Posts Tagged ‘culture’
“Translated Romances: the Effect of Cultural Textual Norms on the Communication of Emotions” by Artemis Lamprinou
The present paper focuses on romances in translation in order to observe how cultural norms affect the translators’ work on conveying emotions. More specifically, it focuses on the translation of universal emotions in contemporary British English romances into a different language and culture; that is, into Greek. Τhe paper starts with a short section on the complexity of the concept of ‘romance’ forging a link between romances and culture; this section also prepares the ground for the discussion of translation and emotions since culture is the common thread that brings all three areas—romances, translation and emotions—together. The second part of the paper addresses the need for translation in the ever-expanding book markets and presents the concept of translation norms, while the third part briefly deals with the concept of universal emotions and stresses the cultural character of emotions in translation and their importance in romances. In order to explore these ideas further, the final part of the paper consists of a discussion of selected examples portraying emotions. These examples come from British English, twentieth-century popular romances, accompanied by their Greek translation, and arguably indicate the effect of cultural norms on the translators’ work.
1. The Complexity of the Concept of “Romance”
Attempting to define the concept of “romance” is a rather challenging task because, as Diane Elam points out, romance “exists as a contradictory term” (5). What is more important, she argues, is realizing that romance unites a number of seemingly unrelated elements ranging from medieval tales to gothic stories, from fairy tales to folk tales and from canonized texts to Harlequins and Mills & Boon. As Pamela Regis maintains, romance is, thus, “confusingly inclusive” (19), or in other words, it includes far more than the love stories found in the checkout lanes of the supermarket (Elam 5). Also supporting the notion that romances are a complex phenomenon, Radford claims that, although romances have been written since classical times, “the only continuity is in the term” (8) as the romances of different periods are often characterized by different unique traits.
One explanation for the heterogeneity of romance can be provided through the literature on genre fiction. However, it has to be stressed that, for the purposes of this article, the concept of genre is applied descriptively and without any intention of raising issues of high (a-generic) vs. low (generic) literature, a distinction that several researchers, such as Swirski, have tried to analyze (28). “Genre fiction,” as Stephen Benson explains, cannot be studied in a vacuum: it is closely linked to a given cultural and historical context in which it is formed and back into which it feeds its “prototypes” (104). This give-and-take relation results in an unofficial “contract” between the writers and the readers (Radford 8 ) or, as Heather Dubrow prefers to call it, “a code of behavior” (2), a phrase that signals more clearly the communication between authors and their readership. This cultural contract changes over the centuries, adapting itself to the contemporary needs of both writers and readerships and evolving into the expectations of twenty-first century popular romance readers. It is these expectations which form the norms, as will be explained later, that both romance authors and translators are likely to follow.
Focusing on modern romance and the readership’s expectations, Radway believes that romance readers expect to derive pleasure or satisfaction from reading romance fiction, and that romance authors aim to supply it (60). The prototypical romance reader is not interested in the complex process of deriving meaning through interpretation, yet this does not mean that s/he is passive. As they imagine the characters and events described, and invest in them emotionally, romance readers actively participate in constructing the story. Moreover, as Cawelti maintains, the pleasure and excitement provided by books like romances allow the readers to ‘escape’ their everyday lives and insecurities through their identification with the often, but not always, idealized characters (15-18). In order to make this escape, romance readers need a story that can be easily decoded so as to focus on their “affective reactions” (Radway 196), that is, their emotional responses to the described events. This focus will help them in moving “from confusion to enlightenment” (Benson 103) while the story unfolds and the characters reveal their true natures and lead the reader towards a happy ending. To facilitate this escape, most popular romances are based on cultural textual norms, what Cawelti presents as the “common ground” (8) between writers and readers, assisting the communication between the two parts. These norms affect the plot of the story together with many of its constituent elements, such as the communication of emotions, and since they are shared by both the author and his/her audience, they help the readers to effortlessly interpret the text. To this assertion, it could be added that when a romance addresses an audience with a mother tongue different from that of the author’s, the communication between the author and the readers becomes even more complex, because the effective sharing of norms will depend on the mediating role of the translator.
