Friday, November 7, 2014

What's it going to be then, eh? Translating Burgess' CLOCKWORK ORANGE into Russian

Translating Anthony Burgess' Clockwork Orange into Russian presents some rather unusual difficulties. When writing the novel in English, Burgess invented a slang-argot for his juvenile delinquents of the not-too-distant future. The argot is replete with Russian words, many of them jazzed up by Little Alex and his "droogies" (friends, from the Russian word друг).The translator V. Boshnyak could have attempted to do something similar, throwing words with English roots into the Russian text. This would have been a formidable task. So instead of doing this, he kept all Russian words for the text of his translation, but used the Latin alphabet, rather than Cyrillic, for the slangy words:

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