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Title: Translating carver’s minimalism in "so much water so close to home"
Authors: Tan, Ying Xuan
Keywords: Humanities::Language
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Abstract: Raymond Carver has been credited with the renaissance of the American short story and his short stories considered quintessential minimalism. Through a qualitative analysis of “So Much Water So Close to Home” from his ultra-minimalist What We Talk About When We Talk About Love and Tang Wei’s corresponding translation, we explore how one might translate Carver’s minimalism. Our discussion on literary minimalism and the Carver-Lish controversy reveals a complex literary landscape in which Carver’s short stories are situated; further examination identifies sparsity of prose, omission, and ambiguity as essential features and a sense of menace the defining tonal quality in Carver’s short stories. The reader is revealed to possess liberal interpretative freedoms in the reading process—such revelations influence the construction of a theoretical framework built on literary reader response theories and theories of equivalence in translation studies. The translator, Tang Wei, is shown to adopt what we have identified as Carveresque minimalism as guiding principles for his translations alongside lexical and lower levels of linguistic equivalence. Tang appears to position himself as the ideal reader with complete access to the full range of interpretation in Carver’s short stories and his translation as a neutral transfer of meaning from source text to target text. A comparative analysis of Tang’s translation and the source text reveals otherwise: translation as a process is subject to individual interpretation and linguistic differences sometimes compel the translator to make decisions that do not find basis in the text. Although a set of prescriptive rules for the translation of minimalist short stories remains elusive, we have noted the intimate interplay of lexical, structural, and thematic equivalences inherent in “So Much Water So Close to Home”. A translation strategy guided by lexical equivalence becomes a focal point from which macro-level thematic and structural equivalences could be achieved.
Fulltext Permission: restricted
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SoH Theses

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