Culture-Specific Information Encoded in Lacunae: The Author’s and Translators’ Strategies of Representation


  • Liudmyla Slavova Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine
  • Natalia Borysenko Zhytomyr Ivan Franko State University, Ukraine



culture-specific information, lacuna, translation, domestication, foreignization


The present study examines the representation of Ukrainian culture-specific information in Marina Lewycka’s novel A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. Such information is encoded in lacunae and the author’s or translator’s task is to decode it using relevant translation strategies. The latter ones have been identified: 1) the strategy of domestication (equivalent or near equivalent translation); 2) the combination of domestication and foreignization (transliteration together with a near equivalent and descriptive translation, calque translation accompanied by descriptive translation); and 3) the strategy of foreignization (borrowing, transliteration alone or combined with calque translation). Graphic means such as inverted commas and italics are used to mark information as culture-specific for the reader. Ukrainian and Russian translations of the novel demonstrate that lacunae are rendered mostly with the help of the corresponding Ukrainian and Russian lexemes. It has been revealed that archaic forms can be substituted by modern ones, and both native and borrowed elements are employed. This paper also demonstrates that the procedures and means used in rendering Ukrainian culture-specific information in the source English and target Ukrainian and Russian texts aim at finding balance between the strategies of domestication and foreignization used in the presentation of culture-specific information.