Skip to main content

Translating Sounds: A Study into the Russian-Language Translations of Onomatopoeic Proper Names in the Twentieth-Century English-Language Children’s Literature

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
Negotiating Translation and Transcreation of Children's Literature

Part of the book series: New Frontiers in Translation Studies ((NFTS))


This chapter analyses translation strategies of onomatopoeic proper names in English-language children’s tales from the twentieth century into the Russian language. In this chapter, I assume that the translator should choose a strategy that preserves the unique structural and semantic features of onomatopoeic proper names. The methodological framework chosen for this research is based on descriptive translation studies methods, which include identifying the significance of a research item in the target culture, analysing the existing translation options, and drawing conclusions and generalisations on the patterns identified in the source and target texts. The comparative analysis between the English-language onomatopoeic proper names and their Russian-language translations reveals three main strategies that are used for the translation of onomatopoeic proper names: transcription, transliteration, and onymic replacement. The analysis is followed by an association experiment, which reveals the most effective strategy for preserving the semantics and structure of onomatopoeic proper names in translation. The chapter proposes an outline of a translation process based on the translation strategy chosen in the association experiment and a conceptual translation model.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

USD 16.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 16.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 169.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others

Secondary Sources

  • Amanuma, Yasushi, and Heiji Otsubo. 2007. Japanese Sound-Imitative Science /Nihongo no onseigaku/. Tokyo: Kurosio shuppan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Cullerton, Claire A. 1994. Names and Naming in Joyce. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Darnton, Robert. 2007. What Is the History of Books? Revised. In Modern Intellectual History, vol. 4(3), 495–508. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Ermolovich, Dmitry. 2005. Proper Names: Translation Theory and Practice /Imena sobstvennie: teoria i practica mezyazikivoi peredachi/. Moscow: R. Valent.

    Google Scholar 

  • Hamano, Shoko. 1998. The Sound-Symbolic System of Japanese. Stanford: Center for the Study of Language and Information.

    Google Scholar 

  • Kindaichi, Haruhiko. 1967. Japanese Language /Nihongo/. Tokyo: Iwanami shoten.

    Google Scholar 

  • ———. 1978. Japanese Sound-Imitative Research /Nihongo onin no kennkyu/. Tokyo: Toukyoudou syuppan.

    Google Scholar 

  • Lantolf, James P. 2000. Introducing Sociocultural Theory. In Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning, ed. James Lantolf, 1–27. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Miller, George Armitage. 1968. Psycholinguists. The Theory of Speech Acts (Psycholinguistic) /Psyholinguisti. Theoris rechevoi deyatelnosti (voprosi psyholinguistiki)/. Moscow: Biblio.

    Google Scholar 

  • Nida, Eugen. 1964. Towards a Science of Translating. Special Reference to Principals and Procedures Involved in the Bible Translating. Leiden: Brill.

    Google Scholar 

  • Oittinen, Riitta. 2000. Translating for Children. New York: Garland Publishing.

    Google Scholar 

  • Oittinen, Riitta, Anne Ketola, and Melissa Garavini. 2018. Translating Picturebooks: Revoicing the Verbal, the Visual, and the Oral for a Child Audience. New York; London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  • Revzin, Ishak, and Viktor Rozentsveig. 1964. The Basics of Computer Translation /Osnovi obshego i mashinnogo perevoda/. Moscow: Vishaya Schola.

    Google Scholar 

  • Tamamura, Fumiro. 1989. On the Topic of Ancient Japanese Names. The Japanese Studies, History /Kodai ni okeru wago meishi no dzengo nit tsuite. Ronsyu: nihongo kenkyu: rekishihen/. Tokyo: Meiji syoin.

    Google Scholar 

  • Vlachov, Sider, and Sergei Florin. 2009. The Untranslatable in Translation /Neperevodimoe v perevode/. Moscow: Mezdunarodnie otnosheniya.

    Google Scholar 

  • Yamaguchi, Nakami. 2002. The Dog Barks as Byo. Entertaining Japanese onomatopoeia /Inu ha byo to naku. Nihongo ha giongo gitaigo ga omoshiroi/. Tokyo: Kobunsha.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Anna Sasaki .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2020 Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Sasaki, A. (2020). Translating Sounds: A Study into the Russian-Language Translations of Onomatopoeic Proper Names in the Twentieth-Century English-Language Children’s Literature. In: Dybiec-Gajer, J., Oittinen, R., Kodura, M. (eds) Negotiating Translation and Transcreation of Children's Literature. New Frontiers in Translation Studies. Springer, Singapore.

Download citation

Publish with us

Policies and ethics