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Stylistic comparison of the original and Slovene translation of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Jure Cehner, 2015, undergraduate thesis

Abstract: An author's style can sometimes be as important as the content itself. One could argue it is one of the fundamental components in fiction, and it can make or break a good book. However, as much as we enjoy it, it can be hard to define. We know it is present and it can make us feel a range of emotions, but what causes the emotions on a linguistic level is not easily answered. Douglas Adams’ novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a mixture of science fiction and comedy. Comedic effect is prevalent throughout the book and is achieved by several linguistic devices. The optimal way to study one’s writing style is to break it down in to smaller components, and in the case of this thesis to proper names, nonce words and several figures of speech. Alojz Kodre, the Slovene translator of the book, holds a Master’s degree in Physics, therefore I assumed he was more capable of bringing the astronomical concepts and technical jargon to the Slovene reader than a translator with no knowledge of astrophysics. The purpose of my thesis was also to find out whether he had been successful at not only accurately conveying meaning but also Adams’s unique style. Not taking into account his many stylistic elements can be detrimental for the overall reading experience. The discrepancies were highlighted with skopos theory as a basis for adequacy of translations methods, both used or methods that could have been used. The skopos theory helps the translator achieve the purpose of the translation usually defined by the target audience. It is a universal theory, but I was interested whether skopos theory can be applied to style as well. The translation must serve the readership of the target culture, but the author’s style, especially if prominent such as Adams’s, should not be put in second place. To some extent the translator also needs to be faithful to the author, but where does he need to draw the line? Occasionally, one factor needs to be sacrificed; whether the author’s style for the sake of understandability or the understandability for the sake of style. Alojz Kodre seemed to favour purpose over form; sometimes for clear reasons, because preserving the author’s style would have made the translation less comprehendible, and sometimes for less obvious reasons. It is evident that the artistic aspect of the novel was not the translator’s primary concern. He, however, had very little problems with conveying the intended meaning to the target readership.
Keywords: style, proper nouns, nonce words, figures of speech, translation methods, skopos theory, stylistic comparison
Published: 15.02.2016; Views: 781; Downloads: 69
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