A descriptive study of translating children's fantasy fiction

Wen-chun LIANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Owing to the imperfect knowledge and language ability of child readers, translators often encounter great difficulties and challenges in translating children's literature. It can, therefore, be assumed that when translating children's fantasy literature, which is in a highly local cultural form, translators often encounter translating problems concerning culture-specific items and are easily trapped in the dilemma of whether to ‘foreignise’ or to ‘domesticate’ such items. This study focuses on translation problems and strategies regarding culture-specific items by analysing the first five Harry Potter (HP) books and their corresponding Taiwanese versions. More specifically, the present study aims to shed light on the implications of how the adopted strategies affect target readers’ acceptance, and whether those strategies are innovative or established, by looking at the relation of the HP translations and the polysystem of translated children's fantasy literature in Taiwan. The effectiveness of the translation strategies chosen – which may be used as a yardstick when discussing acceptability in translating culture-specific items in children's fantasy literature – was evaluated by observing 15 target readers’ response through questionnaires.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-105
Number of pages14
JournalPerspectives: Studies in Translatology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Culture-specific items
  • Foreign implantation
  • Harry Potter
  • Literary polysystem
  • Readers'response


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