Grammatical Substitutions In The Translation Of English Complex Conditional Sentences Into Russian

Abstract

A complex conditional sentence is a syntactical unit which consists of two explicitly expressed parts: the main clause (consequent) and the subordinate clause (antecedent). The paper is devoted to the urgent problem of the interlingual transformations used in the translation of from English into Russian. The main purpose of the study is to determine a set of grammatical substitutions used in the translation of English complex conditional sentences into Russian. The methods applied are a continuous sampling technique and a comparative-contrastive analysis which are aimed at finding out the differences in the usage of complex conditional sentences in the source text and the target text and determine their linguistic nature. As the result of such analysis the interlingual changes are classified. The research demonstrates that the main morphological substitutions are various substitutions of the predicate forms, the most frequent syntactical substitutions are the substitution of the type of syntactical connection between clauses (asyndetic – syndetic; subordination – coordination).

Keywords: Conditional situationcomplex conditional sentenceinterlingual transformationsmorphological substitutionssyntactical substitutionsomission

Introduction

A complex conditional sentence is an explicit way of presenting a conditional situation which consists of two events: condition expressed in the subordinate clause and consequence – in the main clause (Evstafiadi, Inozemtseva, Sapukh, Andreeva, Verzhinskaya, 2017). Logic and linguistic nature of English complex conditional sentences were analysed and summed up by R. Declerk, S. Reed, (Declerk, Reed, 2001), D. Edgington (Edgington, 2014), K. Schulz (Schulz, 2015), Chi-Hé Elder, Kasia M. Jaszczolt (Chi-Hé, Kasia, 2016), whereas the ways they are translated into Russian have not been scrutinized yet. As there are certain morphologic differences between English and Russian complex conditional sentences when they are translated into Russian one makes use of a variety of transformations which are defined as interlingual changes which help to make the transition from source text units to target text units and to achieve adequacy in translation despite the formal and syntactic discrepancies between two languages (Komissarov, 2013).

Problem Statement

The theory of translation has given a detailed classification of the whole set of interlingual transformations including grammatical ones and suggestions for translating grammatical units and grammatical categories both alike and different in form and meaning in source and target languages (Komissarov, 2013; Zimin, 2013). However, the problem of transformations in translation has not been elaborated and thus is still of current interest.

Research Questions

We are interested in the linguistic nature of the changes that are made in translation of English complex conditional sentences into Russian and the changes of the morphological forms of the predicate in particular. Another problem that demands our special consideration is how English complex conditional sentences are changed in their structure in a target text and which transformations accompany these changes. Moreover, we should find out the factors which can motivate these grammatical changes.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to determine morphological and syntactical substitutions used in translation of English complex conditional sentences into Russian.

Research Methods

The most suitable research method is comparative-contrastive analysis which helps to find out the differences in the usage of complex conditional sentences in the source text and the target text and determine their linguistic nature. As the result of such analysis the interlingual changes are classified. The data of the study include 269 utterances containing English complex conditional sentences and their Russian counterparts extracted from three modern English novels and their Russian translations J.M. Coetzee «Slow man» (Coetzee, 2005) – «Медленный человек», translated by Е.Z. Fradkina (Medlennyj chelovek, 2016), J. Garwood «Wedding» (Garwood, 1996) – «Свадьба», translated by V.V. Kopeyko, N.K. Ramasanova (Svad'ba, 2005), St. King «The girl who loved Tom Gordon» (King, 1999) – «Девочка, которая любила Тома Гордона», translated by V.A. Veber (Devochka, kotoraya lyubila Toma Gordona, 2017).

Findings

The comparative analysis of English complex conditional sentences and their Russian counterparts demonstrates that in translation a number of morphological and syntactical substitutions are made.

Morphological substitutions

1. A finite verb is replaced by its non-finite form in particular by an infinitive. This kind of substitution is accompanied by the omission of the subject. Thus a sentence becomes an elliptical one. In most cases the English pronoun “you” with a generalizing meaning is omitted if it fulfills the function of the subject. Such transformation is necessary due to the conventional usage of various verb forms in Russian. In a Russian complex conditional sentence the predicate can be expressed by an infinitive if the subject coincides with the speaker or in case there is no subject reference, which means that it can refer to anybody.

«If he holds his breath he can hear the ghostly creeping of his assaulted flesh as it tries to knit itself together again» (Coetzee, 2005). – «Если затаить дыхание, то слышно, как бегают мурашки по его изуродованной плоти, когда она пытается срастись» (Medlennyj chelovek, 2016)

2. A finite verb in Past Simple is replaced by a compound modal predicate:

«If it was a bigger stream, you followed it until it led you out or to a bigger stream yet» (King, 1999). – «Если это будет ручей, надо идти по его течению, пока он не приведет еще к одному ручью или к реке» (Devochka, kotoraya lyubila Toma Gordona, 2017).

