Peoples' Friendship University of Russia (RFUR) (RUSSIAN FEDERATION)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN16 Proceedings
Publication year: 2016
Pages: 8220-8226
ISBN: 978-84-608-8860-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2016.0797
Conference name: 8th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2016
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The article deals with the issues related to the interaction between linguistics, translation studies and methods of teaching translation with an emphasis on the approaches to building up the foundations for a university-level course on the theory and practice of translating written texts from English to Russian. The course has been designed as an introduction to the field of translation. Typical difficulties that students encounter at the initial stage of study are their poor mastery of the languages involved, insufficient knowledge of translation theory, and, as a result, a low level of motivation.

Given these difficulties, the course material, though founded on some theoretical points, has to be presented to students via intelligible and easily accessible forms of information, one of which is mini-texts. Before starting in on actual translation, one must first of all formulate a translation strategy, by which we mean doing some preliminary analysis of the source text to be translated. The translator must carefully read the text from start to finish and try to imagine the communicative situation in which this speech act occurred in the source language. Then he researches the meanings of words and grammatical constructions to recognize and determine the text-type and the level of background knowledge that the Russian-language recipient can be expected to have. The source text is then divided into fragments. Each fragment contains a single utterance, or two to three utterances that are close to each other in meaning. By “utterance”, we mean the basic structural unit of a coherent text that consists of a single complete thought and the language forms used to express this thought.

Upon completing this preliminary work, the translator begins to actually translate, implementing a strictly ordered set of actions. These can be numbered as follows:
1. The first action is to render the source utterance in Russian word for word, i.e., to search for the closest Russian equivalent.
2. To summarize the preceding first action of a translator’s actual translation work, producing a word-for-word translation of a text allows the translator to identify elements that hinder communication between languages (i.e., “it’s just not said that way in Russian!”) and to find solutions.
3. If the translator does not encounter any difficulties of this sort in the text, he can continue on to the next action. At this stage in the process, the translator’s focus is on the utterance level, with problems typically coming from one or both of the following categories:
a) difficulties due to differences in the utterance information structure;
b) difficulties due to differences in its grammatical structure.
4. The translator continues to examine the utterance to be translated for needed transformations related to its grammatical structure, primarily the subject and predicate.
5. Once the translator has crafted the utterance in terms of its discourse features, information structure and grammatical structure, he can turn his attention to lexical issues.

As a very broad generalization, the steps we have laid out serve as one possible methodological approach to translating written texts from English into Russian. As mentioned earlier, this approach is based on a recognition of the speech actions that translators perform in their work. It has been implemented in various educational contexts to teach students of translation.
Translator’s speech actions, methods of teaching translation, teaching translation to beginners, discourse, utterance.