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Constructing the “Stranger” in Camus’ L’Étranger - Registerial and Attitudinal Variability under Translation

Peter R. R. White 1

1University of New South Wales

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper demonstrates insights arising when some key aspects of systemic functional linguistic theory (Halliday 19994) and the appraisal framework (Martin and White 2005) are applied to exploring variation between multiple translations of the same source text. For the purposes of this demonstration, an investigation is conducted by reference to the much discussed and debated variation between the multiple translations of the opening to Albert Camus’ celebrated novel, L’Étranger (translated either as The Stranger or The Outsider). It is demonstrated that Halliday’s notions of “instantiation”, “realisation” and “register” can be applied to show that this variation is communicatively significant in that it involves a shift of register and hence a shift in the social situation being construed for each translation. It is also demonstrated that the account of “invoked attitude” developed in the appraisal framework literature can be applied to show that the different translations have different attitudinal potentials. It is argued that these two lines of analysis can usefully be applied more generally in analyses concerned with inter-translation variation.

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