3. The Imperative form of the predicate is replaced by a finite verb in Future Simple with the subject being added:

«If you ignored the birches and the bushes and let your eye see the whole thing, you couldn't mistake it for anything else. It was a meadow» (King, 1999). – «Если убрать выросшие здесь березы и кусты, станет ясно , что это пастбище» (Devochka, kotoraya lyubila Toma Gordona, 2017).

The example given above demonstrates that the pronoun “you” with a generalizing meaning has been omitted in the target text, the finite verbs “ignored”, “couldn't mistake” have been replaced by the infinitive «убрать» in the subordinate clause (antecedent) and by a compound nominal predicate “станет ясно” in the main clause (consequent). Moreover, these transformations are accompanied by a lexical change – logical development (the logical substitution of consequence by its cause): «you couldn't mistake» means that you will not mistake because it will be evident.

4. An active predicate is replaced by a passive one and verse versa:

«If he is wondering about the stiffness of his jaw, the jaw is not broken, merely bruised» (Coetzee, 2005). – «Если его удивляет , что одеревенела челюсть, то она не сломана, а лишь ушиблена» (Medlennyj chelovek, 2016).

Such substitution demands the syntactical reconstruction of a sentence as the subject « he» in the English subordinate clause is replaced by the direct object « его » in the Russian one.

However, the substitution of active and passive verb forms does not necessarily mean the change of sentence members, for example:

«In Russian, if he is not mistaken , lyubov means love» (Coetzee, 2005). – «По-русски, если он не ошибается , это слово означает любовь» (Medlennyj chelovek, 2016).

5. A modal verb “should” in the English subordinate clause is replaced by a notional verb with the meaning of “wish” in the target text:

«If you should visit them on your vacation, bring a compass, bring good maps... and try to stay on the path» (King, 1999). – «Если вы захотите побродить по ним во время отпуска, возьмите с собой компас, подробные карты… и старайтесь не сходить с тропы» (Devochka, kotoraya lyubila Toma Gordona, 2017).

6. The change of a predicate tense form.

Present tense forms of the predicate used in the English conditional clause which introduces a hypothetical condition even if the events will happen in future correspond to future tense forms in Russian.

«If you tell me no, I won't touch you» (Garwood, 1996). – «Если ты мне скажешь "нет", я не прикоснусь к тебе» (Svad'ba [Wedding]. 2005).

Past tense verb forms such as Past Simple и Past Perfect can be used as Conditional Mood forms. Being translated into Russian they are replaced by Future tense forms in case of unreal condition that is unlikely to happen (a) or Past tense forms in combination with a particle “бы” if a subordinate clause expresses a counterfactucal condition (b).

(a) «Do you mean to say that if I told you no, you would honor my wishes?» (Garwood, 1996). – «Тем самым ты хочешь сказать, что, если я произнесу "нет", ты отнесешься с уважением к моему желанию?» (Svad'ba, 2005).

(b) «She would have fallen off the horse if Connor hadn't tightened his hold around her waist» (Garwood, 1996). – «Бренна свалилась бы с лошади, если бы Коннор не удержал ее за талию» (Svad'ba, 2005).

Analytical forms of the Conditional Mood in the main clause of an English complex conditional sentence “would + Indefinite Infinitive” and “would + Perfect Infinitive” are changed into Russian analytical forms of the Subjunctive Mood expressed by a Past predicate in combination with particles “бы” or “ б” in case of unreal and counterfactual consequences.

«Of course, if pigs had wings, bacon would fly . Her father said that» (King, 1999). – «Конечно, если бы у свиней были крылья, бекон летал бы , как говаривал ее отец» (Devochka, kotoraya lyubila Toma Gordona, 2017).

«If she'd given him time to think of a reply, Quinlan was sure he would have thought of something appropriate to say to her, but she didn't give him time» (Garwood, 1996). – «Если бы она дала ему время, Куинлен наверняка бы придумал , что ответить. Но нет, в следующую же секунду она разразилась яростным криком» (Svad'ba, 2005).

However, the analytical form “would + Indefinite Infinitive” known as a polite verb form when used in the main clause corresponds to a Russian Future tense form of a predicate.

«Do you mean to say that if I told you no, you would honor my wishes?» (Garwood, 1996). – «Тем самым ты хочешь сказать, что, если я произнесу "нет", ты отнесешься с уважением к моему желанию?» (Svad'ba, 2005).

Syntactical substitutions

The most frequent syntactical substitutions made in translating English complex conditional sentences into Russian are as follows:

1) the omission of conditional conjunction. Thus clauses connected by “if” or its synonyms (“provided that”, “in case”, “unless”, “on condition that”, etc.) become asyndetically connected. Such interlingual transformation demands syntactical reconstruction of the subordinate clause: an English subject is replaced by a Russian direct object, a finite predicate form is changed into quasi-imperative form “будь”.

This transformation is can be explained from a stylistic point of view. An asyndentic conditional sentence is commonly used in a spoken register to reveal spontaneous and emotional speech.

