Discursive representations and translation practice: the constructed reader of Irish literature in Italian
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This thesis approaches translation as a transformative act, which involves the decontextualisation of the source text and its recontextualisation within the target language culture. For literary works, the attempt to make the material intelligible or even familiar to the target reader may imply a disruption of balance in the 'discoursal perspective' of the text. This dissertation evaluates the effects that translation practice might have on the reception of contemporary Irish authors in Italy. Textual evidence will be used to sustain the argument that a translation strategy implicitly constructs a reader, whose profile differs considerably depending on the genre of the source text. The target texts, therefore, display differences that go beyond the conventions of genre. More specifically, within the domain of contemporary literary fiction, a preference for 'fluent strategies' of translation often produces a form of transparency that may hinder a deeper engagement with the source material by readers. In this instance, cultural differences are likely to be reduced to standardised forms of 'otherness'. Poetry translation, on the other hand, seems to enact the desire to reach out towards the interstitial meaning of what cannot be translated. The strategy used in this case, by endorsing the paradoxical premise that accepting difference is a necessary step to create a condition of equality between two cultures, allows difference and sameness to exist simultaneously. In drama translation, additional pressure exists to comply with the horizons of expectations of the constructed readers, as the target text is often meant as a script to be performed live. Therefore, a play, in order to establish an effective communication with its audience, needs to be understood in terms which are broadly compatible with the ideology which holds sway within the hosting environment.
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