HANDLING ATTRIBUTIVE GROUPS
It has been mentioned (see pp. 23-24) that there is a considerable dissimilarity in the semantic structure of attributive groups in English and in Russian. This dissimilarity gives rise to a number of translation problems.
The first group of problems stems from the broader semantic relationships between the attribute and the noun. As has been pointed out the attribute may refer not only to some property of the object but also to its location, purpose, cause, etc. As a result, the translator has to make a thorough analysis of the context to find out what the meaning of the group is in each particular case. He must be also aware of the relative freedom of bringing together such semantic elements within the attributive group in English that are distanced from each other by a number of intermediate
ideas. Thus a resolution submitted by an executive body of an organization may be described as "the Executive resolution" and the majority of votes received by such a resolution will be the Executive majority. If a word-for-word translation of the name of the executive body (e.g. the Executive Committee — исполнительный комитет) may satisfy the translator, the other two attributive groups will have to be explicated in the Russian translation as «резолюция, предложенная исполкомом» and «большинство голосов, поданных за резолюцию, которая была предложена исполкомом», respectively.
The second group of problems results from the difficulties in handling multi-member attributive structures. The English-speaking people make wide use of "multi-storied" structures with complicated internal semantic relationships. The tax paid for the right to take part in the election is described as "the poll tax". The states where this tax is collected are "the poll tax states" and the governors of these states are "the poll tax states governors". Now these governors may hold a conference which will be referred to as 'the poll tax states governors conference" and so on.
The semantic relationships within a multi-member group need not be linear. Consider the following sentence:
It was the period of the broad western hemisphere and world pre-war united people's front struggle against fascism.
Here we have a whole network of semantic ties between the attributes and the noun: "broad" is directly referred to "struggle", "western hemisphere" is joined with "world" and together they express the idea of location, i.e. "the struggle in the western hemisphere"; "pre-war" may be referred either to "struggle" or to the "united people's front"; "united" and "people's" belong to "front" and together they qualify the "struggle" implying either the "struggle by the united people's front" or the "struggle for the united people's front".
In translation this complexity of semantic ties will result in replacing the group by a number of different structures in which the hidden relations within it will be made explicit:
Это был период широкой предвоенной борьбы против фашизма за единый народный фронт в Западном полушарии и во всем мире.
Given the multiplicity of possible translations such structures should be analysed in terms of factors influencing the choice of Russian variants rather than with the aim of listing regular correspondences.
The same goes for attributive groups with latent predication where a 90
whole sentence is used to qualify a noun as its attribute "He was being the boss again, using the its-my-money-now-do-as-you're-told voice". Here correspondences can also be described in an indirect way only by stating that the attribute is usually translated into Russian as a separate sentence and that this sentence should be joined to the noun by a short introductory element. Cf.:
The Judge's face wore his own I-knew-they-were-guilty-all-along expression.
На лице судьи появилось обычное выражение, говорившее: «Я все время знал, что они виновны».
There was a man with a don't-say-anything-to-me-or-I'll-contradict-you face. (Ch. Dickens)
Там был человек, на лице которого было написано: что бы вы мне ни говорили, я все равно буду вам противоречить.
There is one more peculiar feature of the English attributive group which may be the cause of trouble for the translator. It may be transformed into a similar group with the help of a suffix which is formally attached to the noun but is semantically related to the whole group. Thus "a sound sleeper" may be derived from "sound sleep" or the man belonging to the "Fifth column" may be described as "the Fifth columnist". The translator should be aware of the derivation process and should not rack his brains trying to figure out how a sleeper can be sound or in what kind of enumeration this particular columnist is the fifth. Rather, he should consider the meaning of the original groups "sound sleep" and "the Fifth column" and then realize that the added suffix makes the group refer to a person who enjoys this kind of sleep or is one of the subversive elements. As a rule, in the Russian translation the meanings of the original group and of the suffix would be rendered separately, e.g.: человек, обладающий здоровым (крепким) сном (крепко спящий человек), and человек, принадлежащий к пятой колонне (член пятой колонны).
