Title: Nibble, nibble like a mouse. Who is nibbling at the source text's house
Other Titles: Retranslating fairy tales: untangling the web of causation
Authors: Van Coillie, Jan
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: P.I.E. Peter Lang
Host Document: La Retraduction en littérature de jeunesse/ Retranslating Children's Literature edition:1st pages:39-52
Abstract: Fairy tales are by far the most ‘retranslated’ stories. Yet, the numerous editions of fairy tales draw into question the concept of retranslation itself, making it hard to draw a line between (re)translation, adaptation, retelling and revision. Moreover, they call for a thorough revision of the ‘retranslation hypothesis’ (Berman 1990, Chesterman 2000).
In the paper I will focus on the central question of why fairy tales are retranslated again and again. In order to reveal the ”web of multiple causation” (Koskinen & Paloposki 2011: 4), I will combine the study of texts, paratexts and contexts. My corpus consists of Dutch retranslations of fairy tales by Grimm, Perrault and Andersen, published since 1900. The paratextual material, such as prefaces and advertisements, often makes motives for retranslation explicit. Those motives lay bare the complexity of the communication process of children’s literature (characterized by asymmetry and ambivalence), in which translators, publishers, editors and mediators can take different roles and children as well as adults are the target group. Many motives for retranslations, however, remain implicit, based as they are on changing norms and values. In order to lay bare these ‘hidden’ motives, I have conducted a restricted comparative textual analysis..
The combined analysis of paratexts, texts and contexts reveals four main motives, each emanating from a specific need. Furthermore, a distinction can be made between basic and specific causes, the first arising from the characteristics of fairy tales as “written folklore” (Assmann 1983), the second deeply intertwined with the target audiences. Three groups of editions can be distinguished, each aiming at a different target group and having different purposes, guided by specific norms. The analysis reveals a constant clash between translation norms, literary, linguistic, pedagogical and economic norms. In this clash the ‘child image’ of the re-translator plays a central role, i.e. his or her ideas about what is good, attractive, feasible or acceptable for children.
ISBN: 978-2-87574-161-5
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IHb
Appears in Collections:Translation and Intercultural Transfer, Campus Brussels
Translation Studies Research Unit - miscellaneous

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