The Translation of Black English and Black Northamerican Slang


  • Marta Mateo Martínez-Bartolomé



Variedad dialectal, Argot, Negros, Estados Unidos, Traducción, Himes, Chester, If He Hollers Let Him Go


The syntactic, semantic and phonological peculiarities of Black English make it the most homogeneous and complex of all American dialects, and its cultural and social significance is so great that its translation becomes an extremely difficult task. The translator may opt for a translation which tries to be as close as possible to the form and to the content of the source text —but how will he then manage to acquaint the target reader, whose approach will be completely different from that of the source reader, with the overall message? Conversely, he may decide on a translation which aims to recreate on the new reader the effect the source text had on the source readers —and then run the risk of creating too free an adaptation. The following paper tackles the task of translating Black English into Spanish, exemplifying it with quotations from Chester Himes's If He Hollers Let Him Go, illustrative both of the peculiarities and significance of Black English and of its slang, which is deeply rooted in the world of this dialect and which adds to the great interest and difficulty of its translation.


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How to Cite

Mateo Martínez-Bartolomé, Marta. 1990. “The Translation of Black English and Black Northamerican Slang”. Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina De Estudios Ingleses, no. 3 (November):97-106.