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Translation, Globalization and Younger Audiences

The Situation in Poland


Michał Borodo

Translating for younger audiences is in need of critical investigation, as children’s and teenagers’ literature and media products are being increasingly globalized and glocalized, with translation playing an important role in the process. Media phenomena such as Harry Potter and animated Disney films travel across continents through hundreds of local cultures. These productions exert a homogenizing effect whilst at the same time undergoing transformation to adapt to new audiences.

This book distinguishes between textual glocalization, anglophone foreignization and large-scale adaptation, illustrating them with examples of translations of animated films by Pixar/Disney and DreamWorks, locally produced versions of the Horrible Histories series, Harry Potter translations and transmedial adaptations as well as film tie-ins. The book argues that global exchanges largely depend on the creative efforts of local agents – professional translators, adapters, retellers, publishers, writers, editors – and sheds light on the initiatives of non-professional translators, including scanlators, fansubbers, hip-hop fans and harrypotterians. By examining globally distributed titles translated at the turn of the twenty-first century, the volume aims at filling a gap at the intersection of translation studies, globalization research and the study of children’s literature and culture.

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Chapter 5: Adaptations in the age of globalization


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Adaptations in the age of globalization

Old thinking and new horizons

Although a multi-faceted and culturally significant notion, adaptation long remained on the periphery of translation studies research, being overlooked by scholars and frowned upon by academics. As Bastin (1998: 6) observed, ‘[g]enerally speaking, historians and scholars of translation take a negative view of adaptation, dismissing the phenomenon as distortion, falsification or censorship, but it is rare to find clear definitions of the terminology used in discussing this controversial concept’. This is a lot less true now than it was twenty years ago, particularly with the rise of what may be referred to as ‘transcreation studies’ (Katan 2014, 2016; Pedersen 2014). Nevertheless, occupying a disadvantaged position in (hierarchical) relation to both original texts and ‘translations proper’, adaptations are sometimes still mainly viewed through the prism of their deficiencies. As noted by Hutcheon (2006: xii), ‘[w]hether it be in the form of a videogame or a musical, an adaptation is likely to be greeted as minor and subsidiary and certainly never as good as the “original”’. In the sphere of translating for younger audiences specifically, this line of thinking was noticeable in the early CLTS approaches found in Klingberg’s 1978 volume, in which free versions of original texts are referred as ‘faulty, unfaithful or mutilated’ (Bravo-Villasante 1978: 46), the result of an ‘unhealthy tradition’ (Stolt 1978: 133) and examples of ‘falsification’ (Klingberg 1978: 87). Although such considerations...

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