Translation and Adaptation as Recontextualization: The Case of The Snowman
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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In this article we propose an integrated framework especially, but not exclusively, tailored to the analysis of multisemiotic transfers/transformations that involve both linguistic and non-linguistic elements. The framework is based on the Swedish communication scholar Per Linell’s notion of recontextualization. This concept, which denotes the process of inserting an element from one context into another, thereby effecting some kind of transformation, is theoretically prior to both of the concepts ‘adaptation’ and ‘translation’ as they are prototypically understood, and encompasses them. Thus, taking this concept as a point of departure allows us to avoid artificial boundaries between what is commonly considered to be adaptation-studies concerns, and that which is considered to be translation-studies concerns, in analyses of multisemiotic transfers/transformations such as film adaptations. By introducing a flexible set of ‘levels’ of recontextualization (medial, generic, cultural, ideological, and linguistic) and deploying them in a sample analysis of the immediate critical reception of Tomas Alfredson’s international reworking of Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman, we show how these levels work together to create various interpretative possibilities and effects for viewers. Finally, we argue that an integrated framework based around the notion of recontextualization will also be applicable in analyses of non-translation/non-adaptation texts, allowing comparisons of recontextualization phenomena across communicative forms.