V budově i okolo ni
In and around the building
Czech does not usually allow for more than one preposition before a noun except in the case of a few set expressions (e.g. Modlitba za v Panu zesnulé ).
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.
konci – comes to a conclusion
rozhoduje – makes 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.
He made several telephone calls.
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)
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.
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 concerts – Na 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:
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.
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…“
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.
Occasionally crops up in journalistic style, where it usually needs to be transformed into the appropriate past tense.
!!!An important source of information are questionnaires
Questionnaires are an important source of information
Where subject and complement are of different numbers, the English verb normally follows the number of the subject, whereas Czech allows for either.
The Czech verb být is „stronger“ than English „to be“ , in that it can stand more easily on its own and carry the meaning of „exist“ or „there is“ (as in brambory nejsou! ). With the instrumental it can also have shades of „represent“ , „act as“, „consist in“ or even „make“.
Podkladem pro úhradu dohodnuté ceny je daňovy doklad vystavený agenturou
The tax document made out by the agency acts as supporting documentation for payment of the agreed price.
Ten les bude dobrá skrýš.
This wood will make a good hiding place.
Provozuschopnosti dráhy je technický stav dráhy zaručující její bezpečné a plynulé. provozovani.
By track serviceability is meant that state of repair of a track which guarantees its safe and uninterrupted operation.
It frequently happens in descriptive and expressive language that a low-frequency word has to be put through the following process:
dapper – upravený a čilý
facetious – obhrouble nebo nejapně vtipný
quaint – přitažlivý, starobylý, pitoreskní…
Some notes on repetition:
With its well-developed system of endings denoting gender, Czech usually has less need to repeat a noun for the sake of clarity than English has.
Knittlova notes: Opakování lexikalní jednotky v nezměněné podobě považuje česká stylistická norma za poněkud těžkopadné, pokud nejde o součást autorova záměru, a dává přednost dalším možnostem. Angličtina je v tomto ohledu méně citlivá.
But later she adds: V jedotlivých vědních oborech a jejich projevech vystačíme s poměrně skrovným výsekem lexikálního repertoaru, takže index opakování je dost vysoký, podle průzkumu při porovnání s ostatnými funkčními styly vůbec největší.
A note on style from Fowler: A dozen sentences are spoilt by ill-advised avoidance of repetition for every one that is spoilt by ill-advised repetition.
On those rare occasions when a Czech sentence does have repeating words, we can sometimes make use of various English resources to streamline the text:
Kromě obvyklého tónu vytvořeného hlasivkami zní i alikvotní vysoký tón podobný tónu flétny.
Apart from the usual tone formed by the vocal chords, there is also a high aliquot tone similar to that of a flute.
Ještě větší vliv na „plochost“ textu má opakování jednoho slova:
Příklad: „The newly constructed strains were more resistant than null strains, however, the strains with increased resistance were, surprisingly, less viable than wild-type strains.“
Text lze podstatně zlepšit pouhým rozdělením do dvou vět a nahrazením slova strain
„The new constructs were more resistant than null strains. Surprisingly, strains with increased resistance were less viable than their wild-type counterparts”. Psaní v angličtině