«If she were the least bit timid , Connor would walk all over her» (Garwood, 1996). – « Будь она хоть немного робкая , Коннор ее затоптал бы» (Svad'ba, 2005).

2) the substitution of an asyndetical connection between the clauses of a complex conditional sentence by a syndetic one.

When English inverted conditional sentences with subordinate and main clauses connected asyndetically are translated into Russian the inverted word order is changed so that the subject precedes the predicate, with a conditional conjunction “если бы” and a restrictive particle “только” being added. Thus the “if and only if” type of condition of the source text is expressed lexically in the target text.

«Marijana would have set him right, had he only met her in time , Marijana from Catholic Croatia» (Coetzee, 2005). – «Марияна наставила бы его на путь истинный, если бы только он ее вовремя встретил , – Марияна из католической Хорватии» (Medlennyj chelovek, 2016).

3) the substitution of subordination by coordination.

This type of transformation involves both the omission of a conditional conjunction and a syntactical reconstruction of the whole complex sentence structure. The example given below demonstrates the syntactical changes. The main clause of an English complex conditional sentence (a consequent) is introduced by an adversative conjunction “иначе” in the target text, thus it determines the reason why one should not eat too many sweets. Meanwhile a subordinate clause (an antecedent) is transformed into a consequent expressed by the compound modal predicate “не должна налегать”.

«As a rule she loved them— when she got to be Pete's age her face would probably be one great big pimple if she didn't learn to lay off the sweets —but for the time being she still felt totally unhungry» (King, 1999). – «Вообще-то она любила печенье с кремом, хотя и понимала, что не должна налегать на сладости, иначе к четырнадцати годам ее лицо превратится в один огромный прыщ » (Devochka, kotoraya lyubila Toma Gordona, 2017).

If the form is taken into consideration conditional relation is replaced by coordination in the target text, although semantically this relation becomes causative-consecutive.

A conditional conjunction “if” can have an additional meaning of concession. If that’s the case an English complex conditional sentence is replaced by a Russian adversative compound sentence with the conjunction “но”. An assumption expressed in the source text by the conjunction “if” and the predicate in the Conditional Mood is conveyed in the target text by a modal word “может” (which means likely to happen) and the predicate in the Indicative form “кашляла”.

« If she had coughed during that night, it wasn't hard enough to wake her» (King, 1999). – «Может, она кашляла и в ту ночь, но не очень сильно, во сне» (Devochka, kotoraya lyubila Toma Gordona, 2017).

4) the change in the type of subordination.

An English hypothetical conditional clause can be substituted by a Russian time clause.

« If a Highlander has vengeance in his heart, no loss is substantial» (Garwood, 1996). –« Когда горец вынашивает месть в своем сердце, его не интересуют никакие потери» (Svad'ba, 2005).

«This is what it leads to if you let your attention wander for one moment!» (Coetzee, 2005). – «Вот что происходит, когда отвлечешься хоть на минуту!» (Medlennyj chelovek, 2016).

If antonymic translation technique is used a conditional relation is replaced by a causative one. The example given below demonstrates an implicit causative relation between the clauses. The translator has made a decision to omit a conjunction “unless” (Russian “если не”) and conveyed the meaning through the modal verb in the affirmative form.

«"I don't like surprises," she remarked as she moved closer to his side again. " Unless, of course, I know about them in advance "» (Garwood, 1996). – «Мне не нравятся сюрпризы, – заметила Бренна. – Я должна знать о них заранее » (Svad'ba, 2005).

The change in the type of subordination involves other transformations: generalization of the object «things» – «все » in (c), logical development (I’d feel terrible that is why I don’t want anything to happen to your soldiers: cause and consequence) (d).

(c) «She walked toward them, not daring to believe even when she saw the bright red berries—hadn't she just told herself that she could see things and hear them if she wanted to badly enough ?» (King, 1999). – «Она направилась к кустам, не решаясь поверить своим глазам: разве совсем недавно она не убеждала себя, что может, как по заказу, увидеть и услышать все, что ей захочется» (Devochka, kotoraya lyubila Toma Gordona, 2017).

(d) «"I know you're right," she whispered."I would feel terrible if something happened to your soldiers. Gilly might well injure herself if I continue to press her"» (Garwood, 1996). – «Я знаю, ты прав. Я не хочу, чтобы с твоими солдатами что-то случилось , а Джилли погибнет, если я заставлю ее идти дальше» (Svad'ba, 2005).

Conclusion

In conclusion we should state that there are certain differences between the English and the Russian languages which demand grammatical transformations in translation. Moreover, in some cases spoken register motivates the choice of spoken syntactical constructions which impart the utterance emotional and colloquial character. These two factors determine various morphological and syntactical substitutions made in translation of English complex conditional sentences into Russian. The most frequent are the changes of predicate forms in both clauses (antecedent and consequent) and the changes of the type of syntactical connection (syndetic – asyndetic; subordination - coordination).

References

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Publisher

Future Academy

First Online

18.12.2019

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2018.04.02.2

Online ISSN

2357-1330