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Translation Criticism based on the Aesthetic Effects of a Literary Translation: Focusing on Wuthering Heights

Soon Mi Kim 1

1숙명여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Setting criteria for literary translation criticism has been considered far more difficult than that for the assessment and evaluation of non-literary translation. The most frequently used criteria have been ‘faithfulness’ to the source text and ‘readability’ or ‘naturalness’ of the target text. The comprehensive evaluation of literary translations of English classical works conducted by Scholars for English Studies in Korea(SESK) is one of the attempts to criticize translations in terms of these two criteria. Despite its accomplishments in screening sub-par translations characterized by bad translation, mistranslation, and translationese, the undertaking has shown its limitations in criticising literary translation by focusing on error analysis and giving translations a subordinate position to the original. This study aims to expand the scope of criticism beyond the realm of error analysis by setting criteria of literary translation criticism based on the framework proposed by Reiss. The functionalist argues that the most important factor in literary translation and its criticism is rendering the aesthetic effects in the source text so that the response of the target readers would be the same as that of the source text readers. According to Lefevere, a prominent literary translation scholar, important translation issues in the literary translation process on the level of illocutionary language use are metaphor, allusion, foreign words, names, register, pun, parody etc. Setting these factors as important criteria in criticising literary translation, this paper analyzes Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, which was one of the translations evaluated by the SESK. Through the analysis of four translations (two by translators highly evaluated by the SESK and two recent translations), this research finds that translating strategies regarding slangs, metaphors, dialect, and relations between characters in literature differ significantly among translators. By describing rather than rating or evaluating different strategies and perspectives of each translation, this paper suggests that each translation function differently, thereby serving to satisfy different group of readers.

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