Codes across languages: On the translation of literary code-switching

29 Mar 2018

Abstract The translation of bilingual literary texts may challenge a translator when s/he needs to transfer some embedded, foreign codes from a language other than the dominant language of the source text (ST) into the target text (TT). This study analyses the way in which code-switching (CS) is transferred into a TT, looking at the translation strategies for CS in a non-European ST into European and non-European target texts. The source language text is Hebrew with Arabic incorporated into the Hebrew text in different ways, most often using CS. The target texts in the study are in Arabic, English, German and Italian languages. The main aim of this study is to show how code-switching in literary paradigms can be translated into a target text language, and to what extent the original structure of instances of CS is maintained, changed or even deleted in the target texts. The study compares four versions of target texts in Arabic, English, Italian and German, followed by an overview of how the same CS instances are transferred across different languages and cultures. Some problems and issues related to the transfer of instances of CS into the target texts are discussed in view of the typology of the CS strategy. The study concludes with an argument that a better understanding of literary CS terminology regarding both linguistic and creative features is necessary for a better translation of bilingual literary texts.