Graduation Year

2010

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

French

Major Professor

Gaëtan Brulotte, Ph.D.

Keywords

French, Theater, Translation techniques, Translation theories, Applied linguistics

Abstract

Translation is a challenge. More than just words, languages are ways of looking at the world and these unique perspectives make it hard to talk about a reality which might not exist in the language in which we are trying to express it. It becomes a greater challenge when one tackles theater as it is not a genre translation theories have studied extensively, which means the translator cannot rely on tradition. And the challenge reaches a new level when it comes to translating humor: humor is linguistically and culturally determined. Indeed, languages do not express humor using the same tools and peoples do not laugh about the same things. Dealing with these challenges, this work presents the translation of The Dinner Party, an American play by Neil Simon. Offering more than just the translation of the play in French, it aims at blending theory and practice. It thus brings the reader's attention to the way the translation has been done, with observations about the way the two cultures have tentatively been reconciled and about the linguistic phenomena which took place thanks to tools chosen in order to stay faithful to the text while making it not only grammatically correct but also pertinent and enjoyable. The tools identified by Chuquet turned out to be very productive, but case-by-case attention and creativity were also necessary.

This work also brings to light some aspects which might call for further analysis, such as a specialized speech analysis of stage directions, through the presentation of a non-exhaustive but broad outline gathering theoretical background. This analytical step is indeed the prerequisite for any serious translation work: even before looking at the piece to be translated, one should be aware of what translating implies and make some decisions concerning the role of the translator. One also needs to explore the features of the original work they feel are necessary to take into consideration when translating.

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