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20.06.14 - 29.09.14
19.11.2014, 11:23

29.09.14 Dr Marcus Papadopoulos, publisher and editor of Politics First, a printed and online magazine for the British Government and the British business community  (a PhD in British/Russian history) about American policy in the Ukraine:

There comes a point in time when a Great Nation – like Russia – has to draw a Red Line and say “enough is enough”. It is a basic law of Geopolitics.

For Russia, the Red Line is the protection of its fellow Russians. The West dares to challenge the Bear in its nest. The West should know better.

Obama and Kerry should study History and learn from it. NOBODY – and I mean NOBODY – has been able to defeat Russia so far.

The Teuton Knights failed, the Mongols failed, the Tatars failed, the Turks failed, the Swedes failed, the French failed, and even Adolf Hitler failed.

You CAN win a battle – or even many battles – against Russia, but you CAN’T win a long – term war against Russia.

28.09.14 Translators are often led astray by the power of associations of primary or direct meanings of words. For example, the phrase 'to splash out' has nothing to do with diving, swimming or drinking (though, it might with the latter). It means to spend a lot of money on pleasant things you don't really need (a very foolish and unsettling feature of some women!!!) Some examples:

  • I was feeling sad last week, so I splashed out on a new computer and... I felt great!
  • I had to queue for ages to get my shopping yesterday. The shops were full of people splashing out after pay day.

23.09.14 My friend bet a bottle of cognac (it should have been a bottle of Scotch!) on a "Yes" vote in the Scottish independence referendum. I accepted the bet and, predictably I won. I'm a committed unionist. In 1990 I raised my voice against the disintegration of the USSR since I was sure that it would entail numerous hardships for the nations involved (the economic downturn, border disputes, the rise of nationalism, the aggressive advance of NATO etc.) At the same time, there are situations when secession seems to be the only way out to break the political (and sometimes military) deadlock. Should the English have started shelling and bombing Edinburgh the Scots would have certainly split from the UK.  

18.09.14 The American-run "Kyiv Post" gives a bashing to those 'false' media reports and 'weak' Western politicians who fail to call a spade a spade. I am amazed that the BBC should have been found guilty too: "The BBC, in continuing to refer to the troops who invaded Novoazovks as “pro-Russian rebels” is not providing correct information to the public in the UK, (and given the wide reach of the World Service, the public in many other countries), about the true state of affairs in Ukraine. The troops who invaded Novoazovk are Russian regular soldiers, and there is a great deal of evidence that this is so".

The "Kyiv Post" should have known better than this: the BBC is a much more objective source of information than the war-mongering "Kyiv Post"!

15.09.14 Public opinion polls show the "yes" and "no" vote are running neck and neck (ноздря в ноздрю) on the eve of the 18th of September with a slight edge given to either champions or opponents of the Scottish independence. In my opinion the Scots have little motivation for splitting from the Union, they will eventually come back to their senses and the "no" vote will prevail with a small lead of perhaps 2 %. The situation is radically different here. The Russian-speaking part of the Ukraine will never embrace the idea of Ukrainian being proclaimed the only state language of the country, let alone forgive the government's use of brutal force against its own citizens.

9.09.14 The language may offer two ways of verbalizing the same message one of these being culturally specific, the other - culturally neutral. The first one is always a challenge to a translator, since it requires atransformation. This syntactical arrangement is culturally specific English animism: The weekend saw the most serious violation. The Russian language has to refomulate the sentence by transferring the subject into an adverbial modifier of time: Самое серьёзное нарушение имело место в конце недели. The culturally neutral variant is: The most serious violation was seen at the weekend. In translating from Russian into English the culturally specific variant will be preferrable. 

4.09.14 Books about love affairs of movers and shakers always make a splash. In September 2014, a book of this genre written by Trierweiler, "Merci pour ce moment" (Thank You for This Moment), was published. If you follow the news the name must be familiar to you.

Valérie Trierweiler is a French journalist. She has hosted political talk shows and has contributed to Paris Match. She is mainly known outside France for having been the partner of the President of the French RepublicFrançois Hollande, until January 2014.

'Partner' is a euphemism for 'lover' (a sample of political correctness). The 'natural' correspondence 'partner - партнёр' belongs to the province of faux amis (false friends} and should be treated as a mistake within the above mentioned context. 'Спутница' would be a much better choice.

