Listening to the voice of the translator: A description of translator’s notes as paratextual elements


  • María Carmen Toledano-Buendía University of La Laguna


translator’s notes, paratexts, literary translation, translated literature, descriptive and historical translation research


Translator’s notes are paratextual elements in which the translator gives up her/his invisible position and allows his/her voice to be heard openly to address to the reader. Together with other paratexts, they surround and accompany the text influencing its reading and interpretation. In the framework of descriptive and historical translation studies, the analysis of translator’s notes, together with other types of paratexts, may entail a privileged source of information for the contextualization of translation processes and the reconstruction of translation norms and policies in force at a specific moment as well as for the understanding of the position and reception of literary translated texts. This paper aims at the description of some contextual, pragmatic and functional features of translator’s notes. This characterization also aims at showing the richness of the practices and procedures that are hidden within the translator’s notes and the potential- hardly exploited- these data have for Descriptive Translation Studies. To illustrate this, examples are taken from 18thc and 19c Spanish translations of English novels.