One translation fits all? A comparative analysis of British, American and transatlantic translations of Astrid Lindgren and Sven Nordqvist
Goodwin-Andersson, Elizabeth Margaret
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Target culture is a concept regularly used in Translation Studies but it is not a concept which is routinely defined any further than the geographical location of the target language. In English translation this can be problematic because some translations published in English are produced in one English-speaking country which are then sold to other English-speaking domains and this process of migration might not be obvious from the edition notice of the book. The underlying principle for the production of these translations could be that one translation can fit all English target cultures. Yet, in contrast, some anglophone translations are published separately e.g. as a British translation or an American translation. There has been, so far, minimal investigation into the different ways in which English translations come into existence and, therefore, this thesis aims to address the theoretical gap by creating a taxonomy of translation. The thesis presents new terminology for the various translation types within the anglophone world: for example, a translation can be separate when published independently by both Britain or America, or it can be transatlantic when it is shared by both countries. The existence of transatlantic translation challenges preconceived ideas regarding the concept of target culture within Descriptive Translation Studies. Through textual, paratextual and metatextual analysis of several case studies of each translation type the thesis explores the possible refinement of the concept of target culture per se. The thesis is underpinned by analysis of the work of two prominent Swedish children’s authors: Astrid Lindgren and Sven Nordqvist. Swedish children’s literature was selected because of its proven perennial contribution to the genre of children’s literature and its exceptional success in translation. Furthermore, children’s literature itself presents its own unique challenges in translation because, for this particular genre, the target culture introduces powerful constraints based upon the educational, social and cultural expectations of the receiving language community. However, in the case of the transatlantic translation, it is the initial target culture constraints which will be present within the text. In the second country to receive the translation, expectations regarding educational, social and cultural ideals may vary from the first target culture. Ultimately, the thesis argues that there are powerful constraining ideological forces within target cultures which are visible in separate translation; those same forces may present themselves in transatlantic translation also, but the origin of the ideology behind them may not be obvious. Thus, the thesis aims to change the way we label translation within newly delineated English-speaking target cultures.
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