Author: Tatiana A. Kasatkina
Information about the author:

D.Sc. in Philology, Leading Researcher, Head of the “Dostoevsky and World Culture” Research Institute, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya st., 25A, 121069, Moscow, Russia,

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Author 2: Arina B. Kuznetsova
Information about the author 2:

researcher in contemporary French literature, translator.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For citation:

Kasatkina, T.A. and Kuznetsova, A.V. “Dostoevsky: Translation Problems”. Dostoevsky and World Culture. Philological journal, no. 4 (12), pp. 117-133. (In Russ.)

Received: 24.11.2020
Published: 25.12.2020
Issue: 2020 no. 4 (12)
Pages: 117-133
UDK: 821.161.1.0+81`25
BBK: 83.3(2Рос=Рус)
Keywords: translation problems, profound text, writer’s theory of art, Dostoevsky in French, André Markowicz, The Adolescent, The Brothers Karamazov
Abstract: The translation of Dostoevsky’s works presents numerous problems, and their analysis can be a most efficient way for the creation of a translation theory and methodology for profound texts characterized by the fact that words link on different levels and each time activate distinct elements of their semantic range. The discrepancy between semantic ranges in different languages leads to the high possibility of losing one or more correlations between words in translation. For the reader of the translation, the consequence is the disappearance of one or more threads of meaning running through the original text. Authorial transversal concepts and hidden quotes suffer the most from this situation, as the reduction or the change of the initial valence of the word causes that the translated word, even if perfectly fitted for the narrow context of the concrete sentence, completely loses its reference to the cited text or the thread the concept waves in the text. The article offers concrete examples of and possible solutions to the problems occurring during the process of translation. This kind of problem usually helps to reveal the strategy and the attitude of the author of the text.


1. Dostoevskii, F.M. Polnoe sobranie sochinenii: v 30 t. [Complete Works: in 30 vols.] Leningrad, Nauka Publ., 1972-1990. (In Russ.)

2. Zhukovskaia, N.P. “Leksika tainstva Evkharistii (fragment sistematicheskogo frantsuzsko-russkogo slovaria religioznoi leksiki) (chast’ vtoraia)” [“Vocabulary Related to the Sacrament of Eucharist. Fragment of the French-Russian Thesaurus of Religious Lexis”]. Vestnik PSTGU. Series III: Philology, vol. 60, pp. 76-103. (In Russ.)

3. “‘Ot Tred’iakovskogo do Brodskogo’. Beseda Mikhaila Iasnova s frantsuzskim perevodchikom Andre Markovichem” [“‘From Tredyakovsky to Brodsky’. A Conversation between Mikhail Yasnov and the French Translator André Markowicz”]. “Vsemirnoe slovo”, no. 13, 2000, pp. 17-20. (In Russ.)

4. Markovich, Andre. “Shagi Raskol’nikova. Master-klass” [“Raskol’nikov’s Steps. Master Class”]. 4th International Seminar for Translators of the Russian Literature, Yasnaya Poliana, 2009. Video by S. Krasavin. Available at: (accessed 10 November 2020). (In Russ.)

5. Mazzola, Elena. “Neizbezhnost’ kommentariia: ‘slepye mesta’ perevodchika” [“The Inevitability of Commentary: a Translator’s ‘Blind Spots’”]. Dostoevskii i mirovaia kul’tura. Filologicheskii zhurnal, no. 4, 2018, pp. 107-147. (In Russ.)

6. Teplova, N. “Frantsuzskie perevody pushkinskikh proizvedenii Andre Markovicha i roli izdatel’stva ‘Actes Sud’ v rabote perevodchika” [“French Translations of Pushkin’s Works by André Markowicz and the Role of the ‘Acte Sud’ Publishing House in His Works as a Transaltor”]. Palmipset, no. 2, 2020, pp. 44-52. (In Russ.)

7. Forum Orthodoxe francophone. Available at: (accessed 10 November 2020). (In French)

8. “Dostoevskii i Frantsiia” [“Dostoevsky and France”]. Mezhdunarodnyi krugly stol “Frantsuzskie etudy” [International Round Table “French Studies”] organized by IWL RAS, Centre d’Etudes Franco-Russe, Russian Foundation for Basic Research. 20 October 2020. Available at: http://imli. ru/konferentsii/ù/4316-mezhdunarodnyj-kruglyj-stol-frantsuzskie-etyudy-i-dostoevskij-i-frantsiya (accessed 10 November 2020). (In Russ.)

9. Dostoïevski, F. L’Adolescent. Vol. 1, 2. Arles, Actes Sud, 1998. (In French)

10. Dostoïevski, F. Les frères Karamazov. Vol. 1. Arles, Actes Sud, 2002. (In French)

11. Centre National de Ressources Textuelle et Lexicales. Available at: (Accessed 10 November 2020)