ISSN: 1139-8736
Depósito Legal: B-48039-2000

3.1.2. Translations

All this becomes even more poignant if novels and their translations are compared. Slobin (1996) checked the faithfulness of translations with regards to both path-ground and manner descriptions. He found that for both categories English loses more in translation. From English to Spanish the translation of the manner of movement is faithful only 51% of the time, and the trajectory, 76%. From Spanish to English, the fidelity of the translation reaches 92% for trajectory, and 77% for manner. In the following two examples, the vertical dimension of the trajectory is not present in the Spanish translations and must be inferred from the context:

(3.5) Gradually, he worked his way up to the foot of the bluffs
Poco a poco fue acercándose hasta el pie de los riscos. . .
(3.6) I climbed up the path over the cliffs towards the rest of the people.
Tomé el sendero que conducía al lugar donde estaba la gente.
Also, the manner of movement is lost in both cases. Sometimes the Spanish translator opts for breaking the English path and assigns a separate clause to each of the path segments:
(3.7) Martha walked through the park and along the avenues
Marta cruzó el parque y paseó a lo largo de las avenidas
(3.8) I ran out the kitchen door, past the animal pens, towards Jason’s house
Salí por la puerta de la cocina, pasé por los corrales y me dirigí a casa de Jasón
In other instances, the translator might even omit whole segments of the trajectory:
(3.9) He strolled across the room to the door . . .
Se dirigió a la puerta. . .
The across-the-room section of the path is omitted. The manner of movement is not stated either.
The loss of manner is even more frequent. The following are examples of this:
(3.10) The three women drifted inertly down the hot street . . .
Las tres mujeres siguieron, pausadamente, calle abajo . . .
(3.11) He stomped from the trim house . . .
Salió de la pulcra casa . . .
(3.12) . . . he bounded up the stairs after her, overtaking her in the bedroom.
Subió tras ella, alcanzándola en el dormitorio.
The predicament for the translator is manifest, for in many instances keeping the manner by means of an adverbial is as unfaithful to the original as just omitting it, as the following pair attests:
(3.13) a. Mrs Tranter rustled forward, effusive and kind.
Mrs. Tranter se adelantó, efusiva y amable
b. She rustled out of the room. . .
Salió del cuarto, acompañada del susurro siseante de sus ropas. . .
In (a) the rustling noise produced by the moving entity is lost in Spanish. In (b), it is brought too much to the foreground.
In translating from Spanish into English, translators opt, at times, for introducing a manner of movement not present in the Spanish original:
(3.14) Don Federico avanzó sin apresurarse
Don Federico walked unhurriedly . . .
(3.15) Se dirigió a la casa, abrió la puerta de un empujón, y entró
He walked up to the house, gave the door a single forceful push, and went in
The reason for adding the manner of movement is to render the translation more English-like. English advance, and direct oneself are not readily used to convey directed motion.
In a project to replicate Slobin’s findings with regards to Spanish translations of English novels, the first 250 motion events from a large number of novels from different genres and periods were examined.1  Basically the same results as with Slobin’s smaller sample were obtained. Spanish translators were compelled to omit the manner of motion present in the English originals in almost fifty percent of the occasions, and to reduce the number of path elements per verb significantly.
As Slobin had pointed out, in some instances, the translators break an English sentence with a complex path into smaller clauses, each with a path verb:
(3.16) Mr Boggis walked out into the yard and through the gate and then down the long track that led across the field towards the road. (Tales from the Unexpected by Roald Dahl)
El señor Boggis salió al patio, atravesó la cancela y enfiló el largo camino que a través de los campos llevaba a la carretera (trans. Carmelina Paya y Antonio Samons)
(3.17) The only other choice is to go back through mount Judge around the mountain into the thick of Brewer (Rabbit, Run by John Updike)
y la última alternativa consiste en retroceder, atravesando Mt Judge, bordear la montaña e internarse en el centro de Brewer (trans. Jordi Fibla)
In (3.16) the complex path with four legs (out, into the yard, through the gate, and down the long track) is rendered in Spanish with three clauses headed by path verbs: salir, atravesar, and enfilar. Once more, the manner of movement is omitted. Since walking is the default manner of motion for humans, it can be easily inferred. In (3.17) the complex path is translated by breaking the English sentence into four clauses, each reflecting a segment of the path.
Again, where the translators are at their most difficult juncture is when the manner of motion is particularly highlighted or plays a poetic or stylistic role in the sentence. Both omitting or keeping it betray the original, as the following example shows:
(3.18) At the next corner, where the water from the ice plant used to come down, sob into a drain, and reappear on the other side of the street. . . (Rabbit Run, John Updike)
En la próxima esquina, por donde antes bajaba el agua procedente de la fábrica de hielos, que caía con un rumor sollozante en un canal de desagüe y reaparecía al otro lado de la calle. . .
