Poetry Translation As Way Of Forming Linguacreativity Among University Students In Linguistics


The article deals with the theory of linguacreativity as the goal of teaching foreign languages for students of linguistic speciality. Linguacreativity is one of the fundamental abilities for a future translator who will be able to produce something different, new, or innovative and show a certain degree of identification with the particular language community. Formation of this ability on the example of poetry translation is regarded as one of the best ways to create a non-standard vision of the world and to develop linguacreativity with the help of associative-figurative thinking and necessary pre-translation analysis. Much of the article covers the comparative analysis of an original and translated text of the English poet G.M. Hopkins and it`s two Russian translations. The article studies the possible translation strategies and points the most successful means of reaching translation adequacy, where explication of implicit information existing in the poem «deep structure» is regarded as the ability to transform the given poem and maintain the necessary balance between language and reality and to make a new poem. In conclusion, authors of the article underline that poetic translation is determined not only by the national-specific language peculiarities, but also by the translator’s creativity, and his/her understanding of the contemporary world.

Keywords: Associative mechanismlinguacreativitylingua-creative thinkinglinguistic personalitytranslation strategies


In modern education, one of the most challenging learning goals is the development of creativity and readiness for problem-based situation among university students. Programs in foreign languages define the goal of teaching foreign languages as a development of the personality of the learner, his/her abilities and desires to participate in intercultural communication and independent improvement of language practice. It can be formulated as the development of a “secondary linguistic personality” capable for a new form of lingua-creative thinking in both non-professional and professional activity, representing independence, initiative, confidence in communication and the immersion into another culture and mentality, which require a certain degree of identification with the particular language community. These characteristics mean the actualization of the necessary level of intellectual and personal potential, the development of which is a prerequisite for the formation of a student as a subject of innovative activity. To understand the term of linguistic creativity, one should take into account not only a combination of general principles, requirements and recommendations for working on vocabulary, grammar, etc. but also the language itself as a way of forming the logic of thinking and an effective factor in the development of a student’s creative linguistic personality.

Problem Statement

In this vein, the modern translator has a difficult task to translate at the level of translating the meaning embedded in the images and cultural model of one language into an adequate equivalent to the meaning of the image and cultural model of another language. This phenomenon is based on the desire of poets to translate the classics of literary art in different ways. Sometimes translation difficulties are associated with the lack of a language unit in the system of another language. Then descriptive and associative translation techniques come to the rescue. It is very important to develop the imagination and creativity of the future translator through a personal feeling and an individual vision of a picture of the world.

Research Questions

In a rapidly changing world, the education of the translator with creative thinking is particularly relevant. As commonly cited, any creative activity is a non-standard vision of the world; it is freedom and the basis of many innovative discoveries, which is currently the most important starting point for training future translators. It is difficult to imagine any person carrying out the creative activity without associative-figurative thinking, without developed imagination especially in the field of poetic translation. For achieving creative potential and developing associative-figurative thinking among future translators, it is necessary to solve several important tasks throughout the educational and creative learning process:

  • to create an environment conducive to the students' creative potential;

  • to develop their imagination and fantasy, to elicit emotions, to expand a creative approach in the process of understanding classical and contemporary art and poetry;

  • to optimize the process of studying artists’ and poets’ oeuvres;

  • to promote the development of aesthetic taste and cultural potential of the students.

Smirnov (1975) warned about the need to distinguish between logical thinking and the associative flow of intellectual processes. Associations-thoughts and ideas can go in a variety of directions, including those leading away from the starting point. The use of associations in the process of teaching literary translation is one of the effective methods of forming reflection of students. The goals of associative thinking are the creation of new ideas, meanings and semantic connections. Associative meaning is fixed in the mind and forms the associated informational-semantic structures (Ushakov, 2020). By expanding analogies, images, ideas, associative thinking contributes to the development of thinking, increases the likelihood of conjecture. The learning process becomes natural, without psychological stress and a stable positive motivation is forming (Hippenreitern & Petukhov, 1981; Zagorsk, 1990).

Purpose of the Study

Modern training in literary translation, should depart from traditional methods or at least supplement them with something new, more interesting, effective and creative. All types of associations can be applied at any stage of teaching a foreign language, whether it is grammar, vocabulary or other types of speech and mental activity:

  • by similarity/contrast: synonyms-antonyms;

  • by similarity/difference;

  • by adjacency in time and space;

  • by cause-effect associations: drawing up logical chains of sentences with “if-sentences” when studying Conditionals.

