... in TRANSPOSING: ... the story between translation and adaptation - The Transposition of Form


By Henry Whittlesey

Published by Translation Directory

… By form in this context I primarily mean grammar, the composition of the sentence, word order, rhythm, etc. In general, the place of form in a narrative extends to structure, and form may become content, and content – form, but the requirement that sentences of a transposition correspond to commensurate sentences in an original limits the scope of form that I will address here. In general, content is understood as the events in the story. Any circumstance where form is content or content is form will not be addressed here.

In the transposition of The Nose, as I touched on above, the new text follows the segments of the original far more closely than Shostokovich’s adaptation. On account of the change in content and the different context of the transposition, it is, however, possible to exclude segments and accept greater deviation in the case of discourse (due to differences in the representation of speech over 200 years). In narration, wherever possible, a noun included in the original should become a commensurate noun in the new narrative (depending on what the transposition of content requires). The same applies to adjectives, adverbs, verbs, prepositions, etc. Since in practice, it is hard to maintain such consistency, there are many instances of mixture, especially in substantially altered sentences: An adjective in the original may correspond to a noun in a compound noun or even an entirely different part of speech; the word count may also vary slightly, or one sentence may be divided into two. Nonetheless, the correspondence between segments will remain palpable ...

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