McCarthy Nicknames


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A presentation discussing the way Cormac McCarthy\'s translator translated nicknames

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McCarthy Nicknames

  1. 1. Saundra Swain
  2. 2.  Translator did not translate the majority of the nicknames Used footnotes to explain nicknames when possible
  3. 3.  States that footnotes destroy the illusion that most readers have that they are actually seeing the events instead of reading about them Footnotes jerk the reader back to reality by disrupting the flow of the reading by forcing readers to look to the bottom of the page for an explanation
  4. 4.  Interpolation: adding a parenthetical word or phrase of explanation Omission: omitting any sort of explanation It is my opinion that the translator chose the best option, as interpolation would be just as disturbing, if not confusing and omission would leave the reader with no explanation whatsoever of this English name interrupting their reading.
  5. 5.  Nicknames should be left in the original language unless they are descriptive and can be translated without “doing too much mischief to the tone of the story.” (14) By not translating nicknames, we keep a small part of the original language and culture, since names and nicknames usually carry some degree of culture I believe that if there is even one nickname that cannot be translated, then none should be translated to maintain consistency.
  6. 6.  Nicknames are minor details in translation - they make up only a small percentage of texts but they are are a major challenge for translators because they are found in all literatures of the world Not translating nicknames would only do harm if the nickname had any importance to the story or carried a meaning that is important to the story
  7. 7.  names which do not appear to be significant and are not changed by translators or tradition, names which the tradition has translated entirely or partly, names which, absurdly enough, are treated differently although similar, names translated in the tradition of one or several languages but not in others,
  8. 8.  names which have been adapted by translators hundreds of years ago when mythological, biblical texts, like those of legends and fairy-tales were translated, names whose translation is indispensable because they are labels of ethical or other notions (therefore semioticized to the utmost), names whose translation is not required by necessities of humour and occasionally by some pun in the narrower context
  9. 9.  Treat it the same as you would any other special aspect, such as puns and play with synonyms as mentioned above. Find any hidden meanings and translate accordingly. Discriminate between nicknames with a meaning/connotation and those without
  10. 10.  The few nicknames that were translated should not have been translated in order to maintain consistency. There are many nicknames that the translator did not provide a footnote for, which could have easily been translated or explained:  Bungalow => Búngalo or chalé  Daddy => Papá  Doll => Muñeca  Jellyroll Kid => Muchacho de Brazo de Gitano  Dubyedee => W.D.
  11. 11.  Bantas, Andrei. "Names, Nicknames, and Titles in Translation." Perspectives: Studies in Translatology 2 (1994): 79-87. Bantas, Andrey. "Proper and Geographical Names, Bynames, and Other Challenge to Translators." Rassegna Italiana Di Linguistica Applicata 25 (1993): 41-52. Landers, Clifford E. Literary Translation: a Practical Guide. Buffalo: Multilingual Matters LTD, 2001. McCarthy, Cormac. Suttree. New York: Vintage International, 1979. McCarthy, Cormac. Suttree. Trans. Pedro Fontana. Barcelona: Mondadori, 2004. Rabassa, Gregory. If This Be Treason: Translation and Its Dyscontents. New York: New Directions Books, 2005.