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Lost in translation? : Translating allusions in two of Reginald Hill's Dalziel & Pascoe novels

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Title: Lost in translation? : Translating allusions in two of Reginald Hill's Dalziel & Pascoe novels
Author(s): Salo-oja, Mari
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of English
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2004
This study examines strategies used to translate various thematic and character delineating allusions in two of Reginald Hill's detective novels, The Wood Beyond and On Beulah Height and their Swedish translations Det mörka arvet and Dalen som dränktes. In this study, thematic allusions and allusions used in character delineation are regarded as intertextual networks. Intertextual networks comprise all the texts that are in one way or another embedded into a text, all the texts referred to in it and even the texts somehow rejected from a text's own canon. Studying allusions as intertextual networks makes it warranted to pay minute attention to even the smallest of details. Seen together, these little details form extensive networks of meaning that readers use to interpret the text. Allusion can be defined as a reference, often covert or indirect, to another text in a way that brings into the text some of the associations of that other text. A text is here understood broadly, hence sources of allusions include all cultural texts from literature and history to cinema and televisions serials. Allusions are culture bound and each culture tends to allude to its own cultural products. The set of transcultural allusions is therefore fairly small. Translation strategies are translatorial ways of solving translation problems. Being culture-bound, allusions are potential translation problems. In order to transmit the thoughts evoked by the allusions in source text readers to the target text readers translators may add guidance to the translated text. Often guidance is not added, which may result in changes in handling of themes or character delineation, clear in the source text but confusing or incomprehensible in the target text. However, norms in target culture may not always allow the translators the possibility to make the text comprehensible. My analyses of translation strategies show that in the two translated novels studied minimum change is a very frequently used strategy. This results in themes and character delineation losing some of the effect they have in the source texts. Perhaps surprisingly, the result is very much the same even where it is possible to discern that the two translators have had differing translation principles.
Keyword(s): Hill, Reginald allusions intertextuality literary translation translation strategies norms crime fiction

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