“The present volume is a theoretical reflection of an ample study focused on the translatability of idioms in a literary text, namely M. Twain’s famous Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The theoretical reflection regards the perspective of the theory of functional equivalence in translation. Both the perspective and the analysis are innovative and effective in that they highlight the significance of cross-cultural aspects when it comes to the translation of idioms from English into Romanian within a literary text.
The author, Mrs. Adela Măntescu-Adam, starts from a set of methodological questions which serve as a guiding background for her subsequent analysis. Here they are below:
- What are the linguistic and cognitive features of idiomatic phrases?
- What are the most adequate translational strategies for rendering idioms from one language into another?
- Is functional translation the best method to render the sense of the idioms in the source language into Romanian?
- What are the translational strategies used by the translator of the book, Frida Papadache (in 1957) in her version of M. Twain’s book” The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and what method was used by Lucian Popa (in 2015), after a 58-year span in his version of the same book by M. Twain?
- What is the closest equivalent to an idiomatic expression in the translated work, according to the readers’ opinion? (See the tests)
Adela Măntescu-Adam tackles the problem of translatability of idiomatic phrases with conceptual-metaphorical valence in the novel by M. Twain, the way in which two Romanian translated versions manage to transfer these valences depending on the degree of adequacy of the idioms proposed to be the Romanian equivalent idioms and on their conceptual-cultural motivation.
The author is focused precisely on those facets of the language that give rise to difficulties in interpreting the meaning of the text, especially with respect to idiomatic texts such as that of M. Twain’s. The idioms that are rendered by equivalent expressions in Romanian must meet the criterion of literariness so that the target language text should be equally significant and readable as such, i.e. as a literary equivalent ’copy’ of the original. It seems that irrespective of the time gap, the older version is the more authentic from the perspective of cultural translation. The tests that the author includes in her translational analysis reflect this view and project the whole study into a purely methodological work, which is a laudable and most effective endeavour.”
Bucharest, April 2022
Daniela Corina Ionescu, Ph.D.
University of Bucharest