2. The Need for Translation and the Concept of Translation Norms
Modern popular romance fiction has been the result of capitalism and mass culture (Paizis, Love and the Novel 27). The eradication of illiteracy together with the technological developments that revolutionized book production and distribution and helped in the lowering of book prices have played a leading role in the formation of popular romance. Popular romance is a (sub)genre that can be traced back to the eighteenth century in Britain and that was shaped within ever-expanding mass markets which today have acquired a ‘global’ character. In order for this global character to be sustained, romances had to reach culturally heterogeneous readerships and translation has proven to be the means for overcoming, as will be argued below, more than the language barrier. Translating a cultural product such as romances—that is, a product that varies from period to period and which carries specific characteristics depending on the reader-author contract—poses much more than linguistic problems: it presents the challenge of dealing with the cultural textual norms that allow the reader to effortlessly interpret the story in order to escape his/her routine. In this way, norms are not important only for the study of romances but also for Translation Studies. For this reason, the current section will present some basic characteristics of norms, as defined by translation scholars, also combining them with examples from the study of romances in order to make them more comprehensible.
As earlier mentioned, norms have been rather prominent during the last decades in the area of Translation Studies. In simple words, following the work of translation scholars such as Toury, norms are seen as internalized shared ideas of what can or cannot be considered acceptable within a given context. Toury, whose work arguably shifted the focus of Translation Studies on norms, perceives translation as a system governed by norms and tries to explain how norms work by focusing on their characteristics. The first main characteristic of norms is that they are internalized during the process of socialization (Schäffner 1) and this is the reason why most people have a sense of what can and what cannot be perceived as ‘acceptable.’ Another characteristic is that norms are not static; Hermans stresses the fact that norms are actually dynamic, changing over time and evolving together with individual cultures (74). Most norms have to adapt in order to survive, yet some of them may be more resistant to change than others; a good example is perhaps the happy ending in romances which has come to be considered one of the elements that define this particular genre. Thirdly, concerning the observation and study of norms, Toury stresses that their presence is not easy to detect: norms can only be detected indirectly through monitoring the occurrence of regularities (15, 16). In other words, frequently occurring elements, perhaps such as certain characteristics of the heroine, suggest the existence of norms and allow the formation of hypotheses that often have to be addressed through research in order to be verified or rejected. The last essential quality of norms is their potency. Both Toury and Chesterman agree that norms are stricter than conventions but less binding than laws, since ignoring norms may have considerable consequences (e.g.: being criticized and not just being seen as ‘unconventional’) but not as severe as in the case of laws (Toury 14, 17; Chesterman 84). The implication is that norms create expectations; in the case of a translated romance, for example, if the text fails to satisfy the expectations of the intended readership, there will be dissatisfaction which may, for instance, affect the sales of the book or harm the reputation of author, publisher, and translator. Nevertheless, under the right circumstances, meaning the right timing and the appropriate context, norms can be broken and this breaking of the norms could be seen as part of their evolution. Ramsdell provides just such an example when she states that in the late twentieth century, romance writers began discussing in their works such previously taboo subjects as rape and alcoholism, a trend that continues to shape the genre (44). For instance, in Koomson’s romance Marshmallows for Breakfast (2007), the heroine has been a rape victim, a fact that has affected her entire life and more specifically her relations with men.
In an effort to provide a more concrete example of how cultural norms work in translation, the following section will focus on the translation of the universal emotions (a term that will be defined below) of happiness, sadness, anger, and fear in popular romances. The experience of different emotions, and not just love, is essential for both the protagonists and the readers of a story as they make their way towards their happy ending. As Paizis argues, the secret of a good romance partly lies in “the emotional intensity” (Love and the Novel 29). This phrase is not used just to describe the emotional changes in the characters of the romance, but also the experience of the reader, since many scholars of the genre assume that identification between reader and protagonist is essential for this genre (see, for example, Radford 11). Moreover, even readers who do not literally “identify with” the protagonist feel a certain affinity with the novel’s characters, sympathizing with their emotional turmoil.
