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Anthony Burgess's 1962 novella A Clockwork Orange is one of the most popular speculative works of fiction of all time, having been translated over fifty times into more than thirty different languages. Each translator of this work is faced with the challenge of adapting Burgess's invented anti-language, Nadsat, into their target language. Some translations have managed this more successfully than others. The French translation, by Georges Belmont and Hortense Chabrier, L'Orange Mécanique (1962/1972) is considered particularly successful and remains the standard French translation nearly 50 years on. Previous studies have remarked on the creativity shown by these translators in reconstructing Nadsat in the target language. However, previous work has not closely analysed the consistency that Belmont and Chabrier brought to this task. In this paper, we use corpus linguistics methodologies to examine the construction of French-Nadsat, and compare it to the Nadsat presented in the source text. We identify six categories of French-Nadsat, all of which are in some way analogous with categories identified in English-Nadsat. We then employ corpus techniques which demonstrate the high level of consistency that Belmont and Chabrier used in their translation to ensure that the lexical distinctions present in English-Nadsat are largely preserved in the translation. This paper thus demonstrates the value of corpus methodologies in investigating the consistency of translations of creative texts where a third “language” (L3) is present, an approach that is largely lacking in previous work on the translation of this novel into other languages.
- translation techniques
- invented languages
- speculative fiction
- Literary translation
- Translation strategies
- Corpora in translation
- Invented languages
- Speculative fiction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Linguistics and Language
FingerprintDive into the research topics of 'Nadsat in translation: A Clockwork Orange and L’Orange Mécanique'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
- 1 Participation in conference
Jim Clarke (Organising Committee)18 Mar 2016
Activity: Participating in or organising an event › Participation in conference
- 1 Active
Vincent, B., Curry, N. & Corness, P.
1/11/15 → …
Project: Unfunded project
- 1 Chapter
Ponying the slovos: A parallel linguistic analysis of translations of A Clockwork Orange in English, French, and SpanishCurry, N., Clarke, J. & Vincent, B., 1 Nov 2021, Science Fiction in Translation. Campbell, I. (ed.). 1 ed. Springer , (Studies in Global Science Fiction).
Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceeding › Chapter › peer-reviewOpen AccessFile73 Downloads (Pure)