The Vector Of Informational Correspondence Determination In Interlanguage Translations Of Proverbs


The research paper considers the problem of authenticity of discourses in interlanguage translations. The necessary condition for successful communication is the informational closeness between the original text and the translation. The degree of informational correspondence of the same content representation in different languages is different. It causes great difficulties. This is especially evident in the process of translating proverbs, because the meaning of the whole linguistic unit is contained in its content. As already it has been proved by science that models of proverbs are unique in different languages. Therefore, it is impossible to translate proverbs without taking into account of their specific features corresponding to national and cultural characteristics, cultural codes that take place in the semiosphere. The research problem is searching a technology for achieving authenticity of information in the process of proverbs translation into "Language of primary socialization" and "Language of secondary socialization" and vice versa. The important task of the modern foreign languages is avoidance of the complete destruction of information and ambiguity when translating proverbs. The technology of avoiding these misunderstandings is proposed. It is based on the explanatory formula proverb’s meaning (EFPM) creation and determination of the vector of informational correspondence (VIC) in the original language and the target language. This could be successfully used in the theory and practice of interlanguage translations, teaching and learning. As a result, authenticity of information and the formation of a secondary language personality are achieved.

Keywords: Explanatory formula proverb’s meaninginformational correlation criterionvector of informational correspondence


A modern man is actively involved in the process of communication with representatives of different cultures. Necessary and sufficient conditions for successful communication are avoidance of ambiguity and the formation of authenticity linguistic pictures of the world. That is teaching and learning to think, create and use the structures of discourse as native speakers.

Problem Statement

The scientific problem of the research is the search for means of identifying the essence of information and achieving authenticity in the process of interlanguage transformation of proverbs in "Language of primary socialization" (LPS) and "Language of secondary socialization" (LSS) and vice versa.

The scientific hypothesis of the research object is based on the creation of the explanatory formula proverb’s meaning (EFPM) and using of the “Informational correlation criterion” (ICC) as the method able to provide authentic interlingual transformations, create equivalent language-independent discourses and prevent misunderstanding in pictures of the world.

Words (acoustic-graphic codes) (AGCs), idioms, proverbs in different languages look deceptively equivalent sometimes. But their information is only partially coincided (or maybe is not coincided) with the system of meaning in another language.

Research Questions

Our research questions: to analyse and systematize translation techniques suitable for proverbs, synthesize a technology that can be used to ensure the authenticity in the process of coding and decoding proverbs from LPS and LSS and vice versa.

The object of this research is proverbs because they cause a lot of distortions and ambiguity in the process of coding and decoding of information.

Purpose of the Study

The aim is to show the technology that allows achieving the most complete authentic conversion of information in the practice of cross-language communication.

The scientific novelty is the specific approach to the process of interlingual transformations of proverbs; EFPM creation and vectors of informational accordance (VIA) discovering in original language (OL) (or source language) and target language (TL) for an authentic transformation of information.

Research Methods

Each of the analysed methods can be successfully used by itself and in the combination with others.

The main problem is how to check autencity of have been translated proverbs. However, this is not an insurmountable obstacle because information formation in the human brain does not depend on language. People think by Images.

We offer the universal method of informationaly correlation criterion of differentiation (ICCD) suitable for different languages. It could be used not only for verification of authenticity but as an independent technology of proverbs translation.

The set of main actions of the basic algorithm of ICCD consists of:

Note: in case of transformation of the proverb it is necessary to search for an analogue by the essence in TL after the creation and analysis of the EFPM. The selected proverb in TL should be analyzed by the method for points 2–5 of the basic algorithm. The search for an analogue in TL is carried out after the formation and analysis of the EFPM in OL, finding crossing of VIAs for the implementation of the proverb transformation (and verification).

Crossing VIA between proverbs in different languages gives a high degree of equivalence and a correct interpretation, the same stylistic and emotional colouring. But such equivalent may have other lexical components and a grammatical structure.

Examples of using the technology and results are demonstrated in Table 1 “Lack of correlation in central AGCs of proverbs” and Table 2 . “Presence of correlation in central AGCs of proverbs”.

Table 1 -
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Proverbs “Crime does not pay (English)” and “Бере-бере вовк, та й вовка візьмуть” (Ukrainian) (The wolf takes, but the wolf will be taken) are authentic in the meaning “crime is never justified, if you do something illegal, you will be punished.”

Table 2 -
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Proverbs “A black hen lays a white egg” (there is a scoundrel in every family who is a disgrace to his parents and relatives) (English) and “Курку яйця не вчать” (Eggs don`t teach a hen) (Ukrainian) (An inexperienced person should not give advice to an experienced person) are not authentic in the meanings.


Peculiarities of Coding, Decoding and Using Proverbs in Discourse from the Physiological Standpoint

Each nation has its own "picture of the world". People cannot always correctly understand each other because of the "cultural differences" even knowing the same language. Proverbs are such ethno-cultural information carriers. We can find in proverbs what belongs to humanity in general (this explains the similarity in meanings of many proverbs in different languages) and what belongs to each nation (the mentality of a nation).