3. Universal Emotions and Culture
Emotions may appear to be a common experience to all people across the globe but this is a generalization that requires some refining. All people feel and convey emotions but different cultures have their own emotional repertoires and their own norms regulating not only the expression of emotions, but as some scholars argue, even the variety of the emotions experienced. The study of emotions has been approached from many different angles, two of which are the evolutionary and the cultural perspective. In the 1960s, the evolutionary approach perceived emotions as universal “genetically coded programs” that assist a person’s survival (Niedenthal, Krauth-Gruber, & Ric 11). In other words, emotions were perceived as a survival mechanism having as its basic aim the passing on of a person’s genes. Culturalist researchers disagreed with the idea of universality, claiming that emotions are formed and learned while living in a given culture and cannot, consequently, be uniform and universal but are, rather, culture-specific. Since then, the cultural theory has adapted itself to new data that has proven that some basic human emotions are, in fact, universal, but it has not abandoned the idea that emotions, and particularly their expression, are cultural products. This opinion has been gaining ground, especially when taking into consideration that the extreme universalist positions of the 1960s have today also been abandoned. The more modern version of the cultural approach to emotions, and the one that this paper adopts, is that some basic emotions, such as happiness, sadness, anger, and fear, are indeed universal. However, culture plays a considerable role in the suppression or heightening of emotions and generates norms governing the when, where, and how these emotions can be expressed (Shaver, Wu, & Schwartz 183). These cultural norms affecting the communication of emotions cannot be ignored in the translation of romances, especially when experiencing the emotions is vital for the identification of the reader with the characters, on which reader satisfaction depends.
Taking examples from British bestseller romances translated into Greek during the period 2000-2009, such as Gregson’s East of the Sun, Hislop’s The Island, and De Bernières Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, this section presents some of the observed regularities in the translators’ behavior that can be associated with the influence of norms. In the next section, these examples will be combined with a brief discussion of the communication of emotions in Greek romances, in an effort to show that some changes observed in the translations are the result of the expectations of the Greek readership as formed by their own reader-author contract. It must be noted here that these points constitute only the initial findings of a research project on translation norms involving the study of two larger corpora, one of British bestseller romances together with their Greek translations (parallel corpus) and one of the same British original romances together with Greek original romances (comparable corpus).
4. Observing how Cultural Norms Affect the Translation of Universal Emotions in Romances
As was stated in section 2, the translation of romances has historically grown in importance as book markets expanded. However, very little research has been conducted on the general subject of translation of romances and even less in the translation of romances specifically from British English into Greek. One of the researchers who has tried to combine the idea of romance as a cultural product with the translator’s choices is George Paizis (“Category Romances” 3-22). In this article, Paizis suggests that translation as a form of “interpretation” (17) leads to the adaptation of certain elements of the original text in an effort to satisfy the target culture’s expectations. In some other cases, this goal is satisfied through a process of elimination. These two approaches are introduced in order to overcome barriers posed by the inherited cultural and linguistic systems, as well as by the readers’ experience of the genre. As the following examples will demonstrate through an analysis of cultural textual norms, adaptation and elimination are the two major strategies adopted by Greek translators to overcome differences at the level of Greek and English romance cultural norms.
The examples demonstrate the communication of emotions in the translated romances. Before moving on to their presentation and analysis, it must be mentioned that romance authors employ a considerable variety of strategies for expressing or describing the emotions of a character. These strategies may vary from the use of nouns and adjectives denoting emotions to the use of sophisticated figures of speech and the typographical representation of suprasegmental features, as when an author uses bold letters or italics during a disagreement between two characters to compensate for the loss of pitch and/ or intonation in written text. The following sub-sections will address three cases that seem to represent the effect of cultural norms on translation. All of them are associated with the differences in terms of the force of emotions traced in the source and target text and each point will be demonstrated by the use of two examples. Every pair of examples will be followed by a short description of the context in which the passage appears as well as of the linguistic choices of the translators. After this, a brief discussion of some hypotheses concerning Greek cultural romance norms (based on the comparable corpus) will follow. This discussion aims to explain the translators’ choices in light of how their work may have been affected by differences between English and Greek cultural textual norms.
4.1 English “anger” turns into Greek “rage”: the case of single lexical units expressing emotions
The first pair of examples is related to the expression of universal emotions through the use of a single lexical unit such as a noun or adjective. This is one of the most common and easily-observed strategies for the description of emotions traced in the romances studied. Examples 1 and 2 below, taken from different romances, feature the emotion of anger and show how this emotion has been rendered into Greek. The reason why anger is chosen for discussion here is that, from the initial findings of the research, it appears that translators have a tendency to increase its force in the Greek translation, as the examples show. The first instance is taken from De Bernières’ Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, while the second from Gregson’s East of the Sun (the abbreviations ST, TT, and BT stand for Source Text, that is the original English romance text; Target Text, that is the Greek translation; and Back Translation respectively):
ST: He went into the kitchen and moved all the knives from one drawer into another, so that Pelagia’s anger would find a new occasion for catharsis. (De Bernières, Captain Corelli 147, emphasis added).
