014 Present historic

Occasionally crops up in journalistic style, where it usually needs to be transformed into the appropriate past tense. 

Pro úplnost doplňme bronz Fučíka mezi muži a dva bronzy juniora Skop – ten si ještě o místo polepšil na ME 1995, kde ovšem zustal zcela ve stínu zlata a stribra Petra Jelínka. Mezi muži se po roční pauze znovu na scéně objevuje Pospíšil, a znovu uspěšně – je to druhé místo těsně před Vánkem, který si vše vynahrazuje triumfem ve druhém závodě. Další stříbro připojuje Pospíšil v roce následujicím, kde jsou však vedle dalšího stříbra Sukenika, ustředními postavami juniori – kromě bronzu Jelínka a Kotulana poprvé zlatě zazáří Jakub Oma.

For the sake of completeness let us also mention the bronze won by Fucik in the men’s and the two bronzes won in the juniors’ by Skob, who improved on that by one place in the 1995 European championships but was still overshadowed by the gold and silver won by Petr Jelinek. After a year out, Pospisil came back onto the men’s scene, again successfully, in second place just in front of Vanek, who made up for everything with his triumph in the second competition. Pospisil added another silver the following year when apart from the other silver won by Sukenik, the central figures were the juniors: in addition to the bronzes won by Jelinek and Kotulan, Jakub Oma struck gold for the first time.

013 Or not to be

!!!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.

In definitions:

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.

012 Componential analysis

It frequently happens in descriptive and expressive language that a low-frequency word has to be put through the following process:

  • Break it down into all its primary and secondary, conceptual and connotative meanings
  • Decide which of these have any valency within the given context.
  • Pare these down to two words (or at very most three if they do not disturb the dynamic of the text).
  • Bracket off any remainder for possible later weighting of subsequent componential analyses. A couple of English-Czech examples:

dapperupravený a čilý
facetious obhrouble nebo nejapně vtipný
quaintpřitažlivý, starobylý, pitoreskní…

011 Repetition

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
vhodným ekvivalentem:

„The new constructs were more resistant than null strains. Surprisingly, strains with increased resistance were less viable than their wild-type counterparts”.

From K psaní odborných článků v angličtině

010 Personalizing personnel

Trvá soustředěná pozornost nastupující generací kvalifikovaných delnických profesí, kterých je na trhu práce vážný nedostatek.

Attention continues to be concentrated on the upcoming generation of qualified tradesmen, of whom there is a serious lack on the labour market today.

I am told there has been a tradition in Czech bureaucratese going back even before the Communist era to speak of workers in inanimate terms. While this tendency can be seen aplenty in English corporatese too, there are occasions such as this when we have to animate things a little to get any sense at all.

Při provádění lekářských prohlídek musí být posuzujicímu lekáři sdělen pracovní podmínky, pro které je zdravotní způsobilost posuzovana.

For the performance of a preventive examination the examining doctor must be informed of the working conditions for which the person’s fitness is being assessed.

Pro Vaše budovy nabízíme různé režímy zabezpečeni, recepci návštěv počinaje a ostrahou mimo pracovní dobu konce.

We offer various security regimes for your buildings, from visitor reception to security guards outside working hours.

V kulturně-společenských časopisech se šířil topoi neuspokojivé bytové situace, která bude mladá manželství provázet následující desetiletí.

Cultural and social magazines saw the proliferation of such topics as the unsatisfactory housing situation, which was to dog young married couples for the next few decades.  

Tvrzení, že literatuře Protektorátu nebyla doposud vědou věnována adekvátní pozornost, nemůže ovšem ignorovat, že od skončení války do přítomné chvíle vznikla řada prací, které se s tvorbou tohoto období tak či onak vyrovnávaly.

However, those who claim that insufficient scholarly attention has hitherto been paid to Protectorate literature should not ignore the fact that from the end of the war to the present day several works have been written dealing in one way or another with the output from this period.

Být personálně propojený s

Po roce 1956 byly rozsáhlé pravomoci v oblasti koordinace a plánování výzkumu svěřeny ČSAV, personálně ovšem s ČVUT výrazně propojené. 

