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Kolm Eesti Robinsoni: Daniel Defoe romaan eesti t lkes / Three Estonian Robinsons: Daniel Defoe’s Novel in Estonian Translation

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Abstract:

The article discusses three Estonian translations of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe into Estonian with the focus on the completeness of the translated texts and the characterisation given to these in paratextual information. While there are several translations and versions of the tex t available in E stonian that have either used a mediating language or do not proceed directly from Defoe’s novel, three editions explicitly list Defoe’s English-language Robinson Crusoe as their source text. These are Rudolf Sirge’s translation from 1950 and two editions translated by Valter Rummel that appeared in 1984 (reprinted in 2001) and 2007, respectively. The article sets out to discover the main differences between the three editions and the possible reasons that may have triggered their publication in Estonia at those particular times. In order to approach the issues, a general framework derived from descriptive translation studies is employed with an emphasis on Gideon Toury’s chrestomatic treatment of translation norms. Thus an attempt is made to detect the preliminary translational norms regarding translation policy, particularly the choice of texts to be translated, as well as the matricial norms that concern the fullness of the translated text and are part of operational norms manifested in the translator’s decisions which, in two of the cases at hand, may also have been decisions made by the editor or the censor. Rudolf Sirge’s translation appeared at a time when Estonia had fairly recently been incorporated into the Soviet Union and there was a lack of children’s literature ideologically appreciated by the regime. This may account for the packaging of the book as a work with a strong didactic bent, while its primary audience was taken to be children and young adults for whom the protagonist served as an example of a hard-working and tenacious hero to be emulated by young Soviets. The target text has been considerably shortened as references to religion and the main character’s spiritual development have been carefully purged from it. Additionally, changes have been made in the translated text, replacing references to the divine and supernatural dimensions with an increased prominence of natural and human agency.Omissions of the same type are also present in the 1984 translation by Valter Rummel. These follow a similar pattern in terms of the content of the omitted passages, while the omitted sections overlap with Sirge’s translation to some extent, mostly as concerns topics related to religion. However, the number and scale of omissions is smaller in compa

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