Creativity in Translation through the Lens of Contact Linguistics: A Multilingual Corpus of A Clockwork Orange

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Existing studies on the translation of Nadsat – the invented language in the novella A Clockwork Orange – do not provide an in-depth examination of Nadsat as a result of language contact between English and Russian, and ignore the role that translators play in linguistic innovation, as well as the motivating factors behind their creativity. This study addresses this conspicuous gap by examining a multilingual corpus of A Clockwork Orange from a language contact and language change perspective, and creating for the first time a link between adaptation, as understood in contact linguistics, and creativity in translation. The focus is on how Russian-derived nouns in the English version have been rendered in four versions of Nadsat (French, German, Greek, and Spanish), and how these differ from naturally occurring Russian loan nouns in these languages, in terms of gender assignment and inflectional suffixes. Results suggest that the level of creativity that translators demonstrate is not simply an indication of their talent, but rather a result of an interplay of factors related to translation, and that concepts from the field of language contact are particularly effective in reframing the way in which creativity is viewed in translation studies.


Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Translator
Early online date1 Mar 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Mar 2017


  • corpus-based translation studies, adaptation, Nadsat, linguistic innovation, contact linguistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas