Iconicity in translation

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This article reports on a workshop in which translators explored how particular iconic features present in a literary text might be translated into another language. In advance of the workshop the participants translated two short passages from Tobias Hill’s novel The Hidden into (mostly) their own native language; their translations preserved the text’s iconic features as fully as possible. The article starts with a brief introduction highlighting the iconic features in the passage. It focuses on those parts of the two passages that turned out to be not only most interesting from an iconic point of view but also the most challenging to translate since their iconic features could not always be transferred into the target language in a straightforward way. The languages involved were Dutch, German, Japanese, Polish (2 versions), Serbian, and Swedish. Apart from discussing the translations and the translation difficulties, a further aim was to find out whether we can distinguish any general or language-specific strategies in translating iconic features involving sound, (morpho)syntax or the lexicon.


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