From the Black Margins to the Multi-colored Center: A search for patterns in the manner of representation of African-American Vernacular English in Dutch translations of literature between the 1980’s and the present
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This thesis explores the problematic nature of translating African-American Vernacular English in the present Dutch literary field, with a focus on a possible trend in translation strategies since the 1980’s. There have been some interesting developments in the literary field concerning the translation of sociolects, and the manner in which political correctness influences such translations. In a broad sense, this research focuses on the correlation between social values and translation strategies. It is focused specifically on developments in the field of translation of African-American Vernacular English, as this language variety has no equivalent, and it is a sensitive topic of discussion for many people. Translations of the following books were analyzed: Alice Walker ‘s "The Color Purple" (1982, trans. 1983), Zora Neale Hurston’s "Their Eyes Were Watching God" (1937, trans. 1986), Lawrence Hill’s "The Book of Negroes" (2007, trans. 2010) and William Faulkner’s "The Sound and the Fury" (1929, trans. 2010). The outcome of analysis sheds light on several significant changes in the applied translation strategies between the 1980’s and the present, and gives reason to believe that the translators’ focus and priorities seem to be shifting over time.