Explicitations and other types of shifts in the translation of irony and humor

Galia Hirsch

Abstract

The goal of this article is to examine the differences in the use of explicitation strategies when translating irony and humor, based on a comparative model that distinguishes between cues for the two phenomena. The study suggests that translations of irony manifest more explicitations, whereas translations of humor yield more non-explicitating shifts. This finding can be interpreted as indicating that while the explicitation of humor may override its function altogether, the explicitation of irony does not necessarily do so, since the implied criticism is not eliminated. This finding further strengthens the claim that irony is inherently critical, whereas humor is not.

Keywords
Table of contents

Explicitation, a concept first introduced by Vinay and Darbelnet (1958), refers to the process of making what is implicit in the original explicit in the translation (Klaudy 2003). The concept of explicitation can be interpreted both in terms of the translation process, as a technique, and the translation product, as a textual feature (Pápai 2004: 145). The Dictionary of Translation Studies defines it as a phenomenon that frequently leads to TT stating ST information in a more explicit form than that of the original. Such a process is brought about by the translator elaborating on ST, for example by adding explanatory phrases, spelling out implicatures or inserting connectives to ‘help’ the logical flow of the text and to increase readability (Shuttleworth and Cowie 1997: 55).

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