This study explores how Halliday’s Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) and Vermeer’s
Skopos theory of translation can be combined in a contrastive (quantitative and qualitative) linguistic and contextual analysis of two corpora of Greek Cypriot and British folktales. Several linguistic aspects are considered, providing insights into the original function of the source texts in both languages. Questions of narrative versus non-narrative and oral versus written discourse, authority and performance are examined alongside questions of the translator’s expertise and of the sanctity of the source text. The findings are presented in concrete translation examples, illustrating how translation studies can become a science of cultural and linguistic transfer.