Toponyms as Elements of Region-Specific Studies: Problems of Translation (Based on Crimean Toponymy)

Author’s name:

Elena N. Abramicheva, Anna A. Sokol


The article examines toponymic realia as a means of verbalizing lococentrism in region-specific discourse. Bilingual region-specific texts about Crimea and Sevastopol serve as mate-rial for analysing methods of pragmatic adaptation, used in translation of culturally significant toponymic realia that are part of the culturally meaningful vocabulary. As in any translation, when translating toponyms one must consider the primary purpose of translation. If that pur-pose is to ensure that foreign guests should easily find their way around a new linguistic and cultural space, the translator’s task will be to recreate the initial sound of toponyms so that foreign recipients may accurately and quickly identify local realia. Conversely, if the purpose of translation is to introduce foreigners to the local history and culture, the main task of the translator will be to render pragmatic meanings and culturally significant connotations of top-onyms, paying particular attention to symbolic and axiologically important objects. After a comprehensive analysis of the material, we have concluded that the most efficient method that allows the translator to accentuate culturally valuable characteristics of toponyms is the “add-on” translation (when a specific culture-focused commentary is introduced into the translated text). In our work we used methods of contextual, semantic, conceptual, and comparative analysis to identify the pragmatic status and the degree of cultural importance of toponymic realia, and to determine the best way of their pragmatic adaptation in translation. The results of the study may be used by translators working with region-specific tourism-related litera-ture, travel periodicals and websites, especially those that are dedicated specifically to Crimea and Sevastopol. The present study may also be helpful at the initial stage of pre-translation analysis when the translator has to determine the pragmatic function of the original text and the type of region-specific vocabulary predominant in it.

DOI: 10.47388/2072-3490/lunn2020-51-3-9-25
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Key words region-specific text; toponymic realia; lococentrism; toponym; culturally mean-ingful element; pragmatic adaptation; translator’s commentary.

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