Translating the interplay between its linguistic form and its literary function
Repetition is a common literary device that can be used to create associative networks within a text, parallel structures suggesting similarities in meaning, or a wide span of effects ranging from monotony to excitement. If repetition is a common literary device, then it follows that its translation is a common challenge for the literary translator. However, translators tend to avoid repetition and by doing so often fail to recreate the function the repetition fulfils in the source text. Using Michael Cunningham’s literary travelogue Lands End: A walk in Provincetown and its German translation as a case study, in this paper I will have a closer look at the literary function of repetition and how omitting the repetition in the target text can affect the text’s meaning potential. In addition, I will discuss alternative solutions that maintain the literary function in the target text. In particular, I will argue that the target text does not necessarily need to mirror the linguistic form of the source-text repetition, but can employ other stylistic means to recreate its literary function in the target text.
Keywords: linguistic form, literary function, style, stylistics, repetition
Keywords: forme linguistique, fonction littéraire, style, stylistique, répétition
Published online: 29 May 2019