Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (488.34 kB)

YA Literature: A Genre on the Rise. Challenges and Strategies in Translating the Imaginary World of Elizabeth Knox’s Southland Saga

Download (488.34 kB)
posted on 2021-12-07, 11:57 authored by Bell, Florencia

Young Adult (YA) literature has taken the publishing industry by storm since J.K. Rowling published the first novel of her Harry Potter saga (1997-2007). From then on, the genre has exponentially grown expanding to other media, such as the film industry, videogames, theme parks as well as merchandise. The Spanish-speaking markets have mirrored the English-speaking ones thoroughly embracing the genre. Indeed, it is thanks to the continuous sales growth in this sector of the market that the book industry has kept afloat in the last two decades. New Zealand’s recent rise in popularity among young Spaniards and Hispanic Americans alike, in part because of the working holiday visa schemes between New Zealand and several Spanish-speaking countries, and in part on account of the featuring of the country in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) and The Hobbit (2012-2014) trilogies, has created an opportune moment to introduce New Zealand YA authors to the Hispanic market.  Elizabeth Knox’s Southland saga (Dreamhunter (2005), Dreamquake (2007) and Mortal Fire (2013), with a fourth and fifth novels under way), is a fine example of New Zealand YA literature that has the potential to follow the success of other franchises, such as Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments saga (2007-2014) and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga (2005-2008). Knox’s YA novels have been internationally acclaimed in the English-speaking world and have received several prizes; this makes them an ideal showcase to introduce New Zealand YA writers to the Spanish-speaking audiences.  Therefore, this thesis has a twofold objective. On the one hand, it presents a comprehensive list of challenges and difficulties encountered when translating the imaginary world in which Knox’s three YA novels are set, which can also apply to the translation of other New Zealand YA novels. Each of these challenges is accompanied by one or more strategies to provide possible solutions. On the other hand, the thesis aims at producing a commercially viable version of the novels targeting a wide Spanish-speaking readership A theoretical discussion precedes the translation samples in which issues such as foreignisation versus domestication (Venuti 1995) are considered, as well as the suitability of a standardised target language. The translations are carried out under the umbrella of a potential Skopos (Reiss and Vermeer 2014) as if they had been commissioned for a wide Spanish-speaking market. General issues including target language considerations and the translation of cultural words (Newmark 1988, 94) are analysed within the frame of the previous theoretical discussion. In addition, specific linguistic and textual issues particular to Knox’s YA novels are tackled to illustrate the complexities of rendering the imaginary world of the Southland saga into Spanish.  The aim of this thesis is to produce a version which, complying with a potential Skopos, is suitable for the Spanish-speaking market as well as compiling a comprehensive list of translation challenges and possible solutions particular to the genre with a focus in New Zealand. The result is a translation that not only preserves but also heightens the New Zealand origin of the source text while maintaining readability and fluidity in the target language.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Literary Translation Studies

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Alternative Language


Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Languages and Cultures


Miranda, Carolina