PhD in Pedagogical Science, Kuimova M. V.

National research Tomsk polytechnic university, Russia


What makes literature interesting is that it does not survive its translation.

The characters in a novel are made out of the sentences.

That’s what their substance is.

Jonathan Miller

Literary translation plays a significant role in understanding between people of various nations and cultures. «Literary translation, a genre of literary creativity in which a work written in one language is re-created in another. Because literature is verbal, it is the only art that is subject to linguistic barriers. Unlike music, painting, sculpture, or dance, the literary work is accessible only to those who know the language in which it is written. The specific characteristics of literary translation are defined by its place among other types of translation and by its relationship to original literary creativity» [5]. Working with a text a translator encounters a number of problems which involve linguistic, pragmatic and cultural elements.

In this article we are going to investigate some literary techniques which help to express artistic meaning through the use of language. These are:

1) metaphor (a way of describing something by referring to it as something different and suggesting that it has similar qualities to that thing) [6].

e.g. «My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand

To smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss».

At my poor house look to behold this night

Earth-treading stars that make dark heaven light (from «Romeo and Juliet» by W. Shakespeare).

2) hyperbole / exaggeration (a way of describing something by saying it is much bigger, smaller, worse etc. than it actually is) [3]:

e.g.  Whence is that knocking?

How is’t with me, when every noise appals me?

What hands are here? ha! they pluck out mine eyes.

Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood

Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather

The multitudinous seas incarnadine,

Making the green one red (from «Macbeth» by W. Shakespeare).

3) simile (an expression that describes something by comparing it with something else, using the words «as» or «like» [8].

e.g.  The date is out of such prolixity:

We’ll have no Cupid hoodwink’d with a scarf,

Bearing a Tartar’s painted bow of lath,

Scaring the ladies like a crow-keeper.

O, speak again, bright angel! for thou art

As glorious to this night, being o’er my head,

As is a winged messenger of heaven

Death lies upon her like an untimely frost (from «Romeo and Juliet» by W. Shakespeare).

4) personification  ( the representation of a thing or a quality as a person, in literature or art)  [ 7].

e.g. It will have blood, they say. Blood will have blood.

Stones have been known to move, and trees to speak (from «Macbeth» by W. Shakespeare).

5) metonymy (is a figure of speech in which a thing or concept is not called by its own name, but by the name of something intimately associated with that thing or concept) [2].

e.g. And learn me how to lose a winning match,

Play’d for a pair of stainless maidenhoods (from «Romeo and Juliet» by W. Shakespeare).

6) allegory (the representation of abstract ideas or principles by characters, figures, or events in narrative, dramatic, or pictorial form [1].

e.g. Call me but love and I’ll be new baptized (from «Romeo and Juliet» by W. Shakespeare).

7) repetition (When a specific word, phrase, or structure is repeated several times, usually in close proximity, to emphasize a particular idea) [4].

e.g. O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? (from «Romeo and Juliet» by W. Shakespeare).

Thus we should say that the use of various stylistic devices makes any literary work more interesting and more difficult for proper translation.

The list of references :

1. Allegory. The free dictionary [Web resource]. – Access mode:

2. Figures of speech – definition and examples of metonymy [Web resource]. – Access mode:

3. Hyperbole.  Longman Online Dictionary of Contemporary English [Web resource]. – Access mode:

4. Literary Devices [Web resource]. – Access mode: lesson/ 4025-literary-devices

5. Literary Translation. The free dictionary [Web resource]. – Access mode:

6. Metaphor. Longman Online Dictionary of Contemporary English  [Web resource]. – Access mode:

7. Personification. Longman Online Dictionary of Contemporary English [Web resour­ce]. – Access mode:

8. Simile. Longman Online Dictionary of Contemporary English [Web resource]. – Access mode: