Translating Literary Dialogue: A Problem and Its Implications for Translation into Hebrew
Haifa University, Israel
The present paper focuses on literary dialogue as a text type highly susceptible to inadequate translation. It is claimed here that translators of literary dialogue are likely to reduce a linguistic-poetic-pragmatic source utterance into a linguistic or linguistic-poetic one. The paper discusses different causes for the difficulties of dialogue translation. Some are general, stemming from the nature of literary dialogue itself and/or general principles of translation, while others are specific to the Hebrew language, which will serve as a case in point.
Literary dialogue constitutes a kind of text considerably different from narrative. To the extent that a decision is made to simulate daily, hence oral speech in the first place, its language formation entails an inherent paradox: the need to transmit features of the oral medium through a system pertinent to the written one. The transmission of spontaneous speech in a literary dialogue is obviously not a mere imitation of speech in the written system, let alone its mere transliteration. Rather, it involves selecting certain linguistic means [ p. 196 ]considered in a particular culture as representative of spoken language and filtering these through certain conventions of written representation developed in the literature in question.
1983Dialogue Style in the Hebrew Play, both Original and Trans-lated from English and French, 1948-1975. Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University. [Ph.D. Thesis. Hebrew]
1987 “Terms of Address in Plays Translated from English and French into Hebrew”. Bamah 108. 51–57. [Hebrew]
1990 “On Phonetic Representation of Spoken Language in Modern Hebrew Literature”. Moshe Goshen-Gottstein, Shlomo Morag and Simcha Kogut, eds. Studies on Hebrew and other Semitic Languages, presented to Chaim Rabin. Jerusalem: Academon, The Hebrew University 1990 25–53. [Hebrew]
1988Variation across Speech and Writing. Cambridge UP.
1986 “Shifts of Cohesion and Coherence in Translation”. Juliane House and Shoshana Blum-Kulka, eds. Interlingual and Intercultural Communication: Discourse and Cognition in Translation and Second Language Acquisition Studies. Tübingen: Narr 1986 17–35.