As often as not, translating the meaning of an English attributive group into Russian may involve a complete restructuring of the sentence, e.g.:
To watch it happen, all within two and a half hours, was a thrilling sight.
Нельзя было не восхищаться, наблюдая, как все это происходило на протяжении каких-нибудь двух с половиной часов.
I. Point out the possible meanings of the following attributive groups.
1. Berlin proposals; 2. Gran Chaco war; 3. dollar export drive; 4. heavy
government expenditure; 5. pre-war slump talk; 6. present national Communist vote; 7. Communist Party strength; 8. Middle East Conference; 9. aggressive supporter; 10. bold adventurer; 11. labor quiescence; 12. festering grievances; 13. the nation's highest homicide rate; 14. wildlife management authorities; 15. four-part program; 16. environmentalist protest; 17. provincial government decision; 18. environmental consequences; 19. safety violations; 20. fish-breeding pools
II. Give the Russian equivalents to the following attributive groups.
1. hearty eater; 2. practical joker; 3. conscientious objector; 4. sleeping partner; 5. stumbling block; 6. smoking concert; 7. perfect likeness; 8. vested interest; 9. tough customer; 10. foregone conclusion; 11. top trade-union leaders; 12. collective bargaining rights; 13. consumers' goods industries; 14. post-war anti-labor drive; 15. point four program; 16. Liberal Party whip; 17. public school boy; 18. Good Neighbor policy; 19. strong party man; 20. CIO auto union president
III. Identify the attributive groups in the following sentences and suggest how their meanings should be rendered into Russian.
1. The 87 billions of dollars in profits, grabbed during the five war years by the corporations constitute just so much blood money. 2. All the international "news" plus the editorial, could have been given in the space devoted to one heavily illustrated item — the engagement of a son of one of minor princesses. 3. This issue devoted about half of its twenty news columns to the trial of a homicidal maniac. 4. Even the least informed person could not miss the fact that the much-publicized boom in the United States was due to the war and the aftermath of war repair. 5. My job on the Daily Sketch had for me what later I realized was an illusory attraction. 6. Besides the imperative elementary economic compulsion to find markets at any cost and with every device, big business imperialists were driven on to their expansionist program by other forms of fear and greed. Their capitalist appetites for conquest were whetted by the fact that on all sides they saw many nations weakened and ruined by the war. Being dog-eat-dog capitalists, they could not refrain from taking advantage of these countries' disasters by trying to establish their own economic and political control over the whole ramshackle situation of world capitalism. 7. Paris underground and bus transport services were stopped today by a 24-hour warning strike called by the C.G.T. (French T.U.C.) with the support of other unions. 8. Right-wing trade-union policy was expressing itself in a bankrupt helpless dithering before the new capitalist offensive.
IV. Explain the meanings of the multi-member attributive groups and translate the following sentences.
1. The American Labor Party Political Action Committee Election Campaign Planning Board launched a new fund-raising drive. 2. The British engineering industry must be nationalized to overcome the obstructive stick-in-the-mud, "take it or leave if traditions of many engineering firms. 3. The preoccupation with selling papers against fierce competition leads to the American practice of an edition every thirty seconds. This mania for speed, plus the man-bites-dog news formula, works to corrupt and discourage the men who handle news. 4. Many a citizen fed up with the loud and prolonged bickering between the Republicans and the Democrats, began thinking plague-on-bom-your-houses thoughts. 5. Fitch kept a hats-cleaned-by-electricity-while-you-wait establishment, nine feet by twelve, in Third Avenue. 6. He was being the boss again, using the it's-my-money-now-do-as-you're-told voice. 7. "All right," he said. <rYou be ready when I come at seven. None of this "wait-two-minutes-till-I-primp-an-hour-Of two" kind of business, now Dele." 8. Vilified in everything from Little Red Riding Hood to late-night horror movies, Cannis lupus, the wolf, has traditionally suffered from a bad press. 9. The actors will appear in the soon-to-be-released film.