A translation-based heterolingual pun and translanguaging

Eriko Sato

Abstract

This paper examines six English translations of the Japanese novel Botchan with a focus on a complex pun that pairs a multi-morphemic sentence-ending in the Matsuyama dialect with the name of a traditional Japanese food. One English translation renders it as a heterolingual SL-TL pun, which is made comprehensible for TT readers without using footnotes and without distorting the culture of the ST. The SL item in this pun is seamlessly integrated into the TT’s linguistic environment at the morpho-syntactic level and is provided with layers of scaffolding at varied linguistic levels which are naturally presented as if they are a part of textual message. This heterolingual pun is analyzed as a manifestation of translanguaging. The paper proposes a research methodology whereby translanguaging perspectives are applied to translation studies in order to explain varied heterolingual translation phenomena, including foreignization.

Keywords
Publication history
Table of contents

Culture-specific terms, regional dialects, and puns often present a challenge to translators especially when the source language (SL) and the target language (TL) are structurally and socioculturally very different. This paper examines six English translations of Botchan, a Japanese novel written by Sōseki Natsume in 1906, with a focus on a complex pun that pairs a multi-morphemic sentence-ending in the slow-paced wordy Matsuyama dialect in Japan and a name of a culture-specific Japanese dish. The English renderings of this complex pun are examined in terms of their linguistic structures, comprehensibility, and the quality of virtual intercultural communication. Then, the heterolingual SL-TL pun is further qualitatively analyzed from the perspective of translanguaging, a theory of bilinguals’ language use.

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