Proceedings of the 14 th Norddeutsches Linguistisches Kolloquium 2013 in Halle an der Saale
Edited By Anne Ammermann, Alexander Brock, Jana Pflaeging and Peter Schildhauer
Fictional Orality as a Challenge for the Translator
This article deals with the intricate problem of translating fictional orality. After a short presentation of the notions of “feigned orality” and “fictional orality”, a brief overview of the characteristics of spoken language is given. In the following, several examples of fictional orality are described which can be found in a very successful German novel, namely Walter Moers’ Die Stadt der Träumenden Bücher (2004). For several reasons, this can be judged as a particularly convincing example of applying fictional orality in narrative texts. At the end of the paper, I shall compare French, Italian and Spanish translations of an excerpt from Moers’ Die Stadt der Träumenden Bücher representing striking features of fictional orality. This analysis will illustrate the difficulties of translation into different languages and demonstrate that fictional orality is a complex narrative strategy, which poses numerous problems to the translator.
Translating a text from one language into another is far more complex than it might seem at first sight. Translators are indeed faced with a great variety of challenges which in many cases cannot be easily mastered, resulting in sometimes startling differences between the original text and its translation. The famous Italian saying „traduttore, traditore” may be revealing in this context. It unmasks the translator as a traitor who – by the mere activity of translating – transforms the original voluntarily or unintentionally into a more or less new text, depending on...
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