Culture-specific Items from Ukrainian and Russian Fairy Tales: A Daunting Challenge for Translators


  • Anna Volovyk Vasyl Stus Donetsk National University, Ukraine



fairy tale, culture-specific items, translation strategies, translation procedures, source language- and target language-oriented translation


Translation studies of children’s literature deserve meticulous attention today not only in the wake of active global publishing activity of books for children but due to the culture-specific information the latter may contain. Fairy tales are usually the first narratives children are introduced to and often these stories with a long-reproduction history reveal some features of national culture that form a child’s worldview. From this perspective, the research is set out to identify culture-specific items in fairy tales that originated from oral tradition and to determine what translation procedures should be used and what factors may influence the choice of the translation method. The corpus of the research includes the titles of East Slavic fairy tales limited by culture-specific items and their translations into English and German. Despite the period when translations were made and gender of translators, findings of our research show that in both languages source language-oriented translation procedures prevail in rendering proper names with denotative meaning, and target language-oriented translation methods are dominant for culture-specific common expressions and descriptive elements of proper names. The current research has allowed us to distinguish the factors that may influence the choice of a translation procedure. To this end, a scale of source language- and target language-oriented translation strategies of culture-specific items from fairy tales with the account of target reader’s age and genre has been provided for the translators to reveal the efficiency of certain translation procedures. Given the above, the study of culture-specific items in fairy tales requires a greater focus and thus further lines of inquiry are suggested in this paper.