Common errors in lithuanian – english translation




Klaipėda, 2008



History of translation.........................4

History of translation theory......................6

2.1 What is translation..........................7

3. Translation differences between the English and Lithuanian languages.....8

Identifying morphological gaps.....................9

Errors in translation of lexical and morphological gaps (include gaps in texts)..............................12

Mistakes in translating negative prefixes in English and Lithuanian.....14

Mistakes translating by a different part of speech.............14

Comparison of the formal document translation.............16

Research on identifying common errors in English-Lithuanian translation..20

6. Results of the survey.........................27


Resources ............................. .30


Thetarget of this course work is the errors made inn English – Lithuanian translations. Nowadays this topic is very important, because the English language is one of the best known languages in the world. So it is crucial as fast as it is possible to find ways how to avoid mistakes made in translations.

The main goals of this course work are:

to ascertain what kind of mistakes are common;

The tool to find out the types of mistakes a survey among the students of Social science collage group 2U has been conducted annd English and Lithuanian texts compared.

To analyze and classify them;

The results of the survey have been analyzed, the errors investigated and grouped.

To point out differences between the Lithuanian and English languages;

To achieve this goal both the languages have been compared on

n the aspect of parts of speech, morphology and lexicology.

Methods used at the course work were analysis of the information recourses and their selection, comparison of the linguistic means, conducting of a research, analysis and classification of the research results, summarizing the material and drawing conclusions.


Etymologically the Latin “translatio” derives from the perfect passive participle, “translatum,” of “transferre” (“to transfer” — from “trans,” “across” + “ferre,” “to carry” or “to bring”). Additionally, the Greek term for “translation,” “metaphrasis” (“a speaking across”), has supplied English with “metaphrase” (a “literal translation,” or “word-for-word” translation)—as contrasted with “paraphrase” (“a saying in other words,” from the Greek “paraphrasis”). “Metaphrase” equates, in one of the more recent terminologies, to “formal equivalence,” and “paraphrase”—to &##8220;dynamic equivalence.” [10]

The first important translation in the West was that of the Septuagint, a collection of Jewish Scriptures translated into Koine Greek in Alexandria between the 3rd and 1st centuries BCE. The Jews, that were widely spread, had forgotten their mother language and needed Greek versions (translations) of their Scriptures. [3]

The first large-scale efforts at translation were undertaken by the Arabs. Arabs were taken over the Greek world, so that why they made Arabic versions of its scientific and ph

hilosophical works. During the Middle Ages, some of these Arabic translations were translated in Latin. Such Latin translations of Greek and original Arab works of education and science would help advance the development of European Scholasticism. Scholasticism – was a method of learning taught by the academics (or schoolmen) of medieval universities about 1100-1500.

The first good translation in English was made by first great poet, the 14th-century Geoffrey Chaucer. Geoffrey Chaucer (c. 1343 – October 25, 1400?) was an English author, poet, philosopher, bureaucrat, courtier and diplomat. Sometimes he is called the father of the English literature; also he was the first author to demonstrate the artistic legitimacy of the native English language

The first great English translation was the Wycliffe Bible (ca. 1382), which showed the weaknesses of an underdeveloped English prose.[10]

In 18th century the translators’ catchword was that translation would be easy to read. If the translator did not understand the text or it was thought to be boring for the readers, the translator omitted that part. And it was popular to put in the text own style. That is why sometimes translations were like a new composition made by translator. Good example is a case of James Macpherson’s “translations” of Ossian—from texts that were actually of th

he “translator’s” own composition. Moreover translators were so brave in that times that they translated form the language that they barely knew.

Luckily in 19th century there were made rules for the translators to make more accurate text and to save the style. The new catchword was “the text, the whole text and nothing but the text” except for “bad” word passages and for enormous explanation notes. [3]. In regard to style, it was important to remind to reader that he is reading foreign classic.

2. History of Translation Theory

Discussions of the theory and practice of translation reach back into antiquity and show remarkable continuities. The distinction that had been drawn by the ancient Greeks between “metaphrase” (“literal” translation) and “paraphrase” would be adopted by the English poet and translator John Dryden (1631-1700), who represented translation as the rationally blending of these two modes of phrasing when selecting, in the target language, “counterparts,” or equivalents, for the expressions used in the source language.[3]

This general formulation of the central concept of translation — equivalence — is probably as coresponding as any that has been proposed ever since Cicero and Horace, in first-century-BCE Rome, famously and literally cautioned against translating “word for word” (“verbum pro verbo”).

