Translating proper nouns in the work of Deon Meyer: an investigation into consistency

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Deon Meyer is a well-known and award-winning writer of South African detective stories. His books are written in Afrikaans and depict South African reality. An important aspect of his books is that names (proper nouns) act as cultural markers and portray the South African culture in the Afrikaans books. It is therefore important to determine whether or not these names consistently transfer the culture to the target text through translation. This article is thus concerned with investigating the names which appear in Feniks (1996), Infanta (2004) and 7 Dae (2011) and whether the South African culture they depict is effectively and realistically transferred to the English translations of the books. This is done by using a theoretical framework with the help of the translation strategy foreignisation and domestication by Venuti (1995) as well as the functionalist approach of Nord (1997). Afrikaans names in the books were compared manually with their corresponding English translations. All names are considered, including nicknames, names of places, names of cities, names of people and names of regions. Venuti’s strategy of foreignisation and domestication is used as a tool for determining whether the transfer of names into English is handled in a consistent fashion. Nord’s functionalistic approach is used to focus on the text function rather than the translator, since the focus of this research is the translation process rather than the translators or the eventual translation products. Keeping in mind the function of the text and Venuti’s translation strategies, success in the transfer of elements of South African culture by means of translated names is investigated. The conclusion is that names are translated using domestication as a translation technique in some cases and foreignisation in others, while there are also cases where both techniques are used, or where techniques seem to be used at random. This could result in an inconsistent depiction of South African cultural content, which is a central element to Meyer’s names, and could have an adverse effect on credibility.

Keywords: 7 dae; names; proper nouns; FeniksInfanta; cultural markers; Deon Meyer; cultural transfer; literary translation


Lees die volledige artikel in Afrikaans: Die vertaling van eiename by Deon Meyer: ’n ondersoek na konsekwentheid

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