Danubius International Conferences, 5th International Conference The Danube - Axis of European Identity

Culture-Bound Words of the Danube Basin Countries: Translation Into English

Olena Chetverikova
Last modified: 2015-05-16


Any course in linguistic country study or popular text translation is impossible without adequate understanding and presentation of culture-bound elements, which present one of the most difficult topics to deal with, especially in multicultural countries. Our investigation aims to show the problems, which appear when we deal with equivalent-lacking words related to culture. Sometimes equivalent-lacking words are associated with culture-bound words, the Ukrainian equivalent for them is “реалії” (derived from Latin realis, pl. realia). However, the term “culture-bound word” is of narrower meaning than the term “equivalent-lacking word”. A culture-bound word names an object peculiar to this or that ethnic culture. Equivalent-lacking words include, along with culture-bound words, neologisms, i.e. newly coined forms, dialect words, slang, taboo-words, foreign (third language) terms, proper names, misspellings, archaisms. Comparison of languages and cultures reveals the various types of culture-bound words.  Reasons for using them can be extralinguistic, lexical or stylistic. When translating culture-bound words a translator should be aware of the receptor’s potential problems, take into account his background knowledge and choose the best means of translation.