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Traduire la culture poétique du français en anglais

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That literary texts appear to be more difficult to translate than technical ones is no longer a subject of debate. This truth is fundamentally as a result of obvious challenges the literary translator has to face, since he is under the obligation to translate not only the literal meaning of his source text, but also its literary style. Even within the literary field of translation, if the translator of prose or drama rarely has an easy task, the translator of poetry is likely to meet harder obstacles in the course of his exercise. Poetry — especially when it has to do with traditional poems – appears, thus, the most dreaded terrain for the translator.

This article presents a comparative study of the poetic culture of French and English with the principal objective of demystifying the theoretical and practical problems associated with poetic translation. Supported by a critical analysis of an English translation of a French sonnet, the paper argues that the work of the poetic translator would be made more simplified if priority is given to the culture of the target language. The article thus recommends faithfulness to the poetic culture of the target language in order to produce a translation that will be acceptable to the reader of that language.

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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2011

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  • Revue internationale de la traduction / International Journal of Translation
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