M2: Unit 2: Chapter 5 – Q5.4 Answer

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The suspension of disblief becomes problematic in ways we have already covered: the use of a Dutch word like ‘juffrouw’ or the translator’s footnote which disrupts the dramatic illusion.

In addition, consider the following:

Drystubble’s address, which he repeats up to three times in the passage (sentences <6>, <31> and <38>) is given in a non-English way, with the house number following the name of the street instead of preceding it. Nahuijs gave the address the English way (sentences <5>, <25> and <30>).

More interestingly perhaps, consider Siebenhaar’s sentences <19> and <20>. Drystubble here comments on alternative  spellings: ‘color’ versus ‘colour’. His comment about the difference helps to shape his character for the reader: he is so mean and stingy he does not want to waste letters if he can avoid it, so he prefers to write the shorter form, ‘color’. But the spelling difference itself pertains to English: ‘color’ is American spelling, ‘colour’ is British. This would make sense if Drystubble were writing in English, but the passage emphatically and repeatedly reminds us that Drystubble is meant to be using Dutch.

Siebenhaar ties himself into knots here. He could have avoided the problem: Nahuijs simply omitted Drystubble’s aside and its reference to Frits! You may consider why it was apparently so important for Siebenhaar to keep Drystubble’s aside and make something of it that involved linguistic variants while highlighting features of Drystubble’s character. This is again a question concerning the possible motivation behind a translator’s choices. We will come back to this.