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Analyse the Translation of Names in a Work of Children's Literature

  • Date Submitted: 07/05/2010 09:30 AM
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Analyse the translation of names in a work of children’s literature
  1. Abstract

  There are many ways of translating names.   As Nord (2003:182) has pointed out, names can be substituted, transcribed or omitted.   And names involve cultural specificity, that makes it seems to be almost impossible to translate names from one language to another without sacrificing parts of the characteristics of it.   We see cases where the pronunciation of the translation turns out to be different from the source language, or cases where the translator has managed to keep the phonetic similarity, but missed out the connotation of the names.   Nevertheless, the way translators translate names from English to Chinese in Taiwan for example, tends to keep the names not only phonetically similar but also the meaning contained as much as possible.   In other words, with a limited range of freedom, Taiwanese translators try hard to play with words and to produce a translation rather than an adaptation.  
In this essay, I am going to investigate the translation of names of characters, to explain why the translation is so readable, likeable and popular in Taiwan, along with examples from Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling.

  2. Strategies
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It has been ambiguous the term “children’s literature.”   Here I adopt a description as a definition from Eithne O’Connell (Word, text, translation 1999:209).   The main idea of “children’s literature” contains any narrative written or published for children, which includes “teen novels”, and it is aimed at the “young adult”.   As J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter conforms to this definition, later in this essay I will use it as the example.
Names are one of the crucial methods for an author to show characters’ personalities, a connotation of a location, or other unspoken characteristics in the storyline.   Names carry a certain function or purpose.   However, when translating a work, the names have more often been adapted rather than translated. (Collie...

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