Difficulties of Translation of Diplomatic Documentation

Diplomatic documents play a significant role in organizing of foreign policy of states, establishment of international relations, development of bilateral and multilateral relations. They reflect realities of today’s multipolar and interdependent world. Diplomatic documents can be made on behalf of the head of state, government, foreign affairs departments, different state agencies, public organizations, diplomatic missions and individual diplomats. Traditionally, experts distinguish the following types of the diplomatic documents: interdepartmental documents, documents relating to the appointment and recall of diplomatic representatives, diplomatic correspondence, documents that appear as a result of negotiations, press publications on diplomatic issues, documents relating to the ratification, accession, denunciation.

Translation of diplomatic documents requires not only high-level language training. Professional translator’s competence in the field of professional communication (in this case, written diplomatic communication) is much wider concept. Content of translator competences of the diplomatic texts is attributable to the specific written diplomatic communication as a special kind of professional communication. Let’s clarify the content of communicative translator’s competence, taking into account specifics of the genre. To select the appropriate knowledge nomenclature and skills, we should turn to researches of scientists, who proposed a linguistic characteristic of the texts of diplomatic documents.

Diplomatic documents have a number of stylistic, lexical-semantic and syntactic features, knowledge of which is an integral part of linguistic competence of a translator in the field of written diplomatic communication. Diplomatic documents related to the diplomatic sub-genre have the following stylistic features: objectivity, generalization, informativeness; logical organization; semantic clarity and certainty; strict adherence to diplomatic ethics.

Thus, based on the linguistic characteristics of the diplomatic documents, linguistic competence of a Russian translator will include the following components:

• knowledge of the stylistic features of the diplomatic sub-genre and skill to find the appropriate lexical means to implement them in translation process;
• to know diplomatic terminology in both English and Russian;
• ability to work with bilingual universal and diplomatic dictionaries and find the specific semantic fields of significant parts of speech, reflecting the values of the diplomatic discourse;
• to possess speech clichés, generally accepted in the diplomatic sphere of communication;
• to possess the necessary base of lexical borrowings from French and Latin characteristic of diplomatic documents;
• ability to operate with euphemisms, if necessary, make the neutrality of emotionally charged statements;
• knowledge of abbreviations and symbols commonly used in international diplomatic practice;
• knowledge of the characteristics of architectural issuance of the diplomatic documents;
• ability to use appropriate grammatical structures, taking into account the standard syntactic design of some types of the diplomatic documents.

When translating, a translator must take into account the fact that policies and functioning of the diplomatic documents is attributed to diplomatic protocol, the international laws, the statutes of the international organizations, established traditions, etc. Compliance with diplomatic etiquette is one of the most important requirements for translation of the diplomatic documents.

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