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Translating Expressive Language in Children’s Literature

Problems and Solutions

B.J. Epstein

Children’s literature delights in made-up words, nonsensical terms, and creative nicknames, but how do you translate these expressions into another language?
This book provides a new approach to translation studies to address the challenges of translating children’s literature. It focuses on expressive language (nonsense, names, idioms, allusions, puns, and dialects) and provides guidance for translators about how to translate such linguistic features without making assumptions about the reader’s capabilities and without drastically changing the work. The text features effective strategies for both experienced translators and those who are new to the field, including exercises and discussion questions that are particularly beneficial for students training to be translators. This learner-friendly book also offers original contributions to translation theory in light of the translation issues particular to children’s literature.


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List of Tables xi


List of Tables Table 1 Types of expressive language 18 Table 2 Translatorial strategies for expressive language 25–6 Table 3 Methods of word-formation 32 Table 4 The process for translating neologisms 38 Table 5 Strategies for translating neologisms 39 Table 6 An example of the process for translating neologisms using retention as the strategy 45–6 Table 7 The process for translating names 73 Table 8 Strategies for translating names 75 Table 9 An example of the process for translating names using retention as the strategy 78–9 Table 10 The process for translating idioms 107 Table 11 Strategies for translating idioms 108 Table 12 An example of the process for translating idioms using literal translation as the strategy 114–15 Table 13 The process for translating allusions 139 Table 14 Strategies for translating allusions 140 Table 15 An example of the process for translating allusions using retention as the strategy 147–8 Table 16 Common kinds of wordplay 168–9 Table 17 The process for translating wordplay 174 Table 18 Translatorial strategies for wordplay 175 xii List of Tables Table 19 An example of the process for translating homophonic wordplay 180–1 Table 20 The process for translating dialects 202 Table 21 Strategies for translating dialects 203 Table 22 An example of the process for translating dialectal language using deletion as the strategy 214–15

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