Australian Journal of French Studies

De Cul-de-sac à Piège nuptial: enjeux de la traduction et de la retraduction d'un polar de Douglas Kennedy

Australian Journal of French Studies (2013), 50, (2), 221–231.

Abstract

The fact that a second French translation of American author Douglas Kennedy's thriller The Dead Heart was produced only eleven years after it was first translated provides a rare opportunity to deduce, via comparative analysis of a number of key extracts, the translation strategies at the heart of these two competing translation projects, as commissioned by rival publishing houses. Indeed, given the short timeframe involved, the second translation could not have been designed to amend an out-dated text. This article will also test the main theory of retranslation, the "Retranslation Hypothesis", which was developed by eminent translation theorist Antoine Berman. According to Berman, an initial translation always tends towards the assimilationist approach whereas retranslations tend to be closer to the original text, typically being commissioned once the author has been accepted into the target culture. These retranslations tend also to correct any potential flaws in the initial translation. It will be seen that this hypothesis is only partly borne out in this case. Furthermore, we shall speculate as to whether the unfaithfulness of the initial translation was not, perversely, a key element in the novel's considerable success in France.

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Author details

Vuaille-Barcan, Marie-Laure