Multilingual Translating It Book And Article Titles In The Era Of Globalization


Information technologies (IT) as a must of the era of globalization are gaining momentum. There appear new programs on a regular basis and English is their source language. So, instructions for software and gadgets, descriptions and specifications of equipment, as well as user manuals require adaptation of their texts for a target foreign audience. The research is devoted to analyzing multilingual translational transformations and methods to translate book titles and article headlines of information technology sphere since they have to meet the strategic principles of translation: understanding the authentic text always precedes the act of translating and the translation has to conform to the standards of the target language. The specific details, as well as common patterns of translating titles of books and headlines of articles, are analyzed within the research. Across the full range of contexts, the translation has to accurately maintain and reconstruct the semantic compression of the source language titles and headlines without making them ambiguous and double meaning. For achieving the semantic adequacy of translation, it's imperative to decide on appropriate translational transformations. The peculiarities of titles of books and article headlines as dictated by their functions (nominative, informative, expressive-appellative and advertising functions) result in choosing and employing various grammatical, lexical, and lexical-grammatical translation transformations.

Keywords: Globalizationheadlinesmedia textmultilingual translational transformationstitlestranslation theory


For the current period, information technologies have penetrated into all parts of people's living environment and are prospering in all areas as they are highly demanded both by professionals, such as programmers, web-designers, game developers or network engineers, and by mass audience engaged in professions with no relation to information technology. Since in everyday life people often have to use a computer to store, retrieve, transmit, or manipulate data, they have to employ different software applications for developing and exploring digital media content such as photos, footage. Their work responsibilities may also involve taking advantage of office applications or developing an unsophisticated computer program.

Hence, regardless of their knowledge and experience in IT field, people have to address media texts (for example, educational literature) and study articles on the relevant topics. The first thing they focus on when choosing a source, an article or a book, is the title that captures their attention. It has to be informative revealing the content in a compressed way (Barhudarov, 1975). In fact, the title is a graphically highlighted and potentially compressed sign of the text, expressed through verbal and nonverbal means of a language, acting as a relatively autosemantic and essentially cohesive element for the whole text. The title names or characterizes the text, predicts its content, interprets it, and gives it additional meanings (Retsker, 1974).

Problem Statement

It is the title that informs the user about the target audience of a particular book or article, giving an idea of whether the source is a step-by-step guide for beginners or notes with non-standard techniques for specialists, as well as what kind of area will be discussed, since the same programs and platforms can be variously oriented to implement different tasks.

Initially, most IT literature is published in English and only then translated into Russian (Englex, 2016). Then among other things, it is important for the translator to translate the headline or the title as accurately and clearly as possible. Translation of a headline or a title has always played an important role and, at the same time, has been a special translation problem, solved by using different strategies and methods of translation (Bielsa, 2009). In the research translation is interpreted as a type of language mediation, where the target-language text is rendered as communicatively equivalent to the source language one. The communicative equivalence is achieved through making the translation perceived by the target language receptors as being functionally, semantically and structurally identical to the source language text (Komissarov, 1990).

Research Questions

The relevance of the research is determined by the significance of information technology and its gaining momentum in the modern world. The fact contributes to emerging numerous instructions for software and gadgets, descriptions and specifications of equipment, as well as for user manuals, etc. which require interpreting by the language of the target audience.

This should be done both in a timely manner to keep up with the world community in terms of technology, and also competently, providing users with reliable information.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is a comprehensive analysis of multilingual translation transformations that allow semantic adequacy in conveying the semantic compression of book and article titles in the IT sphere in the process of adapting the product for target language audiences, namely, for Russian-speaking readers, without any deviation from the original text and without ambiguities.

The specificity of book titles and article headlines in accordance with their functions (nominative, informative, expressive-appellative, and advertising (Nelyubova & Fomina, 2018) determines the use of various grammatical, lexical and lexical-grammatical transformations.

Research objectives are achieved by solving a number of problems, including, in particular, classifications of transformation analysis, which make it possible to make the transition from the source language units to the units of the target language. Translation transformations are divided into lexical, grammatical and complex lexical-grammatical transformations, in which the transformations either affect both lexical and grammatical units of the original, or are inter-level, i.e. they carry out the transition from lexical to grammatical units and vice versa.

A not less important task is to identify distinctive features of the source language (English) and the target language (Russian) (Komissarov, 1990; Latysheva, 2010), particularities of IT book and article titles, as well as to consider corresponding norms of the Russian language, due to structural differences between the languages under study, such as the predominance of noun phrases over verbal ones in the Russian language, the limited use of passive constructions, the use of future and past forms in the headers, etc.

Research Methods

The structure of the research is determined by its methods. They are the method of text segmentation, dividing the written text into meaningful units, and the method of comparative analysis of the source language texts and target language texts.