Despite oc

ccasional theoretical diversities, the actual practice of translators has hardly changed since antiquity. Except for some extreme metaphrasers in the early Christian period and the Middle Ages, and adapters in various periods (especially pre-Classical Rome, and the 18th century), translators have generally shown wise flexibility in seeking equivalents — “literal” where possible, paraphrastic where necessary — for the original meaning and other crucial “values” (e.g.,style, verse form, harmony with musical accompaniment or, in films, with speech articulatory movements) as determined from context.[10]

2.2 What is translation?

Translation is an action of interpretation of the text that gives the same massage in other language. Translation is basically a change of form. When we speak of the form of the language, we use words, sentences, paragraphs, etc., which are written or spoken.

The text that we are translating is called “source text” and the form into which it will be changed is called “target language”. [5]

Translation must take into account restricts of grammatical rules of both languages, their idioms; study the lexicon, cultural context of the source language text; determine the meaning and finding the same meaning in the source text. The process could be shown in picture like this:0x08 graphic
0x01 graphic

According to this picture translator must have a text, which he is going to translate. Then he must read the text and to discover the meaning of it. And then re-express the discovered meaning into target language.

3. Translation differences between the English and Lithuanian languages

Lexical gaps are examples of lack of lexicalization detected in a language while comparing two languages. A concept is lexicalized when a language has a lexical item – a single word, a complex word, an idiom or a collocation – to express it. It was claimed the existence of a lexical gap only when a concept lacks lexicalisation and is expressed by a free word combination or any other transformation in translation. But a multi-word expression “juvelyriniai dirbiniai” (“jewellery”) or “zoologijos sodas” (“a zoo”) are not lexical gaps, because they are fixed word expressions and are used as single units of meaning. Besides, for the concepts explained by the expressions mentioned above, Lithuanians have no alternative expressions. Meanwhile, “atleidimas dėl darbo vietų mažinimo” (“redundancy”) or “derliaus nuėmimo mašina” (“a harvester”) are lexical gaps, because they are free word combinations, in real language convert by different techniques – lexical or syntactic changes. It is important to say that a lexical gap appears only in one of the compared languages. In other words, during translation from English into Lithuanian, it is identified a lexical gap only in Lithuanian.

A major group of lexical gaps can be explained by social and cultural differences of source and target language. A lexical gap in a target language is identified when its users do not know a concept of a source language. For example, Lithuanian food names “vėdarai” or “skilandis” cannot be translated into English, because they show Lithuanian culture. Another group of lexical gaps could be called paradigmatic (tipical) due to differences in various examples of two languages. A type of this group is morphological gaps, which comes from word formation differences. For example, “biculturalism” is translated by a free word combination “priklausymas dviem kultūroms” because of the “bi-”, which had to be explainedin Lithuanian, or “undernourishment”, which due to the peculiar combination of the prefix “under-” and “nourishment”, has to be expressed by a free word combination “nepakankama mityba”.[5]

The term “derivational gaps” identify those gaps within the limits of one language. Derivational gaps are words produced from partially productive stems and suffixes, which are understandable, but not acceptable in a language.

For example, although it is understood the meaning of “mistelephone”, “conversate” or “friable”, they do not comply with the norms of the English language.

In order to make a difference from the cases indicated above, the term “morphological gaps” will be used in this course work. In this study, the morphological gaps are gaps of the Lithuanian language, i.e. in the target language. Such kind of lexical gaps results from different morphological cases in the source and target languages. The English language has a potential to collect complex concepts into one word because of its rich choice of prefixes, suffixes and stems, most of which have roots in Latin or Greek.

Meanwhile, in Lithuanian, only prefixes or suffixes appearing mostly in international words, usually of some specialized areas, matches to their English analogues, for example, “metamotyvacija” (“metamotivation”), “parametras” (“parameter”), “socializmas” (“socialism”) or “imunoterapija” (“imunotherapy”). However, in non-specialised vocabulary these prefixes and suffixes are rare. In many cases such complex concepts covered by one English word have to be changed by several Lithuanian words, usually, a free word combination, e.g., caravanning – autoturizmas su nameliu-priekaba – (auto-tourism by a house-trailer). “Caravanning” is an especially interesting example, because it shows the complexity of the problem. Not only it represents a concept that is not common enough to have a fixed lexicalisation in Lithuanian, but in this particular instance it shows the disability of the language to express an action or its process too. The suffix -ing is changed by a lexical word “autoturizmas”.

