Translation and Original: Similarities and Dissimilarities, I

Kitty M. van Leuven-Zwart

This article presents a method for the establishment and description of shifts in integral translations of narrative texts. The method is based on the premise that both micro- and macrostructural shifts in translation can furnish indications of the translational norms adopted by the translator, his interpretation of the original text and the strategy applied during the process of translation. Further it is based on the assumption that research on the nature and frequency of microstructural shifts must precede research on macrostructural ones, in order to guarantee that findings are verifiable and the study repeatable. Thus, the method developed consists of two components: a comparative and a descriptive model. The comparative model is designed for the classification of microstructural shifts, i.e. semantic, stylistic and pragmatic shifts within sentences, clauses and phrases. The descriptive model focuses on the effects of microstructural shifts on the macrostructural level. With the aid of this model shifts with respect to characters, events, time, place and other meaningful components of the text can be determined and described.

Table of contents

The present article describes in abbreviated form the method for the comparison and description of integral translations of fictional narrative texts which I originally developed in my dissertation (van Leuven-Zwart 1984). The method was initially designed to facilitate the comparison and description of the Dutch translation of the Spanish novel Don Quixote by Cervantes. It later also proved applicable to Dutch translations of both modern Spanish texts and texts in other languages, such as English, French, German, Italian and Russian. Moreover, it has since become clear that the method can also be applied to translations into languages other than Dutch.

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