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Idiomatic or phraseological expressions are structurally, lexically and semantically fixed phrases or sentences having mostly the meaning, which is not made up by the sum of meanings of their component parts1. An indispensable feature of idiomatic (phraseological) expressions is their figurative, i.e., metaphorical nature and usage. It is this nature that makes them distinguishable from structurally identical free combinations of words Cf.: red tape (free word-comb.) - red tape (idiom) (); the tables are/were turned (free word-comb.) / - the tables are turned (idiom) ; /; play with fire (free word-comb.) ( ) - (idiom).

On rare occasions the lexical meaning of idiomatically bound expressions can coincide with their direct, i.e., not transferred meaning, which facilitates their understanding as in the examples like: to make way ; to die a dog's death ; to receive a hero's welcome ; wait a minute/a moment / ; to tell (you) the truth / ; to dust one's coat/jacket / - .

Some proper names can also be endowed with figurative meaning and possess the necessary expressiveness which are the distinguishing features of idioms2: Croesus, Tommy (Tommy Atkins), Yankee, Mrs. Grundy, Jack Ketch, etc. These, proper names have acquired their constant meaning and can not be confused with usual (common) proper names of people. As a result their transferred meaning is conveyed in a descriptive way. So Mrs. Grundy means , , ; Jack Ketch ; Croesus , ; Tommy Atkins ; Yankee (in Europe) /, etc.

Idiomatic/phraseological expressions should not be mixed up with different fixed/set prepositional, adjectival, verbal and adverbial

1 See: .. . - .: . , 1972. Martin H. Manser A Dictionary of Contemporary Idioms. - London, Pan Books Ltd, 1983.

2 See: CollinsV.N.ABook of English Idioms. -.:, 1950. - .. . - : . ., 1969. phrases the meaning of which is not an actual sum of meanings made up by their constituent parts either: by George, by and by, for all of, for the sake of, cut short, make believe; or compounds like: topsy-turvy, higledy-piggledy; coordinate combinations like: high and dry, cut and run, touch and go; Tom, Dick and Harry, etc. These and a lot of other stable expressions can very often be treated as standardized collocations. Their meaning can be rendered in a descriptive way too, like that of genuine idiomatic expressions: fifty-fifty ; ; . , ; cut short , / (), ().

Such and the like stable expressions, like most of other standardized collocations, have usually a transparent meaning and are easier to translate than regular idioms (the so-called phraseological fusions). Meanwhile it is next to impossible to guess, for example, the meaning of the English idiom Hobson's choice from the seemingly transparent meanings of its componental parts. Only a philological inquiry helps establish the meaning of the name and the real sense of the idiom - no choice whatsoever, acceptance of what is offered .

Similarly treated must also be many other English and Ukrainian picturesque idioms, proverbs and sayings, which have national literary images and reflect the traditions, customs, the way of conduct or the mode of life of a nation. Their meaning, due to absence of similar idioms in the target language, can be rendered descriptively, i.e. through a regular explication. The latter, depending on the semantic structure of the source language idiom, may be sometimes achieved in the target language with the help of a single word. Cf.: English: an odd/queer fish ; Canterbury tale , ; blue bonnet ( ) ; crammed; to be chilled. Most often, however, the meaning of this kind of idioms is conveyed with the help of free word-combinations: to dine with Duke Humphrey ( ); to cut off with a shilling . Similarly in Ukrainian: to go quickly (or very quickly) on one's feet; ' to have great experience in something; / ' to run away quickly/hurriedly.

It goes without saying that none of the phraseologisms above can be translated word-for-word since their constituent images would lose their connotative, i.e., metaphorical meaning in the target language. So, or

