The curious case of the two translators: La Naranja Mecanica

As promised in a post back in May, this is the strange story of what happened when the translator Ana Quijada Vargas took on the translation of the missing 21st chapter of the Spanish version of A Clockwork Orange (ACO), La Naranja Mecanica (LNM). The analysis behind this post was largely carried out by our collaborator and good friend Niall Curry.

This post has been written to mark the publication of the edited collection Science Fiction in Translation, in which our chapter on the English, French and Spanish Nadsats appears (thanks to Ian Campbell for his support in this).

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Nadsat goes Meta

We are at last delighted to announce the publication of our latest academic journal article on the Ponying the Slovos project in the prestigious Meta journal from the University of Montreal.

Volume 63, no 3 – cover date December 2020.

This compares the Nadsat in Anthony Burgess’s original text with that to be found in the French translation by Georges Belmont and Hortense Chabrier, about which we have spoken previously.

Readers with access to a university library can access this article through their university library account, but if we get requests to read it we will try to accommodate that by sending out pre-prints of the article to interested parties.

This article is the latest of a series of outputs, all of which can be seen here. It also foreshadows our next scheduled publication, which will compare the English, French and Spanish versions of Nadsat linguistically, using parallel translation corpora techniques. We’ve already introduced some of the findings here for those interested, and in a forthcoming post we’ll be looking specifically at the Spanish translation and its curious history.

Three versions of Nadsat: English, French & Spanish

Most of us are accustomed to thinking of Nadsat in one way only. After all, most of us only read the novel in one language, whether Burgess’s original, or else in one of the more than fifty extant translations. But of course, each of those translations represents a variant of Nadsat. Some languages have hosted multiple Nadsats, sometimes even by the same translator, as our colleague Patrick Corness has noted in relation to Robert Stiller’s multiple Polish-Nadsats.

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