The Translation of Socially Variable Lexis (on the basis of the novel ‘Black Swan Green’ by D. Mitchell)

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The paper covers the problems of translation, which we face as soon as we meet slang words used by teenagers in the fiction. On the one hand, slang words are socially marked, i.e. they are vulgar, rude, obscene - social markers, on the other hand, they are stylistic units. In the process of text analysis we observe the constant language variability. While translating a piece of fiction we should either neutralize, omit this lexical unit or find a word equal in its pragmatic and connotative meaning, we should judge to what degree we can change the original text (the source invariant)creating a construct invariant done by a professional translator. The issue is if the translators can interfere with the original text, changing it due to their own outlook, background, upbringing, that doesn’t allow them to use impolite, rude lexis, but in such a case we can lose the communicative effect of the novel. We declare that the communicative effect is either strengthened or neutralized. It depends on the personality of the translator. Thus, the translated text is a new one, the usage of words depends on the social status of the translator.

About the authors

T A Fomenko

Moscow State University of Humanities and Social Studies



Copyright (c) 2016 Theory of Language. Semiotics. Semantics

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