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Norm-Focused and Culture-Related Inquiries in Translation Research

Selected Papers of the CETRA Research Summer School 2014


Edited By Justyna Giczela-Pastwa and Uchenna Oyali

This volume collects selected papers written by young translation scholars who were CETRA 2014 participants. This book analyses the heterogeneity of translational norms, diversity of cultures and the challenges of intercultural transfer. The authors analyze a wide array of source texts, from the translations of contemporary prose and audiovisual products into Brazilian, Japanese and Swedish, to renderings of texts more distant in time, such as the Bible and «Golestân» written in medieval Persian. The book also concentrates on selected meta-level issues, such as the integrity of the discipline and its language, as well as the development of translation competence. The norm-focused and culture-related framework offers considerable research potential for Translation Studies.

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Women’s language as a norm in Japanese translation (Hiroko Furukawa)


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Hiroko FurukawaTohoku Gakuin University, Japan

Women’s language as a norm in Japanese translation

Abstract: This paper aims to present an overview of an on-going research project, and intends to answer chiefly these two questions: (1) how female characters are represented in Japanese translation across various genres and (2) whether language in Japanese translations of fiction is more feminized than that in other Japanese cultural mediums. From the empirical analyses focused on the first research question, the three following conclusions were drawn: (1) female speech in Japanese translation is overly feminized compared to real women’s language use, (2) male translators are more likely to over-feminize female characters’ speech and (3) the tendency of over-feminizing has been seen in the past sixty years.

Keywords: Japanese translation, gender, norm, ideology, femininity, women’s language, sentence-final particles, sexuality

1.  Introduction

Japanese is labelled in terms of its gender-marking aspect, and the speaker’s femininity or masculinity is likely to be indicated in the choice of pronouns, words, conjugations of verbs and a series of sentence-final particles. Sentence-final particles are added to Japanese sentences mostly in casual conversations, and play an important part in indexing the level of femininity and masculinity; for instance, the English utterance It’s cold today has more than five options for Japanese translation with different femininity or masculinity levels — kyo ha samui wa (it’s cold + sentence-final particle wa, strongly feminine), kyo ha samui ne (it’s cold + particle...

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