The comparative analysis of the text involves the analysis of the form and content of the target language text compared with the form and content of the source language text. The comparative analysis of translations makes it possible to find out how typical translation difficulties related to the specificity of both languages are overcome.

The method of segmentation of the source language text is aimed at pointing out dominant information, linguistically meaningful units in text segments. To put it in other words, the information that overlaps other quanta of information and contributes to the economical presentation of the dominant information is highlighted (Retsker, 1974).


Within the research the process of translating titles of books and headlines of articles in the information technology texts was studied in order to identify those lexical, grammatical and lexical-grammatical transformations employed.

At present, there is no unique single system of classification of translation transformations. This is due to the fact that different linguists use different grounds to distinguish the types of translation transformations (Komissarov, 2001).

The analysis of different classifications allows identifying the following methods and techniques of translation: lexical (transcription, transliteration, calquing); lexical-semantic substitutions (substantiation, generalization, modulation (semantic development), metaphorization, remetaphorization, demetaphorization, differentiation, contextual replacement (occasional meaning); grammatical transformations (syntactic adaptation (literal translation), sentence division, sentence integration, grammatical substitutions (word forms, parts of speech or sentence members); complex lexical-grammatical transformations (antonymic translation, explication (descriptive translation), compensation, holistic transformation. Since the features of one translation transformation are interpreted in numerous ways, the qualifications can be varied (Mityagina, 2017; Molchanova et al., 2019).

There is another group of special techniques: the technique of transposition, the techniques of addition and omission. As we see, there are translation transformations which are not characteristic of translating titles and headlines. This is due to the fact of specific stylistic features of English and Russian titles, for example, the structure and headline / title of technical articles and books are laconic.

A headline / title summarizes the idea of the text and is formulated through a word combination or compressed sentence. That is why there is nothing like as rare as such translation transformations as sentence division and integration for translating titles / headlines including those from the sphere of information technology.

The research uses the course books on the programming languages, programming methods, and course books on software / hardware (“Object-Oriented Programming”, “Engineering and Computer Graphics”, “Informatics” and “Computers and Related Equipment”), as well as some popular articles on information technology as a source of the research material.

Being limited by the frame of the article, we will present only a few examples. When translating book titles presented as extended sentences, the technique of omission, i.e. the technique that helps not to use semantically redundant words in the target language text is used. The meaning of these words appears to be irrelevant since it is easily reconstructed in the context. For example, when translating the book by David Herron “Node Web Development: A Practical Introduction to Node, the Exciting New Server-Side JavaScript Web Development Stack”, A. Slinkin translated this title as “Razrabotka servernyh veb-prilozhenij na JavaScript”. The strategy used can be justified by the fact that the title is adapted for the broader target audience oriented both at IT professionals and non-professionals. Thus, the part “the Exciting New Server-Side JavaScript Web Development Stack” can be reduced to clarify the content making the title more concise.

Another most frequent technique is modulation, semantic development (Komissarov, 1990). There is an official translation of the book and its title “Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software” (the book describes different techniques of Object-Oriented Software and gives examples of their usage) by A. Slinkin. It was translated as “Priemy ob#ektno-orientirovannogo proektirovanija. Patterny proektirovanija”. In this case, the word combination “reusable software" is semantically and logically developed to the word “priemy” (techniques), which reflects the content of the book and overcomes the asymmetry of the language units.

Such a translation technique as lexical addition, i.e. adding extra lexical units into the target language text to express implicit semantic elements of the source language text, is also frequently used by translators. It can be illustrated by the translation of the title of the book by Karl Wiegers and J.Beatty “Software Requirements” published by “Russkaya Redaktsia”. The book is known by the Russian speaking audience as “Razrabotka trebovanij k programmnomu obespecheniju”. In this example, the title in the Russian language clarifies and explicates the idea that the book is not about requirements for software but about their development.

Due to the domain-specific terminology in the field of IT, and also due to the fact that IT texts are full of colorful words and phrases based on word-play (puns), translators have to use explication (descriptive translation) to convey the meaning of such expressions (Ol'shanskaya, 2017; Retsker, 1974; Retsker, 1982). Namely, Mikhail Zislis uses this technique when translating “Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams” by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister. The title is translated into Russian as “Chelovecheskij faktor. Uspeshnye proekty i komandy”. In the example the word “peopleware” is created by analogy with the words “software” or “hardware”. Taking into account the content of the book, it implies the rational distribution of human resources or the influence of a separate member of the team on the achieved results. These meanings are successfully interpreted through the descriptive translation as “chelovecheskij factor”.

For the sake of euphony of titles, translators sometimes have to use holistic translation transformations, replacing constructions in the source language with Russian words, which might have a completely different meaning but as a whole unit contributes to the semantic adequacy. The method is sometimes the only one that helps to express the actual idea of the whole phrase. Thus, Irina Malkova translates the English title “Inspired: Becoming Articulate, Well-Spoken, and Clear” by Martin Cagan as “Na krjuchke. Kak sozdavat' produkty-hity”. In her translation, she used both the technique of omission, i.e. all the epithets omitted to be reflected in the term “produkty-hity”, and the translation transformation of metaphorization to interpret “inspired” with the help of the Russian idiom “na krjuchke”.

The techniques which are characteristic of translating book titles mentioned above are also used for interpreting headlines (English-Russian World, 2012) in the field of information technologies. So, the headline of the article “China's hi-tech answer to cheats” (English-Russian World, 2012) was translated as “Vysokotehnologichnaja reakcija Kitaja na zhul'nichestvo pri sdache jekzamenov”. This example illustrates the transformation of specification. In fact, when translating newspaper articles the words in the source language text are often chosen for their general meaning and they can embrace too broad meanings for the target language audience. But it is necessary to specify and clarify the idea for Russian native speakers. In this context, the wider meaning of the word “cheat” (cheat in the race, cheat at play, cheat at cards, etc.) becomes more specific: “cheat on an exam” (“spisyvat' na jekzamene”), which allows the reader to identify the activity easily in the article.

The following example allows demonstrating the technique of lexical addition as a translation transformation. It is based on the article “Endurance test for robot Humvee» (English-Russian World, 2005). The headline in the newspaper “English-Russian World” was translated as “Ispytanie na vynoslivost' robota-vezdehoda Humvee”. The translation technique of addition explains what the main function of the robot is through adding the lexical unit “vezdehod”.

A lot of books on various programming languages have titles which are similar by its structural elements to the title of the book “C Pocket Reference” by Peter Prinz & Ulla Kirch-Prinz. As for the title, the meaning extension techniques are likely to be used when translating the phrase “pocket reference”. The proper way to translate the title is “Karmannyj spravochnik po C++”, which reflects the structure of the book in the form of a series of short articles. These articles explain different units and methods of the programming language C++ and give examples of their use.

For translating the book title “Evil by Design: Design patterns that lead us into temptation” by Chris Nodder properly, it is possible to employ the technique of holistic translation transformation, by actually replacing the expression plane in the source language text with the semantically far target language lexical units. Thus, following the steps above we get the translation “Lovushki opyta: privlekatel'nye shablony oformlenija sajtov”, which conveys the message of the book – creating appealing designs for users.

For translating the headline “Video games are better without stories” by Ian Bogost from the English magazine “The Atlantics”, 25 April, 2017, the translation transformation of differentiation of meanings is employed. The headline is translated into Russian as “Video igry luchshe bez sjuzhetnoj linii”. The differentiation of meanings of the word “stories” proves to be necessary to differentiate between the notions “a storyline” and “a plot of the story” (it is “main” something that comprises the concept of the game). “A story” in a game in Russian usually implies a storyline for gamers to follow it gradually, step by step.


The research considers the problem of adaptation in translation. The research is based on and exemplified in translating book titles and article headlines of IT sphere as the sphere is developing greatly being the focus for both professionals and non-professionals in the globalized world. IT as a source of the linguistic material for the analysis demonstrates the extensive use of translation transformation elaborated in the translation theory. Similarly, to translating texts referred to any other life spheres, one should take into account the norms of the target language, the context and also peculiarities of the target language audience. Translators should choose and use such techniques and translation transformations, which will help to convey IT terminology and slang in the most exact and adequate way. Translating book titles and article headlines requires not only a good command of the language, high professional translators’ skills and knowledge, but also demand particular responsibility, creativity and flexibility from translators.

The analyzed IT texts show high flexibility when employing a wide range of translation lexical and lexical-grammatical transformations. They involve practically all of the broad-spectrum translation transformations in the qualification presented in the article. And among the lexical transformations, generalization, specification and transcribing appeared to be the most widespread transformations when translating book titles and newspaper headlines on IT from English into Russian. Among the grammatical translation transformations, they are grammatical replacements (replacement of parts of the sentence, replacement of the category of number and replacement of the category of tense). The only limit is for pure grammatical techniques (sentence division, sentence integration). The fact is explained by the specificity and structure of book titles and article headlines. As for the complex lexical-grammatical translation transformations, holistic one is the most frequent due to the specificity of the terminology full of words of modern coinage and slang expressions.


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28 December 2020

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Fetisova, S. A., Voytkova, A. N., Podkamennaya, E. V., Nevolina, K. V., & Universalyuk, E. A. (2020). Multilingual Translating It Book And Article Titles In The Era Of Globalization. In N. L. Shamne, S. Cindori, E. Y. Malushko, O. Larouk, & V. G. Lizunkov (Eds.), Individual and Society in the Modern Geopolitical Environment, vol 99. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 264-270). European Publisher.