It was the translator whodunit: an investigation into translation issues in crime fiction

Tomlinson, Teresa (2008) It was the translator whodunit: an investigation into translation issues in crime fiction. MA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Translated crime fiction has always been a strong addition to the genre in this country and, traditionally, translations have been powerful contenders for crime fiction awards. In 2005, the Crime Writers Association decided to exclude translated fiction from the Gold Dagger award, provoking much debate. Two hypotheses emerged from the published debate. The translation of crime fiction is ethnocentric. Crime fiction in translation has little to offer the Anglophone reader. Hitherto, the translation of genre fiction, other than children's literature, has received little academic attention. This research aims to examine the above hypotheses through the analysis of two parallel texts (from French and Italian). The first step was to gain an understanding of the genre both here and in France and Italy. The texts were then scrutinised according to Toury's methodology, in the hope of establishing translation norms for the genre. Subsequently, features such as the translation of dialect, problems caused by intertextuality and the translation of register were addressed in terms of theories on foreignisation and domestication. The findings have been set against both comments made by readers and literary critics and also the views of the translators themselves. The final section consists of an in-depth study of the value of the two novels as cultural representatives of the genre. The translation problems caused by the procedural differences in the police forces are an obvious subject for consideration; other issues include cultural indicators such as social commentary, political observation and a sense of place. In conclusion, the books show a balance between the ethnocentric and the ethnodeviant. Toury's methodology showed a definite trend towards standardisation in the translation of strong language, although issues such as police ranks were less clear cut. Over issues, such as dialect, the translators witnessed a strong sense of responsibility towards their authors, whilst balancing the constraints of reader and publisher expectations. They are not necessarily free agents. The overwhelming value of the translations comes from the insight into another culture and this is a primary function of translation.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Languages and Area Studies
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:14

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