2.09.14 The answer is: the example that illustrates the vocabulary entry is expected to be in harmony with the meaning provided by the dictionary. In our case the example does not illustrate the negative connotations of the definition. Perhaps, the negative connotations reveal themselves in a wider context. But in this case the dictionary must be quite explicit about that.

29.08.14 Every vocabulary entry seems to be a mere recording of "natural correspondences" between languages. However, it is also someone's "point of view" (the expression of Nietzsche's " perspectivism'}Look into the following correspondence:

no longer pipe, no longer dance - кончилась музыка, кончились и танцы (происходит от пословицы he dances well to whom fortune pipes и относится к корыстным людям, резко меняющим своё отношение к тем, из кого они больше не могут извлечь никакой выгоды}

Can you explain, why this correspondence is not exactly natural?

24.08.14 Think about the meaning of the following sentence in Euronews.com: "Both Merkel and Poroshenko stressed they wanted to ensure decentralisation but not federalisation of Ukraine along with respect for cultural and linguistic differences". The sentence is ambiguous in meaning: either "respect for cultural and linguistic differences" is attributed to both decentralisation and federalisation,, or this respect is possible only under federalization. Politicians are very fond of using such ambiguous formulas open to different reading. Any tramslator must be aware of such empty messages because his task will be to retain the ambiguity of the original. Unlike with political discourse, in court interpreting, in dealing with technical and medical texts the translator is expected to use an opposite strategy and clarify every verbal ambiguity. Usually to do it the translator turns for help to the specialists in the field.  

23.08.14 Do such cases as base jumper (от b(uilding), a(ntenna-tower), s(pan), e(arth) + jumper) - бейс-джампер (тот, кто совершает прыжки с парашютом с неподвижного объекта: высотного здания, башни, моста, скалы) belong to the province of translation or represent another type of interlingual communication? Irrespective of theoretical differences over the issue, these cases must certainly be studied at Translation Departments.

20.08.14 The new academic year is just around the corner. Ask yourselves, dear kids, a few essential questions. What English language books did you read in summer? How many new words did you pick up? Did you do something to improve your grammar? Did you learn a new poem or song by heart? Did you enrich your bibliography on translation? What is your special summer achievement on the way to professional competence? Remember, please. that learning a foreign language must be a non-stop process. It is both a matter of love and a matter of discipline. Success attend you!

13.08.14 The importance of linguistic analysis. Mary Snell-Hornby's name must be known by everyone who claims to be interested in translation. However, she tends to be very unfair to the linguistic school of translation which she dismisses as something out-of-date. You can't dismiss it, Madam, as a dress that went out of fashion. With all respects, only a woman could have produced such a piece of nonsense: "Rank-restricted problems focusing on sentences and words are today of less interest than in the early linguistic approach" [Snell-Hornby, 2006:43]. The translator will always work with words and sentences, nothing but words and sentences! Snell-Hornby's book that contains an interesting account of the history of translation could have been more convincing if it should back up theoretical assumptions by linguistic data. Nevertheless, I do recommend this peace of writing as a window into the intricacies of female mind: 
Mary . Snell-Hornby,The Turns of Translation Studies: New paradigms or shifting viewpoints? -  John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2006 - 205 p.

7.08.14 The importance of being friendly. Every interpreter must know something about travelling and culturally specific attitudes. 

Visitors to Auckland, New Zealand and Melbourne, Australia are least likely to be riled up by snobby wait staff or snubbed by rude locals, according to a new ranking that put the two cities in Australasia at the top of the world’s friendliest cities list.

Readers of CN Traveler magazine gave top scores to the two cities for not only their sunny disposition but notably their “wonderful sense of humor.”

Here are the top 10 friendliest cities in the world, in order, as listed by CN Traveler:

1. TIE: Auckland, New Zealand; Melbourne, Australia
3. Victoria, British Columbia
4. Charleston, South Carolina
5. TIE: Dublin, Ireland; Sydney, Australia
7. Siem Reap, Cambodia
8. Cape Town, South Africa
9. TIE: Savannah, Georgia; Seville, Spain
11. TIE: Budapest, Hungary; Salzburg, Austria

Top 10 unfriendliest cities in the world:

1. Johannesburg, South Africa
2. Cannes, France
3. Moscow, Russia
4. Paris, France
5. Marseille, France
6. Beijing, China
7. Frankfurt, Germany
8. Milan, Italy
9. Monte Carlo, Monaco
10. Nassau, Bahamas

31.07.14 На сайте Euronews.com (30/07 20:10 CET) есть сообщение, в котором наблюдается факультативное применение правила согласования времён: An Israeli military spokeswoman said militants had fired mortar bombs from the vicinity of the school and troops shot back in response. The incident was still being reviewed.