After 1956 extensive coordination and planning powers were conferred upon the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, which to a large extent shared its staff with the Czech University of Technology.

As always, counter-examples can be found:

In the following case, the nominal English versus the verbal Czech is a consequence of the interplay of syntactic and textual factors: the English version is part of a more impersonal text shaping, while in the Czech, the preference is for personal shaping:

There was a great deal of laughter and almost as much liquor.                                                      Během večeře jsme se hodně nasmali a vypili spoustu alkoholu.

 

009 Anaphora and cataphora

Čeština se liší v uživání kataforických odkazů, tj odkazů směrem dopředu. Jsou mnohem méně časté než v angličtině a překladatel by měl uvažovat o jejich převedení a odkazy anaforické (t.j. směrem zpět)

When she came home, Helen saw… Když Helena přišla domu, viděla…

She was a pretty woman, Helen. Helena byla teda fakt krásná ženská [Knittlova]

008 With

An underestimated little word that can soak up a lot of verbosity.

vzhledem k náběhu výroby
with production just starting

Vzhledem k tomu, ze jsou pryč tři pracovnici, musíme uzavřit obchod
With three members of staff away, we’ll have to close the shop

007 Fields, areas, spheres, frameworks and circles

It is a truism that we can very often discard „v oblasti“, „v oboru“, „na poli“ etc as understood:
Pracuje v oblasti pocitačů He works in computers
Působí ve sfeře bankovnictví – He is in banking
While „v ramci“ often needs paraphrasing or ignoring or occasionally is neatly expressed by „within“ or „as part of“, „na uzemi České republiky“ can nearly always be reduced to „in the Czech Republic“.
See Peprnik – Angličtina pro pokročilé p118.

However, I find that very occasionally these phrases can be retained for purposes of euphony, consistency or precision.

In K teorii i praxi překladu, Knittlova has an interesting observation on the translation of ‚kruhy': „Téměř všude lze toto slovo převést do angličtiny jako „circles“, ale prece se slovo „circles“ nevyskytuje v angličtině tak často jako české „kruhy“. Misto toho spíše „certain quarters“, „the scientific community“, „broad sections of the world public“

Britské vladnoucí kruhy the British Establishment.

006 Hyponyms and hyperonyms

One of the differences I find between Czech and English in the lexical sphere is that of the greater or lesser degree of specificity used in referring to certain objects, i.e. the use of hyponyms and hyperonyms.

Consider, in your typical French thriller, when a robber enters a bank, bystanders shout, „Attention, il a un revolver“. Now it would stand out a mile if you translated with the same degree of specificity. Of course, English has a word for revolver, but the more general word „gun“ would be more appropriate here. In Czech, we would be even less specific and shout „Pozor, ma zbran“, or „je ozbrojen“.

Likewise, if I need something to write with, in Czech my first reaction would be „mas propisku?“. English can certainly give an exact rendering – „ball-point pen“ or „biro“, but I would suggest that in most cases we would use the more general category of „pen“. Other examples that come to mind are „automat“, used for any device from a cash dispenser to a fruit machine, perhaps „prasek“ where Anglophones would perhaps often use the brand-name of the medication (maybe this goes for a lot of other consumer goods too), „curtains“, where a Czech would differentiate „zavesy“ and „zaclony“, „sign“ which covers everything from „znamka“, „znak“ and „znameni“ to „stopa“ and „odznak“, and then there is the classic case of mushrooms and toadstools. Any Czech would take one look at your average indeterminate fungoid growth and tell you exactly what variety of boletus it is.

005 Post-position adjectives

The position of an adjective before or after a noun can occasionally change its entire meaning in English.

As you drive into Prague, why do the numerous roadside hoardings offering „free rooms“ strike you as not quite right? Because sometimes an adjective before a noun can denote a permanent state and after a noun a temporary state. In this case, a „free room“ could be a room without charge.

The questions involved are not necessarily involved questions and present shareholders are not forced to be the shareholders present! I have seen the latter mistake in a translation of a company memorandum, changing the entire company voting procedure with a single deftly-placed word.