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-ein allzu weites Feld?: zu Übersertzungstheorie und Übersetzungspraxis anhand der Kulturspezifika in fünf  Übersetzungen des Romans "Ein weites Feld" von Günter Grass
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of German.
2004 (German)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present dissertation investigates literary translation from a cultural perspective by comparing the translation of culture-specific words and concepts in five different translations of the novel Ein weites Feld by Günter Grass. The translations were chosen to represent three ‘small’ (Swedish, Danish, Norwegian) and two ‘large’ (American English, French) languages and cultures, in order to find out whether these categories are characterized by different ‘foreignizing’ or ‘domesticating’ translation methods. The main purpose of the study is to present an empirical and descriptive analysis of the concrete difficulties and possibilities connected with the process of transferring culturespecific words and concepts taken from the geographical, historical, literary and everyday context of the original work. A further aim of the study is to undertake a comparison of theory and practice of translation with regard to culture and culturespecific words.

The methodological framework is taken from the historically oriented ‘Transfer’ method of the Göttingen literary translation school, where deviations from original literary texts are not seen as ‘mistakes’ in the traditional linguistic sense but as differences caused by various historical and individual factors. Above all, this study aims to focus on the translations themselves, to investigate what different solutions to cultural translation problems can tell us about the meeting between the ‘Foreign’ and the world of the translators and their prospective readership.

The study’s analyses demonstrate that culture-specific words and concepts in this material are translated in a broad variety of ways, which often differ from translation to translation and therefore cannot be classified into predictable categories of translation 'strategies’. A certain pattern could be detected as far as the translation of geographical place-names and similar concepts were concerned, where the Scandinavian translators tend to preserve the original words and concepts to a greater extent than the other translators. As a contrast, the American and French translators have preserved a large number of words connected to the ‘Third Reich’ in the original form, which raises questions about the way strategies of preserving the ‘Foreign’ in translations are connected with the picture of other cultures. However, the most conspicuous result of the investigation could be found within the category of the ‘pragmatic’ decisions (Chesterman), which differ considerably in all translations as far as explanations of culture-specific phenomena within the text itself are concerned. Thus five literary translations make five different variations of the same novel. The heterogeneous translation solutions further show that the theoretical approaches within translation theory are of only limited use for describing existing literary translations in an adequate way.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International , 2004. , 414 p.
Stockholmer germanistische Forschungen, ISSN 0491-0893 ; 65
Keyword [en]
Translation, culture, culture-specific words, the Foreign, translation theory, translation practice, literary translation, readership, translation methods, translation strategies, German history, Günter Grass
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-75ISBN: 91-22-02068-3OAI: diva2:198427
Public defence
2004-04-02, hörsal 8, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2004-03-11 Created: 2004-03-11 Last updated: 2012-12-13Bibliographically approved

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