Descriptive Clashes : Between Standardization and Dynamization of Translated Description

Title in English Descriptive Clashes: Between Standardization and Dynamization of Translated Description


Year of publication 2012
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The paper explores the translational poetics of descriptive passages in translations of fiction from English into Czech made in the recent decades, with focus on figurative language and its transformations. These passages are expected to be the locus of two opposing tendencies: a tendency of a general nature called 'standardization' and 'dynamization of description', a tendency more specific of the current Czech literary system, both frequently involving shifts between figurative and non-figurative ways of expression. 'Standardization', a process believed to characterize translation in general whereby textemes tend to be converted to repertoremes (Toury 1995) – and whereby figurative elements are often rendered in their (more) literal meanings – has been postulated in theory as well as studied empirically. Fedrová and Jedličková, two Czech literary scholars, have recently evidenced and discussed a widespread tendency in Czech literary scholarship to underestimate description as a fictional text type: largely due to the legacy of functional approaches to literary style, pure forms of (realistic) description are systematically viewed as inferior to "modern" forms of description with attributes such as "evocative", "subjective", "contextualized" and "dynamized". This dynamization often involves an increase in figurativeness. "Overcoming the static nature of description by its dynamization" has been, in the Czech context more than in other contexts, a mantra of both serious literary criticism and stylistic handbooks. It seems therefore worth studying how these normative statements have informed recent translational poetics. The paper presents the results of a study made on a corpus of fictional descriptive passages and explores the interaction of these two opposing tendencies and relates the findings to the concepts of figurativity, functional approach, translator habitus and individual translator style.

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