УДК 81-33:651.926


Торубарова Ирина Ивановна1, Полякова Виктория Александровна2
1Воронежский государственный медицинский университет имени Н.Н.Бурденко, старший преподаватель кафедры иностранных языков
2Воронежский государственный медицинский университет имени Н.Н.Бурденко, студентка 2 курса лечебного факультета

В статье обсуждаются проблемы перевода научно-популярных медицинских текстов и описываются способы устранения трудностей в процессе перевода. Здесь также приводятся примеры наиболее часто встречающихся переводческих трансформаций при переводе текстов данного типа с английского на русский язык.

Ключевые слова: научно-популярные медицинские тексты, перевод, переводческие трансформации.


Torubarova Irina Ivanovna1, Polyakova Viktoriya Alexandrovna2
1Voronezh N.N.Burdenko State Medical University, Senior Lecturer of the Foreign Languages Chair
2Voronezh N.N.Burdenko State Medical University, Second-year student of the General Medicine Faculty

This paper discusses the problems of translation of popular scientific medical texts and identifies ways to eliminate translational challenges. It also gives the examples of the most common transformational techniques while translating from English into Russian for this particular type of texts.

Keywords: popular scientific medical texts, transformational techniques, translation


Библиографическая ссылка на статью:
Торубарова И.И., Полякова В.А. Translation of medical scientific texts: language peculiarities // Современные научные исследования и инновации. 2016. № 12 [Электронный ресурс]. URL: http://web.snauka.ru/issues/2016/12/75550 (дата обращения: 01.01.2017).

INTRODUCTION. The development of technology in modern society contributes to progress in many areas, including medicine. To solve the problems connected with preservation of the human health, such sciences as sociology, education, psychology and linguistics are united together.

Adequate translation of scientific texts in medicine appears to be updated nowadays because it plays a special role aimed at public education and prevention of diseases as well as saving mental and physical health.

DISCUSSION. Scientific style provides information, presents exact and relatively complete scientific knowledge, addresses a relatively small group of professionals well acquainted with the subject. Its main characteristics are:

- matter-of-fact, clear, explicit; unambiguous, precise; concise;

- stereotypical in terms of both lexicology and syntax;

- impersonal, objective, suppresses the personality of the author;

- logical hierarchy within the text: introduction, argument, conclusion and résumé

- quotations and references to other texts;

- highly nominal character;

- diagrams, charts, sketches, illustrations

As an example we can consider the word “neurotransmitter” (see Table 1a).

Table 1a. Lexical transformations in popular scientific medical texts (example).

.”Not only are proteins important to the structural integrity of your body, but the amino acids that make  them up are used as the raw materials for neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit nerve impulses)”. Не только протеины важны в целостной конституции вашего организма, но и аминокислоты, которые их производят и используются как сырьевой материал для нейромедиаторов (химическое вещество, которое передает нервные импульсы).” 

In this sample the explanation of “neurotransmitters” is given in brackets for a reader could understand what the neurotransmitters are and what are their functions in the human body.

In the other  example the term “neurotransmitters” is given as a calque (see Table 1b).

Table 1b. Lexical transformations in popular scientific medical texts (example).

“In this section, we examine the most commonly used supplements and categorize them as either supportive or specific. Supportive supplements are those that support your overall health; specific supplements are most focused in their effects on your body’s nervous system and neurotransmitter system”.  В этом разделе мы рассмотрим наиболее часто употребляемые добавки и классифицируем их на поддерживающие и специфические. Поддерживающие добавки те, которые оказывают благотворное воздействие на весь организм; специфические добавки направлены на воздействие на нервную систему и систему нейротрансмиттеров организма.”


Basic stylistic and lexical features of scientific  texts are:

  • accuracy and argumentativeness,
  • emotional and entertaining nature of the presentation of complex scientific problems.
  • clear text structure;
  • structured  logical chain;  logical link is built by using words and expressions, such as for example, in this section, in addition to, next, in this chapter, in the section that follow; and plug-in designs that are bracketed, for example: (See Chapter).

Style borders are not rigid and have numerous intermediate forms. And yet in almost every text you can select the main genre, which is expressed through a specific set of tools.
Translation is the communication of the meaning of a source-language text by means of an equivalent target-language text.

The exact translation is, by definition, impossible due to the fact that different languages differ in their grammatical formation, and simply the  number of words.
Conversions, with which the transition is made, are called translational transformations. They are as follows:

  • specification values;
  • generalization of values;
  • semantic development;
  • antonymic  translation;
  • holistic transformation;
  • compensation in the translation process,

All these are reported to be problems of linguistic transformation.

Terms, medical as well, are widely used in popular scientific texts to denote well-known concepts and new concepts resulting from research.

A term is a word or group of words having a particular meaning, especially in a specific field: language of a certain kind; chosen words.
The term is typically translated into the corresponding term of another language, that is why,  such techniques as analogues, synonymous substitutions, descriptive translations are used only when there is no corresponding term for the translation.
Following techniques are used to translate terms that are word-combinations:
the translation with the help of  Russian words and expressions, literally reproducing the words and expressions of the English language (so-called calques);
translation through the use of genitive case;
translation through the use of different prepositions;
explaining  one word in the group through  the word combinations;
translation through changing the order of components in the attribute group.

As an example we can take the word “misbehavior”:

Prefix “mis-“ has negative meaning which can be compensated while translating with the help of Russian words «проступок», «плохое поведение», «недостойное поведение». The word «проступок» characterizes single improper action; «плохое поведение»  is a bit rusticated; thus, «недостойное поведение» suits scientific style better.

Next, we consider one more term “positive behavior”. Unlike the first one, it is a phrase consisting of adjective + noun. Accordingly, the most successful variant is the translation: “положительное поведение”. But since in the first case, we have used the word “поведение”, we now use the method of the omission, and translate the adjective only «положительный”.

For the term “cognitive messages” there is no equivalent in the Russian language, thus for the translation we can use two methods. First,  we transferred the word “cognitive” using the method of transliteration, but the word “messages” is transferred using calque, borrowing  lexical units, by an accurate translation of significant word parts (see Table 2).

Table 2. Techniques used to translate word-combinations (examples)

misbehavior проступок

плохое поведение

 недостойное поведение


positive behavior


положительное поведение



cognitive messages


Когнитивный     месседж




CONCLUSION. Thus, the main task of any translator is considered to be  following  the style of the original and the adequacy of the translated  text. Based on the study of lexical features of the text, we can say that the language of popular science subtype is significantly different from the language of other styles of speech.

The most common transformational techniques while translating from English into Russian for this particular text are techniques of calquing and transcription,  as well as segmentation and combination of sentences and in some cases – the techniques of modulation and generalization.
Adequate use of translational transformations and terminology ensures creation of high quality texts in a target language that meets all the requirements of the living Russian language.

  1. The Oxford Companion to the English Language, Namit Bhatia, ed., 1992, pp. 1,051–54.
  2. J.M. Cohen, “Translation”, Encyclopedia Americana, 1986, vol. 27, p. 12.
  3. http://anglistika.webnode.cz/products/scientific-style/(дата обращения: 11.12.2016)
  4. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/term (дата обращения: 20.04.2016)
  5. http://www.medilexicon.com/medicaldictionary.php (дата обращения: 20.04.2016)

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