Taking Control of the Narrative: Exploring Own Voices in Translation from Dante to ESL Classrooms

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.A. in English


Department of English


Advisor: John McCombe

Second Advisor

Advisor: Tereza Szeghi


The success or failure of any translation depends on who controls the narrative and how faithfully that narrative is presented to the reader. Translative control can either be in the voice of the text or the translator or, in the case of literary translation, an integration (or truce) between the extrinsic force of the original source and the translator's intrinsic interpretation. Determining who sets the narrative paradigms and how best to achieve the desired outcome are vital to any translation. This exploration into own voices examines several translations of Dante Alighieri's La Commedia, analyzes the situational forces inherent in literary translation, and observes the ways each translator transcends the source material to make it his or her own. This essay also looks deeper into other areas of own voices in translation by exploring the connection between literary and pedagogical translation within ESL/EFL classrooms. Contemporary research indicates that many English language educators allow their students to control the narrative in creative writing assignments through first-language translation. Seen as an essential part of the language learning environment, pedagogical guided self-translation is a way to integrate students' own voices, identity, and culture into linguistic acquisition.


Literature, English As A Second Language, literary translation, translation methodologies in TESOL classrooms, Dante Alighieri, La Commedia, own voices in translation

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2020, author