Why translation scholars fear literary ironyReport as inadecuate




Why translation scholars fear literary irony - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

(2009) Mark abstract Why translation scholars fear literary irony.Literary irony is not a popular subject of analysis in Translation Studies. The main reasons are that irony has traditionally been associated with the untranslatability dogma and that it implies overcoming the blurred boundaries – typological, definitional and methodological – between literary interpretative and linguistic approaches to translated texts. This paper outlines the various conceptual problems encountered in the investigation of irony in literary translations and its methodological and epistemological implications for the translational analysis. I argue that the scholar needs to position him/herself and that decision-making processes at an early analytical stage entail definitional and methodological positioning for the translational analysis. I will outline this argumentation according to a series of questions: 1. What is irony anyway? How can it be approached? And does it exist at all?The only consensus amongst ironologists is that irony is one of the most elusive literary phenomena. Is it a figure of speech or can it be a structural quality of a literary work? How does the author compensate the lack of mimic, gesture and tone in a literary (written) discourse? Is irony to be investigated exclusively through textual analysis (be it within linguistics or structurally-based narratology) or by means of contextual analysis (be it by phrasal pragmatics or cognitive pragmatics widened to the socio-cultural environment in which irony happens). Some scholars even conclude that irony is a mental construction in the mind of the literary critic and lacks, by definition, typological and definitional certainties. I argue that this absence of consensus reflects a lack of transparency and a desire to encompass the totality of the problems encountered: coming to terms with the conceptual elusiveness implies a clear-cut separation between the means, the causes and the effects of irony. A scholar cannot encompass simultaneously these elements and he/she should therefore announce clearly the scope of his/her investigation. 2. How can literary irony be investigated within Translation Studies? The way translated irony is investigated depends on the reasons that underlie the analysis. I argue that investigating translated irony within a descriptive and target-oriented paradigm can mainly take two directions that include different epistemological values. On the one hand, irony can be used as a parameter according to which translational interpretation can be measured. In that case it will be studied through comparative textual micro-analysis and constitute the final goal of the analysis. On the other hand, irony can also be studied as a means to understand (or verify) certain target-culture contextual factors. In that case, it constitutes an intermediate stage in the comprehension of target-culture factors and it is therefore epistemologically superior - that is, in terms of explanatory power. This kind of analysis can, for instance, allow verifying the correlation between translation methods and the ironic effect of the literary work. It might also procure data about why some literary works are more likely to be translated than others or why some target cultures tend to welcome more easily certain ironic literary works. My main point, however, is that the second method necessarily implies the first one and, most importantly, that neither the first nor the second implies automatically that normative approaches can be circumvented. From a methodological perspective, I hope to underline the virtues of a close reading of individual samples. On an epistemological level, I moreover aim to stress the fact that target-oriented research does not automatically safeguard against normativity.

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication: http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-693759



Author: July De Wilde

Source: https://biblio.ugent.be/publication/693759



DOWNLOAD PDF




Related documents