Anne Frank's Diary - The Graphic Adaptation as a Case of “Indirect Translation”: Integrating Relevance Theory with Bakhtinian Concepts

R. Weissbrod, A. Kohn

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper discusses Anne Frank's Diary - The Graphic Adaptation (Frank, Folman and Polonsky 2017) through the prism of relevance theory and basic Bakhtinian concepts. Based on relevance theory, Gutt (2000) introduced the concept of indirect translation, which “interpretively resembles” the source text in respects that are relevant to the target audience in its new context. Taking as our departure point the idea that this concept can be applied to adaptations as well, we use it to address the graphic adaptation of Anne Frank's diary. We show that the graphic diary interpretively resembles the original, first published in 1947, in respects that are relevant to young (and other) readers today. As in the case of indirect translation, it has been adapted to our times, first of all by turning the original written text (actually comprising more than one version) into a multimodal work. By abridging the original and adding visual elements, it meets the expectations of a new generation of readers familiar with new media. The transformation involves modification of the dimensions of time and space, which we address by means of the Bakhtinian concept of the chronotope (Bakhtin 1981). The original polyphony (Bakhtin 1984), too, has been modified since new voices, including those of the editor and illustrator, are present. The voice of Anne Frank herself, which had been partly silenced due to censorship (Lefevere 1992), was given full rein. Our focus is twofold: firstly, the adaptation itself which, in keeping with the expectation of indirect translation, is true to the original meaning despite its indirectness (Smith 2002: 112); and secondly, its relevance to the contemporary audience (“contextual effects” in the terminology of Gutt 2000: 29). The contribution of this paper lies in applying a theory which has been developed in the framework of Translation Studies to an adaptation. Thus, we tighten the links between Translation Studies and Adaptation Studies. Taking advantage of Bakhtinian concepts, we also offer tools for the analysis of multimodal texts. As one can deduce e.g. from Kaindl (2013), such texts are growingly acknowledged as relevant to Translation Studies and Adaptation Studies alike. References Bakhtin, Mikhail Mikhaĭlovich, 1981. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays, Michael Holquist (ed.), Caryl Emerson (trans.). Austin: University of Texas Press. Bakhtin, Mikhail Mikhaĭlovich, 1984. Problems of Dostoevsky's Poetics, Caryl Emerson (ed. and trans.). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Frank, Anne, 2017. Anne Frank – ha-Yoman ha-Graphi [Anne Frank – the Graphic Diary]. Ari Folman (ed.), David Polonsky (illus.). Or Yehuda: Kineret, Zmora-Bitan, Dvir. [In Hebrew. An English version was published by Pantheon Graphic Novels in 2018.] Gutt, Ernst-August, 2000. Translation and Relevance: Cognition and Context. Manchester: St. Jerome. Kaindl, Klaus, 2013. “Multimodality and Translation”, in The Routledge Handbook of Translation Studies, Carmen Millán and Francesca Bartrina (eds.). London and New York: Routledge, pp. 257-268. Lefevere, André, 2017 (1992). “Translation: Ideology - On the Construction of Different Anne Franks”, in Translation, Rewriting, and the Manipulation of Literary Fame. London and New York: Routledge, pp. 45-54 Smith, Kevin, 2002. “Translation as Secondary Communication: The Relevance Theory Perspective of Ernst-August Gutt”, Acta Theologica 22:1, pp. 107-117.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2019
EventLiving Translation - EST Congress 2019 - EST: European Association for Translation Studies, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Duration: 9 Sep 201913 Sep 2019 (Website)


ConferenceLiving Translation - EST Congress 2019
Country/TerritorySouth Africa
Internet address


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  • Living Translation - EST Congress 2019

    Rachel Weissbrod (Participation - Conference participant)

    9 Sep 201913 Sep 2019

    Activity: Participating in or organizing an eventOrganizing a conference, workshop, ...

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