Publication details [#22623]

Kolb, Waltraud. 2011. The making of literary translations: repetition and ambiguity in a short story by Ernest Hemingway. Across Languages and Cultures 12 (2) : 259–274.
Publication type
Article in jnl/bk
Publication language
Person as a subject


Studies on literary translation are traditionally product-oriented. This paper is based on the assumption that recent research tools such as keylogging and verbal reports may help us gain new insights into the practice of literary translation by closely monitoring the process. It presents some preliminary findings of an empirical study in which four professional literary translators translated a short story by Ernest Hemingway into German. The translators registered their writing process with Translog and recorded their concurrent/retrospective verbalizations in the authentic working context. For the purpose of this paper, two short excerpts from the story have been selected to examine the four translators’ decision-making processes, dealing with repetition as an element of style and ambiguity as one of the basic characteristics of literary writing. In particular, this paper attempts to trace the emergence of the translator’s voice in the target text and explore the translator’s agency in the process. The empirical data shows that both are closely linked to the translator’s attitude towards the task and the view a translator has of his/her own role and the role he/she attributes to the author and the text’s stylistic features. Obviously, these factors also have a bearing on the use of strategies such as explicitation or avoidance of repetition.
Source : Abstract in journal