The translation of children's literature: Ideology and cultural adaptations. Captain Underpants as a case study
The aim of this research is to explore cultural differences in the children’s publishing industry in the USA and Spain and the impact these have on translation, and to develop a case study of the translation of Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants series into Spanish from a cultural and linguistic perspective. The main aim of this dissertation is to demonstrate the ways in which ranges of meaning are narrowed, expanded or refracted in children’s literature translation and how they affect early readers’ understanding of the text (as more or less subversive), modelling all this as a dynamic rather than static system. Bakhtin’s concept of dialogism is applied to the Captain Underpants texts to show that the translation process is a continuum, never a finalized project, which can - and does - change with time.
This dissertation explores the ways in which the translator of the Captain Underpants series, Miguel Azaola, negotiates the pressures and constraints, be they political, historical, cultural, editorial, commercial, or linguistic, which are imposed upon him via ideology, commissioning editors and the publishing industry. All translations imply a certain level of manipulation of the original text, and the translation of a subversive text written for a younger audience is even more vulnerable to change, due to the existing power imbalance between adults and children and the potential of humour as a tool for undermining or reinforcing social control. The Captain Underpants books mock and challenge authority-figures and the structures of the adult world (parents, teachers, political and religious institutions). These books provide a carnivalesque context that enables children to establish a dialogue with the text through which to question societal norms that have been learnt in school and at home. This dissertation examines how humour and references to food have been translated into Spanish in this context. It also points out the dilemmas posed by retaining the original pictures in the translated text, and how the lack of a supporting cultural peritext affects not only the visual meaning of the text as a whole but also children’s reading experience and their perception of the books as cultural artefacts.
Translation loss in children’s literature can be attributed to linguistic difficulties of capturing meanings or stylistic features. However, it may also reflect societal attitudes towards childhood and cultural differences. The history of publishing for children in Spain and the didactic mission of the publishing house (El Barco de Vapor) have had a strong impact on the translation of this series. Examples of the manifestation of this impact include domesticated names, loss of word-play, discrepancies between pictures and texts, and the almost complete deletion of the dual readership (adult and child). Translation has diminished the potential subversive elements of the target text, resulting in a significant reduction of humour.
By adopting an interdisciplinary theoretical framework, in which theories from children’s literature, translation studies, reader response and studies on recent Spanish publishing trends are integrated, this thesis aims to make a scholarly contribution to the hitherto neglected study of the translation of contemporary children’s literature into Spanish. Highlighting throughout the differences in the textual content and children’s responses to the translated texts, this thesis explores the editor’s and translator’s decision-making processes and the challenges posed by translation for younger readers.
|APA6 Citation||Asiain, T. The translation of children's literature: Ideology and cultural adaptations. Captain Underpants as a case study. (Thesis). University of the West of England|
|Keywords||children's literature, translation, cultural adaptations, Captain Underpants|
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