In Between Children’s Literature and Adult Literature: An Analysis of Translational Style in the Turkish Translation of Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth as an Ambivalent Text
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Defining children’s literature has long been a challenging issue due to the peripheral position it assumes and constraints set by literary agents such as writers, translators, publishing houses, editors and critics within this system. With the didactic nature of children’s literature, there are some governing rules to be followed by writers and translators (Shavit, 1986, p. 63). Some writers try to overcome these rules by addressing their work to both adult and child readership. These works are defined as ambivalent texts. Wordplay is the most prominent feature of ambivalent texts because it is thought that children can never fully appreciate the features of figurative speech due to their complexity. This thesis seeks to explore how the ambivalent status of a literary text (that is, uncertainty about whether text belongs to adult literature or is a part of children’s literature) affects the translation strategies used by the translator to recreate the style of the ST. To that end, this study focuses on the Turkish translation of Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth carried out by Yasemin Akbaş; Hayalet Gişe: Milo’nun Akıl Almaz Serüveni. The theoretical and methodological framework of the thesis is based on the concept of “ambivalence” proposed by Jurij M. Lotman (1977) and elaborated by Zohar Shavit (1986). As wordplays and puns contribute to the ambivalent nature of a literary work, the study develops its research by examining Delabastita’s (1993) categorization of translation strategies to illustrate and categorize the translational choices followed by the Turkish translator of The Phantom Tollbooth. The study also intends to show how the translator recreates the distinctive style of the source text if the child readership is the intended audience of a work. Ultimately, this thesis concludes that the ambivalence of a literary text as regards its intended readership (that is, children and adults) may result in the production of a target text the style of which differs from the style of a source text.