024 Cohesion

The words and phrases that simply serve to indicate the order of ideas and their relationship to one another (however, moreover, thus, in any case etc ) can be the most expendable parts of a translation.

Nejenom ….ale i
Sometimes „not only… but also“ is too strongly emphatic and a simple „both…and“ is more appropriate, or even a simple „and“ .

Firma X nedodává jen kompletní technologii WaveLAN, ale je rovněž systémový integrátor Lucent Technologies […] WaveLAN má nejen řídící programy pro síť, ale také diagnostický software, který Vám umožní snadno monitorovat síť WaveLAN

X supplies complete WaveLAN technology and acts as a Lucent Technologies systems integrator […] WaveLAN has both controlling network programs and diagnostic software to enable you to monitor a WaveLAN network with ease.

This example is from a promotional text where such emphasis might well be desirable, but even here, the repetition of „not only… but also“ would perhaps sound somewhat bombastic.

Čeština použivá běžněji než angličtina konektory, které naznačají logický vztah mezi větami. Anglický text, ktery překladá všechny explicitní konektory, působí ztrnule, pedanticky. [Knittlova, ibid]

See Overview of cohesive devices in Czech and English by Dominik Lukes.

023 Joining sentences

There is sometimes a need to fuse separate Czech sentences together in English translation, e.g. in texts for popular consumption, in which a more graceful style has to be „imposed“ on what might otherwise appear to be rather peremptory-sounding, jerky sentences. A complex area.

WaveLAN má také ojedinělý identifikační systém WaveLAN Network ID. Kazdá deska se sama identifikuje pomoci tohoto tajného identifikačního kódu pro síť. Navzájem spolu mohou komunikovat pouze desky s identifičními kódy.

WaveLAN also has its own unique WaveLAN Network ID system whereby each board identifies itself with this secret network identification code and only boards with identical codes may communicate with each other.

Proto or tak at the beginning of a sentence often signal the requirement to fuse sentences with ‚so‘ or even with an ‚-ing‘ form.
Část filtru byla zničena a do konce roku se filtr nepodařilo zprovoznit. Kotle ve Vytopně Krnov byly proto ve druhém pololetí provozovány pouze na puvodní mechanické odlučovače.
Part of the filter was destroyed and had not been put back into service by the end of the year, so during the second half of the year, the boilers at the Krnov Heat Generation Plant were only being operated with their original mechanical separators.

021 Attitude modifiers



Knittlová surveys the various renditions of ‚goddam‘ in a translation of Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye. She suggests that it is rarely conveyed by a one-to-one equivalent and various lexical and syntactic devices are used.
I’m losing my goddam mind začiná mi to lízt na mozek
He didn’t say one goddam word about Janeo Hance neřek ani ň
What a goddam fool I wasže jsem to byl ale blázen bláznivá
It is in my goddam blood mám to v krvi

„Vcelku lze shrnout, ze mezi anglickými a českými intensifikatory v překladu často nedocházi ke korespondenci. Tendenci k tomu vykazuje anglická konstrukce s hell a české pekelný, pekelně. Překladatelé se o korespondenci tohoto typu ani nesnaží, spíše jim jde o vystižení odpovidající české stylistické roviny. Intensifikatory obdobně jako citoslovce a expletiva fungují především jako signály zexpresivnující celou výpověď.“

As a general rule I would say play down English swear-words – and conversely, many common Czech swear-words need to be spiced up in translation so as not to sound twee and 1930s. Colloquial words with originally sexual meanings that can easily be used among friends in Britain and America would sound like something from out of the gutter in literal Czech translation.

Attitude indicators
Nezanedbatelná je také asymetrie mezi angličtinou a češtinou v tom, že čeština více než angličtina vyjadřuje postoj ke sdelované skutečnosti. [Knittlova, ibid]
E.g. bohužel, naštěstí do not always need a literal translation.

Check out this thread for examples, e.g.:

„For example, Eisner says that ‚a‘ can have expressive force in sentences like ‚A je to!‘, ‚A to se na to podiváme!‘, ‚A to já tak nenechám!‘ ‚A je to zlodějna zlodějská!‘ (of which he says: Něco nás nutká, abychom každou z těchto vět opatřili vykřičníkem. Citíme totiž, že to jsou věty prudkého hnutí duševního, věty emfatické, pathetické. To by nasvědcovalo citoslovečné povaze slovce ‚a‘ v takových větách.)

