Three Spanish translations of Kader Abdolah


This study of three novels by Kader Abdolah translated into Spanish —El viaje de las botellas vacías, La casa de la mezquita and El reflejo de las palabras— examines how the author’s non-native Dutch is conveyed in a foreign language. Rather than attempting to write like native Dutch author, Abdolah, an immigrant to the Netherlands, has used his adopted language to underline his alien identity and has become a top-selling autor. The type/token ratio, a measure that can reveal the lexical density of source texts versus target texts, is analyzed and discussed. The target-text analysis of the three-novel corpus reveals that all translators end up «enriching» the texts in such a way that the low «lexical diversity» of the source texts, a cornerstone of the author’s «exile style», is lost in Spanish. This tendency runs counter to what the hypothesis of translation universals predicts. Kader Abdolah will have to rely on the plot of his novels rather than on his singular style to convey his message.
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