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Translation Peripheries

Paratextual Elements in Translation

Edited By Anna Gil Bardaji, Pilar Orero and Sara Rovira-Esteva

This book investigates different elements which have direct implications for translations but are not the actual text. These features are usually presented in a particular format – written, oral, digital, audio-visual or musical. They are furnished with, for example, illustrations, prologues, introductions, indexes or appendices, or are accompanied by an ensemble of information outside the text such as an interview with the author, a general or specialist press review, an advertisement or a previous translation.
However, the boundaries of paratextuality are not limited to the aforementioned examples, since paratextuality has a direct implication for areas as diverse as censorship, a contracting economy, decisions taken by the various actors in the political or cultural context in which the text occurs. Therefore it is obvious that most of the key concepts in Translation Studies cannot be fully understood without reference to the part played by paratextual elements, examined here taking into account different language pairs from Turkish to Catalan.
The content presented in this book is gathered from a conference on Paratextual Elements in Translation, held at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona in 2010.


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The Role of Translators’ Prefaces to Contemporary Literary Translations into English: An Empirical Study (ELLEN MCRAE) 63


ELLEN MCRAE The Role of Translators’ Prefaces to Contemporary Literary Translations into English: An Empirical Study This article presents an empirical study of prefaces to literary translations and of the role that they play. It argues for an increase in their inclusion as a tool for increasing intercultural understanding. An examination of a corpus of over 800 contemporary fictional works translated into English revealed that only 20 per cent included prefaces. Of these, only half, or 10 per cent of the total number of books, actually discussed the translation or provided information about the source culture that might be unknown to the target audience. Through an analysis of the contents of the prefaces in the corpus that refer to the act of translation or the source culture, the study identifies the main functions served by the topics discussed by the translators and determines that the most pre- dominant function is the promotion of understanding between cultures. The next most served function is that of promoting understanding of the transla- tor’s role and intervention in the text. Also considered in the study are attitudes to translators’ prefaces amongst translation scholars and in the publishing world, and how negative attitudes towards translated works of literature can affect their inclusion. The article maintains that although translators’ prefaces are relatively uncommon today, they have an important role to play as the voice of the translator – the key figure in promoting better understanding among peo- ples and nations. 1. Introduction Over twenty-five years ago Newmark...

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