Fifty Shades of Translation: On the Patterns in the English to Polish Translation of Erotica




corpus-based study, Erotica, Toury, sex-related language, translational norms


Aim. The aim of this article is to investigate the patterns in the translation of sex-related vocabulary from English to Polish in search for any changes regarding the markedness, poetics, and linguistic variety.

Methods. The study is conducted on the pairs of English erotic novels and their Polish translations. It involves both quantitative (corpus-based methods) and qualitative (Descriptive ranslation Studies) methods.

Results. The results indicate significant change in the area of marked vocabulary. In English-Polish translation, a vast majority of the marked vocabulary related to sex is replaced with unmarked vocabulary, paraphrased, or simply deleted. The qualitative analysis also suggests certain changes in the poetics of text, introduced by the means of addition. These changes mostly result in sexual encounters becoming more romanticised in translation.

Conclusions. While the observed trends in translation are unmistakeable, it cannot be concluded with certainty what have led to the changes of the source text. Since the analysed texts were all published around the same time, by different publishing houses, and were translated by different translators, we are leaning towards the hypothesis of self-censorship in translation.


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Author Biographies

Patrycja Karpińska, University of Wrocław, Institute of English Studies,ul. Kuźnicza 22, Wrocław, Poland

2010-2015 - B.A. and M.A. theses at Philological School of Higher Education in Wrocław.

2015 - ongoing - PhD student at the University of Wrocław, Institute of English Studies.

Jędrzej Olejniczak, Institute of English Studies, University of Wrocław, ul. Kuźnicza 22, Wrocław, Poland

PhD student


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How to Cite

Karpińska, P., & Olejniczak, J. (2019). Fifty Shades of Translation: On the Patterns in the English to Polish Translation of Erotica. Journal of Education Culture and Society, 10(2), 219–232.