Anton Chekhov’s Sakhalin Island: An Ongoing Commentary

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A study of the currently existing translations of Anton Chekhov’s Sakhalin Island (From Travel Notes) (Luba and Michael Terpak - 1967, Brian Reeve - 1993) shows that the reason for some errors in translated texts is not always due to the negligence of translators, which is so clearly noticeable in the first translation, but rather in the incomprehensibi- lity for foreigners of some realia in the original text. Reference to two available Сommentaries on Sakhalin Island, by M.L. Semanova (1985) and M.S. Vysokov (2010), as well as to the works of other Chekhov scholars, did not give the sought-after explanations of certain vague excerpts from the book. Those obscure excerpts are also poorly understood by the Russian readership. In particular, we are talking about Chekhov’s mention of the use of a naval rope in the surgical department (Chapter VII) and the perception of the status of a class feldscher/paramedic (Chapter XII). The author of the article offers her own commentary on difficult-to-understand passages and thus fills the gap that has arisen. Conclusions are drawn about the need to continue to provide Chekhov’s Sakhalin Island with commentaries and notes. Such commentary should serve two purposes. Its linguistic and cultural character should help to clarify the realias not only for representatives of a foreign linguistic culture - in order to prevent gross errors in translations, but also for the present-day Russian reader, separated from the time when A.P. Chekhov’s book was written by almost one hundred and thirty years.

About the authors

Olga V. Spachil

Kuban State University

Author for correspondence.

Candidate of Philology, Associate Professor, English Philology Chair

149 Stavropolskaya St, Krasnodar, 350040, Russian Federation


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Copyright (c) 2021 Spachil O.V.

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