Web Translation Projects/Approaches to Translating Dialect/Relativisation

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The SL dialect is reduced in this strategy to terms of address and/or honorifics. This results in all indication of the speaker's belonging to a language community being eliminated, and only the social distance between the speaker and the addressee being retained. None of the social strata is, however, explicitly identified. This allows the translator to "strike a balance between fidelity to the full range of the SL text meanings and protecting its integrity"[1] - since no TL language group is explicitly named, the risk of introducing false intertextuality lowers.

Honorifics[edit | edit source]

This substrategy is claimed by Berezowski to introduce "rustic tinge"[1] to the TL text - to anchor them vaguely in an unspecified rural TL community.


E. Bronte, Wuthering Heights


Wichrowe wzgórza (translation by J. Sujkowska)

"Is there nobody inside to open the door?" I

hallowed responsively.

"They's nobbut t' missis; and shoo'll nut

open 't an ye mak yer flaysome dins till

neeght." "Why? Cannot you tell her who I am, eh, Joseph?"

- Czy nikogo w domu nie ma, że nie


-Jest pani, ale ona nie otworzy, choćbyście

się tłukli do późnej nocy.

- Może byście powiedzieli jej, Józefie, kto


Comments In the original, Joseph uses the Yorkshire dialect, indicated

by the use of phonetic dialect markers, for example:

- shoo'll 'she'll'

- nut 'not'

-neeght 'night'

The translation uses terms of address

- jeżeli chcecie 'if you'd like'

- choćbyście się tłukli 'even if you knocked'

- może byście powiedzieli 'maybe you could tell'

by which the speaker address the hearer in

second person plural, which is an expression of

mutual respect, and anchors the speakers in an

unspecified rural language community[1].

Terms of address[edit | edit source]

While the previous sub-strategy employed grammatical means of expressing social distance, this one uses lexical means of doing so, i.e. terms of address. Berezowski claims that a prerequisite for using this strategy is the "explicitness of its statements on the relationships prevailing between social groups which themselves remain implicit."[1] He also states that such explicitness in foregrounding social distance between characters is favoured in translations meant for young audiences. An example of the use of this strategy can be seen in one of the Polish translations of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, L. Carroll


Ala w krainie czarów (translation by M. Morawska)

"Now tell me, Pat, what's that in the window?"

"Sure, it's an arm, yer honour!" (He pronounced it

'arrum'). "An arm, you goose! Who ever saw one

that size? Why it fills the whole window!"

"Sure, it does, yer honour: but it's an arm for all that!"

- A teraz powiedz mi, co tam tkwi w oknie?

- Ramię, proszę jaśnie pana.

- Ramię?! Durniu jeden, głupstwa pleciesz. Widział kto

takie ramię? Całe okno zapchane.

- Jak jaśnie pana szanuję, to jest tylko ramię,

niech się jaśnie pan kogo zechce spyta.

Comments The original foregrounds Pat's accent most of all,

introducing phonetic dialect markers:

- yer 'your'

- arrum 'arm'.

Terms of address are also present:

- yer honour 'your honour'

The Polish translation eliminates all dialect markers in this

excerpt, introducing instead terms of address:

- proszę jaśnie pana 'you honour'

- niech się jaśnie pan [...] spyta 'let you honour ask someone'

These forms of address indicate the social distance between

speakers but does not identify the language group they

belong to.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Berezowski, Leszek. 1997. Dialect in Translation. Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego