Optimum translation is characterized by equivalence at all the levels, i.e., Russian headlines may correspond to English headlines at these level
- equivalence on the semantic level;
- equivalence on the stylistic level;
- equivalence on the pragmatic/ dynamic level.
Semantic equivalence is maintained when there is both connotative and denotative equivalence between words and phrases both in Russian and English headlines. Denotative equivalence is transferred when the lexical meaning of words in both the original and the translation is maintained the same; whereas, connotative equivalence is pertained to readers by the same associations. Stylistic equivalence is, therefore, maintained when the source headline sounds natural in the TL and culture.
Since optimum translation appears as soon as equivalence is maintained at all the levels mentioned above and no variations or uncertainties are possible in this case, i.e., headlines of optimum translation may be characterised by one-to-one correspondence. Thus, only eight headlines out of one hundred correspond to these requirements and may, therefore, be labelled as headlines with absolute correspondence, i.e., of optimum translation, consider:
Extinction threat to one fifth of world's plants (G); Ugroza otmiraniya odnoy pyatoy chasti rastitelnogo mira.
It is possible to see that the Russian headline corresponds to the English one at both linguistic and extralinguistic levels greatly (example 1), i.e., the Russian headline is equivalent to the original headline stylistically and semantically, and the information is maintained the same. All the words of the English headline are transferred into the Russian headline and all of them are semantically equal. For instance, a noun “threat” is translated into Russian as a noun “Угроза”, which allows making a proper and logic structure of the Russian headline; besides they both exhibit the same semantic meaning. Although the place of a subject in both headlines differs, neither the message nor the form of it is distorted.
Top 5 Crazy Government Experiments (SH); — Топ 5 эксперименты безумного государства
Although there is some visual discrepancy (example 3) in the headlines since the “number” is numeral in the original while it is translated into a word “число” the meaning of the headline is not changed and the information is not distorted. Furthermore, there is a tendency to write small numbers in words in Russian. The word “top” in English means the “highest degree”, thus the phrase top crazy is translated into the adjective of superlative degree “Высший”, hence, the information is conveyed appropriately. Moreover, the noun government is singular in the original, but plural in the translation; however, it might be adapted to the idea of the article that a single government is referred to (yet, this aspect is not to be discussed further as the content of articles is not a part of the study). Hence, this example might also be labelled as of optimum translation because the English headline is translated literally and the semantic meaning is maintained.
Smoking, drinking and poor diet 'doubles oral cancer cases among young adults' (DM); — Курение, алкоголизм и скудная диета увеличивает в двойне число онкологических заболеваний среди молодежи.
(D);The length of the two headlines (example 4) differs; thus, the majority of words in the English headline are translated properly semantically. The denotation of the two words — drinking and alkoholis — remotely differs, but the connotation is the same as both words have some negative meaning associated with alcohol consumption both in Russian and English languages. “Скудная диета” is also a common colloquial Russian expression which is semantically rather equal to poor diet. Moreover, the quotation marks are localised in the translation. The style of the English headline is conveyed in the translation as well.
Although equivalence is one of the key aspects in translation studies, the results of the analysis indicate that absolute equivalence is quite hard to be achieved in the translation of headlines of online news articles.
The most frequent degree of equivalence in the translation of headlines has been identified: the majority of the headlines are of partial equivalence which, therefore, constitutes 80 % (48 % of the headlines are of near-optimum translation and 32 % of the headlines are of weak translation) out of one hundred analysed headlines; whereas the minority of the headlines are of optimum (8 %) and zero (12 %) translation.
Equivalence in translation is, therefore, one of the most important directions in translation studies, which is often regarded in the analysis of translations. Thus, it is an essential part and the basis of the paper; various types, levels and degrees of equivalence have been introduced and are to be respected in the research of the paper.