in their

could be understood by the Ukrainian language spe& u / literal meaning. The same can be said about our idiom ^ ^/Ould never , i.e., *with one's legs on the shoulders whid1 ^ language be understood, when translated literally, by the Eng'1 n mechani-native speakers. Therefore, the componental images ^ rjpg about a cally transplanted to the target language, may often " complete destruction of the idiomatic expression. , jdioms may The choice of the way of translation of this kind tne exist-be predetermined by the source language context of tjC/stable ex-ence/absence of contextual equivalents for the idiorn^ pelow units pression in the target language. Thus, in the exampl^ ^e ne|p of a of this kind can be translated into Ukrainian either witf1 jca| expres-single word or with the help of a standardized phrased0 sion: to give a start ; to give ft , ; tf7 sel (facet) ( ; ; 1^ ), the Holy Mother . 0|location af-Not infrequently the meaning of a standardized csynonymous ter V.V.Vinigradov like that of a regular idiom may hav^ ^Ojce Of ^ne single word equivalents in the target language. The ^e standard-equivalent is predetermined then by the meaning of ntence where ized collocation/phraseologism and by the style of the 5^0; it is used: to make sure (), & ^; to make comfort ; to take place -the world and his wife . 5 which have Similarly treated are also traditional combinatio11 equivalents in the target language several stylistically neutral fr0 , (words or word-combinations) as: to run a risk ^ Op , to apply the screw ( ); to .^, potato , . ue idiomatic/ Faithful translating of a large number of picture5^cnjevec| on|y phraseological expressions, on the other hand, can be > language a by a thorough selection of variants having in the tar0 picturesque-similar to the original lexical meaning, and also th^1 j on common


the mean-gener-


ness and expressiveness. This similarity can be in the source language and in the target language c ages as well as on the structural form of them. As a f05 ing of such idioms is mostly guessed by the student5'

ally facilitates their translation.

A few examples will suffice to prove it. English

grass widow

(widower) ' (); not to see a step beyond one's nose ; measure twice and cut once , ; not for love or money / ; Ukrainian: / , , (not to know chalk from cheese); , all cats are grey in the dark, , , , ( ) like father, like son; not a cat's/dog's chance /, etc.

It often happens that the target language has more than one semantically similar/analogous phraseological expression for one in the source language. The selection of the most fitting variant for the passage under translation should be based then not only on the semantic proximity of the idioms/phraseologisms but also on the similarity in their picturesqueness, expressiveness and possibly in their basic linages. The bulk of this kind of phraseological expressions belong to the so-called phraseological unities. (Vinogradov). Here are some Ukrainian variants of the kind of English phraselogisms: either win the saddle or loose the horse , ; , ; many hands make work light , ; ; ; ; a man can die but once ; , ; ; , ; hastle makes waste/the more haste, the less speed - , - , - .

A number of phraseological units, due to their common source of origin, are characterized in English and Ukrainian by partial or complete identity of their syntactic structure, their componental images, picturesqueness and expressiveness (and consequently of their meaning). Such kind of idioms often preserve a similar or even identical word order in the source language and in the target language. Hence, they are understood and translated by our students without difficulties: to,cast pearls before swine ; to be 00/77 under a lucky star ; to cherish/warm a viper in one's bosom ; to be/fall between Scilla and Charybdis / .

One of the peculiar features of this type of idiomatic expressions is their international nature. Only few of them have phraseological synonyms of national flavour, being thus restricted to corre-

185spending speech styles, whereas international idioms predominantly belong to the domain of higher stylistic level: Genuine Internationalisms National/Colloquial Variants

The apple of discord The bone of contention. The , bone of discord Strike the iron while it is hot make hay while the sun shines ,

neither fish nor flesh ' to cross the Styx ; '

, ; , to turn one's toes up /

National/colloquial variants of international idiomatic substitutes, therefore, always differ considerably by their picturesqueness, expressiveness and their lexical meaning. They are only semanti-cally analogous to genuine equivalents, which may sometimes lack absolute identity in the source language and in the target language (to cross the Styx ; to drop from the clouds ; neither fish nor flesh ).

As can be seen, some international idiomatic expressions slightly differ in English and Ukrainian either in their structural form and lexical idiomatic meaning or in the images making up the idioms. Thus, the idiomatic expression to fish in troubled waters has in English the plural of wafers whereas in its Ukrainian equivalent has a singular form, wheras the component to fish is detalized and extended to () ; the Society of Jesus is , (but not the Order of Jesus) and the Babel of tongues is and not * .

Slight divergences are also observed in several other English and Ukrainian international equivalents: the game is (not) worth the candle (singular) / (plural). The idiom a sound mind in a sound body, on the other hand, has a reverse position of its component parts: .

Therefore, each of the above-given idiomatic expressions has either a different form of a component/image, a different word order or a slightly different lexical meaning of a componental part. And yet despite the pointed out divergences such and the like idiomatic expressions/phraseological units do not cease to be absolute equivalents in either of the two languages.

