Laughing one's head off in Spanish subtitles: a corpus-based study on diatopic variation and its consequences for translation
AuthorsCorpas Pastor, Gloria
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AbstractLooking for phraseological information is common practice among translators. When rendering idioms, information is mostly needed to find the appropriate equivalent, but, also, to check usage and diasystemic restrictions. One of the most complex issues in this respect is diatopic variation. English and Spanish are transnational languages that are spoken in several countries around the globe. Crossvariety differences as regards idiomaticity range from the actual choice of phraseological units, to different lexical or grammatical variants, usage preferences and differential distribution. In this respect, translators are severely underequipped as regards information found in dictionaries. While some diatopic marks are generally used to indicate geographical restrictions, not all idioms are clearly identified and very little information is provided about preferences and/or crucial differences that occur when the same idiom is used in various national varieties. In translation, source language textemes usually turn into target language repertoremes, i.e. established units within the target system. Toury’s law of growing standardisation helps explaining why translated texts tend to be more simple, conventional and prototypical than non-translated texts, among other characteristic features. Provided a substantial part of translational Spanish is composed of textual repertoremes, any source textemes are bound to be ‘dissolved’ into typical ways of expressing in ‘standard’ Spanish. This means filtering source idiomatic diatopy through the ‘neutral, standard sieve’. This paper delves into the rendering into Spanish of the English idiom to laugh one’s head off. After a cursory look at the notions of transnational and translational Spanish(es) in Section 2, Section 3 analyses the translation strategies deployed in a giga-token parallel subcorpus of Spanish-English subtitles. In Section 4, dictionary and textual equivalents retrieved from the parallel corpus are studied against the background of two sets of synonymous idioms for ‘laughing out loud’ in 19 giga-token comparable subcorpora of Spanish national varieties. Corpas Pastor’s (2015) corpus-based research protocol will be adopted in order to uncover varietal differences, detect diatopic configurations and derive consequences for contrastive studies and translation, as summarised in Section 5. This is the first study, to the best of our knowledge, investigating the translation of to laugh one’s head off and also analysing the Spanish equivalent idioms in national and transnational corpora.
CitationCorpas Pastor, G. (2018) Laughing one's head off in Spanish subtitles: a corpus-based study on diatopic variation and its consequences for translation, in Mogorrón Huerta, P. and Albaladejo-Martínez, A. (Eds.) Fraseología, Diatopía y Traducción / Phraseology, Diatopic Variation and Translation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 32–71.
TypeChapter in book