It is sometimes said that Russian texts are made from English texts in such a way that the proper names are not translated but transliterated. It may even be seen in reality. Nonetheless, there is a particular type of proper names that this rule does not refer to or only refers to in a limited range. You may come across particular phrases which are in part a sort of proper names and partly a sort of regular words. The eponymous lexical items are meant here.
But prior to defining those limits as well as various related complex questions dealing with eponymic expressions that may be observed in Russian translations, it is a good idea to devote a little attention to the concept of the eponym and the way it works in the language of linguistics. All words inboth English and Russian can be grouped into 2 separate chunks: proper names and appellatives. The word "eponim" originates from the Greek language, where it stood for "smth. or smb. giving the name". For our ancestors eponyms were people, gods or great warriors, whose legendary names were used to give names to villages, families and different objects, as well as officers (e.
g. archonts, consuls). During this period of time the actual meaning of "eponym" expanded,as now it meant not only the personal name, but now it could be used to name animals or an objects. These days the linguistic term "eponym" is more often used with reference to regular phrases that have been chosen in a language on the principle of showing a single lexical item from the class of proper names to the category of regular lexical units with simultaneous attribution of metaphorical lexical meaning. Hence, we operate three notions of an eponym: 1. being or object 2.
proper name 3. regular word. When a translator deals with an English text, they have to guess the background knowledge of the English text intended audience and the level of competence of the Russian audience.
The meaning of eponymism is built on stereotypical associations that deal with a concrete, particular eponym and having the nature of encyclopedic connotation. As Russian and English languages have dissimilar etymological past, there are non-similar ways in which proper namesturn into eponyms. Cultural awareness of a speaker defines the degree of clarity of an eponym. There is a question here: in what way should a translator deal with eponyms? Surely such eponymisms as lolita "a sexually attractive young girl" or a superman "a very strong, very clever and very honest man" are etymologically transparent both to English and to Russian audiences so performing Russian translation of them does not cause any problems.
If there is no transparency of the context among the speakers from the 2 cultures, then again the task of a translator is a no brainer. (e.g.
: Adonis who was named after a beautiful young man loved by both Aphrodite and Persephone and killed by a boar, or the game of badminton that got its name from Badminton in SW England, country seat of the Duke of Beaufort, where people started playing it). There is a problem onlyin case if an eponym is understandable to native English speakers, but means absolutely nothing to the Russian audience. Obviously, not every eponimism leads to troubles. You will obviously come across a number of eponyms that are pretty transparent to see through.
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