ELTE BTK Magyar Nyelvtudományi és Finnugor Intézet

Rodionova, Elena (Budapest)

nyomtatható változat

New Udmurt Neologisms in Translations of Hungarian Literature

Translations from Hungarian into Udmurt were first published in the 1930s, however, we can talk about thorough, high-quality translations only from the second part of the last century. In the last 10-15 years, interest in this work has grown mainly because of the foundation of the Finno-Ugric Department at the Udmurt State University. Nowadays translation attracts also young specialists who have a good proficiency in Hungarian. 
    In the modern period of the development of the Udmurt language, it is extremely important to preserve its national character. A lot of Russian words and phrases invade the vocabulary of the Udmurt language, which strongly hinders its development and impedes the creation of new words. Difficulties in using our mother tongue occur first of all when writing texts in academic style. In order to stop the adoption of foreign words and to compensate for lexical “gaps” in special areas, in the 1990s the process of language revitalization started by means of creating neologisms. New words were started to be used in newspapers and journals, on TV, in the textbooks of Udmurt language and literature, etc. Since that a lot of them have got established not only in the language use of researchers, but also in that of ordinary people.
    Gaps in the Udmurt vocabulary present a problem not only to linguists and journalists, but also to the translators of belletristic literature. When translating Hungarian literature, we also face difficulties with transmission of meanings of words absent in Udmurt. In this case usually we resort to three translation methods: 1) use of the new neologisms; 2) word creation (following the methods applied in the formation of the modern neologisms, we create new words); 3) use of the Russian equivalents. We use the Russian translation only in cases when the words refer to objects or phenomena which are far away from the Udmurt culture or when the Russian version has become firmly established in the Udmurt vocabulary (for example, “альков” – alcove, “листовка” – leaflet, “поезд” – train, “завод” – factory, etc.). When using neologisms, as a rule we make footnotes and give the Russian translation of the actual word or phrase, sometimes we explain the meaning in Udmurt. There are no notes explaining neologisms as “кун” (state, country), “куншет” (flag), “мувöй” (oil), “азькыл” (preface), etc. which were first “fruits” of the Udmurt language revitalization. The reason behind this is the fact that they are well-known in the present situation (even if people do not use these words, they are in their passive knowledge, readers understand them). In the majority of cases, even if we do not know the meaning of a new Udmurt word, on the basis of the context we can understand what it is all about. In order to facilitate reading, we try to avoid the overuse of neologisms because they represent something foreign, new, and distant from the reader’s native culture. As part of further research, we plan to make inquiry among Udmurt readers about the simplicity of artistic translation, i.e. we investigate problems concerning understanding of neologisms.
    Translating Hungarian literature into Udmurt is an important task as it brings closer the cultures of two language relatives. High-quality translations which are not crammed with neologisms represent the work of the most experienced and talented translators. On no account should we think that the Udmurt vocabulary is scant or that the lack of new words makes it impossible to transfer the essence of the original texts in a proper way. In the course of their work, translators get evidence that their mother tongue is very rich and it has a lot of lexical peculiarities which are absent from the languages with more advantageous position. It is exactly through the translation process that we really discover the mother tongue for ourselves.

in Hungarian