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Literary Transediting as a Collaborative Process Between the Author and Translator: A textual analysis of a transedited Uzbek Novel, The Eternal Wanderer


Translation shifts, which can be categorized as either “obligatory” or “optional” have been studied extensively in translation studies. When such shifts occur at the macro-level, that is above the sentence level, a translation can then be said to have transitioned into what Stetting (1989, p. 374) described as “transediting”. Where transediting in journalism has received a considerable amount of attention in translation studies, examples of transedited literature are comparatively rare, and research on such transedited works is proportionate. This article analyzes the translation of the award-winning Uzbek novel The Eternal Wanderer as a notable example of a transedited work. Written by Isajon Sulton, a prolific Uzbek novelist, and translated by Christopher Fort, The Eternal Wanderer represents an example of a transedited work that is the product of a collaborative effort between author and translator. The novel is rich in its references to Islam as well as the native language, history, and culture of Uzbekistan, none of which are readily accessible for a Western audience that is not deeply acquainted with these things. As such, the translator, in his introduction to the book, notes that he worked with the author to edit as much as five to ten percent of the novel. The product of such a collaborative effort presents a unique opportunity for textual analysis in order to gain insights into literary transediting. A paratextual and qualitative content analysis was conducted to reveal the types and levels of optional shifts present in the translation in order to determine the extent of transediting and the motivations that underpinned each instance of transediting. The findings of the article indicate that at the word/phrase and sentence level, the translator opted to use shifts such as annotations, modifications, additions, and deletions to address disparate cultural and linguistic norms. At the paragraph and chapter level, large segments were deleted as part of the translator’s strategy to adapt the source material and produce a translation that is more accessible for its intended audience.


transediting, translation shifts, literary translation, Uzbek literature, collaborative translation



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