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Maria Todorova

Task 3
Analysis of A Short History of Modern Bulgaria and its Bulgarian translation
There are two main issues which I believe should be addressed when drawing parallels
between the two texts. The former is the way the translator has aimed for as much correspondence
as possible between the texts, and the latter regards the differences in agreement that should be
taken into account when translating from English into Bulgarian.
The source text has apparently been written for educational and scientific purposes.
Therefore, it is only natural for a translator to be extremely cautious not to misinterpret any
translemes on any levels of equivalence. Perhaps, it was with this consideration that the translator
decided to follow the original as closely as possible. I believe this is a safe approach which avoids
misinterpretation, however, in some places this striving for equivalence on word level has made
the target text sound a little rigid and unnatural to Bulgarian. One such example is the phrase
rtistically gifted, which is rendered as . Although it is true that
this is what the English text actually says, I believe that instead of treating each word as a transleme,
the translator could have rendered the whole phrase or even the whole clause as one for example,
translating it as . Moreover, the word art in English addresses not
only fine arts as the Bulgarian suggests, but rather all arts in general.
Another, more conspicuous example, in my opinion, is the preservation of the such as
structure in the clause
(non food-crops such as flax were also being grown). I believe that the translator could have easily
avoided this interference and used only instead of .
When it comes to the agreement of structures in the target text, there are two examples that
strike the reader as ungrammatical. The former is in
and the latter is in , . As
far as the first example is concerned, there are obviously two processes that begin, not one and
the lack of a plural marker for verbs in English was probably what prevented the translator from
making the difference. Moreover, the very collocation sounds clumsy in
Bulgarian, at least to me. The situation regarding the second example, however, is a little bit
different because the plural marker in nouns exists in English and it hasnt been used in the source
text, which means that the author was talking about one system incorporating all these features and
if this is the case, the translator has no choice but to stick to the original.
Besides these peculiarities, I believe that the texts contains several interesting instances of
the contrast between English and Bulgarian in terms of grammar and phraseology. For example,
the use of the generic man in English is rendered as in Bulgarian. The rule in English
requires that when speaking about things in general, one should use an indefinite noun. This is most
commonly observed in the case of words describing abstract concepts such as love, music,
freedom. However, all of those are uncountable nouns in their use of making generalizations.
Similarly, even if the noun man is a countable one, in this case, where the author is speaking
about humankind in general, he has used the noun without an indefinite article, making it an
uncountable one. We can see that this is not the case in Bulgarian, where is in what we
call .
Another challenging example is the clause The Bronze Age saw the Bulgarian lands for
the first time loosely united within a common civilization. It is apparent that the verb saw bears
idiomatic meaning in this case and it is an issue which the translator should decide how to deal
with. In this particular translation, the idiomaticity of the verb is lost and the semantics of the target
texts are normalized and unmarked. I believe this is a good decision, having in mind that the text
Maria Todorova
Task 3
is not a fictional one and what matters most is the preservation of its historical essence and not the
stylistic approaches used.
The third feature which can be found in the text and is common in English prose is the use
of the semi colon. For reasons, inexplicable to me, this punctuation mark is rarely used in
Bulgarian, especially in the middle of complex structures, which is not the case in English
whatsoever. This can be seen in the sentences Thrace was disruptedThracian civilization had
recovered; political unity was achievedat the zenith of their creative achievement. (a 5-line-
long sentence) and its Bulgarian counterpart .
.. As we can see, the
translator has decided to simplify the cumbersome English syntax and divide the sentence into two.
I believe this is a good approach firstly, because of the lack of a semi-colon tradition in Bulgarian
and secondly, for making the text and the information in bears more easy to follow.
In conclusion, I think that in such a text whats most important is preserving its
communicative purpose namely, its historical consistency and educational approach. Therefore,
the decisions which the translator makes should be guided by this very consideration and I believe
that the preservation has been achieved in the target text. In my opinion, the several grammatical
and lexical changes which are introduced (or which could have been introduced but arent), not all
of them relevant in my opinion, serve exactly this purpose of preserving information.