TT: Πήγε στην κουζίνα και μετακίνησε όλα τα μαχαίρια από το συρτάρι τους σ’ ένα άλλο, έτσι ώστε η οργή της Πελαγίας να βρει μια καινούρια ευκαιρία για κάθαρση. (De Bernières, Το Μαντολίνο 179, emphasis added).
BT: He went into the kitchen and moved all the knives from their drawer into another, so that Pelagia’s rage would find a new opportunity for catharsis.
ST: Beads of sweat stood out on his forehead, and he was so angry he could not look at her. (Gregson, East of the Sun 89, emphasis added)
TT: Κόμποι ιδρώτα διακρίνονταν στο μέτωπό του. Ήταν τόσο εξοργισμένος που δεν ήθελε να τη βλέπει στα μάτια του. (Gregson, Στην Καρδιά 131, emphasis added)
ΒΤ: Knots of sweat could be seen on his forehead. He was so enraged he did not want to see her in his eyes.
In example 1, the author employs the noun “anger” to describe Pelagia’s, the protagonist’s, emotional state. Pelagia, a Greek girl, has fallen into depression after not receiving a letter from her fiancé fighting against the Italians during the Second World War. This is why her father, a doctor, tries to make her angry through different ‘tricks,’ such as moving her knives, in order for her to forget her sadness and express her emotions. Interestingly enough, the translator prefers to replace “anger” with the Greek noun “οργή” [rage], although the Greek language offers the alternative of “θυμός” [anger], a choice which clearly expresses a stronger emotion than that in the original text. The tendency to translate “anger” as rage into Greek can be traced in many different passages of the text, as well as in the translation of other modern romances, as can be seen in example 2.
In example 2, Viva, one of the protagonists of the romance and a chaperone, is facing the rage of a man for neglecting one of the young persons she is accompanying. The emotions of the male character in the original English text are described through the adjective “angry.” However, the translator decides to substitute this adjective with the Greek participle “εξοργισμένος” [enraged], instead of simply employing the participle “θυμωμένος” [angry], which results in an emotionally more intense passage. Examples 1 and 2 suggest that the translators’ adaptation of the original text could be attributed to a difference in norms between English and Greek concerning what is considered as the acceptable or expected force of anger in different cases.
Apart from the study of English romances, as earlier mentioned, the research project also studied the regularities in the communication of universal emotions observed in Greek romances. The reason was to form some hypotheses regarding the norms dominating the expression and description of emotions in the particular Greek texts. Again based on the initial findings of the research, it could be claimed that the Greek romance authors (included in the comparable corpus) seemed to prefer the employment of strong emotions and especially of rage; the noun (“οργή” [rage]) together with adjectives and adverbs of the same word family was identified in two-thirds of the Greek romances studied (i.e. in four out of the six texts); to be more precise, “οργή” [rage] and its word family dominated more than half of the identified passages expressing an emotion of anger in these four texts. This observation could lead to the hypothesis that the translators’ tendency to translate anger as “οργή” [rage], could have been the result of the influence of Greek cultural textual norms which slightly differ in this case from the English ones as Greek authors value the production of more ‘dramatic’ passages.
4.2 Changing the intensity of emotions: the translation of figures of speech
As Bronislava Volek maintains in her research, the communication of emotions can be achieved through a range of means, not only through single lexical units. One of these means is the use of figures of speech such as metaphors and personifications. The tendency of the translators in the present study to reinforce the emotional intensity of the English passage can be occasionally observed in the translation of figures of speech as examples 3 and 4 show. In the case of example 3, the translator chooses to substitute the English metaphor for a more ‘striking’ one, while in example 4, the translator adds a personification:
ST: I hope you are happy too. Such banal words; they’d hurt so much. (Gregson, East of the Sun 231, emphasis by author)
TT: Εύχομαι να είσαι κι εσύ ευτυχισμένος. Τι τετριμμένα λόγια ˙ τον έκοβαν βαθιά (Gregson, Στην Καρδιά 332, emphasis by translator)
BT: I hope that you are happy too. How trite words; they cut him deeply.
