Text Adaptation Technology According to Ilya Frank’s Reading Method

If you send materials not consistent with the method, I will not be able to upload them on the website – it will confuse others. So please read it. There are essential things here pertaining to the method per se as well as minor things laid down arbitrarily and related to typography that, if observed with uniformity, make the editor’s job as well as the reader’s perception of the text easier.

1) The adapted text with prompts should appear first (a small passage – one or two, or at most three paragraphs /if the paragraphs are short/). The adapted text with no prompts follows it. If the text includes a dialogue, there may be more paragraphs in one excerpt (five to seven):

Le premier soir (/on/ the first night) je me suis donc endormi (so, I went to sleep; s’indormir) sur le sable (on the sand) à mille milles (a thousand miles) de toute terre habitée (from any inhabited land; terre, f). J'étais bien plus isolé (I was much more isolated) qu'un naufragé (than a shipwrecker; naufrage, m — shipwreck; naufrager — to shipwreck) sur un radeau (on a raft) au milieu de l'océan (in the middle of the ocean; océan, m). Alors vous imaginez (thus, you can imagine = imagine) ma surprise (my amazement/surprise), au lever du jour (at sunrise: «at day rise»; lever — to raise; se lever — to raise; to rise /about luminaries/), quand une drôle de petite voix (when a funny little voice: «funny little = thin little voice»; voix, f — voice) m'a réveillé (woke me up). Elle disait (it: «she — une voix» said; dire):

—S'il vous plaît (please: «if you please»: plaire — to please)... dessine-moi un mouton (draw me a little sheep)!

—Hein (hey! = why?)!

—Dessine-moi un mouton...


Le premier soir je me suis donc endormi sur le sable à mille milles de toute terre habitée. J'étais bien plus isolé qu'un naufragé sur un radeau au milieu de l'océan. Alors vous imaginez ma surprise, au lever du jour, quand une drôle de petite voix m'a réveillé. Elle disait:

—S'il vous plaît... dessine-moi un mouton!


—Dessine-moi un mouton...


2) If the author’s paragraph is large, it should be broken into two or more paragraphs (naturally, both in the adapted and the unadapted excerpts).

3) The literal English translation should be in brackets, starting from a small letter within the sentence, and before any punctuation marks.

4) You do not have to use a different color for the translation (I have a special program that does it everywhere in the text).

5) A short sentence does not need to be translated part by part if it closely corresponds to the English translation as it is. That would interfere with the reading and slow it down. Also, the readers need to be given an opportunity to understand the sentence by themselves before reading the translation prompt.

6) If the sentence is long, it should be divided.

7) If the literal English translation sounds extremely unnatural, a more literary translation should be provided; the literal translation should be in quotation marks after a colon:

Alors (then), faute de patience (having lost patience: «shortage of patience»; faute, f; patience, f), comme j'avais hâte (because I was in a hurry: «had hurry»; hâte, f) de commencer le démontage de mon moteur (to start taking my engine apart), je griffonnai ce dessin-ci (I tossed off/scratched this very drawing).

Et je lançai (and I threw out = said carelessly; lancer — to throw):

—Ça c'est la caisse (it is a box: «this, it is a box»). Le mouton que tu veux (the sheep you want) est dedans (is inside).


8) Sometimes it is convenient to provide the literal translation first and then the literary translation after the equal sign:

La proposition parut choquer le petit prince (the offer/proposal seemed to shock the little prince = the little prince seemed to be shocked by the offer; paraître — to seem).


Mais le danger des baobabs (but the danger = threat/menace of baobabs) est si peu connu (is so little known; connaître — to know), et les risques courus par celui (and dangers/risks run by anyone; courir un risque — to run the risk; courir — to run; here — to undergo; to expose) qui s'égarerait dans un astéroïde (who /might/ get lost and got on: «in» the asteroid) sont si considérables (are so considerable), que, pour une fois (that for this once/as an exception: «for one time»), je fais exception à ma réserve (I make an exception for my reserve = unwillingness to lecture).


9) When the literal translation is impossible and would only make things less clear, a literary translation should be provided and then (after a semi-colon and in italics) the exact meanings of a separate word or words should be specified:

C'est que sa planète d'origine (this is that his native planet; origine, f — origin) était à peine (was scarcely) plus grande qu'une maison (larger than a house: «more large than a house»)!


10) It makes sense to specify the exact meaning of a certain word when it is not used in the text in its main or original meaning:

Les hommes (men)? Il en existe (there are in existence), je crois (I think; croire — to believe; to think), six ou sept (six or seven).


Le soir (in the evenings) vous me mettrez (you will place/put me) sous globe (under a /globe/ cover; globe, m — globe; glass-shade /a lamp, a clock, etc./). Il fait très froid (it is very cold: «it makes very cold») chez vous (where you live = at your home). C'est mal installé (very badly equipped; installer — to install; to equip; to settle). Là d'où je viens (/in the place/ where I came from; venir)...

11) When clarifying the meaning of a word and providing its exact meaning, one should first provide its original meaning and then (after a semi-colon) the meaning in which the world is used in this particular text. There is no need to provide all additional meanings of the same word that are unrelated to the text. In this regard, synonyms should be separated by a coma and different meaning – by a semi-colon.