Apart from the kinds of idiomatic expressions singled out on the foregoing pages, there exists in each language a specific national layer of idiomatic/phraseological expressions comprising also proverbs and sayings, which are formed on the basis of componenta! images pertaining solely to a concrete national language. Such idioms are first of all distinguished by their picturesqueness, their expressiveness and lexical meaning of their own. Due to their national particularity, these idioms/phraseologisms can not and do not have traditionally established literary variants in the target language. As a result, their structural form and wording in different translations may often lack absolute identity. In their rough/interlinear or word-for-word variants they mostly lose their aphoristic/idiomatic nature and thus are often subject to literary perfection: the moon is not seen when the sun shines , / , ; it is a great victory that comes without blood , or , .

Similarly translated are some Ukrainian national phraseologisms into English: , what is spoiled by one fool can not be mended by ten wisemen; - , - small children - smaller troubles, grown-up children - grave troubles.

Isomorphic is also the existence in both the languages of a number of idiomatic expressions which are of regular sentence-type structure containing some common componental parts. Hence, their lexical meaning, nothing to say about their componental images, their picturesqueness^nd their expressiveness are identical as well. This is predetermined by their common source of origin in English and in Ukrainian: if you run after two hares, you will catch neither , ; a drowning man will catch (snatch) at a straw ( , ); Bacchus has drowned more men than Neptune , ( , ) he who spares the rod spoils the child 볺 , .

As can be noticed from these examples, some English and Ukrainian idiomatic expressions are far from uniform lexically, structurally, and by their componental images, picturesqueness and expressiveness. They do not always spring from the same source of origin either. Because of this a faithful translation of phraseological/

187idiomatic expressions depends upon some factors the main of which

are as follows:

1) whether the idiomatic expression in the source language and in the target language is of the same/different source of origin;

2) whether the idiomatic expression has in the target language only one, more than one or all componental images in common;

3) whether the componental images, when translated, are perceived by the target language speakers;

4) whether the structural form of the idiomatic expressions can be retained in the target language without any transformations;

5) whether there exists an analogous/similar in sense idiomatic expression in the target language, etc.

All these and some other factors should not be neglected when translating idiomatic/phraseological expressions from and into English. In fact, here exists a regular interdependence between the lexical meaning, the origin, the picturesqueness and the expressiveness of idioms on the one hand and the method of their translating

on the other.

Taking into account these and some other factors, the following ways of faithful rendering the idiomatic/phraselogical expressions are to be identified:

1. By Choosing Absolute/Complete EquivalentsThis is the method of translating by which every componental part of the source language idiom is retained in the target language unchanged. The componental parts include all notionals and also the lexically charged functionals which contribute to the lexical meaning of the idiomatic/phraseological expression. The notional components also create the main images (the picturesqueness), the expressiveness and the figurative (connotative) meanings of idiomatic expressions. Translating with the help of equivalents is resorted to when deating with idioms which originate from the same source in both the languages in question. These sources may be:

1) Greek or other mythology: Augean stables 㳺 (, ); Cassandra warning (, , ); Hercules' Pillars (the Pillars of Hercules) ( ); a labour of Sisyphus ( ); Pandora's box / ( ); the Trojan horse ( ); Aladdin's'lamp ; between Scilla and Charybdis ;

2) ancient history or literature: an ass in a lion's skin ( ) ; to cross (pass) the Rubicon ( ); the die is thrown/cast ( ); the golden age ( ); / came, I saw, I conquered , , ;

3) the Bible or works based on a biblical plot: to cast the first stone at one ; to cast pearls before swine ; the golden calf /; a lost sheep ; the massacre (slaughter) of innocents ; the ten commandments ; the thirty pieces of silver ; prodigal son .

A great many absolute equivalents originate from contemporary literary or historical sources relating to different languages (mainly to French, Spanish, Danish, German, Italian, Arabic). English:Time is money - ; self made man , ; my house is my castle - . French:after us the deluge ; the fair sex ; the game is worth the candle ; more royalist than the king ; to pull the chestnuts out of the fire ; one's place in the sun ; Spanish:blue blood ; the fifth column (introduced by E. Hemingway) ' ; to tilt at the windmills (introduced by Cervantes) ; Italian:Dante's inferno ; finita la commedia ; Arabic:Aladdin's lamp ; German:da 1st derHund begraben ; Sturm und Drang .

