Edited by Maria Sidiropoulou
[Translation and Translanguaging in Multilingual Contexts 6:1] 2020
► pp. 64–78
The study draws on scholars (Leech and Short 1981; Wales 1994; Fowler 1996; Ball 1997; Semino 2002; Leech and McIntyre 2006) who focused on the ‘point of view’ in dramatic texts as a concept which permits an authoritative voice to enter the narrative and arise in discourse. It intends to examine how im/politeness contributes to renegotiating some special themes in fiction like, for instance, how the human-animal relationship is to be portrayed in two Greek translations (1995, 2015) of Edward Albee’s play The Zoo Story (1958). The claim is that translators’ ideological positioning regulates pragmatic aspects of meaning-making like the use of aggression and intimacy in reshaping the identity of characters and entities in the translated versions. Τhe study traces how the two translators attributed aggression to humans/animals in the universe of The Zoo Story by taking into account lay people’s evaluation of the two translations. Results show that TTa (by Kaiti Chistodoulou 1995) uses im/politeness strategies which indicate lower esteem for animals and higher esteem for humans. By contrast, TTb (by Errikos Belies) shapes a different identity of the human-animal relationship: it indicates higher esteem for animals, doing justice to the zoo imagery. The findings suggest that the narratives that permeate discourse crucially affect the use of im/politeness of the fictional interactants and that im/politeness is a powerful tool in the hands of translators. Im/politeness research may also benefit from translational data in that they can provide multiple contexts in which im/politeness can be studied in interaction cross-culturally.