Moreover, it could be considered as a micro-transformation, because the lack of direct translation of “caravan” is compensated by skipping the meaning component of “auto” to “auto-turizmas”. It is possible that such translations appear when two problems – cultural/economic and morphological – go together. [5]

To sum up, the translation difficulties when the target language is Lithuanian comprise of translating lexical gaps. A major group of lexical gaps can be explained by social and cultural differences of source and target language. A lexical gap could be identified when users do not know a concept of a source language. Misunderstanding of concept is also a common translation mistake.

3.1 Identifying morphological gaps

First lexicographic data from the bilingual English – Lithuanian dictionary (2000) was analysed. Data analysis has shown that there is a system in the way negative English prefixes are translated into Lithuanian:

1. Some English words with a negative prefix have direct equivalents: disappear – dingti;

disparage – peikti, menkinti; degeneration – išsigimimas. It is interesting to note that the Lithuanian equivalents express the same concepts without a formal negative feature in a word: they signify a negative aspect without specific negative prefixes.

2. Some English negation prefixes are easily transformed into the Lithuanian prefix ne-, for example, dislike – nemėgti; disorder – netvarka.

3. Negative prefixes in international words are transformed into Lithuanian international words with their analogues. In other words, these are the examples of borrowing: disbalance – disbalansas; antibiotic – antibiotikas.

4. Only prefixes are translated by their international analogues: antimatter – antimedžiaga; antimissile – antiraketa; antiwar – antikarinis.

5. Many English words with negative prefixes are explained through a number of synonyms, for example, immoderate – per didelis, nenuosaikus, nesaikingas, besaikis, be saiko (too big, unreasonable, unconscionable, inordinately); misbecome – netikti, nederėti (misfit, mismatch); miscarry – nepasisekti, žlugti (fail, collapse).

Needless to say, a dictionary user will be confusing facing the multitude of equivalents for each word. They are caught into a kind of “a vicious circle” with groups of synonyms, where words explain or illustrate one another, as if they were equivalent. Such synonymic explanation represents two sides of the problem. First, the proposed translations are not equal. Although they do share common meaning components, they are not absolute synonyms to be used in identical contexts. Second, it is not at all clear which translation equivalent presented without any usage context is closest to the original. Therefore we can claim that such meaning converting into bilingual dictionaries is not effective.

6. Most English words with negative prefixes are simply expressed by free word combinations: misadvise – duoti blogą/neteisingą patarimą (to give bad/wrong advice); miscast – skirti aktoriui netinkamą vaidmenį; neteisingai paskirstyti vaidmenis (to give an actor a wrong role, to distribute roles wrongly); antipersonnel – skirtas -žmonėms naikinti (designed/created for killing people); antipollution apsaugantis aplinką nuo užteršimo (protecting the environment from pollution); incognizable – nepažinus, negalimas pažinti (unknowable, impossible to be recognized).

Meaning explanations like above are often difficult to use in real language situations or translation. Their incorporation into a sentence by a machine translation system would produce awkward and unnatural structure, thus transformations in cases like these are inevitable. Instances like in 6 (see above) are obvious indications to morphological gaps in Lithuanian, because they are free word combinations originating due to the inability of the language to pack a complex of concept into one word, like it is done in English. In case of 5, a lexicographer is not able to give one precise equivalent, therefore leaves the decision to the user as to the appropriateness of a multitude of synonyms provided for her/him. It is not at all clear whether at least one of the equivalents mirrors the concept indicate by the English word.

7. It is also important that even in cases when a direct equivalent for an English word exists, additional information concerning usage is provided in remarks. For example, ineligible: 1. neturintis teisės; negalintis būti renkamas/išrinktas(not having the right, unable to be elected); 2. nepageidaujamas (apie jaunikį, jaunąją ir pan.) – undesirable (about a groom, a bride, etc.); 3. netinkamas (ypač karo tarnybai) – unfit (especially for military service).