There are various types of tasks for the development of associative-figurative thinking of future translators. One of the examples is Atkinson’s method (Atkinson & Raugh, 1975). There is the English word bread [bred], - a food made from flour, water, and usually yeast, mixed and baked. It is in tune with the Russian word that means "nonsense." Now imagine that you came to the bakery, and there was no bread. Madness, right? The chain is formed: “bread” - “nonsense” - “no bread” - “bread”. Having picked up a bright association for each word, you can quickly improve your vocabulary. It is possible to memorize 100 new words per day. One more example, a puddle is in tune with the Russian word “падал” (“fell down”), learn as fell into a puddle. Everyone remembers in the right way. “Caught” – “cat caught a (mouse)”, “taught” - the one who taught me. Thus, you may use this method as a practical task. Moreover, do not neglect the professional competencies of the translator:

  • language (linguistic) competence;

  • knowledge of all aspects of language proficiency characteristic of a native speaker;

  • knowledge of the system, norms and language of the language;

  • vocabulary and grammar;

  • rules for using language units to construct speech utterances in both languages involved in the translation process (translator bilingualism).

As a consequence of the foregoing, associations are precisely effective because they can be born based on any means and incentives and form vivid, memorable images, which becomes a key factor in successful teaching of poetic translation. Each person perceives those facts better especially if they are related to each other and his/her experience. To understand and learn the new, it is enough for him/her to connect different facts into a single whole. Thus, the associative method develops imaginative thinking, makes the lessons of a foreign language bright, diverse, motivating students to obtain reflective knowledge.

Based on the goals of teaching foreign languages and taking into account factors that influence the formation of creativity of linguistic thinking, the authors of the article consider linguistic creativity of thinking from the perspective of forming a “lingua-creative personality of a translator” that can translate even “untranslatable” - poetic works of so-called “complex” poetry.

The educational possibilities of poetic translation are well known and are not in doubt. Translation work, in addition to the number of philological goals (the in-depth and conscious study of foreign and native languages, developing literary translation skills, reinforcing stylistic analysis skills, etc.), introduces students to samples of the literature of various genres. The individual artistic style of writers and the culture of the people develops a sense of style and beauty of the language, develops a taste for creative work (Aznaurova, 1967). Barkhudarov (1964) notes that work on the translation in advanced courses provides massive opportunities for the development of one's synonymous stock of emotionally expressive vocabulary, overcoming the tendency to simplify speech. “Fluently speaking”, a student may well be limited to a narrow circle of vocabulary and grammar that is familiar to him. With such “free speaking”, the student’s language, as a rule, is thin, inexpressive, primitive. Another thing is a translation into a foreign language. The principle of the adequacy of translation requires the complete transfer of all the linguistic richness of the original, all its stylistic resources, expressive means, requires possession of a variety of phraseology, synonymy, expressive vocabulary, the entire arsenal of language means” (Barkhudarov, 1966).

In this regard, an important stage of translators’ training is the pre-translation analysis proposed by the researchers Andreeva and Kachalov (2007) for special texts, which seems quite universal. Some generalization of the strategy developed by them allows us to identify the main dominants of pre-translation analysis:

  • 1) a study of the structure of the text as a way of implementing the author’s intention;

  • 2) appeal to extra-linguistic factors of text creation;

  • 3) a study of the characteristics of communication in the relationship between the author and the recipient.

If we compare the above-listed dominants of pre-translation analysis and the factors of the formation of creativity of language thinking, namely:

  • 1) originality (ability to produce associations);

  • 2) semantic flexibility - the ability to offer a new use of the function of an object;

  • 3) "semantic spontaneous flexibility" - the ability to produce a variety of ideas in a relatively unlimited situation (Rottenberg, 2020).

We can note that both the dominants of pre-translation analysis and the factors of the formation of lingua creative thinking are complementary components that contribute to the formation of the lingua creative personality of the translator. A capable translator combines elements of the philological and linguistic analysis of the text while preserving the invariant parameters of the source text and its meaning in the translated text. In other words, to maintain the necessary balance between language and reality and thereby form linguistic creative thinking.

Research Methods

Following the main dominates of pretranslation analysis (text structure studying, extralinguistic factors of text-building, peculiarities of communication - the author - the recipient) we will conduct a comparative analysis of an original and translated text of English poet-modernist G.M. Hopkins and it`s two Russian translations.