‚I‘ can evidently have similar force (‚I ty lhařko jedna prolhaná‘). Note also the use of ‚to‘ above. Then there are constructions with ‚že…‘ such as ‚že jsi to udělal ty!‘, which seems to have the force of ‚to think that _you_ did it‘ or how about ‚Že ti nařezu prdel‘ (some kind of warning, I think)? Or as Dominik Lukeš has pointed out, there are little words like ‚pak‘ and ‚totiž‘, which can act as ‚attitude indicators‘. Or how about ‚snad‘ in such sentences as ‚to snad není pravda!‘ ‚snad si nemyslíš, že jsem to udělal já?‘, ‚a mám se snad posrat?‘ ‚a mám snad blejt krev?‘, ‚snad jsi svépravnej‘ atp“?

Láskavě can sometimes sound rather obsequious in literal translation:
Žádáme Vás, abyste předmětné udáje o Vaši osobě/společnosti láskavě vyplnili
Please fill in the relevant personal/company information

022 Expressivity

O angličtině se […] tradičně tvrdí, že je oproti češtině mnohem méně expresivní, využivá celkem málo expresivních prostředků. [Knittlova quoting Poldauf – ibid]
Při srovnání angličtiny a češtiny se zdá, že angličtina má chudší inventář inherentně expresivních prostředků než čeština, což však neznamená, že by byl nutně méně učinný. Expresivita v angličtině je ve větším množství připadů koncentrovana do lexikálnich vyrazů, které jsou nositeli vyhradně expresivních konotačních složek a mají radiační schopnost, kdežto v českém textu je expresivita rozprostřena rovnoměrneji na větší počet nositelů složek denotačních i konotačních. [Knittlova, ibid]

p.63

Angličtina má emocionální prostředky koncentrovanější než čeština, mají jakýsi radiační účínek a zabarvují zřetelně celou výpověď, zatímco v češtině jsou rozprostřeny do větší šířem na více členů výpovědi a převedení citoslovci, expletiv apod do citově neutrálního okolí působí přinejmenším nepřirozeně, nepřesvědčivě a rušivě…

V angličtině se emocionálnost často jen vyrozumívá, vyplývá z kontextu nebo je dána situací

 

019 Nominalization and verbalization

Bureaucratic texts can go rather heavy on the abstract nouns, which often need to be loosened up and recast in other forms to sound less bombastic in English:
Uzavření dodatků je podminkou další platnosti najemní smlouvy.
This lease contract only continues to be valid on condition these annexes are signed.
Bezdrátové LAN, které vyžadují rychlou obnovu siťových systémů, jejichž nefunkčnost by mohla způsobit katastrofu…
Wireless LANs involving the rapid restoration of network systems that could cause a disaster if not working…
Pro zvyšeni atraktivnosti pro své klienty firma zavádi systém řízeni kvality ISO 9001.
The company is introducing the ISO 9001 quality control system to make it even more attractive to customers.

More examples and explanations in this Czechlist thread.

 
However it is more common in English than in Czech to personalize an action thus: Pracuje pomalu
He is a slow worker

The Prague School has something to say on this matter too. Jan Firbas developed the idea that words with more specific meanings are more likely to function as rhemes, while words with more general meaning tend to function as themes. The capacity of a word to assume the rhematic function by virtue of its semantic specificity is by him called „communicative dynamism“. It is viewed as a matter of degree: the elements of an utterance are no longer simply classed as theme or rheme, but are considered to have a given degree of thematic or rhematic function.

Firbas uses this concept to compare verbs and nouns in Czech and English in terms of communicative dynamism. He concludes that verbs in Czech have greater dynamism than verbs in English. This is shown by the frequent use in English of semantically vague verbs in constructions with a more precise noun, where in Czech a single precise verb might be used, i.e.
koncicomes to a conclusion
rozhodujemakes a decision

In Firbas‘ opinion, this difference accounts for the much greater overall frequency of nominal constructions in English than in Czech.

There are plenty more examples in Libuše Dušková’s Vilém Mathesius and contrastive studies, and beyond, in A Centenary of English Studies at Charles University: from Mathesius to present-day linguistics.

Hlasitě se rozesmála.

She burst into loud laughter.

Odcházela často na záchod.

She made frequent trips to the toilet.

Několikrát telefonoval.

He made several telephone calls.

Tiše zasténal.

He gave a quiet groan (Amis).

Opatrně se přičichla.

She took a cautious sniff (Clarke)

Mladík se skromně zasmál.

