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Contemporary Translationese in Japanese Popular Literature Open Access


Other title
Readers' attitudes
popular literature
Descriptive Translation Studies
Corpus-Based Translation Studies
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Meldrum, Yukari Fukuchi
Supervisor and department
Ono, Tsuyoshi (East Asian Studies)
Malena, Anne (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Commons, Anne (East Asian Studies)
Dunch, Ryan (History and Classics)
Takeda, Kayoko (Graduate School of Translation and Interpretation, Monterey Institute of International Studies)
Maheux-Pelletier, Geneviève (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies and Department of East Asian Studies

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
One of the main aims of this thesis is to examine the translational situation of popular fiction in post-industrial Japan. Specifically, the goal is to uncover two main aspects surrounding the phenomenon of translationese, the language used in translation. One aspect to be investigated is the characteristic features of Japanese translationese, and the other is readers’ attitudes toward translationese. This research is conducted within the framework of Descriptive Translation Studies (Toury, 1995). The literature review includes a background of how translationese has been approached previously and how methods from different fields (e.g., corpus linguistics, sociolinguistics) can be used in the research of translation. Through the review of the historical background of Japanese translationese and the development of Japanese writing styles, it is revealed that the translation norm in Japan had been very closely oriented toward the original text. In the text analysis, the corpora consist of translations from English and non-translations (i.e., originally written in Japanese) in the genre of popular fiction. The goal of the text analysis is to determine whether the features of translationese are actually characteristics of translationese. The features selected for this examination include the following: 1) overt personal pronouns; 2) more frequent loanwords; 3) female specific language; 4) abstract nouns as grammatical subjects of transitive verbs; and 5) longer paragraphs. Two features (third person pronouns and longer paragraphs) are shown to be characteristic of translationese, while others were proven otherwise or questionable (loan words, female language, abstract nouns as subjects of transitive verbs). Findings from the investigation of readers’ attitudes can help identify what constitutes the “norms” of translation (Toury, 1995, 1999) in Japanese society. Readers appear to be able to tell the difference between translation and non-translation. However, readers’ attitudes toward both translationese and non-translationese are more or less neutral or slightly positive. This may indicate that Japanese translationese has become integrated into the contemporary Japanese writing system and that readers do not regard translationese as overtly negative. This study shows that the major translation norm is becoming more domesticated translation in popular fiction, with the focus on making translations easier for the readers.
License granted by Yukari Meldrum ( on 2009-08-27T16:51:36Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File title: Contemporary Translationese in Japanese Popular Literature
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