Formulemes as a translation issue: a case study of English and Ukrainian




formuleme, literal translation, translation shift, metaphoric transformation, explicitation, antonymic translation


The present article focuses on exploring formulemes in English and Ukrainian from a translatological perspective. The multiword units under study constitute a specific type of clichés alongside nickname clichés, termemes and sentencemes. The distinctive characteristic of this class of phrasemes is that they designate a ritualized speech act which correlates with an internal state of the speaker, a moment of time, or a specific event or state of affairs. Formulemes are to be regarded as a hyponym of formulaic sequences and formulas viewed, in turn, as multiword units. Depending on whether the source language formuleme’s formal and/or semantic constituents are fully or partially retained in the target language, formulemes may be rendered literally or using translation shifts. If the target language formuleme’s form and meaning are identical to those of its source language counterpart, word-for-word translation is used, which, however, proves to be an infrequent occurrence in English-to-Ukrainian and Ukrainian-to-English translation. Far more common are cases when the target language formuleme’s form and/or meaning are non-identical to those of its source language counterpart, and so a translation shift takes place. The three basic shifts employed in rendering formulemes are found to be metaphoric transformation, explicitation and antonymic translation. In addition to the three techniques mentioned, contextual translation of formulemes is occasionally possible when conditioned by the pragmatics of the speech act.


Байкова, А. В., & Скипина, М. И. (2021). Особенности перевода английских фразеологизмов (на примере фразеологических единиц в художественном произведении Холли Смейл "Девушка-гик"). Вестник Шадринского государственного педагогического университета, 2, 239-246.

Барбазюк, В. Ю. (2019). Анализ английских фразеологических единиц в политической речи Д. Маккейна и особенности их перевода. Филологические науки. Вопросы теории и практики, 12(1), 33-37.

Бархударов, Л. С. (1975). Язык и перевод (Вопросы общей и частной теории перевода). Москва: "Международные отношения".

Корунець, І. В. (2003). Теорія і практика перекладу (аспектний переклад): підручник. Вінниця: Нова Книга.

Коршунова, Е. С. (2021). Фразеологический аналог как самый оптимальный способ перевода фразеологизмов в американской художественной литературе (на примере романа Харпер Ли "Убить пересмешника"). Филологические науки. Вопросы теории и практики, 14(10), 3100-3104.

Мирковіч, І. Л. (2017). Англомовний казковий дискурс у контексті лінгвокультури. Науковий вісник Міжнародного гуманітарного університету. Серія: Філологія, 31(2), 86-89.

Прошина, З. Г. (2008). Теория перевода (с английского языка на русский и с русского языка на английский): уч. на англ. яз. Владивосток: Изд-во Дальневост. университета.

Рецкер, Я. И. (2007). Теория перевода и переводческая практика. Очерки лингвистической теории перевода (3-е изд., стереотип.). Москва: "Р. Валент".

Awwad, M. (1990). Equivalence and translatability of English and Arabic idioms. Papers and Studies in Contrastive Linguistics, 26, 59-67.

Charteris-Black, J. (2003). A prototype based approach to the translation of Malay and English idioms. In Granger, S., Lerot, J., & Petch-Tyson, S. (Еds.). Corpus based approaches to contrastive linguistics and translation studies (pp. 123-140). Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi.

Holmes, J. S. (1972/1988). The name and nature of translation studies. James S. Holmes, translated papers on literary translation and translation studies (pp. 67-80). Amsterdam: Rodopi.

Laver, J., & Mason, I. (2018). A dictionary of translation and interpreting. Retrieved from

Mel’čuk, I. (2015). Clichés, an understudied subclass of phrasemes. Yearbook of Phraseology, 6, 55-86.

Merwe, T. van der. (2001). Some aspects of the translation of idiomatic language usage. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, 19(1-2), 67-82.

Newmark, P. (1988). A textbook of translation. New York: Prentice-Hall International.

Popovič, A. (1970). The concept "shift of expression" in translation analysis. In Holmes, J. S. (Ed.), The nature of translation: Essays on the theory and practice of literary translation (pp. 78-87). Bratislava: Publishing House of the Slovak Academy of Sciences.

Renchin, B., & Amgalan, D. (2021). A study on the translation of idioms in the novel "David Copperfield" by Charles Dickens. Иностранные языки в контексте межкультурной коммуникации, 13, 399-404.

Schmitt, N., & Carter, R. (2004). Formulaic sequencesin action: An introduction. In Schmitt, N. (Ed.), Formulaic sequences: Acquisition, processing and use (pp. 1-22). Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Strakšienė, M. (2009). Analysis of idiom-translation strategies from English into Lithuanian. Studies about Languages, 14, 13-19.

Toury, G. (2012). Descriptive translation studies – and beyond. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Wray, A. (2002). Formulaic language and the lexicon. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Zitawi, J. (2003). English-Arabic dubbed children’s cartoons: Strategies of translating idioms. Across Languages and Cultures, 4(2), 237-251.