12) When clarifying the meaning of a word sometimes it’s worth showing the word as a different part of speech (namely in the case when, for example, a verb is a derivative from a noun and the meaning of the noun makes it easier to understand what the word means, thus making it easier to remember):

J'ai dû vieillir (I must have had grown old: «had to grow old»; devoir — to have to; vieux — old).


Il avait fait alors une grande démonstration (he made then a lengthy/comprehensive report; faire; démonstration, f — proof; evidence; manifestation; demonstration /of experiments, etc./) de sa découverte (about his discovery; découvrir — to discover; couvrir — to cover) à un Congrès International d'Astronomie (at the International Astronomical Congress: “at the International Congress of Astronomy”).


Mais moi (but I), malheureusement (unfortunately; malheur, m — misfortune), je ne sais pas (I am not able = I don’t know /how/; savoir — to know; to be able; can) voir les moutons (to see sheep) à travers les caisses (through /the walls of/ boxes).

13) Different meanings of a word can also be provided and separated by a back slash (but one should not overdo this: do not provide more than two synonyms this way and also, naturally, only the synonyms relevant in the context). It’s worth doing when both words are equally important and neither one can be identified as its original meaning:

Mais il remarqua avec sagesse (but he remarked wisely: «with sagacity/wisdom»; sagesse, f; sage — sage/wise):...

14) For words that changed their dictionary form (for example, irregular verbs in past tense forms in Germanic and Romanic languages) the form can be mentioned at the end of the translation, in italics, after a semi-colon, but only the first two or three times and not throughout the text:

La preuve que le petit prince a éxisté (the proof that the little prince existed) c'est qu'il était ravissant (is that he was charming; ravir — to ravish), qu'il riait (that he laughed; rire) et qu'il voulait un mouton (and that he was looking for/wanted a sheep; vouloir).

15) In languages where the gender of a word is important and cannot be identified in the text (for example, from an article), one can specify the gender after typing the same word in italics after a semi-colon, but only the first two or three times and not throughout the text:

Ça me fit un peu honte (I felt ashamed: «it made me a little shame»; honte, f).

16) Meanings of certain words can be illustrated with other words that have the same root (for instance, compounds or derivatives of the word):

Mais, impitoyable (but without pity; pitié, f — pity; mercy; impitoyable — pitiless), il ajouta (he added):...


Elle ne voulait apparaître que (she did not wish to appear /otherwise/ but) dans le plein rayonnement (in full radiance; rayon, m — ray; rayonner — to be radiant) de sa beauté (of her beauty).

17) Sometimes the English language requires inserting additional English words that are not found in the original text. It would be better to provide such words in square brackets:

Je ne savais pas trop (I didn’t know too /well/) quoi dire (what to say).

18) The words that have already been translated in a particular excerpt (that is, in the two or three adapted paragraphs), do not have to be translated for a second time. But if there are two words in a row related in meaning, one of which you translate and the other one is understood from the context and does not need to be translated, it would be best not to break them up with a translation but to translate everything (in order not to interrupt the flow of speech or confuse the reader).

19) It is acceptable not to translate certain expressions that are repeated throughout the text; it is also acceptable not to translate personal names. In most cases personal names should be written in English in order not to interrupt the flow of speech.

20) It is unnecessary to translate separately words that are, in actuality, one word. It is also unnecessary to give the literal translation of a preposition if in English after the same verb a different preposition is used.

21) There is no need to translate grammatical structures.

22) There is no need to convey the exact word order if in the original text it is only determined by the grammar (that not only distorts English, but also frequently alters the meaning).

23) Despite the fact that a literal translation is expected, one should pay attention to the style (one should be able to feel the words, have a philological sense).

24) Adaptation particularities for several specific languages:

a) For languages where the word stress is not regulated by simple rules (eg., Russian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Ukrainian) it should be marked in the adapted excerpt. In addition, for the Bulgarian, Serbian, and Ukrainian languages, the Russian translation should be italicized (otherwise all become mixed since the original and the translation are both in Cyrillic). No need to italicize it specially as I have a program that does that (as well as the text coloring).
b) For Semitic languages the sounding of the words should be provided in adapted excerpts.
c) For the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages, transcription should be provided after each sentence in adapted excerpts; the translation should be inserted right into the transcription.
d) For languages in which the alphabet can present difficulties initially (eg., Georgian and Armenian) the first several adapted excerpts should include transcription (see (c)).

25) It is very important to think over the contents of the text in order not to make mistakes.

26) One should be constantly using dictionaries and not feel overly confident about one’s knowledge of the language, even if it’s your native tongue.

27) In order to translate correctly from Romanic languages, one would benefit from knowing Latin. Only then can you correctly identify the original meaning of a word and provide the English equivalent. (Or, at least, one’s knowledge of a language should be on such a level that one could provide words with the same root in order to explain the word – see (16)).

Wishing you success and grateful for the materials in advance,

Ilya Frank
Этот адрес электронной почты защищён от спам-ботов. У вас должен быть включен JavaScript для просмотра.