Variables as Contextual Constraints in Translating Irony

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The translator’s role and responsibility are high in any act of interlingual communication, and even higher when irony, an indirect and deliberately elusive form of communication, is involved in the translation process. By allowing more than one possible interpretation, irony is inevitably exposed to the risk of being misunderstood. This paper attempts to capture the complexity of translating irony, making use of theoretical frameworks provided by literary studies and translation studies. It analyses if and how the types of irony, the literary genres and the cultural, normative factors, perceived as potential contextual constraints, have an impact on the translator’ choices in rendering irony in translation, taking illustrative examples from Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Aldous Huxley and David Lodge’s works.

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