Грамматически возможно: is still being reviewed. Оба варианта переводятся настоящим временем на русский. Смысл факультативного использования правила согласования времён (was still being reviewed) состоит в импликации сомнения по поводу утверждения представителя Израиля. Использование настоящего (is still being reviewed) означало бы, что за «факт» берёт на себя ответственность автор статьи. Использование грамматических средств выдвижения смысла является несравненно более тонкой техникой стиля, чем использование лексических средств:

Allegedly, the incident is still being reviewed.

28.07.14 Some of those culturally specific names have gone out of use. Some of them are characterized by low frequency. But some of them are worth registering in memory. What makes them more important than others is History and Literature textbooks.

27.07.14 There are many linguistic factors that stand behind the notion of a "difficult" book: learned words, bulky sentences, dialect, hybridized English, a dull plot, outdated vocabulary, etc. These factors include culturally specific proper names denoting geographical places, businesses, pubs, theatrical pieces, meals, furniture firms, dress articles, allusions to what 'everybody must know' and what not! Such a style hides a metonymical iceberg that few people are ready to tackle. What makes it easier to deal with is an interesting plot. One of the novels that illustrates the phenomenon I refer to is John Brain's famous novel "Room at the Top". Read it by all means!

29.06.14 Portugal is celebrating 800 years of its language  - Portuguese - now spoken by nearly 250 million people worldwide. The number of speakers is impressive. Still, the importance of the language is marked not so much by the number of native speakers as by number of people learning it as a foreign language.

24.06.14 Take notice of the expression in red. It's a culturally specific idiom that needs a complete reformulation of its constitutive parts to be translated into Russian: to lie in one's throat, to lie in one's teeth, to lie through one's teeth — бесстыдно лгать.

Dr. Paul Craig Roberts says:

"Since last autumn the US government has been lying through its teeth about Ukraine, blaming Russia for the consequences of Washington’s actions, and demonizing Putin exactly as Washington demonized Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Assad, the Taliban, and Iran. The presstitute media and the European capitals have seconded the lies and propaganda and repeat them endlessly. Consequently, the US public’s attitude toward Russia moved sharply negative.

How do you think Russia and China see this? Russia has witnessed NATO brought to its borders, a violation of the Reagan-Gorbachev understandings. Russia has witnessed the US pull out of the ABM treaty and develop a “star wars” shield. (Whether or not the shield would work is immaterial. The purpose of the shield is to convince the politicians and the public that Americans are safe.) Russia has witnessed Washington change the role of nuclear weapons in its war doctrine from deterrent to preemptive first strike. And now Russia listens to a daily stream of lies from the West and witnesses the slaughter by Washington’s vassal in Kiev of civilians in Russian Ukraine, branded “terrorists” by Washington, by such weapons as white phosphorus with not a peep of protest from the West".

23.06.14  This is a claim to an "innovative" way of teaching English: "Most English schools and classes focus on grammar.   That is why most schools and classes get such poor results" (info@learnrealenglish.com)The origin of this claim is purely commercial. People are fond of listening to fairy-tales, especially if they promise them a much-admired haven for laziness. Never buy into it! Instead, make it your daily practice to get your teeth into Grammar.   Most schools and foreign languages departments get poor results just because of the opposite reasons: slam-bam-thank-you-Ma'm courses of grammar!!! To compensate for it you'd better start reading and learning grammar books on your own. Remember: this is a shortcut to good English! 

20.06.14  English has many colloquial expressions that may be used as shibboleth to identify a foreigner. The 7th chapter of "the Crusaders" by S. Heym describes the interrogation of a man who wears an American uniform and has American papers on him, but who fails to decode an abbreviation familiar to any GI and finally admits to his being a  German spy. The abbreviation is TS - from tough shit (a widely used colloquial idiom now: 1) Tough shit! — Ничего не поделаешь! Tough shit, buddy! — Что ж, тебе не повезло 2) You flunked the English exam? That's tough shit, fellow. I got kicked out altogether — Ты завалил английский? Мне бы твои заботы, приятель. Меня вообще выгнали tough shit tough shit (or titty) vulgar slang used to express a lack of sympathy with someone


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