The young man gave a small laugh (Ishiguro)

 

018 Aspectual verb forms

In Functional Sentence Perspective in Written and Spoken Communication , Jan Firbas says, „it is worth noticing that an English adverb of indefinite time that has been framed in could be more readily rendered into Czech by an aspectual verb form than one that occurs outside the frame, serving as a setting or a specification“.
V létě chodíval na dlouhé procházky.
He usually went for long walks in summer.

017 Word order problems – theme and rheme

See also 058 Functional sentence perspective

Members of the Prague Linguistic Circle made a special study of theme/rheme problems, i.e. issues involving the ordering of `that which is talked about‘ and `the statement that is made about it‘. Such ‚topics‘ and ‚comments‘ can be of great importance to the translator from Czech because a) the order in which information is given can be one of the primary elements of a text to be conveyed and b) even if it isn’t, failure to create a well-integrated information-order structure, whether following the original or not, can be the reason your grammatically sound text still looks somehow diffuse and unfocused.

Vilém Mathesius , commented that „English differs from Czech in being so little susceptible to the requirements of Functional Sentence Perspective (FSP) as to frequently disregard them altogether.“ and „In English, the lack of a differentiated morphemic system in many areas places heavy constraints on word-order patterns. In Czech, with its richer morphemic systems, word order can follow FSP much more faithfully“. That is, in Czech the newly introduced information can always go at the end of the sentence whether as subject, object or whatever, whereas English is supposedly constrained by its hidebound subject-object word-order.

Now few English speakers will have stopped mid-sentence to bemoan this lack, perhaps because a) English has several syntactic devices (described below) for putting information to the end of a sentence (for whatever reason – whether because it is new or to link it to its conjunction; b) new information does not have to go to the end of the sentence in English because c) (my own pet theory) English takes a lot more advantage of intonation to express what is theme and what is rheme than does Czech with its comparative monotone, and this can be expressed in English writing by means of punctuation, (which compared with the strict rules of Czech punctuation is positively freestyle) or in some cases even by italic and bold type faces.

This issue crops up a lot in the problem of fitting a word into a position immediately before the conjunctions „who“ or „which“ (see Reformulation):

V soutěži družstev zvitězili Rusové, kteří měli ve všech šesti kategoriích po dvou závodníciíh.
The winners of the team event were the Russians, who had two competitors in each of the six categories.

Na činnost PT, a.s. má dopad rovněž rada faktorů, které lze jen těžko ovlivnit.
PT activity is under the combined influence of several factors, which can only be controlled with difficulty.

Below are several other strategies to be considered when faced with word-order problems.

WORD-ORDER – PASSIVE VOICE
The most obvious choice. As Mathesius points out, the passive is used a lot more in English than in Czech.

Janu navštivil Petr
Jane was visited by Peter

(In Czech, by the way, the passive is sometimes used
1) where the active would confuse subject and object because of identical gender.
Cinovec doprovází wolfram
Cinovec je doprovázen wolframem
So in such cases, the English translation need hardly follow suit
2) Where one subject undergoes a number of actions:
Hoch, který po autu hodil kamenem, byl chycen majitelem auta, vláčen na policii, vyslýchán, odveden strážníkem do školy a pak břecící odevzdán rodičům
In Czech, use of the passive can be journalistic or indicative of higher style, which themselves have to be accounted for).

WORD-ORDER – ARTICLES
The English indefinite article, introducing a new item of information, can often by rendered in Czech by final position in the sentence:

Do místnosti vstoupila dívka
A girl entered the room

Dívka vstoupila do mistnosti
The girl entered the room

WORD-ORDER – CLEFT SENTENCES
New information can be emphasised in English by fronting it in a cleft sentence. In Czech the rheme goes to the end.

Tom včera spravil Janin psací stroj v kanceláři
It was at the office that Tom repaired Jane’s typewriter yesterday

Tom včera spravil Janin psací stroj šroubovákem

It was with a screwdriver that Tom repaired Jane’s typewriter

Or by fronting it in a pseudo-cleft sentence
Pozoruhodné bylo, že to přiznala
What was remarkable was her admitting it

WORD-ORDER – OTHER DEVICES
Firbas also lists a device he calls the „possessive passive“ using the verb „to have“ :

He always has crowds attending his concertsNa jeho koncerty vždycky chodí davy lidi
And the „perceptive passive“ using the verb „to find“:
„Upon examination of these, I found a certain boldness of temper growing in me.“

WORD-ORDER – CONVERSE VERBS

Mezi zákazníky firmy X je např. Y, většina energetických podniků i armáda.
X’s customers include Y, the majority of power utilities and the army. 