The provided context helps to disambiguate the equivalent that as an individual word would not be clear. However, such layout of lexicographic data implies that translation units should be expanded, providing most common phrases the word appears in as well as its possible contexts. In other words, dictionary entries should be based on corpus material. [5]

To sum up abilities of identifying morphological gaps the mistakes occur when the translator does not find free word combinations to express the English words with negative prefixes. Some English words with a negative prefix have direct equivalents in the target language or negative prefixes in international words are transformed into Lithuanian international words with their analogues an on case the translator does not know them error are made.

3.2 Errors in translations of lexical and morphological gaps

A parallel corpus, i.e. a collection of listed source and target language texts, can be a solution to many translation questions arising from mismatches of different nature between two languages. A parallel corpus not only provides translation equivalents that are in actual language use, but also offers data on language variation (when a source language unit can be translated by several target language units) due to conceptual, contextual or stylistic differences, thus more options for a linguist or a translator using the data. Moreover, a parallel corpus can show a strategy employed by a translator in case of non-equivalence; whereas a bilingual dictionary offers a mere gloss of a meaning captured by a source language unit. The Parallel English – Lithuanian Corpus has become publicly available in the autumn of 2005 and is still in its initial stage in regard to its size.

The Corpus is still not big enough to arrive at substantial generalizations – today it

contains 35505 listed English – Lithuanian sentences. Although one can already study translations of frequent words, it is hard to perform a reliable research on rare words.

Lexical gaps, unfortunately, usually represent rare words. This is related to the nature of the phenomenon – rare concepts are not important enough to be lexicalised by a large number of language users. Nevertheless, all translations of English words starting with negative prefixes were analyzed. Some instances of translation were amazing because they showed different translation equivalents from those provided in the bilingual dictionary. They also strongly supported the idea that dictionary translations have to be based on main data, especially in case of problematic instances – and lexical gaps are indeed problematic. Translations from the Corpus were compared with bilingual dictionary data. It is provided parallel source and target language sentences coupled with equivalents from the bilingual dictionary. A few examples will be discussed and illustrated in the tables.

It should be admitted that many English words with negative prefixes are translated by single word counterparts. Thus examples of translation by a multiword expression and by a different part speech (with subsequent syntactic changes in the translated sentence) are presented. The opposite phenomenon, when longer units of translation are treated as single units and translated by a single word, is also discussed. Finally, a few examples of source language multiword expression transference into the target language multiword expression are given.

As was mentioned before, one way in which lexical gaps are often filled is through the use of free word combinations. Table 1 gives examples with single words translated by multiword Lithuanian expressions.

It is seen that the noun “untouchables” and the adjective “undirected” are expressed by phrases both in the dictionary and the text translation. In case of “untouchables”, the lexicographer is used in the descriptive translation because the concept is not relevant to the Lithuanian society.[5]

The translator had to expand the noun phrase into an adjective + noun phrase. The adjective “discredited” is not even translated in the dictionary.If it is looked at the equivalents of the verb “to discredit”, it is seen that two equivalents out of three are international words (“diskredituoti” and “kompromituoti”), while “griauti pasitikėjimą” (to ruin trust) is a phrase.

Source language text

Target language text

Equivalent in a bilingual


But also they were outlaws,

enemies, untouchables, doomed

with absolute certainty to extinction

within a year or two.

Bet jie buvo įstatymo atstumtieji,

priešai, neliečiamųjų kasta, be jokios

abejonės, pasmerkta išnaikinimui per

metus ar dvejus

Asmuo iš neliečiamųjų


And yet the rage that one felt

was an abstract, undirected

emotion which could be switched

from one object to another like the

flame of a blowlamp

Bet tas įniršis būdavo abstraktus, į

nieką konkrečiai nenukreiptas,

galėdavai perkelti nuo vieno objekto

prie kito kaip litavimo lempos


nenukreiptas, be

vadovavimo; nekryptingas

The old, discredited leaders of

the Party had been used to gather

there before they were finally purged.

Joje, prieš galutinai sutriuškinami,

mėgo rinktis seni reputacijos netekę partijos vadai

No equivalent for the adjective in the dictionary. To discredit diskredituoti, griauti pasitikėjimą;kompromitituoti.

