First Advisor

Stephen Walton

Date of Publication

Spring 6-14-2016

Document Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in French






Translating and interpreting in literature, Translations, French literature -- Translations into English, Jacques Sternberg. Entre deux mondes incertains. Si loin du monde



Physical Description

1 online resource (iv, 109 pages)


This master's thesis comprises an English translation of Jacques Sternberg's "Si loin du monde ..." preceded by an introduction that addresses the translator's general theoretical approach to translation as well as an explanation and justification of specific choices made for this translation in particular.

"Si loin du monde ..." is a short work of science fiction by Belgian author Jacques Sternberg that appeared in the collection Entre deux mondes incertains, published in 1957. It takes the form of a first-person narrative told from the perspective of an extra-terrestrial, who has been sent on a mission to study humanity and its environment and furtively make preparation for the arrival of his people on Earth.

The section on theory sets out to find whether there exist absolute norms exterior to the subjectivity of the translator that regulate the act of translation. Three potential normative centers are proposed: text, author, and reader. The starting point when appraising text is the sourcier/cibliste dichotomy and the objection préjudicielle presented in Georges Mounin's Les belles infidèles. The objection préjudicielle is the claim that translation is theoretically impossible. The conclusion reached is that the text does not establish absolute norms of correspondence between the target text and the source text because there is no absolute meaning inherent in the text.

When examining the author as a potential source of the norms of translation, Roland Barthe"s "La mort de l'auteur" is used to show that, since the meaning of a text is not ultimately determined by the author, neither can he be an absolute regulator of correspondence in translation.

Finally, the reader is found to be a relative (not absolute) regulator of the norms of translation. This regulating role and the nature of its demands on the translator is explored through an application of the author/reader dialectic found in Sartre's Qu'est-ce que la littérature?

It is concluded that there do not exist any absolute norms of translation exterior to the translator, and that the translator creates an aesthetic unity in the target text through adherence to norms that are ultimately founded in his own subjectivity.


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This thesis is only available to students, faculty and staff at PSU

Persistent Identifier