ST: Carlo and the doctor looked at one another, fearing that if Pelagia could work it out, someone else might. (De Bernières, Captain Corelli 287)
TT: Ο Κάρλο και ο γιατρός κοιτάχτηκαν κι ο ίδιος φόβος τρύπωσε στις καρδιές τους: αν η Πελαγία μπορούσε να σκεφτεί και να καταλήξει σ’ αυτό το συμπέρασμα, τότε ασφαλώς θα μπορούσαν κι άλλοι. (De Bernières, Το Μαντολίνο 331)
BT: Carlo and the doctor looked at each other and the same fear crept in their hearts: if Pelagia could think and end to this conclusion, then certainly more people could.
In example 3, one of the male characters of the romance laments the loss of his lover who just got married to another man. In this passage, the translator substitutes the English metaphor “the words hurt” with the Greek original metaphor “τον έκοβαν βαθιά” [they cut him deeply]. In the Greek text the words do not simply hurt; the emotional pain is compared to the physical damage and pain produced by a deep cut. By using the verb “κόβω” [cut], a verb that calls into mind a violent image when the object is a person, the translator manages to raise the force of sadness in the Greek text.
In example 4, the translator introduces a personification, a figure of speech that rhetorician Edward Corbett characterizes as highly emotional, in order to stress the fear of the characters (451). In this case, the two characters, the heroine’s father and an Italian soldier, have created and distributed antimilitary leaflets during the occupation of Greece by the Italian troops in the Second World War. When Pelagia, the heroine, realizes that it was these two who were behind the leaflets, the two men are afraid that maybe somebody else could also come to the same conclusion; consequently, they start fearing for their lives. In this passage, the emotion of fear is described as having animate characteristics in order to be more easily understood by the readers: slowly, it creeps in their hearts and starts growing. It could be argued that the use of this figure of speech increases the force of the emotion in the Greek translation.
As can be observed, in both examples 3 and 4, the translators again chose to raise the force of the described emotions, in the first case by altering the metaphor employed and in the second by introducing a personification. These observations could be again associated with the hypothesis that Greek romance authors prefer more intense emotional passages than their English counterparts. This preference for more intense emotional passages, arguably, and over time and continuous exposure, could create certain expectations in the Greek romance readers. This binding contract between readers, authors, and translators results in the ‘establishing’ of cultural textual norms that affect either consciously or subconsciously the work of the Greek romance translators as a response to the readers’ needs.
4.3 Elimination of less frequently employed strategies
As Paizis argues, one of the strategies that translators employ in order to cope with different cultural norms is elimination (“Category Romances” 17). As the two following examples aim to show, the Greek translators seem to eliminate, or at least ignore, certain strategies that were absent from the Greek romances, such as allusions and alliterations.
The first example relating to elimination is taken from Victoria Hislop’s The Island. In this case, the translator ignores the striking alliteration employed by the author and produces a target text that is not as powerful as the original (for ease of reference, the phonological transcriptions of the Greek words are provided within parentheses in the BT) :
ST: At last she saw not humiliation but heroism, not perfidy but passion, not leprosy but love. (Hislop, The Island 472, emphasis added)
TT: Στο τέλος, δεν διέκρινε ταπείνωση αλλά ηρωισμό, όχι προδοσία αλλά πάθος, όχι λέπρα αλλά αγάπη. (Hislop, Το Νησί 499)
BT: In the end, she did not see humiliation (/tapinosi/) but heroism (/iroismo/), not betrayal (/proðosia/) but passion (/paθos/), not leprosy (/lεpra/) but love (/aγapi/).
The strategy of alliteration adopted in example 5, where the author pairs nouns starting with the same sound (humiliation/heroism, perfidy/passion, leprosy/love), arguably has a specific aim: to intensify the character’s success in making peace with her past and her effort to substitute the negative elements with positive ones. However, the translator of the text chose not to reproduce this strategy in Greek, even if the language system itself is not an obstacle (e.g. leprosy/love could have been translated as αρρώστια/αγάπη [illness (/arostia/) / love (/aγapi/)] to maintain a similar pairing).
Nevertheless, alliterations were not the only strategies for expressing emotions that were ignored by the Greek translators of the British English popular romances, as can be seen in example 6:
ST: “A mastiff. A Rottweiler. A hound. A Baskerville hound. I’m not getting out of this car.” (Pilcher, Winter Solstice 193).
TT: «Μάστιφ. Ροτβάιλερ. Κυνηγόσκυλο. Κυνηγόσκυλο Μπάσκερβιλ. Δεν βγαίνω από το αυτοκίνητο.» (Pilcher, Χειμερινό Ηλιοστάσιο 183)
BT: A mastiff. A Rottweiler. A hound. A Baskerville. I’m not getting out of the car.
