DOI: 10.18413/2313-8912-2021-7-3-0-5

Reproduction of encrypted messages in fiction from English Into Russian

This article examines cases where translators are confronted with messages whose meaning is obscured by a simple cipher. Russian translators had to overcome certain difficulties while translating certain passages in the works of British (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie) and American (Edgar Allan Poe, Dan Brown) fiction writers. Substitution code (“The Gold-Bug”, “The Adventure of the Dancing Men”), anagrams (“The da Vinci Code”), as well as different kinds of text steganography (“The Gloria Scott”, “The Four Suspects”) can be used to encrypt the information. Each case is illustrated with two examples. The translator has to depict not only the very process of deciphering a message, but also render its cryptic nature with the means of a target language (Russian). We show, that in half of the cases it is a mere translation of the deciphered text. It is a simpler way, because there is no need to create an analogue thereof. The grand purpose, however, remains unachieved. In two instances there were multiple translations of the same text (6 of “The Gold-Bug” by E.A Poe and 9 of “The Four Suspects” by A. Christie). This phenomenon can be explained not only by the popularity of the stories, but by the relatively small circulation of certain editions. We have undertaken a comparative analysis of these translations and have revealed discrepancies, concerning more and less significant translation units and, in some cases minor errors.

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