Translation of Taboos: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian

Fatemeh Zahra Nazari Robati, Fatemeh Zand


Taboo terms are intensifiers which flavor our speech. The different outlooks of each society towards these expressions due to religious, political and social attitudes makes translating them difficult. Knowing the frequency of application of translation strategies for translating these terms can be of help to other translators. This study investigated the types of taboo terms and strategies applied in their translation in the novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. This book has been banned in the home for its taboo terms. For the purpose of this study Cabrera's (2014) categorization of taboo terms and Davoodi's (2007) strategies for translating them were applied. Concerning the 150 found taboos in the novel the types of taboo terms in order of appearance were sexual reference/body part (55.92%), psychological/physical condition (11.84%), violence (9.21), animal name (6.57%), drugs/excessive alcohol consumption (6.57%), urination/scatology (3.94%), filth (1.97%), profane/blasphemous (1.31%) and death/killing (0%). The applied strategies in order of appearance were substitution (35.33%), taboo for taboo (26%), censorship (23.33%) and euphemism (15.33%). The 61% application of substitution and taboo for taboo strategies shows the tendency of the translator to maintain the force of effect of taboo terms than eliminating their force through censorship and euphemism by 38.66% application.


Taboo terms, Translation, Davoodi's strategies, the Absolutely True Diary of Part-time Indian, Young adult literature

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