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Script as a Factor in Translation

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Translators usually pay little or no heed to the script embodying the meaning of a text, yet at times the script itself makes a significant contribution to a text’s meaning, aesthetics or ideology, for instance. In such cases translators need to consider the writer’s orthographical choices, as well as if and how these can or should be reflected in the target text. This presents particular challenges when the two languages use different scripts. With its four scripts, Japanese offers an emblematic instance of the role of script in writing and translation. Focusing on this striking case can raise awareness of instances where script plays a role even in alphabetic languages, although to a lesser degree, and it also suggests some techniques that can be used for handling script issues in translation.

Affiliations: 1: Kent State University


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