences.


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