The end of the 19th century was marked by a rapid surge in the development of all types of fiction and the main directions of scientific and technological progress, which could not but affect the field of translation, which noticeably revived at the beginning of the 20th century in many countries of the world. The social status of existing translators began to grow, and the translation process itself finally took shape as an independent area of professional activity.
Range of target languages
Already traditional by the beginning of the 20th century, three translation languages (French, English and German known to the public) were supplemented by the languages of Scandinavia, Spanish, Italian, etc. Translations of the epics of Armenia, Georgia and other states that had extensive literary traditions became popular in Russia.
From the point of view of the language of diplomats, until 1919 the monopoly was maintained by the French language, later it was joined by English – and these two languages remained the main ones in solving political and economic issues until the end of World War II. After that, different languages were used.
Translation activity – new and old
In the practice of translation activities of the 20th century, the general theses of the tradition of the previous century were noticeable, however, after the formation of the literary norm of our native Russian language, the basic requirements for translation changed seriously. Previously, the individual style of the author of the text and the national characteristics of the original were transmitted; now it was required to strictly adhere to the norms of the language into which the translation was carried out. As a result, a stable monotony appeared: the creations of completely unrelated authors seemed to be very similar to each other.
At the beginning of the 20s of the XX century, in our state, a full-fledged analysis of the original from the point of view of philology began to be considered obligatory when translating. Representatives of the school of Russian formalism clearly defined the translation criteria, which provided for the most accurate transmission of the vocabulary and semantics of the original, right down to the nature of the syntax. This requirement was reflected in the texts in their weightiness, excessive workload with blocks and constructions that are unusual for our language.
After the Russian language was recognized as the state language in the USSR, it became necessary to translate numerous documents, as well as texts of different styles, into the languages of those peoples who were part of the Union. The state controlled such translations using the “interlinear” method: first, the translators collectively created the interlinear translation, and then smoothed or sharpened the real content of the original text in the way politicians needed it. Translations were losing their artistry; this was especially true of poetry.
In 1927, a new type of translation was defined, more complicated than many others – synchronous. We used it for the first time in 1935, when translating the speeches of the speakers at the 15th International Conference of Psychologists in Leningrad, but it was only in the post-war period that “synchronous” was widely used.
In the 30s – 40s, a whole series of special didactic manuals was published, which trained translators of an exclusively scientific and technical orientation. At the very beginning of the 50s, literary translation finally begins to stand out as an absolutely independent type of translation activity, and this already leads to an obvious rivalry between two directions: linguistic (linguistic translation) and literary criticism. Already in the mid-50s, it was allowed to use vernacular, slang and dialect words, abusive vocabulary, archaisms, etc. in translations.
In the 70s – 90s, translation activities already have a huge cultural significance. At the turn of the 80s and 90s, the taboo on the publication of translations of once forbidden authors was finally lifted. Unfortunately, along with it, the state system of publishing houses with a unique institute of editors was completely liquidated, and even the largest commercial publishing houses with their “tabloid” focus did not care about high-quality translations. At this time, the social status of the translation profession falls sharply.
However, the development of the socio-political sphere dictated the need for training translators in order to ensure intercultural interactions of the state in various fields of activity. By the end of the 20th century, more and more centers for teaching translation activities were opening. Large-scale seminars and conferences are organized that touch on topical problems of translation and high-quality intercultural communication.