Georgian Problems of Russian Text: Linguoculturological Concepts in the Context of two Cultures

Translation is a significant precondition of communicational strategy of cultures - "to make foreign as one's own for a moment" because it provides intercultural communication on textual level.

As it is known, translation is one of the basic forms of language mediation. It reflects the peculiarities of the epoch, the process of both current and cyclical evolution of the society.

New elements of a foreign culture, cultural phenomena (beginning with everyday thinking including art) must be established with semiotic denotation and represent semiotic mechanism, designation and explicitly of which (rational explanation in translation process) are to be taken into account.

Complete equivalence in conditions of modern civilization is a necessary requirement; though an effort directed to reach complete equivalence often causes undesirable inverse effect. The elements of foreign, "intruded" culture and every nuance of nation's culture are reflected in its language. Any language is specific and unique because it reflects the world and man in this world in various ways.  For example, it is almost impossible to translate the title of a well known book ,,Сестра моя жизнь" (sister is my life) by Russian Nobel prize laureate Boris Pasternak from Russian into related Czech language because ,,Жизнь" (life) in Czech is of masculine gender. Every people as a universal cultural concept have their own means of conceptualization of relation with the world. During the contact with a foreign culture the impossibility of understanding its symbolic essence because of the ignorance of the code of this culture.

Translation of the specimens of national culture gives vast material on for comparative culturological research and provides constructional dialogue of cultures. The cultural dialogue itself creates the conditions of parity approximation of cultural process. When they "come into collision" "interact", when the elements of foreign culture disintegrate, they either establish or in the course of time  are subjected to archaism or change into more "fashionable" units according to the principle "Other times - other manners" [Khakhutaishvili, 2006:77].

Naturally it is impossible to make absolutely exact translation due to different pictures of world perception and different linguistic tissue. Conceptual reflection of different language, its utilization in a live, indirect relation or in a translation puts the previous picture of the world perception in a new situational position. That is why we can state the ontological ratio of any translation after the known conception of J.Derida's followers.

Study of the peculiarities of structural organization of lingvoconceptual phenomena (including translation process) gives the possibility of revealing the mechanisms of dominant strategies (what is first-priority: "culture and translation" or "culture of translation"). The preservation of specificity of migrant culture as the main scientific initial postulate presents the following: in the process of translation not the reality itself can be considered the object of transformation but the image, kind, ideal component of borrowing object, construct.

The scarcity of historical and culturalogical background, and ignoring of cultural /historical background appears to be the main reason of translation mistakes and a kind of "ploughing the sands" for a translator.

The language represents main defining concept of any language. Any translator who has studied the language of other culture also becomes a certain researcher and bearer of that culture. In Russian poetry we  can often find  Georgian lexical units. For example, several Georgian words are presented in E.Evtushenko ("in original language cloth") :


«Я тоскую по Тбилиси,  по домам, чей срок на слом,

по лихому остромыслью-ну хотя бы  за столом,

по Отару, по Тамазу, по «Давльот!», «Аллаверды!»,

   по горбатому томату  на лице у тамады...». [Georgia... 1977: 82]

             Пузатые мараны по бокам

             просили их похлопать ну  хоть разик!.. [Georgia... 1977: 78]....

            В рубахе пестрой и в шляпе войлочной

 пил на базаре хванчкару. [Georgia... 1977: 81]

As a result of  harmonization of ideas in translational space, in new linguistic and cultural dimension, in a new system the text of translation became the natural phenomenon as it is in the original .

Translation is also ambivalent by its nature. It appears as a result of self-actualization of   two different languages. In other words, translation is a synthesis of two structures in which foreign and native must turn into one artistically identified unity. With the change of society the concepts also change: linguistic units (in our case - Georgian) sometimes are subjected to archaism in another cultural reality (environment).

Migration of culturological phenomena is a historical process. Nowadays such way of borrowing is regarded (including by us) as a business property of a new linguistic reality. The migration of words and notions from one language into another is called borrowing. The borrowing from other language units can be conventionally considered as a fact of language impoverishment, as a kind of indicator of loosing linguistic originality. When extralinguistical factors dominate, any nuance more over linguistic gain great importance. In this context it is borrowing that is considered as one of the attributes of new linguistic reality.

