‘Harry Potter is funny’. The tricky task of translating humour and character voices into Spanish
Alderete Diez, Pilar
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Diez, Pilar Alderete (2012) ‘Harry Potter is funny’. The tricky task of translating humour and character voices into Spanish, Vida Hispánica, 45, 17-23
In 2003 the highlight of the International Federation of Translators conference was their UNESCO Literary Translators Committee Round Table devoted to the translators of J.K. Rowling’s work as contributors to her popularity. This round table raised several issues, in particular cultural boundaries and contractual constraints set by Warner Bros. A major concern seemed to be the pressure for speed translation. The phenomenon of online translation has become a threat for publishing companies. Pirate translations are produced much faster, as they are done by several unqualified translators. Their quality often leaves a lot to be desired, but a text offered as a translation is readily acknowledged as accurate (Toury, 1995: 26). Harry Potter (hereafter HP) fans are eager to read the new book and the abundance of these online translations has made readers aware of the process of translation and critical of the translator’s decisions, as Klaus Fritz, the German translator, has declared. Máire Nic Mhaoláin, the Irish translator, explained when I interviewed her: ‘An older girl from secondary school […] was very positive but she did have a few negative points […]. She didn’t like the fact that Hagrid spoke perfect grammatical Irish’.