Investigating the process of translation
: humour translation norms, strategies and approaches in children's literature

  • Elena Xeni

    Student thesis: Master's ThesisMaster of Philosophy


    Research in the present thesis is focused on the norms, strategies,and approaches which translators employ when translating humour in Children's Literature from English into Greek. It is based on process-oriented descriptive translation studies, since the focus is on investigating the process of translation.
    Viewing translation as a cognitive process and a problem soling activity, this thesis Think-aloud protocols (TAPs) in order to investigate translator's minds. As it is not possible to directly observe the human mind at work, an attempt is made to ask the translators themselves to reveal their mental processes in real time by verbalising their thoughts while carrying out a translation task involving humour.
    In this study, thirty participants at three different levels of expertise in translation competence, i.e. tn beginner, ten competent, and ten experts translators, were requested to translate two humourous extracts from the fictional diary novel The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend (1982) from English into Greek. As they translated, they were asked to verbalise their thoughts and reason them, whenever possible, so that their strategies and approaches could be detected, and that subsequently, the norms that govern these strategies and approaches could be revealed.
    The thesis consists of four parts: the introduction, the literature review, the study, and the conclusion, and is developed in eleven chapters. the introduction contextualises the study within translation studies (TS) and presents its rationale, research questions, aims, and significance. Chapters 1 to 7 present an extensive and inclusive literature review identifying the principles axioms that guide and inform the study. In these seven chapters the following areas are critically introduced: Children's literature (Chapter 1), Children's Literature Translation (Chapter 2), Norms in Children's Literature (Chapter 3), Strategies in Children's Literature (Chapter 4), Humour in Children's Literature Translation (Chapter 5), Development of Translation Competence (Chapter 6), and Translation Process Research (Chapter 7). In Chapters 8 - 11 the fieldwork is described in detail. the piolot and the man study are described with a reference to he environments and setting, the participants, the research -observer, the data and its analysis, and limitations of the study. The findings of the study are presented and analysed in Chapter 9. Three models are then suggested for systematising translators' norms, strategies, and approaches, thus, filling the existing gap in the field. Pedagogical norms (e.g. appropriateness/correctness, famililarity, simplicity, comprehensibility, and toning down), literary norms (e.g. sound of language and fluency). and source-text norms (e.g. equivalence) were revealed to b the most prominent general and specific norms governing the translators'  strategies and approaches in the process of translating humour in ChL. The data also revealed that monitoring and communication strategies (e.g. additions, omissions, and exoticism) were the prevalent strategies employed by translators.
    In Chapter 10 the main findings and outcomes of a potential secondary benefit (beneficial outcomes) are discussed on the basis of the research questions and aims of the study, and implications of the study are tackled in Chapter 11. In the conclusion, suggestions for future directions are given and final remarks noted.

    Date of Award11 Mar 2014
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorSéverine Hubscher-Davidson (Supervisor) & Christina G Schaeffner (Supervisor)


    • children's literature translation
    • translation process research
    • humour translation

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