3.3 Mistakes in translating negative prefixes in English and Lithuanian

English is full of prefixes of negatives or opposition, such as in-, ir-, il-, in-, de-, contra-, dis- and others. Although Lithuanian is an inflectional language, which can also be explained by complex concepts with help of the prefixes, suffixes and inflections, the number of prefixes for a negative aspect of meaning is poor. Lithuanian grammarians mention four prefixes: ne- (un-, non-, not) as in nedarbas (unemployment), nemyli (does/do not love); be- (-less, without, non-) as in bedarbis (unemployed), becukris (sugarfree); nebe- (not any more) as in nebedirba (does not work any more), nebedainuoja (does not sing any more); prieš – (anti-) – as in priešnuodis (antipoison), antitarybinis (antisoviet).Moreover, only prefix ne- is frequently used. It means that Lithuanian might lack direct equivalents for this variety of negation in English, signaling possible morphological gaps with comparing to the English language.[5]

The translators who do not understand this difference also can make mistakes.

3.4Mistakes translating by a different part of speech

Translating by a different part of speech can also indicate some lexicalization differences between two languages. Table 2 contains several examples of:

1) nouns translated into verbs, 2) nouns translated into adjectives,

3) adjectives translated into verbs 4) adjectives translated into adverbs.

It is seen from the table that words explained in the dictionary by phrases (“dissent”, “deprecating”) and in this way candidates represent lexical gaps in Lithuanian, have to be expressed by the other part of speech in texts. Besides, the meaning of “dissent” is lost in translation.

We can see a conclusion that not only translating by multi-word expressions, but, also by a different part of speech could be an indicator of a lexical gap. The noun “disreputability”, which has no dictionary equivalent, is translated by an adjective. Therefore, the third and quite obvious indicator of a lexical gap could be the absence of translation in dictionaries.

It should be emphasized that not all examples in this table represent lexical gaps. Some words, such as “delusion”, “malignant”, etc., have direct equivalents, nevertheless are transformed into the other part of speech. It is difficult to say why this translation technique is employed. One of the explanations can be that translators working on a literary translation had to match to Lithuanian language norms avoiding unnatural structures if dictionary analogues were used. This also implies that although concepts expressed by the English words in the examples can be expressed in the language system, for example in dictionaries, it might be shown that such expressions or equivalents are ignored in language use and are changed by transforming the whole sentence. [5] exploring rare words that is why they are lexical gaps, which are hard to translate.

Table 2




A noun – -> a verb

Some years ago you had a very

serious delusion indeed

Prieš keletą metų jūs labai

rimtai klydot

klydimas; apgaulė, iliuzija

A noun > a adjective

Yet a faint air of disreputability

always clung to him

Bet vis dėlto jis atrodo

kažkoks nepatikimas

No translation in the dictionary

Disreputable – turintis prastą


An adjective > a verb

It just occurred to me you might

be interested,” he would say with a

deprecating little laugh whenever he

produced a new fragment

Padeklamavęs kokį naują

posmelį, tyliai lyg

atsiprašydamas nusijuokdavo ir


žadinantis gailestį, keliantis


An adjective > a adverb

He started to his feet with a

malignant glance at Winston, whom

he evidently suspected of having

tripped him up

Jis atsistojo, piktai

žvelgdamas į Vinstoną, matyt,

įtarė jį pakišus koją

piktas, pagiežingas

To sum up the .. We can state that..

Mistakes translating by a different part of speech mostly occur because of not changing part of speech in the target language, for example

Nouns are not translated into verbs, 2) nouns translated into adjectives,

3) adjectives translated into verbs 4) adjectives translated into adverbs.

Comparison of the formal document translations

The first text is the certificate of the conviction and its translation from Lithuanian into English

0x01 graphic



Register for Legal Entities Code 188774822 Šventragio str. 2, LT- 01501 Vilnius

Tel. +370 5 271 7177 Fax. +370 5 271 8921 e-mail:

For Vitalijus Kiseliovas




Head of Previous Convictions /Seal/ /Signature/ Brunonas Aranauskas


At first sight in these two documents there are no significant differences between them. The structure of the sentences is quite simple and there are no special features that separate them. But when we study it closely it is seen that the headline of the document in the English version that is in the target language: “Certificate concerning the data of a physical person from the Departamental register for suspicious, accused and convicted persons” is different from the Lithuanian one: “Pažyma dėl įtariamų, kaltinamų, ir teistu asmenų žinybinio registro duomenų apie fizinį asmenį“.

The word order in the sentence is different. In the English sentence “physical person” goes as a compliment and in English language it goes as a predicate. The prepositional phrase, “dėl įtarimų“in the target language, is changed into participle „ concerning“.

