Translation Strategies in Rendering Literary Features in the Translation of Nirat Meaung Phet from Thai into English

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Hataya Anansuchatkul


This research article aims to survey and analyze strategies used by Sawanee Nivasabutr to render poetic features in Sunthorn Phu’s “Nirat Mueang Phet” in her Thai - English translation, Journey to Phetburi - A Poem by Sunthorn Phu. Supaporn Makjaeng’s concept of Thai poetry is applied for constructing the analytical framework. The analysis covers the translation strategies for rendering sound devices and semantic devices. The analysis of translation strategies at word level relies on the categorization of translation strategies introduced by Baker (2011) and that of figures of speech, Larson (1998). The findings show that 1) the translator adopts the types of stanza, rhyming scheme, and various sound devices available in English poetry to create rhyming effects in the translation; 2) in translating onomatopoeia, the translator uses the equivalent terms in English; 3) in translating phonesthemes, the translator tends to use the equivalent terms in English and paraphrases; 4) in translating clusters of synonyms, the translator uses more general words, more neutral or less expressive words, and paraphrases; 5) in translating word puns, the translator uses loan words, and, in some cases, loan words plus explanation in footnotes; 6) in translating figures of speech, the translator tends to maintain the same types of devices - to some of which explanations are added either in the same stanzas or in footnote; however, the strategies of translating metaphor into
simile and paraphrasing are also found. The application of these strategies also
reveals an active role of the translator in bargaining between the loss and the gain
in translation both in terms of sounds and meanings. Such a bargaining process
also reflects the tension between ‘domestication’ and ‘foreignization’ in Venuti (1995)’s term through the attempts of the translator to domesticate both prosodic patterns and contents in the context of target culture to facilitate the reader’s understanding of a poetry from abroad and to maintain and creatively reproduce the styles and meanings of the original work under the constraints of prosody and linguistic resources in the target language.


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