John Updike has employed a novel use of the verb sob. It is used as a verb of sound produced by an object in movement, similar to rustle above. These verbs can typically appear in English occupying the verb slot in a directed motion sentence with a directional. In this particular instance, it is relevant because it contributes to the poetic and lyrical rhythm of Updike’s prose, and because its metaphorical meaning adds to the tone of the passage. This is why the translator has decided to try to capture it in the translation, but without much success. Spanish forces the accompanying sound to be brought too much into the foreground.
In spite of all this, it became obvious from the wider range of novels and translations that skillful translators have at their disposal a variety of devices to translate directed motion sentences. The most frequent is the translation with a path verb, but on many occasions a manner verb is used, complemented with either directional elements or with a subordinate clause that includes the trajectory through a path verb. Thus, the characteristic English pattern is approximated in the Spanish translations:
(3.19) The coffin dived out of sight (Ulysses by James Joyce)
El ataúd se zambulló perdiéndose de vista (trans. J.M.Valverde)
(3.20) He scrambled up by the stones (Ulysses by James Joyce)
Gateó subiendo por las piedras
(3.21) The carriage lurched round the corner (Ulysses)
El coche dio un vaivén al doblar una esquina
In these instances, José María Valverde has kept the manner verb in the main clause and has introduced a subordinate clause with a path verb, in a sort of reversed construction from what is characteristically Spanish, according to the typology. But more often translators just keep the manner verb accompanied by a trajectory, sometimes even a complex trajectory, replicating the English original:
(3.22) She ran across the field after it (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)
se puso a correr en pos del conejo a través de la pradera
(3.23) I can creep under the door (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)
siempre podré deslizarme por debajo de la puerta
(3.24) Rabbit slithers in, closing the side door (Rabbit Run)
Conejo se desliza dentro y cierra la portezuela
(3.25) Rabbit slides in behind the wheel (Rabbit Run)
Se desliza detrás del volante
(3.26) they dashed into the little cabin, to rush out (Heart of Darkness)
Luego se precipitaron a la pequeña cabina para salir
(3.27) I dragged him out. (Heart of Darkness)
Lo arrastré fuera
(3.28) Talbot slid his closed book into his satchel (Ulysses)
Talbot deslizó su libro cerrado dentro de la cartera
(3.29) Galleys of Lochlarmis ran here to beach (Ulysses)
Las galeras de los Lochlarmis corrían aquí a la playa
(3.30) The cat stalked to the door (Ulysses)
La gata caminó despacio hacia la puerta
(3.31) swam out to see (Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys)
. . . nadando mar adentro (trans. Andrés Bosch)
(3.32) They ran downstairs . . . (Slobin 1996: 213)
Corrieron escaleras abajo. . .
(3.33) Suddenly, she was walking, almost running, across the turf towards the path (Slobin 1996: 214)
De pronto, echó a andar, casi a correr, a través del prado hacia el camino
(3.34) A great many moths and beetles found their way into the room, flew into the candles and fell dead on the tablecloth (Wide Sargasso Sea)
Gran número de mariposas nocturnas y moscardones penetró en la estancia, volaron hasta las llamas de las velas y cayeron muertas en los manteles
(3.35) Then I walked to the tree (Wide Sargasso Sea)
Luego anduve hasta el árbol
(3.36) I walked up and down the room (Wide Sargasso Sea)
Caminé por la estancia arriba y abajo
(3.37) The carriage rattled swiftly along Blessington Street (Ulysses)
El coche traqueteó rápidamente por la calle Blessington
In all of these examples, there is a striking parallel between the English original and the Spanish translations. The last one even introduces a verb of sound produced by the movement. The availability and naturalness of sentences like these in Spanish has been used to undermine the validity of Talmy’s typology, as will be discussed in chapter 4.
Spanish translators also make use of several peculiar verbs that seem to incorporate both manner and the trajectory in their lexical meaning:
(3.38) They ran widely up and down (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)
Se pusieron a corretear por todos lados

(3.39) He walked Southward along Westland Row (Ulysses)
Se encaminó hacia el sur por Westland Row

(3.40) She walked along the veranda (Wide Sargasso Sea)
Recorrió la terraza

Corretear, encaminarse and recorrer incorporate manner of movement and directionality in different ways. Corretear implies motion in random directions within a location, encaminarse includes the idea of inception of motion directed to a particular place, and recorrer carries the notion that the locational direct object it takes has been traversed in its totality.

1   The gathering of the data was carried out as part of a class project by students enrolled in the course Gramática Contrastiva, an elective of third year of Filología Inglesa.  The class was taught at the University of Huelva, Spain, during the 1996-97 academic year.  More than 50 novels were examined.

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ISSN: 1139-8736
Depósito Legal: B-48039-2000