Shifts in Speech Acts in Fiction Translation: Evidence of a More Marked Narratorial Voice

Othman Abualadas


This paper explores the shift in speech acts in two Arabic translations of Animal Farm. The findings reveal a trend to explicitate illocutions in a way that maximizes the narrator’s omniscience. This trend improves textual relations and increases the simplicity and conciseness of the original language, but reduces the projection of reader’s thoughts into the narrative. One of the translations tends to shift indirect speech acts to direct in a way that changes politeness conventions in the text. The other translation shows a preference for a narrative report of speech acts that leads to a better characterization of the narrator’s voice. This shift towards the narrator’s discourse produces a more monotonous speech and less-stylistically varied text, and elicits less contact between the reader and the speaking character. This shift may help reveal more of dual perspective of narrator and characters, casting more irony and maximizing the original writer’s negative criticism.


speech acts, illocutionary force, translational shifts, explicitation, fiction translation

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