Web Translation Projects/Approaches to Translating Dialect/Speech defect

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This strategy consists in full interlingual and intralingual translation with a defect posited in the TL phonology. It uses a defect in the speaker's pronunciation as a means of transferring the SL social deixis in the translation. The phonetic markers appear every time the character uses a word that contains the sounds on which the non-standard pronunciation is marked. The social deixis in this strategy is nullified because the speech defect in the translation does not possess the characteristics of any specific TL language community. The effect is then that, though a difference in the character's speech against the TL standard is marked, it implies the character's individual way of speaking rather than identifies them with any existing group - whether social, geographical etc.

This strategy can, therefore, be used to differentiate the speech of one character against others, but will fail in achieving identification with any larger group. It does, however, help avoid introducing false intertextuality, since no TL varieties are implied[1].


W. Shakespeare, Henry V


Dzieje żywota króla Henryka Piątego (translation by M. Słomczyński)

By Chrish la tish ill done: the work ish give over: the trumpet sound the retreat.

By my hand, I swear, and my father's soul, the work ish ill done; it ish give over.

I would have blowed up the town, so Chrish save me, la, in an hour. O! tish ill

done, tish ill done; by my hand tish ill done.

Na Chrusztusza, hej! To żła szprawa. Praczę poszuczono, trąbka gra dowrót. Na

mą rękę żaklinam szę i na duszę mego ojcza, ta pracza żle jest przeprowadżona,

poszuczono ją. A wyszadżyłbym miaszto, tak mi Jeszu dopomósz, w godzinę. O,

to żła szprawa, żła szprawa, na mą rękę żła szprawa.

The character whose speech is presented here (Captain MacMorris) is Irish,

which is indicated with the use of phonetic dialect markers. Each time a word with

the alveolar fricative /s/ appears, he palatalises it into /ʃ/.

Additionally, we have non-stabdard lexical elements (la) and

grammar (tish give over).

The translation indicates by the means of phonetic dialect markers that the character

palatalises dental and alveolo-palatal affricates and fricatives:

- Chrysztusza (standard: Chrystusa) 'Christ'

- żła (standard: zła) 'bad, wrong'

- praczę (standard: pracę) 'job, work'

- szprawę (standard: sprawę) 'case'

This speech defect, however, is not indicative of any existing language community.

All other dialect markers are gone.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Berezowski, Leszek. 1997. Dialect in Translation. Wrocław: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Wrocławskiego