A comparative analysis of an original text and the Russian translation(s) allows studying the possible translation strategies and pointing out the most successful means of reaching translation adequacy. Such work gives a rich material for future self-analysis and improving the quality of students` translations. Thus, forming a “linga-creative personality of the translator”.

G.M. Hopkin`s (1844 – 1889) is a great English poet-modernist and his poetry is associated with the concept of God`s presence as a great heat and light existing in nature. However, in the nature and in the soul, there is not only light but there is darkness in all its shadows: from grief to desperation in some way presenting in life. Pied beauty of God`s world is not only it`s various and endless variety but a mixture of light and darkness reflected in a favourite poet`s epithet dappled (Hopkins, 2020).

Every element of text structure is a stimulus leading to a set of associations able to explicate in the text or to exist implicitly. The objectivation of implicit information is possible due to pivot words, words-markers emphasizing text associations. In a reader`s conscious there appears a bunch of potential association lines and in the text developing process every marker can objectivate one of them and make an opportunity for new combinations, so to widen the number of association lines (Bolotnova et al., 2001). The poem by Hopkins (2020) “Pied Beauty” shows all the main features of his poetry.

Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things—

For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;

For rose-moles upon trout that swim;

Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;

Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;

And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.

All things counter, original, spare, strange;

Whatever is fickle freckled (who knows how?)

With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;

He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:

Praise Him.


In the poem, there appear the images of fire, bird, tree, light symbolizing God in his poetry. In the next five lines, G. M. Hopkins gives examples of those things that illustrate the notion dappled. The poem contains a variety of dappled objects. The image row is characterized by the different objects: from the sunny blue sky (skies of couple-colour) compared with the cow`s colour (brinded), colourful wings of finches to the newly plotted field (landscape plotted and pieced - fold, fallow, and plough).

Creating the image of the trout colour G.M. Hopkins uses a multi-meaning word stipple. In the result of this comparison, a translator makes some potential association lines that he realizes in his translation. Aiming at finding out the main associative mechanisms of translation of an English poem, we will conduct a lingo cognitive analysis of his translations into Russian. In the translation of the poem “Pied Beauty” by Kruzhkov (2020) there represented the picture of God`s world order that is interpreted and sometimes redrawn by the Russian poet.

Pestraya krasota

Slaven Gospod', sotvorivshij stol'ko pestryh veshchej:

Nebo sinee v pezhinah belyh; forelej v ruch'e

S rozovatymi rodinkami vdol' spiny; loshadinye masti,

Rossyp' konskih kashtanov v trave; lug, ryaboj ot cvetov;

Pole cherno-zelenoe, sshitoe iz loskutov;

Dlya rabot i ohot vsevozmozhnyh orud'ya i snasti.

Vse takoe prichudnoe, raznoe, strannoe, Bozhe ty moj!

Vse vesnuschato-krapchatoe vperemeshku i odnovremenno -

Plavno-bystroe, sladko-solenoe, s bleskom i t'moj,

Chto rozhdaet bessmenno tot, ch'ya krasota neizmenna:

Slaven, slaven Gospod'.

Пестрая красота

Славен Господь, сотворивший столько пестрых вещей:

Небо синее в пежинах белых; форелей в ручье

С розоватыми родинками вдоль спины; лошадиные масти,

Россыпь конских каштанов в траве; луг, рябой от цветов;

Поле черно-зеленое, сшитое из лоскутов;

Для работ и охот всевозможных орудья и снасти.

Все такое причудное, разное, странное, Боже ты мой!

Все веснусчато-крапчатое вперемешку и одновременно -

Плавно-быстрое, сладко-соленое, с блеском и тьмой,

Что рождает бессменно тот, чья красота неизменна:

Славен, славен Господь.

G. Kruzhkov interprets the idea of pied beauty of G.M. Hopkins adding to the poetic text translation the elements of his original text perception and making his interpretation. He excludes the comparison in which the sky is compared with the cow colour. The object of the comparison is represented in the concept horse. Compare: в пежинах белых, лошадиные масти, россыпь конских каштанов в траве. It`s important that G. Kruzhkov changes the object of comparison and inserts in his translation the image of a horse instead of a cow (as it was in an original) (Ushakov, 2020).

In the Russian language, the word пежина is associated with the horse more than with any other animal. We think that using a dialect word in the translation is quite proved because G.M. Hopkins often uses dialect words in his poems that was pointed out by the researchers of his poetry. We can suggest that G. Kruzhkov uses this word trying to make his text closer to the original.

