Contemporary Translationese in Japanese Popular Literature

  • Author / Creator
    Meldrum, Yukari Fukuchi
  • 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.

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  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
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    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.