Translating Innocence: A Case Study of English-Thai Translations of John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Emma Donoghue’s Room

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Nipaporn Tangtorrith
Bancha Rattanamathuwong


This article discusses the English-to-Thai translations of two contemporary novels: Room by Emma Donoghue and The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. These two selected texts present some linguistic challenges to the translators because of the narrations which are meant to reveal the innocent perspectives of young children. Since the main characters in both stories are too young to fully comprehend the adverse situations they are faced with, the language used in the narratives concomitantly exhibits linguistic peculiarities highlighting the discrepancy between the reality and the characters’ viewpoints. What merits a close examination is how such peculiarities are transposed to the translated versions. Do the Thai translations of both novels successfully convey the innocence of the protagonists embodied in the language of the source texts? In addressing these questions, our discussion will incorporate the concept of equivalence in tandem with verbal incongruity to analyze the transferal of meanings from the source texts to the translated texts in the target language.


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Tangtorrith, N., & Rattanamathuwong, B. (2021). Translating Innocence: A Case Study of English-Thai Translations of John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Emma Donoghue’s Room. EFLections, 28(3), 297-312. etrieved from
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