Tension Between Domestication And Foreignization In English Language Translations Of Anna Karenina

2199 words - 9 pages

One of the key issues in recent translation theories has been on whether translation should domesticate or foreignize the source text. Venuti (1995) defines domesticating translation as a replacement of the linguistic and cultural difference of the foreign text with a text that is intelligible to the targetlanguage reader. Foreignizing translation is defined as a translation that indicates the linguistic and cultural differences of the text by disrupting the cultural codes that prevail in the target language. Other scholars, like Tymoczko (1999), criticise this dichotomy by pointing out that a translation may be radically oriented to the source text in some respects, but depart radically from the source text in other respects, thus denying the existence of the single polarity that describes the orientation of a translation.I have chosen five English translations of Lev Tolstoy's Anna Karenina for my paper. Dole (1886),Garnett (1901), Maude (1918), Edmonds (1954) and Pevear and Volokhonsky (2000).My main objective has been to analyse the relationship between earlier and latertranslations. Since modern English language readers are more familiar with Russianlanguage, literature and culture as well as with Tolstoy's works than the 19th centuryreaders were, theoretically speaking, translating Tolstoy in 2000 should be easier than itwas in 1886. In reality each translator still had to choose between the adequaterepresentation of Tolstoy's text and the acceptability of their translation for theircontemporary English speaking audiences (the terms described in Toury 1995) on asliding scale between audience and text. In a way, with the higher development of the artand scholarship of translation, the expectations of readers and critics grow, and adequaterepresentation of a text in a different language becomes more challenging. My hypothesisis that literary translation evolves as an exploration of deeper and deeper layers of thesource text. In the present thesis I try to show how the history of translation of AnnaKarenina into English reflects these different stages of evolution.One of the key issues in the recent translation theories has been on whether thetranslator should remain invisible. The term invisibility describes the extent to whichcertain translation traditions tolerate the presence (i.e. intrusion, intervention) of thetranslator in the translation (Hatim 2001, 45). This term originated in the works ofLawrence Venuti, himself a literary translator since the late 1970s. Venuti suggests that'invisibility' reveals itself in two related phenomena:The 'effect of discourse', that is, the translator's use of language.In this paper I am going to explore the relationship between foreignization anddomestication in translations of Anna Karenina into English. Henry Gifford points out that 'Tolstoy's readers in the English language are not greatly outnumbered by those who read him in Russian' (Gifford 1978, 17). There have been at least ten translations of...

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