Translation Studies 2020

Netecha Elizabeth

Kamianets-Podilskyi Ivan Ohiienko National University; Ukraine

Scientific Supervisor: a Senior Lecturer, Nykytiuk S. I.



The article deals with an irony, which is one of the effective means of creating verbal comic image in the works of O Henry. Linguistic means for the expression of irony used the author are very rich and varied. The research shows a communicative-pragmatic translation as the highest translation for comic texts. In the course of comparative analysis of language translation of puns in comic stories the types of translation transformations were analyzed in the article.

Key words: O. Henry, irony, pun, translation, lexical-semantic analysis.

О. Henry, being a master in creating an ironic and comic effects, used various stylistic devices deliberately metaphors, comparisons, quotations, paradoxes, periphrase, rhetorical questions normally cause certain difficulties in translation. He wants to pay attention to those genuine human values, which can always serve as a support and comfort in the most complicated situations. The writer aims to attract the attention of the privileged people the protagonists who, in modern language, is “on the erge of poverty”. The writer demonstrates masterly ingenuity in creating unexpected comparisons and vivid metaphors.  Therefore, it is necessary to pay attention to the methods used by the Ukrainian translators for appropriate translation of these stylistic resources which are necessary for the preservation of the humorous effect in the translation of the text. Translations of short stories by O. Henry into the Ukrainian language were studied by M. Bystritsky, A. Logvinenko, M. Dmitrenko, V. Musienko, N.Tupelo.

The aim of the study is the analysis of the ability of translators to keep irony in translated works of O. Henry. Methodological basis of research are the lexical-semantic analysis of literary works and techniques of translation. The article deals with irony, which is an effective means of creating verbal comic image in the works of O Henry. Ironic image actualizes within the same sentence context on lexical-semantic level, there is a complete single-level updated image. Irony is used as a characteristics means of the situation and formation of the readers’ relationships. Describing the behavior of one of the heroes of his story “A cosmopolite in a café”, Henry ironically, describing the hero of the phrase “pride and good name of the earth”, while he gave a drunken brawl in a cafe. The size of the context needed for updating verbal comic image ironic direction, does not exceed one expanded sentence. “My cosmopolite was sustaining the pride and reputation of the earth when the waiters closed in on both combatants with their famous flying wedge formation and bore them outside, still resisting” [1]. “Mій космополіт стійко захищав гордість і репутацію землі, продовжуючи чинити опір, навіть коли офіціанти підступилися до бійців, вишикувавшись своїм знаменитим летючим клином, і винесли обох із зали.” [4]. In the translation made by M. Bystritsky, the irony of the protagonist’s unceremonious behavior is clearly expressed. The translator did not change the words that characterize the protagonist, thus adhering to the style of the author, although this could be considered as not a literary translation. We believe that in this case it is advisable to preserve the identity of the author and to emphasize the irony that is preserved in the translation, thanks to the work of M. Bystritsky. Sometimes a metaphor can be combined with punning words, as in the following example: “Exactly at eight Hickey & Mooney, of the vaudeville team (unbooked) in the flat across the hall would yield to the gentle influence of delirium tremens and begin to overturn chairs under the delusion that Hammerstein was pursuing them with a five-hundred-dollar-a-week contract (“The pendulum”) [2].  “Рівно о восьмій Хіккі й Муні, естрадна парочка (без ангажементу) в квартирі навпроти, поступляться ніжному впливові delirium tremens (біла гарячка) і почнуть перекидати стільці, не знати чого уявивши, ніби антрепренер Хеммерстайн женеться за ними з контрактом на п’ятсот доларів на тиждень.” (“Маятник”) [5]. The translator M. Dmitrenko in this passage skillfully conveyed a mockering tone of the author, which can be traced even with complex words and turns. This whole passage, both in the opening and in the translation, does not lose the general ridicule and irony, though it was translated by the artistic method (unlike the first example). He also managed not to lose the style of O. Henry and was able to make the situation close to the reader through adverbs and comparison. So he has used a communicative-pragmatic translation method. Other trails can also participate in creating the evaluation context, but their sporadic use is found, as a rule, rare. They are often combined with each other in the context of forming a strong evaluation field. An example of this broader context can be as follows: “Among the customers at Bogle’s was a young man named Seeders, who worked in a laundry office. Mr. Seeders was thin and had light hair, and appeared to have been recently rough-dried and starched. He was too different to aspire to Aileen’s notice; so he usually sat at one of Tildy’s tables, where he devoted himself to silence and boiled weakfish. One day when Mr. Seeders came in to dinner he had been drinking beer. There were only two or three customers in the restaurant. When Mr. Seeders had finished his weakfish he got up, put his arm around Tildy’s waist, kissed her loudly and impudently, walked out upon the street, snapped his fingers in the direction of the laundry, and hide himself to play pennies in the slot machines at the amusement arcade.” (“The brief  debut of Tildy”) [3]. “Серед відвідувачів ресторану богля був юнак на прізвище Сідерс, який працював у пральні. Містер Сідерс був худий та білявий, і здавалося, що його тільки-но висушили та накрохмалили. Він був надто сором’язливий, щоб добиватись уваги ейлін, тому звичайно сідав за один з столиків тільді, прирікаючи себе на мовчанку і варену рибу. Одного разу містер Сідерс прийшов трохи напідпитку. В ресторані було тільки два чи три відвідувачі. Покінчивши з рибою, містер Сідерс підвівся, обняв Тільді за талію, гучно й безцеремонно поцілував її, вийшов на вулицю, показав своїй пральні дулю і подався в пасаж, де були всілякі атракціони, опускати центи в гральні автомати.” переклад Ю. Іванова (“Короткий тріумф тильди”) [5]. Yu. Ivanov has primarily used lexical units too different to aspire to. Implicit evaluation is created on the lexical-semantic level, due to the tropes used to describe the behavior of Mr Seeders in the restaurant and comparisons, which describe the appearance of a young man who works in the laundry room. The negative evaluation is expressed explicitly in the semantics of lexical units that form the conceptual field associated with the behavior of drunk Mr. Seeders. The main difficulties in translation are to preserve the invariant content, style, stylistic marking of the whole narrative and individual linguistic means in order to achieve a communicative effect and to maintain the aesthetic category of the comic.

As a result of the analysis of short stories, it was found that the universal ways of short stories are reflected in the language of O. Henry’s works. The study of the methods used in translation as a whole, and coming, remain transitional in the short stories by O. Henry was reduced to a presentation that shows the highest translation for comic texts – a communicative-pragmatic translation.


  1. Henry O. The Four Million Doubleday. Page & Company. New York. 1906

  1. Henry O. The Pendulum. The Trimmed Lamp. 1907

  1. Henry O. The Brief Debut of Tildy. Four Million Doubleday. Page & Company. New York. 1906

  1. О. Генрі. Космополіт у кафе. Пер. з англ. М. Бистрицького. Ізборник [Електронний ресурс]. — К., 2011.
  2. О.Генрі. Останній листок: Оповідання. К.: Молодь, 1983. 224с.