The semiotics of phonetic translation

  • Igor Pilshchikov Tallinn University, School of Humanities
Keywords: phonetic (homophonic, homophonetic) translation, equivalence in translation, sound in poetry, Russian poetic translations of the 19th and 20th centuries


This article is devoted to translations of poetry that are not equivalent to the original on the lexical level, but attempt to reproduce the sound, rhythm and syntax of the source text. The Russian formalist Yuri Tynianov was presumably the first scholar to discover this phenomenon, which was later referred to as “phonetic facsimile” (George Steiner) and “homophonic translation” (Lawrence Venuti). The present discussion of the linguistic, semiotic and cultural aspects of (homo)phonetic translation is exemplified by translations made by Russian poets of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


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