Usually speakers don`t see culture or language conflicts with using proverbs in LPS. Speakers make mistakes in LSS.

The information of the previously recorded Image is activated during acquaintance with a new proverb. As a result interlingual interference occurs unintentionally. Having learned a new foreign proverb, you should be very careful with its using. A fixed reality in it is the world of another country: proverbs «carry a particular image and a concept which need to be translated» (Thalji, 2015, p. 11). According to Baker’s theoretical model for translating culture specific items, the role of the translator is not only to translate meaning but also translate culture (Baker, 1992).

Proverbs transformation even with the simplest and common vocabulary can cause difficulties. Proverbs cannot be treated as an arithmetical sum of the meanings of the incoming AGCs. The content and the meaning of the constituent AGCs are often not authentic. It should not be forgotten that the ambiguity phenomenon exists in all languages: AGCs "light" – 22 meanings, "board" – 42 meanings, "point" – 45 meanings, “head” – 64 meanings, "line" – 71 meanings etc. (Soldatova, 2013), for example: “Two heads are better than one”: “head” – 64 meanings (English), 11 meanings (Ukrainian); “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”: “eye” – 14 meanings (English), 6 meanings (Ukrainian);

  • Finding the equivalent:

    • The complete phraseological equivalents are able to convey the source semantics, primary importance, stylistic orientation, imagery, grammatical structure. Such not numerous proverbs are borrowed by both languages from the third: All roads lead to Rome. – Всі дороги ведуть до Риму. Judge not, that ye be not judged – Не судіть, та не судимі будете.

    • 1.2. The partial equivalent (phraseological analogue) corresponds with the translated proverb in meaning, function and stylistic characteristics: “Make hay while the sun shines” – “Куй залізо поки гаряче” (Strike while the iron is hot). It happens not very often. Proverbs can be stylistically unequivalent and don`t coincide with emotional values because of the difference in the pictures of the world: “Can the leopard change his spots” (literary language) cannot be translated into Ukrainian colloquial phrases (spoken language): “A black (male) dog cannot be perfectly clean; “A grave will remedy a hunchback”.

  • Word-for-word correspondence:

    • Full (loan translation): “Better late than never” – “Краще пізно, ніж ніколи”. Usually translation on AGCs` level is enforcement against TL: information is distorted, language rules are broken. This leads to ambiguous interpretation or complete destruction of information: “Over shoes, over boots” (“Вище черевиків, вище чобіт” (“Above shoes, above boots”).

A proverb may contain ambiguous AGCs (polysems and homonyms): “My home is my castle”: “home” ≠ “house” (English) but “дім” (Ukrainian) is “home”=“house” (it could be translated as well as building, habitation, hut, small house, construction, edifice; premise, shelter, family, matrimonial home, dwelling, flat, berth, lodging, tenement; fireside, hearth).

The proverb may contain cultural aspects in the OL that cannot be found in TL: "There's a black sheep in every family”. «Black sheep» is a person who is not like others, an outsider (English); «black sheep» (Ukrainian) (an animal with black wool) (Soldatova, 2016, p. 1064–1065). Ukrainian equivalent is “В сім'ї не без виродка” (“A family is not without a monster”).

  • Partial: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” – “Краще синиця в жмені, ніж журавель в небі” (It is better a tomtit in a hand than a crane in the sky): bird – tomtit / crane; “Score twice before you cut once”, “Think twice, cut once” – “Сім разів відміряй, один раз відріж” (Measure 7 times, cut once).

    • “Pseudo word-for-word translation” is used if there is absent complete or partial correspondence in TL, but it is possible to "invent" the proverb without losing figurative and semantic contents: “We`ll all be there one day” – “Всі там будемо”.

    • Occasional (contextual substitution) is used for translation only in this context: “It is Gloucestershire kindness” – “На тобі, небоже, що мені негоже” (This is for you, God, it doesn't befit me).

  • Grammatical transformations (the grammatical unit of the original text is transformed into a unit of TL with a different grammatical meaning):

  • 3.1. Replacement of parts of speech: “A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees” “Дурень і мудрий, дивлячись на одне дерево, бачать різні дерева”: “a wise” – noun (Ukrainian), “wise” – adjective (English);

  • 3.2. “Double negative” is the complete approval in English language but in Ukrainian language it is the negation: “To know everything is to know nothing” – “Знати все – нічого не знати” (To know everything is do not know anything),

  • Lexical:

  • 4.1. Modulation is a lexical-semantic replacement of an AGC or phrase for OL by a unit of TL, the meaning of which is a logical consequence of the meaning of OL: “Time flies” – “Час лікує” (Time treats): to fly → to treat;

    • Specification is a lexical-semantic replacement of a unit of OL with a wider meaning by a unit of TL with a narrower meaning: “A great fortune is a great slavery”. – “Зайві статки – велике рабство” (Excessive wealth is a great slavery): “fortune” → “wealth” (narrowing of a generic term);

