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The Institute of Linguistics

Department of Applied Linguistics and Translation Techniques


Speciality: Translation and Translation Techniques

Subject: “The Role of Grammatical Transformations While Translating

(based on “For Whom The Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemingway)”

Performed by: Druzhinin Nikita

Supervisor: Dorohina M. .

Moscow 2009


Abstract (English/Russian)




Chapter 1



Overview of Basic Terminology and Aims



Levels of analysis and synthesis in translation



Preserving the meaning structure of the source text



Author’s Style and Its Significance for Translation


Chapter 2



Lexical Transformations



Morphological Transformations





Indefinite Article


Definite Article



Unconformity of the Category of Number



Grammatical Gender



Change of Parts of Speech



Unconformity of the Tense



Syntactical transformations



Transposition of sentence members



Transformation of Simple Sentence into Complex Sentence



Transformation of Complex Sentence into Simple Sentence



Sentence Fragmentation



Sentence Integration



Transformation of Two-Member Sentence into a Mononuclear Sentence



Transformation of the Type of Syntactic Cohesion



Change of Actual Sentence Fragmentation During Translation



Summary on Different Types of Transformations



Table on General Types of Transformations







The present thesis focuses on the Role of Grammatical Transformations on the basis of the novel “For Whom The Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemingway. It comprises the introductory part, three subject chapters – lexical, morphological and grammatical transformations, and the conclusion.

Chapter 1 overviews basic terminology and aims of the thesis and refers to the works of such scholars as Matuzkova E.P., Shekhovtseva M.D., Frolov A.A., Shveitser L.D., Levitskaya T.R., Fiterman A.M., Barhudarov L.S., Komissarov V.K., Vinogradov V.S., and Arturo Pascual. The first chapter outlines the scheme of the following chapter defining levels of analysis in translation.

Chapter 2 begins with highlighting the importance of preserving the structure of the source text and induces explanation of the author’s literary style whose novel laid the basis of the thesis practical parts. The chapter involves practical research of three types of transformations. Each subdivision on transformation type points out the most typical transformations as in translation practice as in the understudied novel in particular. The chapter ends with the table containing the most typical transformation with certain examples.

The conclusion underlines the result of the research carried out. It defines the main role of transformations techniques and marks the reason for those transformations.


Translation implies correct and comprehensive rendering what is expressed in one language by means of the other language. [4] The present work is focused on the grammatical transformations that are vital while converting linguistic units of the source text into the text of the target language.

According to the definition by V.N. Komissarov, literary translation is such a kind of translation, which is supposed to create a literary text in the target language and influence the reader emotionally and aesthetically. For this reason a lot of critics believe that the literary translation is a piece of art, which is dominated by masters only who follow only aesthetic criteria while making a translation. The reasons mentioned afore give the ground to consider the literary translation to be as a linguistic phenomenon as a literary one. Literary translation is not supposed to give exact translation of the original text but to render the meaning and the message in order to make the translated text more artistic. [5]

The present thesis is focused on the matter of grammatical transformations and in particular their role in translation of any text whether it be literary work or text of business and technical contents. Relevance of the thesis concerns the fact that grammatical transformations are an inseparable part while translating a text of any complexity. While translation, the first mean that a translator employs is grammatical transformation, thus, converting the sentence of the source language into the sentence of the target language. Nowadays quality of translation faces high standards. That’s why analysis of different aspects of translation is vital in order to perfect translation techniques and mastering translator’s skills. The notion of Russian English is rather well known among translators and people who deal with translation. Russian English is considered as a kind of translation drawback. As soon as polemics on Russian English appeared, translators of the country started to pay more attention to the quality of translations and the ways of getting rid of Russian English manner of translating, which implies overuse of Russian grammatical constructions while translating into English and few transformations. That is exactly the reason why consideration of all possible grammatical transformations is so vital to advance and perfect translator’s skills. But it is necessary to study out the essence and the notion of grammatical transformations and what aspects are associated with it.