In the above passage taken from Pilcher’s Winter Solstice, Elfrida, the heroine, is afraid to get out of her car because of a barking dog. The author of the text employs the phrase “a Baskerville hound” to express her fear by alluding to Arthur Conan Doyle’s story The Hound of the Baskervilles. The translator’s choice to render this passage into Greek word for word (literally “Baskerville hound,” as the article can sometimes be omitted in Greek) results in a Greek translation whose word order and phrasing remind readers less of the famous Sherlock Holmes book and sound more like the name of some strange breed of dog: a “Baskervillian hound” or simply “A Baskerville,” as it is rendered in the BT above. Especially if the reader is not familiar with the Holmes story, this allusive technique for expressing fear is totally lost.
In the corpus of Greek romances no instances of allusions were identified, while the cases of alliterations were limited and traced mostly in one of the books. This fact could suggest that the particular strategies are not perhaps favored in original Greek popular romances for conveying emotions; this hypothesis could also be associated with the translator’s decision to ignore these strategies, even at the expense of decreasing the passage’s emotional intensity. While it is not easy to know whether the elimination of these strategies constitutes a conscious or subconscious decision of the translators, the absence of alliterations and allusions from the Greek original texts combined with their elimination from the Greek translations may be cautiously interpreted as an indicator of the influence of the Greek cultural textual norms on the translation process. Arguably, the translators may have eliminated the above-mentioned linguistic strategies in an effort to abide to the Greek textual norms, or, more possibly, they did not manage to recognize the importance of the strategies as they have not been often ‘exposed’ to such linguistic strategies through the Greek original romances.
The present paper has attempted to bring together Translation Studies with the study of popular romance through the discussion of romance, emotions, and translation norms. The examples discussed aimed at presenting a number of possible norms that affect the work of translators when conveying emotions. The paper briefly discussed the translators’ choice of turning anger into rage or of modifying figures of speech in order to create emotionally intense passages, a preference that was associated with the data collected from the combined study of the Greek and British English original romances (comparable corpus). At the same time, the translators’ tendency to ignore or eliminate strategies for communicating emotions such as alliteration and allusion, even though this technique dilutes the emotional force of the given excerpts, can possibly be explained by the fact that the Greek romance writers themselves—that is, those who write original texts in Greek—do not use such strategies frequently. From these initial findings, it can be assumed that the choices of the Greek translators can be understood through research into the work of Greek romance authors, which enables us to form hypotheses about the Greek cultural textual norms. It appears that Greek translators have a tendency to consciously or subconsciously follow the Greek cultural textual norms even if the British English culture is more widespread and highly influential due to its projection through modern media. Still, it has to be stressed that the suggestions discussed in the present paper are neither definitive nor exhaustive. Further work on the translation of romances is needed in order to form more concrete norm-related hypotheses; similarly, it is useful to remember that the dynamic nature of norms and the difficulties of studying them do not allow for explicit, unambiguous results.
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 Norms as socio-cultural constructs influence every socio-cultural activity such as translation or literature. Consequently, in the case of popular romance fiction and the depiction of popular romance heroines, norms result in the existence of some prevailing characteristics; for instance, the heroine has always to stand out from other women (Radway 126) and to be ethical with nurturing abilities (Fowler 162). These characteristics are used just as an example in order to illustrate that norms do not exist only in translation. Still, as the present paper focuses on literature in translation, the chosen researchers mentioned observe and discuss the existence of norms mainly within the context of literary translation.
 The “new data” I refer to began to emerge in the late 1960s, in research by Paul Ekman into the experience and expression of emotions in Papua New Guinea communities that had not been exposed to western culture.
 The parallel corpus consists of six British English popular romances and their translations into Greek. All six texts were translated into Greek between 2000 and 2009 and their translations became bestsellers in the Greek book market. It has also to be noted that all six original texts come from different authors, while the translations have been produced by different translators. The comparable corpus consists of six popular romances originally written in Greek, together with the above-mentioned British English original romances. The original Greek texts were written during the period 2000-2009 and also became bestsellers. All six of them have been written by different modern authors. The number of texts in each corpus was determined by a number of factors, one of them being the limited amount of time for the completion of the study (three years). The choice of British English texts was based on the researcher’s familiarity with the British culture, while the study of American romances was not attempted because of the time constraints of a doctoral research project.