The main sentence of the document is the following: “Įtariamų, kaltinamų ir teistų ir teistų asmenų žinybinio registro 2008 – 01- 14 duomenimis Vitalijus Kisieliovas, gim. 1982 m. rugsėjo 27, neteistas.” The translation into the target language:” According to the information of Departmental Register for Suspicious, Accused and Convicted Persons on 14-01-2008 Vitalijus Kiseliovas, born on 27 September, 1982, is not convicted”. The word order is similar in both the sentences though the target language needs the adverb “according to” at the beginning of the sentence. The subject in both the languages occurs in the same position.

One more difference is noticed in translating the position of the leader of the institution. In the Lithuanian language it sounds: “Teistumo informacijos skyriaus vedėjas” and for translation of the position into the target language was chosen the word “head”: “Headof previous convictions department”. There is no such word in the English language meaning “vedėjas”. This word can be translated as “manager”, but in that case the meaning of it is quite different. Its meaning is –

1. person who is in charge of running a business, a shop / store or a similar organization or part of one: a bank / hotel manager the sales / marketing / personnel manager a meeting of area managers;

2. person who deals with the business affairs of an actor, a musician, etc.;

3. person who trains and organizes a sports team: the new manager of Italy.[7]

Consequently, none of the meanings mentioned above suits this sentence. Therefore Lithuanian translators have to cope with a problem by finding a correct equivalent to this meaning. In case the translator chooses a wrong meaning a wrong message is passed by the translation.

To sum up we may say that in translating formal documents from English into Lithuanian choosing a wrong equivalent, not minding the word order of the target language and not changing the part of speech in appropriate situations are the common mistakes made by a not experienced translator.

5. Research on identifying common errors in English-Lithuanian translation

To enlist all the errors made in English – Lithuanian translation is very difficult.

In order to find our the type of mistakes made by future translators it has been decided to make a simple research work

The survey in the second year students`group 2U of the Social Sciences College was made. Ten students were asked to translate ten sentences fromthe English language into the Lithuanian language. The sentences were quoted from the book “Advanced Grammar in Use” (second edition), 2005 by Martin Hewings. This book was chosen, because it was adequate for the advanced level students. The sentences were selected to contain the variety of grammatical, lexical and stylistic aspects.

The target of this survey was to find out how certain linguistic means are translated, and what kinds of mistakes are made. This type of survey has been chosen for the reason this was the simplest way to find out what kinds of errors are made in English- Lithuanian translations and the results were really surprising.

The text was hand out and the students translated it own their own, unknown words were translated.

This is the text that was given to the students:

1. Under these conditions the question cannot be answered. 2. At the university students are offered a curriculum of study which is followed by test and the award degree.3. I’ll bring some sandwiches in case we don’t find anywhere anything decent to eat. 4. I first met Steve and Jane when they had been going out together for five years, and they did not get married for another three years after. 5. I have not liked ice cream since I ate too much and was sick. 6. My decision to resign from the company was made after deal of thought. 7. We decided not to go to Paris. 8. If I am going to catch the train, I’ll have to leave now. 9. He couldn’t remember if he had turned the computer off. 10. The president is to return to Brazil later today.

The sentence “Under these conditions the question cannot be answered.”

This sentence seems to be really very simple, but students that have translated it find it quite difficult, because almost all of them, it would be 8 of 10, translated it with speech culture mistakes. For example “Klausimas negali būti atsakytas po tokia kondicija“or “Prie tokių sąlygų klausimas negali būti atsakytas“. The construction “po tokia kondicija” is absolutely incorrect in the Lithuanian language. It is a rude mistake that contravenes the usage of the Lithuanian language. Furthermore, this is because the sentence is translated word by word.

Preposition “prie” is used with accusative; the sentence construction with “prie” shows the place near or next to something, for example “Prie upės”, “Jie gyvena prie ežero”. The word construction like this is very dangerous, because it is translated from the Russian language. And nowadays this is a common slang expression used by the youth in our country which linguists consider as harmful for the language. Usage of preposition in the following situations “Prie tokios technikos, prie optimalaus rėžimo” is wrong, because constructions with the preposition “prie” are not used to express the modifier of manner, reason , condition and concessive.[9 p.215]

The correct version of this sentence would be: “Tokiomis aplinkybėmis klausimas negali būti atsakytas”. It is very said, but there were no correct translations of this sentence.

2. “At the university students are offered a curriculum of study which is followed by test and the award degree.”

