List of abstracts for the IV International HCA conference - Hans Christian Andersen between children's literature and adult literature
Andersen in translation
In my paper I will show that not only a translator's view of the child, but also a translator's awareness of genre play a part in the renderings of Andersen's fairy tales.
In short comparative readings of a number of Andersen's fairy tales, in their original form and in translation reveal the following in the English versions: there are far fewer details; abstractions are concretised; there are more paragraphs; and sentences are shorter. In general, the English version tends to be simpler and more specific in its expression, less descriptive and abstract. Whereas the Danish text leaves it up to the reader to draw various conclusions and make their own judgements, the English text gives a helping hand. Indirect speech is also often changed into direct speech in the translations and there are many examples of additions to the text. In many of the translations external action is prioritised over other narrative qualities. Furthermore it seems like the fairy tales have been adapted to fit the traditional folk tale mould so that they fulfil genre expectations. Several of the English fairy tales open with the conventional 'Once upon a time', a phrase which Andersen himself very rarely used.
It is my thesis that many of the changes undertaken and differences from the original texts are a result of the translator's conflicting view of the child reader and understanding of the writer's genre. In this paper I would like to demonstrate how Andersen's fairy tales in translation are much closer to the folk tale in their mode of expression than was the case with the original stories and how traditional thinking about genres and about what children's literature can and should do may have determined this transformation.