The European Journal of Humour Research

Vol 11, No 2 (2023)

Translating humour in children’s theatre for (unintended) diasporic audiences: Ion Creangă on Spanish stages

Catalina Iliescu-Gheorghiu


This article delves into children’s literature, more specifically, children’s theatre containing humour, and its double process of translation and/or adaptation, both “page to stage” and “stage to stage”, when a different language is involved, and the play is to be performed for an audience belonging to the target culture and an unintended diasporic one. The research perspective is descriptive (of the translational process) and comparative (of the source and target products). On the one hand, it analyses the cognitive and social mechanisms which create humour of different types (literary-stylistic, visual-auditive, and situational/of expectations) and those which allow the existence of ethnic humour. On the other hand, it tackles the translators’ decision-making process and the translation/adaptation strategies reflected by the final product. The material used for this research comprises the literary work in original, the script in the source language, the script in the target language, the recordings of the Romanian performance and the performance in Spanish by the Theatre “Anton Pann” (Romania). The author of this article coordinated the team of translators whose hybridity lies in their condition of first and second generation of Romanian residents in Spain. The results of this insight bring into light the debate on ethnic humour legitimacy and, at the same time, draw scholarly attention to the role played by translators in constructing and perpetuating images of cultures/literatures.


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