A good example of this is migration of names for Georgian wines from Georgian into Russian language. Georgia, its numerous realities and traditions are associated with winemaking. Georgian winemaking as a fact of culture has attracted the attention of travelers, businessmen of various generations since olden times. The imprints of wine leaves of ancient time on Georgia's territory, the jugs of the Bronze Age found in the tombs, as well as other archeological data, approve that Georgia is considered the native land of wild and cultural vine. During archeological excavations the weapons and facilities found on the territory of the country (stone press, wine squeezer, various dishes of vine,) evidence that winemaking was one of the leading branches of economic activity of Georgian people. In the 11th-12th centuries there existed high educational establishment, the Academy of Ikalto where along with theology, rhetoric, astronomy, and other subjects, winemaking was taught.

Familiarization  with linguistic  material associated with wine has led us to that logical conclusion that there is a remarkable world of word-formation, each word is the whole world, a part of history of culture it is special both by its content and sound. In Georgia the church wine is called  zedashe ; watery wine- dgvip, joqo, sakharjo, shalamura, tskalkvintela; waterless, pure wine -shumi and armuji; watery-middle wine; new wine- machari; secondary squeezed of chacha- shamani, makhali;  children's weak wine- tavankari,; kept for a long time-old wine; weak and unfortified - gala wine,  etc. A question arises as to whether it is worth or possible to translate linguoconseptual phenomena.

Intercultural communication, as was mentioned above also implies the borrowing of realities. We should pay attention to unusual semantic correlation of linguoculturological concepts in a new linguistic space. When they fit new situation in some cases they lose their foreign face the subordinate to the principle: "serve those whose bread I am eating" (V.Dahl).

In the process of dialogue between language and culture for intrusion of one culture into another we come across paradoxical phenomena: in lexicographical publication the following title is fixed: "Tavkveri"- an Azerbaijani crop sort with feminine flowers, with black berries, gives table and dessert wines [Big....1953: 111] " Tavkveri" is the Georgian word and appears in other cultures from Georgian.

Georgia justly belongs to the country with the oldest winemaking culture and traditions. Therefore, it is not a surprise that Georgian words and terms associated with winemaking entered and established in the different languages and cultures.

As is seen, we deal with the "linguistic asymmetry" of world perception. In our case this means the survival ability of borrowing words and translated texts in the process of the culture's communication, its ability to continue the process of evolution, independent from the first source (original),to subordinate its principal semantic poly-interpretation to the situation, because as I.Lotman puts it, " Man has to live in culture as well as he lives in biosphere"[ Khakhutaishvili, 2006:  111]

Georgian writers of the older generation are well known in Russia. However, the subsequent generation is less known for both wide public and literary circles. Politics, international conjuncture and market give the imperative form to the relations. The number of translated specimens is decreasing. Today there are far less translations from Georgian into Russian and from Russian into Georgian.

As is known in the process of translation the knowledge of cultural and national peculiarities of any people gives an opportunity to reduce the cultural shock to minimum. In the process of cultural contacts the optimization of interrelation algorithm occurs.

In the process of translation it is necessary to find that ideal to which the translator should tend. The translation should acquire that value which it had in its own culture. The unity of two cultures during intercultural communication is of equal value and significant for a translator in the process of translational activity.

If the text of an original does not "become obsolete", and the translation is already "inconsistent with an epoch", or is subjected to situation archaism there appears a necessity of new translation.  But we underline once more that a translated text must preserve the value of original text. Translation must become suitable to the situation as a result of the harmonization of ideas in translational sphere, in new national and cultural dimension. The ground for such conclusion is given by rather vast illustrational material.

In connection with Russian media space and media material there is different situational background, where on the one hand, survival ability of original discourse and translational time create text-matrixes with maximally reduced linguistic characteristics and scars poetics and privileged reading about Georgia for modern readers who represent so-called ideological and political texts,  on the other hand, there is constant interchange between these two intentions.

Such types of media texts, in which "Georgian problems" are presented proceeding from their discourse, are distinguished a priori. Their study gives an opportunity to observe lingvoculturalogical units of language, as to how they pass by their own culture and acquire the features of cultural mediator without loss of their own cultural identity. In our view this is rather simplified form of acculturation, gives an opportunity to consider monocultural self-identification, as an essential link in the formation of the process of intercultural competence during the translation of  linguoculturological  phenomena ( in our case Georgian).


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ino press
ino press 4-05– 2010