Home Language & Literature The Age of Translation: Early 20th-century Concepts and Debates
Mode of translation
As regards the mode of translation, the majority of the records were indicated as translation (53%), followed by adaptation (20%), imitation (13%), version (6%), and finally, free translation (5%). Although it should be stressed that the differences between these terms are blurred and still in dispute, it is noteworthy that adaptation accounts for almost 25% of the translation mode labels used by the Portuguese theatre persons in the playtext. With reference to theatre translations published in reading editions between 1929 and 1945, according to the data obtained from TETRAbase, only 10% of the translations were labelled as adaptations. This finding, in fact, concurs with Aaltonen’s statement:
1. Translation for the stage probably employs adaptation more frequently than does printed literature [...] In the discourse of theatre productions, and consequently in theatre translation, it is usually taken for granted that the pragmatics of the theatre should outweigh the constraints of the source text. (75).
Aaltonen also makes a distinction between adaptation and imitation, the latter of which she defines as a subcategory of the former that “borrows an idea or theme from the foreign source text and writes a new play around it” (Aaltonen 64). Intriguingly, the percentage of translations labelled as imitations is also halved to 7% with regard to theatre translations published in book form between 1929 and 1945. Furthermore, the overwhelming majority of the dramatic texts translated and published in Portugal between 1930 and 1945 (78%) were self-described as translations in the printed text as opposed to adaptation, imitation and version.
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