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Chapter 2: Literature Review

As stated above, this chapter provides an overview of the literature on drama and drama translation. Such review is considered necessary given that this study is focused on drama translation and as such a detailed discussion of the translation phenomenon involving this literary genre is deemed indispensable. Some of the major issues reviewed include: drama and theatre translation, terms such as ‘performability’ and ‘speakability’, the drama text as an incomplete entity, strategies that have been employed in drama translation, compatibility and integration of translated drama in the receiving culture, and a methodological framework that has been proposed by drama
translation scholars within which drama translation can be studied.
In order to ensure a better understanding and more effective interpretation, description and analysis of Oyono Mbia’s plays that constitute the corpus of our study, this chapter equally provides an overview of the literary and socio-political context in which the plays are set.

Drama and drama translation

Drama and theatre translation

Kruger (2000:20) has pertinently systematized the abundant terminology often used in drama studies by drama specialists and drama translation scholars and practitioners alike. Some of the terms that she highlights and of which she outlines the differences or similarities in their meanings include: ‘play’, ‘script’, ‘dramatic text’, ‘theatre text’, ‘performance’ and mise en scène. In a bid to stem further proliferation as well as the rather confusing and overlapping use of terms in this area and for reasons of consistency with the systematization of terminology already made by the above scholar, the present study has adopted her systematized terminology. The problem of use of abundant and sometimes confusing and overlapping terminology in drama translation studies is discussed in greater detail below (cf. section 2.1.4). In this study therefore ‘drama’ will be used together with ‘play’ to refer generically to either performance or printed copy. Aaltonen (2000:33) corroborates by saying that the double tie of dramatic texts to the literary and theatrical systems is present in the way in which the word ‘drama’ is used to refer to both a written text and a theatrical performance. Consequently, the expressions ‘drama translation’ (but not ‘theatre translation’), ‘translated drama’, ‘drama translator’ and ‘the translation of plays’ will be used. Similarly, the term ‘dramatic text’ will be used to refer to texts composed for the theatre and written prior to performance and not during or after rehearsals. The dramatic text which is the source text that the translator works from is distinguished from the performance text which is the textual material produced in the theatre during a performance. Finally, ‘performance’ will be used in this study to refer to the concretization of the dramatic text on stage and mise en scène to “the network of associations or relationships uniting the different stage materials into signifying systems, created both by production (the actors, the director, the stage in general) and reception (the spectators)” (cf. Kruger 2000:21). Having provided the above explanations on the adoption of the already systematized terminology to be used in this study, it is worthwhile to examine the discussion on drama and theatre translation by drama translation scholars. Zuber-Skerritt (1988:485), in an encompassing definition which includes both the translation of the written text into another language and its transformation into performance, states that “drama translation is defined as the translation of the dramatic text from one language and culture into another and the transposition of the original,translated or adapted text onto the stage”. This definition can be considered to place dramatic texts and theatre texts at the same level. While acknowledging, however, that,whereas the published drama text remains irrevocable and permanent, each theatre  performance based on this text is different and unique, she still asserts that “drama translation science must be concerned both with the text as the basis for the stage production and the individual theatrical performance”.In contrast, Aaltonen (2000:33) for her part considers that theatre texts are not necessarily synonymous with dramatic texts and that the two may, in some cases, function as objects or elements in different systems and be governed by different systemic conventions. The distinction between the two systemic memberships is therefore made by calling dramatic texts used in the theatre ‘theatre texts’. She argues that although drama and theatre are interrelated concepts, they have to be kept separate as they do not refer to the same phenomenon. She therefore asserts that “‘drama translation’ as a term includes translation work for both the literary and theatrical systems, whereas ‘theatre translation’ is confined to the theatrical system alone”. For her, what is common to all theatre translation is that theatre texts are conceived for a particular context and for the immediate here and now. Thus drama translation is not necessarily synonymous with theatre translation given that not all translated drama is produced or intended for production on stage and some may exist only in the literary system as printed text. Similarly, many outdated dramatic texts have become elements of the literary system and are no longer produced on stage. In drama translation therefore the medium remains the same, that is, a written text is translated and published as a written text whereas in theatre translation in the theatrical system there is a change of medium whereby the text becomes an element of a performance on stage.

READ  The Meaning of Development

1.1. Background to the research problem and choice of corpus 
1.2. Statement of research problem 
1.3. Aims of the study 
1.4. Research methodology 
1.4.1. Descriptive aspect of the research  Descriptive Translation Studies (DTS)The role of norms in translation
1.4.2. Analytical aspect of the research Sociological approaches to literary criticism Formalistic approaches to literary criticism Semiotic approaches to literary criticism
1.5. Hypothesis 
1.6. Structure of the study
2.1. Drama and drama translation 
2.1.1. Drama and theatre translation
2.1.2. Performability and speakability
2.1.3. The drama text as an incomplete entity
2.1.4. Drama translation principles and strategies Drama translation principles Drama translation strategies
2.1.5. Compatibility and integration of translated drama
in the receiving culture
2.1.6. Methodological framework for the comparative analysis of source and target text
2.2. The source language system
2.2.1. Socio-political context
2.2.2. Literary context Historical perspective Literary and textual characteristics of Cameroonian drama Oyono Mbia’s works and motivations
Oyono Mbia’s educational background
Oyono Mbia’s literary works and ideas
Oyono Mbia’s communication strategies
3.1. Introduction 
3.2. On the definition of culture
3.3. The centrality of culture in translation
3.4. Translation principles and strategies for the translation of cultural categories 
3.4.1. Translation principles for the transfer of cultural categories
3.4.2. Translation strategies for the transfer of cultural categories Adaptation Borrowing Communicative translation Addition Omission Globalization and localization Compensation Footnotes
3.5. Conclusion 
4.1. Introduction 
4.2. Synopsis and structure of Oyono Mbia’s plays 
4.2.1. Trois Prétendants … Un Mari
4.2.2. Jusqu’à Nouvel Avis
4.2.3. Le Train Spécial de Son Excellence
4.3. Micro-textual analysis of Oyono Mbia’s source texts 
4.3.1. Ideophones
4.3.2. Distorted words and names
4.3.3. Loan words from Oyono Mbia’s native Bulu language
4.3.4. Proverbs and wise sayings
4.3.5. Swearwords
4.3.6. Allusions and symbolic signifiers
4.3.7. Repetition
4.3.8. Forms of address
4.3.9. Stylistic calques
4.4. Macro and micro-textual comparison of Oyono Mbia’s
source and target texts 
4.4.1. Macro-textual comparison
4.4.2. Micro-textual comparison
5.1. Introduction 
5.2. Oyono Mbia’s plays in the context of the prevailing literary trend and attitude of Cameroonian and African writers 
5.3. Oyono Mbia’s source text and target text strategies 
5.4. Reception of Oyono Mbia’s target texts in the target culture 
5.5. Oyono Mbia’s target texts as page and stage translations
5.6. Oyono Mbia’s strategies in the mainstream of those
Outlined by translation scholars
5.7. (In)Consistency in Oyono Mbia’s translational behaviour 
5.8. Conclusion 
6.1. The aims of the study
6.2. Contribution of the present study
6.3. Suggestions for further research


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