The image of a horse in a Russian conscious has a positive cultural connotation. All the translator`s associations fully represent important intertext information expressed in the original. This interpretation adopts Russian translation for Russian poetic world model.

For more objective estimation of English poem translations, we will study one more Russian poem by Rottenberg (2020).

Hvala tvorcu za vsyo, chto v yablokah,

Za nebesa dvuhcvetnye, kak byk pyatnastyj,

Za rozovymi rodinkami ispeshchryonnoyu forel';

Za vnov' opavshie, v kostyor popavshie kashtany, za kryl'ya zyablikov;

Za dali v skladkah, v zyabi, v pashnyah — za zemnuyu cvel';

I vse remyosla s instrumentami, orud'yami, osnastkoj;

Vsyo, chto original'no, stranno, redko, ne obyknovenno,

Vsyo, chto izmenchivo, vesnushchato (kto znaet, otchego i pochemu?),

Vsyo medlennoe, bystroe, sladkoe i kisloe, blestyashchee i tuskloe —

Ot odnogo Otca, ch'ya krasota voveki neizmenna;

Hvala Emu!

Хвала творцу за всё, что в яблоках,

За небеса двухцветные, как бык пятнастый,

За розовыми родинками испещрённою форель;

За вновь опавшие, в костёр попавшие каштаны, за крылья зябликов;

За дали в складках, в зяби, в пашнях — за земную цвель;

И все ремёсла с инструментами, орудьями, оснасткой;

Всё, что оригинально, странно, редко, не обыкновенно,

Всё, что изменчиво, веснушчато (кто знает, отчего и почему?),

Всё медленное, быстрое, сладкое и кислое, блестящее и тусклое —

От одного Отца, чья красота вовеки неизменна;

Хвала Ему!

In D. Rottenberg translation the program expression dappled things (representing in English original the whole image row of objects) is translated with the help of a contextual synonym, word combination: все, что в яблоках. In the Russian world model, this idiom is associated with the horse colour (Fedorov, 2020).

Translating this expression D. Rottenberg changes the punctuation in the first line. So, instead of a dash used by G.M. Hopkins D. Rottenberg puts the expression в яблоках in one row with some other dappled objects and changing the idea of the original. In our opinion, this choice is not proved because it`s characterized by a bright cultural connotation.

On the level “text-meaning”, the translator gives wrong information to his reader constricting the meaning of word expression dappled things unreasonably using the ideas not existing implicitly in the original text. The translation of the next four lines is more provable in expressing the system of images made by G.M. Hopkins. D. Rottenberg exactly represents the comparison of an English poet. According to G.M. Hopkins philosophy, all the things created by God have equal importance. An association put in the basis of comparison of the sky and an ox in the translation of D. Rottenberg looks logically and naturally.

In the text of the original, there is an image having a special meaning in the poetic world model of G.M. Hopkins. The fruit of a broken chestnut black outside and white inside evokes a complicated visual image of coals in a bonfire (fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls). This image containing the symbol of fire is important from the point of view of symbolic nomination in the poetic world model of G.M. Hopkins. The image made with the help of an English word expression symbolizes the soul, God` presence hidden behind the human`s body, the connection between the soul and the body. This image different from other objects represents the interaction between God and nature and the variety and richness of the world.


A comparative analysis of two Russian translations of this image showed that the symbolic information implicitly represented in the original is not represented in the translations. D. Rottenberg uses the symbol of fire losing in his interpretation the symbolic image of a broken chestnut and suggests drawing this image to the reader ( За вновь опавшие, в костер попавшие каштаны ). G. Kruzhkov restricts this image completely ignoring the fire symbolic and inserting the image of thrown chestnuts associated with the horse colour ( Россыпь конских каштанов в траве ).

Russian poets-translators differently see, interpret and represent the concept of the dappled world made by G.M. Hopkins and fixed in three next lines of the first part of the poem. Translators draw the picture of what they have seen in different ways demonstrating the peculiarities of implicit information.

G. Kruzhkov remakes the scenery created by G.M. Hopkins and adding to its description his own sense reflecting the idea of a variety of the world. The concept of world motley made in the first part of the poem is associated with the notion of people's appearance motley description and denoted by the adjective freckled ( веснуссчатый ). G. Kruzhkov widens this definition making a complex epithet веснусчато-крапчатое symbolizing the connection of human`s and natural worlds. Such a mixture corresponds with the philosophy of G.M. Hopkins according to which a human being and nature are under the power of God and symbolize his greatness.


