The slang “le poilu” in romanian translations. Case study: Le Feu by Henri Barbusse
Four years after we celebrated the centenary of the beginning of First World War, in 2014, our contribution is a modest tribute to the brave French soldiers (the “poilus”) who lost their lives in this four-year conflagration. The corpus of our study consists of two Romanian versions of the same novel, Le Feu (Under Fire: The Story of a Squad), whose author Henri Barbusse took part as a frontline fighter in this bloody conflict, describing the horrors of war with indignation and gentleness, but not without humour.
Published in 1916 and winning the prestigious Prix Goncourt the same year, Le Feu (Under Fire: The Story of a Squad) saw its first Romanian version in 1918 and the second 37 years later, in 1955. Our aim is to show how the two translators succeeded in rendering in Romanian the special slang of the French soldiers, les poilus (literally “the hairy ones” according to their own nickname, which in French slang means ‘brave, courageous’), at a time when this linguistic phenomenon was not widely known in Romania (the inter-war period), or was even hardly acknowledged as such (after the establishment of communism in 1947).
Copyright (c) 2019 Laurențiu Bălă
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