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There are numerous translation challenges in translating YA literature which stem from cultural differences between the source and the target text. Translating cultural references (CRs) is one the pressing difficulties translators have to engage with. Failing to render these CRs into the target language and culture alienate readers and impede their affective responses to characters—their foreignness makes them unrelateable and forces the perception that the text is not appealing. Among the important CRs discussed are coined vocabulary which marks science fiction. Coined lexis arises when the author invents novel words or new gadgets to create the suitable setting for the story. character names are another challenge, and the question is always whether to translate them, leave them as they are, or replace them with new names suitable to the target culture. In literary translation, names can be quite demanding for different reasons, the most significant of which is that they are culturally marked, and will thus tend to foreignize translation, according to christiane Nord (1995, 2002). The last challenge discussed in this dissertation is that of intertextuality, when the author refers to other texts from his/her culture, which carries connotations and references.
As literature for a younger audience usually has a social-educational element, translators must check the source culture norms so that they do not contradict the norms of the target culture, according to Gideon Toury (1995). This, for instance, has been done with reference to elements of perceived blasphemy, sexuality, gender roles, and all body-functions in the translations of the Kinder und Hausmärchen [Household Tales] into English in the nineteenth century, as Karen Seago (2001) contends.
The dissertation is divided into a preface, an introduction, four chapters, and a conclusion.
The preface introduces the underlying theoretical assumptions behind the study, the corpus of the study, and the chapterization. The introduction, then, contextualizes young adult fiction, giving a brief history of YA literature in the West and the Arab world, and it identifies YA genres and characteristics of YA fiction that distinguish it from adult and children’s literature. It introduces, in overly broad terms, the challenges involved in the process of translating this genre, and how it differs from translating for children or adults. It sets out the corpus of the study, the research questions, and the applied methodology.
Chapter I surveys the relevant translation theory and established procedures for dealing with challenging texts. After engaging with the ”manipulation school” and their impact on translation studies, the debate between proponents of translation as a faithful reproduction of an original text and translation as rewriting of texts is . The chapter, subsequently, underlines some of the YA-specific translation problems that bear on the discussion conducted in the following chapters. The function of translation as vehicle of culture communication is affirmed and put into the context of Venuti’s (1995, 1998) theory of foreignization and domestication.
Chapters II discuss the relationship between culture and translation in great detail. It introduces CRs as a challenge in translation and classifies them according to the work of Peter Newmark (1988), Mona Baker (1998), and Jan Pedersen (2005, 2007). It highlights the strategies and procedures of translating cultural references, then cites examples of CRs in the corpus of study and analyzes the manner the translators tackled the references. The problems associated with translating the CRs are analyzed, and their impact is stated.
As for chapter III, it deals with the challenge of translating character names and discusses whether the translator should use name equivalents from the target language or translate the names. It starts with an overall background regarding proper nouns and a general idea regarding the concept of personal names. Then, the research investigates the problems related to translating proper names in literary texts and the different strategies used in this translation. The study stresses the cultural impact of character names and the gains and losses in the translation of proper names. All the character names in the three texts in question are classified, and their origin researched. Afterwards, the translation strategies used in their translations are analyzed.
Chapter IV investigates the ideas of intertextuality and novel titles as a cultural challenge in translation. It gives an overview of the origins of the concept of intertextuality and its development. The relationship between intertextuality and allusion is studied, and the classifications and functions of allusions is discussed. selected texts representing intertextuality in the corpus of study are analyzed. The second part of the chapter sets forth the significance of novel titles and gives a brief background of titles in English novels. It differentiates between literary titles and other titles, discusses challenges in translating novel titles and classifies them according to the manner of translation. The titles of the selected novels are discussed and the translated titles of the three novels in the corpus are scrutinized.
The conclusion reports the findings and the different challenges faced in translating YA literature. It provides an account of the strategies used in translating cultural references, character names, novel titles, and intertextuality.
Findings demonstrate that most translators of YA literature tend to be faithful to the original text, even in character names which are mainly transmitted to TT without any change. This strategy leads to the foreignization of the texts and, in turn, the alienation of the readers that could not find themselves in the protagonists due to the cultural differences. Also, the character names are strange and, in some cases, difficult to pronounce thus adding a barrier between the reader and the text. It is recommended that translators take a step forward and be more creative in translating YA literature. They must strike a balance between the use of extreme foreignization and total domestication, to give the reader a resourceful text that they can find interesting and at the same time, it can add to his/her knowledge.