Measure of translation transformations in rendering a science text

UDC 81’255.4

Olena MYKHAILENKO, PhD, Associate Professor
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv
ORCID: 0000-0003-2085-4698

Olena SYDORENKO, PhD, Associate Professor
Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv


An adequate measure of translation transformations is a distinctive feature of a good translation. It allows to realise the two major requirements to the target text – equivalent regulatory effect of source and target texts and maximum possible semantic and structural similarity of source and target texts. A faithful translation should be made in keeping with the three principles determining the adequate measure of transformations in translation: the motivation principle, the minimalism principle and the boundedness principle. A particular research interest is taken in the degree of translation transformations in the science text in conformity with these principles. To produce a quality translation with (an) identical pragmatic effect, the translator should clearly define the measure of translation transformations – when certain translation modifications are necessary and admissible. It is important for translators to be knowledgeable about the functions of each determinant principle and avoid unmotivated transformations, reasonable but excessive modifications, and motivated transformations that go beyond the admissible translation limits. The translator should also avoid extremes – literal and free translations, which hamper the perception of the text.

The adequate measure of translation transformations is in the middle between literal and loose translations. To take an appropriate translation solution, the translator of a science text should be trained in using translation techniques and bring the source text in conformity with the norms of the language of science. A specific admissible measure of transformations in translation is impossible to determine as it varies in different text genres and different contexts. The translator should be competent enough in the branch of knowledge the translation text belongs to. Our analysis of the Ukrainian translation of the history (historical) monograph “The Celts: A Chronological History” by Dáithí Ó hÓgáin, aims to establish the degree of semantic and structural divergences between the source and target texts and to evaluate the translation solutions that were used to achieve the pragmatically equivalent translation.

Keywords: measure of translation transformations, determinant principles, motivated transformations, unmotivated transformations, minimal deviations, pragmatic impact, translation solution, translation technique.