Vzniknout can be rendered with a similar shift in perspective.


Česká republika vznikla v roce 1993.

The Czech Republic was established in 1993.

Tento postup vychází z nasledujicí filosofie:
This approach is based on the philosphy that

Nájemce se zavazuje používat předmět nájmu tak, aby pronajimateli nevznikla žádná škoda
The lessee undertakes to use the subject of lease in such a way as not to cause any damage to the lessor

Introductory prepositional clauses can often be recast:

V dohodnuté částce je obsazeno…
The agreed amount comprises…

V kapitole 8 se hovoří o…
Chapter 8 discusses…

Na obr 4 je schematicky znázorněn…
Figure 4 shows…

V tabulce VII jsou uvedeny…

Table VII gives…

Autor ve své stati podrobuje analýze tři překladové soubory, jež vytvářejí jádro překladatelského díla Vítězslava Nezvala.                                                                                                     This article analyses three sets of translations that form the core of Vítězslav Nezval‚s translation work.

Converse verbs can be a very useful way of overcoming word-order problems. Shifts in perspective involving buy/sell, lend/borrow belong/own etc can be used to get a word to the end of a sentence for reasons of thematic structure.
emisním měřenením bylo zjištěno, že
measurements of emissions indicated that

„See“ and „witness“ can play a useful role to express došlo k and the like:

Na přelomu 40. a 50. let 20. století prošla hlubokou transformací i česká literární kultura.                                                                                                                    The turn of the 1950s saw a profound change in Czech literary culture.
V roce 2009 došlo ke sloučení těchto samostatných týmů do jednoho pracoviště,
2009 saw the merger of these separate teams in a single department.

If such departures from the original text make you nervous about losing sight of terra firma, you can always check your position with a truth-conditional approach to the problem. Put your converse translation through the following analysis:
Example: Tento obchod patri memu bratrovi – [B] My brother owns this shop
1. Ask yourself if there is any conceivable set of circumstances where one utterance is true while the other is false, i.e. this shop belongs to my brother but my brother does not own this shop.
2. Now ask yourself, does any such imagined situation a) stand in its own right or b) does it need an extra element to be made explicit, (i.e this shop „should“ belong to my brother) for it to be meaningful.
3. If b) then the converse view is valid and in most cases this translation should be good.

016 End-weight versus subject-before-predicate

Proofreaders take note!

!!!The development of a young squirrel reared by its mother and that of an artificially reared one are compared.

At first sight this translation looks grammatically correct — so what is so awkward-sounding about it? The translator has slavishly followed the English rule of subject before predicate, but has ignored the fact that English prefers the longest noun phrase at the end of the sentence:
A comparison is made of a young squirrel reared by its mother and another one reared artificially.
Similarly, predicates like „…are presented“ or „…are studied“ can be transformed into nominalized introductions like „A presentation is made of…“ and „A study is made of…“

015 Conjunctiveness

The reader can be helped along with inserted discourse markers such as „but“, „however“, „nevertheless“…  

Úspěsné obchodní společnosti se vyplatí poskytnout zaměstnancům nadstandardní platovou úroveň. Tento standard ovšem náleží jen těm, kdo peníze svému zaměstnavateli vydělavávají; to nejsou ani uklizečky, ani topiči, jenže i oni se obvykle dožadují vyššího standardu. Správní společnost obslužným profesím platí (a Vám učtuje) jen tolik, kolik je obvykle.
It pays for successful companies to give their employees above-average salaries, but this rate is of course only due to those who actually earn money for their employers, which is not the case with cleaners and boilermen. But then they too will usually demand the higher rate. A management company,however, will only pay its auxiliary staff the going rate (and charge you accordingly).

In a comparison of an English text and its German translation in In Other Words, (p. 199) Mona Baker points out: „There are noticeably fewer conjunctions in the English text (eight) than in the German (twelve). German seems to be generally more conjunctive than English. The use of explicit conjunction makes the structure of the text more transparent. For instance the reason relation […] is made more explicit in German by the addition of „denn“ (because).“

„Whether a translation conforms to the source-text patterns of cohesion or tries to approximate to target-language patterns will depend in the final analysis on the purpose of the translation and the amount of freedom the translator feels entitled to in rechunking information and/or altering signals of relations between chunks.