The matter is that the internal structure of the original language and the target language may differ considerably. Thus, grammatical transformations are very crucial in this respect. These differences of the languages are the main reason of grammatical transformations. Such differences can be partial or absolute. Absolute differences can be observed when the Russian language lacks a grammatical form, which is present in the English language, or on the contrary. There are cases when a grammatical category of one language is broader than that of the other. Sometimes when the principal parts of the sentence are replaced, the complete grammatical transformation takes place. When the subordinate parts of the sentence are replaced, here we have partial grammatical transformation. But more often these kinds of transformation take place simultaneously. It is worth mentioning that there are cases when one or another grammatical category is present in both languages but does not coincide in all forms.

According to Chernyakhovskaya L.A., different syntax of Russian and English is one of the major reasons for grammatical transformations. In addition, different linguistic means emphasize the communicative message of the sense-groups, which employ various parts of the sentence. So, the English subject, which is usually in the beginning of the sentence, confers less communicative message in comparison with that of the final parts of the sentence. This phenomenon is associated with theme and rheme in terms of translation, in particular, in English-Russian translation. So, semantic word order coincides with syntactic division of the sentence into the subject and the predicate (the subject is theme, the predicate is rheme) concerning rise of the communicative message. It is the factor, which is the reason for syntactic transformations while translating from Russian into English and backwards. For instance, the Russian thematic group that has free syntax is translated as the subject into English; this transformation helps to keep the message of the sense group. While translating it is necessary to bear in mind that an English speaking reader intuitively perceives the beginning of the sentence as the nucleolus information.

Grammatical features of linguistic units involve a range of linguistic phenomena: word form, word combination, sentence, word order, grammatical meaning of forms, context functions of forms and meanings. When translating, one should take into account not only the message that a linguistic unit communicates but also its grammatical features, which can influence considerably the structure of the whole sentence being translated.

One should consider all the factors, which can influence the use of grammatical transformations:

  • Syntactic function of the sentence;

  • Lexical background, and lexical contents:

  • The way of implying the message:

  • Context (background) of the sentence;

  • Expressive and stylistic function.

Due to the logical structure of the sentence, a translator should not only change but also sometimes keep the foreign construction when it concerns exact rendering of the logical stress of the message. Contextual background of the sentence may also require its grammatical transformation. Such examples can be observed mostly while translating English period and a range of sentences beginning with one and the same personal pronoun.

Translation transformations are subdivided into lexical and grammatical ones according to units of the source language that are considered as initial units in the process of transformation.

A translator very often starts translation with a word, in particular, with changing its form that is why the issues of word formation, creation of new words, are of special importance for the process of translation.

The necessity or importance of grammatical transformations has certain consequences. Abundant transformation causes free translation resulting in misinterpretation, incomprehensibility and artificial style. On the other hand, lack of translation transformations results in over-literal rendering. L.K. Latyshev defined the subject as follows: “ A translator who does not have enough experience in translating may carry to excess in two ways: the first is literal copying of the source text stemmed from unclear understanding of what is exact translation; and the second is extremely free translation with great number of unreasoned transformations as a result of avoiding literalism. In terms of Grammar understanding the sentence is to identify it with an appropriate pattern or a model. In other words, it means understanding the way that sentence is made up”. [17]

The matter of word-formation techniques and transformations is considered in linguistics concerning translations of scientific and socio-political texts. It mostly concerns the fact that new formations are typical of the above listed genres (different types of neologisms, for instance). In this regard there is not much attention paid to the peculiarities of word building transformations while translating a literary work.

The subject of the research is the role of grammatical transformations, classification of the basic word-building, morphological and syntactical transformations in translation from the Source language (English) into the Target Language (Russian), pointing out typical difficulties to achieve equivalent translation and, if possible, finding the ways of achieving it, frequency of using certain grammatical transformations and defining their role in translation, in particular, in the literary text to render the author’s style and emotional background of the literary work, etc.

The main way of solving the problem set is comparative and contrastive method and analysis of translator’s decisions with contextual background taken into account. The basic material of the present thesis is the novel “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemingway.

The purposes determined the structure of the thesis. It includes the introductory part, three chapters with thematic sections and the conclusion.

Chapter 1

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