    • Generalization is a lexical-semantic replacement of a unit of OL with a narrower meaning by a unit of TL with a wider meaning: “Folly is the cloak of knavery” – “Foolishness is clothing of craftiness”: “clothing” is used with a wider meaning;

    • Substitution one to another similar in purpose and by function: “Don`t count your chickens before they are hatched” – “Не кажи гоп, поки не перескочиш” (Do not say “gop”, until you jumped over) (at AGCs` level);

    • Antonymous translation is a substitution of the concept expressed in OL to the opposite in TL: “Lucky at cards, unlucky in love” – “Не щастить у карти, пощастить в коханні” (Unlucky at cards, lucky in love);

    • Synonymous is a substitution a AGC or phrase expressed in OL to the same meaning in TL): “Tell me whom you love, and I'll tell you who you are” – “Скажи хто твій друг, і я скажу хто ти” (Tell who is your friend and I'll tell who you are);

    • Borrowed AGCs from another language: “You have taken out the eye of the bazaar” (from a Turkic or Persian source); “Хата з дітьми — базар, а без них — кладовище” (Hut with children is a bazaar, and without them is a cemetery);

    • Transliteration: “Caesar's wife must be above suspicion” – “Дружина Цезаря (повинна бути) поза підозрою”;

    • Nationally-coloured AGCs: “A penny saved is a penny gained” – “Копійка гривню береже” (a kopeck keeps a hryvnia) (different systems of numeration, monetary units, weights, distance, etc.);

  • 4.10 Non-equivalence AGCs: “Своя мазанка ліпша чужої світлиці” (My own mud-walled hut is better than a foreign front room);   “Cold pudding settles love”.

  • Lexico-grammatical:

    • Changing of the number (singular ↔ plural): “Біда не приходить одна” (The trouble does not come one) – “Misfortunes never come alone”; “Empty vessels make the greatest sound”. – “Пуста бочка найбільше скрипить” (The empty barrel creaks very impressively);

    • Compression (shortening of components) and decompression (increasing of the components number): “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” –“Хто рано встає, тому Бог дає” (Who gets up early, God gives (to him); “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” – “Добре там, де нас нема” (There is fine where we are not);

    • Changing tenses: “What must be, must be” – “Що має трапитися, те й буде” (What should happen will happen): present ↔ future.

  • Syntactic:

  • Changing the type of sentence:

  • Complex sentence (conditional sentence) is transformed to the sentence with the absolute participle complex: “If the fool would persist in his folly he would become wise” – “Дурень, наполягаючий на своїй правоті, може виявитися мудрецем” (A fool, who insists on his righteousness, may turn out to be a wise man);

  • Two simple sentences are united in one complex sentence: “Listen to the fool reproach! It is a kingly title!” – “Вислухай докори дурня – вони для тебе, що королівський титул!” (Listen to the reproaches of the fool – they are for you a royal title!);

  • Substitution of active voice ↔ passive voice: “Truth can be never told so as to be understood, and not be believed” (passive) – “Істину не можна розповісти так, щоб її зрозуміли; треба щоб в неї повірили” (active) (One cannot tell the truth in such a way as they will understand; it is necessary to believe in it);

  • Substitution of members of sentence: subject↔object: “Fear has magnifying eyes” – “У страху великі очі” (Big eyes have fear);

  • Input of kenning (figurative language instead of a concrete single-word noun): “Don't strike a man when he is down” – “Лежачого не б'ють” (A recumbent man is not being beaten).

  • Descriptive translation (retelling): “Баба з возу – кобилі легше” – “It`s easier for the horse to start when the woman gets off the cart”.


Despite of the luck of correlation by the essence in central AGCs in languages proverbs “Crime does not pay (English)” and “Бере-бере вовк, та й вовка візьмуть” (Ukrainian) (The wolf takes, but the wolf will be taken)” correlate. Despite of the presence of correlation by the essence in central AGCs in languages proverbs “A black hen lays a white egg” (English) and “Курку яйця не вчать” (Eggs don`t teach a hen) (Ukrainian) do not correlate.

It is the result of differences between English and Ukrainian pictures of the world.

This method gives the opportunities to avoid mistakes of the informational filling, makes it possible to realize information contained in proverbs, to use them authentically during communication. The proposed positions of comparing EFІM are necessary and sufficient. The ACs are not final and may have the permanent development.

The results show the advantages of the proposed method: 1) doesn't depend on languages; 2) allows unambiguously understanding the lexical meaning and determinate VIA kept in proverbs; 3) makes it possible to encode and decode the semantic connections between proverbs (priori relevant for central AGCs or structures in different languages).

The proposed technology could be used in theory and practice of translation, compiling of dictionaries of proverbs.

Using ICCD doesn`t cause difficulties for people and students who learn and interested in languages and permits to avoid mistakes in the discourse. As a result, forming a secondary language personality is achieved.


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15 August 2019

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Soldatova*, L. (2019). The Vector Of Informational Correspondence Determination In Interlanguage Translations Of Proverbs. In E. Soare, & C. Langa (Eds.), Education Facing Contemporary World Issues, vol 67. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 544-553). Future Academy.