Sailing between ‘comprehensible forms’: The Danish translations of neologisms in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick

Ida Klitgård


This study sets out to analyse the translation of neologisms in the two Danish translations of the American author Herman Melville’s major novel Moby Dick (1851). Melville’s poetics is characterised by a largely idiosyncratic style containing many new coinages, also called Melvillisms, which have found their way into dictionaries of today. Based on methodology in previous works on the translation of wordplay, the analysis seeks to uncover which strategies the translators use to represent such new words in the target language. The results are clear: the most prominent strategy is to translate neologisms into non-neologisms followed by the strategies of either translating into equivalent Danish neologisms or transferring the source text neologism into the target text without translation.


Literary translation; Moby Dick; Herman Melville; neologism; Danish

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