D. Rottenberg`s translation is closer to the original than G. Kruzhov`s translation in which there preserved the graphic text structure of the original and used the words with the semantics of the Earth (За дали в складках, в зяби, в пашнях - за земную цвель). This translation also has some transformations. The translator uses the word цвель (Efremova, 2000).

Using this word in the Russian translation is not provable from the point of view of lexical units. From the point of view of the whole text, the structure and the system of poetic images, the word with the nature color semantics looks quite appropriately. Besides, this word has a dialect origin that in our opinion, reflects translator`s intention. D. Rottenberg expresses stylistic peculiarities of the original.

Conducted lingo cultural comparative analysis of the English poem and its Russian translations helped to find out the peculiarities of individually author`s interpretation as a result of associative work of translators. The analysis showed that poetic translation is a kind of interpretation. Such an interpretation is the result of explication of the implicit information of the original. Language cognition of the poet-translator is determined not only by the national-specific language peculiarities but by the peculiarities of his introspection, by his perception, by his knowledge about G.M. Hopkin`s symbolic, associative, image components. Such knowledge is not fully expressed by Russian translators (sometimes never expressed) and it demonstrates the professionalism of translators.

As one can understand from the given example, linguacreativity is intimately connected with our identities and the world around us. Some poems make us laugh, cry or become angry, while others create, maintain or undermine relationships, social conventions and institutions. Linguistic creativity is a particularly salient way of achieving these effects, making it a lively and interesting focus for investigating communication. Moreover, it is a fundamental ability for a future translator who will be able to show a certain degree of identification with the particular language community by means of interpreting poetry.


  1. Atkinson, R. C., & Raugh, M. R. (1975). An application of the mnemonic keyword method to the acquisition of Russian vocabulary. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Learning and Memory, 104, 126-133.
  2. Aznaurova, E. (1967). Tasks and methods of teaching translation among senior students of special teacher training faculties. Moscow. International Relations, 4, 76-81.
  3. Andreeva, O., & Kachalov, N. (2007). The main components of the content of training in pretranslation analysis of professionally oriented texts. Vestnik TSPU, 4(67), 108–113.
  4. Barkhudarov, L. (1964). Lexical correspondences in a poetic translation (based on the translation of I. Longfellow's Songs of Hiawatha by I. A. Bunin). Translator's Notebooks: A Collection of Books, Moscow, International Relations, 2, 41-61.
  5. Barkhudarov, L. (1966). The role of translation as a means of developing oral and written speech in senior courses of a language university. Moscow, International Relations, 3, 82-89.
  6. Bolotnova, N., Babenko, I., & Vasilieva, A. (2001). Communicative Style of a Literary Text: Lexical Structure and Idio-Style Tomsk. Publishing House of Tomsk State Pedagogical University.
  7. Efremova, T., (2000). New Dictionary of the Russian Language. Interpretative and Derivational. Russian language.
  8. Fedorov, A. (2020). Phraseological Dictionary of the Russian Literary Language. http://www.ozon.ru/context/detail/id/3933942
  9. Hippenreitern, Yu., & Petukhov, V. (1981). Reading Book in General Psychology. Psychology of Thinking. Moscow State University.
  10. Hopkins, G. M. (2020). G. M. Poem: "Pied Beauty”. http://www.sparknotes.com/poetry/hopkins/section3.html
  11. Kruzhkov, G. (2020.) Poems. Introductory article by Grigory Kruzhkov. http://magazines.russ.ru/inostran/2006/12/ho5.html
  12. Rottenberg, D. (2020). Poem Translation. http://www.ljpoisk.ru/archive/5369228.html
  13. Smirnov, A. (1975). The Development and Current State of Psychological Science in the USSR. Pedagogy.
  14. Ushakov, D. (2020). The Big Explanatory Dictionary of the Modern Russian Language. http://ushdict.narod.ru
  15. Zagorsk, A. (1990). The psychological component of “Foreign Language as a subject. Foreign Languages at School, 6, 26-31.

Copyright information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About this article

Publication Date

28 December 2020

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Multicultural context, learning environment, modern society, personality formation, informatization of the society, economics and law system of the region

Cite this article as:

Kuzina, E. V., Medvedeva, L. G., Nadezhdina, E. Y., Verkhoturova, N. A., & Guseva, A. E. (2020). Poetry Translation As Way Of Forming Linguacreativity Among University Students In Linguistics. 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. 465-474). European Publisher. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2020.12.04.54