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2009/2010 | 2-1(22-23) | 146-158

Article title

MAY REDUCTION SERVE FOREIGNIZATION? WHAT HAPPENED TO SIEROTKA MARYSIA IN ENGLISH TRANSLATION? (Czy strategia redukcji moze sluzyc egzotyzacji, czyli gdzie sie podziala Sierotka Marysia w angielskim przekladzie)

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The translation of Maria Konopnicka's O Krasnoludkach i sierotce Marysi (The Brownie Scouts) into English is an interesting fusion of two translation strategies that are usually considered mutually exclusive. At first glance, this careful and faithful rendering of passages describing Polish tradition, culture, history, geography and folklore is a good example of foreignization. Taking the reader who represents a dominant culture on a trip to an unknown peripheral culture, it seems to stand in opposition to Lefevere's understanding how cultural capital and asymmetries between cultures influence the translator's decision to adapt source culture's exotic elements to the target reader's horizon of expectations. Thus, her decision not to domesticate the original places Katherine Zuk-Skarszewska (nee Hadley) in a group of translators called bridgeheads by Cay Dollerup. They aim at familiarizing the target language audience with most interesting and valuable aspects of the source language culture. Yet this assumption is undermined by Zuk-Skarszewska's frequent use of reduction technique, which helps her to deal with the culture-specific elements she considers less important. Instead of a typical adaptation strategy, in The Brownie Scouts two radically different solutions co-exist: efforts to faithfully preserve some items and fragments characteristic of the source language culture are counterbalanced by decisions to cut other elements and passages in order to make room for what the translator judges more worthwhile. As a result, reduction becomes an integral part of the translation strategy, and it is used to control the intensity of the overall foreignizing effect. This unusual strategy becomes even more interesting to observe, as the elements the translator gives up most readily are usually those related to the child (characters, subject-matter and folklore). Paradoxically, it is children who lose most in this translation of the book about them.


  • Wyzsza Szkola Filologiczna we Wroclawiu, ul. Sienkiewicza 32, 50-335 Wroclaw, Poland


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