The “Second” Bride: The Retranslation of Romance Novels

Zi-Ying Lee, Min-Hsiu Liao

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Abstract

This article contributes to the discussion of retranslation in Translation Studies through a case study on the retranslation of romance novels in Taiwan. Although retranslation has received some attention from translation researchers, most of the existing studies are based on examples of classic literature. In contrast, popular fiction like the romance novel remains relatively under-researched. In this article, paratextual analysis is applied to the publishing environment and marketing strategies for romance novels in order to explain why works of this genre – which are usually regarded as cheap and “throwaway” – are retranslated and how consumers are motivated to purchase such products. The findings suggest that the retranslation of best-selling romantic novels is a low-cost and low-risk investment for the publishers concerned. Such retranslations are promoted through three channels: via the branding of the retranslation as a “classic”; by persuading readers to believe that the retranslated version is more faithful to the original, and thus superior; and by introducing a different mode of consumption – a shift away from renting and towards the purchase of novels. It is argued that, for commercially-driven retranslations, market factors rather than the inherent features of the texts concerned provide a clearer explanation for the phenomenon of retranslation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-204
Number of pages19
JournalBabel
Volume64
Issue number2
Early online date27 Aug 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018

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