This sentence was easy to translate, but as it was expected it was confusing. There is one word in this sentence that was unknown for all the students. It is the word curriculum, which means – mokymo planas, programa arba koliokviumas. Sometimes it happens that translation is spoiled because of choosing the wrong meaning of the word. This was the case in this survey. For example in this sentence to choose the meaning “koliokviumas” was a wrong decision, because the context offered the meaning “the study program”.

The second part of the sentence was also problematic: “which is fallowed by test and the award degree”. The students did not know how to connect those two words though they knew the meaning of each of them. Here occurred the same problem, as in the first part of the sentence – choosing the correct meaning. Two students translated this text correctly, but anyway there was some uncertainty. The worst translationwas this one: “Universitetų studentų žinios yra tikrinamos koliokviumu“. In this sentence is used a totally wrong meaning, which may affect the whole text and the information that was represented in this sentence looses its value.

The best translation was: “Universitete studentams siūloma mokymo sistema, kurią sudaro testas ir po to suteikiamas laipsnis”. Though it was not completely correct, but at least it almost exactly expressed the meaning of the sentence.

The correct translation would be: Studentams universitete siūloma mokymo programa, kuri yra sudaryta iš testų, ir galiausiai suteikiamas universiteto baigimo laipsnis.

3. “I’ll bring some sandwiches in case we don’t find anywhere anything decent to eat.”

This sentence is similar to the previous one. It shows that if there is chosen a wrong meaning of the word, the sentence is translated incorrectly. Students confront the problem of choosing the correct meaning of the word. The problematic words in this sentence were “in case” and “decent”.

Some students translated this sentence like that: “Aš parsinešiu keletą sumuštinių jeigu nerasime niekur jokio gero maisto“, or like this: „Aš atnešiu sumuštinių tuo atveju, jeigu mes nerasime bet ko ar bet kur padoraus maisto“. Of course there are several correct versions of translation of this sentence. But, as it has been stated above, our students have lexical and stylistics problems while constructing a nice Lithuanian sentence. They understand the meaning, but they cannot translate it correctly into the Lithuanian language.

The correct translation would be: “Aš pasiimsiu sumuštinių, jei kartais niekur nebūtų normalaus maisto. “

4. “I first met Steve and Jane when they had been going out together for five years, and they did not get married for another three years after”.

This sentence is very complicated because of the tenses. It is a difficult for foreigners, because the English language has many tenses of verb and sometimes it is really difficult to understand the sequence of actions.

Moreover there is the rule for using past perfect tenses, which is important to know for every translator. The rule is: the past perfect continues can be used to talk about situation or activity that went on before a particular past time and finished at that time, continued beyond it, or finished shortly before it.

Students translated it in various ways, but the worst translation sounds like that:

“Visų pirmą sutikau Styvą ir Džeinę kada jie išėjo kartu penkeriems metams ir jie nesusituokė dar trejus metus“. Apparently, student do not have sufficient skills of usage of verb forms, and misunderstand the meaning of the sentence.

5. “I have not liked ice cream since I ate too much and was sick.”

This sentence is easy enough. And most of the translators translated it correctly. The errors that were made, translating it, were not very serious. The information of the sentence was passed out correctly but the language stylistic use is not as good as it is supposed to be.

Some of the translations are the following: “Aš nemėgstu ledų nuo tada, kada jų persivalgiau ir susirgau“and “Aš nevalgau ledų nuo to karto, kai suvalgiau jų perdaug ir apsinuodijau”. Certainly these translations are correct, but if they had been translated moreliterally, using nice expressions of our language, then they would not have had such a strong influence of the Slavic language.

The best translation was this one: “Aš nebemėgstu ledų nuo to karto, kai jų persivalgęs susirgau“.

6. “My decision to resign from the company was made after deal of thought.”

There is an idioms in this sentence “deal of thought”, and it was quite a clumsy thing to translate. Idioms – one class of figurative expressions which occurs in all languages, but which is very specific. Idioms are expressions of at least two words which cannot be translated literally. The translator needs to learn to recognize the idioms and other figures of source text.

So in this case some students translated the text literally, for example “Aš nusprendžiau atsistatydinti iš kompanijos po sandėrio“or “Mano sprendimą atsistatydinti iš kompanijos nulėmė sutartis”. In case the listener does not know English these sentences do not sound nonsense for him, but actually the translator has passed quite a different message. That is why students should be careful when translating idioms, they should be absolutely sure about the meaning they use and their translation would not sound funny.

