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Title: A cultural approach to the literary translation of Frank McCourt’s memoir "Angela’s ashes" into Maltese
Authors: Grima, Kenneth
Keywords: McCourt, Frank, 1930-2009. Angela’s ashes -- Criticism and interpretation
American literature -- Translation into Maltese
Language and culture
Issue Date: 2015
Abstract: The process of literary translation can no longer ignore the intralinguistic and extralinguistic source culture-specific elements (InSCSEs and ExSCSEs, respectively) that constitute an integral part of the source text (ST), i.e. the cultural aspects of translation. The main aim of this study involved the identification and descriptive analysis of the culture-specific elements (SCSEs) around which the ST (Chapter 1 of Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt) is shaped, and how these influenced the target text (TT), composed within a bilingual setting, in the translation process. This cross-cultural study made an in-depth examination of the similarities and differences between the ST and the TT within their respective culture, in order to identify the cultural gains and gaps existing between them and which may create linguistic and/or cultural complexities, thus inhibiting the literary translation process. It also aimed to identify and analyse the various translation strategic processes which could be adopted by the researcher so as to keep cross-cultural losses to a minimum, while keeping in mind that the principal aim of any literary translation is to make the transformation of the ST into the TT successful. For this reason an exercise of practical translation was used accompanied by an analytical study based on observation and reflection vis-à-vis the translation processes involved from a cultural and linguistic approach. This research showed that the number of ExSCSEs present in the ST outnumbered the InSCSEs. Whilst the InSCSEs translated involved idiomatic and fixed expressions, slang terms, dialectal code-switching and interjections, the ExSCSEs transposed into the TT included historical, political, historico- or politico-religious cultural references, proper names and Irish or non-Irish songs. Sometimes it was not easy to identify the various SCSEs, especially when dealing with historical or political references, with neo-figurative expressions created by the author himself or with the fine distinction between “dialect” and “slang”. Various individual cross-cultural translation strategies were suggested, presented in flow-chart formats, varying from source language/source culture to target language/target culture bias approach in order to keep cultural losses to a minimum whilst maximising the possibility of cultural gains. Some strategies were used concurrently with others. In the case of ExSCSEs involving SCSEs on a conceptual level, no specific strategies were identified. Although the strategies used tried to promote a hybridised cross-cultural TT, strategies favouring a more target language/target culture oriented approach were preferred, especially with regards to the transposition of InSCSEs. It was concluded that translatability of the various SCSEs from the ST into the TT was possible, either through equivalent correspondence or compensation. However, cultural losses were unavoidable (e.g. the figurative meaning of idioms or the effects of dialectal code-switching), although cultural gains featured prominently as well (e.g. the introduction of new idiomatic and fixed expressions or the creation of TL pseudo-dialects). Finally, this study helped to strengthen further not only the level of research in narrative translation studies in general, but also the research done in Maltese narrative literary translation from a cultural point of view, in order to analyse the ways in which various SCSEs found in the ST affect the TT during the translation process, an area of study which is still in its infancy locally.
Appears in Collections:Dissertations - FacArtTTI - 2015

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