Translating the “literary” in literary translation in practice


Abstract - The aim of this paper is to explore the ‘literary’ in literary translation. It begins with a discussion of what makes a text literary, focussing on some very famous literary works which did not (and indeed do not) necessarily fit what is generally considered the literary canon. The features that translators should identify when first reading a text, on the look-out for potential literary value, are then outlined. These features are both textual (covering non-casual language, rhetorical features and equivalences) and contextual (connotations, implicatures, intratextual and culture-bound associations). The paper then discusses changing translation theory and practice, in particular illustrating points with comments made by translators and theorists in this book and elsewhere. Importance is also given to the profession itself, to literary translator beliefs about their role, the changing importance of the model reader and to changing beliefs about accepted style, making reference also to results of a global survey recently carried out on the subject.


Riassunto -

L’articolo si propone di esplorare il “letterario” nella traduzione letteraria. Si parte da una discussione di ciò che rende letterario un testo, facendo riferimento ad alcune opere letterarie molto famose che non rientravano (e non rientrano tuttora) in ciò che viene generalmente ritenuto il canone letterario. Si definiscono, poi, gli aspetti che i traduttori dovrebbero individuare leggendo un testo per la prima volta nella prospettiva di ricerca di un potenziale valore letterario. Tali aspetti sono sia testuali (il linguaggio ‘non casuale’, le figure retoriche e le equivalenze) sia contestuali (connotazioni, implicature, associazioni intratestuali e legate alla cultura). L’articolo discute, poi, l’evolversi della teoria e pratica della traduzione, illustrando in particolare alcuni punti commentati da traduttori e teorici di questo volume e al di fuori. Si sottolinea inoltre l’importanza della professione del traduttore e della percezione che il traduttore letterario ha del proprio ruolo, mettendo in evidenza come l’importanza del lettore modello e dei valori relativi a uno stile condiviso stia cambiando, facendo anche riferimento ai risultati di una recente intervista globale sull’argomento.

DOI Code: 10.1285/i22390359v14p7

Keywords: translation theory; translation practice; literary translation


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