Fortunately, there were some students that translated sentence correctly and they noticed that “deal of thought” means “po ilgo svarstymo” or “gerai apsvarsčius “.

So the correct translation would be: “Gerai apsvarstęs nusprendžiau atsistadydinti iš kompanijos”.

7. “We decided not to go to Paris.”

This sentence was the easiest and the one that all the students translated it correctly. This sentence involves the usage of infinitive. Usage of infinitive is similar in both languages English and Lithuanian that is why the translation as not problematic.

The sentence was translated like this: “Mes nusprendėme nevažiuoti į Paryžių“, ‚Mes nusprendėme nevykti į Paryžių“.

8. “If I am going to catch the train, I’ll have to leave now.” (p.166)

The sentence contains a conditional clause. It is one of the more difficult topics of the English language grammar. This is the first conditional which describes possible future events or situation and their results. There are conditional clauses in the Lithuanian language too, but their usage is not so complicated.

The mistakes in translations were made because of confusing word constructions. If the translator wants to understand the meaning he has to read the sentence a few times.

The students that translated it had to cope with understanding the meaning of the sentence. And there were quite a few problems to translate it correctly. The first one was the strange construction of the sentence. It is really confusing. The second problem was to translate it properly. Some students translated in the wrong way: “Aš neišvažiuosiu jeigu aš pagausiu traukinį“, „jeigu aš nespėsiu į traukinį, turėsiu pasilikti dabar“. The translation is wrong, because of false understanding of the sentence, and the lack of knowledge of the English grammar. Moreover, the translated Lithuanian version simply is not logical.

The best variants of the translations were: “Jei noriu spėti į traukinį, turiu išvykti dabar”or “jei aš noriu spėti į traukinį turiu tuoj išvykti”.

9. “He couldn’t remember if he had turned the computer off (68). 10. The president is to return to Brazil later today (24).”

The last two sentences in the survey were very simple and the students dealt with them quite well. The only difficulty was in translating the infinitive of the last sentence “.is to return to Brazil.”. This kind of structure of the sentence is quite weird for Lithuanian students. The structure be to+ infinitive is used to talk about future events that can be controlled by people. The Lithuanian language grammar does not have similar infinitive structures therefore the translator has to recognize the English infinitive structure and know how to translate it.

The result of the research will be summarised below.

The result of the survey

According to this survey, it could be said that students make a lot of mistakes, and the reason could be the lack of English language knowledge. Also was noticed that Lithuanian language is very difficult as well. The result was collected and classified as it is showed below:

The most common mistakes:

Speech culture mistakes

wrong translations of prepositional phrases

bad knowledge of the vocabulary and disability to choose the appropriate meaning

bad sentence construction of the target language

errors in translating idioms

errors in translating infinitive structures

These results also can be shown in the Table 3

Language usage mistakes

Wrong translations of prepositional phrases

The lack of

vocabulary; chosen wrong meaning

Bad sentence construction in target language

Errors in translating idioms

Errors in translating infinitive structures







Table 3

To translate from one language to another language is very difficult. The translator must know mother – tongue and target language perfectly. If he is not perfect in none of this languages, his translationwill be dull and the reader will not understand the text. The worst translation that might be done is the text translated literally. This kind of text will not be amusement for the reader.


The target of this course work is fulfilled. By analyzing the collected material and conducting the research we can state the following:

The translation difficulties when the target language is Lithuanian comprise of translating lexical gaps. A major group of lexical gaps can be explained by social and cultural differences of source and target language. A lexical gap could be identified when users do not knowa concept of a source language. Misunderstanding of concept is also a common translation mistake.





Bassnet, Susan, “Translation studies”, (revised edition, 1991).

Griškevičienė, J., Lapkuvienė C., Navalinskienė G., Šmulkštytė R., Lietuvių kalbos kultūros vadovėlis (kolegijoms, 2003).

Hatim, Basil and Mason, Ian, “Thetranslator as communicator”, 1997.

Hewings, Martin, “Advenced Grammar in Use”, (second edition, 2005).

Larson Mildred L., “Meaning – based translation: a guide to cross – language equivalence”, 1984.


Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary: Dictionary session.

Swan, Michael, “Practical English Usage”, 1980.

Šukys, Jonas, “Kalbos kultūra visiems”, 2006.


Text to be translated


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