On Translation of Long and Complicated Sentences in EST
EST, i.e. the English for Science and Technology, is a kind of specialty English to describe the process and features of various natural phenomena and objective facts. EST articles are usually characterized by extensive use of long and complicated sentences.
When dealing with the complex concepts, the long and complicated sentences are used more frequently in EST than the general English. This is determined by the characteristics of EST. The EST’s target is to state a logic relation and describe a process.
The definition, laws, theorems, concepts or the techniques in EST must be accurate and precise. So the sentence in EST has many modifiers, qualifiers and additional elements. This makes the sentence long and complicated.
The prerequisites for correct handling of long and complicated sentences in English-Chinese translation lie in the correct comprehension of the logic and structure of the original sentences.
Subordination, the method for differentiating and handling of the principal and subordinate parts of a complex sentence in the process of translation, is essential to achieving adequacy in translation.
The differentiation and correct handling of the principal and subordinate parts are very important in English-Chinese translation.
Subordination is essential to comprehension and representation.
“Where weight is the major consideration, aluminium is used. A material’s ability to conduct electricity also depends on its dimensions.” In translating these two sentences, one should pay attention to the relationship between them. The sentences should be rendered into “凡是在重量是主要考虑因素的场合，就要用铝。这是因为材料导电的能力还取决于材料的尺寸。”
In Chinese, the principal part of the sentence should normally be placed after the subordinate part.
“There is air all round us though we cannot see it with the naked eye.” should preferably be rendered into “虽然我们用肉眼看不见空气，但我们的周围到处都是空气。”
Division, as a translation technique, means the necessary splitting of a long sentence into shorter sentences.
To split a sentence at will is definitely a mistake in translation. But that does not mean splitting the sentence is absolutely impermissible. Before we split sentences, we must know (a) what the author is driving at; (b) what his arguments or views are and what logic sequence there is in the original; (c) what grammatical relations there are regarding the three, four, five or even more modifiers in the long sentence to be translated.
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There are a few rules to observe:
- When the long sentence includes or implies the author’s two or more steps of reasoning, or his arrangement of facts in a certain order;
- When the modifiers qualifying the subject are too long, generally speaking, these sentences can be properly rendered into Chinese by employing the techniques of division, amplification and conversion;
- When a clause in a long sentence functions, in effect, as a transition to what is to follow.
E.g. The difficulties that (1) would have to be encountered by anyone who (2) attempted to explore the moon — assuming that (3) it was possible to get there — would (4) be incomparably greater than (5) those that (6) have to be faced in the endeavor to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
In the course of designing a structure, you have to take into consideration what kind of load to above mentioned structure would be subjected, where on the structure the said load will do, what is unexpected or applied by degrees.
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