Some mots belonging to prominent English and American authors have also turned into regular idiomatic expressions. Due to their constant use in belles-lettres they have become known in many languages. Especially considerable is the amount of Shakespear-ean mots: better a witty fool than a foolish wit , ; cowards die many times before their deaths ; something is rotten in the state of Denmark, etc. ; vanity fair (J. Bunyan) /; to reign in hell is better than to serve in heaven (J. Milton) , ; the banana republic (O. Henry) ; the last of the Mohicans ; to bury a hatchet (F. Cooper) ( ); the almighty dollar (W. Irving) ; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today , ; the execution of the laws is more important than the making of them (T. Jefferson) , /; the iron nee/(J. London) ' (); gone with the wind (M. Wilson) / ; the cold war (W. Lippamn) ; Iron Curtain (W. Churchill) , etc.

Translating with the help of monoequivalents, as the absolute equivalents are sometimes called, is very often made use of when dealing with the sentence idioms containing the subject, the predicate, and some other parts of the sentence, though some minor alterations in their structure/word order may not be excluded altogether. Such alterations, however, do not change either the denotative meaning or the componental images, the picturesqueness, expressiveness or connotative meaning of idioms: appetite comes while eating ; kings go mad and the people suffer from it , (cf. , ); the last drop makes the cup run over ; let the cock crow or not, the day will come , , ; money is the sinews of war - ' ; of two evils choose the least ; out of the mouths of babies speaks the truth (wisdom) /; the pen is mightier than the sword ; Caesar's wife must be beyond suspicion (Caesar) / ; the invasion of armies is resisted, the invasion of ideas is not (Hugo) , etc.

As has been said, the target language variants of phraseological monoequivalents may sometimes slightly differ in their structure or in the order of words from the source language idioms (cf. let the cock crow or not ). These minor changes in the structural form, however, do not influence in any way the meaning and the expressiveness or picturesqueness of absolute equivalents in the target language.

Not only regular idioms but also many so-called standardized word-combinations, which may often originate in the two languages from a common source, can be translated by absolute equivalents.

Due to this, they retain in the target language the semantic identity and the componental structure of the source language units: fo give help / ; fo win/gain a victory / ; to make an attempt ; to throw light , etc.

Standardized word-combinations, as will be shown below, can also be translated in some other ways, which is an obvious testimony to the unchangeable inconsistency of the way identified as translation by means of loans (, ).

2.Translation of Idioms by Choosing Near Equivalents

The meaning of a considerable number of phrase idioms and sentence idioms originating in both languages from a common source may sometimes have, unlike absolute equivalents, one or even most of their components different, than in the target language. Hence, the quality of their images is not identical either, though not necessarily their picturesqueness and expressiveness (if any): baker's/printer's dozen ; the devil is not so black as he is painted / , ; a lot of water had flown/run under the bridge ; love is the mother of love ; too much knowledge makes the head bald ; in broad daylight ; as snort as a dog's tale , ; as pale as paper , measure twice cut once , .

The slight divergences in the near equivalents as compared with the source language idioms can manifest themselves also in some other aspects, as for example:

a) in the structure of the target language variant (cf. to make a long story short );

b) in the omission (or adding) of a componental part in the target language (cf. a lot of water had run under the bridge since then );

c) in the substitution of a feature (or image) of the source language phraseological/idiomatic expression for some other (more fitting or traditionally expected) in the target language: as pale as paper ; baker's/printer's dozen ; everything is good in its season (cf. );

d) in the generalization of the features of the source language idiomatic expression: one's own flesh and bone ;

e) in the concretization of some features of the original: a voice in the wilderness ; you can nof eaten an old bird with chaff ; to follow like St. Anthony's ( ) / .

Similar componental substitutions, both semantic and structural, can be observed in regular standardized collocations and in comparative proverbs or saying as: to do harm ; to do one's duty '; to throw/shed light ; (asj busy as a bee , ; (as) slippery as an eel '; as cool as a cucumber (); golden opportunity , to shed crocodile's tears .

Therefore, faithful translation may be achieved by different methods. Moreover, it must be evident now that translating by means of loans may refer to any method of rendering phraseologisms/idi-oms which are or may become regular loans in the target language.

Consequently, translation of idiomatic expressions by means of loans does not always fully justify the essence of the term as such.



  1. Antonymic translation
  2. B) Partial Translation Equivalents
  3. Basic translation theories
  4. By Descriptive or Interpreting Translation
  5. Faithful and equivalent translation.
  6. Free Translation
  7. Literal translation
  8. Map of disciplines interfacing with Translation Studies
  9. Objectively and subjectively conditioned transformations of lexical units in the process of translation.
  10. Original Metaphors and Their Translation
  11. Referential Meaning and its Rendering in Translation
  12. Rendering of stylistic meaning in translation


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