Emily Schwab

Date of Award


First Advisor

Colette van Kerkvoorde

Second Advisor

Peter Filkins


In the first part of this senior thesis, I discuss the differences between the two opposing camps, known as fluent and foreign translation, that American translation theorist Lawrence Venuti defines in his classic work The Translator’s Invisibility. According to Venuti, translators in the English-speaking world tend to avoid including any trace of the source text’s foreign culture or language; in doing so, they produce fluent translations. As a result, however, the translator commits a form of “ethnocentric violence” that prevents the reader from being exposed to different customs and ways of thinking, thus stifling the development of tolerance and multiculturalism among the general public. To counter this trend, Venuti argues in favor of foreignized translations, where the foreign qualities of the source text are accurately represented.

The second half of this thesis involves analyzing three different English translations of nineteenth-century German writer Heinrich von Kleist’s short story, “Das Erdbeben in Chili.” For each translation, I identify several ways in which the translator foreignized or domesticated their translation and examine the effects that their decisions have on the overall quality of their translation.

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