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Abstract

Mikhail Bulgakov's fantastic short story The Fatal Eggs (1925) was translated into English by five translators, Mirra Ginsburg (1964), Kathleen Gook-Horujy (1990), Hugh Aplin (2003), Michael Karpelson (2010), and Roger Cockrell (2011). The emphasis in this research is on the linguistic analysis of the translations of cultural, social and historical realia referred to as Sovietisms, which pertain to items characteristic of Soviet discourse in the 1930s. Bulgakov's language is brimming with Soviet vocabulary that refers to various cultural and socio-political elements of Soviet reality. A complete naturalization or even omission of Sovietisms may lead to loss of connotative meanings essential to understanding the context, while foreignizing through transliteration or calquing may disturb the fluency of reading. The purpose of the analysis is to assess the translators' choices and what they imply for the readers. Another aim is to test the assumptions of re-translation theory (Bensimon 1990; Gambier 1994), which states that early translations are more target-oriented than subsequent translations. The analysis employs taxonomies suggested by Vlakhov and Florin (1980) and Mokienko and Nikitina (1998) for the classification of Sovietisms, and Aixelá’s taxonomy of translation strategies (1996) as the grounds for the case study.

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